First time with DSLR

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by julius, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. julius

    julius TPF Noob!

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    Hey all,

    I recently took the plunge from film to digital and invested in an entry level DSLR - Nikon D50.

    This is my first shot I've finished processing and am looking for some feedback.

    I shot this in the large fine jpg format. I don't see the point in shooting RAW and converting to jpg using software when the camera hardware does it in no time at all. I was using the D50 kit lense 18-55mm or 27-83mm in SLR terms :p.

    I know there is a way to right click on an img and find all the camera settings but I can't work out how to do it:(. From memory I was at around 18mm, auto WB, ISO 400, manual focus, aperture priority around f/8, I was using a UV and polariser filter. I did a fair bit of photoshop work on the image, I'm wondering if I did too much.

    So basically I'm just interested in your thoughts on the colour, post processing work, composition, theme or just your general thoughts. Feel free to edit my image.

    Thank you very much

    edit: I should probably upload the photo

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I like it composition wise and the sky came out nicely for my taste. Not sure how much of that is postprocessing and how much is the polariser ;)

    The ground appears a bit too dark and colourless, but that might just be my poor laptop screen I am using at the moment.

    BTW, you do not need to stack a polariser and a UV filter. just polariser will be enough ;) ... else in wide angle you might get vignetting easily, in particular if you shoot with wide aperture
     
  3. britonk

    britonk TPF Noob!

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    I love the sky on this shot - the only way I think you may have over-processed it is a little too much sharpening of the landscape? I could be wrong but it feels a little oversharpened.

    As for your comment on the file info - this is called EXIF information. You can view it in Windows by right clicking on the photo file and selecting properties - next select the "Summary" tab and then click the "Advanced" button (this assumes you are using Windows XP).

    I find this kind of info really useful so when I take a good shot I can see how I achieved it.
     
  4. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    It looks like you have 'saved for web' on this picture because the exif data have been stripped out. The way to keep exif is to convert the color profile to sRGB and 'save as jpg.'

    The speed part is true but the camera is making decisions that might not be appropriate in all situations. When you are in difficult lighting situations - high dynamic range, off-color lights, very dim lights - shooting in raw allows control over the picture that jpg won't give you.
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    looks much better now on my proper screen, so either it was just my laptop or you changed the image on the server ;)
     
  6. If you're a serious hobbyist I strongly suggest exploring shooting in RAW. If you're shooting landscapes like this you are effectively retaining much greater control in the future. Obviously you're an experienced shooter, but the digital part will require new skills from you after the shot - the processing. As those skills go up, you will want to go back and rework some images, which is an order of magnitude easier if you have the original raw file.

    Not shooting in raw is like discarding the negatives, and saying "Hey, I can always scan my prints later."

    Basically your camera is a little computer. It will record the image, and then apply a certain pre-set of sharpening, saturation, brightness, contrast, hue, etc. etc. etc.. You can set all of these in the various sub-menus of your camera. However, your camera will then discard most other info, and then MASSIVELY compress a lot of image data, discarding a LOT of it. Even the large JPEG files are very compressed.

    The RAW files allow you to rework them on the computer - changing all those settings like sharpness, saturation, etc etc.... It allows you very different color spaces, it will allow you to work in 16-bit color vs. 8-bit... there is so MUCH more power in RAW vs. JPEG. This matters ESPECIALLY if you're actually going to print your images. It will look better.

    You can batch process shots to make your life a lot easier. My favorite is that I don't have to spend hours white-balancing every shot I take. I'll deal with it later (though of course I always try and get it right while shooting, it saves time later.)

    Now, if you're going to shoot a wedding or party, where every set up is different and it will be difficult after the event to batch process - and you are actually an experienced photographer with skills - then make your life easier and shoot JPEGs. It's just simpler. Same if you're a paparazzi and just need the shot uploaded to be printed on magazine stock - who cares about a blown high-light on a car reflection. You just want the celebrity in focus and in the frame.

    Anyhoo.... search these forums, there are members who have made a more articulate case for shooting RAW.
     
  7. becmaclean

    becmaclean TPF Noob!

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    I love the this shot very cool...the sky came out beautifully.

