Are My Pictures "Too Good"?
I recently got an Olympus C-5050Zoom. I'm very happy with my new camera. Acutally, I'm somewhat blown away with the 5mp resolution. However (now this may sound silly), the pictures seem "too clear". I mean they are super crisp and clear. What I want is to "soften" them up a bit.

Any ideas? Plus, I'm looking for recommendations for instructional books. Yeah, I know that there are about 8 million digital camera "how to" books on the market. I can only afford a couple. Any suggestions? Thanks,..

Comments (8)

Bob: Glad to hear you are having such clear pictures. But it is hard to answer your question with seeing a sample. I dont know what you are trying to achieve what format you are shooting in ie TIFF RAW or what kind of subjects you are shooting and the light conditions. I can only go from my experience with a Nikon d1x (5mp). For your own interest, most cameras have a sweet spot (some say this is garbage) often around f.5-f8 where the fstop/focal length, focus points, depth of field, depth of focus lens quality, etc, etc, converge depending on light and the result is picture that can often be blown up 200% and still give an image with the pixels break down barely noticable. A super clean image as you point is not what you always want depending on what you are trying to achieve.

I do alot of street work in back alleys as subjects. In these places I want a clear image but not super clean. I touch it up in Photoshop by adjusting filters to add grain to walls that I have selected with wand or again use wand to soften areas that I dont want to stand out. Oversharpening is another trick to add grain. Overposure gives a gritty dirty feel to images where it is warranted.

Easier and safer than using original. All good editing programs have blur and other soft filter effects addins ie: Photoshop and Paintshop which allow you to take down areas of similar color or soften entire image. (ie: Photoshops wand). You may want to soften you may want add texture. Brightness hue, saturation, and luminosity.

Your questiion is really hard because there is no sample. As for how to books I don't use many other then than the standard photgraphers tech guide. However, one which really opened my eyes many more times more than the tech manuals is a small work by photgrapher by David Finn titled How to look at everything. It talks about ways to look at subjects and think about what your doing and look at stuff around you. Photgraphy is about looking and seeing and taking the ordinary and making into the extraordinary.

It is certainly not just a technical process. I bought the book three years ago and it validated alot of my own work then and now since many of the ideas from his work and other photographers, were exactly what I had been experimenting with. Consider one of these kind of books along with a technical guides. As for pics being too real. Saturation can make an image look overeal But saturate too much and image degrades even tho it still might be sharp.

Some ccd's seem to give better results in different light altho they should be fairly consistent. Lenses factor into this too depending on how well the glass is made ect. wish I could be more help tim..

Comment #1

Tim, Thanks for the suggestions. I just went out in my back yard and snapped a couple of shots in hopes of posting one to give you an example. However, I was unsuccessful. They came out great. Oh well. On the other hand, you can somewhat get an idea of what I mean by visiting a web page that has about 100 pictures that I took last weekend.

These all were taken in the full "Auto" mode. Inside shots with the "in camera" flash. No filters. Just the raw lense. Thanks,.


Comment #2

Bob Pictures are clear but I dont see them as surreally clean. On some indoor shots shaprness is quite bit cleaner. However, With 5mp and jpg the quality is what I would expect. However with camera on auto you are geting an average of all the light so several of the outside shots could benefit from being taken down a bit in exposure which your meter is not catching. You have some really terrific angles and it is great that you get in close to parts of the boat. I checked the web and this camera supports raw.

Transfer to pc do any touch up cropping, sharpen last and save final in jpg. RAW is like the negative from SLR film days. You will be amazed at control of your pics. I assume you are not doing this now. You have have some super angles and interesting stuff.

Your lens may make those wicked depth of field shots with really out of focus background tough. Im also thinking that if you sharpened to much that might cause a bit of what you call over real effect. For your material the main subject matter is such that one wonders whether it needs softening? These are warships and might better be treated more harshly. (just my artistic opinion.) (To sharpen the unsharp mask as a rule should have a high radius of .5, threshold zero, and sharpen value of 100 or eyeball it. Better yet sharpen twice at lower sharpen value with lower radius for better results.) I wouldnt touch some of the interior stuff watertight doors, valves etc, as these are really nice esp when you can read the writing.

Anyway they look pretty darn good. If you are not shooting raw try it. Stay away from auto once you really know the camera. Pick up a good photeditor photoimpact is pretty decent. With digital I'm always touching up the image and sometimes I take pictures down to line mode redraw bits add bits and actually create my own artwork.

Like what you have so keep doing it. Good stuff. tim..

Comment #3

Tim, Thanks for the kind comments on the subject matter. Currently, for "keepers", right now, I'm still in the "full auto" mode. I've only had this Olympus C-5050ZOOM for about a week. Those pictures were taken only a few days after I got the camera. Hence, I'm still experimenting with all the manual features. I'm trying to get a book on how to determine the proper "manual" settings for a given situation.

The manual that comes with the camera is, well, let's just say it's less than great as compaired to the quality of the camera. It tells hot to adjust the camera to do different things etc., but, it assumes that you know what you want. For instance, what F stop for a paticular shooting situation would be best to name one. I'm assuming experience and some reading will teach me this. Today (as soon as I get this sent), I'll be getting a polorization filter.

One problem that I had in shooting in the submarine was that many of the surfaces were extremely shiney or I was shooting through glass/plexiglass. I think had I had some filters, I could have done a little better. As for shooting in the RAW format, currently, I'm using Paint Shop Pro 7 as my editor. I've been using PSP for many years and I'm very comfortable with it. However, I zipped outside and snapped a few shots in the back yard in the RAW format.

I know that it'll do it. I just have to learn how to view this format and we'll see what happens. Maybe sometime, I'll give Photoimpact a go, but, my piggy bank is running a little low. I'll have to build back up my camera fund. Again, thanks for all the comments and suggestions.


Comment #4

Bob, it looks like the c-5050 zoom has the ability to attach different types of lenses and filters via an add on adapter. is this correct? if so, you can soften up you pictures through the use of a diffuser filter. I have the canon powershot a70 and bought the lens adapter and diffuser filter for it. now my shots come out a bit softer and not as sharp. pictures are still clear but edges are softer and give it more a studio pic kind of look. ok, hope that helps. dan..

Comment #5

Dan, Thanks for the suggestion. Yeah, I can attach most anything that I can afford. However, right now, I'm going to spend the last of my pocket change on a circular polorizer tomorrow. When I build up my war fund, I'll go for some other filters. Then again, I need to read up on what to use under what circumstances and situations. Bob..

Comment #6

Bob, or their retail stores are having a sale on their quantary brand of filters. at the retail stores, it's buy two and get a third free (the third being the cheapest one). the online stores have the filters for 33% off each, so it comes out to be nearly the same for most. i'm not sure about the quality of the filters, but it seems to work fine for me. I got six filters for the price of four. the filters are 52mm and prices were from about $12 to $18 each.

The one filter I would recommend is the 80a filter. it's used for indoor shots to make the picture less yellow. most indoor shots come out to warm and yellow due to incandescent bulbs, so an 80a filter will balance out the color a bit. u.v filters are good general filters since it makes your shots a bit more vibrant and saturated as well as protects your camera lens. most people recommend this filter just as a way to protect the lens.

Anyhow, happy shooting (pictures of course)..

Comment #7

For 2 days now, I've been trying to find a step-up ring from 43mm to a polorizer. Say 49mm. You'd think that I'm looking for something gold plated. So, as soon as I track down something that's not gold plated, I'll give it a try...

Comment #8

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