PDA

View Full Version : A Vague post-processing question



Jredtugboat
01-17-2005, 09:37 AM
Hi all,

Hope you're all enjoying a great Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

I have a 'vague post-processing question'. Whilst patrolling another forum, I saw a pronouncement from a user that read something like this:

"If you shoot a lot in P AE mode, then a dSLR is probably not for you. A lot of image details, like sharpening, are taken care of automatically for you in a P&S that you have to deal with yourself in Photoshop if you shoot with a dSLR."

I'm wondering how true this is. I shoot with a PShot G2 (still incredibly happy with), about 50% of the time in P AE and the balance in A or Tv mode.

I have Arcsoft photo software that I use only for resizing. I don't know anything about color corrections, layers, levels/curves adjustment. I also don't know anything yet about ICC profiles and it's at least a month away to my next purchase (a monitor calibrator).

Do you think this gentleman is right in his estimation? Honestly I don't intend to do a lot of post-processing. I'm not a purist, it's just that I don't really enjoy diddling around with images after the fact.

This is not to say that I'm not willing or going to learn. But I just want to know if I'm going to be overtly disappointed with the shots I get out of my (KM 7D and EOS-20D are in the running) dSLR out of the box, un- post- processed.

If I really DO need to learn all this stuff, I can get my hands on software and at least two friends who know a thing or two and can help me out. What would you suggest that I should put at the top of my "to learn" list, among the many features/functions of an image editing suite like... Photoshop or Photoshop elements?

Looking forward to hearing your comments.

ReF
01-19-2005, 03:18 PM
"If you shoot a lot in P AE mode, then a dSLR is probably not for you. A lot of image details, like sharpening, are taken care of automatically for you in a P&S that you have to deal with yourself in Photoshop if you shoot with a dSLR."


I think that statement is over-generalized. as i understand it, the first part of the quote is saying: if you only use A or P modes most of the time, then you probably don't have the need for a DSLR. that sounds about right. the second part is crap in my opinion. usually you shoot in Aperture priority, Shutter priority, or Manual bacause the auto modes are not shooting the way you want it to. shooting in the manual modes is supposed to improve the images towards your liking, not the other way around.

"This is not to say that I'm not willing or going to learn. But I just want to know if I'm going to be overtly disappointed with the shots I get out of my (KM 7D and EOS-20D are in the running) dSLR out of the box, un- post- processed."

images are also supposed to come out much better on a dSLR as opposed to a point and shoot, therefore needing less post processing, again, not the other way around. if you are not dissapointed in the quality of your G2 then you will not be dissapointed from the shots that come from a dSLR.

the reason why so many people who use dSLRs also post process is because they demand a very high quality from their pics - taking a DSLR image which is already better than a point and shoot pic and making it even "better" in photoshop (or other post processing programs).

DownByFive
01-31-2005, 08:19 PM
I think another reason DSLR shooters post process is that they either a) shoot in RAW mode for the greatest quality and flexibility, b) computers are more powerful, and hence, better at doing tasks like sharpening and the like than any camera, and c) a combination of A and B...

Ant
02-01-2005, 01:32 AM
I'm afraid I'd have to totally disagree with ReF

I used a P&S for a while before I decided to move up to a DSLR. I'd been hearing about the fantastic image quality of a DSLR and was really looking forward to seeing it first hand. I took two comparison pictures and downloaded both to my monitor...what a disappointment. I actually preferred the image straight out of my P&S, and I've heard many people who have thought the same way.

It took me a while to figure out how to get the best images out of my DSLR and how to post process, but now that I have (although there's still much to learn) I get far superior images than I do with my P&S.

You're sort of correct about the sharpening too. A P&S will tend to sharpen the image more in-camera than a DSLR on default. That's not to say you can't get sharp images out of a DSLR....there are usually options allowing you to set how much in-camera sharpening you want. However, an awful lot of people figure that they can do this sort of post processing better themselves than have the camera do it automatically for them, and for the reasons stated by DownByFive.

I also think that a lot of this will depend on what DSLR you choose. I've got a D70, your experience might be different with a 20D or something else.

It also depends on your standards. If you're happy with the images you get then there's no need to do a lot of post editing.

I've got arcsoft photostudio too. It does pretty much the same thing that photoshop elements does so there's no real reason for you to have to buy any other editing software.

jamison55
02-01-2005, 04:44 AM
A huge factor that no one has mentioned yet is the quality of the lenses. DSLR lenses effect the amount of post processing more than any other single factor. Buy cheap lenses and you will have to post process more to get image quality like you are probably already used to from your PnS. For example, the kit lens that comes with the DReb and 20D is pretty soft at it's widest apertures. As a portrait photog, I often shoot wide open to minimize DOF and was not happy with the kit lens at all. I bought a "plastic fantastic" 50 1.8 Mk 2, and got tack sharp pictures right out of the camera. Since building my studio, I have found that the kit lens is plenty sharp at f8 to f11.

