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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:33 am 
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Posts: 178
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
Hey Soldier Mike - "Heartbreaking" Loss for Army today... Awwww...

I almost bought a new camera today. I think I would have a few months ago, but today I just wrote down the camera names and prices so I could come back here and read the reviews. It will be quite a while before I can get another one so when I get this one, I want to make sure it's going to be a good one. Today is the first day in a long time when I haven't gone out and taken at least one picture. Snow expected here tomorrow, so I am hoping to get out and see some deer in the snow. It changes the whole scene around here from brown and gray to bright and glittery. I'm looking forward to it.


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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:47 pm 
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Posts: 1977
cameras these days made by the popular manufacterers have little to decern between them in my honest opinion... what to me is just as important is how comfortable you feel with the camera and how organic the buttons and screens are to you.

KPR is a pentax guy... zack is a sony man, there are several nikon guys and a few of us canon guys as well who post in the wildlife forums... and we all take good pics with the gear we have... when it comes to wildlife I truly believe the results you get are more about the person, their knowledge about wildlife, and where they are shooting than it is about gear.

just get soemthing that feels rugged and is tough with hopefully some weather sealing because you will bang it, you will drop it, it will get wet, and you will be out in all sorts of weather with it

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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:25 pm 
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Location: Nova Scotia Canada
X...

Thought I would dig this thread out.
Been watching your pics and I am by no means a pro but I'd like to offer a tip or two to try.

#1....Is it possible in your camera settings to switch off the digital zoom?
If there isn't a way to do this it must show somewhere when zooming the cam switching to digital zoom...stay in optical zoom.
#2....Auto ISO....Can you set the limits of your ISO to between 200-800 ?

The reasons I ask....

In some of your pics I " ? think ? " we are seeing a combination of "noise" and "digital pixel guessing".
These two coupled together and maybe just a bit of handshake or vehicle vibration are effecting the image quality of your pics in my opinion.

If you can change the settings on your cam at some point on an outing, or just in the backyard/wherever,better light is good ....get the camera as stabilized as you can (tripod is optimal but rested on something works too),stay in OPTICAL zoom and take a few shots of anything at distance...building/stationary car/tree doesn't matter and post those pics unedited.(Say 3-5 pics different times of day/same subject)
Then...with your permission....maybe a couple of us could "work" them a bit in our editing programs and see what we come up with?

I may be way off base here and I'm not being critical or anything.
Just want to see if we can tweak things a bit....I'm personally not a fan of a lot of post processing but...it sure is handy.

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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:48 am 
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Posts: 178
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
Hi Kpr,
I am sure there is car vibration in many of my pictures, as well as possible hand vibrations. I do try to stabilize it as much as possible - often by setting it on something. Many of my pictures are taken from the car while I am working. I do a lot of driving and can often stop for the pictures, but can't always turn off the car or leave the car to get the picture.
I can turn the digital zoom off, but have not taken any pictures with it off yet. I do believe I can set the ISO, but have not done this yet either. I have tomorrow off (supposedly) and will certainly pull my camera out and try some of your suggestions. It's supposed to be a cloudy, rainy (snow flurries?) day, close to the freezing point, but I will look for light source, or will try some indoor pictures. I will start practicing with a tripod.
I do know that when I am at maximum zoom (which on this camera is only 12x), I often lose color and clarity on the final picture. I have to remember to stop before the max and take the shot, then try to crop it for a better picture. I do need to know more about editing, although I'm not a great fan of much post processing. Editing is something I know I need a lot of right now, but I hope that as I get better taking the picture, I will need less editing.
Your comments are much appreciated. Thanks!
X


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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:32 pm 
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When the camera switches to digital zoom no mater how far it is zoomed it uses it's tiny little brain to guess and fill in a pixel based on pixels around it.
In Optical zoom which is what you see from DSLR's the only thing in the pic is what is ...actually there....no guessing.
It gives much better definition and color/clarity etc because it is real.

The loss of color at full zoom is partly because as you zoom the field of view is reduced greatly.
The camera doesn't gather as much light to work with,un zoomed you may see say 20yds side to side in a pic,zoom in on something and you are only seeing 3ft of that 20yds...less light gets in.
If the cams ISO can shoot up high or ...too high....to compensate for this on it's own you will get both loss of a color and noise in the pic.
I hope that makes sense?....I'm not a very good explainer :lol:

The "cropping" was mostly what I was after.
Cropping will magnify the digital zoom/pixel guessing issues a lot!!

