Sooc shots of Osprey. Not sharp, Lots of noise

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Michael Fritzen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,397
Re: Sooc shots of Osprey. Not sharp, Lots of noise

AlwynS wrote:


Some thoughts:

* This is a bit of an unusual thought, but I have had some surprisingly bad results taking photographs out through an open car window. To such an extent that I now avoid doing that like the plague. This has been without the engine running, In the cases that it happened to me, I was thinking that hot air flowing out the window caused at least some hassles in some way, shape or form. So I do not understand the reason for it, I just know I avoid it as an unnecessary complication.

* While less than ideal, I do not think excessive distance is a major issue here. Looking at the images, "your" Osprey covers about750 pixels vertically. While more is obviously better, this should be enough to give you a reasonable image. Refer this Bald Eagle shot I took recently that has a similar number of pixels vertically on the bird: I am quite happy with the results.

As for the current images:

A month ago in your "Help with settings" thread I suggested that you look at my settings thread because in that thread I went into a lot of detail, not only as regards settings, but also WHY I use those settings. At that time, I commented

For you expedition tomorrow for non-flying birds: as an interim suggestion without the hassle of setting up memory locations etc., I would suggest you try the following settings:

* Mode dial: A (for Aperture mode)

* Aperture set to F4

* Auto ISO, shutter speed faster

* Drive mode Continuous mid


* Focus area: Flexible Spot small

* Metering mode: Spot

* Metering point: Focus point link

You used:

* S mode with 1/1250. I do not have a problem with that.

* You then manually set the aperture at f8 and f9 in the two attached images. This killed any possible chance you had of good images for two reasons:

- Firstly, with the RX10's 1" sensor, this aperture equivalent in size to around f22 on a full frame sensor. This means you are miles away from the recognised sharpest aperture for the RX10 IV, i.e. f4, and into pretty serious diffraction territory. This would have degraded the image quality

- Secondly, this forced the camera to use ISO400. While not normally a problem for the RX10 IV, this was unnecessarily high and degraded the image further.

* The ISO issue was compounded by the fact that the images are quite badly underexposed. This was caused to a large degree by the fact that you used Large Spot for metering. Because the Ospreys were far away, this meant the camera was metering almost exclusively on the (BRIGHT!) sky and only in very small part on the (DARK!) bird.

To have the subject Ospreys sufficiently bright, I believe Sherm had to brighten the images by AT LEAST 1 more stop in PP.

All of this led to a "perfect storm": miniscule aperture + High ISO + underexposed + brighten a JPG in post = VERY bad image with lots of noise.

While not my preferred setup for perched birds, if I had to have taken these shots using S mode I would have used the following setup:

* Shutter speed 1/1250 or 1/1000

* Aperture F4

* Focus: Small Flexible Spot

* Metering: Standard Spot (not large). This would have reduced the effect of the much brighter sky somewhat.

* Live view On. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!! This would have helped you SEE that the bird was badly under-exposed. If you are familiar with the camera and Live View, you would almost certainly have used up to +2EC, based on what you likely would have seen through the viewfinder.

* Auto ISO. I am not going to do the math now, but with the setup I described, the chances are that you would have ended up somewhere around ISO200 for a well exposed subject.

The bottom line is that I consider the results you got to be totally due to "operator error". I am sorry if that seems harsh, but this is my honest opinion. Given your experience with the camera, I suspect my observations are unlikely to change your mind and that you will likely return the camera.

Hoping that, whichever way you decide, you will be comfortable with your equipment going forward.


concour with almost everything Alwyn mentioned.

Just some few points I'm doing differently:

1) I'm using the Zebra feature for fast visual analyse of the exposure situation - which I find extremely helpfull in combination with the EC gauge in the given lighting conditions when a darker subject (bird; for which I want to expose for correctly) is in contrast with a large clearer area of the frame. Yes, the zebra CAN be a PITA in the viewfinder view but the EC gauge alone doesn't tell me (enough) about the area/amount of overexposure of the subject surrounding brighter area. With the zebra on it's for me easier to find a balance (BTW also in the opposite case of a bright bird in front of a darker background/tree/leaves).

2) I'm using manual exposure mode with aperture set to f/4 to f/5.6 depending on the desired DOF - for small to medium sized birds usually f/4. The ISO is set to get the exposure times somewhere in the ballpark from 1/640s to 1/2000s, depending on the subject (moving/flying or perched) and the available light. Then I set the exposure time with a look at the metering (provided by the EC gauge) and the zebras - and leave it there until lighting/scene/subject change substancially (a different view; more clouds; different subject).

The EVF with its WYSIWYG in combination with the zebras, always with a look at the metering on the EC gauge has provided me better and more consistent results than previous usage of any of the partly automated exposure modes. This also speeds up the PP as conversion settings found for one shot can be copied simply to the others of the same subject/vantage point.

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Michael Fritzen

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