View Full Version : More rejections but I'm trying to learn - help please...

andy buckley
11-29-2006, 10:20 PM
Having read the thread on using unsharpen masks (I'd not heard of these before) I though I'd give it a try rather than just click on the 'sharpen' button (I use PaintShop Pro v8 btw) and submitted two shots. Both rejected - one for backlighting http://www.railpictures.net/viewreject.php?id=310141 but the other for poor image quality http://www.railpictures.net/viewreject.php?id=311852.

With the second rejection I'm not sure what 'poor image quality' actually means - the email says 'the technical quality of the image needs improving' so I'd be very grateful for advice and opinion on how and whether or not this image might be 'rescued' - or should I just put it down to poor equipment and technique. I use a Fuji Finepix S602 camera btw.

The original straight-out-of-the-camera image can be found here:
43117BonniePrinceCharlieECML291106 (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/andy.buckley/images/BonniePrinceCharlie.JPG)

thanks in anticipation


11-29-2006, 10:37 PM
Hi Andy

Your HST shot has suffered badly from over sharpening and whatevr you did to resize it.

There's no exif data on the reject, an you post a bit of tehnical detail?


11-29-2006, 10:45 PM
Hi Andy

Just notied the original (I was a bit slow there) I see that you took the image as a jpg (will your camera take RAW?). Well the camera has applied sharpening when you took the phot, then you've added a bit too much in post processing.

Also, more importantly the shot is not sharp at the point of taking. The ballast right infront of you is sharp but most of the train is not, looks like a ombination of a misfocus and/or too low shutter speed. Mosy likley the camera has focused too close and the train has been left in the soft zone.

If you can, pre focus about where the back of the frnt power car is, then take the shot as the front of the car gets to the taking point. Also try to use a higher shutter speed.


andy buckley
11-29-2006, 11:20 PM
Thanks for that Alan

exposure was 1/450th at f8

The camera was placed on top of a handy gate post to reduce camera shake (I don't have a tripod) and then I zoomed to compose the picture.

Now here's a confession - I tend to use everything on 'Auto' - autofocus, auto exposure (I can hear you all gasping in horror...) - so an early New Year Resolution - I will try manually pre-focusing as you suggest (altho I do have eyesight problems - hence currently relying on autofocus and depth of field) and go back to shutter priority.

I don't know if I can take RAW - will look into it but I'm not sure my camera is that 'sophisticated'... now I wonder where the instruction manuel is...?

andy b

supplemental: it seems I don't have a RAW setting - the uncompressed format is TIFF - so I'll have to look into this and see what the possibilities are.

11-30-2006, 12:13 AM
With respect to the problem in the second shot, RAW won't help - that helps with exposure and/or color balance problems. The issue is bad focus and or camera movement. Since you said you had it on a post, it seems likely the former, unless you bumped the camera somehow. 1/450 is sufficiently fast even for your max telephoto 210mm equiv lens. My guess is that either the camera mis-focused for reasons unknown, or you mistakenly jiggled the camera even though it was sitting on a surface. Hard to say.

12-02-2006, 02:52 AM

RP has some screeners that just won't accept back lit shots, although there do seem to be one or two that do. The problem is, back lit shots need to be really great in all other respects to get in. The angle you were shooting from puts the wires in the way of the subject, so the shot just didn't excite.

On the second one, it looks like you've tried to rescue an out of focus shot by over sharpening. If the original is out of focus, sharpening won't fix it. I too have found a lot of my shots were not in focus once I started to wear bi-focal glasses and auto focus has helped, but auto focus tends to focus on the front of the train and it can leave the rest soft. What works for me is to auto focus on a pole, sign, signal mast, or tree at the point where I want the focus to be, then either switch off the auto focus or hold down the autofocus lock button when I take the shot. Since you were shooting at f/8, even being focused on the front of the train should have left the rest in focus, so something happened here. I've had light reflect off some bright work or light from a headlight fool the autofocus into searching, so you may have had something like that happen to you. Another reason for holding down the lock button!

Michael Allen

andy buckley
12-03-2006, 12:18 AM
Thanks for the encouragement Michael :-) - I was getting so many 'poor image quality' rejections I was about to give up, thinking there was something wrong with me or the camera (or both!) :cry: .

I've only started digital photography a couple of years ago - I borrowed a camera from work and was sufficiently impressed to buy the Fuji s602z that I use now. Previously I took most of my shots with my 35mm Canon A1 on Kodachrome 64 or 200 - or FP4 (B&W). I have about 5 or 6000 slides and a similar no of B&W negs of British and European railway subjects going back to the '70s, but my Nikon Coolscan 2 slide/negative scanner hasn't worked since I upgraded to Windows XP and is apparently no longer supported. Funds being what they aren't they'll just have to stay in the drawer pro tem .... :(

Back to the subject in hand:

I've had light reflect off some bright work or light from a headlight fool the autofocus into searching, so you may have had something like that happen to you.
You know I wonder if this is what happened - you can see the offside headlight on the HST is shining straight down the camera lens - so I wonder if this spoofed the autofocus? I hope that is the answer cos I had tried to consider everything else (reasonable depth of field/shutter speed/place camera on a firm surface etc)

Maybe I should try this shot again but with pre- or manual focus just for my own peace of mind....

