a newbie camera question
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David White
(davidw) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Is Post Processing Necessary? on 06/04/2014 06:39:41 MDT Print View

Really; no it isn't necessary. It's more important to learn to use your camera and to learn the techniques of good composition first. Learning post-processing concurrently with those first two items may become overwhelming.

BUT......if you're going to shot RAW, then you pretty much have to post process to get a good quality photo. RAW photos have a lot more data and therefore more potential to be made into great photos than JPEG, but they have absolutely no processing by the camera.

JPEG photos are actually pretty heavily processed by a computer in your camera. Things like white balance, dynamic range adjustments, lens aberration corrections, color correction are all applied by the JPEG engine in your camera.

You can always add post processing to your photo arsenal at a later date, but for now I'd recommend sticking with JPEG and learning the basics.

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: Is Post Processing Necessary? on 06/04/2014 07:25:23 MDT Print View

Awesome. Thanks

I have the option to go RAW+JPEG. So i can save all the raw files for later when I get to know my camera and techniques more often.


Thank you David, Ian, Will, and Bob for answering all my beginning photography questions!

~Nathan

Edited by werne1nm on 06/04/2014 07:26:01 MDT.

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: a newbie camera question on 06/06/2014 20:02:17 MDT Print View

I've got another question.

How do i set up my camera to take a picture like this

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Elakala_waterfall_1_-_West_Virginia_-_ForestWander.jpg

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: a newbie camera question on 06/06/2014 20:36:05 MDT Print View

Ahh, you are trying to get the "silky waterfall effect."

In general, you need to get the shutter speed slowed down to something in the range of a large fraction of one second, like 1/8 or 1/4 or 1/2. It may be even more or less, and it depends on the water height and distance. Now, if you shoot that handheld, it is likely to be a mess because of user jiggle. If you use a tripod or something else to stabilize the camera, that is almost a necessity. With some cameras, you still can't get there from here. With some cameras, it is difficult to shoot at 1/4 because there is too much light. In other words, it can't get the aperture to stop down far enough. So, you need to help it. Step 1 is to manually set the ISO for the lowest number possible, something like 50 or 100. Step 2 is to manually set the 1/4 shutter, and you use T mode for exposure. If those work and you can shoot it, then fine. If the camera won't let you do that, then you need one more step, and that means adding a neutral density (gray) filter on the front of the lens. This ND filter will knock out one or two or four stops of light, so that makes the earlier steps easier. I'm guessing that you do not have any ND filter.

--B.G.--

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Post processing on 06/06/2014 20:47:33 MDT Print View

The current 10 bucks a month deal for Photoshop and lightroom seems like an excellent deal to me. I have been using Photoshop for about 12 years now and the learning curve is steep. I am just about to add Lightroom to the mix and this is the way I would recommend most people to go if you want to get involved in post processing. Photoshop has always been expensive, but I have always stuck with it. There are other products, but it is the Adobe products that have a huge amount of learning and additional software resources behind them. As has already been said, most of the camera brands offer a Raw converter, so you can experiment with that. Also most cameras are capable of producing excellent jpegs out if camera.
Finally, I would recommend developing a robust system for managing and backing up your files. Before you know it you will have 1000s of files and keeping track of everything can become a royal PITA if you don't have a good system.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Post processing on 06/06/2014 21:24:00 MDT Print View

Yes, I agree, Photoshop is a great tool and the learning curve is steep. In retrospect, I guess it wasn't too bad. What was stated about an image file management system is so true. Photoshop along with Bridge is one way to go with that. Instead of thousands of files, I think in terms of terabytes of files. Fortunately, backup drives are cheap these days.

--B.G.--

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: a newbie camera question on 06/06/2014 21:35:01 MDT Print View

Bob, I have "shutter priority" mode on the NEX6.

I can adjust the shutter with the rest of the settings being adjusted to compensate i think. Am I on the right track?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: a newbie camera question on 06/06/2014 22:05:59 MDT Print View

Yes, shutter priority puts the shutter time first.

Several different camera exposure modes should all get approximately the same exposure results automatically, but shutter time here is the factor that you are trying to force and then let the other factors fall into place. Also, I would recommend that you bracket the exposure by 2/3 of a stop. Anytime that you are shooting anything manually that you've never shot before, bracketing the exposure gives you a little bit of wiggle room.

Although it is possible to shoot this without the ND filter, it just makes it easier to do.

This may be some screen calibration issue, but I felt like the original waterfall photo was over-exposed with burned highlights. Tweaking that down a bit looks better to my eye. I use an optical calibrator, so I doubt that the issue is on my end.

--B.G.--

David White
(davidw) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Silky Water Falls on 06/07/2014 00:27:40 MDT Print View

Ah.....you want something like this:
http://photos.dwhite.org/Galleries/2013-11-02-Richland-Creek/i-H7CVQJq/A
Richland Falls, Arkansas

That was shot at 1/6 second using a variable neutral density (VND) filter. As others have said you'll pretty much have to have a good tripod to get a steady shot at that low of a shutter speed.

Bob described the technique very well. But it takes practice.

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: a newbie camera question on 06/10/2014 05:53:45 MDT Print View

So i've been shooting in RAW+jpeg lately.

I've noticed ,from what i've looked up on the internet as, barrel distortion in the RAW images.

My straight lines curve outward.

