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What do you want to understand better about photography?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by JohnRice, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Mike, the first thing i would do is take the camera out of Auto ISO. It's good to learn the dynamics rather than letting the camera adjust it. Like Sam, I set my own ISO most of the time, and just leave it at 100 unless I need to increase it. When I shot soccer last year, I did use Auto ISO, but I wanted to try it out and it was still daylight shooting at f/11, so I knew it wasn't going to do anything outrageous.

    That's something people tend to completely overlook. It's expressed as a ratio, which is why a lens with a maximum aperture of f/4 says 1:4 on it. Essentially, 1:4 is the same thing as 1/4. A lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 will say 1:1.4.
     
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  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Generally agreed about learning to shoot w/ manual ISO first... just because it's easier to learn/understanding/figure out what's actually happening if you only change one variable at a time and/or allow the camera to change only one at a time -- and manual ISO will be more like old film days as well...

    Also, I have no idea if Canon's auto-ISO has become as refined and user-controllable as Nikon's anyway -- they definitely weren't say 10 years ago -- so...

    _Man_
     
  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I'm already out of Auto ISO. (Baby steps... :laugh: ) I've been using ISO 100 outside and occasionally switching to 200 or 400 inside (depending on how bright the room is). I am quite amazed at how well this camera performs in low light situations.

    Like I said, I "understand" the ISO part of the equation pretty good from all my years of shooting film when my own kids were little.
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I rarely use auto-ISO, either. At one time Canon's implementation wasn't very good compared with Nikon. They have gotten better, but I'm just so used to adjusting the ISO myself that I rarely use it. The one situation where I found it useful was whale watching. I was using shutter priority mode with a shutter speed at 1/1000. Things happen so fast when trying to catch a whale emerging from the water that there's not any time to mess with your settings, so using the automation features of the camera really helps in that circumstance.
     
  5. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    What's the native ISO of your camera? Most are 200 not 100.
     
  6. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    All the DSLRs I've had since the Fuji S1, which was 320, have been 100. That's the D200, D7100, D5500 and D500. Unless there's trickery I'm not aware of.
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Canon FF (typically) are native ISO 100.
     
  8. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Does the native ISO really matter that much? I honestly cannot tell the difference in noise or overall image quality between any of the lower ISO values for any of my cameras, but I am not a pixel peeper. I don’t even think about anything at 400 or less — I just dial in what is needed to balance the exposure. Nothing at those levels needs any noise reduction applied in post processing.
     
  9. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Maybe it matters to those who shoot portraits, and want the cleanest file to work on before doing retouching on the file.
     
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  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    I sometimes push the RAW conversion pretty far, and the more dynamic range the better. Higher ISO has more noise ans lower dynamic range.
     
  11. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Yes, generally, native ISO should have the greatest DR, but you might not notice a diff unless you do what John mentioned.

    So yeah, if you want the absolute highest quality, especially where you'd make a lot of use of the extra DR (that might not be readily visible on your in-camera histogram unless you use a custom curve that reveals full RAW DR, but won't yield JPEGs you'd use), shooting at native ISO would be best. Some people do seem to use custom curve for that purpose though...

    Seems to make the most sense for landscapes and other similarly high contrast situations where the extra DR definitely comes in handy. I haven't gone the route of using custom curve in that manner myself (and really haven't touched custom curves since I stopped using my Nikon D70 ages ago)...

    _Man_
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    I few years ago I had the brilliant idea that with the resurgence of interest in photography, I might be able to help people better understand photography. I accept that my understanding of photography is greater than my skill at it, so maybe I some others would like to gain some of that understanding. What I've found is that there aren't many people who want to understand it. In fact, they crave to become more ignorant, but have no idea that's what they're doing. I'm not referring to this thread, or anyone here on HTF, but elsewhere. I think I need to give up on the idea of changing that at all, out of concern for my mental well being. There seems to be a broad embrace of stupidity these days, and not just regarding photography. I'm actually amazed by the level of bashing and trolling I've been subjected to. Then I keep coming across items like THIS, and it makes it that much worse, but I guess it also explains it a little bit as well. The problem with that article is, at best, there are minute slivers of fact, but ALL of the "knowledge" being imparted is completely mistaken. Anyone who doesn't already know what it's talking about will come away more stupid than when they started. But even worse than plain stupidity, is they will come away insisting they learned something. Thinking they went two steps forward, they'll have no idea they went five steps backward. Articles like that aren't isolated, either. In fact, the vast majority of educational stuff I see... is just plain mistaken.
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Should I elaborate, or just let my rant die?
     
