A case of right place, right time, looking in the right direction. This is Emma, a barn owl. Emma wasn’t quite satisfied with the perch that they had placed her on, so she opted for a bit of higher ground. She took flight and landed on the roof. Of course, she was tethered, but that didn’t matter. She got to spend a few seconds on the roof, certainly less than a minute, before they coaxed her down again. I just happened to be looking in that direction and was able to get off two shots before she left her throne. Thankfully, the Nikon P510 decided that there was enough contrast to focus. Of the two shots that I took, only this one was usable.
The cool thing about the Internet and blogging in general is that there are always voices out there that will challenge you. Here, thankfully, is no different. In my post yesterday about the P510 and printing above a certain size, I made an assertion that one would get crappy output above 8 x 10, perhaps; however, that was a faulty assertion, I have found out.
After reading comments I thought: Certainly, this could be pilot error; after all, I would say that as far as printing is concerned, I’m a neophyte, or newbie to be sure! So, off to experiment some more I went. I went back into the archives to gather some different photos, some that have less challenging dynamic ranges, details, etc. Some normal, everyday shots. The ones included in this gallery are those that I chose. I decided to dedicate this batch of paper and ink to learning. I’m sure that I’ll get some good prints out of it, but that’s not even the point now. The point is to learn how to deal with difficult prints.
Admittedly, I was very surprised. They printed in 12 x 18, flawlessly, without hitch, save for another small head clog which was easily remedied. I just printed them, as is with little adjustment save for a tiny bit of saturation as well as some contrast. I was pleased.
Following a playbook from Earl, I downloaded the software that he said that used to print some photos from the S90, Perfect Resize 7.5. I have a 30 free trial. However, after only using it on a few images, I must say that I will purchase a copy – here’s why.
After running the photo of the Grand Canyon that I struggled with so much and having PR increase it to 16 x 24 @ 300 dpi, I printed it again and there it was, in all of its glory, the “missing” detail. Now, I have a print suitable for framing, and I will. Very impressive. I’m glad that Earl mentioned it, but I’m not surprised, he has lots technical knowledge to be sure! I’m glad that I met him!
Craig Tanner once said in one of his workshops: When people call me talented, I tell them that I just survived being untalented. I like that. I’m taking my baby steps and my lumps on learning about printing … just like I had to do in the darkroom!
Thanks to all of you who commented for giving me something to think about and question my findings.
Generally, the smaller sensors found in compact cameras will produce images that are more than acceptable for casual photographers.
However, the more serious photographers who pay more attention to details and want even higher quality in a picture will be better off with a camera with a larger sensor.
~Easy Basic Photography
I’m still going through my Grand Canyon photos. This one, I really like. On the screen, it looks magnificent. However, it is teaching me a few lessons about sensor size, details, maximum printing sizes, etc.
Anytime that a camera comes out there comes with it the inevitable technical discussions, mainly about sensors. One of the few things that I rarely hear about is the quality of the end result, the print … if that is where you are going.
Of late, I’ve been reading so many articles about sensor size, pixel size, etc, that my eyes are getting crossed, but I’m learning a lot and much dawning of understanding is starting to happen. My story here is not scientific, merely allegorical. The link to one of the better, more understandable articles is provided in the above quote.
I’ve been trying to print the above photo off and on today. At first, I discovered that I had a clogged print head. After I got that squared away, printing began in earnest. I started out small. I printed 6 x 9, or 152mm x 229 mm, for my metric friends … this will be important later as there is a tiny bit of math involved here. I printed it both on matte paper as well as luster. Both came out decently, with the luster having a slight edge because of the higher contrast and deeper blacks.
After I got that the way that I wanted it on matte paper, I decided to print a 12 x 18 of the same print. Wow! What a disappointment that was. It was rather muddy looking and, in some areas, pixelated, basically beyond the point of resolution that the camera had to offer. As you know, manufacturers are always talking about pixels. Well, the Nikon P510 has 16 MP, or about 16 million super-duper tiny pixels crammed onto that tiny piece of real estate of 25 square mm, each not very capable of gathering light or detail.
So, here’s the math of the enlargement.
P510 sensor size 1/2.3 inches, or 5.76 x 4.29 mm, very, very tiny. Just 2/10 of an inch on the LONG side! Here’s what I asked of it: Take your 25 mm square (5.76 x 4.29 = 24.71 mm^2) and become as 12 x 18 print! (305 mm x 457 mm = 139,355 mm^2). Well, that’s asking it to grow by 5,575 times! Not gonna happen, regardless of the number of pixels that it has in it. Just not gonna happen! A more reasonable growth that it can seem to handle is 1,393 to get to 6 x 9 or 152 mm x 229 mm. I’m not sure where the top is, but I think that you MIGHT be able to go to 8 x 10, but I don’t know.
Of great interest, to me, was to find out that the sensor in the P510 is smaller than that of the Kodak Disc camera, which was 11 mm x 8 mm – As a matter of fact, about 1/3 the size!!! I remember how crappy the enlargements were for that one! And the 4/3 system sensors are the same size as 110 film, 17 x 13 mm. Seems like we haven’t really moved on. LOL
So, naturally, I am a little bit disappointed that I won’t be able to print larger sizes of my Grand Canyon photos, but it has taught me a good lesson. If I plan to go somewhere very picturesque … and plan to, or would like to make big enlargements, I need to take my D300 with me. It’s a tad lighter and smaller than the D700, but delivers the goods. If it’s going to be very casual and for web only, the P510 will work just fine.
