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Thread started 21 Sep 2010 (Tuesday) 04:37
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Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 EX OS

 
gabebalazs
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May 09, 2012 22:12 |  #2116

Here are some 100% crops from the 420mm f/5.6 setting, using a Kenko 1.4x 300DG Pro:

IMAGE: http://gabebalazsphoto.com/misc_photos/sparrowcrop.jpg

IMAGE: http://gabebalazsphoto.com/misc_photos/squirrelcrop3.jpg

SONY A7RIII | SONY A7III | SONY RX10 IV | SONY RX100 | 24-70 2.8 GM | 70-200 2.8 GM | 16-35 F/4 | PZ 18-105 F/4 | FE 85 1.8 | FE 28-70 | SIGMA 35 1.4 ART | SIGMA 150-600 C | ROKINON 14 2.8
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gabebalazs
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May 09, 2012 22:14 |  #2117

digital_AM wrote in post #14408121 (external link)
Gabe, awesome shots. And that's with a 2x TC? Impressive! How fast/accurate is the AF with the 2x TC?

thank you. AF is just a little bit slower with the TC. Accuracy is a little less than without TC. But it's very very usable, I have absolutely no problem using this combination, actually I use it probably 85% of the time, followed by 10% using the 1.4x TC and 5% of using the lens alone with no TCs.


SONY A7RIII | SONY A7III | SONY RX10 IV | SONY RX100 | 24-70 2.8 GM | 70-200 2.8 GM | 16-35 F/4 | PZ 18-105 F/4 | FE 85 1.8 | FE 28-70 | SIGMA 35 1.4 ART | SIGMA 150-600 C | ROKINON 14 2.8
Gabe Balazs Photo (external link)
Nature Shots Portfolio (external link)

  
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gabebalazs
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May 09, 2012 22:22 |  #2118

Many of you have praised my photos which I truly appreciate.
However, I feel that probably I need to share my post processing work flow. My images, straight out of camera, do not nearly look as crips and vibrant as the ones I've been posting here. But that's ok, we all need to do post processing to make otherwise flat looking images pop a little more. I shoot RAW anyway which need PP, that's a known fact.


SONY A7RIII | SONY A7III | SONY RX10 IV | SONY RX100 | 24-70 2.8 GM | 70-200 2.8 GM | 16-35 F/4 | PZ 18-105 F/4 | FE 85 1.8 | FE 28-70 | SIGMA 35 1.4 ART | SIGMA 150-600 C | ROKINON 14 2.8
Gabe Balazs Photo (external link)
Nature Shots Portfolio (external link)

  
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mbl678
Hatchling
7 posts
Joined May 2012
Location: La
     
May 10, 2012 02:35 |  #2119

I have the Sigma 300mm f2.8 prime. And the Canon 300mm f2.8 IS. I had the same problem with Sigma AF. It is horrible to be kind. The Canon prime is spot on. So I believe you 100%. It really is a shame they cannot build a quality lens. I have had it with them all together now. I kept mine and sent it in to sigma. It took about 6 months before it was not FF or back focusing. Just a nightmare for the 3000 dollars...


MY website http://veryphotography​.com (external link) Camera review (external link)

  
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mtimber
Cream of the Crop
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May 10, 2012 04:41 |  #2120

gabebalazs wrote in post #14408176 (external link)
Many of you have praised my photos which I truly appreciate.
However, I feel that probably I need to share my post processing work flow. My images, straight out of camera, do not nearly look as crips and vibrant as the ones I've been posting here. But that's ok, we all need to do post processing to make otherwise flat looking images pop a little more. I shoot RAW anyway which need PP, that's a known fact.

I was going to ask you to explain your post processing process Gabe, as you seem to be able to massage the files very very well.

I would like to know your technique for when I need to perform high end sharpening.

Would appreciate it if you could share that. :-)


"Can't list equipment, wife checks here to see what I have bought lately" (calicokat)

  
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Maximono
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May 10, 2012 05:12 |  #2121

I've had this Lens since november and although it's produced some great images, Im not finding it's to my taste. If anyone in the UK is interested in owning one of these lenses for a lot less than UK retail price please get in touch for more details.

If you want to see pictures I've produced with this lens my flickr is http://www.flickr.com/​photos/acwildlife/ (external link)




  
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Jay ­ T
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May 13, 2012 14:55 as a reply to  @ Maximono's post |  #2122

here are 2 from today at 600mm


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1DX\ 5diii gripped \ tokina 12-24 f/4 /sigma 24-60 f2.8 \ \ sigma 120-300 OS \ sigma 50 f1.4 \ canon 500 f4 IS \ canon1.4 III tc \ canon 2xii tc \sigma 2x dg tc \ 580ex \ 2x 430ex flickr (external link)

  
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Big ­ Andy
Hatchling
7 posts
Joined Jun 2011
Location: Wales GB
     
May 14, 2012 02:50 |  #2123

gabebalazs wrote in post #14408176 (external link)
Many of you have praised my photos which I truly appreciate.
However, I feel that probably I need to share my post processing work flow. My images, straight out of camera, do not nearly look as crips and vibrant as the ones I've been posting here. But that's ok, we all need to do post processing to make otherwise flat looking images pop a little more. I shoot RAW anyway which need PP, that's a known fact.

