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08-19-2012, 08:59 AM   #1
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'Flat' images

Hey everyone, I am new to this Forum.

I was taking some photos in a gallery yesterday and they look very flat. When I enlarge them in Windows Photo Gallery they look dull and a little grainy. I was using a Pentax K-x with a standard 18-55 mm lens on the Auto setting. I used my Camera Phone (Nokia N8) for some photos and they look much better.

When I go into Properties on a Pentax taken photo the horizontal and vertical resolution is 72dpi and on my Nokia taken photo it is 300 dpi.

I was in JPEG format and the camera was set to the highest settings (12m recorded pixels and the JPEG quality was 3 stars.

I would be grateful for any help.

Thanks.

08-19-2012, 09:27 AM   #2
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Can you post a sample photo? Don't worry too much about DPI, as it's a print setting which has little to do with what comes out of the camera.

Adam
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08-19-2012, 11:05 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Welcome to the forum.
As Adam indicates, an example would be helpful.
Shout out if you don't know how to post an example here.
08-19-2012, 11:32 AM   #4
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Hi Guys, thanks for your reply, what service!

I enclose one of the photos I mentioned.

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PENTAX K-x  Photo 
08-19-2012, 11:50 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I noticed from the EXIF data that you were shooting in the landscape auto mode. That was definitely working against you here since it resulted in a small aperture, f/11, that meant a very high ISO had to be used, 6400. When using a wide angle, 18mm in this case, and from a relatively far distance you can get away with much larger apertures than f/11 and still have deep depth of field. An aperture of somewhere between f/4 and f/5.6 would have been more appropriate for this rather dim, indoor, wide angle scene, and for being as far back as you were from any subject.
08-19-2012, 11:52 AM   #6
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Thanks Tom ,that is very useful.
08-19-2012, 12:38 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Thanks for the example, as Tom indicates, the mode looks to be working against you here. The "pocket rocket" K-X is good, but not that good .
By choosing such a high ISO setting, two bad things are going to happen when you are shooting JPGs - the first is aggressive JPG noise reduction (robbing detail, and colour), especially where there are a lot of shadow areas in the image. The second is that at F11, you are going to start running into lens diffraction effects.

Also, it may be my monitor, but your image appears underexposed to me - I'm pretty sure on the auto modes that you can't, but did you have any negative exposure compensation set?

With respect to the Nokia taking better pictures, I'm guessing here, that the Nokia may have produced a more contrasty image (clipped highlights/shadows), therefore appearing sharper, and brighter.

Last edited by Clarkey; 08-19-2012 at 12:40 PM. Reason: Nokia comment
08-19-2012, 01:09 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clarkey Quote
Thanks for the example, as Tom indicates, the mode looks to be working against you here. The "pocket rocket" K-X is good, but not that good .
By choosing such a high ISO setting, two bad things are going to happen when you are shooting JPGs - the first is aggressive JPG noise reduction (robbing detail, and colour), especially where there are a lot of shadow areas in the image. The second is that at F11, you are going to start running into lens diffraction effects.

Also, it may be my monitor, but your image appears underexposed to me - I'm pretty sure on the auto modes that you can't, but did you have any negative exposure compensation set?

With respect to the Nokia taking better pictures, I'm guessing here, that the Nokia may have produced a more contrasty image (clipped highlights/shadows), therefore appearing sharper, and brighter.
Hi. Thanks for the very useful response. Sadly as I opted for the 'safety' of the auto mode, no adjustments were possible. Incidentally, the Nokia is quite good. It has a 12 mp camera with a Carl Zeiss lens.

08-19-2012, 01:32 PM - 1 Like   #9
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The pictures are definitely underexpsosed. There is quite a large amount of white wall in the main part of the picturel, the camera's automatic exposure function works on the assumption that the average tone is18% gray- so it will try reproduce the white wall as gray, i.e underexposing. At ISO 6400 the dynamic range is reduced anyway, then you have underexposed shadows, so noise is going to be up and contrast down. In addition, shooting in JPEG at high ISO menas noise reduction will be marked, removing fine detail and thus flattening the image. You can increase contrat in PP, but you are still going to have problems with noise in the shadows. As other posters have said, using a larger aperture would have been preferable so as to drop the iso, and dialling in a little positive exposure comp would have helped too. The shot posted was taken at 1/80, you could have got away with a lower speed too - probably ok down to 1/30 if you were careful, SR is great in these situations! Tricky lighting like this ( great variation, mixed source, predominance of white) needs a little experience to get the best results, and full auto modes tend to be fooled in situations like this.

Last edited by StephenHampshire; 08-19-2012 at 01:35 PM. Reason: added bit about shutter speed
08-19-2012, 01:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by StephenHampshire Quote
The pictures are definitely underexpsosed. There is quite a large amount of white wall in the main part of the picturel, the camera's automatic exposure function works on the assumption that the average tone is18% gray- so it will try reproduce the white wall as gray, i.e underexposing. At ISO 6400 the dynamic range is reduced anyway, then you have underexposed shadows, so noise is going to be up and contrast down. In addition, shooting in JPEG at high ISO menas noise reduction will be marked, removing fine detail and thus flattening the image. You can increase contrat in PP, but you are still going to have problems with noise in the shadows. As other posters have said, using a larger aperture would have been preferable so as to drop the iso, and dialling in a little positive exposure comp would have helped too. The shot posted was taken at 1/80, you could have got away with a lower speed too - probably ok down to 1/30 if you were careful, SR is great in these situations! Tricky lighting like this ( great variation, mixed source, predominance of white) needs a little experience to get the best results, and full auto modes tend to be fooled in situations like this.
Hey Stephen.

Thanks for your reply. I am really impressed with the depth, speed and volume of responses on this forum!
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