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Thread: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

  1. #1

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    Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Do you really need to master camera settings?? Decide for yourself!!

    I shot this inside a “super market” under very difficult lighting conditions.

    I set up my camera to ISO1000, white balance “Pre Set” on a white plastic shopping bag, Aperture wide open (Aperture Priority). Lift and shoot. Non stabalised Nikkor lens at 1/40sec.

    SOOC Jpeg. Should I rather be shooting RAW?????

    Do you NEED to master camera settings????

  2. #2
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Andre,

    Isn't this two different questions?
    1. do I need to master camera settings?
    2. Do I need to shoot raw?

    They are completely different. you can master settings and shoot jpeg, and you can use full auto and shoot raw. I think the answer to the first is clear: yes, if you want control over what the outcome is. For example, you chose aperture priority. Why? Presumably because you wanted control over DOF.

    Re #2: shooting jpeg, you are selecting the entire menu of processing parameters in advance. If that reliably gets you the images you want, with a little bit of post-hoc editing, that's all you need. It doesn't suffice for me. I find the extra control offered by raw invaluable, and I like not having to worry about white balance while shooting. To each his or her own.

    Dan

  3. #3
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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    As Slick Willie might have said under pressure:- "it all depends what the meaning of 'you' is"

    If it means 'me' and only me, the answer is "yes". I learned on a Praktica MTL3 (Manual Through the Lens) and I still hate to let a camera decide anything on my behalf. This 'NEED' is partly stubborn and partly due to having lots of time on my hands, unlike the poor Pro that has to do 1000s of shots a day just to scratch a living.

    If it means "one", i.e. in the proper English general sense, then this thread has the potential to go far!

    The pic does bring out globalization at it's worse - the interior design indistinguishable from any other urban supermarket on our fine planet.

  4. #4

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Not knowing the camera or lens, you state aperture wide open, lets say it was at 2.8 this would produce a small depth of field that anything would be sharp in, I can not find anything in the image that is sharp. So I would have to say that you need to master your camera settings, it is one thing to set it to take an image it is another to set it to get a useful image, to my way of thing if nothing in the image is clear and sharp it is not a useful image. That is unless you wanted an image that way.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  5. #5

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Ironically, this photo is a great example of the need to master post-processing to make the best of the image. That's because it's not possible to get the color balance correct throughout the image without using post-processing software.

    Having said that, your white balance reading probably works as well in this photo as any single reading would work. Well done!
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 11th August 2013 at 08:05 PM.

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    I think one needs to do both depending on the purpose and use of the photo... Master your camera settings for the best possible image SOOC and learn to shoot in raw and process, hopefully better then the camera does. And then use whatever method suits the purpose and use of the photo best.

    I'm trying to learn to do both, and hopefully I will become accomplished at both.

  7. #7

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Custom white balances often don't work well at modest to higher shutter speeds under fluorescent lighting because the colour changes significantly with the frequency they're cycling at.

    You can take 3 shots in a row and get 3 completely different results.

    Mastering camera settings is like mastering anything else in life in that it gives you options to use or disregard as you see fit. Or "ignorance once dispelled, never returns" as they say.

  8. #8
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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Hi, DanK - I beg to differ with your comment "RE #2: shooting jpeg, you are selecting the entire menu of processing parameters in advance". I believe what's happening is that what you're selecting is "the camera vendor's entire preset menu of "processing parameters" when you chose to shoot in any format except the vendor's RAW format.

    And, that's why I went to what my next door neighbor refers to as my "big camera" (probably because it's physically bigger than what I used to use). I think I explained somewhere in these fora the fact I was hugely disappointed in Sony's choices of how to process my bluebonnets images in my PnS when I took a trip to Texas specifically to take pictures of spring wildflowers in the Hill Country. Has anybody ever seen WHITE bluebonnets? Nowhere except in my PnS camera is my answer!

    I'm jes' sayin'....

    virginia

  9. #9
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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    I beg to differ with your comment "RE #2: shooting jpeg, you are selecting the entire menu of processing parameters in advance". I believe what's happening is that what you're selecting is "the camera vendor's entire preset menu of "processing parameters" when you chose to shoot in any format except the vendor's RAW format.
    We don't differ. That's what I meant, except that the user has to choose which of the manufacturer's menus to use, or his or her own. On my camera (Canon 50D), the manufacturer's firmware provides 5 preset menus, along with the option of setting one user-defined one as well. The options in the latter, of course, are pretty limited.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th August 2013 at 12:57 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Custom white balances often don't work well at modest to higher shutter speeds under fluorescent lighting because the colour changes significantly with the frequency they're cycling at.

    You can take 3 shots in a row and get 3 completely different results.
    Colin,

    I've read this before on other fora. Does it apply to all fluorescent lighting? What frequency do they cycle at? I've seen 10kHz mentioned for electronic ballasts. What would be a max shutter speed for those?

    Is phosphor persistence a factor?
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 12th August 2013 at 01:19 AM.

  11. #11

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Quote Originally Posted by xpatUSA View Post
    Colin,

    I've read this before on other fora. Does it apply to all fluorescent lighting, or just the older kind with non-electronic ballast?
    Not sure to be honest Ted - all I know is that when I got my bright and shiny Canon 1D X a year or so ago - and shot a burst inside - I was quite gob-smacked at the variation under my own room lighting (electronic ballast).

