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Old Sep 12, 2006, 2:33 PM   #11
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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Hey Eric,

That would probably explain why it's hard to get a bukeh image with my Sony DSC-H1. As it is essentially a P&S camera with some DSLR abilities. And is why I was told that I'd have to step back from the subject a bit more than I should to get somewhat of an infocus foreground and blurred backgrouind.

With a DSLR is it easy to get a bukeh shot? Is it as easy is settting the camera to lets say aperture priority mode and setting the camera to f2.8?
The term is "bokeh", and it does not refer to a type or style of shot. There really isn't a such thing as a "Bokeh" shot. In reality, it is a subjective term that refers to how pleasing the out of focus portion of an image is, specifically the highlights. Unless your shooting at hyperfocal range, all shots have some form of bokeh (whether itis good or bad, and that agian is subjective). Bokeh is more a function of the lens than the camera. You can blur backgrounds with any camera, by using large aperatures and or a combination of placing the subject farther from the background or using longer focal lengths. This is true whether you are using a P&S or DSLR.

Bokeh seems to be one of the more misunderstood terms that has been used on the forums lately. Google "bokeh" for a more complete defintion (and perhaps more understandable) definition than what I can provide.
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 3:55 PM   #12
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rjseeney wrote:
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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Hey Eric,

That would probably explain why it's hard to get a bukeh image with my Sony DSC-H1. As it is essentially a P&S camera with some DSLR abilities. And is why I was told that I'd have to step back from the subject a bit more than I should to get somewhat of an infocus foreground and blurred backgrouind.

With a DSLR is it easy to get a bukeh shot? Is it as easy is settting the camera to lets say aperture priority mode and setting the camera to f2.8?
The term is "bokeh", and it does not refer to a type or style of shot. There really isn't a such thing as a "Bokeh" shot. In reality, it is a subjective term that refers to how pleasing the out of focus portion of an image is, specifically the highlights. Unless your shooting at hyperfocal range, all shots have some form of bokeh (whether itis good or bad, and that agian is subjective). Bokeh is more a function of the lens than the camera. You can blur backgrounds with any camera, by using large aperatures and or a combination of placing the subject farther from the background or using longer focal lengths. This is true whether you are using a P&S or DSLR.

Bokeh seems to be one of the more misunderstood terms that has been used on the forums lately. Google "bokeh" for a more complete defintion (and perhaps more understandable) definition than what I can provide.
Hey, thanks for the explaination! "Clears" things up for me.

I'll definitely keep your tips in mind. Though I have tried large apertures using my camera and have rarely gotten an obbvious "bokeh". As for usiing a longer focal length...I'll try that. I'm assuming I'll hav better luck there. Though, I was just hoping that you could get an obvious "bokeh" in almost any instance. Even when the subject was not more than 15 ft away. Time for more experimenting when I get the chance.

And now that I have the correct spelling of "bokeh" I will definitely Google more info.

Dam,

I think getting the book "Understanding Exposure" should clear up your problems. Though, I do find it funny and even unusual that even on Program AE mode, you're getting a lot of under- and overxposed shots. Most of my shots have been spot on. Especially in well lit situations where there's plenty of sunshine. I too have taken pictures of cars standing ont he street. No problems.

Even when I was shooting pictures of a group of Brazilian Capoeira (martial art) practioners doing a demo on a stage with no lighting the pictures turned out right. There was a roof. Yet the pictures didn't look the least bit underexposed. I was using the Program AE mode.

For now, with shots where I do get underexposed shots, I just do some post-production work using Picasa 2 correcting the exposre problem with "fill light". Always does the trick.

I'll be ordering that book myself soon.

Good luck. Hope everything works out.
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Old Sep 13, 2006, 11:59 PM   #13
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Gaz7,
Thanks for all those details. That was exactly what I'm looking for.

Lets take your issues one at a time...

AF-
Unfortunately there are several possabilities....