The lenses on PnS cameras, on the other hand, are built for the small sensors and can thus be made smaller (and cheaper).

The moral of this story is that no PnS can compare to a DSLR (from any manufacturer) with good glass mounted on it. Search PBase.com for Canon lenses with an "L" in the name and you will see pro quality pictures on a variety of bodies!

As for editing, Photoshop Elements comes with the 20D. It is good enough for anything you are likely to need to fix. I recommend this book for learning some very useful techniques: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0735713928/qid=1107262264/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/103-6693063-0463000

dwig
02-01-2005, 05:18 AM
...
I have a 'vague post-processing question'. Whilst patrolling another forum, I saw a pronouncement from a user that read something like this:

"If you shoot a lot in P AE mode, then a dSLR is probably not for you. A lot of image details, like sharpening, are taken care of automatically for you in a P&S that you have to deal with yourself in Photoshop if you shoot with a dSLR."
...


The person you quote has so over-simplified the point that the statement is inaccurate.

Jamison5 has the most accurate commont on the true differences between P&S cameras and dSLRs. DownByFive's comment is, also, quite true when it applies, although it involves an expected trend of the user population and not a true attribute of the hardware. Nikon's top P&S cameras have the same RAW capability present in both of their dSLR classes. While I would expect a higher percentage of D70/D100 owners to use it as compared to CoolPix 8400/8800 users; the difference is not the camera but the user.

My points:
1. Breaking the spectrum of digital cameras into just two classes results in too broad a grouping to allow _ANY_ accurate generalizations about the image quality each class produces. You would have to break it into 4 classes minimum.

2. The _ONLY_ universal difference between P&S's and dSLR's is the dSLR's _potential_ for better and more specialized lenses. I say "potential" since some cheap 3rd-party optics for dSLR's are no better than what is found on the better pro-sumer class of P&S cameras.

Before making generalizations, I would suggest that you mentally break the spectrum into at least 4 classes. I would propose:

1. P&S - low end to mid line integrated lens cameras
2. Pro-sumer Integrated Lens cameras (needs a short name) - high end cameras with fixed lenses.
3. Pro-sumer dSLR's
4. Professional dSLR's.

If you do, you'l find that group2 and group3 produce pretty much the same quaility except what results from the differences in optical quality that _might_ exist with just the right lens choice on a dSLR. Most of the difference is in optical flexibility; wider wide angles, longer telephotos, specialized macro setups, ... . Generally, group1 will fall short of the optical quality of group2 in addition to usually having slightly lower resolution CCD.

Most of the differences between group3 and group4 don't yield better image quality although group4 is usually on the bleeding-edge of pixel count. Most of the difference is in ruggedness, specialized functionality, ... . Think "Mac truck" instead of "Chevy pickup".

Ant
02-01-2005, 07:06 AM
2. The _ONLY_ universal difference between P&S's and dSLR's is the dSLR's _potential_ for better and more specialized lenses. I say "potential" since some cheap 3rd-party optics for dSLR's are no better than what is found on the better pro-sumer class of P&S cameras.

Not true. DSLRs have far larger sensors than the P&S cameras. This means that there's far less noise in any photo taken with a DSLR. The only way the image quality of a P&S can compete is to keep it nailed to the lowest ISO, which robs you of flexibility. DSLRs have a huge advantage because of that.

DSLRs also have a big advantage when it comes to speed, although the P&S cameras are catching up in this regard. Most of them are still way too slow though.

D70FAN
02-01-2005, 08:45 AM
2. Pro-sumer Integrated Lens cameras (needs a short name) - high end cameras with fixed lenses.



They are generally referred to as "all-in-ones".

ReF
02-01-2005, 04:00 PM
I'm afraid I'd have to totally disagree with ReF

I used a P&S for a while before I decided to move up to a DSLR. I'd been hearing about the fantastic image quality of a DSLR and was really looking forward to seeing it first hand. I took two comparison pictures and downloaded both to my monitor...what a disappointment. I actually preferred the image straight out of my P&S, and I've heard many people who have thought the same way.

It took me a while to figure out how to get the best images out of my DSLR and how to post process, but now that I have (although there's still much to learn) I get far superior images than I do with my P&S.

You're sort of correct about the sharpening too. A P&S will tend to sharpen the image more in-camera than a DSLR on default. That's not to say you can't get sharp images out of a DSLR....there are usually options allowing you to set how much in-camera sharpening you want. However, an awful lot of people figure that they can do this sort of post processing better themselves than have the camera do it automatically for them, and for the reasons stated by DownByFive.

I also think that a lot of this will depend on what DSLR you choose. I've got a D70, your experience might be different with a 20D or something else.

