Sony Newbie blown away by Portraits, but dissapointed with landscapes

I completely agree with KillRamsey's comment "Get out of full Auto", and, indeed, all the other advice posted here, including to shoot Raw. The RX100 will reward you handsomely when you've taken charge of it. As stated by others, changing cameras isn't going to solve the problem - that's just a way to lose money, and become disillusioned when things don't improve. However, learning to use the camera that you already have, WILL solve the problem... eventually. Study each photo; note what worked and what didn't; analyse the settings used for each, and the lighting conditions at the time. Then draw conclusions from that process. It's as simple - and as complicated - as that.:)

There are plenty of knowledgeable people on here who (as already demonstrated, above) will help if you have questions along the way.
Good luck, and show us the results of your progress...!
Thanks again all :)

Without sounding pushy, if I can just ask this question again:

Can anyone confirm any major issues I will face in 'P' mode?
Or if I set everything I see in the menus to 'auto' and just change the 'EV' I won't be overlooking anything?

That seems a good place to start, then I will go out later today and put it to the test !

:)
 

Richard

All-Pro
Feb 1, 2013
Marlow, UK
I had a quick play yesterday to see how the RX100 behaves in Program mode. I don't ever use that one myself, I tend to use iAuto and then jump to either Aperture or Shutter priority.

In P mode the camera will adjust shutter and aperture depending upon your input via the rear control dial. As you rotate the dial it will adjust both shutter speed and aperture to achieve what it considers to be the correct exposure. It will also adjust the ISO to keep the shutter speed up above 1/30 of a second as long as possible.

I suggest you just play with the camera in P mode and keep an eye on the exposure values at the bottom of the LCD until you understand what the camera is doing and see whether you agree with its thinking. (How these cameras decide what to do for the best as shooting conditions vary is the subject of lively debate on this site)

It's not likely to be an issue out in the Indian sunshine, but you might want to limit the maximum value the camera will select when set to Auto ISO. I have my RX100 set to a maximum of ISO 1600 as it gets a bit ugly for me after that. I sometimes choose to go beyond 1600 but I don't want the camera to go that high without me knowing.

In P mode I think you can do some other things like setting focus mode and exposure areas yourself, but that will require deliberate input from you. The basic exposure settings (shutter, aperture, ISO, exposure compensation) are the ones to watch out for.

-R
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
Welcome. I really don't believe you have an equipment problem. The worse possible thing you could do is think another camera would be the solution and get into buying and selling. I would suggest you read Understanding Exposure by Brian Peterson.
This is the single most useful piece of advice you have been given, theVenerable.

I would only add that "Perfect Exposure" by Michael Freeman is an equally good if not better guide to understanding and managing digital exposure
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
As quick experiment, I would try rolling in a click or two of minus exposure compensation and see what happens. That harsh mid-day light is tough. You'll get better, softer light around dawn and dusk.

Cheers, Jock
 

Richard

All-Pro
Feb 1, 2013
Marlow, UK
It just occurred to me that in P mode you can tell the RX100 to automatically bracket exposures by +- 0.3 EV or +-0.7 EV. It will take three shots in rapid succession, one of which will be a regular exposure, one over exposed and one under exposed. It's one of the Drive modes. Unfortunately it's not available in iAuto mode, where the camera applies its own exposure compensation, depending upon scene identification.

-R
 
It just occurred to me that in P mode you can tell the RX100 to automatically bracket exposures by +- 0.3 EV or +-0.7 EV. It will take three shots in rapid succession, one of which will be a regular exposure, one over exposed and one under exposed. It's one of the Drive modes. Unfortunately it's not available in iAuto mode, where the camera applies its own exposure compensation, depending upon scene identification.

-R
Thanks :)

I think you mean 'HDR' (high dynamic range) mode. It definately brings out the dark areas, but you have to be carefull to only use it in a static scene.

Thanks for the tips for both books, I will try to check them out.

I took a few RAW pictures today with lower EV, the results do seem to be better after I brighten them and add colour in post processing.
I don't have a great eye, so getting to fiddly with the post processing may actually make the picture worse.
So many options to choose from with the editing software, I try to keep it simple for now.
But quite encouraging results so far.
 

