Digital photography questions

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Tom

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I'm so used to click-clicking away with either of my cameras that I rarely think of the impact of resolution or compression. As a result, my photos are OK for emailing and generally reminding us where we've been. But, having seen some of the photos that Ron Marabito, Jim Dick, and others have taken, I'm starting to think that I should change my ways. What I undestand folks to be doing is:

  • Shoot at the highest resolution of the camera.
  • Save in raw format.
  • Upload to PC in raw format and make a copy for editing.

My questions are:

  • Is this right, or is there some intermediate format?
  • What resolution are you using?
  • How much memory does your camera have?
  • Which photo editing software do you use?
  • Which format do you use to save the edited photo?
  • Do you always use a tripod, even if your camera has image stabilization?

TIA
 

Ned

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You don't need to make a copy for editing, just save the edited image to a different name.  If you save with a different extension, like jpg or png, it will not overwrite the original.  If you want to really insure you don't overwrite your original RAW or TIFF images, make them readonly as soon as you copy them to the computer from the camera.
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Tom,

You can only save in the RAW format if your camera supports it. More and more and starting to use this format. With my Canon Digital Rebel the resolution is 3072X2048 pixels which equates to 6.3MB. When I work on a photo I transfer it to Photoshop and then it is automatically saved as a TIFF file unless I specify something else.

I had been using two 256MB CF cards but just picked up a 1GB card at Best Buy. With the 256MB card I could get approximately 32 photos. With the new card I can get about 160.

I have been using a tripod much more frequently now that I have the Canon. Even with the fast speeds available I get better shots with the tripod. I also have a monopod for those occasions where a tripod would be cumbersome. Just used it at the J.B. Nethercutt museum where everything was indoors and no flash was allowed. I still got some bad pictures because I couldn't keep the monopod steady enough in the really low light conditions. A tripod would have been difficult to use with all the people that were there.

 

Tom

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Thanks Jim. One of the questions in my mind was what happens when you save in TIFF format, i.e. is there any compression, and is anything lost in the process?

I hadn't thought about low light and not being able to use flash, such as in a museum. I guess the shutter must be open for a while (?)
 

Jim Dick

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Tom,

TIFF is supposed to be a lossless format. As with any other type, I just save the change as a new file eliminating any possibility of affecting the original. Of course this leads to more photos to store.(G)

Some of the shots I took at the Nethercutt museum last week were blurry because the monopod wasn't as steady as the tripod and some of the exposure times were in the seconds. Most were fractions of a second but long enough that hand held would not work.



 

Chet18013

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Hi Tom,

I always shoot in camera raw and then save a copy of this original file in an archive. I then do all my editing on a copy in Photoshop and leave the edited file in a second location. From this file, I print, make reduced size copies or resize to upload to the web. I do not use TIFF files because they are the largest of all the formats you can use. The TIFF format is indeed lossless, as is the Photshop format.  I never edit and save a file as a JPG because each time you open and resave the file data is lost as it recompresses.

I use a tripod whenever possible, which seems to be not as often as I should. Image stabilizaton is good, in that it will let you capture a good photo, handheld at shutter speeds as low as a 1/15 sec. If conditions allow shutter speeds faster that 1/100, I try to shut it off, because it has little or no benefit and slows down your focus times slightly.

Chet

 

Tom

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Thanks Chet. I have lots to learn on this stuff.
 

DougJ

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Tom you asked about:

    * Is this right, or is there some intermediate format?
    * What resolution are you using?
    * How much memory does your camera have?
    * Which photo editing software do you use?
    * Which format do you use to save the edited photo?
    * Do you always use a tripod, even if your camera has image stabilization?


I use 240 dpi since 95%+ of the time I want to print my pictures.

I have a 1 Gig Lexar high speed compact flash.

I use PhotoShop 8 which is PhotoShop out of Adobe's creative suite CS package--but I don't have the full creative suite.

I save the edited pics as TIFFs and I may have more than one version since the pic is sharpened to match to size and paper that it will be printed on.

