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Noob IQ Questions

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by finerflower, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. finerflower

    finerflower Amin Fangrrl

    181
    Dec 11, 2013
    New Jersey (South)
    Holly
    Hello,

    I am still trying to digest "best practices" when using a digital cam. I am pretty much a beginner level in digital photography but I understand the basics of exposure. Also, the shooter sometimes must know ahead of time what these images are going to be used for. But what if I am not sure what I am going to do with the images?

    Most of my knowledge that I understand pretty well carries over from film days (F-Stop, Shutter Speed, ISO, EV ......). I've only had my cam for a few weeks and havent been over thrilled with my images, I was shooting RAW and editing in Lightroom. I realized later that I was shooting in M3:2 which translates to 7MP. My Galaxy S4 phone was taking better pictures!?!

    So now, what do I do?

    Where I get hung up is megapixels and .jpg fine v normal.

    These are the choices on my (Pany DMC-G6) camera for aspect ratio and megapixel:

    L level 16MP=4:3, 14MP=3:2, 12MP=16:9, 12MP=1:1
    M level 8MP=4:3, 7MP=3:2, 7MP=16:9, 6MP=1:1
    S level 4MP=4:3, 3.5M=3:2, 2MP=16:9, 3M=1:1

    These are the file format choices

    1 - .jpg Fine
    2 - .jpg Standard
    3 - .jpg Fine & RAW
    4 - .jpg Standard & RAW
    5 - RAW


    My specific questions:
    1 ----Of all the MP and aspect ratio choices, I assume 16MP 4:3 is the highest possible output of the camera. If I shoot ing this all the time, and then edit my images in lightroom and want to share a few on flickr, etc. will I get a lot of artifacts, etc from editing a "big" image down to an uploadable size? When I take a picture, Im not ever exactly sure what I am gonna do with it, whether print it, share it on social media or put it on an electronic frame


    2 ---- What is the difference between "fine" and "standard"

    3 ---- If I want the best image possible out of my Panasonic DMC-G6 with my Panasonic Lumix 20MM prime lens, what combination of the above settings do I use?

    I assume L16MP 4:3 and RAW or .jpg Fine + Raw will give me the best image quality (assuming I have good light, composition, etc....)

    4------What is the best aspect ratio for the sensor in my camera? Is it 4:3 cuz its a micro 4:3 camera?

    Any "color" on the subject would be very much appreciated.


    I attached a photo of the guts of my husbands accordion that I was repairing tha t I took with my new cam... this is just about the best photo I took with it so far.


    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Holly in NJ
     

    Attached Files:

  2. adampad

    adampad New to Mu-43

    8
    Sep 26, 2012
    Yes 16mp at 4:3 is the biggest you can go. My choosing 4:3 you are using the entire sensor and no cropping is being done by the camera. IMO it's always best to use these settings as you can resize and crop to a different aspect ratio later. Resizing later is not going to cause "artifacts" any more than shooting at a lower resolution to begin with will. You camera is just doing the work for you instead of Lightroom.


    Just different compression ratio's. More data is present with "fine". Memory is cheap so I recommend getting the best qualitly. In most situations it's not noticeable
    though.


    RAW requires you process the files yourself and has some big advantages such as the ability to change the white balance later. JPG Fine will give the best JPG image out of the camera.


    -
    Yep. Other sizes are just cropping in camera.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    I suggest you shoot 'jpeg fine + RAW'. This will give you two files - the unprocessed 'RAW' data and the best quality 'processed jpeg'.

    There is a good chance that in the early days you may not want to do your own 'processing of the RAW data' but this is something that it is quite likely you will want to do in the future. If you keep your 'RAW files', you can always go back and process them at a later date. When I started in digital photography, I just shot 'jpeg' but later decided to process 'RAW'. I very much regret that I didnt keep RAW files from my earlier images that I could go back and process.

    Of course it is possible that you will be happy using out of camera jpegs and never process RAW files. But hard disk space is very cheap and I think it is best to keep your options open.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Steven
    First of all that photo looks nice and sharp, looks like you're on the right track. :smile:

    I think most of us usually shoot in max resolution and just resize it to the desired output size later on, it's very easy to do in lightroom. If you resize it properly in lightroom by putting the image quality setting as high as possible then it's very unlikely you will see any sort of artifacts caused by the resizing itself.

    This setting only applies to the JPEG image produced by your camera, the biggest difference I can really see is the file size. Although I always shoot in RAW + JPEG (Fine)

    It's always a safe bet to shoot in the highest resolution possible and I agree with Robbie, shoot in JPEG + Raw then slowly change it to what you prefer down the road.

    4:3 maximizes the size of the sensor but some people prefer the 3:2 look. It is just personal preference IMHO.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Another upside to RAW is that processors keep getting better. In part it's my abilities, but the software is also a significant factor - the amount of details present even in my ancient 300D files (with good light) is impressive, and modern software does a heck if a job. Out of camera jpg is often very good indeed, though.

