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Tiff is good to work with in that it is lossless. You won't lose any quality when you save files the way you do with jpg.

RAW is good because you are working with what the sensor in the camera sees, not the post-processing you get with tiff or jpg from the camera. What I mean there is the camera uses built in algorithms to adjust pictures (white balance, etc). RAW leaves a lot of the extra information in giving you more flexibility with the picture for your own post-processing.

As a side note, a very talented photographer I know has decided that from his cameras (Canon's 10D and 20D), he has to do less work with the jpg's than with RAW to get his desired results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
turbomkt said:
As a side note, a very talented photographer I know has decided that from his cameras (Canon's 10D and 20D), he has to do less work with the jpg's than with RAW to get his desired results.
This somewhat reflects the reason of my post. I was trying to get some good high quality pics of one of my tanks. When you take a RAW pic with my camera [Sony DSC-F828], it also produces a jpeg of that pic.... I guess because it processes more quickly. When I was working with the pics, the jpeg looked more like what the tank actually looked like than the RAW which was not what I thought was suppose to happen. I'll figure something out. My pics are looking better than ever.

One of the pics is attached (I hope). I'm going to change this aquascape and wanted to get a decent pic before I took it apart.

Thanks for the info.
Ben
 

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I would add that- from doing LOTS of aquarium photography-- I shoot 100% RAW now. Once you get the hang of it, the range of control you have- especially over white balance and saturation- is awesome. It's best to get the RAW-specific software that corresponds to your camera. I have a NIKON so I use either Nikon "Capture". For Photoshop CS there's a CAMERA-RAW plug-in that's nice too- but it doesn't offer quite the range of control and previewing images is a lot more tedious- but it's a free download whereas the Nikon "Capture" runs about $100.
 

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I have been using RAW setting and I'm not looking back. Correction of white balance and exposure (+2/-2) will justify enough that the "ONLY" way to photograph is the RAW approach.

RAW approach should be a "bible approach" for all aquatic photographers. Having over-exposed top layer of the tank and under-exposed bottom layer of the tank is NO longer a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Jay Luto said:
RAW approach should be a "bible approach" for all aquatic photographers. Having over-exposed top layer of the tank and under-exposed bottom layer of the tank is NO longer a problem.
:rolleyes: That seems a bit of a harsh blanket statement to make. [smilie=b: I like to take pictures, but photography is not my hobby. For this non-aquatic photographer, but just plant keeper/amateur aquascaper trying to get a decent pic of his tanks, tweeking a RAW image is proving to be a bit confounding. It could also be my crappy monitor too that is long over due replacing. There also may be differences in the Nikon and Sony RAW formats that make your and Jeffs editing different. Being a hack at this, I'm not really sure. Jeff Ludwig and Ghazanfar tried to help me for the weekend at the last Houston thing. I think they gave up. :grin:

I had learned a trick sometime back on how to reduce or eliminate the "over-exposed top layer of the tank and under-exposed bottom." Not using that trick, I have been trying to take as close as possible the same shot with TIFF and RAW, and I get the same level of exposure issues in each. Maybe less issues with the RAW, but not much less. In other words, using RAW mode only didn't eliminate it. There is better clarity and sharpness with the RAW but superior color rendition with the TIFF if I use "real" mode. See below. Maybe, Jay you do a little something different than what I was trying.

My camera has a setting where you can take the pic in "real" mode or "standard". These settings are available in RAW, TIFF, and JPEG modes. In the "real" setting it is not suppose to apply the photo post-processing stuff that you usually get with digital cameras, however the pics come out looking different than in RAW. Deduction tells me that if the camera doesn't apply the post processing using the "real" mode than the pic should look like one taken in RAW, Seems my pics come out almost needing no photo editing except crop using "real" mode and TIFF. However, they are not as sharp as RAW.

Maybe in a few weeks in Houston, one of you two can take a couple RAW pics and show me some editing tips. I think I am missing something here. Sounds like I am not using the RAW mode on my camera to it's full potential. Also, I have been using Photoshop Elements 3.0. Using the crummy Sony RAW editor that came with the camera as Jeff suggests may make a difference.

I hope I haven't confused anyone too much.

Jay, do you use the Nikon RAW editor like Jeff or Photoshop CS or other?

Ben
 

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Ben Belton said:
:rolleyes: That seems a bit of a harsh blanket statement to make.
Sorry Ben for making it sound harsh but it is easy as that.

