LHRSIMON
Topic Author
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:53 am

Hello all. Well im into over 3 months of uploading to A.Net. Almost 100 pictures on the site so im pretty happy as i only started photography this year after spotting for almost 25 years. Anyway enough of the chat.... Heres the problem.

I seem to have hit a skill level and just need to know what the problem is and how to improve it.... I have below 2 photo's. One of them is mine and was accepted to the db. I was pretty happy with the quality (it can't be that bad as it got into the db) BUT i can see better quality pictures of the same type and wish to improve my photos to that level. Heres the photo's...

My photo. Accepted to a.net

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Simon Curtis



Another A.Net photo which is clearly of better quality

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Bernard Eccleston



Now the question is how do i get from my level of photo to the next. Im using a Fuji S7000 which has 6.3 mil pixels. I also have Photoshop 7.0. Is the problem that my equipment is dated and i need to upgrade to a Canon 300D. I have read so many threads about people throwing money at the problem and still comming out with crap photo's after spending thousands. I have also viewed loads and to be honest most of my S7000 photos are better than some of them !!!! I don't want to fall into the same trap and waste money. Money dictates that i cannot afford at present my ideal set up of a Canon 300D + 75-200 IS L series zoom Lens !!!! (I WISH).

Is it my technique. I don't think it can be as no matter how much i fiddle with the photo i cannot seem to get the same detail. My pictures seem so matt and dull compaired to some of the others. They seem to have no life. Theres no light or shene off the aircraft !!!! Or is it the conditions the photos were taken in. Ie bright sun at mid day ???

Oh and by the way before people make sum smart alec remark about there's enough approach shots of LHR. Can i point out that i also have lots and lots of photos from other airports + GA fields but just have not got round to editing them yet......

Thanks im sure for your comments to come.
 Smile/happy/getting dizzy


Simon

Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:34 am

In comparing the two pics, I'd say you could get a lot closer to your target with a little more photoshop work. Try a little "S" bend in the tone curve - this should give the pic that punch you're looking for. Also, the colour balance is a bit off - a little less cyan in the midtones would I think do the trick.

There is no doubt that stepping up to a DSLR and suitable lenses will produce better images, but I don't think the improvement would be as dramatic as all that - work on your PS technique will give you a better return - which of course will stand you in good stead when you do move to a DSLR.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
LGW
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Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 6:07 pm

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:27 pm

Hi Simon,

Only you can know if you are complelty happy with your quality. I hit a point back about 2 months ago with my D30 that a few things ran through my head, am I 100% happy, have I hit a brick wall, I need to change camera at somepoint shall I do it now etc.

I just took a little time out, went to a few different airfields Shoreham/Goodwood for a change and really spent time going through technique and editing and I am now, again 100% happy and not looking for any changes.

I would reccomend you go somewhere new, relaxed shoot some new/different stuff get back check the results etc and ask yourself if you are really happy, you should then know wether you are happy or if you think its worth taking the upgrade route and you know you will have made the right choice.

Its amazing what a change of perspective can do.

Cheers

Ben Pritchard

EDIT: Sorry just noticed you say you have been shooting some GA stuff recently, that should help you to know how you feel about your technique/equipment.

I do think a DSLR would open a new world to you in terms of photography I cant believe that even over 2 years since I got my DSLR I am still as eager to use it as I was on day 1.

[Edited 2004-06-29 09:35:36]
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 5:10 pm

Agree with those sentiments Ben. I took my DSLR on holiday with me recently and really, really enjoyed some of the challenges. Although aviation photography is completely different to what I started with, it's been great to go back to some other subjects with some of the discipline I've learnt here in terms of composition and technique.
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
LHRSIMON
Topic Author
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:04 pm

Thanks for the help and comments guys.

With regards photoshop 7.0 To be honest im finding new menu's on the system all the time. "selective color" for example. Wow what a tool that is !!!!! But I fear its not the problem. For example I spent over 2 hours on 1 photo a couple of days ago just trying to match a very similar picture on A.Net to one of my own. Now no matter what I tried (and I did use the curve feature) I could not get that same detail. As I said the detail in the reflections/crispness & detail off the aircraft were just not there. And its impossible to improve something that's not in the picture.

