Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

A poke in the eye for photo snobbery (scary spider alert)

While it may have been true in the years of film photography, I think the claim by some that a ‘Real Photographer’ would never use any of the automation provided on cameras has long had its day, and it’s probably true to say that anyone who makes that claim today does not actually take any photographs.

I’ve held this view for a few years, and trading up to a large sensor dSLR has only confirmed this as I squeeze more and more detail from the image files. Even shrinking the images down to the tiny size I usually use in this blog still shows more detail than I ever captured with my usual 400 ASA stock in the ‘old days’, and I saw little better when dropping to 200 ASA or even 100 ASA. Just to be complete, I didn’t shoot much slide material, but again, saw little more detail when examining their 64 ASA results for detail.

I was reminded of this when I decided to take some shots of a monster spider that has been watching me for a couple of day – hopefully not as its next meal.

Thinking I could take a better shot than the camera, I took over manual control so I could use a small aperture and supposedly get a better depth of field.

In reality… this produced blurred images (even with anti-shake) with shallow DoF even at f22. Yes, a tripod would probably have helped, but there was no space (for this to be used quickly). My luck was out as this is the dullest and wettest day seen recently, so shutter speeds were low and didn’t help.

After looking at those manual images, I went back and just set things to full Auto (but NOT allowing flash) and grabbed one image.

The results are below.

The top image is the fully automatic result, the lower is the best of a bunch taken under manual control.

They may look superficially similar, but look at the detail, the hairs on the legs for example, and you will see these have largely been lost in the lower pic.

Despite the small aperture, the DoF at f22 is little better than at f5.6, which auto decided to use, and while there is no shake evident in the upper pic, a close look at the lower pic reveals plenty, especially in the full-size original.

Lastly, and only evident in analysing the two originals, the histogram of each image shows the full auto image has a wider spread of pixel content than the manual, small aperture option.

And I get the same result every time I try this comparison now.

Note, I have deliberately not made any mention of brand here, as the photo snobs jump on that too, so wanted to rule that out.

Spider Pair Compare

Spider Pair Compare

Flashy curiosity

Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to go back for an auto flash shot, just to see how it compared – of course, after sitting motionless for two days, spidey had decided to walk off, and was actually watching from a hole in the window frame.

But it came back out later in the day, and I got my shot.

I should maybe add this is just using a standard zoom lens, with no macro option, and in this case, no sort of tweaking to optimise the shot. I just wanted to see what the camera could do on its own.

while things are better from the point of view of detail, where focus is achieved, the DoF is still poor, and if I was aiming for this as a proper shot, would have to try some setting to improve with the aid of flash. Or maybe some other tricks, but not today.

Spider Flash

Spider Flash


June 29, 2017 - Posted by | photography | ,

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