KillRamsey

Hall of Famer
Jun 20, 2012
Hood River, OR
Kyle
^ Correct. Bracketing doesn't stack the 3 images together like HDR, it just gives you 3 shots exposed slightly differently, and the thought is that you then review all 3 and decide which one you want to keep.
 
^ Correct. Bracketing doesn't stack the 3 images together like HDR, it just gives you 3 shots exposed slightly differently, and the thought is that you then review all 3 and decide which one you want to keep.
Thanks all for the continued tips :)

I had a bit of success I think.
I took a raw picture, and used software to make 3 different exposures of it then blend them together.

It seemed to work quite well.

https://dl-web.dropbox.com/get/photos/INDIA/Cow%20%26%20Herder%20-%20Chittravathi%20River%20-06-12-14.jpg?_subject_uid=31564166&w=AACSormXcSyWEA7PIkfnqFgqJuXCMCOQ59E2uEML0Yzthw

The shadows were much darker before I did the HDR edit with the software.
 

eddie1960

Regular
Oct 28, 2014
Toronto, Ontario
Pictogramax has pretty much covered it. While various auto modes can be useful mid day is a horrible light time for any camera early morning and late afternoon are ideal). there are a number of different things you need to learn to really take control. of your shots, exposure and composition are the 2 main things to focus on (the rx 100 is a pretty capable little camera and what draws experienced photographers is not the auto modes but the manual ones combined with a small but smart form factor.
look for
" understanding exposure" by bryan peterson it's a very well written book that has helped a lot of beginners develop their skills
he has also written "understanding composition field guide" as a companion piece that will likely be very useful if you like the first.
Composition rules exist from well before photography and before you can break them effectively you have to learn them (and you will start seeing the shapes in nature all the time) Good luck with your journey
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
Composition rules exist from well before photography and before you can break them effectively you have to learn them (and you will start seeing the shapes in nature all the time)
This is often repeated but doesn't bear much close examination. They aren't rules, and you don't have to learn them before you can take good pictures, and you certainly don't have to learn them to break them.

There are certainly some well-established facts from cognitive research about how humans scan their visual field, and the so-called "rules" of composition by and large reflect those facts. Most of the research, by the by, has been done in Western (European and North American) populations, and may not even reflect basic human cognition.
 

eddie1960

Regular
Oct 28, 2014
Toronto, Ontario
This is often repeated but doesn't bear much close examination. They aren't rules, and you don't have to learn them before you can take good pictures, and you certainly don't have to learn them to break them.

There are certainly some well-established facts from cognitive research about how humans scan their visual field, and the so-called "rules" of composition by and large reflect those facts. Most of the research, by the by, has been done in Western (European and North American) populations, and may not even reflect basic human cognition.
For someone who has an inherent artistic eye so to speak they are not important, for someone struggling with composition and learning the craft of photography they help.Studyin what has been successful artistically within your own community and analyzing why it works will do the same for you as you try to build on your ability to see and capture a good image. I just wanted to provide a starting point (I think the more important is understanding exposure and how different exposures will provide different results, and what a camera sees as the wrong exposure in an auto mode is frequently the right exposure for what you want to see - at least in mirrorless you get a preview of the result (though on a camera w/o an evf you may need a hoodman to really see it - defeating the purpose of small)
 

rw11

Regular
Aug 7, 2014
Sorry, I can't seem to post full size picture links in dropbox.

Heres the smaller version.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6mmndvwuf1yb8sp/Cow & Herder - Chittravathi River -06-12-14.jpg?dl=0

Thanks
to me, the sky above the ox is too bright - I'd dial that down as per the above posts

then there is composition (if you can change your position) - the guy is kind of lost in the green trees, and the slanting shadow detracts from the subject

those are all just things you improve on as you take photos (and reject most of them)

you might try a photography class - in the US most colleges have them and so do some high schools, or private classes
 

Richard

All-Pro
Feb 1, 2013
Marlow, UK
I find the composition of that image quite interesting - the way the bushes on the left outline the head of the ox, and the way the horizon line of the mountains in the background is almost maintained by the trees and bushes, and by the ox itself to some degree.

It probably breaks various well-known 'rules' of composition, but sometimes that's what makes pictures different and interesting.

-R
 

Djarum

All-Pro
Jul 10, 2010
Huntsville, AL
Jason
My 2 pennies.

