Lens and Filter Questions w/ pic to illustrate my lens issue

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Barking Mad, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Barking Mad

    Barking Mad TPF Noob!

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    Current kit:

    Sony a100
    Sony a350

    Lenses

    Sony 18-70
    Sony 75-300

    Minolta Maxxum 28-85
    Mintola Maxxum 24-85

    Filters

    55mm UV
    55mm C-PL (polarization I think?)

    OK....here's my question. I am looking into one more lens purchase and I also need another filter that helps me get that silky effect with waterfalls and rapids. What kind of filter would that be?

    Also, I want a lens that makes my portrait photography absolutely POP! I was thinking a 55mm would be the next one to add to my glass collection? Is that accurate?

    For instance, this is a pic I took of my youngest daughter, the little imp, out on a recent trip down to Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. Whilst the weather was less than stellar (Ok, it was downright crappy!), the picture is grainy and noisy and pretty blah. Do I blame it all on the weather, my inability to take a pic of my kid, or my lens? I think I was either shooting with my standard 18-70 or the 75-300. I'm pretty sure it was the 75-300.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Anyhow, I'm less than pleased with the image. I had it blown up into a 16x20 and it's pixilated and grainy.

    What sort of lens should I have used, and is my thinking correct that I should be going with a 55mm for portrait shots that POP?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Auds
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ND
    Neutral Density

    There are different 'powers' of ND (1 stop, 2 stop, etc...) and you can stack them too.


    I'll let someone who knows more about Sony/Minolta lenses answer your other question.
     
  3. Barking Mad

    Barking Mad TPF Noob!

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    I thought it was a ND filter but didn't want to be wrong and ask if that was correct. Thanks for letting me know.

    And hopefully someone who uses Sony will see this thread...I know my chances are slim as I seem to be in a very tiny minority here. But that's OK...the basics are still the same and I'm still learning and gleaning a lot from the back and forth banter. :D
     
  4. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Overcast weather has the advantage of not giving harsh shadows but it also makes for pretty blah portraits as they are too flat. All you needed that was an off camera flash to bring some highlights. Straight on flash would not help.

    Practice holding the camera with one hand and the flash with the other one while you shoot. It is not that hard to learn and it allows to place the light where you want it without having to carry a light stand.

    As for the 55mm, you already have three of them. Keep in mind that zoom lenses are usually at their worst at the ends of the spectrum but if you had used the 28-85 at around 60-65 you should have been good.

    As for the silky water effect, if we are thinking about the same thing, it is not done with a filter but with a slow speed which allows the water to blur.

    Cute kid, btw.
     
  5. Barking Mad

    Barking Mad TPF Noob!

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    Ahhhhh, the one thing I don't have yet. I haven't even gotten into the whole flash issue of photography and have been sticking with the on-camera flash in most instances. Exposure, composition and lighting are things I really need a lot of help with...as you can tell!

    Thanks!
     
  6. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ND filters are often needed to get that slow shutter speed in daylight.
     
  7. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    The lens doesn't matter. Pixilated and "grainy" (probably digital noise as digital caemras never produce "grain") images result solely from the camera body's basic characteristics, your use of the camera (e.g. various settings chosen), and/or your post processing of the image.

    You're posted image lacks the EXIF data so there is little to go on when trying to detect where you went wrong. I suspect that you used too high an ISO and that you failed to upsample the image properly for the rather large 16x20 print. If you failed to upsample at all, the image would be no more than 150ppi if you used your a100 and 190ppi if you used your a350. Both are a bit low, but not horribly so. Still, some pixelization might be visible if the a100 was used. If you downsampled to get the file sent to the lab, that would have been the cause of the pixelization.

    The only aspect of this image's faults that could be aided in the least by a different lens would be the noise. If you had used a much faster lens and used it wide open, you might have been able to use a more suitable low ISO. Using a relatively slow zoom on a dark grey day makes it difficult to use the low ISOs that such large prints require.
     
  8. Barking Mad

    Barking Mad TPF Noob!

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    Here ya go!

    Camera: Sony DSLR-A100 Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320) Aperture: f/6.3 Focal Length: 60 mm ISO Speed: 100 Exposure Bias: 0 EV Flash: Auto, Did not fire
    File Size: 74 kB File Type: JPEG MIME Type: image/jpeg Image Width: 700 Image Height: 469 Encoding Process: Baseline DCT, Huffman coding Bits Per Sample: 8 Color Components: 3 X-Resolution: 1 Y-Resolution: 1 Image Description: SONY DSC Orientation: Unknown (0) Software: Picasa 3.0 Date and Time (Modified): 2009:06:06 16:12:35 YCbCr Positioning: Centered Exposure Program: Program AE Date and Time (Original): 2009:06:06 16:12:35 Date and Time (Digitized): 2009:06:06 16:12:35 Compressed Bits Per Pixel: 8 Brightness Value: 8.75 Max Aperture Value: 5.6 Metering Mode: Multi-segment Light Source: Unknown Subject Location: 1936 1296 329 393 Color Space: Uncalibrated Custom Rendered: Normal Exposure Mode: Auto White Balance: Auto Digital Zoom Ratio: 0 Focal Length In35mm Format: 90 mm Scene Capture Type: Night Gain Control: None Contrast: Normal Saturation: Normal Sharpness: Normal Image Unique ID: 86ff34d5d1faa26441a5608d8b9320d2 Compression: JPEG (old-style)
     
  9. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    O|||||||O, you may be right with a higher speed film. I used mostly Kodachrome 25 when shooting nature and never in the middle of the day so I never had to use ND filters. I don't even know that I even own one:lol:

    I have never used the Maxxum lenses but 90% of my 35mm gear was (and still is) Minolta. Never cared much about getting the right name so I was usually the only photog around using Minolta but their lenses were absolutely beautiful. Let's not forget they used to make lenses for Leica.

    As for Sony, I don't even know who makes their lenses. Sorry.
     
  10. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    ISO 100 shouldn't produce signficant noise. If noise is really an issue with this image then its likely the image was underexposed and lightened in Picasa. This can result in significant noise and can result in "posterization" at the pixel level when a limited portion of the images tonal range is expanded.

    The EXIF data you posted is from a significantly downsampled image, 700x469 pixels instead of the a100's native 3872x2592. If this is from the image you sent out to be printed, the downsampling is the cause of the pixelization.
     
  11. mooimeisie

    mooimeisie TPF Noob!

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    As far as I can see, I think the problem with a 16 x 20 looking grainy is the size of your file. Your image is 700 x 469. Here's the data taken off a photo finishing site:


    Product Type - Best file resolution - Minimum file resolution - Unacceptable resolution


    4x6 - 1200 x 1800 - 600 x 900 - 300 x 450

    8x10 - 2400 x 3000 - 1200 x 1500 - 600 x 750

    16 x 20 Photo Enlargement - 4800 x 6000 - 2400 x 3000 - 1200 x 1500

    Seems to me that the resolution is unacceptable for a print this size. Noticed this "Scene Capture Type: Night" in your data. Not sure if this was the right setting for this photo. Take a look at this person's Flickr page. His photo's were all taken with the a100 and a350 with a variety of lenses. I also use the a350 and am very happy with it.
     
  12. Barking Mad

    Barking Mad TPF Noob!

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    Nope, the image I sent to be printed was the full size image (5mgs). I re-size most of what I put on Flickr as they are often images that get posted to my blog as well and larger images take a considerable amount of time to load for some people.
     

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