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Using Sony Digital And Having Wee Problem ...


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#1 MaraM

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 02:34 PM

Hi,

Have a Sony DSC-W50 digital camera and I suspect I'm doing something incorrectly. The photos taken outdoors are truly incredible but those taken indoors can be either 'good' or downright 'awful'.

For instance,inindoor ones, even with the camera set at the highest DPI and the flash on (must double-check Steve's tip and ensure my fingers aren't deflecting the flash), nearly all the photos have a slight golden/brown tone to them. (Used photo editing to restore them to 'real' colour but still a bit of a pain if I'm going to have to do this every single time).

But far worse, some seem to have what looks like 'small bits of yellow fat' covering them. (Sorry about that description) and I've no idea what caused them. It will take literally hour upon hour to even attempt restoring them using my usual methods, particularly as all faces are also covered with this pesky look of yellow wee blobs - gentle sigh.

Any idea what I'm doing incorrectly? (I've read the manually twice and there's a very tiny 'troubleshooting' section that, of course, doesn't seem to apply - gentle sigh).

Would truly appreciate any help!

Thanks so much, Mara
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#2 stevealmighty

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 08:46 AM

Hi MaraM! Could you post one of the "really bad" photos so that I can see exactly what the camera's doing?

Also, when shooting in the highest dpi.....is it capturing at 300 dpi or still 72 dpi? If it's still only capturing at 72 dpi, then IMHO, it's kind of a waste to jump to the highest setting. Your monitor (probably) displays at 72 ppi...which is what your camera captures at. So, when uping the camera setting to the highest resolution, it only makes the actual image larger, not the actual resolution.....meaning that in a low setting, your image is (for example) 20 inches by 30 inches captured at 72ppi. In the highest setting, it's (again, for example) 60 inches by 80 inches captured at 72ppi. It gets more "mega pixels" (aka. "higher setting") simply from mathmatics. There's more pixels in a larger image than there are in a smaller one. Hope that makes sense.

I'm thinking that you're having a color issue along with a user setting issue.....please (if possible) post a photo so I can see what the camera is doing and we'll go from there! :thumbsup:
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#3 MaraM

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 04:20 PM

Hi Stevealmighty,

I'm really laughing at myself because things really are different when using a digital camera and I had no idea about the "72 dpi", etc. In fact, it had been causing me a tad of frustration as yes, the camera was capturing it as 72, even though I had it set at the highest - aah, the wonderful things I'm learning from you!! :thumbsup: (I'm just so used to scanning in at a minimum of 300dpi and even much higher is I need enlargements, etc)

Oh drat, I just realized I can't simply add an image here - so off to find the tutorial here to see how it's done.

Back soon and thanks again for you ever so kind offer of help,
Mara
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#4 MaraM

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 04:29 PM

Hope I did this right!!
(cropped part of photo and copied it in jpeg format as wasn't sure site accepted tif).

This photo surely qualifies as lousy, both in crispness, colour and those dreaded 'yellow fat spots' all over - ugh.

Thanks again for offering to take a peek at this for me.

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q29/Mar...leepingjpeg.jpg

Edited by MaraM, 03 January 2007 - 04:30 PM.

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#5 stevealmighty

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 06:30 PM

Wow :flowers: Ummmmmmmmm.......wow :trumpet: ! What did you do to it? LOL! Do photos come out like that all the time? As in, do you take a photo, wait a second, take the exact same shot and one of them doesn't come out right? This is very odd indeed...it's almost like it's adding a special effects filter to it. Does the raw image look like this?