Having looked at your superb images then looked at mine I can only agree with this statement and the sooner the better while I still have hair left. :lol: The feather detail your getting really is something special, very well done sir.




  
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gabebalazs
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7,640 posts
Gallery: 52 photos
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Joined Nov 2008
Location: Toledo, OH
     
May 14, 2012 10:29 |  #2124

Here is my usual post processing work flow.
But let me start with what to keep in mind during the actual photo taking process.

- I shoot everything in RAW + JPEG. Full size RAW and M Jpeg in my 7D

- I usually stop down 1/3 stop; meaning f/4.5 when I use the 1.4x tc, and f/6.3 when using the 2x tc. Sometimes I stop down a full stop. I almost never shoot wide open, 1/3 stops seems to be the sweet spot for my setup.

- I shoot multiple images of the same subject, so that if the bird moves around, I still end up with 1 or 2 perfectly focused images with minimal motion blur.

- I am not scared to use higher ISOs. Today's noise reduction software are great, especially the one in Adobe Camera Raw. It is way easier to cure a somewhat noisy image than motion blur resulting from too slow shutter speed.

- Half the time I don't even use OS. Mostly I shoot from a tripod or monopod, or just simply resting my lens on the couch shooting out of the window, and my shutter speed is always in the 1/hundreds, so I see no need to use OS. But of course there are quite a few situations when I do.


So now let's see what happens when I have shot the photos.

- I go through the images using Windows Photo Viewer, I just view the jpegs first. Seeing the jpegs I can decide which images are sharp, which ones are worth processing.

- I open the RAW version of the selected image in Adobe Camera Raw. I have Adobe CS5.

- There, first I check white balance. I almost always modify the "as shot" setting to make a custom setting. I have a decent 23" LG IPS LED monitor which helps me get the colors relatively right.

- I may or may not crop the image in ACR, most often not.

- Next, I check the image at 100% whether it has CA/fringing. I attempt to correct it using ACR's lens correction tab. There is no rule of thumb here, I just play with the sliders until the edges have the least amount of color errors.

- Then I go to Sharpness tab of ACR. I view at 100% and decide how I want to sharpen the image and how much NR I should use. This of course depends largely on the ISO used. My typical ISO range for 400-600mm shots range from ISO 400 to ISO 1600 depending on the light conditions. Based on that I use about 15-35 luminance noise reduction on the slider. I leave the color NR as it is at the default 25.

- As for sharpening, if the image is not 100% perfectly focused, I select a higher radius, such as 1.5-1.8 pixels. I push the sharpen amount slider to 30-50. "Detail" stays at default or actually sometimes I reduce it. The reason for that is that if your image is not tack sharp, the detail slider doesn't do much except enhancing your noise because it's radius is small. Detail comes in handy for tack sharp images, which happen more often if I use the lens without tc, or even with the 1.4x.
Masking is added, slider to 10-30 range.
For an average, decently sharp image I use 1.0 to 1.3 pixel radius, amount at around 35 to 45 detail 15 to 25.

- Another check at the luminance NR to see that sharpness and lower noise are in good balance.

- Then I go back to the first tab (white balance, contrast, exposure, etc.) and check exposure, contrast, vibrance, clarity (basically midtone micro contrast), etc. I tend to raise contrast when using a TC. The Clarity also enhances small detail, so I usually add some (in the +10 to 20 range, but FYI for portraits I tend to go in the negative range to have skins very smooth.) If the photo's black levels aren't good (e.g. hazy conditions), I push the blacks to 10 to 20.

Of course the above always depends on the particular image I am processing, so these were just general guidelines.

OK, then:

- I open the image. ACR transfers it to Photoshop CS5.

- I crop the image if I haven't cropped it in ACR. I have a 3:2 ratio preset in the crop tool. I like to keep 3:2 (or 2:3 if photo's vertical) whenever possible. Sometimes I use 1:1 if the composition calls for it.

- Then I resize the image to 1000 pixels in the longer dimension. So usually end up with a 1000x667 image.

- I use the adjustments --> highlights/shadows tool to bring back the highlights if they are too light. This tool also brings out detail using the highlights slider. I also raise shadows if needed. Occasionally, this tool does more damage than good, then I just ignore it.

