DMercurio

Cropped photos becoming grainy

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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

 

 

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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?

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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! :)

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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

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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.com/Digital-Photography-Book-Scott-Kelby/dp/032147404X/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376534745&sr=1-4

 

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Photographs-Camera/dp/0817439390/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376535247&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.

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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:)

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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.

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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:)

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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!

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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
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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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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!

I'm trying:)  Travel is really difficult (and expensive because of boarding the animals). I have to make choices.

 

Thanks for the confidence:)

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I'm trying:)  Travel is really difficult (and expensive because of boarding the animals). I have to make choices.

 

Thanks for the confidence:)

 

I understand! I'm married to a non-birder that thinks I should be cutting the grass instead of chasing a swallow-tailed kite in Indiana (Yes, Indiana!!)...

 

#251 - Swallow-Tailed Kite; Aurora, IN :)

med_gallery_31754_4859_79181.jpg

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If you are using a camera that has both optical and digital zoom then turn off the digital zoom what the camera is doing in digital zoom is cropping the image so when you post crop in an image editing program you are re cropping an already cropped image that is going to cause you problems as you begin to run out of pixels by the enlarging process.

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I understand! I'm married to a non-birder that thinks I should be cutting the grass instead of chasing a swallow-tailed kite in Indiana (Yes, Indiana!!)...

 

#251 - Swallow-Tailed Kite; Aurora, IN :)

med_gallery_31754_4859_79181.jpg

Wow awesome pic!

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