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Old Oct 17, 2006, 8:49 PM   #21
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angieroper wrote:
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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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Err... Yes and no. First off, thank you to Jim once again forhis detailed replies. To fill you in on what's been going on....

Having jumped in 'feet first' with my purchase, i now have a much greater understanding of what's going on. I have gathered, from my experiences and reading the forums, that, the DSLR pictures may require lots more user processing to get the pictures that i want; dust is a serious problem with most DSLR's; greater time is needed to compose the shot; and point and shoots lack the ability to post-process.

First off... My 350D was terrible. It was faulty from the box, and eventually exchanged. This cured many problems i detailed above (i was trying hard thus couldn't understand the results!) The camera, alledgedly, had a faulty sensor and focus system according to the shop, once they had examined it.

However, it's replacement still wouldn't offer shots (of what i want to take pictures of) as good as the P and S Sony T9 (both cams on a tripod side by side). The T9 still produced a more pleasing shot, straight from the camera. This is really what i'm after as i don't have time to process lots of shots myself. HOWEVER, i do realise this is the T9's (and other PandS's) limitations - they process for you so hardly anything else can be done. When the two identical shots i just talked about above were processed in Photoshop... bingo! The 350D shot was miles and miles better than the T9 shot. I could really work (lie, someone done it for me...) the 350D shot, whereas doing the exact same processes to the T9 shot achieved very little.

Dirt on the sensor was extremely annoying - and showed up clearly on blue skies - a problem i have discussed with other 350D owners who suffer from the same thing.

Still, original problems remained - the camera liked shooting from a tripod, which is not practical for me, and i struggled to get shots i was pleased with...

Enter... The Sony R1. Looks and functions like a DSLR, but it isn't. I know i don't have the ability to change the lens, but the standard range of 24-120 is more than what i need, so no worries there.

I'm not saying the R1 is a better camera than the 350D, but for my own personal needs, it is, hands down. It gives me excellent shots straight from the camera, and is happy to shoot hand held at low shutter speeds. As well as giving excellent shots with minimum hassle, it has exactly the same post-processing capabilities as the 350D - photoshop worked the pictures at least as much as the 350D shots.

As i'm used to a Sony, the buttons and menus are all logical to me, and the camera feels solid and well made. I'm really pleased with the performance, it's exactly what i'm after, and it shoots (to me) the same way as a DSLR - all the functions are identical to the 350D. As a point to note - i wear eyeglasses, and was worried about using the 350D's VF, as i used to hate using these on 35mm cams, and my first digital, with an LCD, was bliss. My worries were founded - i hated using the VF, and struggled to see my composition clearly. It's a personal joy to have an LCD back on the R1 as well as a VF - which incidently, i find much larger and easier to use than the 350D one... The fixed lens means no dust issues, thus clear blue skies too.

I seem to have much greater control over the R1's shots than the 350D's - i can now control the DOF much better than i could on the 350D, using the same settings, and everything seems to have a greater effect and function (although to be fair, i think a lot of this is down to the faults my original 350D had, rather than all 350D's). What i'm getting at is that, to me, with what i want to take pictures of, the R1 is what i hoped the 350D was going to be but wasn't. Zoomed in at huge levels, the R1's shots have slightly more noise than the 350D's shots, but looking at the shots normally it's not noticable at all, and is cancelled out by the R1 taking hand held shots where the 350D wanted an ultra slow shutter and a tripod. I would personally rather have the ability to take a slightly noisy hand held shot, than not have this ability and require a tripod.

So... I am selling the 350D, and will be sticking to the R1 for now, as it's giving me exactly what i want. I may add a 400D to my collection in the new year. I'm slightly put off by the cost though, as according to some reviews (and my experience), the 350/400D will need an expensive lens to equal the Zeiss lens on the R1, pushing the price for body and lens right up. I shall see how i feel i guess...!

Gareth
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Old Oct 17, 2006, 9:04 PM   #22
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Just to add, Jim - i have been reading through the info on the links you kindly posted, and it's been most helpful. Although i'm concentrating on using the R1, all the information seems relevant as it functions in the same way as my 350D (in my eyes anyway).

Following the information and guides, my shots have been slowly but surely improving... Many thanks!

A quick question - do you have any recommendations for this situation:

Trying to shoot sideways across the width of a car bonnet/hood, i'm low to the hood to show reflections. The camera will be close to the car on the side that i'm standing, with mecrouching down. I want to control the DOF to get the whole bonnet/hood pin sharp, and the background blurred. I don't seem to be able to get it quite right - either not quite all the car is sharp, or the whole car is pin sharp but the DOF is too large, and part of the background is sharp too. Any tips or settings i could try? I've played around with the aperature, and changing the focus point, but it's never quite spot on...

Gareth
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 12:01 PM   #23
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You'll have to experiment to get the results you want.

Focal Length, Focus Distance and Aperture are your 3 variables for controlling depth of field.

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

Sometimes, you can focus just ahead of your subject (so that it's barely in the area of acceptable sharpness) to help out.

If you just can't get the results needed any other way, you can also use an editor to blur the background more selectively. If you search through the Editors Forum, you'll find some posts on this subject, like this one:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=31

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Old Oct 18, 2006, 3:23 PM   #24
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DarkDTSHD
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'd have to disagree slightly with Kalypso's comment about how you're expected to have some degree of understanding when shooting with a DSLR.