There also may be differences in the Nikon and Sony RAW formats that make your and Jeffs editing different.
RAW format is RAW format no matter what camera brand.

I had learned a trick sometime back on how to reduce or eliminate the "over-exposed top layer of the tank and under-exposed bottom." Not using that trick, I have been trying to take as close as possible the same shot with TIFF and RAW, and I get the same level of exposure issues in each. Maybe less issues with the RAW, but not much less. In other words, using RAW mode only didn't eliminate it.
Trick you are refering to was presented by Mike Cameroon at AGA'03 as part of his photography presentation. This wasn't "aquatic photo trick" but rather image blending/layering used by photographers in all other areas. If you need a link to that, let me know.
Pure RAW shot will NOT eliminate HOT spots (* HOT = overexposed) but it will give you an option to set you exposure +2 or -2. By setting it +2 you will eliminate dark spots which usually appear on the bottom of the tank. By setting it -2 you will eliminate HOT spots which usually appear on the bottom of the tank. After tweaking RAW files you will get 2 different images which could by easily combined in PhotoShop. This is not "cheating". In professional photography we are calling this Digital Blending or Contrast Masking.

Maybe in a few weeks in Houston, one of you two can take a couple RAW pics and show me some editing tips. I think I am missing something here. Sounds like I am not using the RAW mode on my camera to it's full potential.
I think this is the case. I plan to take a lot of photographs. The river, Jeff's gallery etc so there will be planty to work on. As long as we have a laptop, I can show you few easy steps to make your life a lot easier.

Learning PhotoShop: RAW format (White Balance and Exposure), Histogram and Levels is your key to better pictures. Those are "mandatory" steps for digital cameras. 35mm guys use it as well - in darkroom.

Jay, do you use the Nikon RAW editor like Jeff or Photoshop CS or other?
I use a lot of different softwares but primarly NIKON Capture 4.2 and later PhotoShop CS.

Please let me know if you need additional help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Jay Luto said:
Trick you are refering to was presented by Mike Cameroon at AGA'03 as part of his photography presentation. This wasn't "aquatic photo trick" but rather image blending/layering used by photographers in all other areas. If you need a link to that, let me know..... snip
No, that's not the trick, or I would have just said Mike Cameron's trick. I never had good luck with that one. And I also know where to find the info which will be reposted when we get through re-working the DFW site. I didn't mention my trick because my post was already to long and wasn't really germane to the topic of RAW vs TIFF. Ricky Cain basically taught me what to do, but I didn't think to apply it to my aquarium until later. I suspect lots of people use it. Simplified, I set my exposure to +1, my camera on spot metering, and lock the exposure while focused on a brighter part of the aquascape. Then I recompose taking in the entire aquarium. When I'm trying hard, I get pics that only require cropping. Can take a few shots though to get it right.

Jay Luto said:
.... HOT spots (* HOT = overexposed)
Well... here's my sign... not.. :-s

Jay Luto said:
I can show you few easy steps to make your life a lot easier.
I'll just stick with TIFF for now.

Jay Luto said:
Please let me know if you need additional help.
nevermind
 

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Ben Belton said:
Simplified, I set my exposure to +1, my camera on spot metering, and lock the exposure while focused on a brighter part of the aquascape. Then I recompose taking in the entire aquarium.
So you are still taking 2 or multiple pictures to get one shot, right ?
 

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Jay Luto said:
Pure RAW shot will NOT eliminate HOT spots (* HOT = overexposed) but it will give you an option to set you exposure +2 or -2. By setting it +2 you will eliminate dark spots which usually appear on the bottom of the tank
This is the problem with digital imaging, the old art of photography is lost.

Pretty simple on camera fix for this problem, it's called a gradient filter.

Here's a question, how many people actually have an assortment of filters that they use on their digital cameras?

I have an extensive selection of Cokin filters from my film equipment, most work nicely on my digital although some do interfere with the auto-focus a bit.

I prefer to use filters whenever possible because digital manipulation degrades quality in my opinion.

It's always better to get the picture you want right out of the camera, and with digital it's a snap because you can preview, adjust and retake. Don't be afraid to use traditional methods with a digital camera. Working with such "backwards" methods in my opinion makes you a better PHOTOGRAPHER first and foremost because it makes you approach the work with more focus. I think too many people have the attiitude that "I can fix that it Photoshop" and ignore some basic steps that would make the photo something that doesn't need to be fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Jay Luto said:
Let us see some samples.
I attached a pic of my 20 gal in my second post in this thread. The hair grass looks a little over exposed, but it's unfortunately getting a little yellow because I don't add anything to this tank but about 4 Dupla drops a week. The Juncus repens at the top of the water is not over exposed and the tops of the rocks are not burned out so the hair grass at the bottom shouldn't be over exposed. Seems it might be a little though. I think that it is color quality issue rather than exposure in this case. I could be wrong.

