Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot

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mistermejia
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Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
3 months ago

Well, i know what a point and shoot can and cannot do, but i will admit i had a pretty embarrassing moment this weekend.

I had my XE1, and, well, my friends always compliment the look of the camera, and they think is very expensive. Two things happened to me this pass weekend. First, my friends and I went to the beach. I was adjusting the XE1 the best i could so that i can get my friends well exposed, with the sun behind them on the background and the water and the blue sky with some white clouds. I have been here before, so I knew what i was getting into, so i was shooting RAW. I was trying all sort of things to have the camera properly set up and i also had the pop up flash on. Well, i thought i was getting "good results".

Then, my friend asked me: "oh please take a photo with my camera". She had a cheap $125 dollar point and shoot Sony. I took the photo and when i checked it on the LCD my jaw drops!!

That same photo with the beach behind everybody, and the sun and water and white clouds was NOT over exposed, but most importantly, my friends were PERFECTLY exposed in the front and i just could not believe it. My wife looked at my XE1 photo and she asked me why my photo was way way darker and why we could barely see everybody in that photo. All i said is that i probably did something wrong. She told me: "the other cheap camera takes better photos than your $1K one". I just shook my head.

Then we go out to dinner in a restaurant, and i am trying to lock focus but i can't, it is not completely dark, but the lights are dimmed enough that the camera cannot lock focus on people's face. All i said was: "sorry guys but my camera is not locking focus", all they said was: "what??".

My question is why can't my XE1 take a better photo in the beach scenario, but the cheap $125 Sony point and shoot can? Something doesn't make sense here.

As to the AF lock for indoor shots, well, i already kind of knew that was going to happen

Just right now as i am writing this i am thinking that maybe the XE1 does have a SCENE mode for the beach situation? I don't have the camera with me right now, but i do remember the X10 does have different in-camera scenes. Can you guys verify this from the top of your head? I will check the manual as well and maybe some of those scene modes give me the output i am looking for certain situations.

If it doesn't, then what i'll have to do is take my external flash ALL THE TIME, which is not very comfortable. Either that, or i might just start looking for a newer body. In the end, i don't just want a great looking camera, but one that works better or at least the same as as my friend's point and shoot  

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Sonyshine
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

The more complex and capable the camera the more you have to learn to use it....

That applies to me as much as you! 

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EricWN
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

Please post both pictures, if possible, so we can have a look too.

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ryan2007
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

You are talking about two different cameras meant for two different types of photographers.

You also should know that before digital was film and before Auto Focus film cameras things were done manually from focusing to exposure.

Having known that you would have known about a few concepts. First is the Sunny 16 rule, will not explain it, just look it up. Next, you would known what 18% grey is and this is how the camera meters the exposure. Short version, if the scene is overexposed the camera compensates to make it 18% grey or neutral that is why you go +1 or +1 on exposure comp and even use fill flash. Same idea with a Snow scene.

I will also say that if you are on the beach, use fill flash pretty much every time, bracket exposure too, but I guarantee you, you need to set exposure compensation to +1 to +2 and bracketing the exposure will help. Take some with an without flash, but fill comes in handy.

Depending you'll need a ND filter (maybe) and i have to say I love the built in ND filter my X100s has, lifesaver.

Anyway, that $125 will always take a better picture for one reason is that this is geared to Uncle,Aunt and Grandpa where anyone can get a properly exposed shot because not everyone wants to develop or actually learn photography.

Fuji X is a unique system, it is a photographers camera system because it is like shooting a manual film camera. If you don't have intermediate skills and knowledge you'll have more of a curve and not get it.

If I was in a Sunny beach situation exposure compensation goes to +1 (minimum), fill flash too.

Maybe some brushing up on beach photography specifically will help you learn how to do it better.

Advanced skills include using reflectors to bounce, diffuse and cut light.

**Don't be afraid to move your subject for the better shot if you have to and you can do it!

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darngooddesign
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to ryan2007, 3 months ago

To paraphrase.

Tell your wife you need to hang out at the beach more so you can practice your photography.

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Mike in Kansas
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

And the "I like my X-E1 but the [insert camera name here] just seems to outperform it" saga continues... 

