*Official* Digital Photography Advice Thread

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  • PhoenixFlames 12 Jan 2010 10:07:21 9,185 posts
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    As the proud new owner of a DSLR I'm just getting to grips with it so I am bound to have lots of questions.

    I also notice a few other forumites are about to purchase cameras. Further to that there are plenty of experienced forumites who regularly post awe inspiring pictures.

    So please use this thread to ask all your questions about equipment and use.

    It will be much appreciated if the knowledgeable amongst us would be kind enough to lend their know-how.

    PSN - phoenix1flames

  • Deleted user 12 January 2010 11:45:34
    I'm absolutely positive there are threads like this already. But this one's official... ;)
  • otto Moderator 12 Jan 2010 12:06:18 49,320 posts
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    Not only do we have lots of other threads on this subject, we also have a dedicated group which you should join Phoenix.

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  • AaronTurner 12 Jan 2010 12:15:46 7,786 posts
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    But it's *official*!!!!

    Seriously, my advice (I'm a newbie) is don't get disheartened when you see your pics on screen for the first time. It's very easy to get carried away by how great they look on that small LCD camera screen and when you see them full screen at a high resolution suddenly all those blurs and highlights come flooding at you. The only way to get better is to persevere. Make sure you take RAW photos; after you've taken a photo you like study the metadata on the RAW file to see what settings you used and note them down, you can use them again under similar circumstances. It's also worth looking at what the camera does in auto mode, can help a newb out alot.
  • terminalterror 12 Jan 2010 12:38:44 18,937 posts
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    AaronTurner wrote:
    But it's *official*!!!!

    Seriously, my advice (I'm a newbie) is don't get disheartened when you see your pics on screen for the first time. It's very easy to get carried away by how great they look on that small LCD camera screen and when you see them full screen at a high resolution suddenly all those blurs and highlights come flooding at you. The only way to get better is to persevere. Make sure you take RAW photos; after you've taken a photo you like study the metadata on the RAW file to see what settings you used and note them down, you can use them again under similar circumstances. It's also worth looking at what the camera does in auto mode, can help a newb out alot.

    jpegs store settings data too (aperture, shutter speed, iso at the very least).
  • PhoenixFlames 12 Jan 2010 13:35:25 9,185 posts
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    Sorry for the new thread. But as the keen eyed amongst you have spotted it is all encompassing and most importantly *official*
    :p

    PSN - phoenix1flames

  • otto Moderator 12 Jan 2010 13:42:03 49,320 posts
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    terminalterror wrote:

    jpegs store settings data too (aperture, shutter speed, iso at the very least).

    But he should still take raws.

    The only reason to shoot jpegs is if you're a photo journalist working to deadlines. Hobbyists like us should always shoot raw and keep maximum creative control over our final images.

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  • Nth 12 Jan 2010 14:04:48 3,121 posts
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    Make sure you have a good idea of what your body is capable of with regards to ISO, I only recently discovered that at ISO 1600 I can produce mono stuff that really pleases me (albeit with a 50mm f1.4).
  • Neverness 12 Jan 2010 14:25:21 1,186 posts
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    I cant imagine anything more off putting than starting to learn photography with an SLR while having to deal with the hassle of RAW processing as well. I admit that RAW is the way to go eventually, but I feel there are more important things to learn before then. You know when you need the extra editing capabilities and headroom of RAW but personally I would avoid it at the start.

    On that note I would say my advice it to take note that you will get conflicting views on what is the right way to go. The best option is to move at your own pace, take loads of pics using different settings (even if the shot itself is arse, you will learn how settings affect each other) and get used to your camera and how to change things intuativly.
  • Nth 12 Jan 2010 14:34:18 3,121 posts
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    I'd agree, although I shoot in raw+jpeg all the time, I only occasionally use the RAW files. I'd say looking at the exif data in each shot you take will teach you the most about what does what.
  • Nth 12 Jan 2010 15:05:40 3,121 posts
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    Oh and start a system as soon as you can for storing and organising your shots, i.e. iPhoto or PC equivalent. Try and add some basic keywords to help find stuff in years to come too.
  • Neverness 12 Jan 2010 15:07:57 1,186 posts
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    Nth wrote:
    Oh and start a system as soon as you can for storing and organising your shots, i.e. iPhoto or PC equivalent. Try and add some basic keywords to help find stuff in years to come too.

