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douglaswise

High ISO photographyuiv)

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@pomwiki: Perhaps I should delve deeper into this. I've tended to assume that Lightroom would be beyond me because of my poor computer knowledge and skills. Maybe it's time to be bolder. As I'm semi-retired, I can't plead lack of time. Up to now, it's been fear of the unknown!

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@@douglaswise I have only really started using Lightroom in the past year or so (before then I used Apple's Apperture programme). It has a slightly off-putting way of organising photos until you are familiar with it but I have found the processing options easy to learn - it is possible to keep things simple until you want to make them complicated. Two tips - firstly I have found the blog and e-book written by the Lightroom Queen (honestly) helpful and I have also downloaded the Google Efex add-ins which are very good (especially for black and white conversions) - they are now available free of charge. Important to note - everything you do is non-destructive - you can always get back to your original image!

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@@douglaswise

Not much more to add to all the things that have been mentioned. I agree that you have a good eye for photography and I love the cows picture! Great composition there and iso not a problem at all. With respect to the under-/over-exposing of the images: perhaps the auto and fill light functions of picasa do not always do the best job, brightening up too much and losing some of the clarity and contrast in the process. The end results on some of the photos do seem a little flat. I second the Lightroom suggestion. I've been using it for a number of years and I like it very much. It takes some getting used to (as with most software), but it does a very good job, both on raw and jpeg. I have taken the liberty of downloading one of your pics (that beautiful Caracara) and did a few quick tweaks in Lightroom. I do hope you don't mind. Of course this is always a matter of personal taste, but at least it gives you an idea of what can be done. You can find it here: https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-Bk2JqpK/0/O/i-Bk2JqpK.jpg

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Posted (edited)

@@douglaswise

 

Do not be afraid of experimenting ,neither with different settings neither with RAW neither with using another software. While Lightroom is an excellent one (probably the best out there) myself I am using the two that cames with Nikon, free of charge:

ViewNX-i and Capture NX-D. First is good for JPEG and second is more complicated, better for RAW.

 

When you shot RAW, camera always add the settings of JPEG (otherwise you would not be able to see the preview on the LCD screen of the camera). Those settings, and in fact the complete JPEG photo is embedded into RAW photo. Thus with one file you have two options. And Nikon software can replicate the JPEG to exact same photo as it would be done in the camera.

 

I also took the liberty to work on your photo; this is 1-2-3 clicks result (it took me 3 minutes at the most, with ViewNX-i):

 

Original

post-47185-0-48203500-1467478828_thumb.jpg

 

By Alex & ViewNX-i

post-47185-0-94024900-1467478845_thumb.jpg

 

By Peter & Lightroom

post-47185-0-87912600-1467480667_thumb.jpg

 

Good news is you are a very good photographer; stop blaming your shaky hands and start using the technology :) ! Forget about Auto, Scene and even P(rogram) modes. Go into A(perutre) or even M(anual).

Go into Set Picture Control -> chose Standard -> push Right and change to following settings:

Sharpening: 6

Contrast +1

Brightness 0

Saturation +1

Hue 0

 

Click OK and save under Standard-02; now go back and do the same also for Vivid.

 

I have been using Standard-02 for wildlife and Vivid-02 for all other photos with good results for many years while I was shooting JPEG only.

 

I have take also the liberty to add @@PeterHG edition so one can now have all three to compare.

Edited by xelas
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Good work @@xelas and free is always preferable :)

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I won't try and add to the superb technical advice as I cannot really add much. What I would say is that VR or IS (depending on brand) stabilisation is sometimes a hit or a miss affair. For example: my canon 100-400 Ii has what is supposed to be one of the world's most advanced IS systems. It works like black magic - to get a sharp shot of the moon at 400mm and 1/80th of a second is downright amazing. This morning I got a usable (facebook and web news at least) picture of a wild dog from a moving vehicle (again at 400mm). But at times it throws a total wobbly and what should be sharp just isn't. In reality the rule that the shutter speed should at least equal the focal length is a sound one. The new tech is amazing, but not always bang on for every shot. Again, control of this is something that programme modes won't help with.

 

One of our guides is facing exactly the same issue with his bridge camera with something like a 600mm lens, and cranking up the shutter speed has helped a lot. For sure with the small sensor noise becomes an issue, but (like you Douglas) I was once told by a well known pro wildlife photographer that it is better to have noise and a usable momento than blurred nothing.

 

At the end of the day unless you are using a massive monitor or printing large a bit of noise is not the end of the world. Pixel peeping is a futile pastime!

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When we are on the IS/OS topic. I want to add that don´t ever use IS when resting camera/lens on a hard surface. The IS vibration will blur the picture. And then I will give the basic advice of beanbag, which is perfect for mini-van safari. Using open cars, it is a little bit more difficult to get a good support place. Some have built in support place, sometimes even bringing a monopod is a good idea. If you shoot handheld, you should support your left arm (if you are right handed) against your chest, hold your breath and squeeze of. I guess much of the same technique like shooting a rifle (I did army service once, hunting is not my thing). Shooting high speed burst will increase your chance of good pictures, both getting some really sharp, and getting that right facial expression, eye etc.