Anytime you go from a fully automatic P&S camera to one where YOU must decide how to set EVERY aspect - shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, flash, etc. - you will struggle for a while until you learn how to most effectively set all of the parameters for each unique shooting situation.  However, once you master them, your creative control will way exceed that of being forced into the settings that an automatic P&S camera foists upon you.  Backlit contrasty scenes can be a challenge.

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viking79
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

Sony DRO. The Sony is doing a lot of image manipulation behind the scene.  It is exposing for the highlights and boosting the shadows.  This is why they always seem to have the exposure right, it sort of balances everything in the frame.

With your XE1 you can probably turn on the extended dynamic range mode or shoot RAW and expose for the highlights, fixing the shadow area underexposure later and manually setting the white balance to cloudy or whatever is appropriate.

If the XE1 is anything like the XPro 1, low light focus is not its strong point.  The newer generation of cameras is better I believe.  My XA1 feels better than my XP1 did in this regard.

Eric

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PDine
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

Sometimes or just happens. Every camera has a situation that it just happens to work well in. Our old p&s camera is a 2006 Olympus, which my wife still uses. A couple of years ago, we went to the beach. I was using my Sony nex and she was using the Olympus. I took a picture of her with oceocean in the background and lots of white overcast sky. She looked quite dark/sillouetted. Her camera on full auto used its flash for fill and exposed the scene with me in it just perfectly - much like your story.

The thing is, the reason I got myself a serious camera is because most of the time the pictures from the Olympus eye awful. Terrible indoor shots, all grainy and overpowering flash. The Sony trounced it in virtually every other photo.

Nowadays I use a x100 and I try to make sure I use the fill flash in outdoor people pictures. But even the highly revered flash on the x100 doesn't always get it right...

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afragisk
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

It gets a lot easier with a variable ND and external flash
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mistermejia
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to viking79, 3 months ago

viking79 wrote:

Sony DRO. The Sony is doing a lot of image manipulation behind the scene. It is exposing for the highlights and boosting the shadows. This is why they always seem to have the exposure right, it sort of balances everything in the frame.

It balances it very well

With your XE1 you can probably turn on the extended dynamic range mode or shoot RAW and expose for the highlights, fixing the shadow area underexposure later and manually setting the white balance to cloudy or whatever is appropriate.

I tried different settings, all auto and all manual settings, ISO and dynamic range, pop up flash, and the cheap sony was way ahead for that situation. Yes, i exposed for the background and shot raw to adjust exposure later, but that's not the point. It would be nice if newer and more expensive cameras could do that simple little thing to get exposure right from the very begining, like the cheap cameras.  And please someone do not tell me to perform in-camera raw conversion because if i do that guess what will happen?  yes, the background will get screwed up.

I have a wireless SD card so i wanted to post those photos in FB, but it didn't happen because i have to go thru the trouble of processing that photo and "wait" til is fixed. A couple of days will pass by until that gets done. That's NO fun

If the XE1 is anything like the XPro 1, low light focus is not its strong point. The newer generation of cameras is better I believe. My XA1 feels better than my XP1 did in this regard.

Eric

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Tom Schum
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Automatic tone curve optimization
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

I think this is one more example pointing to widespread use of an automatic tone curve optimization process, done in low cost cameras and cellphones, but NOT DONE in higher-end "professional" or "enthusiast" cameras such as the esteemed X-E1. Personally I wouldn't have it otherwise, but these low cost cameras are doing some very effective tricks.

I have no proof of this, but it arouses my suspicions.

Anyway, one of the first things I try when processing an image is "smart fix". With this, Photoshop Elements tries to automatically optimize the tone curve. Frequently this makes a huge difference in the appearance of the photo. Sometimes, I can't do any better so I keep it (don't tell anyone on the forum, they will think I am a simpleton).

With my X-E1 images I find I am constantly battling dynamic range issues. Recently I have been developing my raws in Silkypix using minimum contrast. Here is one. The processing options make a big difference and there are so many of them!

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John Rausch
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Re: Automatic tone curve optimization
In reply to Tom Schum, 3 months ago

Tom Schum wrote:

I think this is one more example pointing to widespread use of an automatic tone curve optimization process, done in low cost cameras and cellphones, but NOT DONE in higher-end "professional" or "enthusiast" cameras such as the esteemed X-E1. Personally I wouldn't have it otherwise, but these low cost cameras are doing some very effective tricks.

