Please Help: Your Critique Needed

Started Dec 26, 2012 | Discussions
Mua Bao
New MemberPosts: 4
Like?
Please Help: Your Critique Needed
Dec 26, 2012

I am thinking of getting a D800 & was able to borrow a brand-spanking new D800 from a friend & took a few photos over Xmas.  This was one of them.  Besides technical flaws, what other problems do you see with this photo.  To me, it looks grainy even ISO was only at 400.  Maybe the flash (SB-800) was incorrectly set up/used?

Some details: 35mm, f/5, ISO 400, 1/60 sec, flash used.  No PP whatsoever except for cropping in LR4.1

TIA for your time.

MB

Nikon D800
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Hugo First
Contributing MemberPosts: 734
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 26, 2012

i see no problems with the photo whatever. i zoomed to the max and could even read the writing on the card in the tree, and on the packages. tons of detail, and no noise, so i'm not sure what you mean by grainy. if you are looking for flaws in the camera, i see none. ditto with issues of technique. the more i think about it, the less reason i see to be concerned...

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
fft81
Contributing MemberPosts: 896
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 26, 2012

You down sampled the image, so we cant see if it was grainy or not. Also what we cant see is if it was sharp or not. Down sampled image looks good. Hand holding d800 tends to result in camera shake blur at faster speeds than on lower pixel pitch cameras. For me the magic number is 1/(3*FL), for you may be different.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
rpps
Senior MemberPosts: 1,233Gear list
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to fft81, Dec 26, 2012

Your photo looks nice and clear on my monitor without any noticeable grain. I downloaded your photo and had a look at it and  I found it a little flat looking so I edited it in CNX2, the only fault I could find was the moire effect on your shirt.

 rpps's gear list:rpps's gear list
Nikon D600 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
eNo
eNo
Forum ProPosts: 11,732
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 26, 2012

Some observations:

  • First off, you mention grain, and though I can't see it myself, the first thing I notice is somewhere betwen 1/2 to 1 full stop of under-exposure. Under-exposure at any ISO and for any camera will give you noise in shadow/dark areas.
  • The flash didn't cut it here. It looks like the built-in, where a SB-700 might have done a better job. Speaking of flash, it looks like it's on-camera and direct, where maybe a bounced flash would have given you better lighting and more dimension. Now we're no just talking about quantity but quality of light.
  • There are a couple of composional issues, like too much stuff in the frame (do we need the TV?), the kids not looking in the same direction, or not having compelling expressions.
  • If you posed this, it's seldom interesting to do line-up of people, unless there's good reason to. If this is just a moment that happened, they're still arranged rather stiffly, so maybe look for another angle, or tell them something funny to make them react so their body language looks a bit more natural.
  • All that stuff is quibbling, though, compared to the more basic question: "what story am I telling with this photo?" I see a Christmas tree, and I see 4 boys who might be interested in the presents around the tree, but the shot isn't conveying that story. They look kind'a disconnected from the tree and presents, both in terms of their placement and manner. Maybe if they were kneeling by the tree, one of them shaking a box while listening to its contents by his ear, maybe two others playing tug of war with a box... something that tells me a story... we might have had something.

If I can boil it down for you, the shot needs better lighting to paint a compelling story. Think light, tell a story, and you'll be on your way.

-- hide signature --

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Home page: http://imagesbyeduardo.com/main/
Seeking the heart and spirit in each image

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
eric
Senior MemberPosts: 1,813Gear list
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 26, 2012

To be honest, this just looks like a typical average snapshot any grandmom or wife or kid or dad would take. I would not be worrying about "grain". Really I hope your not interested in a d800 just to take snapshots of the family and dog and flowers in the back yard because you can save yourself a boatload of cash and just get a nice point and shoot. Dont think a better camera will magically make you a photographer. in fact it will really highlight the flaws in your skills. However if you just want a d800 so friends can envy you, you should totally go for it!

