20D at ISO 1600 with FX 580 Speedlight

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Pixby, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. Pixby

    Pixby Guest

    If you've ever tried to shoot city lights with a Hand held 20D while
    maintaining the lights at reasonable EV and keeping the thing from
    blurring the image via camera movement, you'll understand the challenge
    of doing that while producing a well lit flashed shot in the foreground.
    It's quite doable with a tripod and long exposure with a hand flash to
    light it up but what about a completely hand held shot?

    Add to that a bride in a white dress with a groom in black and the scene
    is starting to move out of the "lets see if it works" area into nearly
    impossible. I shot this last Saturday. Hand held, using a FX 580
    Speedlight on a 20D at ISO 1600. I used a home made "mini soft box" on
    the Speedlight to soften the impact of the light on the dress.

    I used "Neat Image" to remove the noise of high ISO and enlarged the
    image to 24"x36" (600 mm x 900 mm) before printing it on canvas. There
    is quite a lot more detail in the black areas than shows up in a
    browser. That's one of the limiting factors of Photography. You either
    shoot for prints or the Internet.
    Pixby, Jul 25, 2005
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  2. Pixby

    Colin D Guest

    Well, you seem to have nailed that one, Doug. The dress and the man's
    shirt are spot on, max brightness around 240, and the shadows can be
    lifted somewhat as well. The guy's tux reads about 4 to 8, so not
    completely black. Not a shot I would want to do and guarantee to get it

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Jul 25, 2005
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  3. Pixby

    pixby Guest

    I don't usually post any of my "work" pictures but I got so pissed off with
    a couple of jerks making stupid remarks recently about the snapshots I
    posted for the subject matter, I just felt I should produce an example of
    what I do for a living for those who might have thought there was even a
    shred of truth in anything my pet troll, () actually says about
    me. I'm quite flattered actually, that someone has attached themselves to me
    so tightly as to be considered a real, live 'stalker'.

    There's also some of my work on the Pbase "shootin" site as well which I
    posted in the days before I discovered a lot of my wedding gallery shots on
    another person's web site with their name on them. Like my Troll, they
    thought they were exempt from normally acceptable behaviour, just because
    they were on the Internet.

    The image you say I "nailed" is in fact quite poorly developed, with
    significant noise and artefacts in the background (on purpose). I used a
    better (different?) RAW converter to get the 'real' one for my client. This
    follows my commitment to never post any images to the Internet which have
    commercial value. I'm not alone. I'd be very interested in hearing from
    anyone who has a solution to image theft from web sites.

    "You finally make it on the Internet
    when you get your own personal Troll".
    Mine's called Chrlz. Don't pat him, he bites!
    pixby, Jul 25, 2005
  4. Pixby

    JPS Guest

    In message <[email protected]>,
    They can? You must be getting a different image than I am. The shadows
    are JPEG blocks here, and the sky is 3 goose eggs.
    JPS, Jul 25, 2005
  5. Pixby

    JPS Guest

    In message <42e553e9$>,
    Post each pixel in a separate image, and don't give their coordinates.
    JPS, Jul 25, 2005
  6. Pixby

    Colin D Guest

    Of course the image is heavily compressed, and there are blocks from
    that, but nevertheless there is more gradation in the black area beyond
    the couple. I mean, of course, from the original files, not this .jpg.
    This image shows it, but you would need the original to actually do it.

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Jul 26, 2005
  7. Pixby

    Chrlz Guest

    Yes, I've been *much* too harsh. Let's put it behind us. (O:

    So, let's stick to the topic shall we? Here, you post an image and
    your explanatory notes say:
    No, I *don't* quite understand the 'challenge'. I've not used the 20D,
    but I've used many SLR cameras in similar conditions, and shot *many*
    weddings using Bronica SQ MFequipment for an upmarket studio in a
    metropolitan area.. This type of night-time lighting was a very common
    situation for evening weddings/receptions - a roll of reasonably fast
    film was a given, although it can be done quite effectively at lower
    ISOs.. It is *not* particularly challenging, and with the excellent
    performance of the 20D at high ISO levels, it would be a damn sight
    easier to get a decent shot than with 800/1600 (shudder) speed film.
    And I simply cannot fathom why a 'pro' would *not* use a tripod for a
    set, posed shot like this, where a slow shutter speed would be
    necessary to get a decent background exposure. Were you not carrying
    one? Did you think it would be 'fun' to experiment at the client's
    expense? And why on earth had you not practised this type of lighting
    environment, do you seriously mean to tell us you shoot weddings
    professionally in a metro area, and you haven't had to do something
    like this before???

    So, here's my critique, that you clearly, eagerly invite. And I invite
    other *experienced* wedding photographers, or indeed any 'pro' who
    shoots this sort of stuff regularly, to comment on my observations.

    1. Composition.
    Subject is too centralised and too far away. Much wasted space at top
    (how much black do we need to see?) and bottom (crop at carpet to avoid
    the brightlit pavers). Cropping of car also looks awkward, especially
    with the brightly lit wheel and rear end, which adds nothing and is
    very distracting. You should have been about 5-10 feet to the left,
    and closer or zoomed in, which would solve ALL those problems.

    2. Pose
    The bride is awkwardly posed, almost facing side on, and her arm looks
    very uncomfortable. The groom is almost square on, and the whole thing
    looks over-posed. When posing a couple for a shot like this, they
    should have been angled slightly towards each other, with the
    photographer more square on, to avoid the 'arm across chest' look.

    3. Exposure
    Background is still way underexposed, and could be at least a stop,
    probably two, brighter to avoid that 'ghost at night' effect more often
    associated with cheap point and shoot cameras. There is NO excuse for
    not using a tripod here - it is a *posed* shot, for heaven's sake! For
    1600 ISO, this looks like the shutter speed may have been in the order
    of 1/8 to even 1/30 depending on the aperture, so not that huge a
    challenge to handhold anyway.. (EXIF, please?) By using a tripod, you
    could have extended the exposure time *easily* to much better balance
    the background and foreground. And the car lights should NOT be on.
    They add a distraction - is there something interesting about those
    pavers? And of course they have helped light up the (blown-out)
    reflective sign. You also refer to a 'home-made' mini soft box - and
    yet it is clear from the very hard shadows around the bride that it has
    done nothing useful. A softbox would have to be towards a foot wide to
    have much effect at that range. As I mentioned above, a city-based
    wedding photographer should have MUCH experience with this sort of
    shot, and the words 'lets see if it works', and 'nearly impossible' are
    a dead giveaway. Even cheap P&S cameras often have a 'night portrait'
    mode that will attempt to balance a night scene with a flash lit
    foreground. You say you are a professional wedding photographer, yet
    you think this is something difficult? For a *posed* shot....???? You
    really need to get out more.

    No, you POST-PROCESS differently for prints or the Internet. The
    dynamic range of a monitor is in fact significantly greater than a
    print. How you 'spread' the data over the visible range, be it print
    or screen, gives a measure of your skill, or lack thereof. Color gamut
    is a different issue, but you referred specifically to detail in
    'black' areas. A monitor will show that detail better than a print, all
    things being equal and correctly adjusted.

    My honest opinion? I would expect such a shot from one of the guests
    at the wedding with a P&S, while the professional was setting up to get
    the 'real' image. Frankly, I would be embarrassed to print that to
    poster size, as the potential is there for a MUCH better image. Maybe
    next time..

    But I guess we all have different quality expectations, and I'm sure
    there is a market for your work, so by all means keep it up, Douglas.
    Hey, there might even be some tips for you in what I said above..

    Like I said, I would love to hear other comments addressing the points
    I make above.

    (Interested observers please note that I *have* questioned Douglas'
    'professionalism' with this post. That's it, no other insults. But
    note the preliminary attack above, and I'm sure there will be another
    coming! Gee, I even made it to his sig - but he keeps re-iterating
    that I don't bother him.. ah well, I'll stick to the photography
    Chrlz, Jul 26, 2005
  8. Pixby

    Alan Browne Guest

    There are commercial watermark services (Such as Digimarc) that include
    an annual fee for a crawler service that detects non-authorized use of
    images. Images can be modified and digimarc will still find them and
    the offending site.


    They used to have pricing info on the website ... seems to be absent (or
    I didn't find it.

    It can't find anything that's been printed of course .. OTOH, what, of
    value, can be printed from an 800 x 600 on a webpage?

    Alan Browne, Jul 26, 2005
  9. Pixby

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    And thinking in terms of printing, "how much black ink do we need to
    JPS, Jul 27, 2005
  10. Pixby

    Pixby Guest

    Well Alan,
    You've seen the enlargements I did from a 10D image. Go at least to
    8"x12" from a well sharpened, 800 wide image off the Internet.

    A clear, 800 wide image(as has been demonstrated recently by my pet
    troll) could be downloaded and inserted into someone else's web page as
    if it were their own. Even plastering a copyright notice over it didn't
    stop him from using it for his own purpose. What chance have my prize
    winning images got of not having the same thing done to them? *NO CHANCE*

    I'm not concerned so much about the fool who downloaded 200 of my
    postcards and sold them without paying me a cent as the people who took
    my Wedding portraits and used them as if they had taken them themselves.
    They promoted their own cut price business in competition with mine,
    using my photos.

