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Cropped photos becoming grainy


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#1 DMercurio

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 01:51 AM

I crop my photos before I post them and they are turning out very grainy.  Is it my editor?  I am using the MS Office photo manager.  Can any one recommend a good editor that is inexpensive or free?  Thanks.

 

Here is a before and after example.

 

IMG 4264

 

IMG 4264

 

 



#2 David Case

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 02:46 AM

Graininess is normally a function of three things (1) the quality of the optics in your camera or camera/lens combo, (2) the quality of the sensor in your camera, and (3) the ISO setting you are using. Higher ISO numbers cause more graininess, lower settings (ISO 100) give cleaner images. You can clean them up somewhat using an editor but the first thing you should check is your ISO setting. There are trade offs though. With lower ISO you will need a wider aperture and/or slower shutter speeds to get enough light to the sensor. I'll let someone else respond as to inexpensive editors. I use Lightroom4 on a Mac but I do not know what is available cheaply for Windows platforms.  In the meantime, what camera are you using?



#3 DMercurio

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 03:40 PM

Graininess is normally a function of three things (1) the quality of the optics in your camera or camera/lens combo, (2) the quality of the sensor in your camera, and (3) the ISO setting you are using. Higher ISO numbers cause more graininess, lower settings (ISO 100) give cleaner images. You can clean them up somewhat using an editor but the first thing you should check is your ISO setting. There are trade offs though. With lower ISO you will need a wider aperture and/or slower shutter speeds to get enough light to the sensor. I'll let someone else respond as to inexpensive editors. I use Lightroom4 on a Mac but I do not know what is available cheaply for Windows platforms.  In the meantime, what camera are you using?

I am using a Canon Powershot SX260 HS  The pics seem to be fine before I crop them.  I thought it was that.  I have not tried to mess with the ISOs.  It is not the best camera in the world but I have gotten some decent shots with it



#4 David Case

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 04:33 PM

I am using a Canon Powershot SX260 HS  The pics seem to be fine before I crop them.  I thought it was that.  I have not tried to mess with the ISOs.  It is not the best camera in the world but I have gotten some decent shots with it

Have you tried manual mode yet? For a relatively still subject set your shutter speed to around 1/100 to 1/200, your f-stop to 6.8 (that's as wide as your camera goes at full zoom) and then adjust your exposure using the ISO setting. Get as close as possible. Oh, and avoid using the digital zoom as that will really increase the graininess of the image. There should be a menu option to turn off digital zooming so you don't accidentally use it.



#5 Rogue Birder

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 04:47 PM

Can you provide some examples? A "before crop" / "after crop" image.


Life List - 313; Year - 266

Year to Date - Ohio - 251; Indiana - 152; Illinois - 29; M*ch*g*n - 60; Kentucky - 38

Backyard List - 83 - Least Flycatcher (May 11, 2014) Great Crested Flycatcher (June 23, 2014) Eastern Wood-Pewee (July 6, 2014)

States: Ohio - 265; Indiana - 190; California - 75; M*ch*g*n - 64; Maryland - 58; Kentucky - 38; Pennsylvania - 38; Illinois - 29; Tennessee - 6; Texas - 2 

Latest lifers: Black Tern (June 24, 2014) Little Gull (June 24, 2014) Northern Bobwhite (July 17, 2014)

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#6 Doug Herr

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:12 PM

Graininess is also influenced by exposure.  If you under-expose and bring up the exposure in software you'll emphasize the noise.

 

If you get closer you don't have to crop as much.



#7 meghann

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:12 PM

Also, when you say "crop", do you mean resizing the entire picture, or taking part of the picture away? 


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#8 DMercurio

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 01:42 AM

Ok so I added a before and after example to the original post so everyone can see.  I will definitely look into the ISO setting in manual mode that is what I am trying to use to take most of my photos anyway.  I just did not know what the ISO did to the quality.

 

When I say crop I mean I take part of the picture away but it seems to make it mopre grainy when I do that.  I dod it to reduce the overall file size.



#9 meghann

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 01:57 AM

It's the resolution of the photo. If you take the original, and zoom in until the bird is the same size as you see it in the crop, you'll see it's just as grainy.


-Army wife, homeschooling mom to 4, photographer, insomniac ninja

Life list: 180

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#10 Doug Herr

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 01:59 AM

Welcome to the bird photographer's perpetual problem.

