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Author Topic: Advice on camera upgrade  (Read 17479 times)

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« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2009, 14:19 »
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But your problems won't end there: skies are notorious for producing banding, and getting a striking sky without banding requires plenty of practice.

Darn yes, and it doesn't help working at 16 bits. You get it especially in a deep blue sky with a gradient. At the moment, and if the sky looks great, I'm always taking some extra shots of the sky alone. It's not HDR but you can merge those skies in very handily. The OP didn't tell if she worked raw or not. In JPEG, even at highest quality, you get those obnoxious squares artifacts, especially in clouds with gradients.

Perhaps I should buy the 40D, get CS4 (and learn to use it), and get a faster computer.
I do bracket my shots (redeeming myself yet??) for HDR use...but that causes more noise issues so I don't do a lot of HDR for stock.


« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2009, 14:21 »
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The one thing that is really a pain is the perfect blue skies with no clouds. I am still pretty clueless on how to fix banding more frustrating than anything else.

I have been wandering over forums everywhere, asking questions, and nobody has a clue how to solve it. I went to 16-bit and it doesn't help. Most people don't see it actually on CRT's, but I'm using a high contrast LCD, just for that (I'm using a second CRT monitor to adjust colors).

« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2009, 14:22 »
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I always over expose 2/3rd a stop to try and reduce the sky or shadow noise. You can recover most or all of the blown highlights in Adobe Camera Raw.

I found that trick too. Overexpose slightly, and you can recover most that's blown out in the raw (second development till the right edge of the histogram is flat) since it has a larger pixel depth than the JPEG. For clouds it's not a disaster even if you blown out the sunny edges, since you can always clone over that area at 15% from an area that has structure.

I'm totally on manual lately, and I look at the histogram. Even if you have to do a couple of trials, it always takes less time than selectively de-noise a sky in Photoshop.

Another trick that works on other smooth gradients like on faces (under the chin and the eyebrows) or in the folds of black business suits -  is to paint over the noisy area with a smooth brush 15-20% and with a color that is slightly brigther (sampled in the neighborhood). I found out it's much better than de-noise since the crispness stays while de-noising, especially in skies, produces ugly blobs that are very conspicuous, plus you lose sharpness.
Recovering blown highlights in RAW sounds like a good reason to use it.  I do use the paint brush technique, but my program probably doesn't do it as well as PS could.  Do you use CS4?  I have a hard time wanting to chunk down $700 for a program.  :'(

« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2009, 14:32 »
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I always over expose 2/3rd a stop to try and reduce the sky or shadow noise. You can recover most or all of the blown highlights in Adobe Camera Raw.

I found that trick too. Overexpose slightly, and you can recover most that's blown out in the raw (second development till the right edge of the histogram is flat) since it has a larger pixel depth than the JPEG. For clouds it's not a disaster even if you blown out the sunny edges, since you can always clone over that area at 15% from an area that has structure.

I'm totally on manual lately, and I look at the histogram. Even if you have to do a couple of trials, it always takes less time than selectively de-noise a sky in Photoshop.

Another trick that works on other smooth gradients like on faces (under the chin and the eyebrows) or in the folds of black business suits -  is to paint over the noisy area with a smooth brush 15-20% and with a color that is slightly brigther (sampled in the neighborhood). I found out it's much better than de-noise since the crispness stays while de-noising, especially in skies, produces ugly blobs that are very conspicuous, plus you lose sharpness.
Recovering blown highlights in RAW sounds like a good reason to use it.  I do use the paint brush technique, but my program probably doesn't do it as well as PS could.  Do you use CS4?  I have a hard time wanting to chunk down $700 for a program.  :'(
Well, I guess it depends on your needs. If you spend a lot of time working on images and manipulating then its probably worth it. I have CS4 but still work in CS3 because its less buggy at this point. I like the RAW converter in CS4 though.

« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2009, 14:32 »
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[quote author=paulacobleigh link=topic=6969.msg82453#msg82453 * flying objects* Sadly, I have not been shooting RAW.  The program I use to edit my photos does not support it.  And frankly I don't even know how to edit RAW files. I don't have PS.  Don't know how to use it.  Yeah, I know....none of you will talk to me anymore after reading this.[/quote]

Hahaha  :P - well that's why a forum is for. I was totally against RAW till half 2007 when somebody (a great stock photographer) forced me to do it. Now I can't miss it any more. RAW is not always superior since the cam software often corrects the sensor flaws. But for gradients, like clouds, or other high dynamic subjects (for instance a businessman in a black suit with a white shirt) you would like the much higher dynamic range of raw, and you can do two developments. That sounds complicated but a raw developer is just a screen with sliders where you can adjust exposure, brightness, saturation, etc...

« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2009, 14:37 »
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I don't shoot RAW either and I know quite a few others (including some very successful microstockers) that also shoot JPEG. It's a myth that you need to shoot RAW if the final product is a JPEG. It takes extra time in processing and adds little or no value.

« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2009, 14:55 »
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[quote author=paulacobleigh link=topic=6969.msg82453#msg82453 * flying objects* Sadly, I have not been shooting RAW.  The program I use to edit my photos does not support it.  And frankly I don't even know how to edit RAW files. I don't have PS.  Don't know how to use it.  Yeah, I know....none of you will talk to me anymore after reading this.

Hahaha  :P - well that's why a forum is for. I was totally against RAW till half 2007 when somebody (a great stock photographer) forced me to do it. Now I can't miss it any more. RAW is not always superior since the cam software often corrects the sensor flaws. But for gradients, like clouds, or other high dynamic subjects (for instance a businessman in a black suit with a white shirt) you would like the much higher dynamic range of raw, and you can do two developments. That sounds complicated but a raw developer is just a screen with sliders where you can adjust exposure, brightness, saturation, etc...
[/quote]
So, what would you recommend?  You already know what equipment I have (camera/lenses)....should I wait for the 5D Mark II and not have any money for anything else?  Should I get a 5D and have a little money left over for either a new computer or CS4?  Should I get a 40D and a new computer and CS4?  Or should I not buy anything and just pay off my credit card (yeah, probably not going to happen!).  I'm going to be getting about $2200 so I won't even have quite enough for the 5D Mark II but I could come up with the extra $600 or so somehow....
I really wanted a new camera because we will be touring Utah and Arizona in April or May and I wanted better images from that trip.

« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2009, 15:15 »
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So, what would you recommend?  You already know what equipment I have (camera/lenses)....should I wait for the 5D Mark II and not have any money for anything else?

Actually I'm with Epixx on this one. Your cam is great, and I suspect it's your workflow that's to blame for your noise problem. Can you really justify for a top-notch cam from your stock income? I can't to be honest, and I'm not too shy to tell. I'm happy for now with my D200 and although I like to dream of a D3x, my name is not Sean Locke nor Avava nor Yuri Arcurs.

Before you spend any money, try to master your cam and workflow better first. Photoshop won't solve any noise problems if it's in the image. Raw is great for high-dynamic range shots, but for normal shots JPG is faster and it handles the sensor data well. Just make sure you turn off all the in-cam manipulations like sharpening and color-boost, and - of course - save JPG fine or top quality.

If you don't want to buy Photoshop, consider PS elements, which is cheap and can do most. Since you didn't use PS yet, consider using the Open Source (free) tool GIMP. It seems to be equivalent to Photoshop.

« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2009, 15:33 »
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I don't see "horrible noise" in my skies with my 400D, although I see some banding, especially with a polarizer, as discussed in a recent thread.  My landscapes are the type of image I submit at macrostock only, and so far Alamy hasn't complained (MyLoupe and SP don't check this).

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2009, 15:36 »
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...

I don't shoot in RAW either.
I used to, but found the extra steps too cumbersome.
I find it faster and simpler to shoot JPGs - the smaller file sizes don't slow my computer down so much, and I haven't experienced any technical quality rejections since making the change. I suspect that JPGs created by my camera (Canon 1DsII) might be better than the ones produced by a lesser model, but this is only a guess.

vonkara

« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2009, 15:54 »
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I would choose 5DII for it's ability to downsize the images easily. The noise performance is already quite the same as the old 5D but with almost 2 time more pixels. I would not be unhappy to downsize a XXXL image to XL. If it's going to save me a couple of hours of noise reduction and post processing the nasty banding from this last step.

« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2009, 15:58 »
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So, what would you recommend?  You already know what equipment I have (camera/lenses)....should I wait for the 5D Mark II and not have any money for anything else?


Actually I'm with Epixx on this one. Your cam is great, and I suspect it's your workflow that's to blame for your noise problem. Can you really justify for a top-notch cam from your stock income? I can't to be honest, and I'm not too shy to tell. I'm happy for now with my D200 and although I like to dream of a D3x, my name is not Sean Locke nor Avava nor Yuri Arcurs.

Before you spend any money, try to master your cam and workflow better first. Photoshop won't solve any noise problems if it's in the image. Raw is great for high-dynamic range shots, but for normal shots JPG is faster and it handles the sensor data well. Just make sure you turn off all the in-cam manipulations like sharpening and color-boost, and - of course - save JPG fine or top quality.

If you don't want to buy Photoshop, consider PS elements, which is cheap and can do most. Since you didn't use PS yet, consider using the Open Source (free) tool GIMP. It seems to be equivalent to Photoshop.


So, are you saying to put it on Standard and not allow any sharpening or saturation?  I tend to get very dull images and have to boost the color when I use that setting.  What if I just used some saturation but didn't do any in-camera sharpening?  The problem is, my images never look very sharp without a little 'help'.  I already use the best jpeg setting, so that is not a problem.  I also seem to have some trouble with focus.  I use auto focus, and even when I use the AF point on the part of the shot I want it to focus on, it doesn't come out tack sharp.  I've tried doing manual focus, but that doesn't help...even though I have 20/20 vision.

I just looked in my rejection folder from SS and it looks like most of my pictures that were rejected due to noise are either HDR images or pictures taken by an older camera of mine.  I'm still in the process of submitting pictures from past years as well as current.  Focus, however, seems to be a problem even with my current 400D.

"Poor Lighting" seems to be my most common rejection.  For a lot of my pictures, I can see where they would come up with.  But this image I can't. 

« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2009, 16:15 »
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So, what would you recommend?  You already know what equipment I have (camera/lenses)....should I wait for the 5D Mark II and not have any money for anything else?


Actually I'm with Epixx on this one. Your cam is great, and I suspect it's your workflow that's to blame for your noise problem. Can you really justify for a top-notch cam from your stock income? I can't to be honest, and I'm not too shy to tell. I'm happy for now with my D200 and although I like to dream of a D3x, my name is not Sean Locke nor Avava nor Yuri Arcurs.

Before you spend any money, try to master your cam and workflow better first. Photoshop won't solve any noise problems if it's in the image. Raw is great for high-dynamic range shots, but for normal shots JPG is faster and it handles the sensor data well. Just make sure you turn off all the in-cam manipulations like sharpening and color-boost, and - of course - save JPG fine or top quality.

If you don't want to buy Photoshop, consider PS elements, which is cheap and can do most. Since you didn't use PS yet, consider using the Open Source (free) tool GIMP. It seems to be equivalent to Photoshop.


So, are you saying to put it on Standard and not allow any sharpening or saturation?  I tend to get very dull images and have to boost the color when I use that setting.  What if I just used some saturation but didn't do any in-camera sharpening?  The problem is, my images never look very sharp without a little 'help'.  I already use the best jpeg setting, so that is not a problem.  I also seem to have some trouble with focus.  I use auto focus, and even when I use the AF point on the part of the shot I want it to focus on, it doesn't come out tack sharp.  I've tried doing manual focus, but that doesn't help...even though I have 20/20 vision.

I just looked in my rejection folder from SS and it looks like most of my pictures that were rejected due to noise are either HDR images or pictures taken by an older camera of mine.  I'm still in the process of submitting pictures from past years as well as current.  Focus, however, seems to be a problem even with my current 400D.

"Poor Lighting" seems to be my most common rejection.  For a lot of my pictures, I can see where they would come up with.  But this image I can't. 



Hi Paula,
Not to be critical, but one problem I see right off are the smudges. If you look at the middle pair of candycanes at the bottom where they criss-cross. There is a smudge tail coming off the bottom. Its looks like I can see more of the same in other parts of the image. Is this a 100% crop??? This might be cause for a rejection. Hope that helps.

« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2009, 16:21 »
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Hi Paula,
Not to be critical, but one problem I see right off are the smudges. If you look at the middle pair of candycanes at the bottom where they criss-cross. There is a smudge tail coming off the bottom. Its looks like I can see more of the same in other parts of the image. Is this a 100% crop??? This might be cause for a rejection. Hope that helps.
Actually, that's the whole picture.   The "smudge" is the indentation in the snow that the candy canes made when I was laying them down.  Probably should've fixed that.  Would SS reject a picture for "poor lighting" on that aspect?

lisafx

« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2009, 16:24 »
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I have a 5D and a 40D.  There is NO CONTEST!  Everything about the 5D is better.

The 40D, like the 20D and the 10D before it (which I also owned) is a disappointment.  It has an unacceptable level of noise if you shoot above ISO 200, and more noise than I would like even at low ISO's.  It exposes and white balances very poorly when using flash.  And it's focus is hit or miss.  Quite often miss.  

The 5D, by contrast, focuses perfectly every time, exposes well and consistently, and has gorgeous color and good white balance.  Honestly, I can't over stress the differences is usability and image quality.  It's night and day.  

« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2009, 16:32 »
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Hi Paula,
Not to be critical, but one problem I see right off are the smudges. If you look at the middle pair of candycanes at the bottom where they criss-cross. There is a smudge tail coming off the bottom. Its looks like I can see more of the same in other parts of the image. Is this a 100% crop??? This might be cause for a rejection. Hope that helps.
Actually, that's the whole picture.   The "smudge" is the indentation in the snow that the candy canes made when I was laying them down.  Probably should've fixed that.  Would SS reject a picture for "poor lighting" on that aspect?

Actually I think they might because it looks like a strange shadow, greasy fingers or editing mishap. Easy enough to fix anyway  :)


And, Lisafx is making perfect sense as always.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 16:34 by cdwheatley »

« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2009, 16:35 »
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I have a 5D and a 40D.  There is NO CONTEST!  Everything about the 5D is better.

The 40D, like the 20D and the 10D before it (which I also owned) is a disappointment.  It has an unacceptable level of noise if you shoot above ISO 200, and more noise than I would like even at low ISO's.  It exposes and white balances very poorly when using flash.  And it's focus is hit or miss.  Quite often miss.  

The 5D, by contrast, focuses perfectly every time, exposes well and consistently, and has gorgeous color and good white balance.  Honestly, I can't over stress the differences is usability and image quality.  It's night and day.  
So, do you think I should get the 5D or the 5D Mark II?  If I get the 5D, I would have some money left over for a battery grip, extra batteries, etc.  If I get the 5D Mark II, I will only be able to get the body.  Or should I just stick with the 400D for now.  So many varying opinions....  :-\  

vonkara

« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2009, 16:49 »
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Mucho mucho pixels on the 5DII (21.1mpx)
XXXL available
5DII is like a Honda Acura ++
Big big sensor (Full frame)
Batteries is for weak people
Low noise
If there is downsize and get a XL ++
It's Black
It's sexy

What you want more. Get the latest at your favorite store NOW, UNTIL THERE'S NO MOOORE!!


« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2009, 16:50 »
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So, do you think I should get the 5D or the 5D Mark II?  If I get the 5D, I would have some money left over for a battery grip, extra batteries, etc.  If I get the 5D Mark II, I will only be able to get the body.  Or should I just stick with the 400D for now.  So many varying opinions....  :-\  

Pretty much everybody is recommending getting a second-hand 5D. You should be able to pick one up for barely more than 1/3 of a new MkII. You don't need a battery grip, they just add weight and bulk. Extra batteries for a 5D cost pennies anyway.

lisafx

« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2009, 16:52 »
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Definitely the 5D I.  I just posted in another thread, but as far as I can see from using the 5D I and II, the only significant differences beyond the megapixels are the movie mode/live view and the sensor cleaning.  

Unless you really want the high megapixels, sensor cleaning or the movies you will be getting equal (amazing!) image quality with the the 5D I as with the II.  

For the money I honestly don't think you could get a better camera than the 5D I.  Even at the $3000+  that I paid for it in 2005 it was worth every dime.   At current prices its a steal.

« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2009, 16:59 »
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So, do you think I should get the 5D or the 5D Mark II?  If I get the 5D, I would have some money left over for a battery grip, extra batteries, etc.  If I get the 5D Mark II, I will only be able to get the body.  Or should I just stick with the 400D for now.  So many varying opinions....  :-\  

Pretty much everybody is recommending getting a second-hand 5D. You should be able to pick one up for barely more than 1/3 of a new MkII. You don't need a battery grip, they just add weight and bulk. Extra batteries for a 5D cost pennies anyway.
B&H wants $1269 for a used 5D, which is more than 1/3, but close enough I guess.  The battery grip is for star trails (I'm not just a stock photographer).  

« Reply #46 on: February 02, 2009, 17:02 »
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Definitely the 5D I.  I just posted in another thread, but as far as I can see from using the 5D I and II, the only significant differences beyond the megapixels are the movie mode/live view and the sensor cleaning.  

Unless you really want the high megapixels, sensor cleaning or the movies you will be getting equal (amazing!) image quality with the the 5D I as with the II.  

For the money I honestly don't think you could get a better camera than the 5D I.  Even at the $3000+  that I paid for it in 2005 it was worth every dime.   At current prices its a steal.
I don't care about the movie mode...I have a smaller camera that can do that and I don't care about HD since I don't have an HD tv.  My 400D has a built-in sensor cleaner and it doesn't seem to help, since I had to buy a cleaner and do it myself to get rid of sensor dust.  Mostly I wanted it for the noise (lack of) and the dynamic range.
Do you think buying used from B&H is okay?  What about ebay?  I normally buy new and am a little hesitant about how to buy a good used model.

lisafx

« Reply #47 on: February 02, 2009, 19:32 »
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Where to buy - that's a toughie.   On ebay you could get a great camera or you could get a lemon.  Either way you aren't likely to be able to return it. 

At least with B&H you get some sort of warranty.  Might even be worth throwing in a Mack warranty. 

You know what would be a good idea - if we had a buy/sell forum here.  Most of us are always in the process of buying and selling some piece of gear or other.  And buying from a fellow stock photographer who we at least sort of know might feel safer than buying from strangers on ebay. 

Fred Miranda's buy/sell forum is like that, but I don't hang around there enough to know anybody. 

« Reply #48 on: February 02, 2009, 20:10 »
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You know what would be a good idea - if we had a buy/sell forum here.  Most of us are always in the process of buying and selling some piece of gear or other.  And buying from a fellow stock photographer who we at least sort of know might feel safer than buying from strangers on ebay. 

Fred Miranda's buy/sell forum is like that, but I don't hang around there enough to know anybody. 

To be honest Lisa I think I'd rather take my chances on eBay with  system, etc.

As a microstocker I absolutely hammer my cameras both in terms of shutter operations and the way I treat them (like the tool that it is). I've had my 1Ds MkIII for exactly one year and had 65K-odd actuations. I think I'd rather buy an immaculate camera from a hobbyist which only gets used on high days and holidays __ and that's the vast majority of the cameras for sale.

Also there are relatively few of us on this forum, certainly in relation to the gteater eBay marketplace, and even fewer in the same countries to make such transactions practical.

« Reply #49 on: February 02, 2009, 20:55 »
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As a microstocker I absolutely hammer my cameras both in terms of shutter operations and the way I treat them (like the tool that it is). I've had my 1Ds MkIII for exactly one year and had 65K-odd actuations. I think I'd rather buy an immaculate camera from a hobbyist which only gets used on high days and holidays __ and that's the vast majority of the cameras for sale.

I bought a camera on ebay once...but it was just a Canon S3 IS and I got it used from some guy that had hardly used it.  It was a good deal.  But it was also only a $200 purchase.  I have a harder time buying on ebay when the price is much higher.

My uncle and my bf both think I should get the Mk II because they both think that I won't be happy until I get it.  Probably true. 

One of my bosses thinks I should pay off my credit card with the money.  I hate it when people want me to be responsible! lol!

My bf also asked if anyone had suggested that I just buy a gun and shoot myself since I take crappy pictures.  He thinks he's sooooo funny! ::)


 

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