- Then I ALWAYS use the Filters --> Noise --> reduce noise tool. This is a really useful tool. Of course we've already done some NR in the RAW processor, but this Reduce Noise tool gives us a whole new dimension.
I normally set the "strength" somewhere between 3 and 6 depending on how noisy the image is. Usually, not very noisy since we already reduced it in ACR AND also resized the image to 1000 pixels. But this still smooths the background and helps bring out the sharp subject.
"Preserve Detail" is around 50 for me. This slider controls what amount of detail will fall under elmination and what's still preserved and not affected by the NR process. 50 is a good compromise; it reduces background noise, but still preserves fine feather detail.
Then there is "Sharpen Details" which is basically a sharpener. What's good about it is that it will sharpen only those detail that were unaffected by the noise reduction side of this tool. I usually set this to somewhere between 45 and 55.
So this tool essentially blurs and smooths parts of your photo that are unimportant such as the background, while it sharpens and enhances the important part of your image: your subject.

Then as a last step I add frame and my name in the corner. I have created an action for that so it's a one-click process.

That's it, I hope it helps.


SONY A7RIII | SONY A7III | SONY RX10 IV | SONY RX100 | 24-70 2.8 GM | 70-200 2.8 GM | 16-35 F/4 | PZ 18-105 F/4 | FE 85 1.8 | FE 28-70 | SIGMA 35 1.4 ART | SIGMA 150-600 C | ROKINON 14 2.8
Gabe Balazs Photo (external link)
Nature Shots Portfolio (external link)

  
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Talley
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Joined Dec 2011
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May 14, 2012 10:36 |  #2125

gabebalazs wrote in post #14429410 (external link)
Here is my usual post processing work flow.
But let me start with what to keep in mind during the actual photo taking process.

- I shoot everything in RAW + JPEG. Full size RAW and M Jpeg in my 7D

- I usually stop down 1/3 stop; meaning f/4.5 when I use the 1.4x tc, and f/6.3 when using the 2x tc. Sometimes I stop down a full stop. I almost never shoot wide open, 1/3 stops seems to be the sweet spot for my setup.

- I shoot multiple images of the same subject, so that if the bird moves around, I still end up with 1 or 2 perfectly focused images with minimal motion blur.

- I am not scared to use higher ISOs. Today's noise reduction software are great, especially the one in Adobe Camera Raw. It is way easier to cure a somewhat noisy image than motion blur resulting from too slow shutter speed.

- Half the time I don't even use OS. Mostly I shoot from a tripod or monopod, or just simply resting my lens on the couch shooting out of the window, and my shutter speed is always in the 1/hundreds, so I see no need to use OS. But of course there are quite a few situations when I do.


So now let's see what happens when I have shot the photos.

- I go through the images using Windows Photo Viewer, I just view the jpegs first. Seeing the jpegs I can decide which images are sharp, which ones are worth processing.

- I open the RAW version of the selected image in Adobe Camera Raw. I have Adobe CS5.

- There, first I check white balance. I almost always modify the "as shot" setting to make a custom setting. I have a decent 23" LG IPS LED monitor which helps me get the colors relatively right.

- I may or may not crop the image in ACR, most often not.

- Next, I check the image at 100% whether it has CA/fringing. I attempt to correct it using ACR's lens correction tab. There is no rule of thumb here, I just play with the sliders until the edges have the least amount of color errors.

- Then I go to Sharpness tab of ACR. I view at 100% and decide how I want to sharpen the image and how much NR I should use. This of course depends largely on the ISO used. My typical ISO range for 400-600mm shots range from ISO 400 to ISO 1600 depending on the light conditions. Based on that I use about 15-35 luminance noise reduction on the slider. I leave the color NR as it is at the default 25.

- As for sharpening, if the image is not 100% perfectly focused, I select a higher radius, such as 1.5-1.8 pixels. I push the sharpen amount slider to 30-50. "Detail" stays at default or actually sometimes I reduce it. The reason for that is that if your image is not tack sharp, the detail slider doesn't do much except enhancing your noise because it's radius is small. Detail comes in handy for tack sharp images, which happen more often if I use the lens without tc, or even with the 1.4x.
Masking is added, slider to 10-30 range.

- Another check at the luminance NR to see that sharpness and lower noise are in good balance.

- Then I go back to the first slider and check contrast, vibrance, clarity (basically midtone micro contrast), etc. I tend to raise contrast when using a TC. The Clarity also enhances small detail, so I usually add some (in the +10 to 20 range.) If the photos black levels aren't good (e.g. hazy conditions), I push the blacks to 10 to 20.

Of course the above always depends on the particular image I am processing, so these were just general guidelines.

OK, then:

- I open the image. ACR transfers it to Photoshop CS5.