Could you post a link to a tiff? You can link to anything (obviously as long it's within forum rules!). So, if you provide a link to a tiff image that you have (*uncropped, raw format please!*), I'd greatly appreciate it. The reason why I want to see a raw image is to ensure that it didn't become distorted that badly when you cropped part if it out (thus, enlarging a section of the photo). Enlarging a section of the photo like this will also cause grain and distortion (similar to what you've got in this photo that you linked to). Also, do you remember where the zoom was when the photo was taken? Your camera has a 3x optical zoom and a 2x digital zoom....along with some other "great feature" that allows you to zoom in even more when shooting in the higher settings. When you get into your optical zoom, this will also cause some graininess in the image. Now, double that with a high ISO setting (the higher the ISO setting, the more grain you'll get, which even stands true for film) and it can really make a photo grainy. Then there's the whole "sharpen image" setting...with it set to high, and then letting the camera sharpen a grainy image...that's like using your tongue and a oil soaked rag to clean someone's mud covered glasses...you'll just go from bad to worse.

So, for now, please check (and adjust accordingly if needed) the following: Turn "sharpen image" setting to low; set your ISO to say 100 for outdoor and 200 or 400 for indoor; Try not to use your digital zoom (step closer to the subject if possible); Turn your flash to "forced on" so it'll flash everytime, both indoors and outdoors (very important for outdoor shots too!); Turn your color mode to "OFF" if it allows it, and if not then set it to "Natural" (*don't confuse the color setting with white balance!*); Check to see that your white balance is set to "auto", we ("we" being "you"! LOL!) might adjust that later on to furher correct any color issues).

That's about it for now. Please try to post a link to a raw image as I requested above, and we'll go from there!

Thanks MaraM, and sorry to be a pain! :thumbsup:
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#6 MaraM

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 08:04 PM

Yes, sadly one would have to work very hard at taking a worse photo than this example one - out of focus, colour all wrong, etc, etc - to say nothing of those pesky 'yellow fat blobs' all over the place and I suspect you'll fully understand why I literally groaned when loading them into computer and first viewing them - gentle sigh. Most of them taken that morning, I literally dumped immediately if I had a similar one at least a bit better, but although a lousy picture and taken at 6am before coffee, it makes all of us look 'very odd' indeed in so, so many ways, this was the only one of this scene with our grandsons - drat, drat.

Laughed out loud when I read that it's so bad it's almost as if a 'special effects filter' has been added (although why someone would pick a 'yellow fat blob' as a filter is beyond me - hoot) - and in reality, although it's beyond repair it does serve as an example of 'how not to take a photo', right?

Luckily, not all indoor photos taken are this bad - in fact, most turn out 'okay' (but surely not the same quality as those taken outdoors), but I'm afraid I'm guilty of a couple things. First, although the viewer on the camera is a decent size, because I didn't see any 'yellow fat blobs', I didn't always take a second shot - and for help here, I'm guilty of not keeping 'raw' copies (I know, I know!).

However, although 'cropped' (but not as much as the first example of it) otherwise the sample 'blobbie' photo only has it's dpi increased to 300 and it's format changed to tif - I've uploaded it and a couple other ones that turned out 'okay' as a comparison in colour, etc. (Now no laughing when you see the less cropped 'blobbie' example because it's got me in it! Grin!). (The photo site apparently doesn't accept tif as a recognised extention, so I've had to add them as jpeg again - drat).

Off to set camera as per your instructions - thank you, thank you!!! (I never did have talent for taking photos as you and the other's here can, but gracious, if I took photos with my old camera like I do with this new digital, I'd have stopped all together - so really do appreciate your help!).

You're not a "pain" at all, not one tiny wee bit - rather, I appreciate your kindness in helping me, kind man!!

http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q29/MaraandI/
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#7 stevealmighty

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 12:59 AM

Yes, sadly one would have to work very hard at taking a worse photo than this example one - out of focus, colour all wrong, etc, etc - to say nothing of those pesky 'yellow fat blobs' all over the place and I suspect you'll fully understand why I literally groaned when loading them into computer and first viewing them - gentle sigh. Most of them taken that morning, I literally dumped immediately if I had a similar one at least a bit better, but although a lousy picture and taken at 6am before coffee, it makes all of us look 'very odd' indeed in so, so many ways, this was the only one of this scene with our grandsons - drat, drat.


