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Old Nov 9, 2006, 9:09 AM   #11
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JimC wrote:
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John's the expert on Sports Shooting. But, I'll throw out some observations from my perspective and let him comment on what he sees. --THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME

Most of the 50mm f/1.4 lenses are a tad soft wide open.That's sometimes OK for portraits. But, not necessarily for everything else. JUST GOT THIS LENS AND AM NEW TO THE "F/1.4 WORLD" WITH ALL ITS+'S AND -'S

I'm seeing a bit of CA here (purple fringing at high contrast areas like the basketall against a lighter background) and there that would probably go away if you could stop it down a bit more and you'd improve both sharpness and contrast (real contrast versus that added by the raw converter/processing tools). Your shutter speed is the big issue if you wanted to try that though.

You can see what I'm talking about by looking at it's MTF chart:

http://old.photodo.com/prod/lens/det..._14D-443.shtml

The processing also doesn't look that great. That'sa 5 year old camera model, which is a long time as digital cameras go. So, if you're trying to use a 5 year old raw converter to process them, you could probably do better with a more modern tool. Raw conversion is a complex process, and the algorithms are constantly improving.

I'd suggest trying a few to see what works best for your images. Adobe Camera Raw is pretty good. But, to use the newer plugins, you'll need a newer version of Photoshop, too.

There are also a number of alternatives around. The sensor layout in your D1x is an oddity as those things go. So, I'd experiment with different converters to see which one handles it the best for those types of photos.--SOUNDS LIKE MY NEXT WEEKEND PROJECT!

It's been my experience that Adobe Camera Raw is pretty good as raw converters go for most shots, especially in low light. But, there aremore to choose from.

The D1X is not supported by some newer converters though. For example, I don't see it listed as supported by Raw Shooter Essentials (although the newer D2x is).

Eric Hyman's Bibble supports it. So, I'd download a trial for it and see what you think. It can work as a stand along product or as a plugin to Photoshop (version 6 or higher).

http://www.bibblelabs.com/

Capture One has a pretty good rep for low noise. So, I'd take a look at it, too. BTW, Sandisk has a promo going on right now where you can get a free copy of Capture One LE with some of their Extreme III cards.Vendors of the cards (for example, http://www.bhphotovideo.com) should have details on the promo. I'd have to check into it to find out for sure. But, your model is probably limited to a 2GB maxcard size.

http://www.phaseone.com/Content/Downloads/COforWIN.aspx

There are more products, too (including some that are totally free). For example UFRAW:

http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/

What version of Nikon Capture and Photoshop are you using?--ILL HAVE TO CHECK IT OUT WHEN I GET HOME TONIGHT

If you shot a properly exposed f/2 and ISO 1600, you'd get shutter speeds just as fast as you're getting now without pushing the images any (brightening them) in software if you're brightening them by a stop. DIDNT KNOW OF THE NOISE SOFTWARE SO I STAYED AWAY FROM THOSE KINDS OF ISOs. NOW THAT I KNOW WHAT NOISEWARE CAN DO, ILL BEEXPERIMENTING WITH THEM

That may not get your shutter speeds up to where you want them. But, sometimes raw converters can be misleading. Just because you need to move the slider one stop in your current converter, doesn't mean that another one will behave the same way. There are differences between them.

So, I'd experiment a bit and see what you get by bracketing the exposures some and using different software to process them until you have a better idea of your camera's behavior and how raw converters are going to handle the images if you decide to keep shooting in raw. Most sports shooters go JPEG. But, you'll want to get your exposure nailed if you go that way instead.

I'd probably see what you're getting for sharpness stopping down in 1/3 stop or 1/2 stop increments from wide open apertures with the lens, too (although you may not be able to stop it down to f/2 and maintain acceptable shutter speeds, something in between f/1.4 and f/2 may be a bit better).

For example, if you were a half stop down at f/1.7, shooting at ISO 1600 (properly exposed), you should be able to shoot at around 1/350 (compared toshooting at f/1.4, 1/250and ISO 400 and needing to push it a stop using software).-- WILL DEF TRY THIS OUT!

If you want to use the camera's metering, and the exposure is constently a stop underexposed, just use a +1 EV Setting with Exposure Compensation (or if light is even, go manual exposure instead and eliminate the metering headaches).

Custom Function 31 on your camera lets you select between ISO 1600 and 3200 (Hi 1 is ISO 1600, Hi 2 is ISO 3200).

Noise will be higher.You'll have to decide if the tradeoff between noise and shutter speed is worth it with the tools you use to process the images, given the potential of slighter sharper images from stopping down the lens a tad.

IOW, experiment and find a combination that works well with your camera. Each model is going to have some unique characteristics, and the software you use to process the images can make a difference (as you've already discovered trying out noise reduction software).I LOVE A GOOD CHALLENGE! LOL

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Old Nov 9, 2006, 9:21 AM   #12
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DIDNT KNOW OF THE NOISE SOFTWARE SO I STAYED AWAY FROM THOSE KINDS OF ISOs. NOW THAT I KNOW WHAT NOISEWARE CAN DO, ILL BEEXPERIMENTING WITH THEM
BTW, they work on film grain, too. I shot a wedding a couple of years ago where I had to push thefilm and got pretty nasty results with the film I was using. I used noise reduction software to process the scanned film, and it did a pretty nice job at cleaning up the images, with good detail retention.

As JohnG mentioned, don't overdo the noise removal though. You can easily smooth out a lot of detail if you're not careful, and you only need to take out as much of the noise as would be objectionable, at the print and viewing size you need for the images. Just because it looks objectionable at 100% viewing size on screen, doesn't mean that you'll notice it at the print sizes you'll use.

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Old Nov 9, 2006, 9:42 AM   #13
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JimC wrote:
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DIDNT KNOW OF THE NOISE SOFTWARE SO I STAYED AWAY FROM THOSE KINDS OF ISOs. NOW THAT I KNOW WHAT NOISEWARE CAN DO, ILL BEEXPERIMENTING WITH THEM
BTW, they work on film grain, too. I shot a wedding a couple of years ago where I had to push thefilm and got pretty nasty results with the film I was using. I used noise reduction software to process the scanned film, and it did a pretty nice job at cleaning up the images, with good detail retention.

As JohnG mentioned, don't overdo the noise removal though. You can easily smooth out a lot of detail if you're not careful, and you only need to take out as much of the noise as would be objectionable, at the print and viewing size you need for the images. Just because it looks objectionable at 100% viewing size on screen, doesn't mean that you'll notice it at the print sizes you'll use.

LOL...Ran into that scenario at about 1 am last night!
LOL...Ran into that scenario at about 1 am last night! Nice to know about the film grain, my wife still shoots that way. Ive decided on Noiseware over Neat Image...any comments? If not Im making a purchase tonight.
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Old Nov 9, 2006, 10:47 AM   #14
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The noise reduction software out there tends to "leap frog" each other. IOW, right this minute, one manufacturer may have the best software. Next week, it may be another. Also, what's "best" for one image, may not be best for another.

How you "tune" the software probably makes as much of a difference as anything between them. Also, you can learn to select only the areas that noise is objectionable in using the plugin versions, so that you retain more detail in areas where noise is not an issue (it will tend to be worse in underexposed areas of an image).

Some users prefer one, some users prefer another.

One more to look at is Grain Surgery.

http://www.visinf.com/

In addition, you'll find noise reduction sliders in some of the raw conversion products. Most of the time, they're not as sophisticated as the dedicated products for this purpose. But, depending on your use for the images, they can help out to some extent

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