Off-Topic - advice, experiences and examples, for images that will be processed in PhotoLab


Sneaky!!! Well, it worked. I never would have thought of that.

I will edit another image on my own, and get perfect results. ( :slight_smile: )

I did - I knew it was your file, but you did so little. I guess the image was reasonably good to start with this time.

Hmm, I should be smiling right now. Maybe I’lll have a beer with dinner in celebration.

At some point I need to ask you, or learn, how to set up auto-focus the best, for capturing moving animals that don’t remain centered in the frame. I have a friend who is very good at this, and just bought a Nikon Z8. He’s been shooting birds for many years, but I don’t see him that often. I am much more interested in “static shots” that remain fixed, while I think about how to capture the image…

Joanna - I looked over the way you edited the image, and wanted to see if I could do an image properly on my own. I had four distant images (already posted) that I like the most, but I also captured one horizontal image zoomed in a little. I figure this is a good image to experiment on. Maybe I’ve learned a bit more.

Some of the settings are based on what you did, but looking at this new image, both the full view and full-size, I found some things that needed additional corrections - like adding a control point to lighten up the very dark areas in what I’ll call “the bushes”. I also tried to lighten the color of the bench, just a little. With no clouds showing in the sky, I left the sky color alone. I’m tempted to play with the shade of blue, but didn’t. No watermark yet - I will add that later, so @Wolfgang won’t complain about it.

I’m not a very good judge of this, but I can’t see anything I want different from what I’m now posting. I left the windmill at the left, and the rowboat at the right. I think (for now) that it is finished. (But I prefer the wider view more.)

780_1316 | 2023-06-09.nef (29.2 MB)
780_1316 | 2023-06-09.nef.dop (14.7 KB)

Where can this be found within the DxO window on my computer screen?

Aha! Found it - and since there are no fluffy white clouds, that’s another error as I didn’t turn the +2 EV off. I was so wrapped up in what I was doing, I didn’t stop to think about stuff like this. Fortunately, if I get burned once, I tend to remember better in the future.

I guess I ought to look over whatever other DxO modules I might want to see with the original image.

I’m afraid the rowboat on the right takes you out of the picture as it is too close to the edge.

The tall trees are neither one or the other. They’ve been chopped off at the top and at the bottom. I personally would have preferred to see the complete trees either at the top or at the bottom, not both.

Obviously that is my personal opinion. Others may feel differently.

I agree completely. I captured the full scene, which I love, then zoomed in for two cropped images, one horizontal (this image) and one vertical. I am satisfied that there are no suggested changes to how I processed the image in PhotoLab.

I will work on a different scene later today.

I captured four types of photos while visiting my brother, family photos, landscape photos (which I enjoyed doing the most), animal photos (which I found extremely frustrating, and personal photos. My favorite landscape photo is already posted. I have several photos of a pair of ducks that visit his pond almost ever day, and a pair of nesting Sand Hill Cranes, that think they own his property.

I probably took 50 or more photos of the ducks, most of which were wasted because I need to re-learn hot to capture action photos of birds. One image that I enjoy the most is posted below. As for the crane photos - will work on those over the weekend.

I think my biggest issue with the ducks was my inexperience at bird photography. I’ve learned that next time I will put the camera in high-speed-burst mode, will select autofocus so the camera can “track” the moving bird when necessary, and always use auto-ISO as I can’t keep track of everything, especially with the exposure changing as the birds move around.

For the ducks, most of my shots were taken at f/8, 1/1000th shutter and 800 ISO; towards the end of my session I turned on auto-ISO.

Once again, I got the warning message about “Ambiguity Processing Limitations”, which too me here:
"Module Ambiguity" - #10 by mwsilvers

Regarding PhotoLab, I didn’t do all that much editing. I’m sure some of you will point out things I could have done, but I didn’t see the need for anything else. I know “ClearViewPlus” shouldn’t be used too much, but while I did use it, I tuned it way down. Simple answer - I liked the end result more with it, than without. I’m sure I will get dumped on for doing so…

Unfortunately, DxO doesn’t tell me how to fix things - and since the error message said if I don’t correct it “no optical corrections will be applied to the image”. It’s my N780, with my brother’s 80-200 Nikon Zoom, so I guess DxO isn’t going to apply the camera and lens corrections. This came up before. I’ll update my laptop from now on before I travel, so I have the same version of PhotoLab on my laptop and Mac mini, which should eliminate this issue.

