Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Started Jan 31, 2013 | Discussions
ellaandjames Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: don't spend money YET

I went for a used Minolta 50mm 1.7 and have been more than happy with the results - a fast lens really does make a difference when photographing children (especially when they get mobile!). And as others have said, you need good light, even with a fast lens. Another well regarded lens is the Sony 35mm 1.8 which I'm considering as the 50mm can be a bit tight indoors sometimes.

Anyway, here's one of our little man shot with the Minolta 50mm 1.7:



Stflbn Veteran Member • Posts: 3,113
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57
1

Others comments don't really address the posterization I'm seeing in your photo's.

What is your process for getting the photo's off the camera,  into your computer,  then into these forums?

It really seems to me like somewhere along the line your PC is mangling the color palette and depth of the photo's.

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sybersitizen Veteran Member • Posts: 8,383
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Stflbn wrote:

Others comments don't really address the posterization I'm seeing in your photo's.

Oh... finally I see the posterization, which absolutely should not be happening.

(I hate the new photo viewing mechanism in this forum so much that I've just about stopped clicking on images.)

brian14478
brian14478 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,703
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

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

Good guess,...i hope the camera helps to memorialize many fond moments,..brian

rickztahone
rickztahone Contributing Member • Posts: 527
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

OP, what type of editing software are you using before you upload these onto DP?

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goetz48 Senior Member • Posts: 2,607
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

You should also use longer focus, not below 35mm, better more than 50mm. With that wide angle you get terrible distortions (hydrocephali, or so).

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

I thank you all very much for your comments and the help you have provided.

I understand about the lighting; thankfully it's my in-laws house. Even still, their lighting isn't terrible. Also, I will make sure to keep my ISO settings lower. ISO was probably set at automatic.

I think I will definitely buy a 50mm Minolta (or Sony 35mm) to capture my little man. Rarely is he still, and he will only become more active in the coming weeks. Thank you, by the way, to those who complimented me about him.

As to the last couple people who mentioned the posterization effect... That's what really bothers me about the images. It never ever happened with the D5100. I use Photoshop to resize them, but that's as far as I've played with the images. If I zoom in on the pictures on my camera, the same effect shows, so I'm positive it's not Photoshop.

Thanks again to all of you who have offered help!
Jajo

mmhendrie
mmhendrie Regular Member • Posts: 425
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57
1

I did what you're now doing 24 months ago. To get these indoor shots of the little one, you really need a low light lens - and do it quick, they change too quickly, blink and you'll miss it.

If cash is an issue, get a minolta 50mm 1.7 - about $60-$70 used on ebay - that's what i did.

If you can afford a bit more, the Sony 50mm 1.8 or better still the Sony 35mm 1.8 (around $200) would be your best bet. With these lenses, at this age, you can shoot ISO800 and get beautiful sharp and natural looking shots, without dazzling the little one with a flash.

Enjoy it!

-Matt

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sybersitizen Veteran Member • Posts: 8,383
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

JajoB wrote:

As to the last couple people who mentioned the posterization effect... That's what really bothers me about the images. It never ever happened with the D5100. I use Photoshop to resize them, but that's as far as I've played with the images. If I zoom in on the pictures on my camera, the same effect shows, so I'm positive it's not Photoshop.

As mentioned, that is a definite problem unless you've accidentally engaged some weird setting in the camera. Try resetting all camera parameters. If the posterization issue persists under any shooting conditions, you need to get that problem addressed.

dlkeller Veteran Member • Posts: 6,922
Focus on the Eye (nt)
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Dave

baloo_buc Veteran Member • Posts: 8,900
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Not the camera is your issue. Wrong settings for the situation and, perhaps, a lack of technique are more likely.

I guess you have too high expectations that a camera will make a good photo instead of you. You used too high ISO, a too slow shutter speed, a wrong focal length, improper distance. A recipe for such results.

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Calico Jack Senior Member • Posts: 2,306
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Poor lighting (no external flash) half in shadow, half in light and not focussed on the eyes.  If you've used any AUTO or in-camera NR settings then that's BAD BAD BAD practise.  Don't use any in-camera settings, shoot in RAW mode, use A priority with low ISO (100).  If you can't use a DSLR other than as a P&S, then maybe it's not the right type for you, but if you're an experienced shooter, then all of the above ought to be known.  I suggest you set-up the camera properly and practice.  It would also help if for this type of shot you use either a 90-100mm prime or a quality WA zoom as if you get too close with flash it'll also spoil the shot, so with correct settings, a decent/correct lens and an external light source you should then be able to capture almost any subject that correctly illuminated, properly exposed and not leave it to the camera to make the decisions for you (should this be the case).  Often people buy stuff because of features instead of knowing how to use it.  If this isn't the 'normal' quality of shot you take, then please post others with EXIF to compare, but on the basis of the image posted, I'm sorry if you think my opinion is harsh, but you asked for feedback, and with nothing to go on, it reminds me of a P&S in AUTO mode.

