Monday, 26 March 2012

Canon versus Nikon on Moreton Island

Guest blog by Sheryn Ellis

After a recent trip working on Moreton Island I have a lot to share.

Don’t be alarmed my Canon friends, but I found myself asking Danielle if I could use the Nikon to shoot! Danielle just smiled and said, "I’ll even let you use my favourite old girl," and handed me the D3. Why? We were in very low light, heavy cloud covered, rainforest conditions and the aim was to freeze action! I dialed in ISO 1250 and started shooting. Crystal clear action images – easy!

I hear you say ‘you can shoot that high on the Canon 5D MII’ and yes, I know I can, but I also know that in post processing I need to do more in the noise reduction slider than I want too. Besides, it’s fun to have a play with other cameras and to let Danielle think there is a chance she will turn me to the ‘other side’.

 Nikon D3; ISO 1250; f5; 1/80th
My aim with this shot was to capture the sense of ‘movement’ and that is the reason for 1/80th shutter speed. I did get in ‘trouble’ for not polarizing this shot!

Another time I reached for the Nikon was while standing on the roof of the car (yes, I’m constantly climbing on the top of vehicles) and wanting the beautiful 14mm lens that was producing some spectacular wide shots all day. 

 Nikon D3; ISO 800; f10; 1/1000th , polariser used;
It was spitting rain and as we were driving towards a flock of seagulls I thought I’d try to freeze them fleeing the path of the vehicle.I have blown up a section of this image to show how little noise there is.
At the end of the day, Canon still triumphed in one area at least: while ‘playing’ with our macro lens shooting some incredible star fish specimens - here’s where I am happy to say, I could get in closer with my old Sigma 105mm macro mounted on the 5DMII than the trusty Nikon 105mm on the D3. As always it is a friendly rivalry and one that will continue to provide hours of entertainment in the years ahead.

Canon 5D MII; Sigma 105mm 2.8 macro lens; ISO 400; f10; 1/100th
To say I took a hundred photos of starfish would be an understatement.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

What’s wrong with my colour?

Ever noticed the colour of your printed digital image looks different from what you see on your computer? This is called colour management and a new ‘thing’ we have to contend with in the digital era.
It is basically all about the colour of light and how our different devices record this: some are better than others and hence that is always reflected in price.

Our digital images are made up of pixels and each of these pixels is described by a set of colour numbers. It’s all very mathematical and something most of us, including me, have struggled to understand.

What happens is every device (camera, monitor, printer, scanner) interprets colours in its own way and therefore gives different colour numbers for the same colour pixel. And this is when your images start to look very different from your computer to your print. Even each camera interprets colour in its own way. For example look at this same colour numbered pixel and the colours it displayed as:

Pixel from camera
93R 154G 186B

Same pixel colour number printed at Lab ‘X’ 

 Same pixel colour number printed at Lab ‘Y’

So what do we do? Our best bet is to try and manage our colour workflow. 
It is a complex area and at each level there are numerous things you can do: colour management is a field of its own and for many that’s a mine field not a daisy covered one!
Here’s a couple of tips to get you started.
Start with your camera settings and ask yourself where do you want your images to end up?

sRGB is a good place to start if your images are going to be used for the internet as it’s the colour space of an average uncalibrated computer.

Adobe RGB is at present, the largest colour space available to most DSLR cameras so is a good starting point for those who want to process their digital files and output to a printer as in make prints to hang on your wall.
If you are using Photoshop choose Photoshop to Manage Colours' in the Color Handling options to print from your computer to your printer.

If you are using a printing lab to print images, ask them for their printer profiles and match your screen to that.
Best of luck!
These two images below (both scanned off the prints) came from the same digital file yet printed totally different at two different printing labs.