    As said previously, "not shooting raw is like throwing away your negatives...." I almost always shoot raw but I also shoot JPEG & RAW which saves both to disk...it takes up more space but, if that isn't an issue with you and your camera has this option...it might work??
     
  8. julius

    julius TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for your comments on my photo and information on EXIF data and RAW vs JPG:)

    Can anyone recommend a quality RAW image manipulator/converter?

    The first day I obtained my D50 system I shot half a day in RAW. I was really looking forward to seeing how the images came out. So I uploaded all the software that was sent to me (unfortunately all in Japanese) managed to fluke my way through the software and start converting from RAW to JPG (without any RAW processing). I left it for a couple of hours and came back to find that it had only converted 10 images out of the 70 (I'm a cheap uni student so my computer processor is only around 500mhz). I then read a rather convincing article by Ken Rockwell that turned me into an antiRAW - proJPG fiend.

    So in conclusion. I am interested in harnessing the power of RAW but I am also interested in being able to play around with my photos without spending hours converting them (and not knowing how to manipulate them because the software is in japanese).

    RAW+JPG sounds like a great alternative but my camera only shoots RAW+JPG Basic so I would end up using the RAW file anyway.

    Thanks again
     
  9. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    I shoot rine JPEG mostly but I think you are really missing out if you are "anti RAW". I don't do much post processing, but like mentioned RAW is great for difficult lighting, allowing you to rework the white balance after the shot, over and under expose the image to give you more dynamic range (works better than trying in JPEG) and the fact that RAW is a loss-less format (you dont lose information) means you are always going to have the highest quality possible.

    oh and I love the image. Do you still have the original by any chance so we can see how much was processed?
     
  10. britonk

    britonk TPF Noob!

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    Flatline, I agree totally with you but is it not fair to say that if you don't know PS or other editing software well and aren't that good at manipulating your images it's probably best to let the camera do this for you?

    I would just hate to think that if I shot RAW and edited images myself after I wouldn't be doing as good a job as the camera may have..?

    Just a thought...
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I disagree that shooting jpegs is like throwing the negs away. I think a better comparison would be raw is like print film, and jpeg is like transparency film.

    As long as you can expose properly, and don't want to do extensive post-processing there is no reason why jpegs are inferior. Some people claim they can see a difference at 100% magnification on the computer monitor, but that is gone once you go to print. I've seen extensive testing of raw vs jpeg output by professionals, and there was no noticable difference in 20"x30" prints (I was there with my nose an inch away peering for imperfections). These guys even intentionally tried to create jpeg artifacts by breaking all the rules about saving jpegs. They opened and saved them repeatedly, and then printed out 20x30 prints, and put them up next to the raw, and single saved jpegs. It took over 15 jpeg re-saves to introduce noticable artifacts (and these were only noticable on 20x30 prints with my nose an inch away).

    "Raw is better than jpeg" is like the old anecdote that "Pros shoot slides". It's too much of a generalization for the real world where many pros shot slides, and many shot neg film, and most picked the film that was right for the project, whether it was slide or neg.

    As an example, Yervant, possibly one of the world's hottest and most famous wedding photographers right now, using Canon 1Ds MkII DSLRs, shoots exclusively in medium quality jpeg, and obviously gets the job done.

    http://www.wedshooter.com/2005/12/20/soft-touch

    http://www.yervant.com/

    That said, I shoot 100% raw, even for snap-shots, but I always disliked transparency film, and loved the hands-on processing and printing stages of neg film. Each photog should do their own testing, compare some of their own prints, and see which works best for them. If you don't have access to decent graphics editing software, or haven't learned the skills necessary for the editing software, or don't have the time or inclination to do more extensive post processing I think jpeg may be the right choice.

    Another issue is software upgrades. It shouldn't be an issue to open a jpeg 20 years from now, but will you still have access to the proprietary raw software that each manufacturer uses? I know Canon has changed their raw format as new models come out. Most of my Canon friends had to get new patches for CS2 when they went to the 5D because the raw file was different than the raw file from the 20D. Shooting raw may actually be like throwing your negs away if you don't keep up on your software library.
     

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