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mmhendrie
mmhendrie Regular Member • Posts: 425
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

everyone has to start somewhere. It'd be tough to learn how to use an SLR without access to one - which means running into such issues, along with asking questions about how you can improve shots, are part of the learning process.

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Calico Jack Senior Member • Posts: 2,306
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

mmhendrie wrote:

everyone has to start somewhere. It'd be tough to learn how to use an SLR without access to one - which means running into such issues, along with asking questions about how you can improve shots, are part of the learning process.

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Quite, which is why I started with a prosumer/bridge to learn things like controlling DoF, different settings (and what they do), shutter speeds, framing, composition and technique before going 'full scale'.  It seems many are going in feet first with no idea what they're doing and then asking questions like 'what did I do wrong' which says it all doesn't it, so sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind as how else will anyone learn?  It's down to the shooter to take control.  Some are just better off with a P&S.  That said, yes, it's a learning curve, but better to learn and grow with experience gained.

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mmhendrie
mmhendrie Regular Member • Posts: 425
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57
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sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. sometimes you can just point out some helpful hints to get someone off and running. and sometimes you have to be cruel because you don't know any better.

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Jeadm Senior Member • Posts: 1,673
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)

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

Step back and zoom in a little if you can. 18mm isn't the sharpest point of a kit zoom. Spot focus on the eyes, them recompose if necessary. You gotta practice this and be quick, because they're quicker.

Light matters a great deal, without it and/or a fast expensive lens you're going to have problems. Get some good light on that kid, that's really the bottom line. Indoor lamps don't really cut it. Without it your camera will just be pushing that ISO up and it'll kill all the detail. I'm assuming you're only shooting jpegs. On camera flash will be harsh, toss some tissue (kleenex, toilet paper) over the flash and see if you can get the diffused light you need without blowing out the subject like a direct flash normally does.

That said, I don't know why the camera would select 6400 in Auto ISO, something's not right there. ISO 800 or less as much as possible (closer to 100 the better). Get off auto ISO and see if you can get control of that first. Not only do you need a shutter speed you can handhold but you also need one fast enough to stop his moving (kids always move just when you hit the button, and it only gets worse as they get older). A faster prime like 35mm f1.8 really helps with this kind of thing.  External flashes too.

I'm assuming you're using the kit zoom. I don't think this is your main problem, but each lens has a sharpness sweet spot at certain apertures depending on where you are in the zoom range. 18mm @ f5.6, 35mm @ f6.3, 55mm @f8-11.

You can try adjusting your in camera creative style settings (contrast, sharpness, saturation).

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sensibill
sensibill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,401
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

JajoB wrote:

As to the last couple people who mentioned the posterization effect... That's what really bothers me about the images. It never ever happened with the D5100. I use Photoshop to resize them, but that's as far as I've played with the images. If I zoom in on the pictures on my camera, the same effect shows, so I'm positive it's not Photoshop.

Thanks again to all of you who have offered help!
Jajo

Something is happening to the images since my A57 doesn't do that (posterization). I'd suggest resetting all your in camera settings and/or trying different RAW export software (maybe you have some weird thing going on with PS).

Also, for indoor, given that you were using 18mm for this shot, I'd say get the 35 over a 50. I have a 28mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.7 (both vintage Minolta) and I find myself using the 28mm more unless I'm taking head shot portraits or macro with a filter diopter adapter.

Hunt around, you should be able to find a SAL35F18 for under $190. If you're on a tighter budget than that, a 50mm 1.7 is easy to get for around $80 in near mint shape off eBay.

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sensibill
sensibill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,401
Re: Am I doing something wrong? Sony A57

Calico Jack wrote:

mmhendrie wrote:

everyone has to start somewhere. It'd be tough to learn how to use an SLR without access to one - which means running into such issues, along with asking questions about how you can improve shots, are part of the learning process.

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Quite, which is why I started with a prosumer/bridge to learn things like controlling DoF, different settings (and what they do), shutter speeds, framing, composition and technique before going 'full scale'.

What's a 'prosumer bridge' camera that teaches how to shoot better than an A57?

It seems many are going in feet first with no idea what they're doing and then asking questions like 'what did I do wrong' which says it all doesn't it, so sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind as how else will anyone learn?

There's nothing wrong with asking what you did wrong, and you don't have to be 'cruel' to be kind.

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