    Just a thought - it might be fun to open a RAW only thread similar to what photography-on-the.net has. Ie out of cam jpg, and then the processed raw (using only standard development tools, ie Lightroom, DxO or similar, not plugin suites or photoshop (no pixel level editing) to highlight the power of RAW.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    +1 to that. Your jpegs stay the same forever, but your raws improve subtly as the raw processing of the software programs improves over time.

    Another thing. My brother in law has a jpeg-only point & shoot camera. He went on a major overseas holiday and discovered about 4 weeks into it that his camera was set, not on AWB, but on tungsten white balance from the last time he used it at home. All his photos had a strong blue cast! They looked terrible. Our best attempts to correct it in postprocessing were far from satisfactory. If only he had been shooting in raw, this would've been an easy thing to fix perfectly.
     
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  7. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Ehud
    Holly this is a very nice picture.

    One aspect that you did not take into account is the technical quality of the picture taken.

    In order to get clear pictures, you must pay attention to the shutter speed or stabilize your camera, this will eliminate any camera shake effects.
    Most lenses tend to be sharper in their f 5.6 to 8.0 settings, try to shot in this band if your are a pixel peeper.

    You got a great lens and camera you will be surprised how sharp your picture will be when you will master all the technical aspects.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For the most part (except maybe landscape shots with everything in focus), the lenses in m4/3 land are sharp enough that picking the right aperture matters more for letting more light in (to potentially reduce motion blur and ISO noise) and setting the right DoF than for sharpness. The decent ones sharpen up very well after about half a stop or so and the good ones (the 20mm is one) are pretty sharp even wide open.

    If you've come from 35mm land, the common guidelines around DoF and f/stop will be off as the smaller m4/3 sensor size ends up increasing the apparent DoF dramatically - the old 'f/8 and be there' is probably more like 'f/4 and be there' in m4/3 terms.

    Edit:
    Would you mind sharing why you thought the S4 took better pictures? I have an S3 so I have some idea of what Samsung's high end phone cameras can do.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Use the settings you have already explained to yourself are the best ;
    If you cannot process your RAW files in LR at least as good as a Jpeg from your phone : let Panasonic process your Jpegs instead ... hence RAW +Jpeg
    I would also suggest "scenery" mode or whatever this week's name is : in other words do not use "Standard".
    The other issue with Panasonic cameras is a horrible auto-whitebalance choice which sometimes occurrs ... maybe choose "Daylight" as your normal WB setting.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. finerflower

    finerflower Amin Fangrrl

    181
    Dec 11, 2013
    New Jersey (South)
    Holly
    Wow, you all helped me focus in on whats important. (Pun intended)

    I was comparing the S4 images to the raw images, an unfair comparison. This is the first time I have ever used raw files and I am teaching myseld Lightroom in the process. Looking at the .jpg, I have nothing to complain about.


    The photo I posted was using the 20MM Pany @f/2.5 and 1/250 on ISO160.

    As aside- I was blown away in the digital world how high the ISO was being pushed. I Remember buying 800 speed film for my kids when that played sports and I was using my (100-300) telephoto on a Minolta Maxxum 5. Then they were coming out with 1600 speed film......
     
  11. finerflower

    finerflower Amin Fangrrl

    181
    Dec 11, 2013
    New Jersey (South)
    Holly
    I am using your tips by putting my cam on Scenery and Daylight WB- Thanks for the tip!
     
  12. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Another tip would be ;
    get a second-hand Sony A350 or 450 (we did) for your old Minolta autofocus lenses,
    Did you keep them? do you have the 50mmF1.7? A really good lens for modern times.
     
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  13. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I am not expert but I get the impression that reviewers who previously made this observation about Panasonic cameras, are saying the latest models don't do it.
     
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  14. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Good to hear.

    Ah yes, the camera does a lot more processing on the raws before outputting JPEG to make them look better 'out-of-the-box' - if you use the raw you won't get the JPEG processing. If you use LF+Raw you can keep the JPEGs and experiment with the raws as well. With raw you basically have to spend the time doing post-processing to get good results, but it will tend to give better results if you're doing major tone and highlight/shadow adjustment, and tweaking WB.

    The JPEG output tends to boost contrast, vibrance/saturation, and sharpness/clarity relative to the raw. On my S3 I'd say it goes a little too far with the saturation in fact!

    We didn't always have high ISO this good! Years back with my Fujifilm SuperCCD bridge camera ISO800 was pretty bad - I get better results these days with ISO3200 on my E-M5. I suggest you experiment a little with high ISO - see what the highest levels of noise is that you're willing to tolerate.
     
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  15. finerflower

    finerflower Amin Fangrrl

    181
    Dec 11, 2013
    New Jersey (South)
    Holly
    :( No - I sold the whole kit cheap not realizing that Minolta is still in the game.. I had a really nice macro lens too.