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View Full Version : Favorite camera settings for portrait/indoor low-light photos



tja111
07-03-2006, 10:35 AM
Hello everyone,

I am a novice photographer (studied photography in school 20 yrs ago). I Recently purchased a Canon 30D to capture as much
of my new babies (twin girls) lives as possible.

I have read many posts on many forums questioning the quality of the images from DSLR cameras from first time users. My understanding is that DSLR's differ greatly from P&S cameras both in depth of field and default processing of images. This apparently can lead novice user to end up with out of focus or soft photos, poor color saturation/quality etc.

This being said I would really love to hear from the experienced
photographers what their favorite settings are for portrait and
indoor photos as well as other types of photography.

In fact I have yet to see it, but this would make a great sticky; a matrix of favorite settings for different types of photography (portrait, nature, sports/action, etc.)

I realize the 30D has built in default settings for such things + ability to create repeatable custom settings, but I would like to hear from the pro's what their favorites are.

I also realize that experimentation is required to learn but I would like to narrow the range of experimentation to meaningful settings and improve my results from the start (not much time for experimentation when the gremlins are hungry).

I will be working with:
30D
EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IS
580EX

Thanks,

Todd

tja111
07-03-2006, 11:09 AM
Oh,

One more question. I am still unclear how settings effect RAW images. I have read two schools of thought, which frankly confuse me.

Some say shooting in RAW negates need to set sharpness, contrast, color saturation etc. Post processing RAW images is easier.

While others say, setting these appropriately up front reduces post processing requirements and ultimately leads to better photos.

thx

cwphoto
07-03-2006, 03:57 PM
Oh,

One more question. I am still unclear how settings effect RAW images. I have read two schools of thought, which frankly confuse me.

Some say shooting in RAW negates need to set sharpness, contrast, color saturation etc. Post processing RAW images is easier.

While others say, setting these appropriately up front reduces post processing requirements and ultimately leads to better photos.

thx

Shooting RAW allows you to set all of those things after the event, which can be handy. Setting your desired settings up-front may save some time later - but potentially the images can be identical.

cwphoto
07-03-2006, 04:01 PM
Indoors your 50mm will be your best friend. Shoot wide-open if you wish, but you'll get sharper pictures by stopping-down to f/2 or lower (if the lighting dictates). Keep an eye on your shutter-speed and raise the ISO when required to satisfy both your depth of field and shutter-speed needs. ISO 1600 is OK for emergencies, but keep it 800 and lower for best results (remember the best ISO is the slowest one you can get away with).

Use a single focus point and focus on the eyes.

Mix it up by using your 580EX to bounce off ceiling for more flattering illumination, this way you can shoot or more depth of field without worrying about shutter speeds (use P mode to start, or if you feel more confident use M mode and simply select the aperture and shutter-speed which suits your taste).

Welcome to the zoo.

24Peter
07-03-2006, 04:23 PM
Welcome to the zoo.
Yes indeed... it's a jungle in here (and out there). :)
tja - welcome aboard. Can't wait to see your pics... :)

tja111
07-04-2006, 11:46 AM
Thanks!

Realized well after the fact the problem with my question. (RAW vs JPG).

No need to start this argument here...

However have any of you used the provided Canon software for post processing RAW files?

Apparently Adobe has not yet released support for the 30d RAW images yet.

aparmley
07-04-2006, 02:24 PM
Thanks!

Realized well after the fact the problem with my question. (RAW vs JPG).

No need to start this argument here...

However have any of you used the provided Canon software for post processing RAW files?

Apparently Adobe has not yet released support for the 30d RAW images yet.

Raw Update 3.4 (http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=3364)

I use RSP 2006. I used to use ACR but I RSP is soooo much easier, more powerful, and faster than ACR.

RE: OP - the 50 1.4 as CW said will be your best friend - don't be afraid to shoot at ISO1600 - and 3200 [H] isn't that aweful either - but I will say this - ISO 1600 with a little bounce flash is a lot cleaner [read: less noise] than a plain old ISO 1600 shot.

cwphoto
07-04-2006, 04:06 PM
Thanks!

Realized well after the fact the problem with my question. (RAW vs JPG).

No need to start this argument here...

However have any of you used the provided Canon software for post processing RAW files?

Apparently Adobe has not yet released support for the 30d RAW images yet.

I use Canon's DPP exclusively for RAW processing.