Basic settings
I am not new to photography but completely new to digital and color. I have been a black and white film photographer for 35 years. I just purchased a Canon 30D and want to know what would be a good way to set the camera to get started for the best results for general outdoor wildlife photography..

1.White balance 2.Contrast 3.Saturation 4.Color tone.

Or should I just leave them where at the default. Eventually I will be taking a class in this but would like to quickly get better results. Thank you...

Comments (6)

Experiment, it's free, or use RAW..

Buzzardbob wrote:.

I am not new to photography but completely new to digital and color.I have been a black and white film photographer for 35 years. I justpurchased a Canon 30D and want to know what would be a good way toset the camera to get started for the best results for generaloutdoor wildlife photography..

1.White balance 2.Contrast 3.Saturation 4.Color tone.

Or should I just leave them where at the default. Eventually I willbe taking a class in this but would like to quickly get betterresults. Thank you...

Comment #1

Use the gray card with confidence. In broad daylight you can trust Auto WB. Contrast should be a little down (just one step) or on the default position. Saturation is depending on your taste. The best thing is to shoot RAW and experiment.VictorBucuresti, Romania

Comment #2

I wrote the following posts some time ago, they may be of interest..

No matter which dslr you buy..

Heavily consider the following. there are NEW DSLR owners' writing in all over these forums on this subject.when changeing from a p&s to a dslr, there is a huge difference..

When you take p&s out of the box add a memory card and a fully charged battery you can now shoot and take very good pics..

BUT, you cannot do this with dslr. the camera HAS TO BE SETUP first. you have to adjust the contrast/saturation/sharpness/shooting modes(color style or whatever it is called) to your likes. if you don't it is quite likely you will disappointed with results. your p&s will likely outshoot the dslr..

To setup-you have shoot a test shot make ONE adjustment reshoot check pc screen readjust, until you are satisfied. and you do this with each of the adjustment types. then you have all the custom adjustments in the menu to check and if wanted change..

When done you can put the camera into AUTO or PROGRAM and get reasonably nice shots. I would advise at first staying with jpeg. as you learn about the camera and photography you can then go to the other shooting modes and try RAW if you wish..

Dslrs are made to see the shot through the optical viewfinder not through the lcd. this is true of almost all dslrs including the k10d. there was a thread.

Not to log ago about who would want a dslr with a preview lcd, al,most noone wanted one.dslrs and color..

If you mean heavy saturated colors then no dslr is going to do that. they are not made to give strongly saturated colors. they are made to give ACCURATE COLORS. not heavy saturated colors..

This is not the same thing at all. too many people who come from a p&s are very disappointed in th dslr colors, because they are not bright and saturated. this is because they are and have been using a p&s which has been giving them saturated and incorrect clors for so long that they think it is the right look. nothing could be further from the truth. the p&s colors are wrong, wrong. the camera manufactures know that the public buys high megapixel and heavy saturated colors and is what they make and sell to the public..

But the slr/dslr is a whole different world. for the dslr accuracy of the scene in terms of view and color is a religion rpt religion. you want accurate color that is what you are going to get with dslr. but they will not be the bright saturated colors of a p&s. ytou can with adjustments in the menus up the color is dslr, but it will not look the INACCURATE CARTOON COLOR of the p&s..

If you are wishing to buy a dslr for more and brighter color, save you money the p&s is what you want..

Not too long ago a new owner of a dslr was on these forums talking about the poor color of his new dslr. it seems as if he was shooting on an overcast day. many many people replying to him told him that cloudy day shots give the most accurate color, which they do. he couldn't believe and get over that idea. he also owned a p&S might be interested in this; which I posted a while back..


Comment #3


Canon 10D....iso 200...AV meter..contrast -2 ....saturation +1... sharpening 0 ... tone 0.

Canon EOS 10D ,Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM1/400s f/8.0 at 300.0mm iso200, AV mode, spotmeter, tripod.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Bill,Jr'I kind of like the Earth, it's where I keep all my Stuff.'Website; Lake Wylie, SC..

Comment #4

Gary worked hard on his message, and it makes a lot of sense..

Canon models vary a little from each other, but as a general rule, they are set up to be a touch on the soft side I read a review of the 1D Mk III the other daycomparing shots from it to a Nikon D200, observing that Nikons are set up for sharpness and Canons for skin tone and "smoothness".

Assuming this is true, you might turn up the sharpness in your camera a notch or two..

B ut sharpness is weird in digital. Sometimes the image is amazing right out of the camera, and sometimes you need a bit of after the fact post processing. I shot some shoes through a store window once, with "Pinking shears" style trim on the leather,a nd the shot looked awful until I sharpened it, when it jumped into life. But I've shot building exteriors with signs on them that were perfect right from the beginning..

With that in mind, I suggest you do three tests for sharpness..

Set the caemra on a tripod, and point it at a subject with some very defined edges that you know are sharp. I've used some cereal boxes, but a storefront with signs in the wiondow works well, too. Shoot the same picture at each sharpness setting, keeping careful notes. (I puit the info on a card, right in the shot).

Then repeat this with a less-sharp original, like a landscape..

My conclusion, with a Rebel XT, is that plus one on the sharpness gives me fine quality for 4x6 prints on almost anything, but I end up sharpening almost any file I'm going to enlarge to 8x10 or bigger..

CONTRAST on a Rebel XT, and I'm sure, on a 30D, contrast is a big deal..

This is the only setting I chage frequently, depending on both the shooting conditions and the subject. Normally I leave it at the mid-point, but on grey days where there's no shadows, I move it to plus one or plus two. Next time it is semi-rainy out, go find a brightly colored subject, and try various settings. My original test was a store with orange awnings..

Almost always, when photographing women whiile using flash, I turn down the contrast to minus one sort of like Portra Film..

I never change saturation or tone in the camera, but I can see good reasons to, but only on a subject by subject basis..

AWB is good for a lot of outdoor work, and safe in the sense that it's easy to forget to switch from some specific white balance setting to another when the light changes. If the sun's coming in and out while you walk though the part, it's easy to have cloudy set when the sun is bright. Even worse is having tungsten set when you go outdoors again. That said I leave AWB for outdoors almost always, and switch to specifi settings indoors. Outdoors int he rain, I'll switch..

About RAW good idea if you always want to not bother even trying to get it right, but then you need to wortk on each shot later..

MONITORS AND PRINTS what do you plan to do with your pictures? Remember that the printing process may or may not yield different colors than your monitor shows, so you either want to experiment to see how prints turn out or perhaps go to the trouble of color-matching your monitor to your printing process. This is more important if, for instance, you want to get a print to send granny of her grandaughter in the pale yellow and bright blue sweater granny knit..

Grannhy's still got a couple of balls of wool at home to compare to the print. But anyone else seeing a print that's just a bit differnet won't notice tiny variations..

Oh, and contrast / saturation needs to be turned down for portraits of the drunken uncle at the wedding reception... you know, the one with the bright red nose..


Comment #5

Thank you all for your replies. They will be very helpful...

Comment #6

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