Digital Camera Set-ups

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by avil, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. avil

    avil TPF Noob!

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    First Post. Been doing photography for 30 years and I own a small video production company. Even though my video end has been digital forever I just never made the jump to digital still camera. The company bought a Nikon D60 and I have been fooling around with it for the past year and actually have got some really good results with it. I need some guidance with some of the camera settings. I have to shoot the inside of a church and I want to make several 16 x 20 prints. I have not made any enlargements with the digital camera and I have 4 questions

    1. ISO settings. I am assuming it works the same way as a film camera. Set the camera to lowest available setting?

    2. Format. Shoot with the jpeg fine setting or RAW. If you capture a RAW file what is the best format to convert to? I have photoshop on a MAC and PC so I can do convert to a TIFF. Do you see the difference in the RAW format?

    3. Long Exposures. I can see that at F11 or F16 I am looking at a long exposure. Any drawbacks to a 1-2 sec exposure.

    I have no clue how well a 10 megapixel image holds up when enlarged to a 16 x 20 but I guess I will find out.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    1. Yes.

    2. Up to you, that's the power of RAW. Some people prefer the manufacturer's RAW converter since it mimics their JPEG results (Capture NX for Nikons). I prefer Adobe Lightroom for it's great workflow and quick good results, but be warned the results look different from your camera JPEGs. The real power of RAW comes from editing. The ability to pull and work with extra data that is lost in the JPEG will produce superior results, and if it's not superior results you are after then you can just batch convert the files to JPEG.

    3. No not 1 or 2 second. At about 1min you may start getting dead pixels (only for that exposure though). At about 15min your sensor may start getting very hot, and potentially be damaged if you keep going. I say may only because every camera model is different. More recent cameras definitely seem more resilient to me to this kind of abuse.

    I have a 40" wide picture on my wall taken with a 10mpx camera and it looks stunning :)
     
  3. avil

    avil TPF Noob!

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    I could not open the Nikon RAW files directly in photoshop with the versions we have. The camera came with NX viewer which allows a conversion to a TIFF which photoshop will then open. Best route?
     
  4. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ISO 400 will be fine, above that results will be uglier.

    I prefer native raw converter from Nikon. I think if you're judging your image based on LCD, CaptureNx gives you the same starting point. I did manage to get same result with Adobe PS&LR but it took longer time. Thus for RAW processing - my first glance is Capture NX2 - adjust exposure (usually I underexpose by 1/3 of a stop). And convert to JPG/tiff.

    Use the tripod.

    Enlargements:
    Mpix.com - Help
    I have a 16x20 on my wall from my wedding. It as shot with D70
     
  5. avil

    avil TPF Noob!

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    With this in mind, best image would be to just set at F22 and then bracket with the shutter. I metered it and the exposure will be at least 4-5 seconds. I am taking a heavy tripod because I have a window to deal with and I want the window lit. So I am going to take a shot in the afternoon and then come back at night and get the final shot.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You need to update Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). You can download it from Adobe, or with Photoshop open just click "Help > Updates".

    Here's the current for CS4 and Windows: Adobe - Photoshop : For Windows : Camera Raw 5.5 update
     
  7. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    1, Use only the lowest ISO available on your camera. While using up to ISO 400 may be fine as far as noise is concerned, the higher ISO will reduce the dynamic range of the image, something most interior shots can ill afford.

    2. I highly recommend shooting RAW. Use either Nikon's converter, if it supports 16bit TIFF exports, or Adobe's DNG Converter. Nikon's will create a TIFF that PS can open and the DNG Converter, assuming you get the newest, will convert the D60's proprietary RAW/NEF files into Adobe's "universal" RAW/DNG files. Any PS since PS/CS can open the DNG files, though PS/CS needs its original Camera RAW plugin updated to at least v2.2 and preferably v2.4. Either way bring the image into PS as a 16bit image to get the most out of the RAW file. Don't convert the image to JPEG if you will be printing it yourself. If you are going to send it to a lab then only convert it to JPEG if the lab can't handle the 16-bit TIFF. If you must convert to JPEG us the least possible compression (highest "quality" in PS terms).

    3. Assuming you're using a good tripod, there is no problem with the long exposure. Avoid stopping the lens down past f/8 to f/11 unless you absolutely must to get the required DOF. Stopping to f/16 will certainly result in sharpness loss overall. Check out the "blur index" applet at this link:
    Nikon Lens: Zooms - Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Nikkor (Tested) - SLRgear.com!

    (4) 10 mp will do fine at 16x20. I regularily print 12x18 and 13x19 prints from an 8mp camera with results that will rival the sharpest color prints you've seen from 35mm film. 10mp can do nearly the same at 16x20.
     
  8. avil

    avil TPF Noob!

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    Thank you. The lens info is perfect; good to know the sweet spot. I have access to a 12 mp camera that a friend owns. He told me the difference from 10 to 12 is negligible, but the camera probably has a better lens.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What's this got to do with aperture?

    In any case f/22 is by far not the best aperture to use. Most DSLR sensors are APS-C sized or smaller than 35mm film by a factor of .66 in every direction (the 1.5x crop factor of the camera). This unfortunately means that the diffraction caused by high apertures is magnified and thus f/22 is noticeably NOT sharp on most DSLR cameras. f/16 is about as high as many would go in a normal situation.
     

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