With all my ducky photos it’s hard for me to pick which one I think is “best”, but this image is so “relaxing”, I enjoy looking at it the most.

Someone will point out that the image is cropped too much. His lens goes to 200mm, and that’s what I used. In retrospect I should have brought my 300 lens, or bought an even longer lens. Oh well.

Things I wondered about - the grass in the foreground, but that couldn’t be avoided.

I also got action shots of the ducks taking off from land, and landing on the water. They came out pretty good, but the focus point was off I think. Maybe I’ll post one of them here anyway, but not now.

780_1506 | 2023-06-13.nef (27.4 MB)
780_1506 | 2023-06-13.nef.dop (28.3 KB)

Black Bellied Whistling Ducks:

Another photo of my ducky friends, coming in for a water landing. I tried to maintain focus on the lead bird. Shot at 1/1000th - next time, I’ll use at least double that. Shot at 200mm, which was as far as the lens would go, so lots of cropping here too. I was “panning” with the ducks, shooting away - should have had the camera in high speed burst mode, but I wasn’t expecting them to fly.

I guess this photo is just practice for next time - I like it anyway, but it’s not sharp enough. Moral of that story, “get it right in the camera!”

I tried to make it look better in PhotoLab. I like the photo, but not the lack of “clarity”. Maybe I should send it off to Topaz?

780_1383 | 2023-06-13.nef (30.7 MB)
780_1383 | 2023-06-13.nef.dop (17.8 KB)

780_1383 | 2023-06-13_openWith.tif (13.1 MB)

Hmm, it helped, I think.
Maybe I need to learn more about Topaz.

They’re just unsharp.
You could have noticed that when looking at the back screen zoomed in. Then you could correct yourself.


No way! Have you seen the severity of the crop?

It’s down to a 4.5Mpx image, which is ⅔ the size of my first Nikon D100 shots, way back when digital was a novelty. But I suppose that’s a bit better than the 3.7Mpx of the first shot :roll_eyes:

@mikemyers you really have to stop taking these kind of shots with such short lenses. They will never come out other than disappointing, because there simply are not enough pixels to record the detail.

Nope. You just need to learn more about using an appropriate lens for the distance you are shooting at. There are cameras that boast amazing zoom ratios but, do you know what? They are all rubbish as soon as they get to beyond the optical zoom, what with interpolation and a simple lack of pixels to record small detail. And the landing duck suffers from more movement blur than the first, which is still slightly blurred.

Moral of the story, use the appropriate gear and then get it right in the camera.

Don’t bother. Just press the shutter when you see the appropriate moment - burst mode can lead to severe disappointment when the buffer fills up just before the “perfect” shot and you find the camera is waiting to empty it enough before taking that crucial shot.

Only if you select the appropriate tracking mode for the subject, otherwise it may not lock on.

But it doesn’t “keep track" of everything. Just set an exposure that is correct of the overall scene and that is not over-exposed. You don’t need to be continually changing exposure. Don’t forget that you can recover around 8 stops of under-exposure if necessary.

Let me remind you that you were the one continually complaining that nothing other than a Leica gave you that feeling of control, only to discover that you could have the same control with the D780, only to now wanting to lose that control in favour of automations.

Stop using ClearView Plus where it is not needed!!! Use the four fine contrast sliders instead, especially the shadows one - it really helps bring out detail without making the whole image grainy.

One of the reasons I have the 80-400mm VR lens for shoots like that, although it is heavy, if you want results, you need the glass.


I’m looking at the original, no dop. It’s just blurred.
I’ve also a 80-200 lens, only the better one with AFS. It has no VR. The main reason why I bought the Z6II with in-camera stabilization.


@mikemyers I feel this quote from @Joanna wraps it up perfectly.

For the last 1000 posts or so in this topic I wondered if you would not be better served by using just one camera, your Leica.
Full manual control, you can feel aperture and shutter stops, don’t have to scroll through menus, you will learn how to focus manually.

Sure, that moving ducks scene is less likely to produce useable images, but neither did your Nikon with tele-zoom, nothing lost :stuck_out_tongue:

Restrict yourself to one prime lens, zoom with your feet when required.

Restrict yourself (as in the old days) to one “roll of film”, don’t press the shutter until you know that you will bring home the image you want. Come home with 34 pictures at most, less is more!

Aim at producing large prints, where every pixel is important.

