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Old Apr 23, 2008, 12:21 AM   #1
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Hi All,

Grabbed the DS with the Tam SP 300/2.8 and the 140F 1.4x TC with the P F 1.7x AFA (714mm) and headed off to a nearby Nature Center to see what might show up.

The birds were really quiet, and there weren't too many taking advantage of the free food, but I got a few. All are cropped to 5x7 and PP'd to taste.

Song Sparrow on the feeder.


Chipping Sparrow


White-Throated Sparrow #1


White-Throated Sparrow #2. I think this one's getting ready to get its adult feathers -- or it might just be having a bad hair day. . .:-)


Brown-Headed Cowbird. I caught this male in the right light to show off his feathers. Usually they're pretty plain looking.


Not a great day, but I proved to myself that the DS is still a very capable camera (but after shooting the K20 almost exclusively for over a month, the DS seems so slooowww in every way). It also seems so loud, and I also found that I'm really spoiled by the resolution of the K20.

Scott
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 12:29 AM   #2
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Very nice photos, all of 'em. I especially like that you caught the little fella's tongue in #1, and the cowbird shot is classic.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 5:03 AM   #3
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Very well done, Scott. I have a question. What are your steps in sharpening in PP?Whatever you're doing works well without looking garishly oversharpened.

Dennis
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 5:17 AM   #4
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wow
these are really really really good
the ds did exceptionally well
how much better could the k20d be?
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:05 AM   #5
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brokenbokeh wrote:
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Very nice photos, all of 'em.* I especially like that you caught the little fella's tongue in #1, and the cowbird shot is classic.
Hi BB,

Thanks. The tongue repositioning the seed was the main reason I picked this shot to post.

Scott
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:56 AM   #6
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Driver3 wrote:
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Very well done, Scott. I have a question. What are your steps in sharpening in PP?Whatever you're doing works well without looking garishly oversharpened.
Hi Dennis,

Thanks. I try for a natural look, and I think I'm getting close. Retaining as much detail as possible is a high priority, and the old "rule" of applying sharpening last is not working for me as the downsizing for the web is just too destructive to the fine detail, especially when you're starting with 10-14MP images.

PP for me is always a work in progress, but currently in PSP XI or 12:

1. I crop for composition, then adjust contrast, saturation, brightness, and contrast. I also correct for PF and CA at this point.

2. I run 1 pass of Focus Magic at a low setting (1 or 2 pixels at 75% to slightly overemphasize the finer detail.

3. I downsize/resample to from 70-80% of the long side of the original. The sharper and more detailed the original, the more I can downsize in this step.

4. I examine the image. If it starts looking too soft, I'll run 1 or 2 passes of PSP High Pass sharpening at a radius of 1 and strength of 30 (Hard Light).

5. If the noise in the smooth sections starts getting intrusive, I'll run 1 pass of Gaussian Blur at .3 or .4. This doesn't smooth things out too much and make things look plasticky, but will usually tame the speckling that's so annoying. Don't worry too much about noise at this point because further downsizing will even out significant noise.

6. Repeat the downsizing at about 80% and examine/sharpen/blur as necessary. Don't worry about oversharpening in the early stages. You'll see what I mean. The downsizing will start to really obscure the details at about 1200 - 1400 pixels on the long side, so you want them overemphasized in order to not have them smoothed out completely.

7. After the final downsize, I'll usually use HPS one more time at possibly a lower strength (say 25).

8. I go over the image and use the smooth brush (hardness @ 10, opacity @ 4) to tone down any areas that are too stark.

On the best images, with tons of detail, it's sometimes possible to get a good downsized image by just resizing in one or maybe 2 shots and using a couple of passes of HPS at radius = 1 and strength = 30-40, then touching up areas with the low opacity smooth brush.

One other thing to note. The K10 and K20 use an in-camera sharpening algorithm that emphasizes the dark side in adding contrast to prevent some of the classic over sharpened "halos". This can actually lead to the camera adding a dark outline to an edge where it didn't actually appear. I use "Natural" and +2 sharpening with the DS, but have sharpening set to "0" on either of the K bodies to prevent these dark edges.

As I said, a work in progress -- I am getting a feel for it though, and cut steps as appropriate for each individual shot.

Scott
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 12:24 PM   #7
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Gumnut wrote:
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wow
these are really really really good
the ds did exceptionally well
how much better could the k20d be?
Hi Gumnut,

Thanks.

Actually the K20 is significantly better in a number of ways, but the DS can obviously do the job.

Focusing is a lot quicker -- it was a comparative struggle to keep up with these little guys with the DS's AF. They are constantly moving, and with this lens combo, the DOF is so thin that constant refocusing is a necessity.

The K20 files are a lot easier to PP, at least for me. It's a lot easier to blow highlights with the DS, and, as a jpeg shooter, the K20 in-camera adjustments are a whole lot more comprehensive.

With the thin DOF, the focus adjustment is unbelieveably useful, and the 3FPS is noticeably faster, though I don't use it that often. Another nice feature that I never thought I'd appreciate so much is the much larger LCD and 32x magnification for chimping shots.

All that being said, I still like my DS, and will continue to use it. For one thing, I think that TTL flash is better for birding than P-TTL, and I like using an AF500 FTZ with the DS for this purpose.

At this point, I'm pretty sure that my setup will be DS (on overcast days) or K10 (on sunny days) with Tamron 300/2.8 with TCs on a tripod, and K20 with FA*300/4.5 (or Tam SP 80-200/2.8 ) + 1.7x AFA handheld

Scott
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 2:40 PM   #8
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Scott, I want to thank you for your comprehensive reply. That's like family secrets to alot of people!...!

I have been trying different methods, some of Benjikan's originals, and a couple of guys at dpr have been discussing their methiods and I have tried them, too.

Getting this level of detail with the stacked tc's is, I think, monumental!

I didn't realize you weren't a raw shooter, though your results speak for themselves. I actually am fairly new to all this and have struggled with sharpening.

I have pics I have been told appeared oversharpened when viewed onscreen but when printed they are perfectly alright. Then you find out that different browsers use different colorspaces more effectively than others and it's like, what the heck?...LOL!

Dennis
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 6:15 PM   #9
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Hi Dennis,

For printing, you generally want the digital image onscreen to appear oversharpened, but without the halo artifacts -- then the print will look just sharp. I usually save the file at an intermediate stage for printing, then continue to downsize for possible posting.

Scott
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 8:18 PM   #10
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Terrific series, not one bad one.
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