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Once again, thanks everybody. I have made all the recommended camera adjustments, including those for "Picture Control" as per @@xelas. In a few hours, I'm off for a week on a fishing trip. With new found enthusiasm, I'll take my camera along with my fly rod and experiment hard, hoping, on return, to discover that the quality of my pix has improved. I will look at the next stage, post processing, when I get back. I do accept that my caracara's appearance has significantly improved when manipulated by others.

 

@@Gregor, your hard surface advice noted. I do like bean bags, but, on my last 3 trips, vehicle configurations have precluded their use. Your comments on hand holding intrigue me to the extent that you emphasise its relevance to right handers. My relevant buttons are on the right of my camera and I'm left handed. I look through the view finder with my left eye and press buttons with my right hand. Isn't that what right handers do? However, I shoot a shotgun and, very occasionally, a rifle off my left shoulder.

 

When I'm back, I'll give you a progress report.

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@@douglaswise

 

Well done! If not fly fishing you will have plenty of time to test your newly acquired knowledge, and to add some of your own. Not a fisherman myself, so no advices in that area :D ; if you will ever wanted to revisit Slovenia, you know whom to contact, yes?!

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At the risk of being a bore, I would like to report back to my helpful advisers and describe how I got on with implementing their recommended changes:

 

1) Back button single point focusing:

 

a) Basically, I think this proved very helpful. However, I had hoped that the single little red dot would be constant in the centre of the viewfinder. It seemed to appear at random in any of the 11 potential sensor points in the viewfinder. I was unable either to re-centre it or to keep it permanently in the centre. Have I got the relevant setting wrong?

 

B) Having focused and taken a picture, I found that, when changing to another subject at a different distance, I couldn't re-focus without, first, turning the camera off and back on. Only then would the red dot reappear in the viewfinder. Perhaps this is sensible, given that I am, effectively, locking the focus point. I can certainly adapt to this if necessary.

 

2) AF-C:

 

Seemed to hold focus on retreating target. Happy with this.

 

3) Aperture priority:

 

Having selected the chosen F number (typically 8) and demanded a minimum shutter speed of 1/500, all photos, regardless of focal length, were taken at 1/500 except when I stopped down to F 14 (on these occasions ISO went to the maximum of 6400 and only then did shutter speed drop below 1/500). I am happy with this arrangement and it occurs to me that I can use it for both day and night photography, only needing to ensure maximum aperture for the latter, given that ISO will maximise and shutter speed drop as necessary. Only when contemplating taking birds in flight will I have to make changes to demand faster shutter speeds.

 

If any of you have comments on or criticisms of my conclusions, I would be grateful to hear them. Further, I would like comments on the image quality of the 4 pix below. I'm sorry that they are not of a wild mammal, but, instead, of a semi-domesticated wife. They all have different exposure characteristics and I have played a bit on Picasa with "contrast and "fill light". What they do have in common is that the focal lengths were 70 (105 35 mm equiv). To be honest, I find it hard to detect quality differences at ISOs ranging from 360-6400. Am I just not seeing "noise" that is obvious to those with more expertise?

 

post-48867-0-38070500-1468306119_thumb.jpg

1/500, F 8, ISO 1250

post-48867-0-76847400-1468306317_thumb.jpg

1/500, F 4.5, ISO 360

post-48867-0-15509500-1468306609_thumb.jpg

1/250, F 14, ISO 6400

post-48867-0-39553400-1468306879_thumb.jpg

1/500, F 8, ISO 2800

 

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Slight correction to above post. The uploaded pix are the original ones from the camera without any tweaks from Picasa. Sorry.

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Glad to have meet your wife, @douglaswise :) ! My regards to her as she is a lovely person to take photos of. Mine, well, or she is very camera shy or she is still far from being half-domesticated :rolleyes: !!

 

Some comments: The back button and the single point are two different settings. As is AF-C. So you need to check three different parameters:

 

1. autofocus being activated by back button only

2. auto focus being set at AF-C

3. number of focusing points being set to Single Point.

 

Better explained here: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/nikon-d3300-afarea-modes.html

IMO you have your camera set to (3D) 3D-tracking (11 points)

 

 

Your comment under a) is quite disturbing :unsure: . My first reaction would be to detach the lens, and to clean the contacts both on the lens and on the camera. Camera should always be ready to focus on the subject below the active focus point.

If cleaning is not working, head to local camera store or Nikon service point. No settings are such to cause unresponsivness of the autofocus action.

 

 

AF-C = autofocus continuous / camera constantly measure the distance between the sensor and the subject and correct the focus accordingly; works on approaching and on retreating subjects.

 

 

Camera will follow the instructions (set aperture, minimum shutting speed) until the max ISO will be reached, Then the shutter speed will go down irrespective of the settings you have imposed. Only in M (manual) setting all the set parameters are kept fixed.

 

 

"Noise" very much depends on the scene and available light. Ally your 4 photos have good available light, and not many dark/underexposed areas, so there is not much difference in those 4 images.To check how the noise looks like at each ISO, look at 100% and select the darkest area on each image ( on image #4 that would be the dark patch left of your wife's head).