~e

 eric's gear list:eric's gear list
Nikon D610 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED MC +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
brightcolours
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,026
Like?
I see the "grain"...
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 26, 2012

Mua Bao wrote:

I am thinking of getting a D800 & was able to borrow a brand-spanking new D800 from a friend & took a few photos over Xmas. This was one of them. Besides technical flaws, what other problems do you see with this photo. To me, it looks grainy even ISO was only at 400. Maybe the flash (SB-800) was incorrectly set up/used?

Some details: 35mm, f/5, ISO 400, 1/60 sec, flash used. No PP whatsoever except for cropping in LR4.1

TIA for your time.

Let me guess, you looked at 100% pixel level, and saw the noisy chroma noise reduced on the faces' gradations.

But ask yourself, what good is it to look at 100% pixel level on your screen? Are you planning on making a HUGE print of it to hang on a wall and look up close to it? I doubt it.

More problematic is the under exposure, the totally not artistic snapshotty quality of the badly posed image and bad composition.

Like someone else asked, is this really what you would want to buy a very expensive high resolution camera for?

Any camera will show some noise, with or without chroma noise reduction when you underexpose on ISO 400. Does it in any way matter in this case? No, not at all.

MB

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
intensity studios
Contributing MemberPosts: 668Gear list
Like?
UNDEREXPOSED
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 26, 2012

the pic looks underexposed and that is why you will get some noise in the shadows and it looks flat. D800 is an expensive camera to learn on.

-- hide signature --
 intensity studios's gear list:intensity studios's gear list
Nikon D3200 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II Adobe Photoshop CS6 +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rational
Regular MemberPosts: 287
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 26, 2012

I am personally interested only on the content and not on the technological stuff (exposure, grain, etc., all of which can be fixed with some tutoring).

This is a photo of a happy event (family around a Christmas tree), yet it does not bring a warm smile to the viewer's face. That is because:

a) Some of the kids pictured are looking in a different direction as if the while thing bores them.

b) One smiling kid's smile is clearly unnatural as if someone told him "now, smile real big".

c) The adult in the picture does not seem to be too happy about the whole thing.

d) All subjects are lined up in a posed manner like kids in a yearbook group photo.

e) Add something unusual in the composition. How about a family pet, or a just-opened Christmas present that can bring a natural smile to show?

All of these can be remedied next time by NOT posing the subjects but by catching them almost off-guard while they are happy about what is going on. If that is hard (it is, and may take many photos to get one that is good, which is fine since digital photos cost nothing), then try to pose them in some casual-seeming manner and then surprise them with something very funny just at the moment you are about to push the shutter to take the photo.

As for the technological stuff:

a) The subjects' faces should be lit a little more than the background; as is, they fade into the background.

b) The camera is looking at them from above instead of being at their eye level. Try to get the lens at the eye level (or slightly below) that of the eyes of the people you are taking a photo of. In this case that are sitting and you are standing, so you should sit (or lower the lens to an equivalent hight, too.)

d) The all-inclusiveness (all people, the Xmas tree, etc.) is a bit commonplace. Try for a different angle that is not so standard.

e) You need to bring up the non-yellow colors up a bit. There is too much yellow and not much green (the tree) or red or blue. Post processing can fix this partially.

Hope this help

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Iggier
Senior MemberPosts: 1,198Gear list
Like?
I see a hot pixel
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 26, 2012

although it is a bit large for a hot pixel, so perhaps it's a reflection induced from the flash. Left inner edge of the TV frame, above where it joins the corner.

 Iggier's gear list:Iggier's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mua Bao
New MemberPosts: 4
Like?
Thank You!
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 27, 2012

Thanks to all for taking your time & helping out with your thoughtful comments.

I'm aware of the myriad technical flaws with this photo.  I picked out the worst photo to solicit constructive criticism & I'm glad I got many.  I was concerned with the (perceived) graininess of the photo but, as pointed out, it's due to some other factors.

I did use an external flash (SB700) & pointed it at the ceiling at a 45-degree angle.  I might have selected some wrong settings on the flash which caused the under-exposure.

