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  1. #1
    Mtn Bike Rider Singletracklovr's Avatar
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    Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    My PP is very helter skelter. I have not been able to establish a good flow on what works best or maybe I should say what steps to do first, second, etc. that yields the best quality for a given photo.
    I know the basic rules like sharpen last, don't over do the saturation.

    For your outdoor and wildlife shots what is your PP flow or steps?

    Here is what I usually do. Critiques, questions welcome.
    In Raw:
    Adjust WB if required
    Adjust exposure if required
    Convert to jpeg full size

    In jpeg:
    Adjust levels if required (mostly for contrast and brightness)
    Adjust curves if required (mostly for mid tone enhancement)
    Add or subtract saturation if required
    Hi pass sharpen (radius ~5 pixels, Opacity ~40%)
    Save AS jpeg for resizing
    Resize for web or print.
    Selective sharpen: Lasso specific areas and unsharp mask (120%, Radius 0.7,Thresold level 0-5) Invert the selection and gaussian blur the background (radius 2-4 pixels) to remove noise and increase bokeh.

    Upload to PR and post in N&W forum for feedback.

    All comments, questions, PP lists welcome.
    Thank you for your time...
    Last edited by Singletracklovr; 03-29-2010 at 11:42 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    I do not go to jpg until it is ready for posting. Most of my posting images only go through Lightroom. I it's going for Critique, it will probably also go through CS4.

    - Into Lightroom from card as RAW.
    - Adjust in LR as a RAW. I am trying to learn more and more of LR to do as much here as possible and keep it non-destructive. LR does a lot more than we (at least I) give it credit for.
    - If ready, Export with Sharpening to an 800 jpg for posting.
    - If more PP is required, Edit In Photoshop CS4 as a Copy with LR Adjustements. (I just watched part of an on-line tutorial where he always made it a Smart Object. This may be very important for non-destructive editing???)
    - Save as .PSD.
    - Resize, Sharpen and save as jpg for posting.

    TF
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    As a general rule, I start with the larger problems and work toward the smaller ones. My first three steps are generally to deal with exposure, contrast, and color, usually in that order. Then tackle the smaller problems- retouching, noise removal, sharpening. Do as much as you possibly can in Raw (see below), then As much of what's left as possible in 16 bit, converting to 8 bit only when necessary. This will allow you to keep the maximum amount of information in the image as you proceed towards the final printable file.


    Quote Originally Posted by OldClicker
    (I just watched part of an on-line tutorial where he always made it a Smart Object. This may be very important for non-destructive editing???)
    TF
    True. You can do this by going to File> Place. This places a copy of the image as a smart object in the layers palette. The biggest advantage of this is that at any point, you can double-click the smart object layer to recall the Adobe Camera Raw settings dialog box. Think of it as kind of a Camera Raw adjustment layer. Because the Raw adjustments are never actually applied to the original image, and because the smart object references the original image when you double-click the layer, you can make multiple "tweaks" to the settings without losing any digital information.

    Another area where smart objects are particularly useful is in resizing the image when you're not sure exactly what size you need. Because the smart object will reference the original image every time you resize, you can reduce and enlarge the image at will without discarding information (as long as you don't go larger than the original image's size).

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  4. #4
    Mtn Bike Rider Singletracklovr's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Thank you Terry and Joe for taking the time to list your PP workflow steps it has helped me establish my list.

    One thing I have learned in my short 3 years of owning/shooting a dslr is if you can't PP correctly your picture will look like crap no matter how expensive your gear is.
    Bob in Denver
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  5. #5
    GB1
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Bob,

    I mostly use Corel's PhotoPaint X3 to PP my stuff, but also use Photoshop CS2 for some stuff. I will soon upgrade to Corel X5. My process is sort of wacky (maybe everyone's is?), see below.

    - Open JPEG in Corel PhotoPaint

    - Correct tilt/rotation issues. Crop as needed.

    - Use Corel's Auto Adjust function to see what it comes up with. I Undo this about 40% of the time as its algorithm isn't perfect. Note that it produces about the same effect as CS2's Auto Levels.

    - Manually adjust image's color saturation, warm/cold tint, shadow/midtone/highlights, brightness, and contrast. If I Auto Adjusted, I still end up tweaking what it did.

    - Do clean up to include removing any sensor dust speck problems, lens flare, etc. Since CS2's Magic Wand is great for this, I sometimes save it as (the file name)_Edit1.jpg with virtually no compression (to keep the quality) and reopen it in CS2 and correct these, then save.