Here's a read.....http://www.photoxels.com/digital-photography-tutorials/optical-digital-zoom/

Try snapping a totally OPTICAL pic of something outdoors at distance.
Then crop it to bring it closer on the computer. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:00 am 
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Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
Thanks Kpr,
I read the whole article from the link you posted, and read your replies and it is great to have reasons for what I have experienced. You did well with your explanations and they made sense right away. I know a lot more about the zooms now and why I was having a few of the problems I was having. It rained all day today, and I only took one or two pictures, but I should have a few more in the next few days. Funny thing happened this morning though. I was up early and there was some kind of animal in the lake, and I ran and grabbed my camera to zoom in and look to see what it was. (I never think to pick up the binocs.) I was looking at my camera trying to figure out what happened to the zoom. I think it might have been an otter, but couldn't tell for sure. This camera is slow in times like this, and before I was able to take even 3 pictures, it was gone. (Cropping wasn't good enough to identify the animal.)

I have spent the last few hours reading reviews of the Canon Powershot SX 150 IS (my camera) and one of the things listed as one of the main drawbacks is noise (as many of the people here have noted.) One of the reviews noticed some noise (especially in shadows) even at ISO of only 100, but especially at the higher ISO - max is 1600. One other thing noted is that this camera likes a lot of light. I will keep this in mind when I am looking for my next camera, but meanwhile, I am learning a lot about ISO, noise, shutter speed, exposure, composition, and stabilization with this camera. (Of course, knowing that I need a lot of light, Iwe have dense fog advisories here for the rest of the weekend, and the beginning of the week.)

I did read the reviews on this camera before, but I am understanding much more of what I am reading now - both from comments here and from my own experience (and frustration) in seeing the shot and trying to capture what I am seeing. I really appreciate the tip on the different zooms. I have mine set on optical now, and will be watching the ISO. I figured out how to set the ISO manually, and will work on keeping it low. Right now I have it set on 400, but will experiment with different ISO settings.

Ok, I will be trying a few new things in the next few days. Supposedly I have the next 6 days off (very unlikely that it will happen but it sounds good.) I'll be out taking pictures. I'll see what I can do with the optical zoom (you were right, I had it on digital.) I hope to have a few pictures for you to check out soon.

X


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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:08 am 
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Posts: 1781
Location: Nova Scotia Canada
Hey x,

Found this pic in another thread and tweaked it just a bit.
This took longer to upload than it did to tweak in faststone (free download editing program)
I darkened it a little bit,added a pinch of contrast and sharpened a wee bit....that's all.

Original...
Image

After....

Image


I picked this pic because I knew you were close to the subject and no zoom probably wasn't used.
While researching the topic some I found that some cameras employ digital no matter what... unless...the user turns it off.(Was shocked to read that actually!!)
I think 400ISO will work great for you, it is what my camera is on the majority of the time unless it is really bright out and I can lower it some to enrich color.
Then when it gets darker like late evening when a big ol buck finally steps out of the shadows I might crank it up to just get "A" shot.
It's not going to be a "printer pic" because it won't have much color and probably will have some "noise" in it but ...it's a pic.
Most times I have sat hidden there for a few hours and KNOW he'll come out and the challenge has now become just getting the shot... :lol: :lol:

ALL cameras use light,the better it (the light) is most times (depending on subject and meaning/subject/atmosphere of the pic) the better it will come out.
Some DSLR's will do better with low light than others,as with everything it all comes at a cost/you get what you pay for.....
If you are researching a new camera my suggestion would be any "mid level" DSLR.
It will be less frustrating and overwhelming when you get into the menus and settings vs a higher level.
Some may suggest and "entry level" but ..I think...it will be more "cost effective" if you start there reading what your are posting and looking at your pics.

Choose the brand you would like to stick to as in time you will be upgrading (this, and I'm sure others will agree, I can almost promise :roll: )
The body is essentially the house,the lenses and other accessories are actually the foundation of your gear in a way because they will transition along with you up to the next body/level :wink:
Get out to a few shops (not just one) and actually handle/touch/feel/hold as many as you can and have the shop owners tell/show you all about them but keep in mind they will likely push to you buy what they ...want to sell.
Try not to spend too much time reading online reading about makes models and all the techno stuff...it will drive you nutz...and, mean very little if you find one but get it in your hands for real and find it is too big/small,too heavy or light...just doesn't feel "right"
Ultimately it is up to you to decide.
Don't be afraid to go look then come home (empty handed), research online, and ask us...we only profit by seeing your advancements and achievements.

