The Value of Proper Focus Point Placement, Plus Other Ramblings..............................

John King

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That's really amazing that it would let you get that close.

I'm also impressed by the noise reduction being only done in LR. I think I've finally got typical sharpening dialed in for the E-M1.3, but every time I touch the luminance noise reduction slider I end up chasing my tail between losing too much detail and trying to keep some sharpness. Any tips for value ranges to start with?

Thanks,
Eli
Eli, on the rare occasions that I use PP NR, I edge it up until I see just noticeable detail loss at 100% view, then back off one notch.

I use ACR, Bridge and Photoshop, not LR, but same principle applies, regardless of software.
 

Fuzzdog

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Yep. When I shot Canon FF I was always stopping down and seldom shot wide-open, expect when it was really dark and it was that or not get the shot (which honestly wasn't that often).

It was that sort of thing that actually brought me back to M43 - I realised that yes, my full frame gear had about a two stop noise advantage, but (particularly when shooting with long lenses or up close, two things I do very often!) I was having to stop down about two stops to get enough depth of field most of the time from where I would be with M43, and most M43 lenses are a lot sharper wide open then most FF ones are, so was it really an advantage?

Not saying the advantage doesn't exist, but it's a lot smaller in practical day to day shooting than people make out, particularly when you add in the superb Olympus stabilisation - I often end up with a cleaner and sharper image in the same situation with my E-M1 Mk2 than I did with my Nikon FF rig.
 
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That's really amazing that it would let you get that close.

I'm also impressed by the noise reduction being only done in LR. I think I've finally got typical sharpening dialed in for the E-M1.3, but every time I touch the luminance noise reduction slider I end up chasing my tail between losing too much detail and trying to keep some sharpness. Any tips for value ranges to start with?

Thanks,
Eli

I was surprised as well. I think it had to do with the other birds. When I found him there were around 10 birds in the tree screaming at them, but they took off when I got close. I think he was enjoying the peace from not having them around and since I wasn't threatening he decided it was cool for me to be around.

So the image with the highest ISO was the last one (head filling the frame) and it had a few things going for it, it was ISO 2500. It was well exposed and really has very little shadow in it, which is where noise seems to be most visible. Don't know what to say about the processing. I turned masking up to 82 (really increased sharpening as well to 82) and in noise reduction set Luminance to 41 with detail at 70. That was really about it.

I don't really like those programs that everyone is raving about for noise removal. Honestly, to me the results look artificial. By that I mean the additional detail they recover is artificially generated and to me it just looks fake. I also don't shoot when I need ISO's that LR can't handle. To me it is light that makes a photograph and if you have light you are not in high ISO territory. The only time I really shoot when higher ISO's are needed is when shooting in the rain/snow or overcast days with some fog. In those conditions even if I have noise it adds to the mood of the photograph and will leave it, especially if I go black and white.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with another photographer a few weeks ago. There is this photographer I see at the foxes somewhat often and I mentioned that I hope they stayed out after the sun got above the trees so we could shoot them in the beautiful light (it was a crystal clear day). He said he never shoots them then because the light blows out the white of their fur. I didn't reply because I was dumbfounded that this guy with a Canon 1D and several different pro primes/zooms doesn't understand under exposing the preserve the highlights. I have no problem with photographing them in the light and getting perfectly exposed photos, well I do/will crush the shadows to not blow the highlights.

Anyways, any other questions just ask

Phocal
 
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It was that sort of thing that actually brought me back to M43 - I realised that yes, my full frame gear had about a two stop noise advantage, but (particularly when shooting with long lenses or up close, two things I do very often!) I was having to stop down about two stops to get enough depth of field most of the time from where I would be with M43, and most M43 lenses are a lot sharper wide open then most FF ones are, so was it really an advantage?

Not saying the advantage doesn't exist, but it's a lot smaller in practical day to day shooting than people make out, particularly when you add in the superb Olympus stabilisation - I often end up with a cleaner and sharper image in the same situation with my E-M1 Mk2 than I did with my Nikon FF rig.

I switched from Canon FF and APSC 7 years ago and really don't miss it. Especially now with the EM1X, the camera I have wanted from Olympus since I switched. There are images I have gotten that I honestly wouldn't have been able to get with my 1D and 500/4 because of the much smaller/lighter the gear is.
 

demiro

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I was surprised as well. I think it had to do with the other birds. When I found him there were around 10 birds in the tree screaming at them, but they took off when I got close. I think he was enjoying the peace from not having them around and since I wasn't threatening he decided it was cool for me to be around.
...

@Phocal you've described here on a few occasions how you manage to get so close to your subjects without interfering with them. That skill seems at least equal to what you do with photography. It seems like you would do amazingly well as a photo-guide in someplace like Alaska. Though I have to say I can easily imagine you "losing" some poser with a $30k kit who doesn't respect nature. So maybe a bad idea. :)

BTW, are you planning any brown bear shots in the spring, or any time? I haven't missed them, have I?
 
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@Phocal you've described here on a few occasions how you manage to get so close to your subjects without interfering with them. That skill seems at least equal to what you do with photography. It seems like you would do amazingly well as a photo-guide in someplace like Alaska. Though I have to say I can easily imagine you "losing" some poser with a $30k kit who doesn't respect nature. So maybe a bad idea. :)

BTW, are you planning any brown bear shots in the spring, or any time? I haven't missed them, have I?