Don't worry about it! I've taken a billion (or more) bad photos! TBH I still take them! I'll snap a shot and then look at it and go "What in the hey was I thinking!". Then again, I've snapped some photos knowing that they'd turn out horrid....and they've been great! It's all in getting practice, and snapping tons of photos! Digital knows no bounds! Unlike film, you don't have to pay to look at your photos! Just plop them on your computer and save the ones you like and dump the ones you don't! To easy! Just be sure to look at the ones you don't like and think for a second on how you could've taken a better shot! (subtle hint! LOL!) As for the color, it's not your fault, it's the camera's. There's settings to adjust for that, but we'll go over them at the end. :thumbsup:

Luckily, not all indoor photos taken are this bad - in fact, most turn out 'okay' (but surely not the same quality as those taken outdoors), but I'm afraid I'm guilty of a couple things. First, although the viewer on the camera is a decent size, because I didn't see any 'yellow fat blobs', I didn't always take a second shot - and for help here, I'm guilty of not keeping 'raw' copies (I know, I know!).


That's good news about the indoor photos. The only reason why most outdoor photos looks better is that there's more ambient light to help to expose the shot, so it's a lower ISO and higher shutter speed and smaller F-stop (which the latter of the 3 makes for a crisper image). This is why I wanted you to adjust your ISO and your force your flash on all the time, so that the grain and off-color of higer ISO's won't be present and the light from the flash will illuminate the photos better. More on that later!

Ok, here's the deal: I think that when this shot was taken, it was taken zoomed in (using the digital zoom), and at a high ISO. No doubt the camera's default settings are "auto" on pretty much everything. Hopefully, changing these settings will make a difference in the quality of the shots.

Here's some things to keep in mind when using your camera and taking photos:

Keep off the digital zoom-->it's evil.

Hold camera steady before, during and for at least 1 second after the shot is taken. This will keep from getting blurred photos.

Don't block the flash with fingers...keep fingers off to side. No light means bad picture!

Let the camera focus first (lightly press and hold the shutter button to auto focus). This will allow the camera to auto focus and correctly "judge" how far away your subject is to allow for appropriate exposure settings.

Never use an ISO over 400 unless you really need it (like in a church at a wedding during the ceremony when there's no flash photography allowed). High ISO = grainy photos and off color photos. Same for film. It's just the nature of the beast.

When in doubt, take a half billion photos. Then take a few more just to be safe. Then, take another one. Then, one more just to be safe. After that last one, take another one to be safer. Then another one to be saferer, and another to be safererer...see where I'm going with this? :inlove: It doesn't cost you a penny to take 2 shots of something, and most people won't argue having their photo taken twice.

Here's some things that I'd do if I had your camera (yes, I've done it to my own camera):

Turn your flash on for every shot. It won't hurt anything, unless you're shooting from less than 4 or 6 feet away (it'll wash out skin and light colors). If your backgrounds are coming out dark, use the "Slow Sync" mode.....this will capture the picture towards the end of the flash, allowing the light from the flash to illuminate the background more before actually taking the picture.

Turn of the auto white balance. This may or may not nip you in the butt. Always using a flash should help to correct the color on the majority of your photos. If not, then leave the flash on and turn the white balance to auto.

If there's an "Image sharpening" feature, turn it to either low or off. Try low first, so your images still look somewhat sharp. This feature will sharpen the image when it captures it. It may over sharpen an image causing jaggedness around outlines and high contrast areas. Not having it on my cause your image to look "soft" or "almost out of focus".

Lets recap what we've learned about digital zoom-->it's evil. Don't use it. Just my humble opinion, but I don't like them, as they just take what's already there and make it bigger. You can't take ugly and make it pretty. You can however take pretty and make it ugly. Digital zoom = evil.

Don't use exposure compensation. It's neutral, leaning towards joining digital zoom as evil.

Don't use a color mode unless you really want to. If you do, take a regular shot, then take one in the color mode you want (black & white, sepia, natural or rich. If you can't turn it "off", then just use natural.

Don't go crazy with the different modes. Their over rated IMHO. Simply put it to "P" (Program), turn your flash on, press the button. Yes, it's really that simple. Ok, so it's not that simple! :woot: But really, put it in "P" and turn your flash on either to "forced on" or "slow sync". Other modes will determine if a flash is really needed...don't let your camera decide!