But, with the DSLRs, they all come equiped with in-camera processing modes. From full-auto
To jump in a little late, I've come to see this in a whole different light after using manual modes, auto modes, compact cameras, and doing a lot of post processing with RAW+JPG.

I now sincerely think that RAW and MANUAL is the beginner mode, and auto mode, exposure compensation, and baked jpegs with in-camera adjustments (sharpness, contrast, etc) are for the VERY expirienced user who is trying to make speed and post-processing shortcuts and has the knowledge to do so.

Thats absolutely backwards from how everyone aproaches it, and also perhaps why were so gadget oriented. Too many people are clueless and rely on this auto stuff to bail them out, rather than use it delicatly to shortcut thier workload.

DSLR's are capable of better image quality but you have to work for it, though once your used to it its not a burden. Like driving a stick shift car.
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 7:17 PM   #25
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JimC wrote:
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You'll have to experiment to get the results you want.

Focal Length, Focus Distance and Aperture are your 3 variables for controlling depth of field.

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

Sometimes, you can focus just ahead of your subject (so that it's barely in the area of acceptable sharpness) to help out.

If you just can't get the results needed any other way, you can also use an editor to blur the background more selectively. If you search through the Editors Forum, you'll find some posts on this subject, like this one:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=31
Will do. A quick question though - is it better to have a longer aperature (higher F number) and focus close to me, or a smaller one and focus perhaps on the mid point or further away, on the bonnet/hood?

Gareth
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 7:48 PM   #26
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Experiment. ;-)

The larger your aperture (smaller f/stop numbers), the shallower your depth of field.

Ditto for closer focusing (the closer you are, the shallower your depth of field), and focal length (the longer the focal length, the shallower the depth of field).

But, keep in mind that if you use a focal length that's twice as long, you'll need to be twice as far away from your subject to achieve the same framing.

So, that cancels out the DOF difference at most focus distances you'll shoot at (making true depth of field identical if your subject occupies the same percentage of the frame and you're shooting at the same aperture, regardless of focal length at most shooting distances you'd be concerned with). As you get closer to infinity this can change.

However, perspective changes with focus distance. Shooting from closer distances makes foreground and background elements seem more separated. Shooting from further distances makes them appear more compressed and closer together.

So, even though DOF is technically the same at most shooting distances you'll be concerned about it with if you have the same framing and aperture, despite focal length differences (since you'd need to shoot from further away if you increased focal length for your subject to occupy the same percentage of the frame), shooting from further with a longer focal length gives an illusion of a shallower depth of field, just because of perspective, making the out of focus areas more obvious when elements in the scene are more compressed.

Using wider lenses and shooting from closer distances can also cause some perspective distortion. For example, an outstretched arm closer to the camera may seem too large in proportion to the rest of a subject's body. You can use perspective creatively by shooting at different distances to your subject with different focal lengths, outside of depth of field considerations, for more or less background compression, increasing or decreasing the apparent separation of foreground and background elements in the photo.

You're shooting digital. Experiment and see what the difference is.

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Old Oct 19, 2006, 9:02 AM   #27
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By focal length, do you mean what the lens is set to? I mean, the range of the lens is 24-120, and i was shooting today with it set on 35. Is that what you mean by focal length?

I've taken about a hundred shots today, i'll sift through them and let you know what i find

Also, is there any software available that can show where the focus point of the picture was? I can get all the EXIF data up etc, but on some of the shots where i've been manually selecting a focus point, i'd love to have some way of knowing where it was, to enable me to learn from my shots more.

Thanks again

Gareth

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Old Oct 19, 2006, 9:32 AM   #28
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Gaz7 wrote:
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By focal length, do you mean what the lens is set to? I mean, the range of the lens is 24-120, and i was shooting today with it set on 35. Is that what you mean by focal length?
Yes. Zoom in more if you want to get a shallower DOF with a mroe compressed background (use longer focal lengths/higher mm numbers).

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Also, is there any software available that can show where the focus point of the picture was?
AFAIK, Sony doesn't store the focus point. I checked through the menus in Sony's Data Converter SR viewing a .sr2 (raw file) from the DSC-R1, and there was no way to get to it. If it's not in the raw, it's probably not in the jpeg either.

Some camera models (i.e., Canon DSLRs) do store the focus pont. But, it doesn't look like Sony does.

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Old Oct 19, 2006, 7:21 PM   #29
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Okay... so assuming i'm taking the same shot...

I would stand further away, and zoom to get the composition i want for a shallower DOF and compressed background; or stand closer and use a wider angle on the lens for the opposite effect?

Done correctly both ways, i take it you could actually make the picture look the same by adjusting other settings (aperature etc)?

Thanks for finding out about the focus point - looks like i shall just have to make notes for now...

Gareth
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Old Oct 19, 2006, 7:49 PM   #30
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Gaz7 wrote:
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Done correctly both ways, i take it you could actually make the picture look the same by adjusting other settings (aperature etc)?
Probably not, depending on your subject. You will have a different perspective if you're shooting from a different distance.

Shoot some photos using different settings and see what you get.


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