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View Full Version : Photo Quality & Critique Please



applerdkennels
08-21-2008, 11:01 PM
Hi Everyone!
Ok, I'm posting my first photo.
Well, I took some pics tonight of the calves and I am not happy with the quality of them. I took it with the Canon XSI 12 MP Camera with a 55-250 IS zoom lens with NO tripod. I was about 20 feet from the calf.
I like the photo's in general...I just feel the "clarity" when I look at the "full size" picture is not there.
Am I expecting too much from my camera?
(My last camera was the Canon S3 IS and I was rarely Happy with them.)
I know these are a HUGE improvement.....I just don't know if I'm expecting too much.
I know I have MUCH to learn about setting my camera properly....is that the problem? Or am I back to expecting too much.:Hammer

Shooting Mode Program AE
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/250
Av( Aperture Value ) 6.3
ISO Speed 400
Focal Length 154.0 mm
Histogram looks real good.

twoshadows
08-22-2008, 12:03 AM
Hi :) ,

The pic looks pretty good, although it's a little tough to tell at that size. Maybe if it were 800 pixels on the long side it would be easier to see?

Have you done any sharpening to this shot? If not that would help (Nearly all Canon digital photos can benefit from sharpening). And finally, it would probably help if you "stopped down" the lens a bit. What that means is to put your camera in Av mode and adjust your aperture to f/8 or so for better sharpness and greater dof (dof = depth of field). Lenses, when they're wide open aren't usually at their sharpest.

Let me know if this makes sense :) .

zacker
08-22-2008, 07:10 AM
what Ian said. most lenses are at their best at about F8.. and the calf looks to be in the direct, Harsh sunlight which is not your friend..lol Id say the pic looks fine for the conditions.. your camera should be great, that shouldnt ever be the issue unless its got a focusing problem but for the most part, its either lens problems or user error... with the latter being the highest on the list..lol so, shooting f8 is AV mode, center focus point only and trying to avoid the high afternoon sun (wich is hard, i know) will probably make things a bit better and dont forget, there is a pretty steep learning curve too.. plus, what did you do for PP on this one?

zacker
08-22-2008, 07:23 AM
i also see you used ISO400.. try a lower ISO also.. I try to stay in 100 if at all possible. and youre right, the histogram did look good but, it really only measures the brights and shadows..

zacker
08-22-2008, 07:29 AM
ok i gave your pic a bit of pp.. photoshop elements 3 (its all i have here at work..) i adjusted levels , hue/ saturation and sharpened.
if you want me to remove the pic, just say so.

before is on top, after is the bottom one. id say the camera and lens are fine..lol
http://www.northeastfoto.com/gallery/files/4/3/5/cows.jpeg.jpg

convergent
08-22-2008, 08:49 AM
Point and shoot cameras are geared to having the image ready to print out of the camera, where DSLRs are not as aggressive in that way. Its hard to tell anything with a small image really, but is it possible that the image you have is true to how the scene actually looked? Where were you focusing at is another question to consider. The side of that calf doesn't have much contrast. I would focus on the face of the calf. Finally, you might add a little sharpening to it... either in the camera or in post processing.

stoneylonesome
08-22-2008, 09:23 AM
What the others said, I've found that shooting at ISO 200 for most of my shots is a happy comprimize, ISO 100 when I,ve got the light and ISO 400 and up if I really want the shot and the light is bad. You'll also find that most digital photos when viewing on a monitor really need a touch of USM (Unsharp Mask) adjustment as the last thing you do in your photo processing program before you save and post to the web. Here is your photo that all I did was add a little USM which makes the photo pop more.

applerdkennels
08-22-2008, 12:12 PM
plus, what did you do for PP on this one?

It was straight off the SD card to my computer.

applerdkennels
08-22-2008, 12:16 PM
i also see you used ISO400.. try a lower ISO also.. I try to stay in 100 if at all possible. and youre right, the histogram did look good but, it really only measures the brights and shadows..
The funny thing is I really thought I changed the ISO to either 100 or 200 but when I read the photo on the computer...low and behold....it told me different. Yes, I was intending to do that....I will make sure next time....I did 100 this morning on the lake.:Hammer Look something sank in...LOL:D

applerdkennels
08-22-2008, 12:26 PM
Hi :) ,

The pic looks pretty good, although it's a little tough to tell at that size. Maybe if it were 800 pixels on the long side it would be easier to see?

Have you done any sharpening to this shot? If not that would help (Nearly all Canon digital photos can benefit from sharpening). And finally, it would probably help if you "stopped down" the lens a bit. What that means is to put your camera in Av mode and adjust your aperture to f/8 or so for better sharpness and greater dof (dof = depth of field). Lenses, when they're wide open aren't usually at their sharpest.

