flawed megapixel experiment

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bucky, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. Bucky

    J. Clarke Guest

    Takes a honkin' big flash to light up a football field. Remember, taking
    pictures of the kid playing sports is one very common use.

    The folks who don't know how to get a decent picture using flash generally
    pop the flash anyway because either they don't know how to turn it off or
    they don't understand that the built-in flash has very short range.
    J. Clarke, Nov 27, 2006
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  2. Bucky

    Scott W Guest

    In many if not most cases a flash will simply not match ambient light.

    Here are just two samples of photos that would simply look like crap if
    I had used a flash.

    Scott W, Nov 27, 2006
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  3. Bucky

    J. Clarke Guest

    For one thing it introduces its own white balance which may be in conflict
    wiht the white balance of the remainder of the scene. For another, it
    changes the lighting from what you're seeing through the finder--the
    direction and character of the light are sometimes what "make" an image.
    For a third it has limited range.
    Yes there are but shooting portraits of kids against a distant background
    is only one situation.
    Well that's nice but now you have to have a lightstand somewhere and
    you're tied to a location. This is fine for studio photography or formal
    portraits but it's not so good when you're circulating at a party shooting
    If you have a flash with a metering system that allows this or you have a
    flash meter or you have time to bracket exposures (and remember that you
    have to wait for the cycle time of the flash to bracket). And now you're
    changing the white balance in an unpredictable way depending on the
    spectral response of the reflecting surfaces.

    Beyond that there's the psychological issue. Somehow I think that
    periodically popping off a flash big enough to cover the whole dance floor
    at your daughter's sixteenth birthday party isn't going to go over too
    well. Not to mention that that dance floor looks a lot less charming when
    it's uniformly illuminated by a flash than it does with the various
    lighting effects that the DJ has so carefully set up in evidence.
    Yes there are.
    The thing you're not getting is that high ISO gives you options that you
    don't have without it.
    J. Clarke, Nov 27, 2006
  4. Bucky

    J. Clarke Guest

    Native? What gives you the idea that digital cameras have a "native ISO"?
    ISO is whatever the camera designers chose to give you. The D200 could
    shoot at ISO 1 if the designers had chosen to give you that option. Where
    they set the lowest ISO is a judgment call--they generally put it at a
    level such that setting it lower would have given a minimal reduction in

    The general rule is to shoot at the lowest ISO that will give you the
    shot. If it's a choice between 1600 and no shot then shoot at 1600. Yeah,
    there'd have been less noise at 100, but so what--at 100 you wouldn't have
    gotten the shot. In the catalog of things that can go wrong with a shot,
    "shot at too high an ISO" is generally very far down the list.
    J. Clarke, Nov 27, 2006
  5. Hence my disclaimer. My point was that many people are scared shitless of
    using a flash and would prefer to boost the ISO level.
    Causes more harm than good as the camera attempts to compensate for ineffective
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Nov 27, 2006
  6. If you don't know how to use a flash, sure, I agree with you. Tell the
    portrait photographer that their models are ugly ...
    I completely disagree. I use fill flash under the noon sun if I am required
    to take a picture outdoors in this kind of light. A flash (or flashes) need
    to be used correctly, and then they are a benefit, not a deficit. It can be
    hard to learn to use them correctly [and I admit to still learning this
    skill], but they can be used to positively benefit your image and do NOT have
    to destroy the natural look.
    Indeed, if it is not allowed, then don't use it. My point is that many people
    simply don't know how to use a flash properly and will instead choose to boost
    the ISO ... to the detriment of their final image.
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Nov 27, 2006
  7. SNIP
    A rolloff that can be boosted in postprocessing, but with less of the
    offending highest spatial frequencies, is the best overall compromise
    .. The combined point spread function (PSF) of the lens + the AA-filter
    + the sensel's area-sampling, resembles a convolution with a Gaussian
    or a combination of Gaussian kernels. With that modelled, it is
    possible to restore a lot of sharpness.
    As long as one doesn't mind the more likely occurence of aliasing
    artifacts, especially visible on Bayer CFA layouts, like on this Leica
    M8 shot:
    Unfortunately there is no comparison of that same image with an
    Bart van der Wolf, Nov 27, 2006
  8. I have nice filters for my flash ... and use them if the lighting is not
    Indeed. My point was not a generalization as some of you are trying to make
    it out. I specifically said that some are choosing a higher ISO because they
    don't know how to use their flash and that in many of these cases, they are
    much better off using a flash than boosting the ISO.
    I do get it. What you didn't get is that I have indicated [repeatedly] that
    many are chosing high ISO because they don't know how to effectively take a
    picture with a flash [where effective]. There are MANY people that will
    simply say, "the flash makes the picture look like shit, so I chose to boost
    the ISO". Maybe the right solution, maybe not, but definitely for the wrong
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Nov 27, 2006
  9. The only way to get ISO 1 out of a D200 is to use an ND filter in front of
    the sensor. For saturation based ISO measurements, a low ISO implies a
    way to capture or discard a large number of photons.
    Philip Homburg, Nov 27, 2006
  10. Bucky

    Scott W Guest

    Earlier on you asked what was wrong with a flash and the simple answer
    is that it is a pretty rare case where a photo taken with a flash will
    look as good as one taken with available light. About the only case
    where this is not true is if you can set up a few slave flash units. A
    simple ceiling bounce will rarely look really good and in many cases
    will simply not work.

