Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Started Jan 31, 2013 | Discussions
JajoB New Member • Posts: 6
Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57
1

Hey all,

Returned a Nikon D5100 for a Sony A57, and here I am.  I had intended on buying the NEX5R, but after playing with the A57 in the store, I had to have it.

I've been playing around with it a little, and am still learning (I'm very new to the DSLR/T world).  My pictures of stationary objects have come out great, but capturing my son on photo is a little more difficult.

I came here to ask, what the heck is going on with this picture?  The graininess is terrible, and his skin doesn't look smooth; it looks plastic.  What is going on here? Check out the graininess around his nose and mouth.  Am I expecting too much from the camera?  Or do I just need more practice?

NEX5R Nikon D5100 Sony SLT-A57
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HobbiesAreFun
HobbiesAreFun Senior Member • Posts: 2,457
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

You don't include exif data in the image, so I can't tell you if the settings were operator error, camera error, etc.

From the looks of it, you shot a jpeg file with noise reduction turned up, shot it at a low resolution, with a not-fast-enough lens in relatively poor lighting conditions. All of which contribute to the final problems.

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TrojMacReady
TrojMacReady Veteran Member • Posts: 8,725
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

JajoB wrote:

Hey all,

Returned a Nikon D5100 for a Sony A57, and here I am. I had intended on buying the NEX5R, but after playing with the A57 in the store, I had to have it.

I've been playing around with it a little, and am still learning (I'm very new to the DSLR/T world). My pictures of stationary objects have come out great, but capturing my son on photo is a little more difficult.

I came here to ask, what the heck is going on with this picture? The graininess is terrible, and his skin doesn't look smooth; it looks plastic. What is going on here? Check out the graininess around his nose and mouth. Am I expecting too much from the camera? Or do I just need more practice?

Can you post the original including full EXIF information?

That can shed a little more light on which settings you used.

William Porter Senior Member • Posts: 1,676
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

My first reaction, looking at the image in your post, was, it's just not a great picture. Nothing wrong with that, but just remember, the camera doesn't guarantee great pictures. Light's bad in more ways than one, for example. The photographer's perspective relative to the baby isn't very appealing. In other words, there are lots of reasons to stop worrying about this shot, without having to get down to the level of the pixel quality around the baby's nose. That's true of most of my photos, too, and thank goodness for it. I can hit delete quickly without having to study the photo at 100%.

But you asked, and all I can say is, it's hard to say without knowing more about how this picture came to be. In camera JPEG? Off default settings in camera? What processing did you do on your computer? Looks like the EXIF info is missing camera settings so I can't tell what ISO you were using, or what lens, etc.

I can tell you the A57 can take wonderful photos.

Will

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vw671 Contributing Member • Posts: 539
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

By the looks of things...yes you are doing something wrong. Please post all your settings you are trying to use.

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splashy
splashy Senior Member • Posts: 2,078
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

The baby is half in the light and half in the shadow, did you have something like DRO or HDR on?

Still a nice picture and a very beautiful baby btw.

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OP JajoB New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Thanks to everyone who has replied with comments and help.  I didn't want to post the original with the EXIF because his junk is out.  Anyways.

Here's the info.

Shutter speed: 1/40 sec

F stop: f/3.5

ISO: 6400 (I'm guessing this is where things went wrong)

Focal length: 18mm

Here's another picture, with the same effects, probably even more exaggerated.

Shutter speed: 1/60 sec

F stop: f/3.5

ISO: 3200

Focal length: 18mm

vw671 Contributing Member • Posts: 539
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Are you resizing your images on your PC? Check you JPEG compression.

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OP JajoB New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

This doesn't occur after I resize them.  It's on the originals as well.  :-/

Draek
Draek Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57
2

Well... I can guess at the reason for the grainy look, but explaining the whys and hows could prove confusing and it'd take a while in any case, so I'll jump ahead to the solution, including a few aspects to improve non-grain related matters:

- First of all, get a faster lens. The Sony 35/1.8 would be the ideal choice, but a second-hand Minolta 50/1.7 would be a workable alternative if money is short---you don't want to use your kit zoom indoors, and you certainly don't want to use its 18mm end for portraiture either.

- Your indoor lights suck, utterly. If you're planning on shooting a lot of indoor photos (and with a baby you most likely are), it'd be a good investment to switch to Compact Fluorescent bulbs, or ideally LED bulbs---they're brighter with less energy consumption, but even at the same subjective brightness levels they produce less image noise, due to a few quirks related to camera sensors and light spectrum beyond the scope of this thread.

- As Robert Capa famously said, if your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough. The concept is simple: the more you fill the frame with your subject the less you crop when you print or view on your screen, and thus the less noticeable individual specks of noise and grain become.

I'd normally suggest trying out flash photography as well, but I've heard it can be dangerous for the eyes of small children, and I don't think it'd be necessary in your case either. Perhaps for when your children turns 4-5 and enters the "hyperactive rabbit on a caffeine overdose" phase, but until then ISO800 and an f/1.8 lens should suffice.

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splashy
splashy Senior Member • Posts: 2,078
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

I still think it's DRO or similar.

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sybersitizen Veteran Member • Posts: 8,506
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

JajoB wrote:

Shutter speed: 1/40 sec

F stop: f/3.5

ISO: 6400 (I'm guessing this is where things went wrong)

Shutter speed: 1/60 sec

F stop: f/3.5

ISO: 3200

I really don't uderstand the complaint. You are apparently shooting in pretty low light, so you're not going to get the best image quality the camera offers. Even so, I don't see anything 'wrong' with how the camera responded to your use. Maybe try a brighter room with some good window lighting, or outdoors in the shade.