My Sony RX1 Has DRO,  multi-frame noise reduction and a few other "tricks" that produce fairly incredible results. In many cases it is not a matter of getting the exposure just right,  it is doing things in camera that could take a person with a lot of skill and time in Photoshop to replicate, like taking six frames and merging them in situations like the beach shot by OP.  I don't usually use the various magic settings, but for some situations they really do the job.

It's not a "low cost" camera!

My main camera is an X-E2 and I have an X-M1 infrared,  so not a Sony fanboy,   in fact quite the opposite except for two cameras,  the RX1 and the RX100 - all three versions.

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a l b e r t
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

The Sony P&S probably has leaf shutter and is able to shoot the backlit scene with flash high speed sync.

None of the X APS-C camera can do HSS yet. So even if you bring an external flash, it won't help much. You need to shoot at 1/500 or faster with correct flash fill.

This is why I still have my X10 for this kind of situation.

As for indoor low light shoot, you need a f/1.4 lens to help the CDAF system.  Also, X-E2 is more capable in low light AF situation.  This is why I never recommend anyone going with X-E1 (I had it and sold it), the camera is too limiting except the best situations.

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4tunate son
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to a l b e r t, 3 months ago

a l b e r t wrote:

None of the X APS-C camera can do HSS yet.

The X100 and X100S can.

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a l b e r t
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to 4tunate son, 3 months ago

4tunate son wrote:

a l b e r t wrote:

None of the X APS-C camera can do HSS yet.

The X100 and X100S can.

I meant to say the ones with lens mount.

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afragisk
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to a l b e r t, 3 months ago

This is where the variable ND comes into play. No need for low power HSS, the EF-42 is enough. Though admittedly it does take plenty of skill and practice to have to now think of every single camera setting, including the filter darkness and flash.
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wyldberi
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to a l b e r t, 3 months ago

a l b e r t wrote:

4tunate son wrote:

a l b e r t wrote:

None of the X APS-C camera can do HSS yet.

The X100 and X100S can.

I meant to say the ones with lens mount.

I frequently use the term "X Mount camera" to avoid confusion on this minor point. (It's easier to type, also. )

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photoreddi
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to a l b e r t, 3 months ago

a l b e r t wrote:

The Sony P&S probably has leaf shutter and is able to shoot the backlit scene with flash high speed sync.

None of the X APS-C camera can do HSS yet. So even if you bring an external flash, it won't help much. You need to shoot at 1/500 or faster with correct flash fill.

This is why I still have my X10 for this kind of situation.

Most of the small compact cameras (such as the one mentioned in the OP) probably have no mechanical shutter and just use the electronic shutter that's built into their sensor. My Fuji F600EXR is one of those and it can use its built-in flash up to its highest shutter speeds.

Some old DSLRs like Nikon's D50 and D70 used both, a focal plane mechanical shutter and their sensor's electronic shutter for faster flash synch, up to 1/500th sec.

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mistermejia
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Here is the photo.
In reply to EricWN, 3 months ago

EricWN wrote:

Please post both pictures, if possible, so we can have a look too.

Hi EricWN, sorry but impossible to post the photo from the Sony because i don't have that camera or the photo. But below is the jpeg photo output i was talking about, the first photo.  I find the pop up flash useless most of the time.  The second one i retook in RAW. As someone else already said, i too have a hard time in situations like that and i don't carry my SB600 where ever i go, it is a little on the heavy side.

Other than these little annoying things, including the AF in low light, i LOVE the color output out of the XE1.

RAW with shadow adjustment.

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KVI08106
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Re: Bragging about our expensive mirrorless/DSLR vs a point and shoot
In reply to mistermejia, 3 months ago

I had a similar challenge this weekend, taking a quick shot outdoors, people in shadow with a brightly lit background. I didn't think fill flash would be powerful enough to balance my subject. So I went to the Advanced Filters through the drive menu. I used High Key. It's an in camera JPEG trick and won't make a Raw. This is on my X-E2, I assume the same feature is available on the X-E1. Here is the result:

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

The drawback is the overblown background. But hey, these types of shots are about capturing a moment.

And this was before I used High Key. I knew I going to have a bad result and didn't care about focus, I was already thinking about changing to advanced filters.

I suppose spot metering may have been an option as well.

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