I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford some nice photo gear but I'm painfully aware of how much I need to learn.

I'll pay around with the D800 some more in the coming days...

Thanks again & please keep the C&C's coming

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mua Bao
New MemberPosts: 4
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to eric, Dec 27, 2012

eric wrote:

To be honest, this just looks like a typical average snapshot any grandmom or wife or kid or dad would take. I would not be worrying about "grain". Really I hope your not interested in a d800 just to take snapshots of the family and dog and flowers in the back yard because you can save yourself a boatload of cash and just get a nice point and shoot. Dont think a better camera will magically make you a photographer. in fact it will really highlight the flaws in your skills. However if you just want a d800 so friends can envy you, you should totally go for it!

~e

Thanks Eric for taking the time to write.

Everyone has to get through the "typical average snapshot" phase (except the snapshot I posted in this thread is less-than-average - I did own a P&S camera & many of those shots I took were definitely better); the difference being that such a person recognizes that there're flaws & is willing to learn.

I'm not sure how to take your comment:  Was it a critique?  If so, you're making a bunch of assumptions that are condescending.  Other than that, I failed to see its usefulness.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
OldschoolRu
Forum MemberPosts: 95Gear list
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 27, 2012

I think he is talking about : not sharp and nor bright.

Bigger problem here is: kids sitting on cold granite under big ass plasma

 OldschoolRu's gear list:OldschoolRu's gear list
Nikon D600
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
panos_m
Senior MemberPosts: 1,210
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 27, 2012

Try these settings:

Camera:

  • Manual mode (flash will provide the needed varying light)
  • Picture Control Standard.
  • Matrix Metering
  • Flash WB (or auto, experiment with this)
  • 1/60
  • iso 800 (noise not an issue with D800 at iso 800, faster recycling times to flash, save battery energy)
  • f/5.6 (or practice with other aperture settings)

Flash:

  • TTL (not TTL/BL)
  • Flash head straight-up
  • Slide out the small white reflector
  • Adjust exposure compensation (on flash not in camera, start with +1, the room in the photo looks too high)

Mua Bao wrote:

I am thinking of getting a D800 & was able to borrow a brand-spanking new D800 from a friend & took a few photos over Xmas. This was one of them. Besides technical flaws, what other problems do you see with this photo. To me, it looks grainy even ISO was only at 400. Maybe the flash (SB-800) was incorrectly set up/used?

Some details: 35mm, f/5, ISO 400, 1/60 sec, flash used. No PP whatsoever except for cropping in LR4.1

TIA for your time.

MB

-- hide signature --

Panagiotis

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
panos_m
Senior MemberPosts: 1,210
Like?
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed
In reply to Mua Bao, Dec 27, 2012

Try these settings:

Camera:

  • Manual mode (flash will provide the needed varying light)
  • Picture Control Standard.
  • Matrix Metering
  • Flash WB (or auto, experiment with this)
  • 1/60
  • iso 800 (noise not an issue with D800 at iso 800, faster recycling times to flash, save battery energy)
  • f/5.6 (or practice with other aperture settings)

Flash:

  • TTL (not TTL/BL)
  • Flash head straight-up
  • Slide out the small white reflector
  • Adjust exposure compensation (on flash not in camera, start with +1, the room in the photo looks too high)

Mua Bao wrote:

I am thinking of getting a D800 & was able to borrow a brand-spanking new D800 from a friend & took a few photos over Xmas. This was one of them. Besides technical flaws, what other problems do you see with this photo. To me, it looks grainy even ISO was only at 400. Maybe the flash (SB-800) was incorrectly set up/used?

Some details: 35mm, f/5, ISO 400, 1/60 sec, flash used. No PP whatsoever except for cropping in LR4.1

TIA for your time.

MB

-- hide signature --

Panagiotis

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Apewithacamera
Senior MemberPosts: 2,139Gear list
Like?
That plasma is bigger than the fireplace! :P
In reply to OldschoolRu, Dec 27, 2012
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads