I absolutely love digital photography for what it offers (over film): almost unlimited photos, instant results, relatively cheap photography, the amazing performance, the dial in ISO (rather than changing film), and incredible high ISO performance. However, the thing that caught me off guard when I started out in digital photography (2002) was how much extra you have to spend on a fast computer, back up drives, memory cards, back up drives for the back up drives, graphic cards and software costs, on top of the cost of your gear – which in the case of a high end mirrorless cameras and lenses is becoming quite substantial!
So I thought I would show you a before and after photo from my bird feeder, and describe the processing that has gone on to get the final shot, just to show you what is involved – and note, each piece of software costs $$$$ unless you go with free software, which is fine if you can find it! One of the advantages of going with a well known programme though (like Adobe lightroom) is that there are hundreds and hundreds of, often free, online tutorials on how to use the software.
Here are the two photos. (click on either image to see it full size)
(Canon R5, Canon RF 800 F/11. 2000 sec at F/11, ISO 2000) The first is straight from the camera. It is a RAW file, (You can save files in camera as RAW or JPG. I use RAW because it contains much more info than the JPG, which is a lossy compressed file, i.e. the camera has thrown away info when it processed and saved the file. Think negative (RAW) verses print (jpg). Lightroom has done some processing of the RAW so it can be viewed on the computer. To get to the final edit I did the following:
- Imported the file into Lightroom.
- Exported it to DXO pure RAW which removed most of the noise using the DeepPrime setting.
- Saved file back to lightroom.
- Exported the DXO corrected file to Topaz Sharpen AI. This removed a little of the motion blur in the original photo.
- Saved the file back to Lightroom.
- Cropped the image.
- Exported the file to Photoshop to remove remnants of the bird feeder.
- Saved back to LR. Adjusted colour and tonal range.
- Exported the file to a jpg.
And of course, all this extra software costs many $$$$$. So when you are looking at buying a digital camera because you want to “get into” photography, just remember to budget for the computer etc. The truth is if you want more than just snaps you are going to have to invest not only $$$$ but also put a lot of time into learning all about the digital tools that are essential to master if you want to be able to produce high quality photos, because believe me, it doesn’t all happen “in camera”! (Sorry Chris)