    - I reopen in Corel and do resizing for web and final sharpening (I don't like CS2's sharpening), then export it with about 8-10% compression, which often produces an 800 x (whatever) file of about 150kb.

    - I open it to see if the resulting JPG is of acceptable quality. Sometimes the minor compression (or something else?) increases contrast or something and causes loss of shadow area detail. If this happens, I go back to the still open original file in Corel and modify the brightness and/or shadow area brightness and resave. I do this until I get a satisfactory image.

    - I undo my brightness, resizing and sharpening changes and resize the image to print size, say 1800 x 1200. I create a version at that size for small prints, sharpening a little more than I normally do as prints seem to require this (watch this ... its easy to oversharpen, even for prints).

    Something's odd about my CS2 where it's colors are way off from what you will see when you open the image in a browser and view. The color space or something is much more saturated on CS2.. so if I adjust saturation etc using that and save, the resulting color on the display image is very off and disappointing. Don't know what's up with this - another reason I use Corel for those steps.

    I need to improve my Photoshop skills to make use of its greater power. Alas, Corel suits my immediate needs.

    Oh, and if I want to mask off an image I either use Corel, or I use Fluid Mask, another program I bought for that which is pretty amazing.

    G
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  6. #6
    Mtn Bike Rider Singletracklovr's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Thank you G, I've never tried Corel Photo-Paint but I've seen/enjoyed your photos I think it's working well for you.

    I had hoped we could come up a general PP sticky for our new members and the old ones with senior moments, like me, haha
    However it looks like the PP applications are so different that probably isn't possible.

    I really like what Joe (Medley) said and have adopted that flow. I can't wait to give it a try.
    Bob in Denver
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  7. #7
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Singletracklovr
    One thing I have learned in my short 3 years of owning/shooting a dslr is if you can't PP correctly your picture will look like crap no matter how expensive your gear is.
    I will disagree...IMO the need of PP in most cases is do to the lack of skills with the camera itself....as I said before I will hopefully some day reduce the PP to a minimum by obtaining good pics out of the camera.

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  8. #8
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRob
    I will disagree...IMO the need of PP in most cases is do to the lack of skills with the camera itself....as I said before I will hopefully some day reduce the PP to a minimum by obtaining good pics out of the camera.
    I come from a serious darkroom background. Nothing I did with film and nothing I do with digital is finished in the camera. What I capture with the camera is just the raw material I use to create my final image. It's fine to want to do it all in the camera and we should all strive to get the best possible exposures. However, it's also important to be aware that there's a ton of useful data in your digital files that you can't see. And there's nothing wrong with using software to make the most of that data. For what it's worth, Ansel Adams would have used the hell out of Photoshop. He was not a straight-out-of the-camera photographer. Not at all.
    Photo-John

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  9. #9
    GB1
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    I come from a serious darkroom background. Nothing I did with film and nothing I do with digital is finished in the camera. What I capture with the camera is just the raw material I use to create my final image. It's fine to want to do it all in the camera and we should all strive to get the best possible exposures. However, it's also important to be aware that there's a ton of useful data in your digital files that you can't see. And there's nothing wrong with using software to make the most of that data. For what it's worth, Ansel Adams would have used the hell out of Photoshop. He was not a straight-out-of the-camera photographer. Not at all.
    There's probably no right or wrong way, just different ones. What someone has to ask themselves is, "Is what I'm doing working?" If so then minor adjustments are all you need to correct things (not counting the want for artistic experiments). If not, time to reevaluate their entire process - from equipment, to shooting, to post processing techniques, to software.

    In my experience, one can reduce the required level of PP cleanup w/ good, solid photographic fundamentals. For example, well-exposed images don't need much density adjustment, which may introduce noise and, in turn, may lead to the need to run de-noise effects or plug-ins. Effects can pile up here.

    One thing's for sure though, PP isn't going away-- did everyone watch that new CS5 correction filter vid?
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  10. #10
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    I come from a serious darkroom background. Nothing I did with film and nothing I do with digital is finished in the camera. What I capture with the camera is just the raw material I use to create my final image. It's fine to want to do it all in the camera and we should all strive to get the best possible exposures. However, it's also important to be aware that there's a ton of useful data in your digital files that you can't see. And there's nothing wrong with using software to make the most of that data. For what it's worth, Ansel Adams would have used the hell out of Photoshop. He was not a straight-out-of the-camera photographer. Not at all.
    I cant agree more with that statement John...PP software is a great must have tool in the world of photography...what Im pointing out this particular statement "if you can't PP correctly your picture will look like crap" which I think is far from true.