 

 

All four images looks good to my eye, contrast and sharp. #2 is best exposed, to my eye.

 

 

And, how was the fishing??

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@xelas:

 

I think you're a genius. As suggested, I cleaned the contact points between lens and camera and seem to have fixed (at least temporarily) the problem of the intermittently unresponsive autofocus. The camera was on AF-C, but I think I might have been on Dynamic Area Mode, which I have now changed to single point (non dynamic).

 

Glad that you thought the contrast/sharpness of the 4 test pictures was OK. Possibly my test should have been undertaken under more rigorous conditions. I agree about image #2 as it appears on the screen. Its superiority is much less obvious before the translation from original to Safaritalk format.

 

Finally, the fishing was excellent. We seemed to have had the only decent week of weather in our English summer to date and the previous wet conditions ensured good water flow.

 

Many thanks.

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Not genius, @@douglaswise , just old and having plenty of time to read through various photo forums :) !

 

Glad to hear you have had a nice fishing week. Are you considering to do some more fishing in Slovenia?

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Thank you, @@douglaswise, for asking the questions which I should have asked a few years back. I know I will benefit from the knowledge gained from this discussion as will many other people.

 

And thank you, @@xelas, @@Gregor, @@TonyQ, @@Safaridude, @@pault, @@cheetah80, @ KaingU Lodge. @@PeterHG, for all the information you have shared.

 

It has taken me a some time to work thru it all but now I have my camera setup for to follow your instructions, including back-button focusing. I admit I had a lot to learn for I am/was a program-mode user also. Buy a new camera, set it to program-mode, and go on safari. It was all so easy and so seductive.

 

Again, many thanks to you all for all your help!

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@Terry:

 

I am most grateful for your post. It comes as a great relief that other(s) than myself benefited from the generous advice I was given. The whole exercise now seems slightly less selfish on my part. Having taken a few pictures on the recommended settings, I am happy to report quality improvements. I hope you have a similar experience.

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A blatant thread highjack I'm afraid :)

 

This image was taken at ISO 12800 and post-processing limited to cropping, some noise reduction and the dehaze tool in Lightroom.

 

The camera was a Nikon D7200 with a 80-400mm Nikon zoom @330mm. f/5.6, 1/20 sec and a monopod was used. Not flawless but I think usable.

 

post-50257-0-64509400-1469645158_thumb.jpg

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Indeed a blatant thread hijack, and one with a great photo attached :) !

 

The latest versions of Nikon crop sensor cameras (D7200 and D500) are producing RAW (and JPEG) that are usable even at ISO values previously used only for reconnaissance purposes by private detectives and paparazzi!

@@pomkiwi , based on your settings, it must be almost fully dark when you took this photo?

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Posted (edited)

@@xelas To be fair I did try and contribute more helpfully earlier on (and it has gone quiet)!! :)

 

It was almost completely dark. The image below was taken a minute or so later (ISO 8000) without the benefit of full spotlight.

 

post-50257-0-97087500-1469723766_thumb.jpg

Edited by pomkiwi
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@@pomkiwi

 

safaritalk-1.jpg

 

Yes, a thread highjack. Post production is important and there is much to do. I´m just a novice. But, did some basic adjustments in LR, just to show you what easily can be done.

 

Adjusted: Crop angle (picture was skew) and shaved a bit of left hand side, adjusted some levels (shadows, white and highlights), added a bit vibrance, a bit temperature, selectively sharpened the face and eyes, and selectively added noise reduction on background.

 

What do you think?

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@pomkiwi @Gregor Whilst i quite like the image i don't think either of you fixed the major issue of the colour caste. I'd expect these cats to have a golden hue but I see magenta, not only on the leopard but it is obvious in the soil. Also Pomkiwi, there looks to be areas of over exposure on the leopard's right flank and left foreleg, I'm not privy to the raw file but maybe you didn't need to go as low as 1/20th shutter speed.

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@@Gregor @@Geoff Thank-you both for your detailed, constructive and helpful feedback. I now genuinely feel slightly guilty that we have highjacked @@douglaswise thread and taken it too far from its purpose.

 

I really posted the image in a thread entitled high iso photography to share how impressed I am with the ability of a consumer DSLR to produce a reasonable image at ISO 12800. A few people have expressed interest in this in a trip report and whilst on safari a couple of other guests saw this image and decided to push their ISO settings higher than they had previously thought sensible.......... Then I saw the beautiful images posted by @@Bush dog in his trip report taken at ISO 40000 and wondered why I had made a fuss at all! :)

 

The image I posted will benefit from further work as I had done only the minimum. It is quite heavily cropped starting as a shot at 330mm from a crop sensor, that together with the light source and my limitations as a photographer mean it will only ever be a record shot and not an exhibition piece.

 

Since I do feel we have strayed too far from the intent of this thread (for which I apologise) I will spend half an hour on this picture on a wet afternoon and post it, plus a jpg of the original image on the photo critique thread for further play.....

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