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  • Photo critique please.

    Hi everyone, as i see this sub forum has now been created, i would appreciate any comments on these pictures of a male Stonechat taken recently in the New Forest.

    All photo's have had a small amount of post processing in the form of noise reduction, sharpening (using unsharp mask) and slight changes to lighting levels. Post processing was done in PSE7. The camera used was a panasonic DMC FZ28.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    James
    Attached Files

  • #2
    All very nice James. Can't give you any photographic/camera advice but my favourite is NF2 for the composition and the yellow gorse flowers at the bottom of frame. Pleasing composition to my eye.

    For a field guide type photo, that close-up holds up well too.
    My Surfbirds Photo Albums

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    • #3
      Hello James,

      The composition here is good but the image quality is not; they are all blurred, soft, out of focus and quite "noisy".

      I know that your camera can produce good results - remember the Robin which I "fiddled" with for you?:



      It would be useful to give the basic shooting data and camera settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc), and whether you have shot in RAW or JPEG.

      I suspect that the poor IQ is a result of low light meaning that you were forced to use low shutter speed, wide aperture and maybe high ISO? In those circumstances, any camera movement will result in a poor IQ and there is nothing you can do in post-processing to rectify that.

      This same species was shot at 1/1250 f/8.0 at 560mm and ISO 400:




      If you want to send me one of the original "out of camera" files (do you still have my email address?) I will be happy to have a look at it.

      At least you know (from that lovely Robin shot) that your camera is capable of 'coming up with the goods', so it might just be a question of improving technique.

      Regards,

      Colin

      Comment


      • #4
        Colin,

        These shots were taken as Jpeg's, i have however started to shoot in RAW, but not on this occasion.

        I suspect you are right that a combination of lack of skill and lack of light is behind the poor IQ!

        The shots were taken with f/4.4 ISO 100 and shutter speed between 1/125 and 1/160 @ 486mm.

        The small CCD sensor on my camera, especially when compared with a DSLR, means that with anything other then perfect light, the shutter speed needs to be slow/aperture wide. I could never, even with much more skill, produce images like yours with your equipment and Portuguese light!

        I would be interested to know in low light, what should be sacrificed i.e increase ISO, increase aperture or reduce shutter speed, or should it be a combination of all 3.

        I am still new to photography, and if a subject is still like this guy was, i will generally use the auto function, i only normally "play" with manual setting when i'm trying to shoot something in flight, or something that wont sit still, or if i have lots of time to experiment with the settings.

        James

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        • #5
          As a quick answer James, I would say "up" the ISO to at least 400 which would give you a much faster shutter speed - I often use ISO 800 (or higher) for birds in flight. But, the light available is the major factor and we can't do anything about that (unless you move down here!). I often find myself shooting at shutter speeds of 1/5,000s or even up to 1/8,000s - you cannot do that in the U.K.

          Do you use a "third party" noise reduction program? I have "Neat Image" as a plug-in to PS Elements 6 and it is amazing (the two other contenders are "Noise Ninja" and "Noise Ware") - all better than Photoshop's own in-built noise reduction tools.

          Stick at it!!,

          Colin

          Edit: James, there is a steep learning curve involved here. If someone gave you 10,000 to go out and buy the best gear (actually, you would now need 14,000!!!) it would not mean that you would immediately take great shots. Use what you have to hone your skills in actually taking the photos and processing the images and think about 'moving up' in terms of gear in the future. What you are doing right now is great (but I will criticise when appropriate!).

          Cheers,

          Colin
          Last edited by Colin Key; March 23rd, 2009, 09:40 PM. Reason: Afterthought

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks colin, one of the drawbacks of my camera, and of "bridge" camera's in general, is that at higher ISO (anything above 400) you tend to get higher levels of noise. I will try shooting at 400 ISO in future though.

            At the moment i am using the noise reduction included in PSE, but on your recommendation Neat Image is high on my list of things to buy. This should counteract the noise i can get at higher ISO levels.

            Thanks for the advice,
            James

            Comment


            • #7
              James,

              Please feel free to send me an image (RAW file) for comments to: chkey@clix.pt (unless you have my other 'prime' email address).

              Best,

              Colin

              Comment


              • #8
                Both these shots posted above: Robin and Stonechat are excellent!
                My Surfbirds Photo Albums

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                • #9
                  Hi Colin

                  Dont know if you've got my txt email but the one I tried to send to chkey@clix.pt bounced saying your mailbox was full!
                  regards
                  Paul

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                  • #10
                    My email

                    Apologies to those people trying to send me RAW files to the email address I gave above - apparently several people attempted to do so at the same time and that ("freebie") mail box just overloaded.

                    If anyone wants to contact me by email with large attachments please PM me here and I will send you my "prime" email address, but I do not want to publish that on open forum.

                    Colin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Is it ok to send COOKED files to that address?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MichaelF View Post
                        Is it ok to send COOKED files to that address?
                        Yes (but please, NO gravy!), but unless I have the original "straight out of camera" file it is not possible for me to say what is wrong or to have a go at processing the original myself ("double cooking" just makes things worse).

                        Colin

                        P.S. I will PM you my "proper" email address.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          (but please, NO gravy!)
                          Hmmm . . . they'd come with their source

                          What I would like to know is why:
                          1. I look through my scope, and the field of view is perfectly sharp right out to the edge
                          2. I take a photo with my camera, and the pic is reasonably sharp all over, but . .
                          3. I take a photo through my scope, and only the very centre is focussed, the majority away from the centre is blurred with spherical aberration.

                          Why?

                          How can I get photos through my scope that are sharper out to the edge?

                          Pic 37a (left) is cropped from the centre of a photo, pic 37b (right) is cropped from the top left edge of the same photo.
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Anseralbifrons View Post
                            Hi Colin

                            Dont know if you've got my txt email but the one I tried to send to chkey@clix.pt bounced saying your mailbox was full!
                            regards
                            Paul

                            Paul,

                            Have at last received your RAW file of the Redshank. This is just a quick "bash" at editing the image (literally 30 seconds), I will have another go when I get the time. The original capture is GOOD, I like it:



                            I adjusted highlights & shadows in "levels", increased the colour saturation, increased contrast and brightness very slightly, used Neat Image to reduce noise, sharpened with "adjust sharpness" in Photoshop (not quite as aggressive as "Unsharp Mask"), reduced image dimensions to approximately 850x850 pxls, made another pass of "adjust sharpness", and then saved the file as "Maximum Quality JPEG".

                            It took a fraction of the time to actually do it then it did to describe it!!!

                            I might sharpen it a bit more if I were to have another go, but there is a real danger over-sharpening introducing JPEG 'artefacts' and producing a synthetic image

                            Best wishes,

                            Colin

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                            • #15
                              hi michael, what setup do you use for your digiscoping?
                              sigpic

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