1. Crop out the far right hand of the frame. The background there doesn't add much.

2. Add contrast.

3. Make it B+W

Pulling into Gimp showed that that it might be a touch overexposed, especially the mid-highlight areas. It is an interesting photo and subject.

Keep in mind, they are just my two pennies, lol.
 

Steve Noel

All-Pro
Oct 5, 2010
Casey County, KY
Not to re-travel the road already covered.
Small sensor cameras, do much better at close range, than long distance. Doing landscapes, where there is a lot of detail, the small sensors just cannot record it as well as, say portraits. Just another bit to consider.
 

EasyEd

Regular
Dec 22, 2010
Hey All,

I'll take a shot here.

First landscapes are hard to get right.

I really like the subject matter. In this case I think the time of day is great. I think it expresses a reality. It may be a little overexposed - sort of ETTR - but maybe not. I don't know if you intended that level of light or not but I think it is fine.

I think the issue is composition. I think that when you take a portrait or something else "close-up" you tend to fill the frame with your subject. When you fill the frame with your subject it is common to have less distracting even negative edge and other effects. The farther back from the subject you step the more potential there is for distracting elements to creep into the picture. You have to look at the edges and the whole frame not just focus on the subject. In this image I think the tree in the upper left corner is a huge heavy negative - it adds nothing and I think just subtracts from the image - what is your subject the tree? or the person and the cow? The tree may frame the cow but I think it is too much and too heavy. Imagine that corner being blue sky with the mountains in the background. It would I think make for a much stronger image. An alternative could be cropping the left "1/8th" and the upper "1/4th" of the image as then there are some branches hanging down over the cow which think looks nice. But that is eliminating a lot of the image. I think the shadow leading in from the lower right is powerful - a great leading line - directly to the person. I think it adds greatly. The rock in the middle foreground - I am really divided on this I'm not sure what to think of it. It does "split" the image in an interesting way but at the same time does draw away from what I think you meant were the subjects of the image. The "clutter" of houses and such on the far right I think really adds context - I would leave them there.

I think consideration of all of these kinds of things are what make landscape photography hard. Getting all the elements in an image working together is a real skill as is paying attention to the entire frame not just what you want centered in the image. This is part of why landscape photographers are so big on tripods and very very careful framing - what is in and what is out. Commonly landscape photographs undergo significant post processing - changing skies, cloning distractions out, all kinds of work.. Ansel Adams spent hours doing post processing - getting his images - to him - just right. I think it is very very hard to point and shoot a landscape - not at all easy like some might want to think.

For what they are worth those are my thoughts. I apologise in advance if any offense is taken.

As for your concerns about gear and shooting on auto and such. I would say that no automatic picture taking software is ever going to know exactly what you want in an image. It may please you or it may not. Software isn't going to know if you want selective focus or a soft bokeh background . Only you will know that and you have to implement it. I think the people here who have said get off auto and go manual are right. It's not like you are paying for film and developing. If you are interested in landscapes I would suggest you shoot aperture priority and learn what different depths of field do as you increase or decrease f-stop. Let the camera pick the speed and shoot at a low ISO and experiment with deliberate under or over exposure by dialing in or out an ev or so. Then for action pictures move to shutter priority.

Most of all have fun and shoot shoot and shoot some more.

-Ed-
 

PJacobs

Veteran
Apr 7, 2012
The Netherlands
Paul
For someone who has an inherent artistic eye so to speak they are not important, for someone struggling with composition and learning the craft of photography they help.Studyin what has been successful artistically within your own community and analyzing why it works will do the same for you as you try to build on your ability to see and capture a good image. I just wanted to provide a starting point (I think the more important is understanding exposure and how different exposures will provide different results, and what a camera sees as the wrong exposure in an auto mode is frequently the right exposure for what you want to see - at least in mirrorless you get a preview of the result (though on a camera w/o an evf you may need a hoodman to really see it - defeating the purpose of small)
I agree. For (struggling) beginners it can be very helpful to at least know the basic rules how to take images that are pleasing to the general viewers eye. After knowing these guidelines, one can always decide not to follow them.:cool:

I just finished watching this one. The guy talks too much, but gives a good explanation of 'our guidelines' of composition in photography, dating back to painters (medici's in florence --> dutch masters etc.).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtcD84l9eUw
 

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