Dutchpepper
Dutchpepper Senior Member • Posts: 1,505
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Hi Can I ask what mode do you have the camera in? iAuto? iAuto+ A,P,M etc

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HobbiesAreFun
HobbiesAreFun Senior Member • Posts: 2,457
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

JajoB wrote:

Thanks to everyone who has replied with comments and help. I didn't want to post the original with the EXIF because his junk is out. Anyways.

Here's the info.

Shutter speed: 1/40 sec

F stop: f/3.5

ISO: 6400 (I'm guessing this is where things went wrong)

Focal length: 18mm

Probably not a fast enough shutter speed to freeze any possible movements of your hands and/or the baby.

Here's another picture, with the same effects, probably even more exaggerated.

Shutter speed: 1/60 sec

F stop: f/3.5

ISO: 3200

Focal length: 18mm

At high ISOs, if you are shooting jpeg files, the noise reduction settings can and will be able to produce the smearing effect you see when you enlarge the photos. Sony's in-camera noise reduction is far too heavy handed, and leads to serious image quality degradation.

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http://eswenson.smugmug.com

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EdwinB
EdwinB Regular Member • Posts: 364
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Nothing wrong with your camera it did a good job.  In these light condition it did is best to get it right.

You can pump up sharpness, contrast in the camera or choose Vivid settings if you wish.

To avoid noise more with high iso you can compensate the + exposure a bit. Your photos are brighter than but you can correct that with a little PP.

High iso and low light always wants some pp afterwards, thats my experience. I did some PP  on your second image of your kid. (  its on my privateserver and if you dont want it here in the forum i will delete, let me know....). The image is small in size as you uploaded it, so details are less but it gives you an idea what PP  can do in these conditions. See the differences

stan_pustylnik Veteran Member • Posts: 3,928
fast 50mm or longer fast lens, RAW, Congratulations!!!!

JajoB wrote:

Hey all,

Returned a Nikon D5100 for a Sony A57, and here I am. I had intended on buying the NEX5R, but after playing with the A57 in the store, I had to have it.

I've been playing around with it a little, and am still learning (I'm very new to the DSLR/T world). My pictures of stationary objects have come out great, but capturing my son on photo is a little more difficult.

I came here to ask, what the heck is going on with this picture? The graininess is terrible, and his skin doesn't look smooth; it looks plastic. What is going on here? Check out the graininess around his nose and mouth. Am I expecting too much from the camera? Or do I just need more practice?

Your son is most addorable and very cute. His eyes are gorgeous and he tracks your camera with big interest. You'll have great help in family soon.

1. Don't let "visual flaps" to distract you from most important - you catch unique photos with every click. Don't delete them, save for postprocessing.

2.Color or any other issues are fixable as long as you hade photo and didn't delete it.

3. as stated before me - get inexpensive faster lens(es) like 50mm f/1.8 or older Minolta maxxum f/1.7. these will allow you to get down to ISO 1600-2000 to avoid noise.

4. longer lens - less distortion you'll get by stepping back. Try geeting Sony 85mm f/2.8 or Minolta 135mm f/2.8 AF for tight portraits. Sony 85mm f/2.8 beats default zoom at portraits - hands down.

5. shot in RAW - it is best to do adjustments of color, shadows/highlights, exposure compensation.

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Person is taking photos, not camera. When photograph is bad, it's because photographer doesn't know how to choose settings optimal to "own preferences". Then blames camera for bad IQ.
This is same as blaming car about arriving to wrong destination.
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lakensea Contributing Member • Posts: 607
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

I suggest using an external flash and bouncing it.

Here are a couple of my examples:



My newest grandnephew.

And when they get a bit older:



One of my wife's nieces.

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Gary C.
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William Porter Senior Member • Posts: 1,676
don't spend money YET

Big point for you to take away: ISO 3200 and 6400 are (by and large) desperation settings. You use 'em when you have no choice. And don't expect the results to be top-notch. High ISO settings are like air bags in your car, or life insurance policies. You pay for 'em, but you'd rather not use 'em.

The other big point is, get better light. Turn on another light in the room. Use a flash. Move baby near a window. Whatever works.

But you do not need a faster/better lens, at least there's no evidence in this thread that that should be your first remedy. If you were going to spend money, a bounceable flash would be a better next purchase than a lens.

Good luck and have fun.

Will

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Sonyshine
Sonyshine Senior Member • Posts: 8,786
Re: don't spend money YET

I agree with William. Turn the ISO right down. Find some natural daylight and enjoy your cute baby.

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garypaul1256 Regular Member • Posts: 152
Re: don't spend money YET

Big point for you to take away: ISO 3200 and 6400 are (by and large) desperation settings. You use 'em when you have no choice. And don't expect the results to be top-notch. High ISO settings are like air bags in your car, or life insurance policies. You pay for 'em, but you'd rather not use 'em.

The other big point is, get better light. Turn on another light in the room. Use a flash. Move baby near a window. Whatever works.

But you do not need a faster/better lens, at least there's no evidence in this thread that that should be your first remedy. If you were going to spend money, a bounceable flash would be a better next purchase than a lens.

Good luck and have fun.

Will

I agree here also. I was a newbie a year ago and made the same sort of post. Learn your camera and then slowly invest and do your research. The forum here helps out a great deal. I upgraded lens speed just out of budget necessities. A 50mm 1.8 is cheaper than spending double that for a decent flash.
Your camera will do everything you want it to and flash will help at stopping movement and light the scene.
Good Luck! I wish I would've join the dsl club 8 years ago when I had my first child.

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