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1st day with a DSLR (gallery), feedback welcome.
Finally, I have spent the first afternoon out with a DSLR. It's a Canon 40D with EF 70-200mm f/2.8. Awesome, compared what I used before. Packed with functions, responsive, simply a pleasure..

The sun was very strong, and my polarizer has not arrived yet, so I had hard time tackling the light. Also, some of the photos seem to be pretty soft, maybe because I was shooting wide open most of the time. I would still expect better performance from L glass, but maybe I just need to learn how to use it..

At times, autofocus was being tricky. I'm not sure whether this is normal, or just my lack of skill, but around one fifth of photos were out of focus..

Anyway, please take a look at a few shots I've selected. No post-processing was done beside cropping and scaling. http://hinca.net/photos/1stday/.

Don't hold back on criticism, please, that's why I made this thread. But make it constructive. Any suggestions how to improve my technique would be more then welcome...

Comments (8)

Which of them do you think are underexposed?I'm thinking the opposite, they might be a bit too bright, actually...

Comment #1

Gwin wrote:.

I was shooting wide open most of the time..

Why?..

Comment #2

For bokeh. In hindsight, I see that in some photos it was counter-productive. When taking pictures outside and previewing them on the display, it was unable to tell it was not always a good idea. Let's consider that lesson number one for next time..

Added: Only some of the pictures in the folder were wide open. Obviously, the sharper ones. (They all have exif, too.)..

Comment #3

Well, OK first I admit I'm no expert..

Having said that, the skin tones are acceptable (if a bit dark), but there is very little shadow detail, eg under the brim of the hat and on the shady side of the girl's face, and very little detail in the sailor's face (just an inky blob). Similarly, the water looks dark (as exposed for 18% gray)..

Now, this could be due to a short dynamic range? (ie, SBR>DR?)..

I can see that raising shadow brightness could give you blown out skies & other highlights, however it is my (lay) impression that I get a "better" result with my Sony P&S DSC W-100 (in programme mode), so I would expect better from a DSLR..

Just a lay impression...

Comment #4

Typically bright sunlight is not the time to shoot wide open, combined with the fact that it's not the sharpest. Nor does bokeh have to be extreme to be effective. Good bokeh can be achieved at very high f-stops:.

F5.6: http://www.pbase.com/indyboosler/image/33019299F7.1: http://www.pbase.com/indyboosler/image/24515037F8: http://www.pbase.com/indyboosler/image/63935592.

F8: http://www.pbase.com/indyboosler/image/80600294 (not dramatic on screen, but on my 12x18 print the front car really pops out from the background)F10: http://www.pbase.com/indyboosler/image/46341923F14: http://www.pbase.com/indyboosler/image/66923147.

Distance to subject and relation to background and lens focal length affect bokeh as much or more than the f stop setting..

BTW, good choice of equipment - I also have a 40D and 70-200 F2.8, although I have yet to really use it on the 40D - most shots so far have been with 24-105 F4L - all shots linked to in this post were shot with a D60..

Gwin wrote:.

For bokeh. In hindsight, I see that in some photos it wascounter-productive. When taking pictures outside and previewing themon the display, it was unable to tell it was not always a good idea.Let's consider that lesson number one for next time..

Added: Only some of the pictures in the folder were wide open.Obviously, the sharper ones. (They all have exif, too.).

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Comment #5

Well, 40D is said to produce a little less exposed photos than it's predecessors at a given setting, so that may have something to do with this..

Anyway, I think all of those pictures were taken in Aperture Priority mode, with most settings left on default, so if they are underexposed, I would have to avoid it manually next time. I don't know if exposing them more would help, though..

I have no idea what SBR is, and google isn't helping..

I agree that exposing more wouldn't do well to the light areas of the photo, which IMHO means photos are not underexposed. How to avoid this effect is the question, though...

Comment #6

You have a valid point with bokeh there, especially that efficient does not mean extreme. In some cases, however, (like snapshotting a person from afar,) there is little way how bokeh can be affected, beside setting aperture..

That said, I am not sure if just closing the aperture would solve the "problem". I mean, the "resting" guy is shot at f/8. The "concentrating" one at f/3.5. And I do not see much difference..

(Here's a thought, maybe I'm uverusing 200mm? Would 180mm give better result?).

I do hope it was a good choice of equipment. I have been browsing the web and suffering from the tyranny of choice for almost half a year, and then spending way more than I should have.   Now I need to justify that spending, which is quite difficult to do with results such as these..

BTW, I enjoy your galleries. (If you are Michael Portaro @ pbase.)..

Comment #7

OK, as I said, I'm still reading the book myself..

SBR= Subject Brightness Range, ie the darkest shadow to the brightest highlight. This can be demonstrated using a spot-meter (lightmeter), whether built into your camera or hand-held. The hypothetical range consists of 10 steps separated from each other by one f-stop..

The trouble is, no sensor or film has a "dynamic range" that can cover all the steps from 0 to 9 in the one exposure..

(Digital photographers can "fudge" it by taking two identical views (using a tripod), one exposed for the shadow end and another for the highlights and then layering/combining the two; effecively creating a "collage" which covers the entire range, more or less.).

Pure black with no detail is on step 0, 18% gray is on step 5, pure white with no detail is on step 9..

If you do an auto exposure, depending on what your camera's on-board meter "sees", it will make it come out as step 5..

However, as a photographer, you can set where you want your 5th step to be (manually)..

Set too high gives you blown highlights..

Set too low gives you inky shadows..

The dynamic range on your sensor/film will determine just how much of this potential range will show detail in your "shot", but you can determine which portion of that range has detail..

It just seemed to me that these shots lacked detail in the shadows...

Comment #8

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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