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Thread: Trying my new lens on a bird

  1. #1
    dje's Avatar
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    Dave Ellis

    Trying my new lens on a bird

    I've just purchased a Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DI VC USD lens for my 600D. I would have preferred a Canon lens however couldn't justify the extra dollars at this stage.

    I did a test on a bird in the garden about 10m away but I'm looking for advice with this sort of shooting. The bird by the way is a Noisy Miner from the Australian honey-eater family.

    My main concern is that the image is noisy. I used an ISO setting of 800 and the maximum aperture of f/5.6 for the 300mm focal length setting to get a fast shutter speed (1/500). Contributing to the noise would be the fact that the image was under-exposed to some extent and the image has been cropped to around 40% of it's original area. I could try a lower ISO and corresponding slower shutter speed and I could be more careful with the exposure. But apart from that, what else can I do ? Or am I working to the limitations of the gear I have.

    Your comments would be appreciated. There are two versions of the image - the second has the grass darkened considerably and a slightly tighter crop.

    Dave

    Trying my new lens on a bird

    Trying my new lens on a bird

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Trying my new lens on a bird

    Dave - I think you've got it in the statement ........

    Quote Originally Posted by dje View Post
    Contributing to the noise would be the fact that the image was under-exposed to some extent ........
    As Colin in particular has shown us many times on here, get the exposure right and noise isn't a major (or even a minor) problem. Of course the cropping down does contribute and if we all had the very top-of-the-range equipment, noise would be managed better. But we don't.

    But more than any of these, I think, it's about getting the exposure right. Under-expose and you'll have a noise problem. Don't under-expose and you won't.

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    Re: Trying my new lens on a bird

    As Donald says - get the exposure right and noise is never quite a problem.

  4. #4
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Trying my new lens on a bird

    Thanks Donald and Bobo for commenting. I'm not sure what went wrong with the exposure. I used aperure priority mode, evaluative metering, it was a dull rainy day and there was a lot of green grass in shot. Maybe I should have used spot metering or centre weighted ? I should have checked the histogram after the shot too, but you dont get much time with birds - they come and go quickly.

    Dave

  5. #5
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    Re: Trying my new lens on a bird

    I agree with Donald,
    if the main source of noise is the under exposure, it should be clearly visible on SOOC picture. Can you post it here? is it under exposed?
    if not, as Donald said, the crop could be an important factor.
    at least, be carefull with sharpening. Too aggressive sharpening with low radius (<1 pixel) could amplify the noise.
    I don't think that in this case spot metering could help
    remember that camera metering set the exposure for a mid grey: if you meter on the snow (only snow, without anything else) it will be grey in the photo, not white. So your eye must recognize if the mid tone of the scene you are metering is the middle grey or not. if brighter, you have to over expose.

    finally, you can try some sofisticated noise reduction procedure to denoise without loss of details...
    hope this helps
    ciao
    nicola

  6. #6
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Trying my new lens on a bird

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicola View Post
    I agree with Donald,
    if the main source of noise is the under exposure, it should be clearly visible on SOOC picture. Can you post it here? is it under exposed?
    if not, as Donald said, the crop could be an important factor.
    at least, be carefull with sharpening. Too aggressive sharpening with low radius (<1 pixel) could amplify the noise.
    I don't think that in this case spot metering could help
    remember that camera metering set the exposure for a mid grey: if you meter on the snow (only snow, without anything else) it will be grey in the photo, not white. So your eye must recognize if the mid tone of the scene you are metering is the middle grey or not. if brighter, you have to over expose.

    finally, you can try some sofisticated noise reduction procedure to denoise without loss of details...
    hope this helps
    ciao
    nicola
    Nicola here is a 100% crop taken from the original raw file which has been opened in PS via ACR (with only minor sharpening and lens correction - no exposure adjustment). Click on the image to enlarge.

    Trying my new lens on a bird

    And here is an indication of the exposure.
    Trying my new lens on a bird

  7. #7
    Nicola's Avatar
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    Re: Trying my new lens on a bird

    Dave,
    now I can see how the picture is underexposed,
    IMHO, the lack of information on the right side of the histogram you show me (= underexposure) could be the cause of the noise. Even if there are not withe spots in the picture, I think about +1 stop of exposure could be of help to reduce the noise in this case.
    anyway, did you used the noise reduction tool in ACR? I think you can improve the picture moving the "luminance" slider of the noise reduction tool to the right end, and then work on sharpening with about 0,7 radius - 100 amount (always in ACR) to "restore" some details
    in addiction, in Photoshop you can create a mask for the bird, then apply a severe noise reduction only on the grass, and finally sharpen again the whole image: the noise on the bird is less visible than on the blurred grass , because of the details on the plumes

  8. #8
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Trying my new lens on a bird

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicola View Post
    Dave,
    now I can see how the picture is underexposed,
    IMHO, the lack of information on the right side of the histogram you show me (= underexposure) could be the cause of the noise. Even if there are not withe spots in the picture, I think about +1 stop of exposure could be of help to reduce the noise in this case.
    anyway, did you used the noise reduction tool in ACR? I think you can improve the picture moving the "luminance" slider of the noise reduction tool to the right end, and then work on sharpening with about 0,7 radius - 100 amount (always in ACR) to "restore" some details
    in addiction, in Photoshop you can create a mask for the bird, then apply a severe noise reduction only on the grass, and finally sharpen again the whole image: the noise on the bird is less visible than on the blurred grass , because of the details on the plumes
    Thanks Nicola, I'll try these things.

    Dave

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