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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:24 pm 
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Location: UK
I've been using a Sony Alpha A200 for a few months with some pretty good results, I posted a gallery of some shots of The Cult band a couple of weeks ago on here.

2 weeks ago I bought an Alpha A550. With not-so-pretty-good results....
Every shot I take is so over-saturated with colour.
I have put the settings almost the same as my A200 (which I sold on eBay) but the results are so different. (Worse!)

I have tried changing almost every setting but can't figure out why the over-saturation.
Sony Alpha A550, 'out-of-box'. Sony f1.8 50mm lens, star filter.

Okay some examples. 10 days ago I shot my friend's band, using A550 for first time. Here are the results:
http://s279.photobucket.com/albums/kk13 ... blo/SALLB/
I have had to heavily photoshop them to get them to that "standard", de-saturate them so much.
Those were slightly better than my horrendous results last night. Photos above I used creative style vivid (by mistake!)

I thought maybe that creative style vivid was the problem, so I changed it to standard. Oh dear....
Last night I took these, very dark club, not much lighting, as shot, only cropped and reduced from 350 to 72dpi.

First example: Shutter priority, f1.8, ISO1600, 1/125
Image

Shutter priority, f1.8 ISO800, 1/160
Image

Shutter priority, f1.8, ISO400, 1/25
Image

I shot some in creative style 'black & white' mode, they have all turned out fine (compared to above!)

Shutter priority, f1.8, ISO400, 1/50
Image

Shutter priority, f2.0, ISO400, 1/20
Image

I also used manual and program modes but they were even worse, forget about those. The reason I used shutter priority is because that is what I had most success with on the A200 with this lens. The photos above, why is the bass player orange? It wasn't like that in the club!

What am I doing wrong? Can anyone please help? Can you see something obvious that I have missed? Have I ticked a box in my settings which shouldn't be or vice versa???

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:35 pm 
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The only wrong thing you're doing is shooting in JPG! JPG are almost impossible to save when you're mistaking the color settings or the exposure. That's why shooting in RAW is better,because you can adjust & tweek everything else afterwards.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:23 pm 
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Thanks for the reply but when I use live view it appears on the screen as the over-saturated image, and that's before I have even taken the shot, let alone saved it.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:51 pm 
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I see. Well,you should look in the LCD settings,to lower the saturation. (I have no idea if the live feed saturation is different from the normal viewing on the LCD)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:12 pm 
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This isn't just a saturation issue, this is a white balance issue.

First of all, when you choose the different modes, vivid, standard, portrait, natural, etc...are you also then adjusting the saturation control? In each of these modes, you can adjust the saturation, contrast, and sharpness - and those settings will be saved and remembered - you only have to tune them once.

Secondly, shooting indoors in a club or stage, with artificial gelled lights are a huge task for any camera - but white balance becomes critical in situations like this. The gels of the lights may still cause the players to be illuminated in a particular color, and the intensity of the lights can cause them to be oversaturated or blown out...however, even one gelled light in the background can cause the white balance to be off, and cause what's known as a 'color cast' to the whole shot. This isn't something unique to the camera or brand - stage shooting for live events is considered a bit of a challenge for inexperienced shooters for just this reason.

My recommendation would first be to tune the saturation settings in normal lighting conditions - daylight, outdoors. Get it so the photos come out the way you like. Then, when shooting these types of shots, go into quick live view mode, and set the white balance in advance - try some of the presets, or manually set the temperature of the white balance to the stage lighting or room lighting. Once set, the different gel lighting may still create some colors on the players - which is not something you can control with any camera, but the correct white balance will eliminate the color cast.

Shooting RAW will definitely give you much more leeway for this type of shooting to correct the photos while processing - nearly every pro photographer who shoots stage shots like this would shoot in RAW, and adjust white balance and color in post processing rather than in camera.

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 200-500mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:58 pm 
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2nd, check your whitebalance.

Shooting in those scene-presets in such difficult lighting conditions is a definite no no. shoot manual. Make sure you are using the correct white balance, desaturate the images as much as possible in-camera, although if you are shooting raw, this won't even be an issue.

your lcd saturation is unlikely to match the histograms of your actual files.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:27 am 
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Quote:
nearly every pro photographer who shoots stage shots like this would shoot in RAW

aqsually,any DSLR owner should shoot RAW since they bought a DSLR in the 1st place,in order to obtain the best control over their photos. compromises with the JPG processing are not easy to swallow.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:47 pm 
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To a degree, sure - I'd say that's true. But I wouldn't go so far as to say one should never shoot JPG. If one needs speed, space, or doesn't want to spend time converting or processing, even with batch, JPG when properly set up in camera pre-shot, and with the shot properly metered and taken, can display just as well, print just as well, and publish just as well, as a shot originally taken in RAW. What RAW provides is the ability to override problems, faults, or issues that would otherwise have been locked in if taken in JPG - much more latitude to tune the final output while sitting in front of a computer making adjustments, rather than being forced to make all the right decisions when shooting. However, do it right, and a JPG shooter can get a similarly lovely result without any post-processing after the fact, or conversions.