Let me know if this makes sense :) .
I had to resize the picture 3 times before I could get it to load to the message. I uploaded a bit larger one to animals but when I tried to load to this message I had to use a smaller one for some reason.
I will be working on LEARNING how to PP a photo. So far every time I try do do anything it ends up looking worse....Sometimes if I do an Automatic Fix it looks a little better.
I am as I am LEARNING playing with settings instead of letting the camera choose. Problem...I can't keep up sometimes or I don't trust my judgement. I was out today and I think I missed some great shots because I didn't have the camera set correctly.....:mad:
Thank you so much for your advise....I will definately try it out. I think I will get back to the calves in a day or two.

applerdkennels
08-22-2008, 12:30 PM
What the others said, I've found that shooting at ISO 200 for most of my shots is a happy comprimize, ISO 100 when I,ve got the light and ISO 400 and up if I really want the shot and the light is bad. You'll also find that most digital photos when viewing on a monitor really need a touch of USM (Unsharp Mask) adjustment as the last thing you do in your photo processing program before you save and post to the web. Here is your photo that all I did was add a little USM which makes the photo pop more.
Thanks! I only have zoom browser and canon's other photo stuff. I actually saw Unsharp Mask when I was looking at it yesterday. I will try that.

zacker
08-22-2008, 12:35 PM
you really just need time to sit at the computer and just mess with photos to see what does what and what looks good. it takes quite awhile to learn.

stoneylonesome
08-22-2008, 12:42 PM
Thanks! I only have zoom browser and canon's other photo stuff. I actually saw Unsharp Mask when I was looking at it yesterday. I will try that.

Just remember when doing USM a very little goes a long way.:) try the lower settings i.e radius first them work from there.

JerseyMutt
08-22-2008, 12:44 PM
To piggyback off of Sandy, a good starting point (works in both Photoshop (and elements) as well as Paint Ship Pro) is Amount: 150/Radius: 0.5/Threshold: 5). You can move up from there as necessary.

Definitely start out small though. A lot of photogs are sometimes so worried about "softness" that their photos end up oversharpened. IMO this often looks worse than being a little soft.

oldnavy170
08-22-2008, 12:44 PM
I had to resize the picture 3 times before I could get it to load to the message. I uploaded a bit larger one to animals but when I tried to load to this message I had to use a smaller one for some reason.
I will be working on LEARNING how to PP a photo. So far every time I try do do anything it ends up looking worse....Sometimes if I do an Automatic Fix it looks a little better.
I am as I am LEARNING playing with settings instead of letting the camera choose. Problem...I can't keep up sometimes or I don't trust my judgement. I was out today and I think I missed some great shots because I didn't have the camera set correctly.....:mad:
Thank you so much for your advise....I will definately try it out. I think I will get back to the calves in a day or two.

You may want to use an off site to host your photos for free (like photobucket.com) and then paste the link into your post. That way you don't have to keep resizing your photo.

Also, when using a DSLR I would say personally that learning to get your focus is going to give you a good start. I know it sounds simple but you have to decide what in the photo you really want to stand out. I can find something I want to take a photo of and change the way the photo looks just by changing what I focus on.

I also agree with the rest that bright sun will dull your photo and give it that harsh look. If you would of taken the same shot but say at 7 am or 7 pm you would of seen a HUGE difference without evening editing the shot.

I know it seems like a lot to learn but trust me it will come to you as you play with your camera more and more.

Orgnoi1
08-22-2008, 12:52 PM
I went ahead and checked out your gallery listing... you had done the large side to 991 pixels... which is really close to borderline for image constraints... if you resize to 900 wide (which makes it 600 tall) it will work with no problems... :thumb

twoshadows
08-22-2008, 01:18 PM
I had to resize the picture 3 times before I could get it to load to the message. I uploaded a bit larger one to animals but when I tried to load to this message I had to use a smaller one for some reason.
I will be working on LEARNING how to PP a photo. So far every time I try do do anything it ends up looking worse....Sometimes if I do an Automatic Fix it looks a little better.
I am as I am LEARNING playing with settings instead of letting the camera choose. Problem...I can't keep up sometimes or I don't trust my judgement. I was out today and I think I missed some great shots because I didn't have the camera set correctly.....:mad:
Thank you so much for your advise....I will definately try it out. I think I will get back to the calves in a day or two.

Resizing the pic 3 times probably degraded the pic a bit. Not your fault - you're learning :) . As Ross (Orgnoi1) said, 900 pixels on the long side should do you just fine. Learning how to PP is often a lot of trial and error (to echo what Zacker has said). Once you get your software you can start asking program specific questions which will really help you get on your way. Because of it's universality, I would recommend staying with Adobe PS or Elements.
I'm glad to hear that you're experimenting with your camera's settings. After a while it will all become second nature. And yes, missing shots (as frustrating as it is) is part of the learning curve. Nice thing about digital, You can take LOTS of pics and go back and look at the exifs to see what you did right (or wrong).
Keep at it! :D

applerdkennels
08-22-2008, 09:53 PM
I'm glad to hear that you're experimenting with your camera's settings. After a while it will all become second nature. And yes, missing shots (as frustrating as it is) is part of the learning curve. Nice thing about digital, You can take LOTS of pics and go back and look at the exifs to see what you did right (or wrong).
Keep at it! :D

Well, this was the case for tonight. I tried AV and f/8.....well light was different tonight and the shutter was slow and I just got alot of blur. And none of the calves wanted to stay still tonight...LOL My little favorite calf that I posted the pic of...was off in tall weeds..about 12 " and I could not find him. Wasn't until I was about to leave that I saw a ear twitch.
Then he was in the shade. Needless to say I didn't get the shots I wanted.
Now this morning on the lake...in a boat...I took some shots. I was messing with shutter speed and learned some new things...LOL Well, I missed some shot's I really wish I had gotten but I did get one I really like. I am going to post it in animals. (Keep in mind if you look at it ...I still do not do any PP and I was in a slow moving boat that tilts with every breath you make.) I got the next shots of the heron flying off but all of them were way blurred.
Try, try, try again.