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airwolfhound


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#751 2007-08-27 16:40 GMT-5 hours    
Hi ya,

Well, I've been uploading a few pics recently and am getting far more rejections lately because either my photos are too soft, too sharp, or have had too much noise reduction.

Perhaps I'm in need of a new monitor, the one I have is over ten years old and does need the occasional thump for it to show the correct levels of contrast and colour lol.

I use Paintshop Pro X to process my pictures on. The majority of my pics are uncropped as I use a 50-500mm Sigma I tend to get the right image that I am after without too muuch cropping. However, the Bigma is pretty notorious for softish images and so I try to do alot of sharpening and other processing to try and get the photo looking half decent. However, half-decent is not good enough and I'm trying to get some better quality images through the equipment that I have.

Anyway, to try and cut a long preamble down to the bear minimum lol, how do others guage whether their photo is of 'good quality' or not ? Is it purely a matter of using your own vision or do you have access to some form of quality control which helps identify where the problems lie ?

I know my eyesight isn't the best, I wear glasses all the time nowadays, but I feel that the majority of the pics I upload are of a quality that are acceptable, but obviously the screeners feel differently, and rightly so in order to have the best pics on this great site.

Any hints and tips for trying to get that sharper image would be most appreciated. I tend to shoot anything with a rotor blade at around 250 on TV mode, and jets mostly on AV mode. TV mode picks up a fair amount of rubbish from the sensor so my main priority is fixing dust-spots and such like. Jets seem ok although sometimes a tad out of focus. I'm finding that the Canon 20D is pretty slow in focussing when pointing directly into the sky whereas on the straight and level it isn't too bad. Not sure of the problem there either ?

Anyway, apologies for the length of this post, but just wondering what others do in their processing ?

Cheers,

Tim

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rjpowney


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#754 2007-08-27 17:45 GMT-5 hours    
Firstly, the colours/contrast of your images I've seen recently seem to be OK - but a monitor that needs percussive maintenance to ensure it behaves isn't perhaps an ideal start!

Over-sharpening is typically given away by jaggies on straight lines (with the exception of thin lines which, with a digital camera, will have a slight jagged appearance anyway) or by "halos" (brighter areas) on high-contrast edges. It'd be unfair to say "this is how you sharpen an image" as each image can be different and thus the techniques for sharpening can/will differ. An image that is "too soft" could probably be sorted by a little sharpening prior to re-uploading it - whereas an image that is over-sharpened would need to be reprocessed. It seems to be a relatively personal thing - and it seems everyone does it slightly differently, not to mention using different software. In Photoshop for instance, there's at least three ways of sharpening (Sharpen, Smart Sharpen and Unsharp Mask).

With regard to the noise reduction issue, unless you're using high ISOs or cropping to a small area of the original image, noise isn't really that much of a problem and probably isn't worth worrying about. The giveaway for too much noise reduction is a "plastic" looking image that is clearly far too smooth and clean - and these look quite unnatural.

A sharper, cleaner original image is obviously preferred and in which case, a lower ISO and stopping down a stop or two from wide-open on many (not all) lenses can help considerably (i.e. if the lens has a maximum aperture of f/5.6, it will probably be sharper at f/8). Obviously this can go right out the window depending on shot conditions - f/8 and ISO100 is of naff all use if you need f/5.6 and ISO1600.

I personally don't have a gauge to compare anything against other than "well, that looks OK" - to have a gauge means you're working to the confines and restrictions placed upon you by that gauge and IMO, that's not what photography is all about. If you think an image looks OK, go with it and if it gets rejected, then perhaps take on board the rejection reasons and bear them in mind for future uploads.


It also sounds like you need to clean the sensor! In Tv mode, the camera will select an appropriate aperture to correctly expose an image based on the shutter speed you want - which could therefore show up dust spots. In the long run, it's a darn sight easier cleaning a sensor than messing about for hours trying to get rid of the damn things - although I must admit to being lazy at times!!


I can't explain your AF issues though, I've personally had no grief with the AF system - although where a 20D is involved, nothing comes as a shock!

Regards,

Robin


You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run!

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Tomcatter


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#773 2007-08-28 13:18 GMT-5 hours    
Regarding the focus issue, I think you'll find it is the lens that is slow not the camera.

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airwolfhound


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#780 2007-08-28 17:54 GMT-5 hours    
Many thanks for the very helpful replies

Cheers,

Tim

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#812 2007-08-29 19:03 GMT-5 hours    
Tim,
I think buying a new monitor might help too as some of the older monitors don't have the resolution high enough to show jagged edges, etc. and can hide a lot of imperfections. The price of flat-panels has really come down lately and investing in a new monitor with the shiny, smooth surfaces might be the way to do. IMO don't get the ones that have a rough/ant-glare coating as the surface along can hide a lot of detail at the edges of objects.

-Ray

This is the oldest I've ever been.

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airwolfhound


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#818 2007-08-30 12:23 GMT-5 hours    
Cheers for the reply Ray.

Yep, I think judging by the age of the monitor, and the fact that it does seem to hide alot of imperfections (I checked out an image on my monitor at work, and the monitor at home) and I think it is high-time for an upgrade !

Hope to get something sorted out soon.

Cheers again,

Tim

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