Other tips:

Don't go crazy using your LCD display in the back. That's the biggest thing that will suck the life out of your battery. Be sure to keep your battery charged. You can also buy an adapter so that you can plug it into a wall or car charger to charge it (I believe yours charges via USB on a computer, but it might've come with adapters already!).

Use the wrist strap. Better to have it hanging on your wrist than bouncing off the floor. Cheaper that way too.

Don't let kids play with your camera...unless they can afford to buy you a new one.

Don't touch the lens. Oh, and make sure it's cleaned using lens cleaning fluid and lens tissue paper. Yes, there is such a thing! LOL!

PLAY WITH EVERYTHING ON YOUR CAMERA!!!!!! But don't break anything. Playing around is the best way to learn the ins and outs of something. It'll also let you learn exactly what each mode and setting will do. However, get to the point where you can take good photos first and know the camera well enough that if you screw up a setting, you can fix it. If not, then drop it on the floor breaking it, then blame a grand child and make the parents pay for it. Hey, you spent enough money on them when they grew up, it's ok to do this. Really. :trumpet:

Red eye reduction is up to you. IMHO, it won't work 99 out of 100 times.

Have fun with the movie mode. You'll find it'll be a great way to save memories. You should also be able to save the videos to your photo bucket account and send links to family and friends. Or, just save them to your computer and transfer them using an IM like Yahoo or AOL (blah, I hate AOL more than I hate digital zoom!).


Soooooo....try these settings and see what you get. You'll have to give it some time to duplicate the problem. Let's hope that it won't do it again!

Hope all this jibberish helps! :flowers:
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#8 MaraM

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 01:00 PM

Hi again Steve,

Wow, how very kind you are to share all these wonderful tips on surviving my digital camera - yipee and huge smile! And I was literally laughing out loud at so many things, including that if I break it I can blame it on the grandchildren - hoot!

I've printed everything off - and our poor unsuspecting friends coming for lunch today are in for a bit of a surprise as I'm going to simply play and take a zillion photos!

Have taken special note of your words that the digital zoom is "evil" - must be very very very true because that particularly bad photo with the worse 'yellow fat blobs' was taken with the zoom!! Anyway, off to take more and more and more photos - and thanks again for all your incredible help, kind man!

With such kind thoughts,
Mara
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#9 stevealmighty

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 01:24 PM

No problem at all MaraM! If there's anything else that you need in the future, just post about it! If I don't see it, shoot me a PM and inform me of how the evil digital zoom is taking over your camera!!!!!!

Be sure to post back and let me know if any of this has helped at all with avoiding "yellow fat blobs"! :thumbsup:
War produces veterans, wounded both physically and mentally. They have sacrificed for us.....and it is now our job to help these veterans, as they have already helped us in ways we will never know, in ways that we cannot fathom, and in ways that we take granted every day.
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#10 MaraM

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 12:58 AM

No more 'yellow fat blobs' (at least so far) and no more 'jerky edges' around each person, etc - and that was simply by not using the zoom!! You're so so so right, the zoom is "evil" - hoot! (Bummer though because I loved the zoom on my old Canon Photura - now if I could get that one to convert itself into a digital I'd be mighty happy :thumbsup: ).

And you are so right about holding position for a second after pressing the button, too, Steve, it makes a big difference!

Still working on all your other great tips but while I think about it, have you got a possible solution to the problem I have when shooting children, I wonder. When I push the button down half-way prior to taking the actual photo, the camera focus works better - but little ones have a tendency to move at the last second which leaves the camera focused on what was rather than what is. If that makes any sense?

Took your advice and have had a wonderful time with the video part and have tons of 'wee movies' - now all I have to do is figure out how to edit them. (Also learned to never hold my camera sideways when filming video - looking at it on the screen later makes for a very cricked neck!)

Thanks again Steve for your great tips and your kind offer to help in the future too!

