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Old 02-12-2005, 15:10   #1 (permalink)
GfK
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Disappointed

Have you ever travelled a really silly distance to some far-flung place and got home to find that your pictures that looked great on a 1.5" LCD screen aren't really all that hot in reality? I don't know if its because I was happy with them at the time and I've just become more self-critical recently or what...

I was just looking through my Egypt photos that I took back in May 2005, and while there are a couple of great ones among them, I don't have a single shot of the pyramids or Sphinx that I'm happy with.

I could make them better with Photoshop for sure, but I prefer photos to look good straight off the camera with minimal intervention from Photoshop.

I'm disappointed to the point where I want to go back to Cairo, purely to spend more time there and get some better shots. I only had 40 minutes at the pyramids, and we then were taken to a vantage point to get a good look at the Sphinx - we only got 20 minutes there so I basically had to rush around like a lunatic, fighting off tat-peddlers and beggars (if you've been you'll understand) and trying to get decent shots all at the same time.



[edit]Oh... and I'm starting to think I've 'outgrown' my S5100. Frustration is setting in...

Last edited by GfK; 02-12-2005 at 15:14.
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Old 02-12-2005, 15:15   #2 (permalink)
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I know what you mean. I feel the same way every time I come back from scotland. Except I normally have to pay for the processing too!

It could be worse. A friend of mine has recently come back from a 6month plus trip to the Falklands, South Georgia, South America and Antarctica. She shot nearly 200 rolls of film over that time and reckons the whole trip cost around 8k all in, including processing etc.

Chatting to her this week she claims to have only 100 - 150 decent shots.

But then she is RATHER fussy
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Old 02-12-2005, 15:18   #3 (permalink)
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I was reading one of Bryan Peterson's books and even he reckons that he only gets 4 or 5 'keepers' out of a roll of slide film...

That's the great thing about digital though - at least you get a mini-preview of the shots you've taken, so at least all is not lost...

Did you shoot RAW or JPG?
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Old 02-12-2005, 15:34   #4 (permalink)
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Had to use JPG because at the time I only had 2x256 and 1x128 cards. That's good for about 75 shots in RAW format.

Otherwise, I don't see the point in using RAW format, simply because there is no software that supports it other than a little application that comes with the S5100, but all that lets you do is convert the .RAF images to .TIF.

Paintshop supports Fuji .RAF format, yet it says my RAW images are not a known format. I can only assume that .RAF format for the S5xxx series is somehow different to .RAF format on the S7xxx/S9xxx series.
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Old 02-12-2005, 15:44   #5 (permalink)
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Have you tried RawShooter Essentials? (Is it from Pixmantec? Something like that!)

It's a really good piece of kit, and it's free... Great for things like changing the colour temp, adding a little sharpness, altering contrast, exposure compensation, etc. I use it on my D70 - like the Fuji tool (I guess), the utility that Nikon give you is a load of crap in comparison.
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Old 02-12-2005, 15:46   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catdaddy
Have you tried RawShooter Essentials?
Sort of.

I looked at it, but again, Fuji .RAF format is unsupported so I didn't bother looking any further.
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Old 02-12-2005, 15:47   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GfK
Have you ever travelled a really silly distance to some far-flung place and got home to find that your pictures that looked great on a 1.5" LCD screen aren't really all that hot in reality?
yeah, taking surfing shots in france last summer. they all looked perfectly sharp and i was well pleased, i got home and 10% were gooduns, the rest were not quite sharp enough happy with the ones i liked tho
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Old 02-12-2005, 20:32   #8 (permalink)
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This is what I do really respect from those of you that have migrated from film (lady with 200 rolls above excluded). Having a true understanding of the technical aspect of taking a photo, as opposed to my technique of take as many shots as I can till I get something that looks ok in the LCD. And hope it looks good at home later.
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Old 02-12-2005, 20:36   #9 (permalink)
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Can I ask how well people think you understand the histogram on your cameras (those of you shooting digital) as that is much more accurate at indicating how well you shot is likely to come out. Obviously it doesn't indicate focus but for exposure it is a godsend once you learn to read them.
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Old 02-12-2005, 21:28   #10 (permalink)
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*honest mode* not very well. as far as i know it should go from one side to the other for a good exposure?

its more the sharpness that i have a problem with, settings i have a rough idea about from film days.
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Old 02-12-2005, 21:44   #11 (permalink)
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There are a few basic simple things that you can do to improve your sharpness/focus depending on the subject and circumstances.