    If I ever have to shoot under that lighting I just rely totally on shooting RAW and adjusting WB & tint afterwards. Still not perfect (light is very spiky), but good enough for the average shot.

  12. #12
    xpatUSA's Avatar
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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Not knowing the camera or lens, you state aperture wide open, lets say it was at 2.8 this would produce a small depth of field that anything would be sharp in, I can not find anything in the image that is sharp.

    Allan
    ExifToolGUI gives Nikon D200, 18-135mm lens, f/3.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 1000, AF-S.

    Colin,

    Thanks for the info. I'm tempted to try a test when it cools down a bit in the camper (been close to 100F all week). There's a single Philips TL950 T8 over the bench that I usually leave on since it contributes little to the main subject lighting.

    Ted
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 12th August 2013 at 02:06 AM.

  13. #13

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Andre,

    Again, output sharpening makes all the difference in my opinion.

    Do you NEED to master camera settings????

  14. #14
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    Isn't this two different questions?
    1. do I need to master camera settings?
    2. Do I need to shoot raw?

    They are completely different. you can master settings and shoot jpeg, and you can use full auto and shoot raw. . .
    Hi ya DanK,

    Not so with all cameras, I think.

    I believe that you can with your 50D, and that, I recall, was a change in the options available in that camera model - but it is not with all cameras . . .

    From memory only, some examples that spring to my mind are: 20D, 30D, 40D and 5D in Canon . . .

    But also I think (I am not 100% sure without looking) that NONE of the Canon xxxD and xxxxD ranges of Cameras allow raw capture in "Full Auto" (or any of the "Basic Zone" Camera Modes, either).

    Can't grab any examples in other brands, off the top of my head, . . .

    WW

  15. #15

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    That's a broad question. Which camera settings? If by camera settings you mean ss, f-stop, ISO, etc. that control the amount of light gathered, depth of field, and freezing/blurring motion, then the answer is absolutely YES. But if by camera settings you include (Nikon terms) Picture Controls, D-Lighting, etc. which process the image for storage/output, then the answer is definitively NO if you shoot RAW. Image processing in camera or in post is purely a personal preference based on one's needs/desires.

  16. #16
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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Hi WW,

    Interesting. Well, I did not know the answer, as I have never used any of the 'basic' modes on my 50D. I just checked. My camera was set as usual for raw only. I just cycled it through all of the basic modes, and in each case, I went back to the relevant menu. The camera was still set for raw. I took one picture in one of the basic modes, and it showed up as raw on the lcd. I also have never used the custom picture style, which you can create using the EOS utility software, I think.

    Not that I am recommending any of this...

    Dan

  17. #17
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Two thoughts - there are enough people with expensive DSLRs that go around and get the occasional great shot shooting in fully automatic mode and letting the camera make all the decisions. If one wants to get beyond that level of photorgraphy and using more advanced photographic techniques, then the answer is clearly yes you do. That does not mean you need to know all of them though.

    My old film DSLR let me change aperture and shutter speed, and I could chose between spot metering mode and an averaging mode. My ISO and colour balance were locked in after I loaded the film. I got plenty of great shots knowing which of those three variables to change; and frankly these are still key ones today, even with our hyper sophisticated DSLRs.

    When it comes to fluorescent lights; we are dealing with two distinct issues. In general these cycle at twices the line frequency (i.e. 100Hz in most of the world and 120Hz in the Americas); although some electronic ballasts have a higher opearating frequency (no easy way to tell without disassembling the lighting fixture and looking up the specs on the specific ballast that has been installed). The phosphors used in the lights have a very fast decay time. We want to get at least 1 full cycle in a shot (safer to get two or three) and synch to the lines frequency and shooting. So in Europe; 1/100, 1/50 and 1/30 and in the Americas 1/120, 1/60 and 1/40 are mathematically shutter speeds to try. I expect this is part of what Colin was seeing in his shots.

    The other problem with fluorescents are clearly shown in Andre's shot; they almost always provide one with a mixed lighting shooting situation. On top of the nasty green spike in the spectrum, there are many different colour temperature outputs that vary amongst the different light sources; cool white, warm white, daylight, etc, etc. Just to complicate matters, there are no standards here and different light bulb manufacturers use different phosphors and colour temperatures do vary, even when they are marked as giving the same kind of output.

    I try to avoid shooting with fluorescents as much as I can; you can often get an acceptable shot; but there are no guarantees.

  18. #18

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Does the discussion of fluorescent lights pertain to compact fluorescent bulbs that are screwed into light sockets that are also compatible with incandescent bulbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    My ISO and colour balance were locked in after I loaded the film.
    Not your color balance. You forgot about filters. Not your ISO. You forgot that the film processing could be pushed and pulled.

  19. #19

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Should I rather be shooting RAW?????
    Life is full of choices...are you satisfied with taking adequate pictures or, might you desire to take great images?
    I find myself being an eclectic shooter and could not bother with the myriad of camera settings prior to the shot.
    As an example...there is no camera made that will give proper exposure info before I take the shot.
    Better to import into LR and choose those alterations based on what I see on my monitor.

  20. #20

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    Re: Do you NEED to master camera settings????

    Quote Originally Posted by chauncey View Post
    there is no camera made that will give proper exposure info before I take the shot.
    I suppose the accuracy of that statement depends on your definition of proper exposure information. Some cameras display the histogram before releasing the shutter.

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