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Old Sep 11, 2007, 9:17 PM   #1
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I 'thought' I was going to have a good idea on what to set my camera settings when I went to a local horse sale to take pictures of million dollar thoroughbreds. But...I am HIGHLY disappointed in the quality of my pictures. The worst I've done in a LONG time, ugh....it makes me so depressed!

I know it's got to be the settings I am using. I just don't know what I should use. In April, I did a different sale, and had just bought this camera, so I used the auto settings, and actually got great pictures.

This time I used aperture settings with manual white balance because the other WB were too dark.

It was cloudy and yucky out most of the time, but I should have at least gotten some good quality pictures, right? Some are 'ok' but that's about it.

If the horses are moving, like walking, should I not use aperture, and use something else? Maybe the sports setting instead? Most of the pictures I took yesterday and today the horses were moving, and the pictures were blurry. And some were grainy, which I am assuming the ISO was set wrong.

I only have the two lenses that came with my camera. Could it be that I need a more powerful lens? I WISH I could take some sort of class to help me understand the settings better.

Ok, now, speaking of lenses....I was wondering what brand of lenses can you use on Olympus? I'd like to look into getting a new one soon. I just don't know what brands you can use <besides Zuiko?>, and what size would be in a good price range for me. I am planning to mostly use the camera for confirmation shots of horses>, head shots, and also try for some racing shots. I just need something to upgrade to....

Heres a link to some of the pictures I took on Saturday:

They are NOT the quality I want. I know I should be able to get the quality I want out of this camera right? Crisp, sharp looking pictures of the horses? I know it takes experience, but I am trying, and just soooo down on my confidence right now

I will add that it was HARD to get pictures that day, there were so many people around, and so many horses out, that it was impossible to get really good confirmation shots <left side body shots>. And I only had a couple of hours to get these, it was early in the morning, it was cloudy...and of course naturally around the time I had to leave, the sun was starting to come out! Figures! Just my luck this week....!



Anyway, Thanks for any help, cause I could really use it




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Old Sep 11, 2007, 9:22 PM   #2
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I forgot to mention also, that I thought my camera was set on JPEG, and when I checked a little while ago it was RAW + JPEG....could this also affect the quality? Some of them are really grainy, so I am again, assuming the ISO should have been set at a different speed. But what about the blurry pictures....would it affect that too?
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Old Sep 12, 2007, 12:33 AM   #3
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I think you forgot the link because I don't see it anywhere
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Old Sep 12, 2007, 6:17 AM   #4
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Yes I sure did didn't I! Sorry about that, I was extremely exhausted when I posted.

Here's the link:

http://www.finalturngallery.com/g2/v...yearling+sale/




I have been editing the pictures I took yesterday, and some of them did turn out better than I thought. Maybe when using the Windows picture viewer they don't look as nice? I really do need sharper pictures. I took over 100 on Monday, around 230 yesterday, and I am going out one last time today to get more. Today it's supposed to be SUNNY so I am hoping for better luck!
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Old Sep 12, 2007, 8:06 AM   #5
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I just looked at a few of the pics and I think they look great, but i am an amature at this so lets see what everybody else has to say.:G
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Old Sep 12, 2007, 9:16 AM   #6
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HoosierShadow wrote:
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If the horses are moving, like walking, should I not use aperture, and use something else? Maybe the sports setting instead? Most of the pictures I took yesterday and today the horses were moving, and the pictures were blurry. And some were grainy, which I am assuming the ISO was set wrong.


They are NOT the quality I want. I know I should be able to get the quality I want out of this camera right? Crisp, sharp looking pictures of the horses? I know it takes experience, but I am trying, and just soooo down on my confidence right now
OK, don't panic yet. You're actually off to a pretty good start here.

A lot of the portrait shots look pretty good - nice framing. But there are two issues - one easy to correct the other maybe not.

1. The images are a bit soft - BUT, this is generally true of images out of ANY dslr camera. By design DSLRs do less image processing than digicams. What editing software are you using? With a bit of unsharp mask (USM) most of these images will really gain some pop.

2. Several shots look back-focused to me. This is a bit tougher to resolve - because it's difficult to tell from a photo whether the issue is a problem with the lens (some lenses do have front / back focus issues) or if it's a problem with your technique - i.e. how many focus points you were using and what those points were on (focusing requires good contrast - sometimes the camera finds better contrast in a focus point you didn't intend to use or if you do get the right focus point if there isn't a good contrast the focus won't be as accurate). Several software packages will display the focus points when you view your original, un-edited image. That will help you see what your camera was focusing on.

As for the movement - the proble is you had a shutter speed that was too slow - 1/250. The good news is - you were only shooting at ISO 100. Bump up the ISO to 200 or 400 and your shutter speed will go up. 1/500 should be your minimum goal for stopping movement. It's fine to use AV mode - you just have to pay attention to shutter speeds and adjust ISO to get speeds up to where you need them to be.

As for the grainy pics - I didn't look at EXIF on all your photos (nor even view all of them) - so I can't comment on what the problem is. Generally you get noise when you either use a high ISO and / or you had an underexposed image and you corrected that mistake in post processing. That will bring out more noise - the more correction you need to do the more noise that comes out.

But really, I think the first step is USM - once applied to these images I think you'll be much more satisfied with the sharpness.

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Old Sep 24, 2007, 12:46 AM   #7
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John,

I am sorry I wasn't able to get back to you sooner! I wanted to say THANK YOU for your advice! I didn't re-edit the pictures that you saw, but I used the unsharp mask to edit the pictures i took on the other days I was at the sale and they turned out better than I thought they would!

My biggest issue is just making sure the picture isn't blurry. They look just fine on LCD then when I get home they look blurry. I used the aperture setting, and believe that I used the center focus, then went to auto on that setting.

I will definitely work on adjusting the ISO speeds and see what happens.

I am not sure what the camera was focusing on because in a lot of shots, it sure wasn't the horse <and I had it set to focus on the middle of the frame in a lot of the shots>. I still have a LOT to learn about the program I am using, it's new to me. I am using Photoshop CS2.

There are a few 'action' shots that turned out horrible, but then, I really didn't have time to focus because I didn't expect them at that moment, what I mean is horses rearing up or acting out. There is one I played around with, and I think it turned out really neat.

I have updated the link I gave with all my pictures from the first 3 days. I haven't even began editing the last day that I went out to that sale. Overall, I felt much better about what I did. It wasn't easy considering I have an 11 month old that also needed my attention. And yeah, some of those pictures I was toting my daughter in her front carrying harness, and trying to get a picture too.

Anyway, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your help!
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Old Sep 24, 2007, 11:19 AM   #8
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HoosierShadow wrote:
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My biggest issue is just making sure the picture isn't blurry. They look just fine on LCD then when I get home they look blurry.
Glad to help out. Do you have an example of a photo you think came out blurry?

One thought I'll throw out is this - most focus systems require contrast to work properly. So you want the focus point over an area that has some contrast to it. So, if you are using just a single focus point as you indicated make sure that focus point is over a contrasty area - if the area doesn't have contrast the focus won't work very well. So it isn't just a matter of getting the point on the horse but on an area of the horse with a bit of contrast.

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