    To say that people get bad photos when using a flash simply because
    they don't know how to use a flash is only really true if knowing how
    to use a flash included using more then one slave flash and using
    diffusers on the flashes. And even then there are a lot of cases where
    this simply does not give even close to the same photo.

    A flash can be very when putting in a bit of flash fill but when used
    as the only source of light it tends to suck big time.

    Scott W, Nov 27, 2006
  11. OK, as an example. What would you do if you are at a child's birthday party
    adn the room you are in is entirely lit by florescent lighting? Use available
    light, or use a filtered flash? Or just turn up the ISO and hope the noise
    isn't obnoxious (and call it grain if anybody asks)?
    It is true most of the time from what I have seen. It was already pointed out
    here how so many people pop the flash in a stadium, because they think it
    works (or don't know better), but then often limit their shutter speed to
    1/60s and get a dark image.
    You just have to know how to use it ... if you do, you will know when it is
    and when it isn't appropriate to use. I am finding more and more
    circumstances where it is beneficial then I ever thought before ... even just
    the on camera pop-up flash. In fact, I have yet to move to off of the
    hot-shoe flash work (although I eventually will). The vast majority of my
    pictures are taken out doors and a flash simply can't be used (i.e. landscape
    and architecture), but that doesn't stop me from using it when appropriate.

    My point was and remains that MANY people will bump up the ISO because they
    don't know how to effectively use their flash. I did NOT say that all people
    that bump up their ISO do not know how to use their flash ... which is what
    you seem to be implying that I am saying.
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Nov 27, 2006
  12. Bucky

    rafe b Guest

    People see you using a flash and they start to turn away from
    you or squint -- they know they don't want to be looking into
    the camera when the flash goes off. I'm talking about taking
    pictures of friends and family at parties and at informal

    It's a completely different scene from formal portrait
    photography. It's much harder to be "unobtrusive" when
    using a flash.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Nov 27, 2006
  13. Bucky

    Scott W Guest

    Well it would help if you could show what you are getting with your

    If I can get the shot without a flash and using ISO 800 I will do so
    every time, unless I am setting up slave flash units.

    For me using a flash is an act of desperation and I will only do it
    when I can't get the shot any other way.

    Scott W, Nov 27, 2006
  14. Or use the right camera. The 300D looks fine at ISO 1600, the 5D looks fine
    at ISO 3200.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 27, 2006
  15. Bucky

    Scott W Guest

    The portrait photographer is not using one on camera flash and he or
    she will be using diffusers as well. Whereas this works well in
    controlled situations it is rarely practical for most people.

    I will also use small amounts of flash fill, but this is not to avoid
    using higher ISO settings
    but to balance the lighting.
    But before you seemed to be saying that using a flash was better then
    using a higher ISO, which has very little to do with using a fill

    The point is the very often shooting at high ISO is very desirable
    because there is not enough light to avoid it and in almost all of
    those cases the use of a flash will result in a photo that looks far
    worse then one taken without the flash.

    Scott W, Nov 27, 2006
  16. Bucky

    J. Clarke Guest

    You mean they aren't? Part of the art of portrait photography is taking
    someone's poor imitation of a poxy chimpanzee and producing an image
    that is identifiably that kid but actually looks human.
    Where there are others who don't know how to use ISO properly and will
    simply choose to use flash . . . to the detriment of their final image.
    You're coming across as being in that category.
    J. Clarke, Nov 27, 2006
  17. Bucky

    J. Clarke Guest

    Which is fine for a preplanned shoot. But the filters don't give you
    diffuse daylight or a point source a hundred feet away or the pattern of
    moonlight through a window.
    Nope, perfectly valid reason. The rest of the decision goes "Now I could
    shell out a few grand for lighting equipment that will let me get this
    shot, or I can twirl this little dial . . ."
    J. Clarke, Nov 27, 2006
  18. Bucky

    J. Clarke Guest

    I've never met anybody who was "scared shitless of using a flash". If
    anything the tendency is to use it to excess.
    Yes, it does.

    You seem to be confusing "most photographers" with "beginners who are
    serious about photography but still learning". Most photographers, if we
    define "photographer" as "person who produces photographs" are not serious
    and don't care one way or another and if their pictures don't turn out the
    way they want the just attribute it to luck or the gods or crappy
    equipment rather than figuring out why and doing something about it.
    People who are serious about mastering the art are the minority and of
    those the ones who are "afraid of flash" as you say are generally still at
    an early stage of learning.
    J. Clarke, Nov 27, 2006
  19. OK ... I will repeat it ONE MORE TIME. I have no objection to what you are
    saying. I have been saying that MANY people simply boost the ISO to a higher
    level because they do not know how to properly use their flash. In these
    cases, it is a pity.
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Nov 27, 2006
  20. Indeed ... so you are assuming that you can't get a quality picture at ISO 100
    with a flash and will get a better picture at ISO 800 without a flash.

    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Nov 27, 2006
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