It's all up to the shooter. I personally shoot many shots in JPG, because I know I'm going to get them right when I shoot, and I'm confident with exposures - and because the types of shots I'm taking often number in the thousands, every weekend - and I don't even want to THINK about converting or processing all that. However, if I'm on a hired shoot, doing interior flash work, doing stage work, shooting an event, etc, I will use RAW, because when the photos are going to be for someone other than yourself, and a client is relying on the output, it isn't a good idea to let overconfidence in one's ability ruin one-time-only shots!

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 200-500mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:52 pm 
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I'm not being ignorant, I have read the replies and I am now playing with the camera settings.
Thank you for the help and advice, I appreciate that.

Last weekend I had a bit more success, I shot these:
http://www.zigsphotography.co.uk/photo/ ... index.html

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:09 pm 
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Much better. Did you work on setting white balance, or did you shoot RAW and correct after the fact? The skin tones seem to be much better, you don't have as bad a color cast, and though the stage lights are throwing down their gel colors, they now act as background enhancement rather than blowing out the color channel on your shots.

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 200-500mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:05 pm 
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Once again, thank you for all the help and advice.

I am now shooting in RAW, then Photoshop CS5 to 'adjust'.
I've left my white balance on auto because this seems to be the best one. The lighting at gigs fluctuates so much between tungsten, flourescent, spotlight.

ISO I flick about between 200-800, anything over 800 is grainy on this camera.

I'm not sure my camera (Sony A550) is right... I am in 'standard' shooting mode, it's better than portrait, vivid, b/w. I have put the saturation down to -3, the lowest it will go. I am then having to de-saturate down to around -20 to get the photos looking 'normal'. Surely that can't be right. And that is the same for every photo, outdoors, daylight, night.

Last weekend I shot these of the band The Charlatans:
http://www.zigsphotography.co.uk/photo/ ... index.html

Shutter priority mode for the majority, 1/60 when I shot the singer, he doesn't move about too much, and 1/125 - 1/250 on the guitar.
Sony 50mm f1.8 lens, star filter.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:28 pm 
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Another suggestion might be: Are you using Photoshop for the RAW conversion? If so, it might not be your best option for the white balance. Most RAW converters, even the basic one that came with your camera, is better to make white balance adjustments/settings as soon as you load the RAW file - you do the basic RAW conversion after adjusting white balance and applying any noise reduction, then 'convert' the photo to JPG, TIF, or other format of your choice to work on everything else in photoshop. You might find it much better for balancing the color/saturation.

As far as noise, you should look into a noise-reduction plug in for photoshop - there are many out there, and you can remove the graininess from shooting at high ISO. Your A550 is capable of going FAR above ISO800 and delivering excellent detail and color - it's just a matter of filtering out the grain with a simple noise reduction program when you get up to ISO1600-6400. It's very simple, 1 step procedure.

Some examples of high ISO from the A550 - all of these were run through a light denoise using Topaz DeNoise5 software plug in - no other adjustments:
ISO1600, using 300mm F4, indoor stage lighting:
Image

ISO3200, Sony 18-250mm F3.5-6.3, indoor stage lighting:
Image

ISO6400, indoors, extremely dark theme park ride, handheld from a moving boat, using Sigma 30mm F1.4:
Image

Also note: proper exposure makes a big difference with how much noise you see in a shot...for example, if you UNDERexpose a shot at ISO800, it can actually have more noise in it than a properly exposed shot at ISO1600. Nailing the exposure reduces the noise. Here's an ISO3200 shot, straight from the camera with no noise reduction, where the exposure was good:
Image

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 200-500mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:20 am 
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I own a NEX-5 which uses the very same sensor as your A550 (and the A560) and I must say ISO 1600 shots (not using multi-frame noise reduction or anything) are really good. It's like ISO 400 or lower on my A350...so don't say ISO 800 is 'grainy' :lol:.

Obviously it won't be as clean as an ISO 200 shot but it's still more than acceptable!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:58 pm 
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Thanks for the above comment telling me not to say ISO 800 is grainy...

I was not convinced, so I took my camera back to where I bought it from and they tested it.
They agreed something was not right because of the excessive amount of colour and grain so they have replaced it with a new one.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:04 pm 
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Good to hear - hopefully you'll find it now as good and capable as mine and most other A550 owners do! Certainly, ISO800 should be no fear, nor 1600...I personally am very comfortable through ISo6400 with it. I also picked up a NEX3, with the same sensor, to use as a second camera, and it is as good (if not better) up to ISo6400.

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 200-500mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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