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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Shooting Under Paradise

Getting Wet • HDR On Moving Subjects • JPEG Sources • Viewing Video On Your LCD

Labels: How-ToColumnTech Tips
JPEG Sources
I took several test shots with my D-SLR. I shot under various lighting conditions indoors and out. I set the camera to program mode and simultaneously shot both RAW and JPEG. I didn’t edit any of the images. The JPEGs processed by the camera average 3.7 MB in size, but the RAW images converted to JPEGs in my computer (using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software) average 6.9 MB. Why is there such a big difference in the JPEG file sizes? Am I correct in assuming the JPEG files converted from RAW make better prints than the camera-processed JPEG images?
G. Klimas
Via the Internet

A There are so many variables involved in converting a capture to JPEG that it’s almost impossible to explain the different resulting file sizes in your tests. But we can talk about some of the considerations.

A lot depends on the camera. My Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III allows me to preset JPEG quality on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 generating the highest quality and largest file. At default, a pro D-SLR like the 1Ds Mark III usually will produce a JPEG with a compression setting of 8. Consumer-level D-SLRs often have two settings, fine (8) and normal (5), which is sometimes used so the images don’t take up as much space on the card.

The only way you can really compare the JPEG generated by your camera’s internal software with the one generated by RAW conversion software on your computer is to be sure that both are set at the highest possible quality level when the conversion is made. That done, and all other things being equal, the larger JPEG file should generate the better print because it has less compression and contains more information. But again, there are many variables associated with the conversion settings, both in the camera and in the software, that influence print quality, including sharpness, contrast and color settings.

Viewing Video On Your LCD
I’m using one of the new D-SLRs that offers HD video. The problem is that I have to use the LCD on the back of the camera, and it’s very difficult to see on a bright day. Focus becomes almost impossible, and even judging the ongoing exposure is difficult. I know that you’re doing HD video using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II; how are you solving this dilemma?
C. Curry
Los Angeles, Calif.

A Controlling video capture on a D-SLR is almost impossible in bright sunlight, no matter how excellent the LCD screen is. Just this last weekend I was taking HD video of the Balloon Classic here in Colorado Springs. It really would have been a problem without a new tool from Hoodman (www.hoodmanusa.com) in the form of a small elastic collar (Cinema Strap) that attaches to their three-inch LCD HoodLoupe. (I’ve been using the HoodLoupe for a couple of years now to check my images and histogram when I’m doing still captures in the field.) With the Cinema Strap, two adjustable elastic bands hold the HoodLoupe in place over the LCD on the back of the camera, freeing your hands to operate the camera controls. You now can place your eye against the loupe and see the LCD very clearly while you video. Another advantage is that instead of holding the camera out in front of you, you can stabilize it against your forehead. When using the HoodLoupe for video capture, I keep my other eye open to monitor what’s going on in front of me.

For information about upcoming seminars and digital-imaging workshops, visit www.georgelepp.com. If you have any tips or questions, address them to: OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER, Dept. TT, George Lepp, 12121 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1200, Los Angeles, CA 90025-1176 or online at www.georgelepp.com.

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