Your Canon camera should have come with software which will not only display the image, but show you which AF point was used when it calculated focus. I almost never use Full auto or Program AE (only when using flash, and then only some times) so others will have to correct my next statement.... I believe you don't have control over which AF point is used in those modes. I believe all of the AF points are used. So its possible that that the camera picked the wrong AF point. This is one of the reason I use Av almost all the time, I have more control over what the camera does.

Canon has had a history of producing some camera bodies (not models, specific bodies) that have problems focusing. What this means is that the camera consistently picks a location in front of or behind the intended point of focus. I've heard varying accounts of it, including that it only happens with specific lens & body combinations (in other words, you borrow a 20D from someone and the 28-135 works great, put your 20D on it and it front focuses) and other people claim every lens with a specific body does it. In the end, I've seen my backup 20D do it so I believe its a real problem. There are tests you can run if you confirm this. It is fixable, but only by shipping it to Canon (if you have this problem.)

sharpness (and the lack of vibrant colors),
I touched on this already. A P&S camera adds more sharpness to its pictures by default than a DSLR does. This is intentional. If you don't like it, change the settings in the camera to add more sharpenss. You can do the same with other settings as well (like contrast & saturation.) Since the camera is not giving you what you want, I suggest you read about changing those settings and play with them until you get the results you like.

Just a quick explicit example of why this isn't the best idea. If you take a portrait, people prefer having softer skin. They don't like seeing every pore and blemish. If you have the sharpness turned up high on the camera, this is exactly what you'll get. Your only solution is to blur the image slightly in post processing. And this will look worse than not having added the sharpness in-camera to begin with. Now, if you don't often find yourself bluring away some sharpness, then this downside doesn't effect you much. Just make sure, if you do this, that you take the same image at different settings and compare them (and do this with multiple images, the effects will be image dependent.)

exposure,
This could be a difficult one. What metering mode do you have it set to? I don't remember how full auto or program AE interact with the metering modes. For example, if you had a bright sky in the background behind a car, then some metering modes would get confused and improperly expose the car but properly expose the sky. Which metering mode do you use? I'd suggest reading about metering modes and see if that isn't related to your problem. I've used the 10D, 20D & 1D MkIIN and generally had good experience with the metering... so I wouldn't directly blame the camera. I would suggest you take the same picture in both those modes and in Av and Tv. Do it as fast as possible so the light doesn't change much. See which image it gets right. Make sure you don't have any exposure compensation set, as that will mess up the exposure.

DOF,
I basically already said all that there is to say about this. The DOF of the point and shoot will be larger, all settings being equal. It's physics, you can't help it. But there are standard ways to manipulate DOF. Change distance to the subject, use a shorter focal length lens, use a larger f-stop (smaller aperture.) These are all standard techniques. Just mess around with any of the internet-based DOF calculators and change the settings and see what you get (including switching between your old camera and your new one.)

If you have specific comments about my comments above, please ask.

You made a comment that surprised me. It was your comments about composing. That is a nature of all photography, no matter what you do. Your experience with the old camera should help you here. In fact, the DSLR should have faster AF and faster metering systems and therefor allow you to get images quicker.

Eric
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Old Sep 14, 2006, 11:56 AM   #14
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Eric - thanks for taking the time for such a detailed reply. One set of problems is now out of the way - the camera had a fault. No matter what ISO i set the camera on, it took pictures on 1600. I only noticed this looking through the data on my computer. I took it back to the shop who reset it and this seems to have cured this problem.

However, the AF is as bad as ever. In auto, there's no control, but in program AE i can pick which of the seven points i want to use, or let the camera do it itself. I can pick them okay, i just thought the camera would do a better job of auto-picking them. There's another problem with this - i can barely see the little red lights that come on to tell you which focus point is being used. Is this normal? A friend at work, who's an experienced photographer, looked at it for me, and also said he couldn't see them and 'it was a bit of a nightmare'. He usually uses a 30d and a 5d. Are all 350d's like this, or is mine faulty? The camera still seems to have problems focusing and pops up the flash at odd times (i.e. in bright sunlight...)

