Lake Ouachita, Ark 2008

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Scott Strang, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    Tell me what you think about these taken an EOS 40d. I bought it about 3 months ago and I don't really like it's output as much as that of my Nikon d40x.

    Flickr: shstrang98's Photostream

    I'm getting another camera but can't decide between the Nikon d90 or d300. I want to buy what I can afford without going in debt for it.
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I think the photos look fine, Scott. I especially like #3553 -- it reminds me (from a composition standpoint) of some photos I took in Hawaii a few years ago.

    What do you not like about the Canon 40D? Are you shooting JPEG or RAW? If it's JPEG, Nikon's default in-camera processing settings are much different than Canon's default settings. You may want to tweak your picture style settings more to your taste, or better yet, switch to RAW. I shoot everything in RAW with my 40D and wish I had started sooner when I had a Canon Rebel XT.
     
  3. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    I've tweeked several settings such as increasing sharpness to 7 and saturation to 3 or 5 in "landscape" mode. I did several in RAW but found that the pics often looked rather soft no matter what I did. I tend to avoid the auto mode since there is zero flexibility with it. I use shutter priority the most followed by apeture priority. My fav is zero flash mode. NR is turned on. I've used the supplied Canon software and Adobe Elements.

    I had it on the focus mode that switches between one shot and servo automatically based on the situation. It doesn't fare too well when in that mode. If I leave it in servo mode only it works a lot better.

    Those pics were taken I discovered using only the servo mode.

    I also like the heft of the Canon. Even the Nikon d300 doesn't feel as good as the Canon. I figure Canon put some weights inside the camera to make it heavier (like phone manufacturers used to do).
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I've never used the in-camera NR feature -- that may be causing some of your issues with softness.

    For focus mode, I use single-shot mostly, and I use the center focus point and recompose technique unless it's a shot using a tripod and cable release and I want to focus on an object at the edge of the frame. I only use AI Servo when I am shooting a moving object. To make it easier to switch between modes, I use one of the custom settings (C1, C2, C3) on the mode dial for an "action" setup -- shutter priority mode (TV), high shutter speed, ISO 400, AI Servo, etc.

    For most of my photos, I use the aperture priority mode (AV). For indoor flash photos, I use manual mode.

    I've never used the AI Focus mode that you had no success with. From what I've read, that mode is pretty useless. My advice would be to stick with single-shot mode unless you are shooting a moving object, then use AI Servo.
     
  5. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    Well...my D300 will be here tomorri. I'm having it sent to work (no one home to sign for it) so I'll get to try it here some. A co-worker saw that I ordered it and wants to see it. He's just as much a geek as I.
     
  6. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I haven't paid attention, but maybe the 40D has a rather strong AA filter (on the sensor itself) -- some Canon models (at least in the past) tend to have stronger AA filters than their Nikon counterparts though not sure how true this is off late.

    Also, Nikon's raw sensor color tonality was quite different from Canon's in the past, but again, this may have changed substantially by now, especially w/ the switch to CMOS sensors (and the trend toward higher DR) in the latest Nikon offerings. You are quite likely to find the D300 PQ to be more similar to the 40D than to the D40x even in RAW -- for in-camera JPEGs, I'd expect the D40x to yield more punchy colors and more sharp(ened) images for print-ready output compared to both the 40D and D300.

    BTW, how exactly are you processing the RAW files? You're not just using whatever generic "sharpen" tool that offers little-to-no control, correct? I'm not familiar w/ Adobe Elements (which version?) nor the Canon software, so I have no idea.

    Also, what lenses were you using on the D40x (for comparison)? I see you're using the 28-135IS for the 40D, but I wonder if performance at the wide end (at 28mm for many of those pics) is any good on this consumer lens. Also, I would probably have opened up the aperture maybe a stop or so as f/14 might not fall w/in its sweet spot. And did you have IS turned on for thos shots? With plenty of light (and fast shutter speeds), you should probably leave the IS off as the mechanism could potentially interfere (as have been found on certain Nikon VR lenses).

    Finally, why were you shooting at >=ISO400 in brought daylight outside? That could easily cost you a bit of PQ on most any DSLR w/out a fullframe sensor. Was it windy perhaps (and made the higher shutter speed necessary)? Again, try using a somewhat larger aperture somewhere between f/8 and f/11 instead and keep the ISO lower, eg. no higher than ISO200 if you want excellent PQ.

    Hmmm... I'm looking at a few more of your pics, and it seems like you're using some odd choices of settings for these pics. For this kind of photos, I'd recommend moving off shutter priority and go w/ aperture priority instead, especially since you're using an IS lens.

    _Man_
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Excellent suggestions, Man. I did not explore the EXIF information in Scott's photos.

    I'm not that familiar with the 28-135mm IS lens, but if it's like most Canon lenses its sweet spot for landscape shots requiring larger depth of field (DoF) will be somewhere between f/8 - f/11. I usually try to keep my aperture in that area with my two "landscape" lenses (17-55 f/2.8 IS and 10-22mm). At a wider focal length, those apertures should still result in a large DoF.

    ISO should always be kept as low as possible, but the 40D will perform very well at ISO 400 or less, and even ISO 800 is very good. I'll get more noise at ISO 1600 and 3200, and only resort to that when necessary in low light conditions -- it's better than no photo at all, and the results are usually not that bad, but it's best be avoided when possible.

    Good luck with your new Nikon. Most of our tips should also apply to that (or any other) camera.
     
  8. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    I really appreciate ya'lls responses.

    Just as Man suggested I figure I probably will find the d300 simular to the 40d. But if I do at least I know there's probably nothing wrong with the Canon. I even considered buying the fuji s5(mutated d2x or maybe d300?) but I have played with the d300 in Ritz and, while indoors, I found it preferable to the Canon which I bought pretty much w/o trying it.

    Now my wife will get the Canon and she actually likes it. She also has a D40.
    I'm sure she'll like playing with the D300 too.


    Maybe I'm too primitive to appreciate good quality dslr's. Perhaps I'm only a couple notches above neanderthal? ;-)
     

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