Saturday, February 28, 2009

RTFM as my ex used to say

I had little choice but to sit down and read the manual (RTM) last night, after I saw what Joan had done with the photograph of Eon. I agree it was washed out. I agree that his face was red. But as can be seen by the washed out reds in the background, I had not post-processed. This was how the camera recorded the image. So what instructions was it following?

In the index I looked up colour, sharpness and contrast: each indicated P. 79 which turns out to be something called "Picture Style" which gave me a choice of standard, portrait, landscape, neutral, faithful and monochrome. This is the list that I get if I hit the set button in the middle of the wheel. It turns out, however, that there is a Picture Style option that is settable from the Menu. I go into Menu, down to Picture Style, hit the jump button and lo-and-behold,I am given options for each of the above Picture Styles: Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation and Colour Tone.

The options for each of the Pictures Styles are the same four, except for Monochrome which has sharpness, contrast, filter effect and toning effect. Sharpness and contrast were set to zero, filter effect to none and toning effect to sepia.

Sharpness
is a 7 point scale which was set at 0.
Contrast
is a scale with 4 units on either side of 0 which was set at 0.
Saturation
is a scale with 4 units on either side of 0 which was set at 0.
Colour Tone
is a scale with 4 units on either side of 0 which was set at 0.

I am experimenting with the Standard Picture Style for the next 24 hours. Here is a random photo with
Sharpness 5, Contrast 2, Saturation 2 and Colour Tone 2.
Miles too dark.

So tomorrow morning I will try 5, 1, 2, 2.

PS. Had a thought as I slept: what if Picture Style only applies to settings that are not "automatic" in some way, ie to P, Av, Tv or M? And, sure as eggs, this is the case. So I think this revelation may be still-born.



But me being me, I persevered.
Having not broken the bank with the numbers I surmised late last night, I upped the settings for this one to Sharpness=6, Contrast=2, Saturation=3 and Colour Tone=3. I think this is getting somewhere. More later ...

6 comments:

altadenahiker said...

Uh-uh; first it's Where the hell did I put TFM

bitingmidge said...

I haven't read the code, but if I had, I'm sure that reading the code, or for that matter TFM is in violation of it.

Now on to other things!

You may well find that those settings are different for each of your picture styles. For instance, I would expect sharpness and saturation to be less on Portrait style than in landscape.

So, instead of hitting numbers in the seemingly random way you plan, take a series of photos in each Picture setting, adjusting each option one stop at a time, but only one option at a time.

To clarify: Start with Portrait mode, and leaving all the other settings alone, adjust only the sharpness, taking the same shot between adjustments.

Then move on to the next adjustment.

You will have a hundred shots of the same thing, but will start to get a feel for each adjustment. Then you can move on to trying different combinations.

What a fun day you'll have!

bitingmidge said...

missed your P;S (it takes a while for my eyes to open in the mornings!

You'll find that each of the "Automatic" settings is a different combination of the Picture Style settings.

If you hunt around, maybe on the web, you'll be able to get a summary of what they are.

Ann said...

Didn't even realise you could alter them in camera. Need to find TFM to take to Adelaide. Whether I'll actually read it or just click away on P at anything that interests me is another thing. Mind you half the time what I want to know isn't in TFM or is written in a way that is utterly incomprehensible.

I spent 4 or 5 shots trying to work out which white balance to use indoors under fluro lights, ended up giving up and going back to auto. You'll see those shots in a couple of days.

Joan Elizabeth said...

My little venture into post processing yesterday also sent me off to the manual ... in my case the software manual. A quick fix can do part of the job but there are lots better things that can be done if you know the levers so I am detirmed to understand them in the next few weeks.

At the same time it made me start to try and understand the camera settings. I was planning to do the type of approach Peter has suggested. I expect I will have an awful lot of shots of my hubby when I get around to that part of the exercise.

Julie said...

hee ... hee ... hee .... just achieved today's objective ... not sure of what it looks like yet ... but asked a chap to be my model and told him I would take 5 shots ... the temerity of this woman!

Have a read of this:
http://www.canon-europe.com/For_Home/Product_Finder/Cameras/Digital_SLR/Technologies_Features/Picture_Style.asp