Friday, March 2, 2007

First Pictures Appear "Grainy"

The D80 has so many functions and gives a knowledgeable user the ability to control just about every aspect of taking a picture. We have a lot to learn, but right off the top; the lack of shutter lag, image colors and quality, and flexibility are definite steps up from our little good quality point and shoot. It arrived the other day and we took a series of pictures in full Auto mode and 100 ISO, just to start playing around with it. Most of the pictures we took didn't come out that great, we had focus, depth of field, exposure, and lighting issues. They appear to me and some of our keen eyed blog "Adventurers" to look a bit grainy. At least more so than our pictures taken with our 7.2Mega Pixel auto point and shoot. After the graininess observations, I thought about the the settings, worked through the D80 manual, and this is what I came up with:

Our first pictures with the D80 do appear a bit grainier than the pictures from the point and shoot. At the same time I see a greater depth or something (“hyper” colors and details/contrasts?) in the D80 pictures. I think what we are seeing as “graininess” is a lack of focused depth of field, under exposure, and also some of the pictures posted are just plain out of focus to begin with. The light was a bit low, but that is a constant battle, and we don't know what we are doing yet so we were shooting in “Auto” mode the camera was attempting to do everything. The aperture was probably wide open on our good f/2.8 and f/1.8 lenses, which gives a very narrow focused depth of field.

All shots were taken at the factory default ISO setting of 100, similar to 100 speed film. So in low light the camera was forced to use a large aperture (small #). I remember using 100 speed film, back in the day, because that was suppose to give the highest quality pictures, but for me, the shots regularly came out grainy. I got better overall results using 400 speed film. This camera has ISO settings from 100-1600+, but the faster the ISO (larger #) the more artifacts will be seen in the photos. My goal will be to shoot at an ISO of less than 1000, I think.

These shots were taken in “Fine jpg” mode and “Large” which should give the highest resolution non-“RAW” picture. So, we might also be seeing lots of extra pixel data and greater contrast between small details, which are normally blurred together with the lower resolution images from the point and shoot.

In the last picture of Uschi, his face was just about in focus, to my eye, but by the time you get to the focal plane of his chest, focus is already gone. The fast ISO, shutter speed, and minimal shutter lag is nice with the DSLR, but we need to learn how to take the shots with a higher f-stop to get more focused depth of field.

The out of focus picture of Uschi crying was taken about 15 feet away with a flash and a Nikkor f/2.8, 105mm macro, under low light. So, the camera was pushed to limits not accessible with our point and shoot. There is a lot to learn about using a DSLR camera, so I think these issues will be taken care of with greater user skill development. Programmed Auto [P] with flexible program; Shutter-Priority Auto [S]; Aperture Priority Auto [A], will become our friends rapidly.

I’ve also learned that the monitor you are viewing the pictures with greatly changes what you see. The blog/pictures looks totally different on my 20” CRT monitor than on a 21” LCD or a 10” laptop. The colors are completely different and the pictures seem to have a bit different focus and color saturation.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

nikon d80 is good cameras.
SDHC performance test using
Nikon D80