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DavidN

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David Nunn
I joined the forum a few weeks ago but haven’t posted anything since my “Hi” posting. I’ve been busy trying to learn how best to use my new camera set up (A7M3 + 200-600 and 24-105) and have spent a lot of time trawling through YouTube videos and internet articles. Three months ago I’d never even heard of Back Button Focus but now use it all of the time.

Since it’s a miserable wet and windy day here in Dorset, I thought I’d just post a few thoughts on my progress (so far!).

I’m most interested in photographing birds and so I’ve only really used the 200-600 with the camera. The problem I find is that birds are tricky little creatures – one minute they are sitting and posing and then they are off, flying at a rate of knots. Consequently, changing from a slower shutter speed and frame rate + using expanded spot for stationary birds to the want use a fast shutter speed and frame rate and wide focus for BiF. What I’m currently trying is to set my “Recall Custom Hold button 1” to the button on my lens with my BIF settings and the use the normal manual mode to select shutter speed and aperture + single shot or low frame rate for birds that are sitting still. Once they take off or I spot a flying bird then use my left hand thumb which is supporting the lens to press the lens button and bring up the settings. It seems to work ok but I’ll have to practice a bit more. Any comments?

I’m shooting RAW but the other conundrum is whether to shoot compressed or uncompressed. I’ve read conflicting advice – mostly saying that if your exposure is OK (within a couple of stops) then there is very little difference. So far I’ve tried both and can’t really tell the difference.

I’ve also been using Luminar AI to post process – again that’s a very steep learning curve! What I found was that the denoise function in Luminar AI doesn’t seem very good so I investigated using Topaz DeNoise. Wow, what a difference that makes. Their customer service is also great. I bought a copy for $79.99 and the next day (yesterday) they sent me a email saying they was a special offer on and I could buy it for $59.99. I emailed them to tell them I’d bought it a few hours earlier and they immediately (within 20 minutes) refunded me $20. The offer lasts until 15th Oct, so if you haven’t tried it, you can get a free trial (although you can only save files with a watermark). I was so impressed I also bought Topaz Sharpen AI which also looks great as I read that when shooting in RAW, then you should always do some degree of sharpening.

Well, that ended up being a bit longer than I initially intended but I’d welcome any comments any of you more experienced Alphashooters may have.
 
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Jeff A

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I joined the forum a few weeks ago but haven’t posted anything since my “Hi” posting. I’ve been busy trying to learn how best to use my new camera set up (A7M3 + 200-600 and 24-105) and have spent a lot of time trawling through YouTube videos and internet articles. Three months ago I’d never even heard of Back Button Focus but now use it all of the time.

Since it’s a miserable wet and windy day here in Dorset, I thought I’d just post a few thoughts on my progress (so far!).

I’m most interested in photographing birds and so I’ve only really used the 200-600 with the camera. The problem I find is that birds are tricky little creatures – one minute they are sitting and posing and then they are off, flying at a rate of knots. Consequently, changing from a slower shutter speed and frame rate + using expanded spot for stationary birds to the want use a fast shutter speed and frame rate and wide focus for BiF. What I’m currently trying is to set my “Recall Custom Hold button 1” to the button on my lens with my BIF settings and the use the normal manual mode to select shutter speed and aperture + single shot or low frame rate for birds that are sitting still. Once they take off or I spot a flying bird then use my left hand thumb which is supporting the lens to press the lens button and bring up the settings. It seems to work ok but I’ll have to practice a bit more. Any comments?

I’m shooting RAW but the other conundrum is whether to shoot compressed or uncompressed. I’ve read conflicting advice – mostly saying that if your exposure is OK (within a couple of stops) then there is very little difference. So far I’ve tried both and can’t really tell the difference.

I’ve also been using Luminar AI to post process – again that’s a very steep learning curve! What I found was that the denoise function in Luminar AI doesn’t seem very good so I investigated using Topaz DeNoise. Wow, what a difference that makes. Their customer service is also great. I bought a copy for $79.99 and the next day (yesterday) they sent me a email saying they was a special offer on and I could buy it for $59.99. I emailed them to tell them I’d bought it a few hours earlier and they immediately (within 20 minutes) refunded me $20. The offer lasts until 15th Oct, so if you haven’t tried it, you can get a free trial (although you can only save files with a watermark). I was so impressed I also bought Topaz Sharpen AI which also looks great as I read that when shooting in RAW, then you should always do some degree of sharpening.

Well, that ended up being a bit longer than I initially intended but I’d welcome any comments any of you more experienced Alphashooters may have.
Please accept my Welcome to the Forum if I have not already done so. I have only needed DeNoise once and didn't have it. I'm venturing into an area of my Photography education where I expect to be shooting at some higher ISO's. I had seen the sale from Topaz and decided to wait but maybe waiting until I need it will cost me an extra $20. Thanks for the nudge. I'll order it tonight.
 

Clix Pix

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Topaz Sharpen is great, and so is Topaz DeNoise. I use DXO Photolab 4 for my primary editing, and then finish up in Luminar AI because I like some of the features there, too, especially the "erase" tool. I shoot in RAW Uncompressed as I want to get all the detail out of an image that's possible, but yes, I've considered just doing compressed instead, as it might save a little space on the computer's internal SSD!

My usual process is to first edit in DXO PL 4, then if I feel I need to do a bit of sharpening, either globally (entire image) or selectively (just one section) I go into Topaz Sharpen and take care of that. Then I hop into Luminar AI to do the final polishing if needed and to name the image. DXO PL 4 has "Deep Prime," which is pretty effective for noise removal, but sometimes I do still find that it would be good to take an image into Topaz DeNoise as well.

Although I have the 200-600mm and also the 100-400mm I have not yet been very successful with BIF -- seems as though just as soon as I put away the gear the darned geese or ducks or other birds decide now they can take flight! LOL!

I do use BBF but have not done anything with the "hold" button on the lenses, nor have I gotten around to customizing some of the buttons on the camera body itself (Alpha 1). I tend to want to keep things simple and probably would forget what I'd set the buttons to do! LOL!
 

DavidN

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David Nunn
Hi Clix Pix, Thanks for the reply.
With regard to space on hard drives, I've noticed that whether I process a compressed file (24MB) or an uncompressed file (49MB), the .DGN file saved from DeNoise AI is 144MB in both cases. Then if you run that .DGN through Sharpen AI, it saves a separate 144MB file. I assume that Luminar AI also stores a version somewhere as well but I haven't been able to find it ! I know where it saves the output .JPEG but I'm not sure if there's another file. So, if you are not careful, one photo can take up an awful lot of hard disk space. I guess I need to remember to delete the 2 .dgn files once I've imported it into Luminar AI?
 

Clix Pix

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Huh..... I really don't worry a lot about space on my internal SSD since once I process the images I move the RAW files to an external drive and also back up the edited image files to one or more external drives as well, taking the load off the computer's internal drive. Sometimes I don't bother saving the RAW files at all if out of a given shooting situation I've only processed a few images and am pretty sure I wouldn't be bothering to go back and process any of the others. In those cases I delete the RAW files altogether, and they're the ones which really take up the space.
 

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