I did some guiding in Houston, but it took years to build up the local knowledge needed to successfully put people on wildlife they wanted to see/photograph. I am like a lost puppy up here in Alaska, still trying to figure out where/when to find what. Taking people out has also shown me that most people are just not capable of getting close to wildlife, not many are willing to put in the time or deal with the often times very uncomfortable conditions. It is not uncommon for me to spend over an hour just getting close to something to photograph.

I did a little looking for bears this year and I never got a chance to get any photographs. A lot of the really good places to go were closed down due to Covid-19 or the in state travel ban prevented trips to other places. I have did get some great knowledge of where to go for this spring, so hoping for some great photographs of them this spring/summer/fall.
 

demiro

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...
I did a little looking for bears this year and I never got a chance to get any photographs. A lot of the really good places to go were closed down due to Covid-19 or the in state travel ban prevented trips to other places. I have did get some great knowledge of where to go for this spring, so hoping for some great photographs of them this spring/summer/fall.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
 
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Western North Carolina
I was surprised as well. I think it had to do with the other birds. When I found him there were around 10 birds in the tree screaming at them, but they took off when I got close. I think he was enjoying the peace from not having them around and since I wasn't threatening he decided it was cool for me to be around.

So the image with the highest ISO was the last one (head filling the frame) and it had a few things going for it, it was ISO 2500. It was well exposed and really has very little shadow in it, which is where noise seems to be most visible. Don't know what to say about the processing. I turned masking up to 82 (really increased sharpening as well to 82) and in noise reduction set Luminance to 41 with detail at 70. That was really about it.

I don't really like those programs that everyone is raving about for noise removal. Honestly, to me the results look artificial. By that I mean the additional detail they recover is artificially generated and to me it just looks fake. I also don't shoot when I need ISO's that LR can't handle. To me it is light that makes a photograph and if you have light you are not in high ISO territory. The only time I really shoot when higher ISO's are needed is when shooting in the rain/snow or overcast days with some fog. In those conditions even if I have noise it adds to the mood of the photograph and will leave it, especially if I go black and white.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with another photographer a few weeks ago. There is this photographer I see at the foxes somewhat often and I mentioned that I hope they stayed out after the sun got above the trees so we could shoot them in the beautiful light (it was a crystal clear day). He said he never shoots them then because the light blows out the white of their fur. I didn't reply because I was dumbfounded that this guy with a Canon 1D and several different pro primes/zooms doesn't understand under exposing the preserve the highlights. I have no problem with photographing them in the light and getting perfectly exposed photos, well I do/will crush the shadows to not blow the highlights.

Anyways, any other questions just ask

Phocal
Thanks Phocal. I totally agree with you that it's the light that matters and that exposing to not have to pull up the shadows in the higher ISOs is key.

Thank you for the info on how you did the NR on the file.
 

doxa750

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So I was out fox hunting when I found this cutie, full story to follow soon. I do recommend clicking through to Flickr so you can zoom in on them.

Below is one of the first photos I took of him and I focused on the feathers between his eyes. Because I was so close the DoF was super shallow, which put his eyes just out of it. I did some sharpening of the eyes, but they are still soft enough that I notice it even without zooming in.

View attachment 859854 Boreal Owl 001 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

In this next photograph I put the focus point on his eye and it really is a noticeable difference. You can see that his eye is much sharper and the feathers between his eyes are blurred.

View attachment 859855 Boreal Owl 002 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

I am way to experienced to make the mistake I did in the first photograph and blow the DoF. Yes, I know there is a stick in front of him which ruins the image and makes the mistake moot (I got plenty of clear images later). But I hate when I make a mistake like this since I am so use to getting close and shooting with such narrow DoF. But, I will admit to being completely surprised to not only see this guy but that he let me get so close to him.......still no excuse.

If you click through to Flickr there are also other images of the owl that are much better and they made me realize just how much I love my Olympus gear. The first image was shot at 1/60 and the second at 1/80 but it was also with the MC-14. The ability to shoot handheld that slow at those focal lengths and get perfectly sharp images really is crazy to someone who started photography before IS was around. I really did think Dual IS was more a gimmick until I really started to test it's limits. Most of the images in this owl album were shot from positions that were not necessarily the most comfortable or stable and at slow shutter speeds, shows just how good it really is.

The 300/4 really is an amazing lens. Click through and zoom in on this next image to see all the detail that lens can capture. That lens just keeps making me so happy.

View attachment 859856 Boreal Owl 006 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

Guess I should mention the EM1X as well. That camera really does continue to impress me. I have noticed that the field sensor for temperature, reads significantly warmer. But I am really loving how you have two independent focus points for horizontal and vertical orientation. With my old EM1 I hardly ever shot in portrait because it was such a pain in the ass to move the focus point around. The one thing I really missed from Canon was how both orientations had different focus points and now my EM1X is that way. My photos today show that I am getting use to switching to portrait for some photographs, something I probably wouldn't' have done with my old EM1's. When I do need to move the focus point while in portrait I have the joystick in the exact same position as when in landscape. They really did lay out this camera very well.

Phocal
From one of the best around here...those are stellar...just WOW. Way to go Ronnie.

Cheers
 

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