I've usually cheated by hand holding my image stabilised camera down to half second exposures.  What I'm finding is that if I'm using the macro mode, I just can't hold it steady enough.  I have a big tripod which I use if I want to take two or three identical images save for the exposure (aperture the same), but I now need to get one of those small tripods to get down to low-to-the-ground flowers.

I save all of my original pics (save for the disasters) in their RAW format in a separate folder and sub-folders on the HD, and when I've got about a CD's worth, I write them to the CD and then remove them from the HD.  Oh, I should add I'm also using an 40 Gig Iogear ION USB HD to store the pics, original, processed, and print ready.

Ciao,

Doug
 

Tom

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Thanks for that information Doug. It all seems straightforward. But, when I'm ready to click, I'm less worried about the quality than actually taking the picture. It's only afterwards, if I'm trying to fix something, that it becomes apparent I should have used the highest resolution.

Do you save anything in Adobe's format? (e.g. I have Photoshop Elements which offers that format.) Or do you use TIFF for both the copy and the original?

I usually have two tripods with me - tall and short, but rarely use them. Seeing the quality of photos taken by Jim and Ron, I'm going to have to change my bad habits.
 

Jim Dick

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Doug,

I just got a set of Kinko extension tubes. Work great for getting close without getting close. I use them mostly with a 75-300 zoom.

 

DougJ

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It's only afterwards, if I'm trying to fix something, that it becomes apparent I should have used the highest resolution.

To be clear, Tom, left to its own devices the camera will poop the pic out at 72 pixels/inch.  When I open my RAW file in Adobe RAW converter (ACR) one of the adjustments I make there is to say that I want my pic to be pooped out at 240 pixels per inch and that's eventually going to yield 240 dpi, unless I upsize the resolution.

I save my originals in the Nikon RAW format, extension "NEF".

I work in TIFF rather than PSD, so my intermediary steps in processing the image are saved as TIFFs and the final version from which I print is also a TIFF.

My big tripod stays in the MH.  Unfortunately, I am lazy and take full advantage of the image stabilised lens when I really should use a tripod far more often.

Ciao,

Doug
 

DougJ

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My goodness, Jim: if you're using extension tubes on a 300mm lens, you'll need a rock solid tripod.  What focal length is your extension tubes giving you?

Doug
 

Tom

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Thanks Doug. Yes, PSD was the Adobe format I couldn''t recall the name of.

When I open my RAW file in Adobe RAW converter (ACR) one of the adjustments I make there is to say that I want my pic to be pooped out at 240 pixels per inch

But, if the camera already saved a picture at 72 ppi, isn't it already too late? Or are you saying you also maximize the resolution of the saved file on the camera?
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Doug,

Yes, I'm using a pretty good tripod. :) The attached photo was taken with my 100-400 IS zoom at 400mm with the 36mm extension tube. I was probably about 3-4' away from the flower.

 

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Ron

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Chet,
:D Just to make you feel better we are forecast to have temps in the 80s the rest of the week.  But thats ok its what they call a dry heat. :D ;D
 

DougJ

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But, if the camera already saved a picture at 72 ppi, isn't it already too late?

I don't understand what the RAW converter software is doing.  The choice I have made is to to let the ARC output the file at its native resolution which is 240 ppi.  Beyond that I don't let PhotoShop make any interpolations.  When I'm finished post-processing, and I have the physical size I want for printing (not having let PS do any interpolation as part of the resizing), if the resolution is not by then 300 ppi, and it usually isn't, I use a standalone program, PhotoZoom, to adjust the resolution.

This is a lot of futzing, so please understand that I only futz with those few images that I decide are worth printing--to use on the notes I write to friends, or give away as a print up to 8 X 10.

Ciao,

Doug

 

DougJ

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I was probably about 3-4' away from the flower.

Hi Jim,

At that distance you wouldn't even disturb the bees.

When using my macro, the lens can be as close as 1.2 inches.  I've got to admit that I have not yet mastered the macro mode on this Nikon--don't know whey for I didn't have any trouble with the macro mode on the Olympus UZ2100.

The lens on the Nikon, as did the lens on the Olympus, has a max focal length of 340mm.

Ciao,

Doug
 

Tom

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LOL Doug, it does sound like a lot of futzing. But you get great results.
 
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