So What's the deal

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by TheDev, May 8, 2009.

  1. TheDev

    TheDev TPF Noob!

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    I have been photographing as a hobby for a while now, and recently have begun to pursue it more in depth. I have always shot Black and White film and I finally felt like I knew what I was doing and could consistently produce quality images.

    When talking to people about pursuing photography as something more than a hobby I was told I needed to embrace the digital age. So a week ago I bought my first digital camera. I got a Canon 50D so I could have as close to a professional camera as I could afford.

    Unfortunately, the change to digital is proving harder than I expected. All the pictures I take seem to be lacking in quality in my opinion, and I want to know what I'm doing wrong. I shoot all in RAW so it leads me to believe it is one of a couple of things.

    1. Lenses- The lenses that I have are and old kit lens from my film canon rebel and a cheap 70-300mm zoom

    2. Post-Processing- I have never used photoshop to touch up images and maybe with digital post-processing is what it's all about

    3.Learning Curve- Finally maybe it is just me adjusting to the new format and I should just keep my chin up keep on shooting and one day it will click.

    Anything you can say to ease my mind would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lacking in what quality?

    Lacking in sharpness (sometimes), and chromatic aberration is a lens fault.
    However the problem is you are shooting RAW.

    Ok so the question is what did you do with your black and white negatives. Did you get someone else to develop and print them? Did you develop and print them yourself? I guarantee if you gave them to a lab they would have touched them up for you. There is no difference in actual shooting.

    This is where you find yourself now. I think if you shot in JPEG and handed your file to a lab which they autocorrect and print you will end up with the same high quality results as before.

    However the power of RAW is that all of this is up to you. It is your job to fine tune brightness, contrast, saturation, and any one of a myriad of other options. A few things to note is that firstly RAW is just that, RAW camera data. If I take a RAW file and simply convert it to JPEG using the RAW converter leaving all settings at default I will almost always end up with a worse photo then someone else who just had their point and shoot camera along and was shooting JPEGs, simply because RAW bypasses all the camera's settings.

    Furthermore because of the ... er ... RAW nature of the RAW format, combined with the fact that there's a beyer pattern on nearly every camera sensor, the images NEED to be sharpened. I found almost universally that default settings for RAW converters like Adobe CameraRAW are almost certainly not as sharp as in camera JPEG settings or the camera manufacturer's RAW converter.


    Basically. Play with it. That is all I can suggest. If you started in a black and white background then convert the image to black and white in your RAW converter and have a go with the curves, sharpness, and channel mixers. The power is yours with the caveat that you must use it.
     
  3. TheDev

    TheDev TPF Noob!

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    Okay I will clarify by lacking in quality I meant sharpness and noise.

    As far as my black and white film I developed and printed the negatives myself. That's why I'm shooting RAW to replicate the process and maintain creative control. They do call RAW a digital negative.

    I didn't know however that RAW files needed sharpening so maybe that's where I've been missing it. I'll try adjusting that on a few shots.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  4. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I second Garbz. Play with it and figure it out little by little. Perhaps you know someone who has already taken the digital plunge that can give you some pointers. If you've been on the wet side then you probably have your exposure down pretty good. So stick to the basics until you realize that you're still doing the same thing, just with a different girl.
     
  5. Pure

    Pure TPF Noob!

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    Basically RAW skips all of the camera's internal filters. Meaning, it skips over sharpening, etc. Basically it's just the image with no adjustments, that's why editing in photoshop/lightroom is necessary.
     
  6. johnbergsing

    johnbergsing TPF Noob!

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    Embrace the fact that there will be a learning curve. My transition to digital took place about 5 years ago and it was a struggle. Photoshop, RAW files, sensors ... all confused me at first.

    As far as the B&W goes, you should check out Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro. I've seen some of the results after using their new Lightroom plugin and it is truly amazing!
     
  7. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What are you comparing ... prints vs prints or prints vs. image on PC screen ?
     

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