It also depends on your standards. If you're happy with the images you get then there's no need to do a lot of post editing.

I've got arcsoft photostudio too. It does pretty much the same thing that photoshop elements does so there's no real reason for you to have to buy any other editing software.


i saw the same difference between the all-in-one and D-slrs i have. all-in-ones have very good DOF, therefore more objects look sharp in the photos. i used to shoot 90% of my all-in-one shots at f8.0 so it took some adjusting when i went to d-slr. i also find i can get the d-slr pictures to come out the same as the all-in-one if i cranked up the in-camera saturation, sharpening, and contrast levels. i like the ability to set these parameters low so i can post process as i please.

the point someone made out the quality of lens is good too.

IMO there is a big difference between prosumer all-in-ones and prosumer d-slrs. the fact that you can use professional grade glass on a low cost d-slr is a big advantage over any all-in-one. when i think of "professional d-slr," i think of cams like the canon 1ds series or any of those other above-10mp cams, including medium format digital backs.

there are several types of post processing including RAW conversion as someone has already mentioned, of course there is photoshop and the like, but no one has mentioned specialized software such as those specially made for one purpose. those include noise reduction, sharpening (which i hear is superior to photoshop USM), interpolation, panoramic makers, etc.

erichlund
02-02-2005, 08:31 AM
i saw the same difference between the all-in-one and D-slrs i have. all-in-ones have very good DOF, therefore more objects look sharp in the photos.

Depth of field is controlled by aperture. As far as I have seen, most all-in-ones have a limited range of apertures compared to SLR glass. I haven't looked all of them, but for example, the Panasonic FZ20 goes f2.8 to f8. I don't think any of my SLR lenses goes out to less than f22, some to f32. So, in fact, all-in-ones have relatively poor depth of field, especially at the telephoto end of their range.

Cheers,
Eric

jamison55
02-02-2005, 09:17 AM
Eric, you forget about how the sensor sizes of the all-in-ones factor into the DOF. Most all-in-ones have a sensor size that is approximately 5x smaller than a frame of 35mm film (you can figure out the sensor size by looking at the actual lens focal length compared to the 35mm equivalent. My A300 has a 5.5mm actual focal length, which is equivalent to a 28mm lens on a full-frame 35 - than means my sensor is approximately 5x smaller). Because of this, to correctly estimate the OOF area of the camera at any given aperture, you should multiply the f-stop by the focal length multiplier. For my A300, f8 has the same DOF as f40 on my 35mm SLR! My SLR lenses cannot achieve f40, so the DOF on my $79 A300 is greather than the DOF on my $1000 DReb with a $400 lens mounted on it.

That is why all-in-ones are great for landscape photographers, but generally useless for portrait photographers (f2.8 x 5 = f14, impossible to get blurred backgrounds).

Jredtugboat
02-02-2005, 08:39 PM
Hello all,

I was beginning to think I wouldn't get any responses!

I see there are a number of responses possible out there. In my mind, with a good (small!) kit of lenses I feel confident that I'm not going to be miserable with the dSLR of my choice.

On the same note, I'll be learning PS CS to learn about handling RAW images so I'll be able to do what I'd like when the time comes.

Thanks again.

ReF
02-04-2005, 11:30 PM
Depth of field is controlled by aperture. As far as I have seen, most all-in-ones have a limited range of apertures compared to SLR glass. I haven't looked all of them, but for example, the Panasonic FZ20 goes f2.8 to f8. I don't think any of my SLR lenses goes out to less than f22, some to f32. So, in fact, all-in-ones have relatively poor depth of field, especially at the telephoto end of their range.

Cheers,
Eric

i guess i assumed everyone understood that P&S cams have better DOF as jamison explained.

dwig
02-05-2005, 06:27 AM
Depth of field is controlled by aperture. ..Cheers,
Eric

NOT completly true. "DOP is controled by aperture" is true _only_ when refering to usage on the same size "image receptor" (read: "CCD size" for digital & "film format" for chemical film). DOF is affected by the relative apeture (f/stop), the focal length of the lens _relative_ to the diagonal measure of the "image receptor" and by the size of the "image receptor". There are actually a few other physical characteristics of the "image receptor" other than width and height that affect DOF, but their impact is too subtle to be value in general discussions.

Therefore, using "normal" lenses with the same field of view (NOT same actual focal length), most pro-sumer all-in-ones and the comsumer dSLR's with the smaller chips will give more DOF at a particular aperture than consumer dSLR's with larger chips which in turn will still have greater DOF that Pro-dSLR's with their larger CCDs which have greater DOF that 35mm film SLRs which have greater DOF than...

erichlund
02-07-2005, 01:31 PM
I stand corrected. I looked up the math and convinced myself.

Thank you,
Eric