Forget about “digital is cheap”, it is not when a large print is your final product :wink:

The problem with long focallenght (teleshots) is depth of field. In horizontal viewing point.
I believe rule of thumb is 1/3 DoF infront and 2/3 DoF after focus point.(FP) (older film lenses that was correct.

My photographers app shows me the DoF decreasing.
Say m43 sensor.
Aperture 6.3. (full open of my 100-300mm lens. 200-600 efl
Object is 20m away. (focuspoint.)
Lens at 200mm at f6.3 and 20m gives me 19,10m 20m FP. And end of DoF at 20,98 (total DoF is 1,88m) wile 48% infront and 52% behind subject FP.
Hyperfocal point 422meter.
Lens At 300mm
DoF is 83cm
49% fp 51%
19,59m fp 20,42m hyperfocalpoint is 950meter
Now at max focal length of my lens
Stil 20m focuspoint
Max DoF is 20cm
50% 10cm in front and 50% behind 10cm
hyperfocal point is 3802meter away. (everything is sharp(ish) after this point.

See the “problem” in your image frame?
Lots is unsharp and or out of focus. At long focal lenghts.

So in order to get a swan in full focus front to back (52cm dof plane) at 600mm EFL i need to open up til
F16! Well in defraction area.
And if i am closer say 10m, my DoF is reduced to 10cm! At f16!
If i am futher away (40m) then i have at f9 (within sweetspot of sharpens lens) 1.18m.
Thussss, in order to have lots of great birdshots i need to have lots of resolution. (digital zoom) cropping.
Now i have 16Mp. And if i have 32Mp i could use f9, 1,18m (at fp 40m) , walk 20m less to the bird. Crop 50% and i have more or less the same image as when i go to 20m, f16 and 16mp, probably i would go to f13 (42cm DoF) and 20m fp and carefully pinpoint focus at the middle of the bird’s :grin:

Used app “photograpers companion” free ware.

Setup you used camera (sensor size and resolution and such.)
And you can predict in front what your wiggle room is or use is in post to see why something looks “off”.


I agree.


  • I was doing fine with the birds and static shots, taken properly, on land, at a close distance.
  • I’ll post one of them below, but of a crane.
  • I have similar shots of the ducks.
  • I used the longest lens I had access to, with no expectation of capturing flying images, or swimming photos so far away.
  • No way could I have held an 800mm lens steady enough to capture an image from that distance.
  • I agree with everything posted up above, but I usually think I need to do the best I can with what I’ve got.
  • No excuses; I shouldn’t have posted that image here… but I enjoy it despite the limitations, or maybe because of them.
  • The 80-200 was fine for what I expected to use it for.

This is the quality I anticipated to capture, both of the crane, and of the ducks.

780_1447 | 2023-06-13.nef (29.8 MB)
780_1447 | 2023-06-13.nef.dop (15.5 KB)

This is the best I could do for the ducks, which were much closer to me, but still way too far away. For this static shot, I would have preferred a longer lens too. On my next visit, I will try my 300 lens.

780_1506 | 2023-06-13.nef (27.4 MB)
780_1506 | 2023-06-13.nef.dop (28.2 KB)

The focus was on the ducks, and they weren’t moving very fast, and I figured 1/1000th was fast enough.

Among the very log list of other things I’m not, I’m also not a bird photographer.
I like the result, anyway.
I like the crane photo more, and it let me get much closer.

Let me take you through the steps it took me to get my version…

Starting from zero.

  1. Reframe the shot. The bird is taller than it is wide, why didn’t you take it in portrait?

  2. Ensure that just the base optical corrections are on…

  3. Select the black and white points with the Smart Lighting tool in Spot Measure mode…

  4. Slightly increase the contrast for the shadows in the Tone Curve…

  5. Adjust the Fine Contrast sliders to bring out finer detail, especially in the shadow under the bird…

Lo-res JPEG export…

Detail screenshots from TIFF export at 100%…

780_1447 | 2023-06-13.nef.dop (42,9 Ko)

So, you see, you can take great bird shots as long as you frame them better. Just by turning the camera, for a finished 5x4 proportion shot, instead of the 10Mpx image I ended up with, you could have made it a 20Mpx image. Think of all the extra detail in the plumage. You then have a file that you could print at 20" x 16", without any interpolation, 40" x 32" or larger if you passed it through Topaz Photo AI. Wouldn’t that look great on the wall?