    Not only did it cost me the price of a new car in legal fees to have
    their site taken down, I got 3 of their clients in my studio wanting to
    know where their Albums were after the mongrel who did it went into
    hiding! So much for watermarks.
    Pixby, Jul 27, 2005
  11. Pixby

    Pixby Guest

    Down Troll. Down!
    Sit... No Beg... Oh just go to your kennel, you sicken me.
    Pixby, Jul 27, 2005
  12. Pixby

    Pixby Guest

    I take it you are an expert in printing, are you John?
    One day I just might let you see the Photoshop job I did on that image
    to put a sunset into all that black. But then there wouldn't be any
    purpose in showing you, better to have my client's happy than try to pat
    a troll.
    Pixby, Jul 27, 2005
  13. Pixby

    JPS Guest

    In message <42e6fb42$>,
    I made a joke about printing black, and you have to get all upset. It
    had nothing to do with *YOU*. It had to do with the feeling I get when
    I print dark images, and watch all that expensive ink get used up.

    You are suffering from paranoid delusions of reference.
    JPS, Jul 27, 2005
  14. Pixby

    Pixby Guest

    You're probably right John.
    Sorry... If that helps heal our tiff.
    Certainly doesn't do much for the RAW hurt I suppose but we could always
    jpeg it on the notice board.

    "You finally make it on the Internet
    when you get your own personal Troll".
    Mine's called Chrlz. Don't feed him, he bites!
    Pixby, Jul 27, 2005
  15. Pixby

    Chrlz Guest

    Yes, I've been *much* too harsh. Let's put it behind us. (O:
    Exceptionally immature reply, devoid of any photographic content,

    I guess that means Douglas agrees with my critique. Or at least
    doesn't want to argue with any of it.
    Chrlz, Jul 27, 2005
  16. Pixby

    Chrlz Guest

    ..Go at least to 8"x12" from a well sharpened, 800 wide image
    Here we go again - not only can we get beautiful 12" wide prints,
    pin-sharp (at 66.7 ppi!) he can go *bigger*! Douglas has the magic
    touch, there's no doubt.
    Gosh, *really???? Douglas, for a start it was nowhere near 800 wide
    (here it is - http://users.tpg.com.au/tecaus/faceofpast.jpg - IT'S
    400x600!!). It was briefly reposted by me to show how ridiculous are
    Douglas' claims of his image processing prowess (in particular, his
    ability to sharpen and jpeg compress to get a decent result). As I
    stated clearly when I posted it, it was left there for a few days for
    educational purposes, and it has now been removed. A second reason is
    because Douglas has a habit of withdrawing his images when he gets bad
    reviews.. It's nice to see this one is still there, to disprove his
    800 pixel claim..
    I left the copyright message UNTOUCHED, and made it clear it was not my
    image on the site. Douglas posted it *here* for review. I re-posted a
    version of it to
    illustrate some points, and in the anticipation of it being pulled.
    Would anyone else care to say that was not 'fair use'?
    Frankly, who gives a toss? All *mine* are still up, Douglas, do what
    you want with them. They are all the same size or larger than yours,
    and judging purely by the reviews garnered on these groups, they are of
    better quality and more interesting (despite them just being tests of a
    new camera). I am, strangely, not afraid of anyone making a fortune
    out of blowing them up magically with a non-existent algorithm... So
    go your hardest.
    Neither is anyone else here, I suspect. I saw your postcards. (grin)
    Why don't you repost *that* gallery, Douglas? Or name the scoundrel, to
    prove the misdemeanour. Otherwise it sounds like another TechnoAussie
    Yes, it would have had to be a *cut-price* business, with *that*
    quality. And it's just AMAZING how often this sort of stuff happens to
    you, Douglas. I mean, your stuff must be SOOOOO good to warrant all
    these folk stealing from you - the web is littered with your whining.
    And yet you have never, not once, ever, managed to name anybody, not
    even their business name, so that any of these 'facts' can be verified.
    Just the same recycled claims and constant whining, over and over.
    One could almost think it is
    part of a plot to try to boost your business value again.. but no,
    surely not.. So, name and shame them, Douglas.
    Chrlz, Jul 27, 2005
  17. Pixby

    Zed Pobre Guest


    Douglas is actually right on this one, I think, at least as far as the
    technology goes. If you can get at least 60 ppi off of the original,
    it will still look fairly good printed, depending on the image. The
    result may not be "pin-sharp", but that's not what he claimed here. I
    just started playing with this and it works a lot better than I
    expected it would.

    No comment on the rest, though.
    Zed Pobre, Jul 27, 2005
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