Do you know how i'd change the sharpness? I can't seem to find any settings for this in the camera?

The exposure problem was linked with the ISO - the meter was well out. Since the reset, this also seems better.

DOF - thanks for the advice, i had a little play about with some settings and i think i'm getting the idea. Just as a ball park figure, could you advise what you think i should use for this senario: Trying to take a picture kneeling down, along the side of a car, looking from the back to the front. I'd like the whole car in focus all the way along, but the best i can seem to do is most of the car focus, but everything forward of the front wheel a little out of focus.

The camera, even now, seems to take ages to compose and focus compared to my old T-1.

Thanks again for your help,

Gareth
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Old Sep 15, 2006, 1:50 PM   #15
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Go to this link, and select the red "Click Here" on the bottom left where it says Rebel XT.

http://www.photoworkshop.com/canon/index.html

Then, select EOS Digital Rebel XT Tutorials from the list that comes up.

After that, you'll see a big red "Click here to Learn More" button that will bring you to lessons designed to help you understand both Digital Photography Basics, as well as how to use your new Rebel XT.

You'll also find lessons on Aperture to help with your questions on Depth of Field (how much of a scene is in focus as you get further away from your focus point) , as well as Lessons on the Autofocus System (you mentioned difficulty becoming accustomed to it), and many other topics.

If you run your mouse cursor over the Lesson, you'll see it's title change.

For example, in the attached image, I'm holding my mouse over Lesson Number 3 with the title changing to "Principles of Exposure Metering" (which would help you understand metering in high dynamic range scenes).

If you use both your Sony and your new Canon at the same time and expose the same (which you may need to use a different metering mode or exposure compensation to accomplish), I think you'll find your new camera is capable of capturing a greater range of dark to bright, and you can shoot in raw for even more improvement, because any camera has a limtied dynamic range, especially in harsher lighting conditions.

BTW, if you want pick up a book on basic photography at your local library, it doesn't have to be specific to digital. The same principles apply for things like ISO speed (a.k.a., ASA or Film Speed), Aperture and Shutter Speed.

You'll have more depth of field (more of a scene in focus as you get further away from your focus point) than you will with a 35mm film camera for any given aperture and angle of view with your Canon DSLR.

That's because the sensor in your Rebel XT is smaller than 35mm film, allowing you to use a shorter actual focal length lens compared to a 35mm film camera for the same angle of view.

But, you'll have a shallower depth of field (less of a scene in focus as you are further away from your focus point) for any given aperture, focus distance and 35mm equivalent focal length than you would with a camera using a *much* smaller sensor like your Sony T1.

Focus was not as critical with a camera like your Sony, due to very large depth of field (which also prevented it from letting you be creative using aperture to control it with larger subjects).

So, you'll need to pay more attention to things like your focus point, and become accustomed using aperture if you want to vary your depth of field for different subject types when shooting in conditions when the camera selects one that is too shallow for your intended purpose..

You may want to use a larger aperture (smaller f/stop number) than the camera's exposure algorithms would normally select to help subjects stand out from distracting backgrounds.

Or, you may want to shoot at smaller apertures (higher f/stop numbers) for more depth of field in other types of photos like landscapes or closeups where you need more of a scene in focus.

I shoot in Av (Aperture Priority) Mode more often than not, using aperture as a tool for balancing depth of field and shutter speed requirements, where I pick the aperture and the camera automatically picks the correct shutter speed for proper eexposure.

Here are some more links that may help you get started understanding some photography basics.

Plug in your Camera model, then plug in different values to see how Focus Distance, Aperture and Focal Length impact Depth of Field in the calculator at this link:

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

To help see how ISO Speed (shown as film speed in this calculator), Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Lighting are related, see this handy online Exposure Calculator.

Note the graphics at the bottom of the calculator page for the aperture iris (you'll see it opening and closing as you change apertures)..

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html

If you use a smaller aperture (higher f/stop number) to get more depth of field (as in the shot you only got the wheel in focus on when you wanted more of the scene in focus), you'll have slower shutter speeds because less light gets through the smaller iris opening, requiring longer to "expose" your film or digital camera sensor.

