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floraphile

Cropping/resizing

7 posts in this topic

Hi, I started manual digital photography a year or so ago, and now I am delving into processing.  I learned that cropping is best for most bird photos, but quality is lost when I crop.  I did some reading online, and am completely confused by the aspect ratio/pixels discussions.  I currently am shooting with an EOS Canon Rebel Ti1, Canon ES 70-300 mm lens, in high-quality JPEG and use PhotoShop Elements v13.  Next week, I am  upgrading to a Canon 7D Mark ii and a Tamron 150-600 lens.  So, my burning questions--

1.  What is the best method to crop and not lose quality?  Or is "crop" the wrong word/process to use?

2.  Will switching to shooting in RAW help greatly?  How quickly will RAW fill up a 32 GB card?  Do you all carry extra cards with you in the field?

3.  Do camera cards differ in quality as far as type (the 7D takes SD/SDHC/SDXC and Compact Flash) and brand (SanDisk vs. Sony, etc.)?  I have only used the SD type and am unfamiliar with the others.

4.  Is PhotoShop elements adequate for an amateur bird photographer with a slightly loose budget but who does not want to break the bank (or the spouse)?

5.   Any websites, books (I still like tactile reading materials) that would be beneficial?  

6.  Is the 7D Mark ii/Tamron lens combination the best for my buck?

Any advice/input/suggestions appreciated.:)

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1. You're going to lose quality if you crop it's how much it's how much is ok with you that matters. With the high-megapixel cameras these days, you have a lot less to worry about and I just crop until the degradation is noticeable to me. 

2. RAW won't really make a difference when it comes to quality loss due to cropping. It will help preserve quality if you are editing photos. But that's really the only benefit of RAW. I usually shoot in RAW + JPEG. 90% of the time, if I'm going to post on Flickr or Facebook, I just use the JPEG version because it's quick and I don't have to invest a lot of editing time into it, but on some photos, I really want to bring out certain details and I will edit the RAW file.  Just be aware, that if you shoot only in RAW, you will pretty much need to edit every photo you take as there is literally no processing of the image and they tend to come out dull and lifeless. Depending on how big your RAW file sizes are, you can probably get 150-300 or more photos on a 32 GB card (32 GB = 3200 mb, my RAW file sizes are ~20 mb).  I don't carry extra cards, but my camera holds 2 so I don't need to worry about it. 

3. YES SD cards very much differ in quality. A. Read/Write speeds are very important (you want the fastest possible) B. really crappy cards will fail faster (they'll all fail eventually, but quality cards last much longer). I use the Sandisk Extreme Pro series cards and they have worked out very well.

4. Photoshop elements should be good. If you are not going to make money off your photos and want to edit them you can get full version of Photoshop via alternate means *cough* steal it *cough*. Even some free editing programs like Apple's "Photos" or Gimp are pretty decent photo editors. 

5. I would consider joining a forum specific to your camera brand. I'm a nikon guy, and I have gotten a lot of good info from the nikonforums.com. I assume there is something similar for Canon

6. Couldn't say being I'm not as familiar with Canon. I have some friends with the Tamron lens and they like it. 

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1 hour ago, asque2000 said:

1. You're going to lose quality if you crop it's how much it's how much is ok with you that matters. With the high-megapixel cameras these days, you have a lot less to worry about and I just crop until the degradation is noticeable to me. 

2. RAW won't really make a difference when it comes to quality loss due to cropping. It will help preserve quality if you are editing photos. But that's really the only benefit of RAW. I usually shoot in RAW + JPEG. 90% of the time, if I'm going to post on Flickr or Facebook, I just use the JPEG version because it's quick and I don't have to invest a lot of editing time into it, but on some photos, I really want to bring out certain details and I will edit the RAW file.  Just be aware, that if you shoot only in RAW, you will pretty much need to edit every photo you take as there is literally no processing of the image and they tend to come out dull and lifeless. Depending on how many big your RAW file sizes are, you can probably get 150-300 or more photos on a 32 GB card (32 GB = 3200 mb, my RAW file sizes are ~20 mb).  I don't carry extra cards, but my camera holds 2 so I don't need to worry about it. 

3. YES SD cards very much differ in quality. A. Read/Write speeds are very important (you want the fastest possible) B. really crappy cards will fail faster (they'll all fail eventually, but quality cards last much longer). I use the Sandisk Extreme Pro series cards and they have worked out very well.

4. Photoshop elements should be good. If you are not going to make money off your photos and want to edit them you can get full version of Photoshop via alternate means *cough* steal it *cough*. Even some free editing programs like Apple's "Photos" or Gimp are pretty decent photo editors. 