I'm not posting my 40 gallon BBA infested terrible aquascpe on the Internet. I'll show it to you in person in Houston.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
kretinus said:
Pretty simple on camera fix for this problem, it's called a gradient filter.
The guy who did the photography talk at the AGA Convention in Chattanooga used this method. He had some great results. He had a really hard time too because those very big tall tanks have very strong light at the top but are almost dark at the bottom. If you do this, I'm sure you get great pics without any of the headache. No special tricks or holding your mouth right like I have to do. You're right though, you can't even attach filters to most digital cameras. Most people don't bother fooling with it.

Ben

Ooppsss I should add that the guy that gave the photography talk at the 2001 AGA was the Tennessee Aquarium photographer. That should add some context to my post.
 

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kretinus said:
This is the problem with digital imaging, the old art of photography is lost.

Pretty simple on camera fix for this problem, it's called a gradient filter.

Here's a question, how many people actually have an assortment of filters that they use on their digital cameras?

I have an extensive selection of Cokin filters from my film equipment, most work nicely on my digital although some do interfere with the auto-focus a bit.

It's always better to get the picture you want right out of the camera, and with digital it's a snap because you can preview, adjust and retake. Don't be afraid to use traditional methods with a digital camera. Working with such "backwards" methods in my opinion makes you a better PHOTOGRAPHER first and foremost because it makes you approach the work with more focus. I think too many people have the attiitude that "I can fix that it Photoshop" and ignore some basic steps that would make the photo something that doesn't need to be fixed.
I agree with some of your comments and I have nothing but respect for film photographers. I used to be very active with 35mm but not anymore. I still shoot with Minolta 500si and old Nikon FM10 though.

To blame digital photographers for post processing is hypocrisy. I spend countless hours in dark room developing film pictures, correcting exposures and working on other tricks to make photographs look the way I want them to look. This is called Post Processing as well. I see the same argument all over the place and frankly I'm disappointed. Are film shooters jealous b/c they have to spend a lot of money and time while post processing or is it something else? Either way we are talking about the same thing and there would be no great photography without dark room and digital dark room.

I prefer to use filters whenever possible because digital manipulation degrades quality in my opinion.
What filters are we talking about ? Are we talking about B&W or are we talking about cheap Cokin P graduated filters ?

I'm always amused when someone pulls out $30 plastic filters and sticks that on the front of his $1400+ lenses. What's the expectation here? Unless it's some cartoon-like effect, this is an almost certain way to lower the quality of image that your camera can capture.

Adding a filter to your lens degrades optical performance. A really well made filter won't degrade performance noticeably, but it will degrade. Poorly made or inexpensive filters degrade performance more than well made ones. Every air/glass (or air/plastic) transition in a lens adds reflections, despite multi-coatings and quality materials. Every reflection decreases overall contrast. Some reflections can be insidious in this respect--especially if light is hitting the front filter surface unevenly.

So by saying that you prefer to use filters vs. digital manipulation b/c of quality loss, is again just an opinion. Not a fact.

I have $1,700 VR lens and I would never put an extra piece of glass in front of it, even the expensive one.
 

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Ben Belton said:
You're right though, you can't even attach filters to most digital cameras. Most people don't bother fooling with it.
Ben,
Not sure what you are talking about but A LOT of digital photographers are using filters.
What do you mean by "can't even attach filters to most digital cameras" ? All you have to do is check mm size of your lens (ex. mine is 77mm), go to the store and pick:

- "Warming" filter
- Polarizer
- Neutral Density
- Graduated Neutral Density
- Enhancing filter
- UV / Sky

and list goes on and on.....

One of the biggest scams in photography world is that Customer Service "won't" let you leave the store without UV filter for "lens protection". So actually a lot of people bother with them.
 

