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Old Jul 4, 2006, 7:25 PM   #1
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Hi ~ here is a photo that I just took with my Oly EVolt 500. I haven't shot that much with this camera, which I purchased just this past June 28th, and didn't post - before now - due to trying to conquer 'fuzzy' looking photos. The photo posted is about one of the better ones that have been shot, but one that is also in need of great help. I have posted it just as it came from the card, in hopes of getting some helpful info as to what I could have done to get a better shot. It was an evening shot, but I still thought that the 'stock' reproduction could have been better.

I would deeply appreciate any & ALL information toward this.

_________
Blessings,

Nathan


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Old Jul 4, 2006, 8:13 PM   #2
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Nathan, it would help if we had some more specific information. Which lens did you use? Tripod? And the exposure info. That would help eliminate any obvious problems like camera shake or wide open aperature.

Also, let us know which "mode" you were in (which, as an E-500 owner I can interpret) and whether there were any changes to things like sharpness or color saturation.

Personally, I keep the setting on my E-500 rather subdued and I "punch up" the photos in post processing. In fact, I just did a batch of photos a few hours ago. They were pretty straight forward so, beleive it or not, I just used the Microsoft "Picture it!" software that was bundled on my computer. That admission will probably get me drummed off the photo forums!

For an "average" photo that requires no special consideration, I usually just make a minor adjustment to the contrast and sharpness. Just for the heck of it, I took your photo, and gave it the same adjustment I gave my other photos today. I did a small contrast boost and small sharpness boost.


Obviously, since I used your 640x480 file, it's not exactly the same thing. But you can see that about 15 second of processing did yield a "crisper" photo without losing the essence of the original. This is basically the way I process my own images.



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Old Jul 5, 2006, 1:43 AM   #3
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Hi Brent,

Thanks for the time that you, selflessly, spent doing a little PP on my photo, and -yes - it does look considerably better. I also apologize for not accompanying it with any pertinent data. The shot was handheld, utilizing the 14-45mm lens. I don't have the exposure info, as the photo was deleted from my card . The shot, itself, wasn't important to me - as I was just trying to find if what I had got (sharpness wise) was about 'ball-park' for other owners (pre PP) using the same lens. I didn't think about the other variables which needed to be considered, and will post another picture (which will be taken, somewhere, tomorrow) - but this time with all necessary exposure info.

__________
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Nathan
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Old Jul 5, 2006, 5:43 AM   #4
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Hi Nathan,

It would really help if you left the EXIF data in your photo. We can get a lot of information from that. What software do you use to re size your photos?
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Old Jul 5, 2006, 6:01 AM   #5
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Hi NLAlston.

Here comes my version of your picture after a bit of tweaking in PSP. The image is slightly underexposed, which could be fixed with some levels adjustment. There is an overal lack of sharpness most probably due to camera shake. As said it would help if you provide us with a bit more info (shutter speed, aperture, mode etc.). Also, mind that even with a good camera like yours the majority of the images benefit from some post-processing. If you decide to start taking pictures in RAW-format you'll have to process all of your images, but the results can be well worth the effort.
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Old Jul 5, 2006, 9:12 AM   #6
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(Old Jim wrote)

Hi Nathan,

It would really help if you left the EXIF data in your photo. We can get a lot of information from that. What software do you use to re size your photos?
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I have Photoshop CS, as well as Paintshop Pro 9 - but don't really know my way well enough around either of these programs yet :-). My main apps with them has, largely, been within resizings (since buying this E-500) and playing around with the filters. You mentioned leaving the EXIF data in the photo, and I would appreciate info on how to go about doing this.


(Blr wrote)

Hi NLAlston.

Here comes my version of your picture after a bit of tweaking in PSP. The image is slightly underexposed, which could be fixed with some levels adjustment. There is an overal lack of sharpness most probably due to camera shake. As said it would help if you provide us with a bit more info (shutter speed, aperture, mode etc.). Also, mind that even with a good camera like yours the majority of the images benefit from some post-processing. If you decide to start taking pictures in RAW-format you'll have to process all of your images, but the results can be well worth the effort.
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I like what you have done to that photo, also. It really shows what wonders can be performed with a worthy photo editing program such as Photoshop, Paintshop, etc. I am hoping that the initial outcome was due to some other (hopefully, easily correctable) condition - rather than camera shake, because I would hate to have to depend on the utilization of a tripod for every shot. I am going to start taking my camera with me, everywhere I go, and there will be times when setting it up (with tripod) might cause the loss of grabbing a particular shot. I really don't mind doing some PP on my photos, and am going to really delve into the RAW format after I injest more info on it.





