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Macro gear (insect photography), suggestions needed
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Rawsons



Joined: 07 Apr 2015
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChrisR wrote:
I've downloaded the original and looked at pixels, compared with airy disks and my own copy of the lens at f/22, and unsharpened, it looks about right for f/22 to me. Confused
f/8 is a lot sharper.


I am on my way to a place and will have about 3 hours to test. Will get back later once everything is processed.
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2575
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A somewhat strange discussion in that opinions are asked and yet (resulting) images are posted elsewhere.

So, breaking all the rules I will post my image here (where else would be appropriate?).

This is Anax junius, a species close to the species being discussed.
A field shot, can't find any exif data except it was with a D90 and likely a 105 or 200 mm Nikkor-Micro and at f/22.

I can see hairs on the thorax, spikes on the legs and cell and veins in the wings; not features seen clearly in the image of the European species.

_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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Rawsons



Joined: 07 Apr 2015
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some fresh pics from today, although the weather is still bad and it was a big struggle trying to shoot hand held. Will upload them directly here together with info later tonight, as I am at work.

Edit: just skipped through some of them and it seems to be a bit more promising, however the wind was a real problem today. Will post tonight. Thanks everyone so far! Smile
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Rawsons



Joined: 07 Apr 2015
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well here we go! One decent looking picture all day. No adjustment was made, it comes directly off the camera. Bit sad that I missed the center when taking the pictures as the flower was blowing constantly.

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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 3331
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I looked at the picture above, I thought, "Something is wrong. That lens should produce much sharper results than that." But looking at the same image on Flickr, it looks much better. So something seems to be downgrading image quality of the image as it gets posted here.

The same issue seems to have affected the dragonfly image.

Kristofer, when uploading your images to this forum, are you letting the forum software resize them for you? If so, this is likely the source of the problem, as our software doesn't do a very good job of this. As you may know, our maximum dimension is 1024 pixels of either width or height. For best results, you want to make sure your image does not exceed this before uploading.

Or is something else going on?

Cheers,

--Chris
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 8396
Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Breaking rules, happy to remove - these are 100% crops from Rawson's image linked to above, with minimal-effort curves & sharpen. I assume you would have done that to yours, NU? I've noticed before that you're good at getting an image looking its best at the resolution it's displayed at.

The detail is getting lost in the noise. (This is iso 400)



I think some of the detail is too small to show in the normal 6:1 image squash, (6000 wide down to 1000 wide) and the detail that happens to be the right scale to show well, needs to be sharpened appropriately.
I poked my (same) lens at a dead moth, and allowing that my camera has pixels 4x the area, the finest-detail blur seemed to tie up.

Ah, Chris_S. meant the crab spider - here's the same cropping, 100% actual pixels, unshrunk:
(iso 100, f/14)
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MaxRockbin



Joined: 08 Nov 2014
Posts: 185
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChrisS - About the image looking better on Flickr: Flickr's resize engine adds sharpening. I believe only the "original size" image view is unaffected.
(If you're not familiar with this, just google "flickr sharpening)

Pretty annoying and I believe there is no way to turn it off on Flickr.

But, it is an affirmation of ChrisR's post suggesting that just a little post process sharpening is really the missing ingredient in these photos.
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
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Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaxRockbin wrote:
ChrisS - About the image looking better on Flickr: Flickr's resize engine adds sharpening. I believe only the "original size" image view is unaffected.

(snip)

But, it is an affirmation of ChrisR's post suggesting that just a little post process sharpening is really the missing ingredient in these photos.

Matt,

I had indeed studied Rawsons' original size images at Flickr. And while I don't disagree that a bit of postprocessing would be useful, I'm pretty sure that something else is going wrong.

To check this, I downloaded Rawsons' original size image at Flickr (which, as you said, is supposedly untouched), took it into Photoshop, and changed the image size to 1024 pixels wide. I made no other changes before saving to Web at the highest quality that kept the file size under our 300 KB limit.

Check out the difference. (I'm breaking rules, too--Kristofer, I will remove these images if you wish. Very Happy):

Downsized in Photoshop:


As posted by Rawsons:
[/quote]

Edited to add Rawsons' original image as resized by our forum software:



Pretty clearly, something is messing up images Rawsons is posting to our forum, but not those uploaded to Flickr. To figure out what that something is, we need to know things like how Rawsons down-sized the pictures for use here.