Funny, I remember these same dilemmas from back in the day between 110, 35 mm, medium format, and view cameras! The image is a scale version of sensor size to print size!
Born under a bad sign.
I’ve been down since I began to crawl.
If it wasn’t for bad luck,
I wouldn’t have no luck at all.
Bad luck and trouble’s my only friend,
I’ve been down ever since I was ten.
Born under a bad sign.
Some of you may remember my post from last year entitled: A serious Oh sh!!! moment. Where I describe leaving my Leica M9 behind, on the floor, in a terminal in San Francisco International Airport. Fortunately, the flight attendant called back to the terminal, they picked it up, and shipped it to me on the next flight out to Charlotte. Crises averted!
I love Blues music and the lyrics above are from a song by Albert King, as well as a number of other Blues artists. In the song, he talks about how the only luck that he has is bad and that he was born under a bad sign. I’ll have to say that I was born under a good sign, as far as camera’s go. Here’s another story for you.
Last week, I was trying to decide which camera to take, the D700 or the P-510. I decided to take both. I rented a car from Avis, put my luggage in the back seat, removed the P-510 from one of the bags, placed it on the floor behind the driver’s seat, and was set to begin my adventure. I took the camera out with the intention of moving it up front and having it ready should I want to take any photos along the way.
I got into the car, put the key in, and found the battery to be dead, nearly 100%. I got out of the car, locked it, went back into Avis, they gave me the keys to another car, told me to drive it over, move my luggage over, and continue on with the new car. I did just that. I moved all of my luggage to the new car, and headed for Anita’s house.
As I drove along CA-58, I thought that I might like to take a few photos of the mountains. I reached behind the seat and … Shit!!! The camera wasn’t there. Immediately, I knew that I had taken all of the luggage and forgotten to take the camera. I called information, got the number for Avis, called their lost and found department: Ring! Ring! Ring! Ring! Ring! Ring! Ring! Ring …. No one answered. After I got to Anita’s house, and over the next 5 days, I continued to call. All that I got was an incessant ring and no one answered. Crap. I even sent an email, but got no response. The reason that I didn’t turn around was that I was already an hour out and remembered seeing how much traffic was on the other side. I would have taken me nearly two hours to get back to the airport. Mind you, had it been the D700, I would have endured the return trip.
So, I simply put it out of my mind and continued on with my trip. I had a great time. When I returned to LA on Monday, I stopped by Avis, described the camera, which car it was in, and they looked for it. 5 minutes later, my camera was back in my hand. I’ll be taking it out today to do some touristy type shots. Lucky again: I must have been born under a good sign! LOL
Gratitude is like a flashlight, it lights up what is already there. You don’t necessarily have anything more or different, but suddenly you can actually see what is. And because you can see, you no longer take it for granted.
M.J. Ryan – Attitudes of Gratitude
Quite frankly, there are those moments when I am simply ‘there’, filled with gratitude.
This was the scene, Saturday morning, just off of the coast of West Palm Beach, FL. Taken from the aft (rear) deck of The Bahamas Celebration cruise ship as we returned home.
This past weekend I was in West Palm Beach, FL as well as Freeport, Grand Bahamas. I was on my first cruise ever. I took with me, one camera, my P-510. If I have not said it before, I love this camera! Sure, it has its limitations, but if you learn to be patient with it, you will be rewarded.
When Deb and I returned from our cruise, we went to the zoo the next day. I was toting the Nikon P-510 with me, figuring, quite correctly, that I’d be able to make good use of the 1000mm zoom lens.
Throughout the time that we were there, I shot with it at maximum zoom, as much as I could. Happily, it never let me down. There were times when I had to be realllllllllyyyy patient with the zoom because the conditions were somewhat dark and the zoom tends to ‘hunt’ in low-contrast situations. Also, something else that I need to be careful with is low-light situations. The camera has a fantastic vibration reduction mode; however, shooting at 1/15 second at 1000 mm is not advised, though I was able to pull of some of those shots. I should have moved up the ISO or gone with auto-ISO so that I could have gotten better shutter speeds. I had to delete quite a few due to blurriness because of low shutter speeds. With sensors this small, depth of field is rarely a decision. However, at 1000 mm, you still get a fairly shallow DOF.
I thought that I’d share a few of those pictures here. The cool thing to note here is that two of the photos were shot through a chain-link fence: The tiger and the eagle. The Komodo Dragon was shot through glass. The AF had no problem with either situation.
My first beaver!
Well, this is a first. I have no beaver photos in my archives. Now I have a few! I was taking some photos of a squirrel and heard some noise down the hill in the pond. After a beat of looking, I finally spotted him. I zoomed in, took a few shots, and then he moved on.
I was zoomed all the way out to max, 1000 mm. Considering that this guy was probably a couple of hundred yards away, not bad at all and this is hand-held @ 1/25 of a second! Thank you VR!!!
More later …