 

One of the best solutions is to get close enough that you don't have to crop.  Entire libraries have been written on this topic.  One approach is to use a longer focal length lens, which introduces another whole set of technological issues.  Another approach is ... wait for it ... how you approach the bird!  It goes by many names: bushcraft, bird whispering, stealth, being one with the bird.  I can tell you how I do it, others can tell you how they do it and it may be completely different and equally effective.  I suggest you learn as many different techniques as you can, pick and choose from each & blend 'em together to form a technique that works for you.



#11 DMercurio

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 02:09 AM

Wow ok ...... this is alot to absorb.  I am working on my stealth for sure.  I can't add a lense on my camera so I am probably ready to upgrade that.... :) .  So the graininess is there it just gets magnified by the cropping?  I will take all of the great advice I have gotten from all of you and put it to good use. I will monitor this post for anymore tips and work on my ISO settings.    I have to say that the Whatbird community is my first experience with being a regular participant online and I find it to be filled with a great group of people.  Hopefully as I become less of a noob at all this I can help more times than I am just asking questions.

:D



#12 David Case

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 03:37 AM

Wow ok ...... this is alot to absorb.  I am working on my stealth for sure.  I can't add a lense on my camera so I am probably ready to upgrade that.... :) .  So the graininess is there it just gets magnified by the cropping?  I will take all of the great advice I have gotten from all of you and put it to good use. I will monitor this post for anymore tips and work on my ISO settings.    I have to say that the Whatbird community is my first experience with being a regular participant online and I find it to be filled with a great group of people.  Hopefully as I become less of a noob at all this I can help more times than I am just asking questions.

:D

I have found the Whatbird community to be great as well and like you this is my first experience at this sort of thing.

 

In looking over your sample images it really does look to me like you have been using the digital zoom. I started with a Canon Powershot S3IS and the digital zoom on that camera made exactly the same kind of noise. I found that using it, as compared to not using it and just cropping more, was not really an advantage due to the increased noise. The way that camera worked was there was a menu setting that enabled digital zoom. If that was on then when you reached the end of the optical zoom range the camera would head into the digital zoom range after a slight hesitation. It would let you know it was doing this if you knew what to pay attention to, but I found it easier to just turn it off. And like Doug Herr said, get closer so you don't have to crop so much. Good luck! :)



#13 DMercurio

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 02:39 PM

I have found the Whatbird community to be great as well and like you this is my first experience at this sort of thing.

 

In looking over your sample images it really does look to me like you have been using the digital zoom. I started with a Canon Powershot S3IS and the digital zoom on that camera made exactly the same kind of noise. I found that using it, as compared to not using it and just cropping more, was not really an advantage due to the increased noise. The way that camera worked was there was a menu setting that enabled digital zoom. If that was on then when you reached the end of the optical zoom range the camera would head into the digital zoom range after a slight hesitation. It would let you know it was doing this if you knew what to pay attention to, but I found it easier to just turn it off. And like Doug Herr said, get closer so you don't have to crop so much. Good luck! :)

Thanks for the information and the advice.  I have to work on my stealth



#14 canon eos

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 02:56 AM

Wow ok ...... this is alot to absorb.  I am working on my stealth for sure.  I can't add a lense on my camera so I am probably ready to upgrade that.... :) .  So the graininess is there it just gets magnified by the cropping?  I will take all of the great advice I have gotten from all of you and put it to good use. I will monitor this post for anymore tips and work on my ISO settings.    I have to say that the Whatbird community is my first experience with being a regular participant online and I find it to be filled with a great group of people.  Hopefully as I become less of a noob at all this I can help more times than I am just asking questions.

:D

Getting better a photography is a steep learning curve. There are many here who took years to get the basics down, and it's a continuous challenge to keep abreast of changing technology.

I would suggest buying a book or two on photo basics. The basics will help in understanding what is going on with things like ISO, exposure, lighting, DOF, cropping, composition, 'noise', aperture, focal length, to name a few!

 

Two books you might consider (and come highly regarded), and cost under $20. each are:

 

http://www.amazon.co...76534745&sr=1-4

 

http://www.amazon.co...76535247&sr=1-1

 

Books like these can save you many times over in making good choices about gear, and can help greatly in getting good bird photos.