In the mean time we work with what we have and when you jump up you will be way ahead of the game.
Time is on our side and...most companies release their new models around March/April...tax refund time :twisted:

Anyway...it's Sunday my morning tea is done and the looking clear eastern sky is starting to brighten some...the critters feel safe on Sundays (no hunting) and we got a dusting of snow up here on the mntn last night.
kpr's gotta warm up the Jeep/scrape the windows and carry in some wood for the stove and girlfriend.
Betcha can guess whats on my agenda for the next few hours? :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:34 am
Posts: 178
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
Wow, Kpr, thanks for taking so much time on your Sunday morning to not only explain so much to me, but to find a picture I posted from another thread and show me what you were talking about. I really do appreciate it.
I have actually been to quite a few camera stores, department stores, and even stores that have no business selling cameras. (This alone is new territory for me as I am not usually a "shopper." I am used to just walking in, buying what I went there for, and walking out. I don't always come out with exactly what I wanted or even get the best deal, but most of the time I am ok with that to avoid the hassle of shopping.) Lately, I've been picking up every camera I see. I stop at every counter I find that has cameras, and read all the ads in the paper for used cameras for sale, then, if time allows, I look up some of the reviews. (Time is usually carved out at the end of a long day or before beginning the new one.) I even find myself occasionally asking people with cameras what kind they are using and if they like it and why (I'd never do that for a car...) Learning the terms helps me, I hope, to avoid looking like an idiot in front of the salesmen and to understand and put into practice some of the tips and hints I have been reading here. I've had to visit the stores with my money left at home to prevent myself from coming home with something. I have one payment left this month and my son's college course will be fully paid for, then I am hoping to spend that same amount next month on a new camera. It won't get me a high-end camera, but better than the cheapest medels, and I am hoping that by the time I am ready for a high-end one, I will also have the money for one. I know that what I buy this time will be something I will be hanging on to for quite a while and I want to make sure it is a good fit. I'm impatiently patiently waiting...
Meanwhile, you've given me several new things to work on, and I was up at 4:15 this morning waiting for the sun to at least start lightening the sky. The temps this morning seem to be just barely above freezing, and the snow on the ground with yesterday's rain has everything socked in with fog this morning, but I am hoping to get out anyway for at least a little while. I know it will be an adjustment going from the 48x digital zoom to the 12x optical zoom, and I want to get out and experiment a little with the lower ISO settings. I feel like I have a new camera. :)
I'm sure by now, you are out watching for movement. I'll be out soon too. Thanks!
X
Canon SX 150 IS (hoping for a DSLR soon!)


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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:40 pm 
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Posts: 1977
just got caught up on this thread... The one thing I noticed that stood out was that you often rest the camera against something to steady yourself and that at times you cannot shut off your car. Car virbrations are notourious for blur and it is best to turn off your car iff possible. If not use a beanbag to rest on the window ledge and then rest your camera on that as it will reduce quite a bit of vibration. If at all possible though try and turn off the car whenever possible..

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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:33 am 
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Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
Ok, here are some of my first shots using the optical zoom, hand held, no tripod. Very foggy morning. I saw two rabbits and a ring-necked pheasant but there was NO way my camera was quick enough for the shots. So I practised with the different ISO settings, and shutter speeds. Comments appreciated.


800 ISO, f/3.4, 1/160 sec., 5mm, no flash:
Image


400 ISO, f/4, 1/160 sec., 8mm, no flash:
Image


200 ISO, f/6.3, 1 sec., 7mm, no flash:
Image

X
Canon Powershot SX150 IS


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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:00 am 
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Posts: 596
Location: Alexandra, Central Otago, NZ
yep your trying stuff which is good, again tho this is where some processing of the photos will change them from an average shot to a really good one.

when i get scenes like this where i like the composition or the reflection or shape but they lack that pow factor with the colour or the sky was just too bland then processing saves the day.

i reckon these scenes could be turned in to B&W and work quite well, contrast and shape make for great photos.

let me see what i can do..

:)

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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:50 am 
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Location: Alexandra, Central Otago, NZ
ok so i grabbed the photo from your photobucket.

the image size is only 130kb or so, so i am assuming that you have possibly shrunk the image down to post it to the web. This means that i am already working with a compressed file so the noise in the image will be increased with whatever we do.

However that said this is the result.

first your original shot.

Image
IMG_0104_zpsd2e7d71c by robbon44, on Flickr

Composition is not bad at all, i can see what you were looking for with the dark wood against the foggy background, looking for that misty surreal feel that was all around you at the time. The water and reflection are also not bad so for me the composition and structure has merit. The colour however lets it go a little as you cant get the same feel of the day as the camera will be trying to correct for the available light.

here is my processed version..

Image
IMG_0104_zpsd2e7d71c-1 by robbon44, on Flickr

So what did i do.

Well not much. It took me around 5 mins and that was after a glass or two of red and having to see if i could improve the image pixelation.

So i imported the image in to lightroom (about $150 for the full programme).

Lightroom is very powerful and i am still learning about it !

i auto tuned the image (let lightroom do its thing)by hitting the AUTO button... duh

then i pulled the colour right out by switching to B&W

then i added 2 graduated filters. The first to the sky with a blue hue to give a sense of depth and foreboding to the fog. This also works quite well with the trees being bare and dark wood. Simply add to the top of the photo and pull down to the centre so it blends downwards.

the second from the base of the photo blending upwards with an orange brown hue to mimick the damp muddy and dieing grass.