The Jpeg images do not have that probably because of the post edit processing that is done by the camera.

My question is:

Is that something common that happens?

Should i consider a better lens? is the 16-50mm lens that comes on the NEX-6 sub parr?

OR

Is this something, when i shoot in raw all the time, i'll have to correct post processing stage ei photoshop, lightroom, aperture.

EDIT:

I'm not opposed to getting a non zoom lens if thats whats causing it. the 50mm zoom is useless to me really, don't use it too often

Edited by werne1nm on 06/10/2014 06:43:50 MDT.

Josiah Vandervelde
(eternalnoob) - F - M

Locale: Florida
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: a newbie camera question on 06/10/2014 07:04:17 MDT Print View

When you shoot in jpeg, your photo is corrected in camera to account for barrel distortion as well as contrast, color saturation etc. You will therefore find that straight out of the camera your jpeg files will generally look much better than their RAW counterparts.

RAW files keep all of your camera's original data giving your more control while editing photos and the ability to pull information out of the photo that a jpeg file may no longer contain. If you just want to be able to throw some great pictures on facebook, jpeg may be all you need.

Programs like Lightroom (highly recommended) have lens correction profiles for many lenses (including your 16-50mm) which, when enabled, automatically correct for barrel distortion, chromatic aberration etc.

Barrel distortion is not limited to zoom lenses. The 16-50mm lens you have is a fine lens, and it's size and weight make it ideal for backpacking. There are much better lenses out there of course, but none (that I know of) have similar size and weight that cover such a useful range as the 16-50mm.

If you do decide to get another lens, my recommendation is to use the heck out of your 16-50mm and see what focal length you typically take pictures and what situations does the lens limit you. For me, I found that I shot at 16mm much of the time, but each photographer is different

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: a newbie camera question on 06/10/2014 07:47:49 MDT Print View

Thanks for that information.

I've notice I like to take either landscape OR macro photos.

I'll keep the setting on the camera of RAW+jpeg so i'll have usable "Facebook" quality photos and keep the RAW ones for when I acquire post processing software.

I rarely use the zoom.

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Distortion on 06/10/2014 08:00:02 MDT Print View

I can't speak to Sony's lens line-up, but in general kit zooms don't offer the very highest mage quality. If you don't need the versatility of a zoom you can usually get a sharper, faster, and lighter single-focal-length (often called "prime") lens. If you prefer a zoom you can usually get sharper and faster, but it will probably be heavier and have a smaller zoom range. You may be shocked at the price.

Most lens distortion is easily fixed in post-processing. There will be some cropping and there may be some subtle loss of detail detectable if you pixel peep, but a wide angle lens which leaves that to post will be much smaller and cheaper than one which corrects optically.

I wouldn't sweat barrel distortion in a backpacking lens.

Edit: Josiah beat me to it.
One thing I will add regarding waterfalls: I agree with the suggestions above that you use a filter to allow slow shutter speeds. You can do that with ND, but often a polarizing filter will cut the light sufficiently and it can also be set to kill distracting reflections from wet rocks and foliage.

Edited by WillWeb on 06/10/2014 08:09:53 MDT.

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: a newbie camera question on 06/12/2014 07:56:58 MDT Print View

I can slow down my shutter speed quite a lot.

The slowest setting opens the shutter for about 25-30 seconds.

My next question is with that slow shutter speed. is that how you get something like this?

aaaa

John Vogel
(johnv2002) - M

Locale: East Bay
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: a newbie camera question on 06/12/2014 21:16:10 MDT Print View

Your camera has the ability to take that photo. 30sec / 3400ISO The kit lens however cannot. You need a wide angle fast lens to get the lighting right. I bought a sigma 19mm 2.8 and it it taking decent shots of the Milky Way. If I could afford it I would buy a 12mm 1.5 but that is for another day.

You also need to be in the middle of nowhere away from any towns on a moonless night with no clouds and low humidity. This has been the hard part for me, but I am hoping my upcoming trip in Yosemite provides the right conditions. You also need to post process in Photoshop or something similar from RAW to finish it up. There are all kinds of tutorials on utube and enthusiast websites that will give you detailed info on how to pull it off.

Good luck, and have fun with it

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
silky smooth water on 07/02/2014 08:55:34 MDT Print View

kjhl

I think i did it right?
16mm
ISO 100
F/22
1/6

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: silky smooth water on 07/03/2014 11:15:03 MDT Print View

Well done Nathan. I tried this a couple trips ago but failed to consider how the bushes would look on a breezy day. I'm sure if done right, it might have a nice effect but just looked out of focus in my case.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: silky smooth water on 07/03/2014 11:46:36 MDT Print View

Shutter speed is tricky.

You want to get the shutter speed slow enough to get the silky water effect, but you want it fast enough to freeze undesired bush motion in the frame and also freeze the undesired camera jiggle. Plus, it is often difficult to look at the rear display and see exactly what you got of each of these three.

--B.G.--

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: silky smooth water on 07/03/2014 18:01:57 MDT Print View

yea. I took a bunch of photos with a bunch of different shutter speeds. I do not yet have myself a tripod so it was my steady hand that was at work here.

You really can't tell a quality photo here in the BPL forums it looks pretty good though. for my eyes.

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: a newbie camera question on 07/03/2014 19:47:06 MDT Print View

John is this the lens you are talking about?