___________
Blessings,
Nathan


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Old Jul 5, 2006, 9:39 AM   #7
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Hi again Nathan,

Be sure you save the images using the "Save As" feature. If you use the "Save" or "Save for web" that will strip out the EXIF information.

A lotof us use IrfanView for resizing photos. It is a good program and it is a free download. Here is a link to the download site. After you have it on your system all you have to do is right click on any given photo ( providing the author did not take it out) and you will see the EXIF data.

http://www.irfanview.com/main_download_engl.htm

Good luck,

Jim
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Old Jul 5, 2006, 10:09 AM   #8
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NLAlston wrote:
Quote:
because I would hate to have to depend on the utilization of a tripod for every shot. I am going to start taking my camera with me, everywhere I go, and there will be times when setting it up (with tripod) might cause the loss of grabbing a particular shot. I really don't mind doing some PP on my photos,




___________
Blessings,
Nathan


When I dumped my Panasonic with image stabilization, I bought portable monopod/tripod that collapses down to 10". It fits in it's own compartment in the camera bag.

The 14-45 ain't exactly the fastest lens in the west. It's easy to forget the 2x focal length multiplication factor. I just checked some of flower photos that were taken under subdued, late afternoon shade and found they averaged about 1/15 sec at F11 and . That's not really hand holdable for sharp picture. Also, I have set a personal "default" of ISO 200. I seem to recall that the "Auto" ISO in the e-500 really means ISO 100 in most cases.

So I would still urge that you best "test" photo would be a contrasty subject shot under bright light...ideally with a tripod. That would eleiminate all other possibilities. If the above shot is hand held with the Auto ISO, for all we know, it might be a 1/10" exposure at a medium aperature. or a slightly faster exposure at wide open aperature. Neither one is a good test example.

When I moved up to a DSLR, I found post processing is really necessary on the vast majority of shots that I want to use. That's not to say that I process every single shot because I don't use every single shot. I dump everything onto the computer and then process the ones I want to save, post or print. "Amateur" cameras are kinda' like new TV sets...they come from the factory with most of the settings turned way up to provide bright, sharp, contrasty, over saturated images. When I used my Panasonic, I rarely had to process the images. The stuff coming out of the E-500 is much "flatter" but can be processed into a much better picture.
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Old Jul 5, 2006, 12:17 PM   #9
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"Amateur" cameras are kinda' like new TV sets...they come from the factory with most
of the settings turned way up to provide bright, sharp, contrasty, over saturated images. When I used my Panasonic, I rarely had to process the images. The stuff coming out of the E-500 is much "flatter" but can be processed into a much better picture.

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Brent,

I know exactly what you are saying, regarding the "amateur" line of cameras. We have an Oly C-740UZ which happens to take some really nice (and I mean sharp) photos - straight 'out of the box'. Had this camera been a little beefier (megapixel wise), and not so problematic with 'shutter lag' issues - I might have just continued on with it. Oh, it will still get used - but I am so excited over the many capabilities of my E-500. Besides...I even look like more of a "photographer" when I have it in use :-).

_________
Blessings,

Nathan
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Old Jul 5, 2006, 2:15 PM   #10
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I'm not going to claim to be any photo guru although I hope to reach that level again. I WAS a photo guru back in the "old" film days. Even did color work in my own darkroom and I loved to shoot medium format Kodachrome. But I'm still a digital neophyte.

However, on a closely related note, I'm a TV videophile and I've had a widescreen HDTV for over three years. That taught me a lot about the way images are processed and how factory setting function.

New TVs are essentially defaulted to look good on the showroom floor or in a bright living room. They come delivered in "Torch" mode. My Hitachi came factory new with the Brightnes, Color, Contrast and Sharpness all set to 100%. Most of those settings have now been turned down closer to the 30% to 40% range.

Settings on TVs, as with 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.

The DSLR will preserve the subtle variations in sharpness down to a very fine level. That makes things flatter because you'll have an awful lot more shades to deal with. Things won't just go "lightor dark" at the boundaries.

The pictures from a DSLR will almost always require some degree of hands-on sharpening to be pleasing. But you have the advantage of making that choice yourself. When all sharpening is done in the camera, the lost detail can't be retreived. When you do it yourself, you can not only experiment but you can save the variations without altering the originals in case you have a change of heart later.

That's what I was doing with my photos yesterday. I download all of my photos onto the computer then I do post processing on ones that I might like to print or post. When I do the processing, I save them in a separate file with a "P" suffix added so that I know I've processed them. So I have the orignal and the processed version. If I later decide I don't like the processed version, I can retrieve the original and try it again.
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