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Thread: What To Do?

  1. #1

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    What To Do?

    Hello...

    I'm a newbie here and probably a second rate amateur photographer. My first camera was the famous Kodak Brownie and then migrated through a series of conventional Kodak cameras with my last film camera being the Minolta X-700 with a 28-80mm zoom. Not being a wealthy person and with film and processing getting costly, the digital era was a blessing! My first digital was the Olympus 340R and then a Sony DSC-S600. I like the ease and portability of a point and shoot, but I also like pictures that are vibrant and sharp. After spending several weeks reading on-line reviews I decided on the Nikon P-500. I've had the camera for over a year now. I like the portability, but the pictures, while OK, are not particularly vibrant and sharp and I've tried different settings----auto and manual. Now I know that a lens with an extended zoom capability gives up something and I wonder whether the P-500 was not the best choice. Any suggestions or advice will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: What To Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackspeare View Post
    ... but the pictures, while OK, are not particularly vibrant and sharp and I've tried different settings-
    Hello and welcome to CiC. I hope this will be the first post in a long-term involvement with the forum.

    So that you don't continue to get people asking you what your proper name is, because most us use that on here, you can go to Edit Profile and enter your proper name under 'Real Name'. Then it will appear underneath your Username in all your posts. You can also enter your location so that it does the same, just as in my details alongside this message. Then we all know where everyone is in the world.

    As to the point you make re vibrancy and sharpness. First question - Are you shooting in RAW or JPEG format and at what level do you rate your post-processing experience?

    We frequently have debates (sometimes heated) about the prime v zoom lens debate, but in terms of the sort of images that I think you may be talking about, there is no 'real world' difference. So, I think we can discount that as the cause.

    What would be really helpful is if you could post up an example of an image that you feel is not hitting the mark for you. That then gives us a point at which to start from. If you need any help on posting images, then please do read the helpful guide that walks you through how to do it. Click HERE to read the thread.

  3. #3

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    Re: What To Do?

    Before giving up on the P-500, my suggestion would be to look into a couple of options. First, does the P-500 have different settings for color vibrancy and sharpening? It probably does in the menu system somewhere. Try selecting more vibrancy and sharpness in the camera's settings -- Nikon is famous for keeping both of these settings by default very low, which is just what people who post-process want, but exactly the opposite of what people who tend not to work with their images on computer want.

    Second, you might want to look into post-processing software like PhotoShop Elements. If you decide to get an SLR, you really ought to shoot raw and post-process your images to get the advantage of an SLR. So, before switching to an SLR, find out how much you can improve your P-500 images in post. You may find that you can get just what you were looking for that way -- and, if not, you will still need to have some pp skills when you transition to an SLR, so you won't have wasted either time or money in exploring these things. FWIW

  4. #4

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    Re: What To Do?

    Good morning Blackspeare (BS for short perhaps? I hope not, nmes are preferable).
    Many of us, myself included, often check out the images at the pixel level, that is we zoom in to 100%. At that zoom level, minor issues are easily seen, but (as already mentioned by Donald) at normal viewing sizes (monitor or print) there is no discernible problem.
    I echo Tom with the recommendation that you look into a software package (free or otherwise). A little sharpening can really perk up the images.
    Welcome to the forums. May you live long and prosper with lots of images to share and discuss.
    Graham

  5. #5
    drjuice's Avatar
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    Re: What To Do?

    Hello, Blacksphere -

    One of the things I've observed with relative newbies to the digital scene is that they assume they can go with what they know (whether digital or not) without becoming absolutely intimate with their new camera(s). Additionally, they may have had several PnS cameras before they came to DSLR that they never became exceptionally familiar with.

    For myself, every once in awhile, generally about every six months or so, I go back to the beginning and RTM to see what I'm not using in my own photography. Then, I work with the more interesting things that I find for a few days to get them to fit into my present workflow.

    RTM does not hurt! And, I always learn something from the manual. I've also bought several books about using my particular brand and model of camera and found that a couple of them weren't worth the $$$ or the reading. On the other hand an orange, white, and black book series (can't remember the name just now) seems to have goodly number of cameras covered by the series (one book = one camera model, generally speaking). I usually see these books in BN or big camera stores.