#15 cany

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:58 AM

Wow ok ...... this is alot to absorb.  I am working on my stealth for sure.  I can't add a lense on my camera so I am probably ready to upgrade that.... :) .  So the graininess is there it just gets magnified by the cropping?  I will take all of the great advice I have gotten from all of you and put it to good use. I will monitor this post for anymore tips and work on my ISO settings.    I have to say that the Whatbird community is my first experience with being a regular participant online and I find it to be filled with a great group of people.  Hopefully as I become less of a noob at all this I can help more times than I am just asking questions.

:D

I have an sx50. I find that the sweet spot for my camera is ISO 400 for some reason. any higher ISO and things go south really fast, and any lower and I get into problems with other things. since I often shoot behind fence lines (versus being able to stealth my way to the bird!) I have little choice but to shoot long distances, thus this camera versus other non-DSLRs. I'm waiting for the new 7D to come out and then after reading the reviews, I will make a decision on where to go from here.

 

Try experimenting with a coke can on a fence post or something... shoot different ISOs (using a tripod or something steady) at different settings. That might help you understand what's going on. I had to do that:)


New Birder January 1, 2013
Life list: 329
Most recent lifers: Northern Parula, Tennessee Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Vesper Sparrow, Craveri's MurreletAshy Storm-Petral, Grasshopper Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, Barn Owl, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Sabine's Gull, Scripp's Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Black Storm-Petral, MacGillivray's Warbler, Black-chinned Sparrow, Gull-billed Tern, Calliope Hummingbird,  Red Knot, Violet-green Swallow, Short-billed Dowitcher, Mountain Quail, Summer Tanager, Dusky Flycatcher, Baltimore Oriole, Sage Thrasher, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Western Screech Owl, Cassin's Vireo, Northern Waterthrush, Rusty Blackbird, Tricolored Blackbird, Burrowing Owl, Prairie Falcon, White-winged Scoter, Herring Gull, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Hermit Warbler, Lewis's Woodpecker, Plumbeous Vireo

 
-- DONE! My first goal is met: get 100 birds in the first week of January (and I'm over count and still have two days to go). My approach was not to go after the easy birds, but the harder ones and pick up the easier ones along the way. So meeting this goal without really birding the easy spots is encouraging. I might feel different in August.
--  DONE! My goal for the next week (through the 15th) is to get my count up somewhere around 160. That shouldn't be too hard I don't think as I am missing a number of pretty easy species because I've been concentrating on local rarities. I am, however, taking a trip to the grasslands on Sunday hoping to get a new raptor or two and Mountain Bluebird.
--  DONE! With (yeah!) days to go! My goal for this week (through the 22nd of Jan) is to get my numbers up to around 170. I'd like to hit 175. We'll see. (I was 9 birds over... horray!)
--  1/2 DONE This week's goal will be to get my life list to 300 and my seen list up to 195. Did not get my life list to 300. Didn't leave the county this week.
--  Finally completed last week's goal.
--  DONE! This weeks goal (to Feb 14) is to get to 206 seen birds, including at least one owl (heard or seen for owl), and add at least one life bird.
 
This year's goal: Get life list to 400, see 365 different birds this year, and travel to at least three other states. The last part is the hardest for me.
 
Seen/heard: 301 (one is under discussion)
To go: 64

 

My new Blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 


#16 Marvelisticme

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 01:02 AM

Try experimenting with a coke can on a fence post or something... shoot different ISOs (using a tripod or something steady) at different settings. That might help you understand what's going on. I had to do that:)

 

That's a good idea.  I'll have to try to find time to try it, cause I'm having a hard time determining how all the settings work together in different light, movement and distance situations.


Michelle ~backyard birder (new to birding) in Paradise, Texas :rolleyes:

#17 cany

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 01:05 AM

That's a good idea.  I'll have to try to find time to try it, cause I'm having a hard time determining how all the settings work together in different light, movement and distance situations.

