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08-13-2011, 12:44 AM   #1
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Why is always better after picasa treatment?

I own a Pentax k-x for a year now , and since I started taking photos with it, I still not happy with the results coming straight out of the box. The problem is probably with me and not the camera, but if I don't ask then I will never know.
The problem is not the end results. I like very much the photos I capture, but that is after I let the Picasa engine deal with them. The "I'm Feeling Lucky" feature usually does wonders with the pictures mainly in contrast and WB here are some examples from a trip to Iceland.
I usually take the pictures in AV mode and auto WB.
How can I change the camera settings in order to get the same result out of the box not needing to improve each picture?
Thanks ahead to all forum members for their suggestions, Amir

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08-13-2011, 02:14 AM   #2
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im assuming you shoot jpeg only? If you want to get the most out of your camera I suggest shooting RAW and investing in LR3

Jpegs from your camera can be customized to have more contrast/saturation like what "im feeling lucky" will give you. I dont own a Kx so i can't tell you exactly how to get there...

wrong section btw
08-13-2011, 02:29 AM   #3
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As yeatzee has said, a little familiarisation with Post Processing will be, IMHO, more beneficial than trying to coerce the camera into always providing the 'after picasa' look.
Picasa will [assumption] adjust each image differently. Likely clipping the histogram for blacks and highlights, then slight adjusting exposure/brighness to a more central bell-shape, adjusting contrast towards the 'S' curve etc.
You needn't go to the expense of LR3 to try Post Processing. Freeware stuff in addition to Picasa is available that can work RAW (e.g. GIMP) or JPEG (e.g. Paint.Net). Try working with JPEGS first if that is what you have been shooting in and make use of your back-catalogue for practise.
Have a look on the web for basic Post Processing techniques (am only a learner myself). Picasa doesn't know the subject/content of your images - you do.

Edit: Plus you will be able to clone out any specks on the sensor (showing upper left of the blue sky in your image), Picasa doesn't.

Last edited by bluespearbone; 08-13-2011 at 03:23 AM. Reason: Spotted sensor dust.
08-13-2011, 02:32 AM   #4
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LR's an investment fully worth the price (or no price ) which is why i mentioned it. I fully believe it has made my images significantly better and my workflow vastly more efficient

BUT its pointless without RAW

08-13-2011, 05:07 AM   #5
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Not everyone wants to bother with post processing. Unfortunately some amount of PP is part of taking photos.

The default settings on cameras can be changed though. I think most Pentax cameras come with 'Bright' as the default setting. Personally I leave it on the default setting. However there is a Vivid setting also, among other things. This will give more contrasty colors but sometimes it gets too be too vivid. Also once you take your shot if it looks too dark or too light, you can use the exposure compensation +/_ button to brighten or darken the images.
08-13-2011, 05:22 AM   #6
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You may well change your camera settings to produce that more colour and contrast, apperantly you like that better.
The question is: do you want it to represent reality as good as it can, or do you want punchy photos?
Nothing bad with either option though...

08-13-2011, 06:18 AM   #7
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Thanks to all repliers for the help, it is true I like punchier photos. There is a function in the menu of the K-x that is "cross processing" should it be on or off ? does it have any part in the contrast or softness of the picture.
To bluespearbone: the sensor has been cleaned since I took the shot, nice observation though . the spot was much more noticeable in the full size pictures. I will have some photoshoping to do as more than a 1000 pictures were taken before cleaning the sensor.
08-13-2011, 07:55 AM   #8
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Edit: Plus you will be able to clone out any specks on the sensor (showing upper left of the blue sky in your image), Picasa doesn't.
And also fix the crooked tilt.

08-13-2011, 12:43 PM   #9

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Hi amircoo,

"Cross Processing" is a filter that mimics mistakes in color film processing (sometimes purposefully) that resulted in some rather random effects in the images. This will not get you what you want.

The easiest thing that you could do is take some time to experiment with the scene modes and see if one of the presets gets you where you want to be. If your camera is set for "natural", then try "bright", if it's at "bright", then try " vivid" as someone else suggested. Also, some of the "scene" modes might get you what you want, even though it might not seem appropriate, so try "portrait", "landscape" and all the others just for grunts. In addition, you can play with the image settings, increasing sharpening, contrast, and saturation until you find a setting that suits. The in-camera settings can get you some dramatic differences, and once you find a set of settings that please you, there's little reason to change them, so you could just leave these as your personal default. I'd take the time to write down what changes you've made so you can duplicate these if ever you need to reset your camera.

The next step is something that you've already found -- process the jpegs. Jpeg processing can get you dramatic differences from what comes out of the camera. Try playing with the brightness, contrast, and saturation controls individually, and you'll get to see what differences each makes, so you can control the process better.

The last step I'd consider is shooting RAW and processing everything. YMMV with this. RAW allows the greatest degree of control, and can be used to cover numerous gross mistakes, especially when used with a sensor that has a lot of Dynamic Range like your Kx. This would be the most extreme change in your current shooting workflow, and is worth it for some, but not for others, so you'd have to try it and decide whether it suits. I'm guessing that it wouldn't for you.

08-13-2011, 09:50 PM   #10
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Thanks Scott , I will try to play with the settings as you suggested Amir
08-14-2011, 06:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
some amount of PP is part of taking photos
Agreed and futhermore has been so since the days of film... Think of your post-processing software (I too use Picassa) as your darkroom... You capture your 'image' in camera but your 'picture' is created after in post...

Ps... I really like the second image but think it could benefit straghtening (which can also be done in picassa)
08-15-2011, 11:40 AM   #12
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To correct some false statements regarding Picasa:

Picasa does have a "clone" feature, only it is labeled "retouch".

Picasa can import RAW files, though it only does so in 8 bit.

Picasa is a non-destructive JPEG editor: Except upon command, it never changes the original file. It saves edits to photos in a separate file, which it loads when you view the photo in the editor. IF used properly, Picasa will never harm one pixel of your original JPEGs.

Picasa is a much more powerful tool than people think.

And no, I don't work for Google.

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