    Hope this helps.

    virginia

  6. #6

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    Re: What To Do?

    Thank you drjuice....Yes I do RTM and also bought the book that explains the manual. As a joke I always like to asked whether Nikon could have made a more complicate camera. For a bridge-type camera, the manual is over 280 pages and I had to buy the book to understand the manual----lots of fun.

  7. #7

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    Re: What To Do?

    FWIW. Blackie, I bought a P500 and and also found it very frustrating. It doesn't shoot RAW, only jpg; and although it has many programmed scene settings, and options for colour, vibrancy etc, I found it almost impossible to take photos that had even the slightest resemblance to the colours that I shot. My solution, after 6 months of ripping my hair out, was to go out and buy a Canon 600D.

    regards,
    baldy

  8. #8
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: What To Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackspeare View Post
    Hello...

    I'm a newbie here and probably a second rate amateur photographer. My first camera was the famous Kodak Brownie and then migrated through a series of conventional Kodak cameras with my last film camera being the Minolta X-700 with a 28-80mm zoom. Not being a wealthy person and with film and processing getting costly, the digital era was a blessing! My first digital was the Olympus 340R and then a Sony DSC-S600. I like the ease and portability of a point and shoot, but I also like pictures that are vibrant and sharp. After spending several weeks reading on-line reviews I decided on the Nikon P-500. I've had the camera for over a year now. I like the portability, but the pictures, while OK, are not particularly vibrant and sharp and I've tried different settings----auto and manual. Now I know that a lens with an extended zoom capability gives up something and I wonder whether the P-500 was not the best choice. Any suggestions or advice will be appreciated.
    I own the grandfather of the Coolpix bridge series (P90) and you should be aware of its two zoom features: optical and digital. The optical zoom 36x gives you a reach of 4.0-144mm and you will get the best quality in this range. The digital zoom 4X gives you additional reach but the quality suffers in this range.

    Regarding the image quality you have three settings: fine, normal, and basic. And for image size up to 4000x3000 pixels.

    In camera editing options include D-Lighting and quick retouch, both can add a bit more vibrancy and/or contrast, or shadow adjustments.

  9. #9

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    Re: What To Do?

    Thank you for the information. The images are in JPEG and attached is a recent zoom photo (15-20X) for any critique. The focus is set to auto and the exposure set to +-0.7 with vibrant set to highest. The conditions were bright daylight. Again, thanks.

    http://s6.tinypic.com/edd6x_th.jpg

  10. #10

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    Re: What To Do?

    Blackspeare or they whom remain unknow, please read how to post images, alot of people will not bother to hunt for images as you have done. So please reread how to post images to a link and the best size to post them, this will get you more feed back than the method you have choosen.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  11. #11

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    Re: What To Do?

    "So please reread how to post images to a link and the best size to post them, this will get you more feed back than the method you have chosen."

    Thanks for letting me know, but you could you make uploading of images anymore difficult----it's not particularly user friendly!

  12. #12
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: What To Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackspeare View Post
    Thanks for letting me know, but you could you make uploading of images anymore difficult----it's not particularly user friendly!
    Here's the easy way.

    If you can't get step 1 to work, click "Go Advanced" (in the reply dialog) first, then try again.

    Good luck,

  13. #13

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    Re: What To Do?

    "If you can't get step 1 to work, click "Go Advanced" (in the reply dialog) first, then try again.

    Good luck"

    Thanks----let's see whether this works...

    What To Do?

  14. #14

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    Re: What To Do?

    Hi 'Him who shall not be named',
    I've used a couple of other photo forums and I've found this site to be the easiest of the ones tried. Others required me to upload to flickr or similar site and then link through to the discussion boards. Personally, I found that a real PITA. Locating an image, clicking upload and copying the provided link I found easy in comparison. However, others will have their own preferences as well.
    I hope you persevere and become a regular.

    Was this picture you posted a test image or do you want specific feedback?

    Graham

  15. #15

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    Re: What To Do?