In my most recent photo shot I got some cracking photo's and I was happy to see a lot of the detail was there. BUT I was a lot nearer the aircraft so again maybe this is a problem with the S7000 ???

Anyway thanks for the tips

Simon
 Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:24 pm

Simon,

You've got over 100 pictures in the DB, so you're obviously doing something right! One of the lessons I've learnt is to pick my fights carefully. I use the word 'fight' because that's what photography sometimes feels like - a battle between you, the subject, and the camera! You're absolutely correct when you mention distance to the subject.

The less of a stretch it is for the equipment, the better the chance you'll have a nice image. I'm very, very lucky when far-off shots work - the biggest exception was the BBMF spitfire I caught at the long end of my 200mm lens that luckily turned out okay.

I like your photographs and I'm sure you'll continue to do well.
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
LHRSIMON
Topic Author
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:55 pm

Thanks for the comments Sulman. Still a little way to go to until the magic 100 (96 at the moment)

I think its as i feared,and thats that im trying to push the S7000 to far. Trying to get DSLR + L lens quality photos but with a S7000. I can get pretty close at short range but not at distance. Looks like im stuck with the problem until i have a spare £1500.00 so i can upgrade. Bummer !!!!  Crying
Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
 
wietse
Posts: 3630
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2001 12:49 am

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:30 pm

Not to burst any bubbles for you, but the 75-300 IS is not an L lens. So you wont get L quality either. But, a 300D and the 75-300 IS would be a very good choice!

Wietse
Wietse de Graaf
 
donder10
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RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:51 pm

Colin,
where abouts is the tone curve tool in PS7?
Cheers,Alex
 
LHRSIMON
Topic Author
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:54 pm

Thanks Wietse but im afraid the 300D + 75-300 will be along way away at the moment. Wife,Kids+Holiday have to come first im afraid. But i would not change a thing. Though frustrating sometimes (like at the moment) aviation photography is still only a hobby for me so other things still have to take priority. So its a case of whatever monies left can go on the camera+lens. And at the moment that's going to take a while !!!!

Oh well I will just have to get by with what I have. And in a way I get even more satisfaction knowing im getting acceptable standard photo's in the db without throwing money at the problem.

Thanks again
Simon
Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
 
Woody001
Posts: 508
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 7:39 am

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:58 pm

Wietse
I think Simon means the 70-200 L f2.8 IS lens.
If I could just get the afterburner working...
 
manzoori
Posts: 1459
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RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:20 pm

Not to burst any bubbles for you, but the 75-300 IS is not an L lens

Ahhh but there is a 70-200 IS L lens... perhaps he meant that?

One thing I don't think has been mentioned thus far is the conditions on the day. It's all very well comparing your shot with that taken at the same location but unless you've got the exact same weather conditions and sun position I'd say it's not an apples for apples comparison.

Cheers!
Rez
 Big thumbs up
Flightlineimages DOT Com Photographer & Web Editor. RR Turbines Specialist
 
Woody001
Posts: 508
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RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:29 am

Totally agree with Rez, to many variables to compare shots from different locations, times and dates.
You could also compare how steady different photographers hold there cameras - last nights beer may have an effect..!  Smile

If used correctly then a DSLR will give you better results, but it will be a steep at first learning curve.

Another point is have you played around with the camera on manual settings or do you use it as a point and shoot. Closing down the aperture may give you a sharper image.

Good luck.
PS. If you need a Canon 75-300 IS then I have a new one I no longer need.

Ian.
If I could just get the afterburner working...
 
wietse
Posts: 3630
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2001 12:49 am

RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:32 am

Then there is also a 100-400 IS and a 28-300 IS  Wink/being sarcastic

Wietse
Wietse de Graaf
 
Woody001
Posts: 508
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RE: Trying To Improve Quality. Equipment Or Technique

Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:17 am

Just to many choices from Canon..!!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Ian

If I could just get the afterburner working...

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