    Canon XSi
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    1. "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."Ansel Adams
    2. "Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art."Ansel Adams

  11. #11
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by GB1
    There's probably no right or wrong way, just different ones. What someone has to ask themselves is, "Is what I'm doing working?" If so then minor adjustments are all you need to correct things (not counting the want for artistic experiments). If not, time to reevaluate their entire process - from equipment, to shooting, to post processing techniques, to software.

    In my experience, one can reduce the required level of PP cleanup w/ good, solid photographic fundamentals. For example, well-exposed images don't need much density adjustment, which may introduce noise and, in turn, may lead to the need to run de-noise effects or plug-ins. Effects can pile up here.

    One thing's for sure though, PP isn't going away-- did everyone watch that new CS5 correction filter vid?

    ....and I agree GB, that its my point exactly.

    Going to watch that CS5 vid right now

    Canon XSi
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    1. "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."Ansel Adams
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  12. #12
    Mtn Bike Rider Singletracklovr's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRob
    I cant agree more with that statement John...PP software is a great must have tool in the world of photography...what Im pointing out this particular statement "if you can't PP correctly your picture will look like crap" which I think is far from true.
    My statement is not about composition or proper exposure.
    It's about the PP steps of a RAW file to final product.
    I can't believe anyone just shoots, re-sizes, converts to jpeg and uploads or prints.
    Unless you are specifically going for a bland soft image.

    I also think pro cameras do this by design. It's then your job in PP to take the image in the direction you desired.

    I am just trying to find out what others are doing when they PP and specifically the order of those steps since I believe the order does effect the quality of the final product.

    BlueRob, I'm a big fan of your photos. They are unique and esoteric. You can't tell me they just came out of your camera that way.
    Bob in Denver
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    .... For what it's worth, Ansel Adams would have used the hell out of Photoshop. He was not a straight-out-of the-camera photographer. Not at all.
    "Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships."
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  14. #14
    GB1
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Medley
    "Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships."
    ~Ansel Adams

    Any questions?

    - Joe U.

    Well, if EINSTEIN said it, then it has to be true, right!?!?!?!?!?! And incredibly wise!

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  15. #15
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Singletracklovr
    My statement is not about composition or proper exposure.
    It's about the PP steps of a RAW file to final product.
    I can't believe anyone just shoots, re-sizes, converts to jpeg and uploads or prints.
    Unless you are specifically going for a bland soft image.

    I also think pro cameras do this by design. It's then your job in PP to take the image in the direction you desired.

    I am just trying to find out what others are doing when they PP and specifically the order of those steps since I believe the order does effect the quality of the final product.

    BlueRob, I'm a big fan of your photos. They are unique and esoteric. You can't tell me they just came out of your camera that way.
    First of all thanks and you are right I think all of the photos I have uploaded to PR have from moderate to heavy PP work, but that is because Im aiming for that "mood" or look.
    All depends on what type of image or mood you are going for and with that it does not mean a pic has to have some sort of PP work to be OK or look right.

    As for some tips I can tell you that there are no rules to it, the only I might suggest is to work your "base" file in some format that does not degrade like TIFF, when you are done doing the PP work then you make a copy into JPEG and leave the sharpening to the end ( I dont always follow that last rule BTW)
    Try to work first the obvious like the WB and EXP and you then you move down to smaller details. HTH.

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    1. "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."Ansel Adams
    2. "Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art."Ansel Adams

  16. #16
    Mtn Bike Rider Singletracklovr's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    UPDATE:
    Just wanted to share my first photo with the new PP flow. I'm pretty happy with the results.
    Thanks again everyone.

    Bob in Denver
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Nice!

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  18. #18
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Very nice indeed!...well done :thumbsup:

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    1. "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."Ansel Adams
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  19. #19
    Have Cameras. Will Shoot! NaturalWoman's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Nice Image
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  20. #20
    Have Cameras. Will Shoot! NaturalWoman's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRob
    I will disagree...IMO the need of PP in most cases is do to the lack of skills with the camera itself....as I said before I will hopefully some day reduce the PP to a minimum by obtaining good pics out of the camera.
    if i have to put ALL my images through some kind of software to make them look better, personally i wouldn't be impressed with myself.

    we all have different goals in photography and with our images. it's okay. i won't knock people who photoshop everything, nor do i expect people to knock that i choose not to and then call my image bland. i use PP/LR sporadically, usually when i didn't get the shot, but i want to save it. nothing wrong with that.