5. I would consider joining a forum specific to your camera brand. I'm a nikon guy, and I have gotten a lot of good info from the nikonforums.com. I assume there is something similar for Canon

6. Couldn't say being I'm not as familiar with Canon. I have some friends with the Tamron lens and they like it. 

Thank you for the great information!

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The aspect ratio is just the shape of the box you're cropping your photos to. If you're cropping a square it would have a 1:1 ratio. The height and width are the same regardless of how many pixels are along each side. A 1:1 image might be 600x600 pixels or it might be 1200x1200, 2400x2400, 3200x3200, etc, etc. If you have an aspect ratio of 2:3, which I think is Canon's default aspect ratio, then the shape would be rectangular with sizes like 200x300 pixels, 400x600, 800x1200, 1600x2400, 3200x4800, etc, etc. If you're posting images online to share then you can get away with much smaller image sizes and heavier cropping, if you're printing large images then you'll want to keep the size as big as possible. If you resize an image, make sure that your resizing maintains the aspect ratio of your crop. Your photos will look funky if you crop your photo to a 2:3 ratio like 1600x2400 and then resize it to a 1:1 ratio like 1600x1600, your software will squash the 2400 pixel width of your crop and make it fit into a box that is only 1600 pixels wide. I hope that helps and doesn't confuse things more.

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28 minutes ago, lonestranger said:

The aspect ratio is just the shape of the box you're cropping your photos to. If you're cropping a square it would have a 1:1 ratio. The height and width are the same regardless of how many pixels are along each side. A 1:1 image might be 600x600 pixels or it might be 1200x1200, 2400x2400, 3200x3200, etc, etc. If you have an aspect ratio of 2:3, which I think is Canon's default aspect ratio, then the shape would be rectangular with sizes like 200x300 pixels, 400x600, 800x1200, 1600x2400, 3200x4800, etc, etc. If you're posting images online to share then you can get away with much smaller image sizes and heavier cropping, if you're printing large images then you'll want to keep the size as big as possible. If you resize an image, make sure that your resizing maintains the aspect ratio of your crop. Your photos will look funky if you crop your photo to a 2:3 ratio like 1600x2400 and then resize it to a 1:1 ratio like 1600x1600, your software will squash the 2400 pixel width of your crop and make it fit into a box that is only 1600 pixels wide. I hope that helps and doesn't confuse things more.

That helps greatly, thank you!

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The 7D MkII / Tamron 150-600 should give you very good results....if your fieldcraft is also good, steady support, sharp focus, getting close to the subject, etc.. If you start off with a crappy image then crop it, you'll only make it worse. Cropping may be best for most bird photos but usually done at a minimum only to slightly improve the composition of the image. Too often I see photos where the photographer cropped way too much of the image just to get the bird big in the frame. Get closer to the bird or get the bird to come closer to you. The more pixels you get on the subject the better the quality of the image and the less you'll need to crop.

Yes, get the best cards you can afford, they may be expensive but they're worth it if you take your photography seriously. I also use the Sandisk Extreme Pro Compact Flash cards with high read/write speeds and never had an issue with them. I use a 32GB card which is usually adequate for local shooting but I'll carry extras on long trips or where I think the action will be high.

I always shoot in RAW but only process the best of the bunch which may be only a couple frames out of several hundred but JPEG can produce outstanding results also. I use Canon DPP software which comes with the camera then Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Check out Lightroom it's a good editing program.

Think about joining a camera club, it may be intimidating to a new photographer but most of the experienced members will be more than willing to help out with your photographic needs.

 

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Like you, I'm still using Photoshop Elements 13 (don't really feel the need to upgrade to full blown Photoshop), use a 300mm lens (I handhold everything/have trouble lifting bigger lenses/can't lug a tripod) and primarily photograph birds.  I compete in 2 clubs' annual salons and my bird photos do fine.  I also, however, have Topaz (Adjust, DeNoise, Impressions) and Nik plug-ins for PE13 and do a lot of post-processing which I enjoy and to add detail to the bird's feathers (Topaz Adjust), Topaz DeNoise to get rid of the background noise after cropping and Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to add things like polarizing the sky background and for punching up green foliage.  PE13 I mainly use for the selection tool, to adjust lighting and color and to remove unwanted objects (like wires and signs) using Content-Aware.  I do not shoot RAW primarily because with birds who twitch a lot, I shoot burst and discard a lot of photos.  I have a Nikon D7200 and actually still use Picasa to crop and straighten before I bring the image into Photoshop Elements. I don't sell photos.

Do you like to do post-processing?  Most of the photographers I know are better photographers than I am but I can level the field with post-processing in some cases.

 

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