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Old May 22, 2005, 6:18 PM   #11
DBB
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JakeTPegg wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
"talking through my neck"
Wasn't really intimating that at all, dave - I just felt that the 20D is a very capable machine, and that for pics of the like above to come out of the machine, it would help to assess why they are so poor if we start at the beginning. I'm thinking all sorts of things like maybe the jpeg settings are on maximum compression, maybe the in-camera contrast is on super high, the sharpening on extra low and the white balance on flash or tungsten for an outdoor shot??!! - dunno - maybe it's not a 20D or just a plain faulty camera -- or -- camera shake with mirror vibration ....

Cheers
:lol: If you weren't "imtimating that," than you should have!

I don't own a 20D, but I've seen plenty of images posted here to know that it can do better than that! Indeed, set at the worst JPEG, smallest image, ect, ect, I think it can do better than that.

My explanation nicely and conveniently covers the blur issue, but my explanation is "weak" on the WB question...

Oh well!

dave
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Old May 22, 2005, 9:14 PM   #12
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yup, it's a yellow-crowned night heron.

dennis
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Old May 22, 2005, 11:52 PM   #13
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Hi Twistedpuppy, don't worry too much as with that camera I'm sure that you will discover eventually that it's a matter of proper technique and learning how to use the good tools that you have properly.

In my opinion, if it were my photos, I would see 2 potential problem areas right off. The shutter speed is low and you are probably shooting that lens wide open. Since it is a consumer level lens it's probably a touch soft wide open, so the first thing you might do is stop it down one stop at least. Then increase your shutter speed to at least 1/200th (preferrably more) and use a flash if you have to or even bring up the ISO a stop (may be more grainy but at least it will be sharper), all still on that tripod of yours no matter how flimsy it is because at a faster shutter speed the capacity of the tripod isn't quite so important. If I were you, and I did the above,and myphotos had not improved, then I'd personally begin to have some serious concerns about the lens, not the camera, because the camera is tried and tested. If you still have problems then take the camera to a camera store and mount a Canon L quality lens on it and see if it shoots soft. If so, then the camera may not be focusing right and you can send it in for calibration.

From what I can see your major concern is sharpness here and there are a whole pile of things, a few noted above, that you can do to tackle that problem.

Good luck, and don't be discouraged. My change from point and shoot to DSLR was also a touch rocky and frustrating, but now I'd never go back, so hang in there.


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Old May 23, 2005, 1:15 AM   #14
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Thanks for the responce. I have a good tripod... Giottos MT-9180 and a Bogen Manfrotto 322RC2 Grip Action Ball Head,
and use a remote shutter release, so I don't think that's the problem. Maybe I need to use the mirror lock up. I don't know
if it is the lens or if it's just me not knowing what I'm
doing but I'm trading the lens back in for a canon 100/400.
I took this picture today of a finch? that was hanging out in my front yard. Same camera and lens. I shot this one hand held, using is and the side of my house to steady myself.
Camera Model
Canon EOS 20D
Shooting Date/Time
5/22/2005 10:58:50 AM
300mm
Tv( Shutter Speed )
1/40
Av( Aperture Value )
5.6
ISO Speed
100
Oh, I don't think the white balence is off. The feathers on the herons head were yellow. Thanks for your help. I put 3 of the pictures in question on my website so you can see the full pictures as they were, strait out of the camera. Along with a pic I took with a differant lens.
http://bigchuck.net/canon/
Thanks again for all the help. I hope to corect the problem soon so I can post some Good pictures.
Big Chuck
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Old May 23, 2005, 5:32 AM   #15
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Hi twistedpuppy, as Normcar correctly says [and what he says, always take note of !!, look at his posts and you'll see why] you need to get the shutter speed up, and the way to do this is up the iso to 400, and then maybe set the camera to Av mode, use the lowestnumber aperture that the lens can get to[widest aperture], and that should give you a good balance between areasonable shutter speed and iso speed.If there is sufficient light, you can increase the aperture to about f8.0 or so to give a sharper image and more depth of field. The 20D is very capable of shooting at iso400 with excellent image quality, I know some/most point and shoot cameras lose their image quality from iso200 and up. Alsothe trade in for the 100-400 is another GOOD idea, the 20D and the 100-400 make a good combo. Another issue I had to deal with in goingfrom a PnS digicam to a SLR [particularly Canon] is the post processing, where you need to do a fair bit more work on the pics after the fact, especially in the area of sharpening. Canon placea de-moireising filter in front of the sensor to filter unwanted "stuff" out, which also softens the image, so post-sharpening is a must, that's why as Dave mentions, it might be better to shoot in Raw mode, then do the processing afterwards. It all sounds like a lot of effort and work after taking a pic, but the image qualityis better, and after a whileit becomes second nature. As Canon themselves say, your own processing of the image is far better than the camera's ability to process the data given to it, that's also why they give you a copy of Elements, and a rebait on the purchase of the full version of Photoshop. Hope this helps ??
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Old May 23, 2005, 5:52 AM   #16
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I took one of your originals and did a quick process on it, a bit of levels adjustment and sharpening [hope you don't mind]
As a matter of interest, I use a 100-400 on my 20D, always hand held [maybe that's not a good thing], and get good results most of the time, the bad results normally due to slow reactions from me. I think you problem here is firstly the lens, then slow shutter speeds. Bythe way, Canon SA's marketing manager gave me the info of setting thecamera to Av mode, iso 400, lowestf[number] when I complained to him about softness, and it has worked for me [for wildlife, landscapes is a different thing altogether].Happy shooting, and I'm sure someone herewill be able to help you further, I know thedissappointment you feel, I felt the same way until I learnt the tricks, now I'm very satisfied [Until I look at Norms stuff, and erics and woody's and houstons and alady's and daves and dennis's and mullen's...... - anybody I left out??]

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Old May 23, 2005, 9:05 PM   #17
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twistedpuppy,
Congrats on the 20D. It is a fun and capable camera for the type of photography you're showing here.

There are a few obvious things wrong. Normcar touched on them, but I want to repeat with a slightly different angle.

On the 20D, I find that ISO200 is just as good as ISO100. Try it yourself and see… but I never shoot at ISO100 unless my shutter speed is at the max and I don't want to increase the f-stop any more. Do some tests and see if you are happy with the results. One thing you pay for with the 20D (over the A2) is that the higher ISO values are good. ISO200 is my preferred ISO, and ISO400 works with the help of some noise removal software.

When shooting birds, you general goal is to get the highest shutter speed possible (unless you're trying for a specific feeling in the picture.) Ideally you want higher than 1-over-the-focal length or higher (or in these cases 1/300.) None of the shots listed come anywhere close to that. That is obviously part of the problem. You absolute need to get a higher shutter speed. Yes, you can shoot a lower, I've done it here:


That was at, I believe, 400mm at 1/8th of a second. But this was done with an IS lens, mirror lockup, the second best tripod gizo makes, and the best head that Arca-Swiss makes (or to put it another way, I was using over $1,000 worth of equipment to hold the camera.) It's a little dark, but I wanted the feel of the actual forest I was in at the time. But I used every trick I knew to get that to be sharp and I think I did a decent job.

To get a more reasonable shutter speed there are 4 ways to do it.
1) use the largest acceptable aperture. On your lens, I wouldn't use the max aperture as that probably has some distortion (but if it's "good enough" for you, do it. In other words, try taking the same shots at different apertures and see how it looks.) But I agree with Normcar, you probably don't want to do it if you can help it.
2) Increase the ISO. Definitely do this.
3) Bring your own light (use a flash.) The one on the camera can only reach about 10-12 feet, so don't count on it much. Get a real hot-shoe flash from Sigma, Metz, Canon and others. For best results, use it on an off-camera flash bracket to reduce red/steel eyes but even on-camera will help.
4) Use exposure compensation and correct on your computer. You'll loose light, so the picture will be darker, but it you'll gain shutter speed. A properly exposed blurry picture isn't worth anything. A slightly darker sharp picture can be corrected.

And two more points.
The human eye can see in much less light than your camera can. Just because you can see fine doesn't mean the picture will come out. You might have seen that night heron well with your eyes, but clearly it was very dark when you shot that. So while they didn't come out as well as you're have liked these were not very good conditions. Your chances of getting really good pictures were not very high.

Have fun. We're all full of advice and experience… but really, this is supposed to be fun. Go out and shoot and learn while you do it. You'll get better. Oh, and post your pictures so we can enjoy them too!

Eric
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Old May 23, 2005, 9:21 PM   #18
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If you do use mirror lock-up, you'll see an immediate difference. Try it in your back yard at dawn...

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Old May 24, 2005, 12:58 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the help. I see that I have a lot to learn.
I'll get out there and play every chance I get and one day, maybe I'll be able to capture some images that are half as good as all of the ones yall post here.
Big Chuck
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Old May 24, 2005, 7:21 AM   #20
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Nice water snake.

Incase you haven't figure this out yet... wildlife photography is hard. This site has some very good people. Bird photography in particular is very hard because the subjects like to move, are often small, and are usually scared of you.

Keep at it, it's a fun type of photographer to do. But don't expect perfection the first time out. I don't think you are, but I just wanted to say that to make sure. It is a great feeling when you capture that image you were trying to get, though. Absolutely great.

Eric
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