The obvious one to check straight off is shutter speed, too slow a speed will increase your chances of getting camera shake/motion blur. For static objects usually a shutterspeed equivarlant to the focal length will reduce your movements to insignificant levels (once above 1/60th for most people) so if you are shooting at 35mm use a min of 1/60 if shooting at 200mm then 1/200 etc. Obviously the best solution is use a tripod, remote shutter release and mirror lockup when available but realistically it is not very practical for most of the time.

For moving action as a general rule again, I can usually pan with the subject at the same sutter speeds as my focal length, this will usually give me a blurred background and freeze my subject, for very fast moving objects then increasing your shutter speed or adding in flash is the only way to help.

Use solid objects to steady yourself whenever you can't use a tripod, walls, fences etc can all increase your chances of getting that sharp shot.

Hopefully that will help a little?
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Old 02-12-2005, 21:57   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warspite
This is what I do really respect from those of you that have migrated from film (lady with 200 rolls above excluded). Having a true understanding of the technical aspect of taking a photo, as opposed to my technique of take as many shots as I can till I get something that looks ok in the LCD. And hope it looks good at home later.

Trust me, she is FAR from being a 'shoot from the hip and sort it out later' type of person. I can guarantee she will of put a lot of consideration into each one. I guess it's a bit hard to concentrate on settings when your Zodiac RIB is being chewed by a Tiger Seal!

I think it was more to do with the fact that she's fussy.

Sorry. Didn't explain that one too well. :me=drongo:
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Old 02-12-2005, 22:52   #13 (permalink)
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Sorry Gandhi - was only j/k regarding her

Her dissapointment would probably be a day in a million for me
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Old 02-12-2005, 22:53   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
There are a few basic simple things that you can do to improve your sharpness/focus depending on the subject and circumstances.

The obvious one to check straight off is shutter speed, too slow a speed will increase your chances of getting camera shake/motion blur. For static objects usually a shutterspeed equivarlant to the focal length will reduce your movements to insignificant levels (once above 1/60th for most people) so if you are shooting at 35mm use a min of 1/60 if shooting at 200mm then 1/200 etc. Obviously the best solution is use a tripod, remote shutter release and mirror lockup when available but realistically it is not very practical for most of the time.

For moving action as a general rule again, I can usually pan with the subject at the same sutter speeds as my focal length, this will usually give me a blurred background and freeze my subject, for very fast moving objects then increasing your shutter speed or adding in flash is the only way to help.

Use solid objects to steady yourself whenever you can't use a tripod, walls, fences etc can all increase your chances of getting that sharp shot.

Hopefully that will help a little?
yeah, i follow all those rules religiously. always use the reciprocal rule and i shot with a monopod more often than not during that period. most shots were taken above 1/1000 with a 300mm lens, it was just an issue of focus, im not sure if the AF gets tricked by the amount of movement in the water and the surfer or the changing background. at the end of the day its probably just a matter of practise.

i often find that half the reason i dont get as many keepers these days as i did when shooting film is that i start like film and think about the shot, then i remember i can take as many as i like cos its all digital now, then i look at the latter ones and think... why bother taking them, the first was fine!
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Old 02-12-2005, 23:31   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
Can I ask how well people think you understand the histogram on your cameras (those of you shooting digital) as that is much more accurate at indicating how well you shot is likely to come out. Obviously it doesn't indicate focus but for exposure it is a godsend once you learn to read them.
I've got to say I hardly ever use the histogram.

Accuracy edit, except if shooting macro, I find it helps to know you're slightly underexposed and work out how much flash you need.

I tend to take a reading from the grass and check that the result on aperture priority is the same. Then I'll just dial in compensation according to how the lights changing for the subject.

Last edited by dod; 03-12-2005 at 12:41.
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Old 03-12-2005, 00:08   #16 (permalink)
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A couple of points which I think might be the cause of some of the unsharp results people get (unsuitable shutter speeds apart)

It's important to understand that the selected AF point needs some detail to be able to focus accurately. Trying to focus on skin tones or areas with no detail at any distance may result in unsharp pictures.