  14. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    John:

    I can only thank you (and Scott, Man, Sam and others) for helping explain things to me.

    I've been inundated with other obligations these past few weeks to spend much time with the new camera...but am definitely going to be asking questions about how best to adjust the aperture and shutter speed as I get started on my journey towards manual shooting.

    I know you specifically said you weren't targeting the folks at the HTF. I would suspect you are running into the civility problems that are running rampant throughout society (especially the internet) and in political circles. It's really too bad when it finds us--especially in great quantities.

    As for the stupidity you speak of. Stupid is, as stupid does. It seems like I've been advising a number of people lately:

    [​IMG]

    But if you're in the mood for a good rant, I'm not gonna be the one to stop you! :laugh: Go for it!
     
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  15. Message #155 of 168 Dec 6, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Seems like it just is what it is... and best to just remember smell some roses, maybe have a few laughs and not expect too much of other people... not that I'm suggesting we shouldn't try at all of course...

    As for that one particular article you linked, I think I know what you meant, but it's possible there's more I'm missing, especially since I didn't read the entire thing... and no, I certainly cannot remotely claim any level of practiced expertise... Just a sorta serious amateur who definitely gets lazy at execution much too often... :blush:

    I wonder though... maybe there could be enough interest in your local area amongst teenage kids w/ parents who encourage them toward such extracurricular enrichment activities. Maybe you can educate them on a part-time basis in whatever capacity... It's actually something I'm sorta considering myself for a career change... maybe particularly to work w/ disadvantaged young people... but probably not in traditional teaching role/context nor photography (in my case)... though I would probably encourage them to discover various the arts and maybe help them get started perhaps... Actually been on my mind over the last couple years perhaps in part for similar reasons you vaguely mentioned...

    Something to consider anyway...

    Cheers!

    _Man_
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Man, I've been thinking the same thing. Wanting to contribute something. I don't need to go into all my crap, but I also had been wanting to do contribute somehow, at least as a way to feel better about things. So far, everything has backfired. I've thought many times about giving our local camera club a try, but I hesitate because I wonder if the response will be the same as these couple of online photography groups I've tried. What I've found is there are too many, very vocal people whose attitude is "I want to produce better photos, but don't expect me to learn, or even worse, re-learn what I've learned wrong. And don't talk to me about technique, camera handling, developing skills and all the stuff. Just tell me what hardware to buy and what button to push so I'll always magically get what I want." Worst of all, what I see over and over is people insisting on using fast lenses, wide open, then complaining that their photos aren't sharp. Well, a lot of the time, that's due to poor camera handling (and they already told me not to talk about that) but the rest of the time it's not that the photo isn't sharp, it's because the depth of field is too shallow. But if you tell them to stop down the lens, which is the ONLY solution to that problem, their heads explode and I get accused of being ignorant.

    I'm afraid that no matter where I go, I'll keep getting hit with this same crap.

    Regarding the article, I just wondered if anyone was interested in a point-by-point explanation of how basically everything in it is incomplete at best, and just wrong at worst. I might do it, just for my own sanity.
     
  17. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    I'm going to start on dispelling the many misconceptions and downright false information in the article I linked earlier. We'll see how far I get before I lose steam, but this is one of the main topics in photography where what's become commonly believed to be right is more likely horribly wrong.

    OK, there definitely isn't a "perfect portrait lens", just like it says. One problem is with how the term "portrait" is thrown around so loosely. If it's used to mean any photo with a person in it, then it really doesn't have any meaning. If it means only head and shoulders photos, then it has meaning. I expect I'll get into that later, if I make it that far in the article. The real problem, is how many ways the term "distortion" is thrown around. The statement "let’s check out how each focal length impacts lens distortion" is where we start having serious problems. Distortion is the result of a design of a lens, but has absolutely zero connection to its focal length. None. At that moment, she is referring to "perspective", not "distortion". Throughout the article, she will make a major mistake I see a lot, which is to refer to "distortion" and "perspective" interchangeably, as though they are the same thing, when they have nothing to do with each other.