So, you need to keep that in mind because shutter speeds may get too slow if you're not using a tripod or have a moving subject and cause blur unless you increase ISO speed (which makes your camera more sensitive to light).

Go through the lessons so you'll have a better understanding of how it all works.

While you learn your cameras menu choices, make sure you didn't have something other than ISO speed set to values that may not be desirable (you did mention "trying lots of settings").

For example, you may have Exposure Compensation set to a +EV value causing overexposed images, or contrast set too high causing some loss of shadow and highlight detail, etc.

You'll also find information on your camera's menus and controls (including the menu choice under your Setup Menu labeled "Clear All Camera Settings", which resets everything back to factory defaults) shown in your camera's manual as well as in Steve's Canon Rebel XT Review here.

Then take photos of the same subjects more than one way to see how your settings impact images, once you have a better understanding of how to change them and why you'd want to change them in some conditions.

You don't have any film processing charges to worry about with Digital. ;-)

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Old Sep 16, 2006, 12:27 PM   #16
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Jim - thank you for such a detailed reply. I think i shall try those things you mentioned, BUT...

I'm considering giving up. I've enjoyed taking pictures for years, and was really looking forward to learning how to use a DSLR, and get the shots i want. However, it's primary uses will be car shots, and scenery shots. To check what was possible, i had a professional come round to my house today to use the camera (it's a cloudy day so not ideal, but i can't choose the weather thoughout the camera's life!). It was used for a side profile of a car - set on a tripod, used in manual - far in excess of how i'd use it (i can't carry a tripod around with me.) To compare, the Sony T9 also went on the tripod, was switched on, took a shot, and was switched off - in a matter of seconds.

I was dismayed at the results once on my PC - my nice new expensive (to me) DSLR produced a shot which just about scraped even with the T9. The experiment was repeated using the cameras hand-held - the T9 won this easily. What is going wrong? I mean i know the standard lens isn't great and i intended to replace it, but surely it must be able to beat a T9 - a camera with a lens about the size of my thumbnail!

I need to use the camera hand held, in all weather conditions, and be able to take lots of shots that don't need photoshopping to look good. I'm really, really disappointed that i don't seem to be able to do this.

I understand that the DSLR has loads and loads more scope for creativity than my silly little handheld, and the potential for some awesome shots with the right lenses and settings, but i want it to perform well for what i want to use it for - and it's not. I still refuse to believe that it can't match a handheld, but i've run out of things to try...

Gareth
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Old Sep 16, 2006, 12:48 PM   #17
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Gaz7 wrote:
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What is going wrong?
The biggest difference you're going to see is depth of field (how much of a scene is in focus as you get further away from your focus point).

But, you can control depth of field with a DSLR (more or less depth of field, depending on your desired results by using aperture), and you can't match what a DSLR can do with getting you a shallower Depth of Field if you want larger subjects to stand out from distracting backgrounds.

That's one of a DSLRs biggest benefits. It's one of the things that makes your photo stand out from the typical snapshots you see from point and shoot cameras.

Chances are, your camera settings are playing a role, too. I'd reset everything back to factory defaults as a first step.

Then, go through the lessons so that you're have a better understanding of how to use your camera.

Chances are, for most subjects, in most conditions you won't need to change a thing to get great results.

But, for conditions where you're going to be relatively close to a subject (or have a subject "filling the frame" when using more zoom), you may want to make some changes in the way you use it.

Your camera even has specialized modes like A-Dep designed to let you get more of a scene in focus. Go through the lessons (and your manual) and see what these modes are designed to do.

Any tool takes some learning, and most users tend to resist change when they use a product that's different. But, once you get over that initial learning curve, it will become second nature to you.