Switched out
12-03-2006, 01:30 PM
Hi Andy,

I have been keeping an eye on this thread until I had some time up my sleeve to do some research on your camera. The Fuji Finepix S602 has been around since 2002 so it's a couple of generations behind the current lot of cameras technology wise. I'm not saying it's a bad camera in fact it did quite well in the reviews at the time. DCRP Review (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix_s602-review/index.html) had a lot of sample photos taken with the camera at various settings so I was able to get a good idea of what settings should be optimal.

First, a quick word about the SuperCCD sensor, and what makes it different from traditional CCDs. Unlike a regular CCD, the SuperCCD has hexagonal-shaped pixels, which allows Fuji to pack more sensors into the same area, which allows the sensors to collect more data. Using this data, the S602Z can produces those 6 million pixel images that it's famous for. Of course, there's some interpolation (the camera is guessing) involved in the creation of those large images, which is why they have noise and strange artifacts sometime. In the above quote taken from the DCRP Review (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix_s602-review/index.html) it gives us a hint as to what may be causing those bad image rejections. To work around the problem I would try setting up the camera as follows.

Try the 3 megapixel fine setting
Set the camera ISO to the lowest setting when possible (160)
Use Shutter Priority and set the speed to 1/250th or faster and keep an eye on the aperture make sure it's not wide open this will be a juggle as changing one will effect the other (most lenses work best a stop or two from there min & max aperture settings)
The autofocus got a good write up so I would be happy leaving it set on auto as I don't think it's your main problem however it does have an advance mode where you can select the region of the screen to focus. Try setting this to the centre screen region
The 6 megapixel Hi setting will produce a 23M tiff file this in theory should be the best image in which to post process when you get back home
Set the in camera sharpening to normal

Having said that keep in mind that I am only making suggestions from what I have read else where so give them a go and do some experimenting in the back yard with various settings.

I noticed you where using ACDSEE so I imported your photo into it to see if I could clean it up a with it's basic editing tools. I think you will see in the attached image it did a pretty good job.

I hope this has been of some help to you.

Cheers All,


andy buckley
12-03-2006, 03:02 PM
Goodness, Christine - thank you ! Thank you!! You've restored my faith in my camera.... there was me thinking I might have to ditch it but you (and the others who have joined in this thread) have encouraged me to try again. :cool:

There's obviously a lot more to digital photography than taking the camera out of the box and pointing and shooting - and I need to have a serious look at the options available to improve things both in-camera and post-production software. Thank you for your suggestions - I will certainly try a few things out.

btw I use PaintShop Pro v8 - I hadn't heard of ACDSEE (except for a certain 70s onward rock group :wink: ) but you've certainly done the business with this!

'Basic editing', eh? Just so I can try to replicate what you did (in PSP) would you mind setting out what you did to improve the shot?

Gratefully yours,

andy b

12-05-2006, 03:06 AM

You've improved Andy's shot quite a bit, but I think he still needs to work on locking his focus. The ballast ahead of the power unit is all sharp, but by the time you are back to the third carriage, things have started to go soft. At f/8, which Andy indicated he had it set at, the depth of focus should have been greater than that, so I think the camera was actually focused well ahead of the front of the train.

The Wikipedia entry for Depth of Field may help explain the situation.
In optics, particularly film and photography, the depth of field (DOF) is the distance in front of and behind the subject which appears to be in focus. For any given lens setting, there is only one distance at which a subject is precisely in focus, but focus falls off gradually on either side of that distance, so there is a region in which the blurring is tolerable. This region is greater behind the point of focus than it is in front, as the angle of the light rays change more rapidly; they approach being parallel with increasing distance.
I am assuming the camera has some sort of auto lock button that will hold either exposure, focus or both? The advantage of this, over pre-focusing and going manual is, you can release the lock, refocus and get addtional shots!

Keep trying and good luck.

Michael Allen

12-05-2006, 07:07 AM

You've improved Andy's shot quite a bit, but I think he still needs to work on locking his focus. The ballast ahead of the power unit is all sharp, but by the time you are back to the third carriage, things have started to go soft. At f/8, which Andy indicated he had it set at, the depth of focus should have been greater than that, so I think the camera was actually focused well ahead of the front of the train.

I think that you mean Christine ;) - wish that I was half as good at using Photoshop.

John West
12-05-2006, 10:14 PM
Using auto focus on fast moving trains can be challenging. When I first switched to auto focus I had a lot of trouble getting fast moving trains into focus. The auto/manual process that Michael describes above finally solved the problem for me (but boy I still miss the depth of field scales that the manual focus lenses had!). There are probably a number of ways of getting it right, including using the focus tracking logic that some cameras have, but my point is simply that auto focus of moving objects is not idiot proof for any of us.