    Yes, do that. I recently had a PC crash and lost all my Lightroom tags and now I realise how much I actually used them.
  • Maturin 12 Jan 2010 15:09:26 3,100 posts
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    Digital cameras take a RAW shot every time you take a picture. When you change the setting to jpeg only it takes a RAW, converts it to jpeg, then throws the RAW away.

    It's a bit like shooting on film and throwing your negatives away.

    If you don't want to fiddle with RAW files yet, shoot RAW+jpeg. Computer storage is dead cheap, those unused RAW files can sit on your hard-drive unloved for ages. But one day you may want them - and you'll be glad you kept them.
  • smoothpete 12 Jan 2010 15:11:20 31,581 posts
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    Just point it at stuff and press the button a lot
  • Nth 12 Jan 2010 15:13:55 3,121 posts
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    Oh yeah, and back your stuff up!
  • Khab 12 Jan 2010 15:14:51 6,576 posts
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    ^ What he said ^
  • otto Moderator 12 Jan 2010 15:26:12 49,320 posts
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    Neverness wrote:
    I cant imagine anything more off putting than starting to learn photography with an SLR while having to deal with the hassle of RAW processing as well. I admit that RAW is the way to go eventually, but I feel there are more important things to learn before then. You know when you need the extra editing capabilities and headroom of RAW but personally I would avoid it at the start.
    Hmm, well we really disagree then, I think it's crucial to get into good habits right from the start. I sometimes go back and look at the photos I shot when I got my first DSLR and they're all JPEGs and therefore unrescuable. It seems daft to me to go to the trouble and expense of buying a decent camera and then using it as a point & shoot. Post processing is at least half the fun and half the point.

    or what Harry said more succinctly

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  • mal 12 Jan 2010 15:27:42 22,710 posts
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    Okay, a question from me. Does the depth of field vary with focal length?

    As far as I know, DoF range is a multiple of the focus distance e.g. from 0.8x to 1.1x the focus distance things will be sharp. So as the focus distance increases the actual range in focus will increase. And longer lenses tend to be used from greater distance - but is that the only factor at play?

    e.g. will a 28mm lens focusing at a point 1m away get the same amount in focus at f/2.8 as a 105mm lens also at f2.8 or is there a difference?

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  • otto Moderator 12 Jan 2010 15:28:07 49,320 posts
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    Neverness wrote:
    I recently had a PC crash and lost all my Lightroom tags and now I realise how much I actually used them.
    Does anyone know of a Lightroom plug-in that will regularly remind you to sync your metadata back to the original files?

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  • otto Moderator 12 Jan 2010 15:30:38 49,320 posts
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    mal wrote:
    e.g. will a 28mm lens focusing at a point 1m away get the same amount in focus at f/2.8 as a 105mm lens also at f2.8 or is there a difference?
    I don't know for sure without testing but I'm pretty sure that in this example there would be a big difference, corresponding to the difference in field of view.

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  • UncleLou Moderator 12 Jan 2010 15:31:17 35,718 posts
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    Shoot in srgb as long as you don't know what the difference between srgb and argb is. It'll save you a lot of hassle.
  • otto Moderator 12 Jan 2010 15:32:40 49,320 posts
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    UncleLou wrote:
    Shoot in srgb as long as you don't know what the difference between srgb and argb is. It'll save you a lot of hassle.
    ^^
    Only relevant if you're shooting jpegs.

    (But whether you shoot in jpegs or convert later to jpegs it's decent advice if you're intending to display your photos on the web.)

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  • Nth 12 Jan 2010 15:34:03 3,121 posts
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    otto wrote:
    Neverness wrote:
    I cant imagine anything more off putting than starting to learn photography with an SLR while having to deal with the hassle of RAW processing as well. I admit that RAW is the way to go eventually, but I feel there are more important things to learn before then. You know when you need the extra editing capabilities and headroom of RAW but personally I would avoid it at the start.
    Hmm, well we really disagree then, I think it's crucial to get into good habits right from the start. I sometimes go back and look at the photos I shot when I got my first DSLR and they're all JPEGs and therefore unrescuable. It seems daft to me to go to the trouble and expense of buying a decent camera and then using it as a point & shoot. Post processing is at least half the fun and half the point.

    or what Harry said more succinctly
    Not tweaking RAWs does not mean you're using it like a point and shoot! And some of us hate post processing…
  • otto Moderator 12 Jan 2010 15:38:58 49,320 posts
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    But there's so much that can go wrong with the camera's jpeg conversion, why take the risk? Storage is so cheap, I see no downside to shooting RAW, you don't have to post process each shot if you don't want to, just let your chosen software do it, at least you still have the RAW there if you want to do it yourself. Seems such a risky thing to go to the trouble of taking a carefully composed and metered shot and then risk it being ruined by a poor jpeg conversion. At least with film, even if you sent your pics to Bonusprint, you'd always have the negative if you want to go back and get a really nice print done.

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  • Neverness 12 Jan 2010 15:39:10 1,186 posts
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    otto wrote:
    Neverness wrote:
    I cant imagine anything more off putting than starting to learn photography with an SLR while having to deal with the hassle of RAW processing as well. I admit that RAW is the way to go eventually, but I feel there are more important things to learn before then. You know when you need the extra editing capabilities and headroom of RAW but personally I would avoid it at the start.
    Hmm, well we really disagree then, I think it's crucial to get into good habits right from the start. I sometimes go back and look at the photos I shot when I got my first DSLR and they're all JPEGs and therefore unrescuable. It seems daft to me to go to the trouble and expense of buying a decent camera and then using it as a point & shoot. Post processing is at least half the fun and half the point.

    or what Harry said more succinctly

    Actually the RAW plus JPEG is the best option as said above. I just feel RAW processing is something else to do ontop of the steep learning curve but being able to go back once you are comfortable would be a great bonus. Of course it depends on how you feel about messing around with PCs because if you are happy with that, then go for it with the RAW.

    Mind you, I wouldn't say shooting JPEG makes an SLR a point and shoot! Using auto modes does that but you still get all of the creative control with a JPEG during shooting as you do with a RAW in the more manual modes, it is just that what you get out of the camera has all the range you are going to get.
  • Nth 12 Jan 2010 15:40:35 3,121 posts
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    I've said all along I shoot raw and jpeg, but if the camera is fucking up the jpeg that much then you've bought a shit camera!
  • mal 12 Jan 2010 15:46:51 22,710 posts
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    I shot jpegs for a couple of days before switching to RAW when I got my D70. I do find myself playing around with saturation a lot (sometime too much), and small changes can have a big effect. You can change the saturation on a jpeg, but the results will be more natural on a RAW file.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • mal 12 Jan 2010 15:49:47 22,710 posts
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    otto wrote:
    mal wrote:
    e.g. will a 28mm lens focusing at a point 1m away get the same amount in focus at f/2.8 as a 105mm lens also at f2.8 or is there a difference?
    I don't know for sure without testing but I'm pretty sure that in this example there would be a big difference, corresponding to the difference in field of view.
    Yes, that's one thing that occurred to me. If you took the 28mm image and cropped it to the 105mm field of view, you'd be blowing the image up, including blowing up the bokeh. In effect you'd be making the out of focus areas even more out of focus.

    So that would mean the 105mm lens has greater DoF at f2.8 than the 28mm lens. Like you say though, it's something that shouldn't be hard to test (though I can only do 35mm and 50mm at that sort of aperture with my present lens set).

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Nth 12 Jan 2010 15:49:53 3,121 posts
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    Actually didn't the older Nikon's only save a low-res jpeg with the RAWs? Always seemed daft to me.
  • mal 12 Jan 2010 15:56:16 22,710 posts
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    There is a thumbnail jpeg stored inside NEF files (Nikon RAW) even if you only select RAW. If you select RAW+JPEG you get a proper jpeg file as well AFAIK (though I don't use that setting).

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

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