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Old Jul 5, 2006, 4:29 PM   #11
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Thanks, Brent.

The information that you have provided has proved to be VERY enlightening. Having it explained (as you did) has done much to dispel at least some of the clouds which were hovering over - and clouding my understanding. Now, if I could get some of the other issues behind me, I'd be ALL RIGHT :-).

Right now I am looking for a very good book on Digital Photography; one that would give the peruser a pretty easy understanding of when & how to use certain camera settings. I would also like it to delve into more advanced operations, so that I wouldn't have to shell out for a deeper book anytime too soon.

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Old Jul 6, 2006, 3:32 AM   #12
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I think the pic shows too much of the leafs and should better composed, something as following.
Photography is eliminating all that's not needed on the pic ... focussing on the main object ... ie in this pic it is the flower in the foreground. But to make a better composition you need the one in the back ground too, but not the flower field ...
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Old Jul 6, 2006, 2:15 PM   #13
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Belgian Pie,

Thanks. Your rendition of the pic is very nice, also. I do think, however, that my posting of that photo may have been misinterpreted by some. It was not a "keeper" photo, which is why I had done no PP to it, myself. I wanted to get some idea as to what type of shots could be gained - straight from the camera - without having to rely on post-processing via some computer program. My inquisitiveness was birthed from reading how many users were getting very nice photos, from this camera, just using 'Auto' mode, or one of the 'Scene' settings. I wasn't (getting good 'Auto' or 'Scene' setting shots, that is), but Brent Gair shared some great info on the why's, and why not's, concerning the output offerings of digital cameras. I guess that I am just trying to make sure that everything is functioning as it should, while this unit is under warranty.

But I, none the less, like how you've altered the photo.

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Nathan
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Old Jul 6, 2006, 7:03 PM   #14
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I had the opportunity to do a bit of comparison work myself today.

A few days ago, I visited the "English Garden" at our local park and took some flower pictures. Now, I'm not really a flower kind of guy but they do make for some wonderfully colorful subjects and that's always fun. Of course, just as I arrived, it got rather cloudy and the light became somewhat subdued. The pictures were great but, as expected, they needed a little boost in contrast and sharpness to make them really pleasing.

Today I went back to the park. I was looking for the miniature train that runs there but it was not operating so I went back to the English Garden and took more flower photos. This time the sun was bright, it was 12:30PM and the lighting was very contrasty. I took more flower pictures and, when I pulled them up on the computer, realized that they realy didn't need any post processing. They appear crisp and colorful right out of the camera.

When you think about it, this is really an OLD lesson. When I shot film, I learned more than 30 years ago that you generally tried to avoid shooting certain subjects under the midday sun because the light was harsh and contrasty. Evening and morninglight was softer.

That softer light can be real useful tool for many subjects. But it reinforces my premise that the TESTING of a camera is best done under that bright, contrasty direct light. It might not make for pretty photos but it will test the optical limits of the camera.
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Old Jul 6, 2006, 8:59 PM   #15
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It's good that you do that however keep in mind that you don't need to use PS or anything else if your set-up is good and don't forget that photography is eliminating what you don't need in the frame ... focus on the object, just use what make the object coming out stronger, frame all the right way to start with and everything else is just weighing down your image.
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Old Jul 6, 2006, 10:05 PM   #16
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belgian pie wrote:
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It's good that you do that however keep in mind that you don't need to use PS or anything else if your set-up is good

I would respectfully disagree with that. It is inherently risky to process an image in the camera. In fact, the entire idea behind shooting in a RAW format is that no processing is done by the camera. And even when I shoot jpegs,I keep the in camera processing to a minimum.

Any processing of the image...whether in the camera or not...will cause some loss ofdetail. Inthat regard, it's not really different thanmaking a print from a negative. Trying to getas much detail as possible in shadow will block your brightest highlights. Printing for highlightswill lose detail in shadow.

Digital images suffer the further problem caused by sharpening which is not substantially different than the artificial edge enhancement on TV and DVDs. When done to excess, sharpening an image electronically will result in "halos" or "ringing artifacts" at edges of objects. And I've got some personal examples of that in my own photos before I dialed back the factory settings in my camera.

Once that "damage" is done to the original file, it can't be undone. If the image comes out of the camera with blocked highlights, you can't put the lost detail back.

When I process an image, yes, I'm actually doing that "damage" with my computer. But I have the opportunity to look at each image and decide what detail needs to be saved and what can be sacrificed. I will often try to include as much shadow detail as I can, right up until the highlights start to block. I'll sharpen an image until I start to see the loss of very fine detail. And this requires the magnification of seeing an image on a monitor. MOST IMPORTANTLY, no screw up is ever permanent! When I process an image, I save it separately. If I look at it a month from now and decide the highlights are blown out, I go back to the orignal file and re-process it.

I can set my camera to do that work to an acceptable level MOSTof the time. I can set the camera to "Vivid" color saturation and "+2" sharpness and get snappy pictures. I prefer to set it to "Neutral" color saturation and "-2" sharpness. That gives me some pretty flat look images but they are packed with all of the basic detail that I need in order to bring them up to standard.
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Old Jul 7, 2006, 1:04 AM   #17
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In the end all depends what you want to do with the image, if I get all things right from the beginning and with a shot as this it's possible because it's a pretty static one, I don't need to process it ... I could if I would, maybe enhance colors but the framing need to be there, you need to learn how to best frame your image from the start, possibly make different ones but try to get it right from the beginning, than go and play with it on your computer but never ever just shoot and hope you can improve with processing ... even in the old days we tried to get the right film, the right light, the right framing etc... from the start, than in the DR we would eventually improve on highlights or shadows, choose the right paper, maybe frame a little better etc ... but never went in the DR with an image that was of lesser quality.

Now a days all image processing software makes it easier for the laymen to process images but if you don't have the grips and the eye it won't do much good.
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Old Jul 7, 2006, 7:38 PM   #18
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Brent Gair wrote:
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consumer cameras, are designed to APPEAR sharp but it can be very deceiving. Settings which create the appearance of sharpness will usually create an area of high contrast around color and line boundaries which makes for sharp demarcation between blocks of color. It LOOKS like a sharp picture. But this process actually obliterates very fine detail. For example, suppose you look at a picture of somebody with a "salt and pepper" beard. Amateur cameras will have boosted sharpness that will give more clearly defined patches of grey hair againstdark hair.A DSLR will make things appear more flat and uniform. But, if you zoom in on the pictures, you'll find that individual, fine hairs will dissappear in the overly sharp picture. The sharpening filter will take subtle detail and either put it on the dark side of the boundary or the light side of the boundary.

I'm happy to see someone else shares my opinion about what is "sharp" or "snappy" as I usually describe. Everybody has been accustomed to "snappy" consumer digicam photographs and now that the manufactures areattempting to transition us back to the film look, we have to hearcomments about our photographs being soft and lacking in contrast. The Evolt 500 and the Fuji S9000 are examples. One of the reasons I chose the Fuji 9000 was the more natural film look available in a prosumer. When it comes to resolving power, the detail is there leaving room forpost-processing by the photographer.

Like detail, lossof dynamic range by excessivecontrasty in-camera processing can never berecovered.

Hats off to Olympus and Fuji for attempting to guide us back to "natural".
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