- I crop the image if I haven't cropped it in ACR. I have a 3:2 ratio preset in the crop tool. I like to keep 3:2 (or 2:3 if photo's vertical) whenever possible. Sometimes I use 1:1 if the composition calls for it.

- Then I resize the image to 1000 pixels in the longer dimension. So usually end up with a 1000x667 image.

- I use the adjustments --> highlights/shadows tool to bring back the highlights if they are too light. This tool also brings out detail using the highlights slider. I also raise shadows if needed. Occasionally, this tool does more damage than good, then I just ignore it.

- Then I ALWAYS use the Filters --> Noise --> reduce noise tool. This is a really useful tool. Of course we've already done some NR in the RAW processor, but this Reduce Noise tool gives us a whole new dimension.
I normally set the "strength" somewhere between 3 and 6 depending on how noisy the image is. Usually, not very noisy since we already reduced it in ACR AND also resized the image to 1000 pixels. But this still smooths the background and helps bring out the sharp subject.
"Preserve Detail" is around 50 for me. This slider controls what amount of detail will fall under elmination and what's still preserved and not affected by the NR process. 50 is a good compromise; it reduces background noise, but still preserves fine feather detail.
Then there is "Sharpen Details" which is basically a sharpener. What's good about it is that it will sharpen only those detail that were unaffected by the noise reduction side of this tool. I usually set this to somewhere between 45 and 55.
So this too essentially blurs and smooths parts of your photo that are unimportant such as the background, while sharpens and enhances the important part of your image: your subject.

Then as a last step I add frame and my name in the corner. I have created an action for that so it's a one-click process.

That's it, I hope it helps.

/right click save-as... thanks!


A7rIII | A7III | 12-24 F4 | 16-35 GM | 28-75 2.8 | 100-400 GM | 12mm 2.8 Fisheye | 35mm 2.8 | 85mm 1.8 | 35A | 85A | 200mm L F2 IS | MC-11
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gabebalazs
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May 14, 2012 10:41 |  #2126

Talley wrote in post #14429433 (external link)
/right click save-as... thanks!

Your welcome :)
Make sure you save it again since I edited it a couple times (for typos and some extra info too.)


SONY A7RIII | SONY A7III | SONY RX10 IV | SONY RX100 | 24-70 2.8 GM | 70-200 2.8 GM | 16-35 F/4 | PZ 18-105 F/4 | FE 85 1.8 | FE 28-70 | SIGMA 35 1.4 ART | SIGMA 150-600 C | ROKINON 14 2.8
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mtimber
Cream of the Crop
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Location: Cambs, UK
     
May 14, 2012 11:30 |  #2127

^^Thanks Gabe. :-)


"Owning lots of expensive gear is very important. I helps those of us without talent appear as if we really know what we're doing" (Belmondo)

  
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alfredomora
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May 14, 2012 12:53 |  #2128

Nicely done Gabe. You are right on about the clarity slider for people portraits but that's for another discussion. So you don't use lightroom at all? Do you go back and delete your original jpgs?


- Alfredo -
Sony a7RII | Voightlander 12 f5.6 | Sony 16-35 GM f2.8 | Zeiss Batis 18 f2.8 | Zeiss Loxia 21 f2.8 | FE 55 f1.8 | Zeiss Loxia 85 f2.4 | Sony 100-400 GM |
Portfolio (external link)

  
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Big ­ Andy
Hatchling
7 posts
Joined Jun 2011
Location: Wales GB
     
May 14, 2012 12:55 |  #2129

Thanks Gabe for taking the time and making the effort. :)




  
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gabebalazs
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May 14, 2012 13:13 |  #2130

digital_AM wrote in post #14430117 (external link)
Nicely done Gabe. You are right on about the clarity slider for people portraits but that's for another discussion. So you don't use lightroom at all? Do you go back and delete your original jpgs?

thanks.
I do not use Lightroom. I have CS5.
Well, I'm too lazy to delete pictures. Maybe once a year I go back a delete stuff, but oddly, I mostly delete the unused, sub-par RAW files. I shoot a LOT of photos, a lot. So I probably don't use 80% of the shot pictures, they never make it to my selected pictures group. But they do take up a lot of space, so after a while they must go. I'm strangely much more forgiving towards jpegs, medium jpegs are only about 1.5 mb so they can stay on my drives longer (even if many of them suck :) )


SONY A7RIII | SONY A7III | SONY RX10 IV | SONY RX100 | 24-70 2.8 GM | 70-200 2.8 GM | 16-35 F/4 | PZ 18-105 F/4 | FE 85 1.8 | FE 28-70 | SIGMA 35 1.4 ART | SIGMA 150-600 C | ROKINON 14 2.8
Gabe Balazs Photo (external link)
Nature Shots Portfolio (external link)

  
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