    Lenses have distortion, at least to some degree. In an ideal lens, the distortion will be so low that it's undetectable. Distortion is a very distinct thing. Most of the time, it's when straight lines end up being something other than straight in the photo. There are three main types of distortion in lenses. Barrel (convex, where lines bulge outward), pincusion (concave, where lines collapse inward) and one that doesn't necessarily have as official a name, but is usually called "moustache" distortion, where straight lines end up wavy in some way. With barrel and pincushion distortion, the degree of line curving becomes more extreme the closer to the edge of the photo. This can be important to know, because lines passing through the center of the frame don't have any distortion. Basic, evenly distributed barrel and pincushion distortion are also very easy to fully correct in post. Most of the time, it isn't perfectly even, but can be corrected closely enough not to be perceptible. Moustache distortion is a lot more difficult to correct, since it has to be mapped to the specific lens, and applied fairly precisely to correct. It's also usually in zoom lenses, and will vary with focal length, so it gets very complicated and difficult to do.

    There is a fourth, less common type of distortion, spherical, which is usually only found in fisheye lenses. Spherical distortion produces images where objects are large in the center, and get progressively compressed as they approach the boundaries. It's part of the intended, extreme effect of fisheye lenses. There are some fisheye lenses, like ones from Rokinon, which don't have spherical distortion, which makes them more flexible to work with.


    OK, the first two sentences are mostly accurate, if incomplete, because it only recognizes the existence of one kind of distortion. Barrel distortion. The problems start after that. "The lens optics cause this — the wider the lens, the greater the distortion." Wrong. Manufacturers always try to reduce distortion as much as possible, within the cost and other design goals of the lens. There are, in fact, extremely wide angle lenses with little to no perceptible distortion. The article states that it is an unavoidable characteristic of a given focal length, and it simply is NOT. The reason she made this mistake, once again, is because she is referring to distortion and perspective interchangeably... AND is unaware that lens focal length is only one factor in perspective. An important thing to always remember is that the camera produces the image, and where the camera is located will influence everything about the image. More important than anything else, is where the camera is located.

    Finally I'll touch again on fisheye lenses. The fact the author brings them up to prove any unavoidable facts about wide angle lenses is completely absurd. Fisheye lenses always have a very wide angle of view, but their distortion isn't an unavoidable result of that wide angle of view. It's a result of the fact they are designed to have high distortion. That's why they are called "fisheye". They just also have always been wide angle, because it makes sense for them to be. A lens of just about any focal length could be designed with extreme barrel distortion and called a "fisheye".

    Anyway, it should be obvious that if I make it through correcting that entire article, it's going to take a lot of time and work. We'll see how far I get.
     
  18. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I'm all for it. I hope it's cathartic, John! :D

    I wasn't going to read the article based on your comments--so I didn't even know its topic. But I'll be glad to read your posts on the article here.
     
  19. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    [​IMG]

    As I recently wrote, I've been mighty busy lately and haven't had a lot of time to spend with the camera. The image above is still in P mode. But one of the things I have been doing (out of necessity) is learning how to properly use the AF modes on the camera. I say "out of necessity" because I have found that if I am in the wrong mode for what I'm shooting at any given moment, it can screw me up royally. So I am learning how to change the AF formats on-the-fly and am finding it easy and awesome. When I was watching all the YT videos before I pulled the trigger on the camera I wasn't really sure why one would want so many different options of AF. But now it is making all the sense in the world to me.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    I can't say I experiment all that much with AF modes, but I'm usually not shooting moving things. I usually use a 9 segment area and move it around to where I want it. I did try the 3D last year when I shot a soccer game. Most of the focus problems I've seen while looking around online groups and forums are really just because so many people insist on shooting wide open. they think they're missing focus and need to calibrate, when they just need more depth of field.
     

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