Sunday, January 31, 2016

More ISO findings.........

To continue my ISO discovery....
I found on my D90 that for close ups, I could safely push to ISO 800 without any real issues.  When you think of it, going to 800 really isn't a stretch - there are some huge numbers coming out now.  (Previous ISO Post)

My next test was to go for an object much further away - maybe about 300 yards.  My central subject is the light on top of the rear navigation light.

For this test, I went with shots at ISO 200, 800 and 1600.  I did three shots with each ISO setting each with different f/stops.  Again, it was almost closed, almost open and one in the middle.  And again, these are 2x2 segments.

And again, it was cold and windy.  For the shots, I used an IR remote never touching the camera.  I also used manual focus.  Some of the shots did not come into focus real well - and it seemed to be a trend.  More on that later.

The ISO 200 shots.

ISO 200   f/stop 6.3    1/640

ISO 200   f/stop 13    1/200

ISO 200   f/stop 29   1/40

The ISO 200 shots show a nice red color and a nice even white color.

Now the ISO 800 shots.

ISO 800   f/stop 5.6    1/4000

ISO 800   f/stop 13   1/800

ISO 800   f/stop 25    1/200

At ISO 800 you can see a real difference between the ISO 200 shots.  The sky looks like it was printed on canvas.  There is definitely some off coloring noise on the whits.  Probably not enough to ruin the shot and maybe rescued in post processing.  Let's see what the ISO at 1600 does.

ISO 1600   f/stop 6.3    1/4000

ISO 1600   f/stop 10   1/2500

ISO 1600   f/stop 29    1/320

Clearly more noise on the close ups.  Let's see what the total photo looks like.  I'll use the smaller f/stops - as those photos appear to be 'better'.

ISO 200

ISO 800

ISO 1600

In the actual photos, for the ISO 1600 I notice a little noise in the building white colors - but that's only because I'm looking for it.  

This was a fun test, but it also demonstrated another aspect of photography I didn't know before.  In all cases, the more open f/stop the less in focus the shot was.  When I first looked at the photo array, I blamed the wind.  I also thought it was the slow shutter speeds.  Well - I was wrong.  Note to self:  Landscape, the aperture setting is more important than speed.  Sometimes when I'm shooting photos, I get more wrapped up in the 'artsy' part and don't think of the basics.  

The good news is I now know more about the limits of my D90.  (I expect the new setup will be much nicer with higher numbers.)  Did I mention, it was really cold out there?

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Went shopping today.  Not the big purchase (yet).  I was looking for a better 'bag' system.
I've been using two hard case units, with cut foam inserts.  One case was for the D80 and one for the D90.
I now have a soft bag with room for both.  And there is plenty of room for the one extra lens I have.  And all the little doo-dads that I've picked up over the years.
This will make going on location much easier.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Started out with an ISO test, but.....

I had to spend a few days in Chicago for work this week.  I usually drive.  Not much of a fan of flying any more, plus the time between flying and driving is just about the same.  For the drive, I drive past St. Joseph, MI - home of one of the most interesting navigation lights on the Great Lakes.  Usually in the winter there is plenty of ice over the structures that makes for great photographs.  This year not so much.  One of the lights is here: South Light in Winter

The second part of this story revolves around the ISO setting for DSLRs.  For the past two months, I've been researching the new Nikons - getting the itch.  I read one review that said if you have a dinosaur like a D90........  Oh well.

During the research, I've read some crazy ISO setting being used - well over 20k.  What's up with that?  Back in the 35 mm day, 400 was really reaching.  I usually don't stray much past 400 on my shots.  Now I have to ask myself why not?

Stay with me - I'll connect all of this.

Since it is winter, and I'm going past a location that I'm familiar with for photos, why not do an ISO test?  I've seen lots of demos on the web, but none with my dinosaur.  This seems like information I should know.

The set up is I took shots of two subjects, one close (50mm) and one at distance (170 mm).  I used a tripod, manual focus and a Cloudy setting for WB.  The original file is RAW, converted to jpg and then a 2x2 section of a point of focus.  (Remember this when viewing, this is a 2x2 image blown up to what you see on your browser.)  All files were processed the same.  I should also point out it was windy and cold.

The point, again, was to test for noise at higher ISO settings.

The first shots are of a subject at around 10 feet.  The ISO setting are 200 and 800.  The f/stops are open, closed and somewhere in between.

ISO 200   f/stop 4.8    1/1000

ISO 200   f/stop 10    1/320

ISO 200   f/stop 22    1/60

When I first saw these, I expected the detail to be good.  OK.  But I expected the higher speed to be more in focus.  Interesting, but it was windy.  Blame it on Mother nature.

Let's see what they look like at ISO 800.

ISO 800   f/stop 5.6    1/3200

ISO 800   f/stop 10    1/1000

ISO 800   f/stop 22    1/250

For the point of focus or subject, at this distance there really isn't much difference.  So, in this case why would you need to be concerned about an ISO setting?  What I did confirm is that with a slower speed and higher f/stop you get a much clearer photo.  (We all know that!)  Below are the total images.  The goal is a selected speed between 1/250 to 1/350.

ISO 200   f/stop 10    1/320

ISO 800   f/stop 22    1/250

Which is the more all around better photo?  Unless you are going for a DOF effect, the photo at ISO 800 seems to bring more to the table.

Based on what I found out here, I have no problems pushing the ISO to 800.  I didn't go to 1600 because, well - it was cold.  Lousy excuse, but true.  

But what about shots at a greater distance?  That will be published soon.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Classes at Flint Farmer's Market

Today was the first of a three lesson plan with the Flint Farmer's Market, puton by the local photo club in Flint - of which I am a member.  And because I like to hear myself talk, I led the first class.

This class was focused on the technical part of a DLSR - not so much any technique.  The thought was that many people want to take more 'artsy' photographs, get a DLSR and then become overwhelmed with all the controls.  Well, you want to take control of the image or else you'd use your phone.  So the point of the class was to walk through the most common features of a DLSR and get people to use any mode other than AUTO.

It was a good class, we had 12 paid attendees - and hope to get a few to see what our club is about.  My target was to yak for 45 minutes.  I missed that.  I was yakking for close to 1:20!  The audience was great.

There was great club participation in a few showed up to help with the questions period after the lesson where we could take some one on one time with the attendees for specific questions about the camera they brought in.

All in all - good day for me.  I had fun.  And no one threw any tomatoes.

Will be very interested in the next classes!  (I set the bar high for them.)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What I did this Weekend

I had interesting time on Saturday.  My photo club is offering three classes in 2016 that will take place at the Flint Farmer's Market.  I will be leading the first class next Saturday.  This past Saturday, some members of Club along with myself spent time at the Market promoting the classes.  It was fun to spend some time talking Photography with some of the Flint locals.
Today I worked on the final draft for my lesson plan for next week.  Unlike when I was in school, I started this a few weeks ago.  I updated some of the images and some of the flow.  For the most part is is done.
I also spent some time with my printed portfolio today.  I've redone a few photographs that were in there and the new ones needed to replace the older pieces.  I've also had some nice images in the past 6 months and those needed to be included.  The portfolio hasn't been out for some time, but I'll be taking it next weekend to the class.