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Jay Luto said:
To blame digital photographers for post processing is hypocrisy. I spend countless hours in dark room developing film pictures, correcting exposures and working on other tricks to make photographs look the way I want them to look
I'm sorry if that's how it came off, what I mean is, and I've noticed this quite a bit amongst my shutterbug friends, is that people are focusing less on in camera composition and exposure etc, which are the basic skills everyone should have if they want to pursue photography on a more advanced level than Bday snap shots. I can't count the times I hear I can make it right in photoshop. I've really never heard any film photographer say "I can make it right in the darkroom" in a similar context, most film photographers (as I'm sure there are in the digital realm) strive to make the shot in camera first and foremost.

Post processing is fine, especially if you're going for something that can't be created in camera, but I feel many people are relying too much on the post processing, and still not being satisfied with the results, and a shift back to basic concepts first would help anyone trying to advance their skills.

Jay Luto said:
What filters are we talking about ? Are we talking about B&W or are we talking about cheap Cokin P graduated filters ?
See, now there you have your own biases coming out. I've used Cokin filters forever, don't even own any B+W and am very satisfied with the results, some of my photos have one state competitons even. B+W are good, in my opinion, the Cokin filters are just fine, neither of us can be proven wrong or right on that one because what makes them good or bad are how satisfied we are with our results personally.

I once had someone tell me professionals only use Nikon because Nikon has a spot filter. I told him I thought professionals use a real spot meter and ignore the in camera system, he got mad. Someone else will tell me professionals only use hasseys etc.

Jay Luto said:
Adding a filter to your lens degrades optical performance. A really well made filter won't degrade performance noticeably, but it will degrade. Poorly made or inexpensive filters degrade performance more than well made ones. Every air/glass (or air/plastic) transition in a lens adds reflections, despite multi-coatings and quality materials. Every reflection decreases overall contrast. Some reflections can be insidious in this respect--especially if light is hitting the front filter surface unevenly
Again, I am more than satisfied with the results I get so....

Jay Luto said:
So by saying that you prefer to use filters vs. digital manipulation b/c of quality loss, is again just an opinion. Not a fact
And the image degradation from digital manipulation vs. filters are really two different issues. Filters for instance do not add digital noise, and it's virtually impossible to avoid adding noise to a digital file if you open it, change something and then save it. It's inherent to the process. I can avoid most of the pitfalls of an optical filter by adjusting the technique.

Jay Luto said:
I have $1,700 VR lens and I would never put an extra piece of glass in front of it, even the expensive one.
My prized lens is a 500mm EF L IS USM F4, I use filters on it all the time, love the results.

Now if I can just figure out WHY I had to blow that kind of cash on a lens to begin with just so I could get better shots of Iowa's not so wildlife is beyond me. Especially since I maxed one of my cards to get it and it was the highest interest rate of all the ones I had.

I'm not putting down digital, I have one. I just think the focus should be on creating the best image possible in the camera first and I think it's getting lost.
 

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Jay Luto said:
What do you mean by "can't even attach filters to most digital cameras" ? All you have to do is check mm size of your lens (ex. mine is 77mm), go to the store and pick
I think he was referring to point and shoots, could be wrong, but even most point and shoots have factory adapters or after market available for mounting filters, doublers etc. Not many people realize it I think in the consumer markets though, many of them are going from point and shoot 35mm to point and shoot digital and they never used a filter on the film, maybe didn't even know about them at all.

Jay Luto said:
- "Warming" filter
- Polarizer
- Neutral Density
- Graduated Neutral Density
- Enhancing filter
- UV / Sky

and list goes on and on.....
The ones you listed would be an excellent list for the basic set to have though. Good choice.

Jay Luto said:
One of the biggest scams in photography world is that Customer Service "won't" let you leave the store without UV filter for "lens protection". So actually a lot of people bother with them.
I wouldn't call it a scam per se, I've been a victim of laws of physics before that took out the UV/Haze filter, if it hadn't been there, the lens would be trash. That's the trouble with big bucks, they like to lie in wait in the tall grass and won't bolt until you're right up on them concentrating on something.

Cheap protection really. But I wouldn't say it's an absolute must for protection, just a good idea.

I also whole heartedly swear by Lowepro bags, the backbacks are the best (in my opinion).

BTW, in case anyone is interested, the local university is going to be selling a ton of film equipment, bodies, lenses, dark room equipment in about a month, the imaging department is going total digital. I bought a mint T-90 during the first round for $175.00, not a scratch on it, if that tells you what kind of prices we're talking about.

If anyone is interested in something specific, the list will be coming out soon I hope, I can post it somewhere and if anyone is serious about getting some good deals we can figure out a way to get it to you I'm sure.
 
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