1 Like

Something I don’t understand. I was photographing the two ducks not all that far from me, when they went flying into the air, one before the other. So I tracked them, trying to focus on the first one but if I missed, the camera focused on the green stuff behind the birds. They went out over the pond, then came in for a landing, as I was still trying to keep them inside my viewfinder, and still trying to focus on the lead bird. The came in for a “splash landing”, and I stopped taking photos. While flying, I had all I could do, just to keep them near the middle of my 200mm lens field of view.

By the time they came in for a landing, the camera was no longer level, and they were much further away from me, which is obvious from how little of the 200mm frame captured them.

By the time I could have turned on the back screen they would already be in the water. There was no time for anything other than trying to keep one of them in focus, and not outside the viewfinder. The whole flight was well under 10 seconds. Turning on “Live View” would have taken up half of that time. As for focusing, I tried to keep on bird under the (single) focus point I’m used to using, and expected the camera to focus each time, as it wasn’t in “continuous focus” (another mistake I won’t repeat).

I’m too used to photographing static scenes. I expected to do that with the birds. I never expected them to take off flying. In the future, I will have the camera on continuous focus, perhaps with focus tracking and lots of other tools that I used to use long ago for photographing R/C cars.

As to looking at the back screen zoomed in, if I had time, I might have noticed, but what would you expect me to do about it other than to press the “focus button” which I was already doing.

The image, along with me, was doomed from the moment the ducks took off on their short flight. I obviously didn’t know what I was doing, other than for taking static shots, like the photo of the crane. Starting tomorrow, I will learn how to use the focusing tools available on the D780.

I agree completely, but I don’t own a 600 or 800mm lens, and probably wouldn’t have had it with me at the time, as I had no expectation of needing/using it. So what to you do, when you see a scene you want to capture, but you don’t have the appropriate lens? My answer would be “do the best I can with what I’ve got”.

Yep, I have yet to learn about this. The last camera I did this with was my D3, for my rc car racing photos, and even then, I did better when I picked a spot ahead of time, knowing the car would be there, and focused, waiting for the car to reach that spot.

True. In effect, that is what I got, before selecting the auto-ISO. I think the auto-ISO got reasonably close to the right exposure.

We’re not talking about the same thing.

Everything you wrote is true. Things to remember for next time. I wanted the surroundings, but I goofed.

Please. It is either an interesting portrait of a bird or it is an uninteresting shot of a lake which just happens to include a bird, which is too small to be the main subject.

e.g. Portrait of a duck (not cropped)…

I don’t know what you don’t understand. But since there’s no sharp point at all in the picture it isn’t a matter of wrong focussing but more movement. 1/1000 is to less for you. And for me too. I checked my old pictures for a shot at 200mm. A motor cross training I shot I used 1/3200 and from a tripod with ballhead.



Mike, i didn’t critised your bird pickures because i disn’t looked at them closely enough.
I am busy hanging armaturen, light, at the ceilings.
What i was refering to was the phyical problems you get wile the focallenght of the lens get larger.
Shutter speed. => you need to close down the lens a bit in order to avoid unsharpnes at the sides and corners due optical imperfections. So i have minimal needed f7.1. Because my lens is a f4.5-6.3. 100-300mm.
So shutter speed goes down when i zoom in. (it should go up for reasons of motionsblur.)
Aperture, the further i zoom in the more i need to closedown to keep enough DoF.
(aka it’s nearly impossible to retain a 10m DoF range.)

So when i am aiming my “long rifle”
Minimum shutter speed i need should be 1/125sec and 1/250sec is preferable.(edit: When the subject is more or less stationary.)
At 100mm i use around 6.3-7.1 and zooming more, longer focal lenght means i hope i can use f9.
F8 is minimum at 300mm

Always pinpoint focus so i can place focus plane where I want it.
(or tracking mode)

Backbutton lock for focuslock and exposure lock. (this way i can spray and pray in burst and have no unwanted inbetween refocusing. Just backbutton unlock relock for refocusing)
In trackingmode i lock it on the object.

Iso value. => yes there it is again. AutoISO. :grin: restrain on desired minimum image quality and DR.

And yes i flunk alot when i try things with this “long rifle” lots of blue sky, wrong focal planes. Mis exposured, wrong/to small DoF point, cut off subjects, wrong moment, wrong shuttertime, wrong light angle…
And sometimes your just aced it, by luck mostly.

By knowing which mines there are in the field you can try to tiptow around them but the change you step on one is still 90%. When you in a hurry. :grin: