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Naive newbe questions
Going to ask some really dumb questions here. Sorry if this is a bit of a long ramble..

What's the relationship between camera quality and post processing ie with software like Photoshop?.

What I mean is, assuming I was an expert with Photoshop or similar (which I'm not), how good a camera would I want/need? I understand that you need to be able to take a "good" picture to begin with so I assume there has to be some minimum requirements for lens quality or MPs or whatever (as well as the skill to use the camera properly of course) but where does one draw the line (if there is a line)? I'm leaving aside the issue of cost for the moment..

If I was an expert pro photographer (which obviously I'm not) using a "top quality" body/lens, would I be aiming to take pictures so good I wouldn't need to post process (except maybe to fix the odd problem here and there if it's too late or inconvenient to re-take the shot)? I realise PS isn't there just to fix mistakes but can be used to make a good shot even better..

Conversely, if I was a Photoshop expert would I necessarily want/need a top class camera and lens?.

It seems to me that Photoshop, in the hands of someone who really knows what they're doing, gives so much power over the finished result as to make a really top quality body/lens combo unnecessary. I'm not assuming here that one should expect to use a low quality, cheap camera and then use PS to turn out brilliant photos..

I'd guess there are photographers out there that shun digital re-touching or post processing. Don't know for sure how many there are these days and I'm aware that post-processing has always been done in the dark room. Nor am I forgetting that photography is really about "picture making" rather than "picture taking" so that post processing is just a further step in the process that starts in the camera..

I'd be interested in hearing opinions on this..

Trevor..

Comments (12)

I am going to assume that we are talking about regular landscape,wildlife, street, sports, studio, macro etc. photography rather than very heavily manipulated "Art" photography..

Sacentre wrote:.

Going to ask some really dumb questions here. Sorry if this is a bitof a long ramble..

What's the relationship between camera quality and post processing iewith software like Photoshop?.

None that I can think of..

What I mean is, assuming I was an expert with Photoshop or similar(which I'm not), how good a camera would I want/need? I understandthat you need to be able to take a "good" picture to begin with so Iassume there has to be some minimum requirements for lens quality orMPs or whatever (as well as the skill to use the camera properly ofcourse) but where does one draw the line (if there is a line)? I'mleaving aside the issue of cost for the moment..

IMHO how good a camera you need depends on the type of photography that you are doing. Professional sports photography at night is an example of one extreme, candid B&W street photography might be an example of another..

If I was an expert pro photographer (which obviously I'm not) using a"top quality" body/lens, would I be aiming to take pictures so good Iwouldn't need to post process (except maybe to fix the odd problemhere and there if it's too late or inconvenient to re-take the shot)?.

Yes..

I realise PS isn't there just to fix mistakes but can be used to makea good shot even better..

Conversely, if I was a Photoshop expert would I necessarily want/needa top class camera and lens?.

Yes if the type of photography demands it..

It seems to me that Photoshop, in the hands of someone who reallyknows what they're doing, gives so much power over the finishedresult as to make a really top quality body/lens combo unnecessary.I'm not assuming here that one should expect to use a low quality,cheap camera and then use PS to turn out brilliant photos..

If you haven't got the camera/lens/lighting combination in the first place to get the shot, there is absolutely nothing that PS can do about it!.

I'd guess there are photographers out there that shun digitalre-touching or post processing. Don't know for sure how many thereare these days and I'm aware that post-processing has always beendone in the dark room. Nor am I forgetting that photography isreally about "picture making" rather than "picture taking" so thatpost processing is just a further step in the process that starts inthe camera..

I'd be interested in hearing opinions on this..

Trevor.

I suspect that most "Photoshop Experts" also have high quality equipment, although the reverse may not be true..

These are just my opinions and I don't expect everybody else to agree with them.Chris R..

Comment #1

And while it is a poor craftsman that blames his tools, it is a foolish craftsman that chooses to work with inferior tools..

Post processing is only one part of the overall process that should begin with conceptualizing the shot before even turning the camera on and ends with a properly balanced and calibrated print..

Use the best tools you can afford. Simple, no?Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream.

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

Comment #2

Sacentre wrote:.

I'm not assuming here that one should expect to use a low quality,cheap camera and then use PS to turn out brilliant photos..

I believe in the hands of an artist/skilled PS user it is possible to creat works of art from a cheap camera..

Below is a link to a photo taken with an inexpensive Kodak P&S.http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=2286013.

Other photos in her gallery were also taken with the same camera..

There have also been threads where photographers have shown their best camera phone photos which also demonstate the potential derived from understanding light, compostion and PS/editing...

Comment #3

First of all, remember that ALL "images" start with your EYE/BRAIN ....

If you don't have an artistic eye, nothing else matters anyway..