Then for each of the filters - these act as a layer on top of the photo - i played a little with the exposure and clarity of both pulling the exposures down just a little.

Then for the whole photo i pulled the tone curve down a little in the centre.

i then used lightroom to sharpen the image and used noise reduction (quite a bit around 80%) and pulled the luminescence up a little (about 20%)

and that was it.

5 mins.

relatively easy. not a bad result i think.

The point is...your photos are good enough in terms of contrast, composition and texture to do things with. The camera has its limitations sure...but you can overcome these.

Try not to compress your images too much when uploading and keep playing with the settings, i like using iso around 100 for pretty much all my shots and then i experiment with F stops.

hope you like it:)

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Got some of the gear but really still no idea...:)


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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:08 am 
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Rob did a good job on that in such a short time.

An example from a few pics I took in less than ideal conditions;

. Image

Playing around in PSE10 for 20mins (i'm not techie at all!), I lifted the shadows, did a bit of selective dodge & burn, played around with saturation & sharpened etc & got this;

. Image

Hope you don't mind me joining the thread, but just thought i'd give an example of what can be done. (even for a novice like me)
You don't have to spend a fortune on a PP'ing programme, but they sure do help.
The singing ringing tree. by Carl B.1, on Flickr

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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:00 am 
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Holy wow!!
My free program couldn't do that,then again maybe it can but I've just never spent the time to figure it out :lol: :lol:
A good example of "you get what you pay for" though :wink:
AWESOME JOB robbon!!!

x,

Unfortunately the size of the posted files don't allow me to show what I was getting at about "cropping" but,if you take pic #2 in it's original size and crop out part of the cattail with the fencepost in the background I think you'll see a difference.
Also in pic #3 see the "shake/blur"?
This wasn't the best day for this but the lower ISO 200 slowed the shutter speed/extended the exposure time in low light...as compared to pic #1 this gave a lot more time for movement to be caught in the pic.
Low light days like that higher ISO's make pics work better,but some cams add noise when too high an ISO is used...it's a balance thingy that you need to trial and error to see what works.
I'm thinking you're going to see good things in better light.

Just out of curiosity....
Are you using scene/auto modes or aperture priority,shutter priority, etc?

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 Post subject: Re: to Robbon and Kpr
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:47 am 
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Posts: 178
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
Grrr! Replied, and lost the page before it posted. I have got to get a better internet connection at some point...

Oldcarlos, welcome, and thanks for joining us!

Robbon - very, VERY cool! Thanks for your time and comments.
I actually started working on some editing last night, but kept getting kicked off the computer so I gave it up. I took about 85 pictures yesterday morning and more yesterday afternoon working with different shutter speeds, different ISO, different light, different angles. I started back after stepping through some reeds and getting a bootful of icy creek water (I kept the camera dry, though!) The rabbits and ring-neck pheasant were worth the bootful of water even if I didn't get pictures.

It took me more than an hour just getting these 3 pictures from my computer to photobucket, and more time getting them from photobucket to here. I have terrible computer reception here, especially when we have bad weather moving in. I posted these 3 because they were examples of the different ISO and shutter speeds (and because most of my other pictures were taking too long to load to photobucket). The original size was 2304 pixels x 3072 pixels, 180 dpi x 180 dpi, bit depth of 24 and bits/pixels was 3. None of that means much to me yet except that it is bigger than what I can post here. The resizing was done automatically by photobucket. What I DO know is that my camera is still smarter than I am, but I am now comfortable with changing ISO settings and with the optical zoom. I just learned how to change f stops, and will work on that the next time I am out. I've been going through some of the pictures I took yesterday and am comparing the properties to see what settings I used, and what worked and what didn't (thankfully I don't need to be online to compare pictures or to view their properties.)

Kpr, up until yesterday, I was using auto, scenic, AV and TV settings, all with digital zoom. Yesterday I used only AV (aperature priority) and TV (shutter priority) settings while changing the ISO, optical zoom only. I was walking in reeds and fields, and did not take a tripod with me so all of it was handheld. With the AV setting, I was using very low ISO (80 - 200 max) since it kept coming up too bright. With the TV setting, I was using higher ISO (400 - 800 mostly) because it was coming up too dark. I was out primarily to get used to the optical zoom and to practise changing the ISO. The fence post in the picture with the cattails is actually a broken reed, but yes, I see your point. I was trying to keep that picture as clean as possible, and actually tried cropping it. Foggy and rainy yesterday, dark and cloudy today, snow expected tomorrow and a big snowstorm expected on Thursday, but I'll get back out again for at least a little bit again tomorrow or Wednesday.

X
Canon Powershot SX 150 IS


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