It's a never ending learning curve. Kind of like birding:)


New Birder January 1, 2013
Life list: 329
Most recent lifers: Northern Parula, Tennessee Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Vesper Sparrow, Craveri's MurreletAshy Storm-Petral, Grasshopper Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, Barn Owl, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Sabine's Gull, Scripp's Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Black Storm-Petral, MacGillivray's Warbler, Black-chinned Sparrow, Gull-billed Tern, Calliope Hummingbird,  Red Knot, Violet-green Swallow, Short-billed Dowitcher, Mountain Quail, Summer Tanager, Dusky Flycatcher, Baltimore Oriole, Sage Thrasher, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Western Screech Owl, Cassin's Vireo, Northern Waterthrush, Rusty Blackbird, Tricolored Blackbird, Burrowing Owl, Prairie Falcon, White-winged Scoter, Herring Gull, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Hermit Warbler, Lewis's Woodpecker, Plumbeous Vireo

 
-- DONE! My first goal is met: get 100 birds in the first week of January (and I'm over count and still have two days to go). My approach was not to go after the easy birds, but the harder ones and pick up the easier ones along the way. So meeting this goal without really birding the easy spots is encouraging. I might feel different in August.
--  DONE! My goal for the next week (through the 15th) is to get my count up somewhere around 160. That shouldn't be too hard I don't think as I am missing a number of pretty easy species because I've been concentrating on local rarities. I am, however, taking a trip to the grasslands on Sunday hoping to get a new raptor or two and Mountain Bluebird.
--  DONE! With (yeah!) days to go! My goal for this week (through the 22nd of Jan) is to get my numbers up to around 170. I'd like to hit 175. We'll see. (I was 9 birds over... horray!)
--  1/2 DONE This week's goal will be to get my life list to 300 and my seen list up to 195. Did not get my life list to 300. Didn't leave the county this week.
--  Finally completed last week's goal.
--  DONE! This weeks goal (to Feb 14) is to get to 206 seen birds, including at least one owl (heard or seen for owl), and add at least one life bird.
 
This year's goal: Get life list to 400, see 365 different birds this year, and travel to at least three other states. The last part is the hardest for me.
 
Seen/heard: 301 (one is under discussion)
To go: 64

 

My new Blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 


#18 Rogue Birder

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:19 AM

My ridiculous New Years Goal: 365 birds this year. Only 157 to go! (you can stop laughing now). I'm giving it a whirl!

200 by 8/6 or bust! 0 birds to go, 2 days left over! 

 

 

You can do it! I didn't think I would hit 50 this year... or 100... or 150... or 200... now at 250 and still going!


Life List - 313; Year - 266

Year to Date - Ohio - 251; Indiana - 152; Illinois - 29; M*ch*g*n - 60; Kentucky - 38

Backyard List - 83 - Least Flycatcher (May 11, 2014) Great Crested Flycatcher (June 23, 2014) Eastern Wood-Pewee (July 6, 2014)

States: Ohio - 265; Indiana - 190; California - 75; M*ch*g*n - 64; Maryland - 58; Kentucky - 38; Pennsylvania - 38; Illinois - 29; Tennessee - 6; Texas - 2 

Latest lifers: Black Tern (June 24, 2014) Little Gull (June 24, 2014) Northern Bobwhite (July 17, 2014)

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#19 borisworkshop

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:24 AM



Welcome to the bird photographer's perpetual problem.

 

One of the best solutions is to get close enough that you don't have to crop.  Entire libraries have been written on this topic.  One approach is to use a longer focal length lens, which introduces another whole set of technological issues.  Another approach is ... wait for it ... how you approach the bird!  It goes by many names: bushcraft, bird whispering, stealth, being one with the bird.  I can tell you how I do it, others can tell you how they do it and it may be completely different and equally effective.  I suggest you learn as many different techniques as you can, pick and choose from each & blend 'em together to form a technique that works for you.

Getting closer to the bird is the way to go! Wearing the right clothes can get you already a few meters closer! Sometime a step closer is already much better. I sometimes go a step, shoot, go a step, shoot etc!Always very slowly! No hurry!

My lens has a minimal focus distance of 3.5 m, that is as close as it gets! That 3.5 m distance is my goal! And I often take pictures between 3.5 and 4.5 m!

 

The focus distance was 3,5 m!

9011113883_1b1c5939aa_b.jpg


#20 DMercurio

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 12:37 PM

Wow what a photo!  Well maybe someday.  I am think about upgrading my camera as well.  But I have been  working on my stealth and it seems to help.  As well as adjust ISO settings.  This has been a great learning experience!






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