    I think there are two things one can do to improve on what a small sensor camera gives you. The cheapest solution is to get an editing programme ... one of the good ones with plenty of potential rather that the simple ones which are often given away.
    There is free GIMP and relatively low price Adobe Elements, but only the later versions match my choice which was Paint Shop Pro. To get your feet wet there is free Paint.Net which is rather clunky but some time back I did a test using Photo Shop, PSP and PN and after doing the exercise three times I couldn't see much difference in the results. That may say something for my ability as an editor because PN was a bit of a struggle but I got there.
    If you can afford it and buy it from the right place there is LightRoom which people rave about including my son who has recently 'got serious'. It is not as capable as a proper editor but people say it does 95% or more of their needs.

    The more costly solution is to increase the sensor size of the camera. Going up to MFT, APS-C, or even full frame which may not be too expensive if you buy 2/h from a reputable dealer.

    Finally don't give up on the P500 becuase it has pretty well everything you need to take great photos. I had and still have the earlier Nikon Coolpix 5700, only x8 zoom, and I rate it as the best or equal best digital camera I have owned. So the reason results are not good is your technique not the camera to put it bluntly. This is a common feeling amongst newbies that they believe a more expensive camera will give them better results when frequently it is their lack of knowledge of how to use the camera to its fullest potential. There is no question that the top line and priced cameras give top line results much better than cheaper versions but they can also give very poor results in the in-experienced hand.

  16. #16
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: What To Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackspeare View Post
    "If you can't get step 1 to work, click "Go Advanced" (in the reply dialog) first, then try again.

    Good luck"

    Thanks----let's see whether this works...

    What To Do?
    Camera is capable, you just need a few more warm colors in the image.

  17. #17

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    Re: What To Do?

    "Was this picture you posted a test image or do you want specific feedback"

    After spending some trial and error moments uploading the photo, yes, I would like to have some feedback----thanks.

  18. #18

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    Re: What To Do?

    To me it is a rather loose composition. Subject central with distracting highlights on right. The background water needs to be blurred to concentrate attention on bird. You used less than a quarter of your reach for this shot. My crop following duplicating the image and applying Gausian blurr to one copy and then erasing that layer where I wanted the sharpness of the original layer below. This could have been done with Paint.Net though I used PSP. It emphasies the bit I liked that the birds breast is lit and set against the dark wood post.
    What To Do?
    The bird is still central but being closer it becomes a 'mug shot' which can be central.
    My preference is to have my camera controls set to normal and do the enhancement in editing.
    Thankyou for not stripping the EXIF information from the photo which helps considerably in making a comment
    EDIT ... Taking more than one shot of the bird you could have used your zoom to get this shot with maybe a bit of cropping
    What To Do?
    The feathers on the back are a little hot so I darkened them with my darken brush tool a little.
    My background means I instinctively go for close shots with part illustrating the whole instead of showing the whole.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 1st April 2013 at 01:59 PM.

  19. #19
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: What To Do?

    Hi "Blackspeare",

    Could you do me a favour please?
    Could you Edit your Profile and put your first name in the Real Name field and where you are (roughly) in the Location field? - thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackspeare View Post
    yes, I would like to have some feedback----thanks.
    On the photo - at the time of capture, there are three things that will make a duck shot better;
    a) The front or side of a duck, ideally with a sun catch-light in the eye, is better than the rear of one
    b) Don't shoot when it is that close to something in the background that's going to cause extra editing to fix (aka ALWAYS check the background)
    c) Better with the sun on all of the subject, here it is backlit, which makes life more difficult

    That said, on c), your exposure is pretty good, well done, just if she had been standing a couple of feet to the right with just the river/lake behind and facing us .....

    Here's my only example of a processed Mallard shot - I took it in 2009 and although not bad, I can do better now.

    Of course, they apply to all birds/animals really, even humans.

    Before anyone posts successful examples that break these rules, they can be broken, but save it for when there is a good reason to.


    Oh, one other thing (going back to the last sentence of the first post above); I have the Nikon P510, often I curse its AF, but I went out yesterday with the (1000mm FFE) P510 vs a D5000 DSLR with a focal length of 450mm FFE - the P510 shots, while noisy jpgs, win hands down against the DSLR for distant/small birds. So I think you should be able to get some OK results with your P500.

    Welcome to the CiC forums and I hope that helps in future,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 1st April 2013 at 03:08 PM.

  20. #20

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    Re: What To Do?

    Thank you for the pic critique and my profile is updated as per your request.

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