Mara
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#11 stevealmighty

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 03:50 PM

No problem MaraM! I'm just happy to help!

I believe that you can do some minor editing with Windows Media Player.

For your next digital purchase camera, be sure to buy one without that evil digital zoom! Optical zoom uses the glass elements inside the lens to zoom, so you get a good picture. Digital zoom takes what's already there and enlarges it...like using a magnifying glass in a photo editing program, it gets grainy and pixelated! :flowers:

If there's anything else that I can do for you, just give a shout or make a post!

Enjoy your photos and videos! :thumbsup:
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#12 tg1911

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 06:52 PM

Still working on all your other great tips but while I think about it, have you got a possible solution to the problem I have when shooting children, I wonder. When I push the button down half-way prior to taking the actual photo, the camera focus works better - but little ones have a tendency to move at the last second which leaves the camera focused on what was rather than what is. If that makes any sense?

Does your camera have a Sports setting?
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#13 stevealmighty

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 01:02 AM

Still working on all your other great tips but while I think about it, have you got a possible solution to the problem I have when shooting children, I wonder. When I push the button down half-way prior to taking the actual photo, the camera focus works better - but little ones have a tendency to move at the last second which leaves the camera focused on what was rather than what is. If that makes any sense?

Does your camera have a Sports setting?


Wow! Sorry I missed that one MaraM! If I understand you correctly, what your saying is that from the time that you focus on children to the time that you take the picture, the kids move and are therefore out of focus....? The best thing for that is a heavy dose of benadryl...that'll slow them down!!!! :thumbsup: Kidding! If the kids are moving side to side, then it's ok as long as they're at the same distance to the camera as they were when you focused. If they move forwards or backwards, then your best bet is to move fowards/backwards the same distance as them in order to try to keep the same distance as when you got your focus.

The sports setting that tg1911 mentioned doesn't usually make the camera focus faster, although some cameras have a "continuous focus" setting that will catch the focus of the subject while on the fly (moving) then snap the photo without having to get focus first (because it'll already be in focus). The sports setting (should be an icon that resembles a person running) is mostly used for fast action shots, like people jogging, running or moving cars.....it uses a higher shutter speed to help "stop" fast moving subjects.

If you press the shutter button halfway (lightly depress) and hold it there, it will actually keep your focus, so if the kids move back and forth or side to side, all you have to do once you have your focus is wait for them to get to the same point/distance where you got your focus and snap the photo (press in the rest of the way to actually take the shot). Example: You put a kid on a swing, and lightly depress the shutter button to get your focus. You keep your finger lightly pressing on the button, and the child starts to swing back and forth (fowards and backwards towards you). When the child is in the middle of the swinging movement (where the swing stops when no one is on it) they will be in focus and you can press the button and have a sharp photo.

Hope this helped you more than it confused you! :flowers:
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#14 MaraM

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 03:13 PM

Yes, yes! It helps a great deal, Stevealmighty - yipee!! I especially love the idea of giving the kids "a heavy dose of benadryl" - hoot!

We live across the street from a park so the children are about to get a lot of time on the swing sets, just so I can practice - but still like the idea of medicating the kids :thumbsup: - especially when it's a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds zipping around playing soccer!

There's no 'person running' icon but do have a palm tree and a snow man - which leads me to my moan about instruction manuals - gentle smile.

Re: if I have a 'sports setting', tg1911 - I honestly didn't know and so had to drag out the manual to re-check what each of the wee icons mean. And still don't know as there is no 'easy reference', simply page after page of info. Drat! But you've inspired me to track down what each icon stands for and to create my own quick reference card - which I'll tuck into the wee carry-case and have with me at all times. Thank you!!

Thanks so much to both of you! I can't bear the thought of being 'beaten' by a simple camera so off to practice once again (how I love being able to view them instantly and never have to pay for developing anymore, especially since at least 60 percent of all shots went straight into the garbage bin!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
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#15 stevealmighty

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 08:51 PM

A snow man? for a setting? That one has me stumped....I've never heard of that setting..... :thumbsup: I'll have to look into that one! :flowers:
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