One of the biggest complaints I see from users that have experience with 35mm film cameras, is the lack of ability to control depth of field with a non-DSLR digital camera. ;-) But, if you have no background using a 35mm SLR, you wouldn't recognize this issue. Here is one recent thread complaining about too much depth of field from a non-DSLR model from someone accustomed to a film camera:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=15


Most newer DSLR models are sophisticated enough that they can do most of the work for you, given the right mode for what you're trying to shoot. Entry level models like your Canon are geared towards new users, and even include scene modes to try and help you get started.

I probably make it sound harder than it is. Once you grasp the basic concepts, it's really pretty easy. Then, you can concentrate on the important stuff (for example, composition). ;-)

Your camera even has a neat feature called Programmed Auto, so that you can spin a wheel to step through available aperture/shutter speed combinations, while still taking advantage of the camera's autoexposure algorithms. It's really very simple once you get the hang of it (smaller f/stop number = less depth of field, higher f/stop number = more depth of field), and you can spin a wheel to change what the camera picks if you don't like it, without ever taking your eye from the viewfinder..

Or, use scene modes tuned to specific conditions and subject types.

A DSLR will let you get good photos in a much greater variety of conditions compared to your Sony, because of it's ability to control depth of field, and it's ability to shoot at much higher ISO speeds (so, you can get away with using smaller apertures to even out the differences in depth of field when more depth of field is required for your intended purpose).

Try to keep an open mind and go through the lessons before deciding if you want to learn how to use your new camera or not, and make sure to read this article:

http://www.prime-junta.net/pont/Pontification/ba_Don't_Be_A_Bozo/a_Don't_Be_A_Bozo.html

.

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Old Sep 16, 2006, 2:23 PM   #18
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P. S.

If you run into a photo that doesn't come out quite the way you want. Post it here. You'll find that our forum members are perfectly willing to give you some tips and what you could have done differently.

Ditto for processing. Most of the sharpness you see in photos from point and shoot cameras is an optical illusion (it's processing, doing things like increasing contrast at edge transitions to make a photo appear to be sharper than it really is). You can control some of that kind of thing via camera settings, too.

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Old Sep 25, 2006, 6:48 PM   #19
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Like you, i was so tickled with the results of my Fuji"P & S digicam", i invested inCanon's 350d <Rebel xt> and have been unable to acquire quality shots. Did you get back any helpful info that you'd like to pass on?

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Old Oct 5, 2006, 7:50 PM   #20
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I finally managed to upgrade, just last week, from a fuji s5500 (s5100 I think in the US) to a Canon 350d and struggled with the first few dozen shots to get something approaching what I obtained out of the s5500... but I can assure you that it all my own failing rather than the camera.
After plenty of reading and some experimentation I managed to achieve a couple shots that were just totally amazing... the ol' s5500 wouldn't have come anywhere near close. Now I just need to practice and learn from my mistakes so that most of the photos I take turn out just as good.
Even though the s5500 had manual modes on it where I could set appature, shutter speed, etc it was still a difficult transition to using an actual DSLR... especially when it comes to appature which, with the larger sensor size, makes much more difference to the depth of field (which was one of my reasons for upgrading anyway so I'm not going to complain)
I am still getting caught out with the auto focus point selection, it doesn't always focus on what I would expect it to... but if I leave it in that mode then I just have to remember to check which point(s) it is indicating before taking the shot.
The other thing I discovered was a great review of the standard 18-55mm kit lens which compared sharpness, fringing, etc at different focal lengths and appetures to a couple other (better) lenses... one thing it highlighted was that sharpness (especially at the edges of frame) was poor if the lens was wide open, stop it down to f8 and the improvement was huge. It also proved to me what people have said about investing in some really good lenses. http://photo.net/equipment/canon/efs18-55/
There are, as a couple people have pointed out, in camera settings for sharpness etc and I've yet to play with these myself to see the difference (quite happy with the default currently) and likewise I haven't had a chance to take some shots in RAW and then do all the hard work on a PC.
Unless you have a faulty DSLR or an _exceptionally_ good p&s then there shouldn't be any problem getting better shots from the DSLR... if there is then, as I am finding, it is all due to the operator and not the cameras fault.

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