Edit: After reading Rawsons' response, below, I uploaded his original (large) image, letting our forum's automatic resizing capabilities (which are well known to be poor) downsize it to meet our requirements. The result looks, to my eye, indistinguishable from what Rawsons posted, and much inferior to the image as downsized in Photoshop. To my eye, this well-establishes that our downsizing processes are markedly diminishing the quality of Rawsons' posted images.

We have repeatedly warned forum members about this issue, and advised them to downsize their images in the photo editing program of their choice before uploading them here. Our forum software does many things well, but image resizing is not one of its strengths.


--Chris S.


Last edited by Chris S. on Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rawsons



Joined: 07 Apr 2015
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just upload it as it is, default size and leave the pixel field empty. I don't set anything when uploading the pictures. Weird..

Will check the other pictures in a bit from my computer.
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 3331
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rawsons wrote:
I just upload it as it is, default size and leave the pixel field empty. I don't set anything when uploading the pictures. Weird.

Kristofer, please take a look at the edits I've made to my post just before yours. These edits are in boldface type.

At our forum, uploading a large image, and allowing the forum software to downsize the image for you, does not work well. Not surprisingly, this made your uploaded images fuzzy. Until I realized what was going on, I thought that either something was very wrong with your lens, or with your technique.

So going forward, I'd strongly suggest that you resize your images in Photoshop (or other program) to make them no more than 1024 pixels high or wide, and less than 300 KB in size. They will display much more sharply, and more accurately represent your work.

Cheers,

--Chris S.
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Rawsons



Joined: 07 Apr 2015
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well this is odd.. I have resized one of my pictures taken today, it is now 1024 pixels and 330 kb in total. If I try to upload it here I get "Filesize exceeds limit." When i try to upload the big file it uploads without a problem..
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Rawsons



Joined: 07 Apr 2015
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what I did now was to enter them into flickr resized and then upload here. Edit: Let´s face it, it´s not getting any better.. Either my techniques are crap or too much movement, or both. I am guessing my next buy will be a tripod.

Xylocopa sp. by Kristofer Mogyorossy, on Flickr
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
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Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "limit" is 300kB. I think it accepts the dimensions at 1024 then complains about file size - so 1100 wide would get downsized.

Try Unsharp Mask to suit the eventual size, ie a large radius, then downsize. (There are other ways).

You can't show all the detail the lens can capture, at 1024 wide, so it's a question of getting the contrast high enough on the smallest details that you CAN resolve at that size, so it LOOKS sharp. It'll still only be a 1MP image.
Detail contrast is what Unsharp Mask gives, approximately.

If you unpload your original at full size to flickr we can see what we can do..
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Chris S.
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Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rawsons wrote:
Well this is odd.. I have resized one of my pictures taken today, it is now 1024 pixels and 330 kb in total. If I try to upload it here I get "Filesize exceeds limit." When i try to upload the big file it uploads without a problem..

Yes, you've tripped over an odd fluke in our forum's software, and one that I don't fully understand. If your file size is just a little bit too big--in your case, 330kb (our limit is 300kb), you get an error message and the image can not be uploaded. But if your file size is far larger, you don't get an error message. Instead, the forum software accepts the image and downsizes it for you--though rather badly.

Conversely, if the file size is under 300kb, the forum software will accept the upload, even if the pixel dimensions are larger than our 1024 pixel maximum. In these cases, the forum software will again downsize the image for you--and again, do so rather badly.

So you will want to downsize in Photoshop to pixel dimensions to 1024 or less, and then save the file as a jpeg at a quality level that results in a file size of 300kb or less. This way, the forum software won't muddy up your images.

I agree with ChrisR that a bit of additional sharpening in Photoshop would not be amiss. But avoiding image degradation during uploading is vital.

--Chris S.
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Rawsons



Joined: 07 Apr 2015
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree, Flickr does an amazing jobe at sharpening the images Smile

Here it is in full size from Flickr and I have to say it looks quite decent. Not super, but decent. The details are there.

https://flic.kr/p/so2QV8
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