The quality of camera and PP not usually related. Most all cameras today will produce and acceptable image, and in most cases the best will not necessarily produce a better one. (again, especially if your EYE/BRAIN did not make a good choice to begin with).

The only advantage of higher MP is to produce larger prints, (or possibly allow cropping but again a good EYE/BRAIN will reduce the need for cropping)..

A "professional" camera may indeed allow exposures in lower light, (if higher ISO rating), or faster frame rate & bigger buffer, (usually only required by sports photographers)..

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #4

It's a bit like asking, how beautiful does a person need to be or can I use makeup to make the person look great?.

PS is a little bit like makeup. If you are good at makeup, you can make anyone look good (those pics of celebrities with / without makeup are very telling) but it's not real. In this case, makeup is being used to hide and pretend..

But makeup on an already beautiful person helps accentuate and bring out the best features..

Similarly, if you start with a great picture, then PS is used only to show how great it really is..

Relying on PS to make a "bad" picture "good" falls into the category of image manipulation and can be considered forgery if we are talking about news items or "Art"..

In other words, there is really no connection, no quality line, no "good enough" formula. Some P&S digicams already do some processing in-camera so you don't need to do post processing and the image quality is fine for most amateur photographers..

Pros however will demand the best image quality to start with. Whether they apply post processing or not will depend on many factors...

Comment #5

P&S cameras are designed to provide photos that will satisfy the "average" photographer. DSLRs are designed to capture an image that the photographer can sharpen and otherwise improve in the computer. If you are unable or unwilling to photoprocess your photos, you will be happier with a P&S camera. If you learn the techniques of photoprocessing photos, you will be much, much happier with a DSLR. The decision is yours..

Jerryhttp://jchoate.zenfolio.com/..

Comment #6

I agree with Jerry. And would like to add that in order to get a really really good shot, you need good glass. Meaning your lens.Terry GelgenD5018-55EDNikkor 70-300VR EDNikkor 105mm Macro VR ED..

Comment #7

Wow, for a newbie you have asked a very complicated question!.

If you want you photographs to be stunningly beautiful and technically perfect, you need a good eye, good equipment, excellent camera skills and good post processing skills. good post processing skills will be that icing on the cake to really make an already great photograph sing..

If you have excellent post processing skills you might be able to do wonders to a so-so shot..

If you're into post processing "tricks"... "painting with light", compositing dramatic skies over banal ones, dodging and burning extensively, you can, for example, turn a very ordinary landscape into a "grand masterpiece". or by extensively retouching and airbrushing, give a very ordinary portrait the full "glamour look". if you check out the retouching forum, you'll see some examples of these amazing "before" and "after" transformations. in some of these, the post-processing far outweighs the photography..

To get back to technical excellence, you don't have to have the best equipment, or even good equipment, to produce a good photograph. What makes a "good" photograph is an intangible thing. Many photographers think that a good photograph has to be beautiful and technically perfect. If you're a newbie, you need to look at a whole lot of photographs to expand your mind a little. That doesn't mean you need to take depressing pictures of starving children and homeless people, but that just means need to open your mind up to all the infinite possibilities..

Now to get back to post-processing, sometimes professional retouchers and correctors have to work with absolute dogs of shots. For example, events captured on camera phones that are significant because they record some major event. Photographers may struggle perfecting their skills and collecting fabulous gear but some ordinary joe who "was there" gets their technically gawd-awful picture published all over the world because they got THE shot. And post-processing then can be quite an art, but a subtle art... to get the absolute best out of the sow's ear..

But the balance between equipment, skill, the vision and the eye, the significance the photograph and post-processing is a very individual thing. Some might not care about getting things right at the photo-taking time because they're going to transform it completely it in post-processing. Others won't do any post-processing at all. Some will get it as "right" in camera as they can and just make slight enhancements in post-processing. Some people will immediately throw out a poorly exposed shot, others will look on it as a post-processing challenge..

So, my opinion as somebody who worked professionally for many years as a corrector and retoucher and I'm an amateur photographer if you're aiming for quality, it's garbage in... garbage out... That doesn't mean you need the best equipment if you have a good eye, you can get around the technical shortcomings of your equipment..

So what about the miraculous Photoshop makeovers... the unremarkable landscapes transformed into dramatic Romantic masterpieces? That's just not photography any more. That's crossed the line. I can do that stuff, because I trained as a painter but to me photography is the fun of working with the given. If I want to make stuff up, I'll paint it. Painting is easy.

Photography, for me, is much harder..

As somebody who has worked as a professional retoucher and corrector back in the days before digital cameras I should add I can tell you there's nothing like working with a beautiful original. It's just a matter of a little finessing to bring out the very best. Sure, you can perform miracles on badly exposed shots, and you get pats on the back for saving the day but you know it's still "a piece of sh*t"..

So, this has been a lengthy answer but what I'd say to you is do the best with whatever camera you've got, work on developing your photographic eye and vision, start to develop your basic post-processing skills and stay away from cheap tricks!..

Comment #8

Bugzie and all.

Thanks for the replies, especially bugzie for the taking the time to reply so fully. You've given me a lot to think about..

Trevor..

Comment #9

Hmmmm, I would say that a good photograph isn't necessarily a technically correct one taken with the most amazingly good lens. People have, after all's said and done, been taking stunning pictures for the last 150 years or so and when you look at the specifications of a camera only 50 years old it's obviously vastly inferior to today's stuff but they worked and turned out good pictures..

And as for the notion that digital SLR's are for turning out the raw material that you turn with some amazingly expensive and complicated software into a work of art, well, for once words fail me..

Good pictures are pictures that please people. Think fluffy kittens, the grand children, babies, girls, landscapes etc. You don't need much more than a point and shoot with a little bit of manual over-ride to turn them out by the dozen. But that assumes your technique is good and these days the P&S will take care of that for 99% of the shots..

What is important is knowing and understanding what you camera can do (and that can be an uphill struggle with a dSLR) and how it does it and when you should over-ride it (sunsets and shots into the light being classic examples)..

Even more important is a good eye for seeing a picture in front of you and then capturing it in the camera. The best software is between your ears and the best hardware is your fingers on the controls.(And the best advice I can offer to a newbie is trust the P&S most of the time and read the manual, twice, and do what it says. FWIW, most manuals cover all you need to know and more.).

Software has it's uses but mostly shouldn't be needed except for minor corrections like the horizon being tilted and so on (and removing the things at the edge of the picture that you didn't notice at the time and don't want in the picture). Once a newbie needs more than that he/she should be thinking about another hobby as it's a repair and repairs shouldn't be needed to everything should they..

As for good glass, lenses are good at the extremes. Like the corners when shooting that kitten's fluffy tail at f/2 and the distortion when shooting at very wide angles and the apertures (nasty little things on everything else except very expensive zooms) when shooting at the far end of the zoom. Most people who call themselves newbies won't need it everyday or even a couple of days of the year....

Look at the list of recommendations for cameras on this site and pick anything graded as "recommended" or even "above average" and you'll be happy most of the time. And on the odd ocassion when you're not: well, think of the money you've saved..

You can work out the money you've saved by looking up the price of a Nikon D3 and lenses or else a MF like a Hasselblad. We are talking several thousands btw..

One last point, buying the best is a waste of money if you only print silly little pictures like 6" x 8" and smaller. Think 24" x 32" prints at least to justify the camera..

Regards, David..

Comment #10

Sacentre wrote:.

Going to ask some really dumb questions here. Sorry if this is a bitof a long ramble..

What's the relationship between camera quality and post processing iewith software like Photoshop?.

What I mean is, assuming I was an expert with Photoshop or similar(which I'm not), how good a camera would I want/need? I understandthat you need to be able to take a "good" picture to begin with so Iassume there has to be some minimum requirements for lens quality orMPs or whatever (as well as the skill to use the camera properly ofcourse) but where does one draw the line (if there is a line)? I'mleaving aside the issue of cost for the moment..

If I was an expert pro photographer (which obviously I'm not) using a"top quality" body/lens, would I be aiming to take pictures so good Iwouldn't need to post process (except maybe to fix the odd problemhere and there if it's too late or inconvenient to re-take the shot)?I realise PS isn't there just to fix mistakes but can be used to makea good shot even better..

Conversely, if I was a Photoshop expert would I necessarily want/needa top class camera and lens?.

It seems to me that Photoshop, in the hands of someone who reallyknows what they're doing, gives so much power over the finishedresult as to make a really top quality body/lens combo unnecessary.I'm not assuming here that one should expect to use a low quality,cheap camera and then use PS to turn out brilliant photos..

I'd guess there are photographers out there that shun digitalre-touching or post processing. Don't know for sure how many thereare these days and I'm aware that post-processing has always beendone in the dark room. Nor am I forgetting that photography isreally about "picture making" rather than "picture taking" so thatpost processing is just a further step in the process that starts inthe camera..

I'd be interested in hearing opinions on this..

Trevor.

That is not a naive question at all! With film, the lab did your color and exposure correction. Many times it was a lot. PhotoShop does the same things plus gives the power to do other editing, cropping... PS Elements does pretty much what you would want from the full blown PS. It is a lot cheaper and will get your photos adjusted..

IMHO, you have to do some post processing work. A DSLR or good P&S will get the photos close to perfect but there is usually a little tweaking needed to get it there...

Comment #11

...from post processing, but images shot in a raw format can gain the most. Not all cameras can output raw images..

Having said that, I think you are needlessly complicating your camera decision by coupling it to post processing. The link between the two is weak..

Good luck..

JerryG.

See my galleries at:http://www.pbase.com/jerryg1..

Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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