The most common reason though I think is incorrect use of the 'one shot' AF system. As soon as you obtain focus on your subject and you have focus lock, you get a green light in the viewfinder and the focus is now locked as long as you keep the shutter depressed halfway.Try it - you can now point the camera anywhere and the focus will remain locked. Hanging onto this position too long with locked focus while you compose your shot, means that only the slightest movement of your subject, or yourself can mean you no longer have critical focus.

If there's no rush in taking the shot, I prefer to consider first focus as a rough focus, then release the shutter button completely, reconfirming focus before taking the shot.
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Old 03-12-2005, 01:07   #17 (permalink)
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If I got 2 or three shots off a 36 exposure roll of film that I was reasonably happy with, I thought I was doing well. If I got one I was really chuffed with then I was ecstatic. If you're getting too many keepers you're either very gifted or not being ruthless enough at the weeding stage.
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Old 03-12-2005, 02:17   #18 (permalink)
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Coming back to the histogram thing that Steve mentioned, it can act as a very good guide - in much the same way that setting the exposure for grass is as well. Good for generic shots, but if you want to think outside the box a little...

I've always thought that shooting digital is much like shooting on slide film - you have to expose for highlights and make sure they don't get blown out - better to underexpose and recover than overexpose and lose highlight detail.
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Old 03-12-2005, 04:40   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT
Hanging onto this position too long with locked focus while you compose your shot, means that only the slightest movement of your subject, or yourself can mean you no longer have critical focus.
i think this is an error i make occasionally that frustrates me somewhat. i know better, but i get a bit excited and forget
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Old 03-12-2005, 07:41   #20 (permalink)
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Just to add to what Steve's said.

Make sure the diopter on the viewfinder is set to your own eye, if this is out you'll find it hard to get sharp images of anything.

Histogram
I always use it, and try to make sure it isn't pushing up against the right side.
If it is the highlights are blown.
On occasions like when shooting seal pups, it helps quite a bit as white subjects fool camera metres.
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Old 03-12-2005, 19:35   #21 (permalink)
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fuji Raw

there is another app that can handle fuji raf files its freeware can be found here its not as good as other raw converters out there but its better than fujis own attempt of "click here to convert your RAW files to TIFF"
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Old 03-12-2005, 19:39   #22 (permalink)
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Nice find Gemok.

Why is it that the major software developers don't support Fuji RAW? Is it down to Fuji themselves not allowing third parties to use their files? If that is the reason, it would be enough to make me completely boycot Fuji.
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Old 03-12-2005, 19:46   #23 (permalink)
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Adobe camera reader 3.1 or what ever it is that photoshop opens for me does support fuji's raw files too. Although if you have a new model a bit of hex editing (I changes a e550 to e900) is required to bamboozle it into thinking it supports the camera . I asked around why fuji's files weren't as supported and the most common responce was something about the super ccd chips producing very complicated files and as fuji's not that popular with the type of people who take lots of raw shots no one has it as a priority.
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Old 04-12-2005, 17:40   #24 (permalink)
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I always use the histogram. When setting up a shot, I do a couple of test exposures, check histogram and 'flashing' highlights for blow-outs, then concentrate on getting the shots.
Once I set the shot up, I seldom even look at the LCD screen until I get a lull in the action or if the light changes dramatically - i.e. going from light into shadow.
A lot of my work is 'on the move' so to speak and no two shots are ever the same exposure-wise. I take note of the settings from my set-up shots and compensate accordingly when the light changes. I know the effect I'm after, so experience tells me when to go by the meter indication or whether to disregard it and go with what I know is right.
Also I tend to 'work round' the subject - long shot, medium shot, close shot, then do it all again untill they get bored or point a rifle at me and tell me to b*gger off!

Unlike those of you shooting static subjects, I don't have the luxury of time - I have to work fast, even on set-up shots, as most Generals and VIPs are not known for their patience. I once shot the Princess Royal on a job and although she's by far the best of the Royals, she tolerates fools not at all, never mind gladly. Three shots was all I got, then it was: "Photographer, are you done?" I started to say that I wouldn't mind a couple of close-ups, but she interrupted with "No - you're done".
Contrast that with the amount of effort she puts into her work and all I could conclude was that she didn't like having her photo taken.
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