    i'm working on doing getting more out of camera shots because i want to, not because it's right or wrong. why does there have to be a debate as to what is right. like raw vs jpeg. it's personal preference. if i'm getting jpegs i'm happy with, what's it to anyone that i don't shoot RAW and if others prefer RAW, what's it to me that they do. i don't want to do photoshop (all the time or even half of the time). personal preference. don't judge my work and call it names because it's different from yours.
    Last edited by NaturalWoman; 04-07-2010 at 09:08 AM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Valerie, I don't think anyone here has suggested that there is a right or wrong way to do anything concerned with photography. Bob (Singletracklovr) simply asked us what our pp flow was, and we obliged him. Even your quote from BlueRob contains the acronym 'IMO' (in my opinion). That's the wonderful thing about this saite- EVERYONE"S opinions are valued. As a result, we can all learn to see things from different perspectives.

    I've visited your website, and your images do your theories justice. For myself personally, I've gone from one extreme (overly pp happy) to the other (no pp whatsoever), and now find myself somewhere in the middle. I have come to the conclusion that in order to get the best image possible out of the camera, some pp is necessary. Still, that's only an opinion.

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  22. #22
    Have Cameras. Will Shoot! NaturalWoman's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Medley
    Valerie, I don't think anyone here has suggested that there is a right or wrong way to do anything concerned with photography. Bob (Singletracklovr) simply asked us what our pp flow was, and we obliged him. Even your quote from BlueRob contains the acronym 'IMO' (in my opinion). That's the wonderful thing about this saite- EVERYONE"S opinions are valued. As a result, we can all learn to see things from different perspectives.

    I've visited your website, and your images do your theories justice. For myself personally, I've gone from one extreme (overly pp happy) to the other (no pp whatsoever), and now find myself somewhere in the middle. I have come to the conclusion that in order to get the best image possible out of the camera, some pp is necessary. Still, that's only an opinion.

    - Joe U.
    i didn't say any one was suggesting, it was just MY valued opinion, throwing in my 02 cents. my opinion like everyone else's doesn't fit everyone, i understand that. if people want to photoshop, that's fine, if they don't that's fine too. i'm just saying whatever people choose to do, let them do it. fine by me. i wasn't commenting on the question, but a general thought as to what was said and my personal view. no more. no less. no harm. no foul. thanks joe.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    This has become a PP or not PP thread...

    Any digital photo has "some" PP, perhaps done automatically inside the camera before downloading the jpg, or tiff, we have a choice to make if the image needs additional post processing to fit our style - as variable as it might be, fro the extreme gruge HDR, or very creative photoshop adding or deleting elements, image/layer merging, to some simple curve adjustments and sharpening.

    I'm expecting to take an online PP workshop tomorrow

  24. #24
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by NaturalWoman
    if i have to put ALL my images through some kind of software to make them look better, personally i wouldn't be impressed with myself.

    we all have different goals in photography and with our images. it's okay. i won't knock people who photoshop everything, nor do i expect people to knock that i choose not to and then call my image bland. i use PP/LR sporadically, usually when i didn't get the shot, but i want to save it. nothing wrong with that.

    i'm working on doing getting more out of camera shots because i want to, not because it's right or wrong. why does there have to be a debate as to what is right. like raw vs jpeg. it's personal preference. if i'm getting jpegs i'm happy with, what's it to anyone that i don't shoot RAW and if others prefer RAW, what's it to me that they do. i don't want to do photoshop (all the time or even half of the time). personal preference. don't judge my work and call it names because it's different from yours.
    I will quote my self..
    "All depends on what type of image or mood you are going for and with that it does not mean a pic has to have some sort of PP work to be OK or look right".

    By NO means Im judging nor Im pointing rights or wrongs or calling names. I agree its very personal the amount and type of (if any) PP.

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    Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS
    1. "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."Ansel Adams
    2. "Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art."Ansel Adams

  25. #25
    Mtn Bike Rider Singletracklovr's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help developing a PP flow for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by NaturalWoman
    if i have to put ALL my images through some kind of software to make them look better, personally i wouldn't be impressed with myself.
    Good discussion folks...No problem here on change of subject I got the answers I needed.

    NW,
    Your statement is a bit harsh however I respect your opinion and I am glad you are happy with your images right out of the camera. There is a good chance you are PP within your camera if you use the E-620's Scene modes and that is why your images are coming out sharp and fully saturated.

    Since I have recently upgraded my camera to a semipro model I have found "by design" the images out of the camera are bland and soft and threw no fault of my own (operator error) PP is required to make those images look like what your minds eye saw. Which is my current goal.
    Last edited by Singletracklovr; 04-08-2010 at 11:21 AM.
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