Old 07-18-2008, 03:43 PM   #26
Greg P
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Have you tried shooting at an unmanned station if your having problems with security?

I've never had problems with Amtrak before at any ground level station outside the NEC and I think Amtrak shares Fredericksburg station.

Last edited by Greg P; 07-18-2008 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:50 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Greg P
Have you tried shooting at an unmanned station if your having problems with security?

I've never had problems with Amtrak before at any ground level station outside the NEC and I think Amtrak shares Fredericksburg station.
Yes, it's shared and unmanned. I'm there mostly when picking up someone from the Virginia Rail Express or helping a neighbor to Amtrak occationally.

I haven't had any trouble when I have a legit reason to be there -- it's when you just wait around for an hour that they come and see what's going on.

It is a unmanned station but the city police check by often because the parking is very restricted (20 min on street and city residents only in the parkinglot) so they give LOTS of tickets there every day. They don't like anyone there unless they're waiting for a train...and when there's only 1 person at the whole station for a long time it's very obvious and they go up on the platform to check it out.

The other spot is at the side of the road near a crossing...every time a County Sheriff goes by the stop and ask what we're doing but usually don't complain about it. Only trouble is it's usually into the sun there.

Last edited by millerm; 07-18-2008 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:17 PM   #28
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I think I see the problem. You mentioned that you were shooting at 3 megapixels. Shoot at the highest possible megapixel setting when using a Nikon camera. A 3 megapixel photo cannot be reduced in size so much. So when you crop so much off of a 3 mp shot, you lose a good portion of quality. If you were to shoot at (I believe a Nikon D50 can go up to 8mp) the highest - 8 megapixels, you could crop alot off and save the quality.

Also, what version of photoshop are you using. I know if you are using "Adobe Photoshop Album Starter 3", you are wasting your time. I had that software for about a year, and it oversharpens everything and the cropping, lighting adjustments and exposure adjustments are terrible. If this is what you have, move on to Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 - you will NEVER look back at Album Starter.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:30 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by alstom
I think I see the problem. You mentioned that you were shooting at 3 megapixels. Shoot at the highest possible megapixel setting when using a Nikon camera. A 3 megapixel photo cannot be reduced in size so much. So when you crop so much off of a 3 mp shot, you lose a good portion of quality. If you were to shoot at (I believe a Nikon D50 can go up to 8mp) the highest - 8 megapixels, you could crop alot off and save the quality.

Also, what version of photoshop are you using. I know if you are using "Adobe Photoshop Album Starter 3", you are wasting your time. I had that software for about a year, and it oversharpens everything and the cropping, lighting adjustments and exposure adjustments are terrible. If this is what you have, move on to Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 - you will NEVER look back at Album Starter.
The D50 is 6MP max. I usually use about 2-3MP (it's like the middle setting)
I have Adobe Photoshop Elements 5...

I had to get Photoshop because my old program wouldn't work on Vista and MS removed Photo Editor from Office 2003/2007.

I think i see what you're saying -- if the picture is higher resolution the cropped portion will still look as good as a uncropped picture at lower resolution. Even with the 2-3MP shots I take, after cropping I'm having to shrink the pictures down to 1024xSomething to upload them here. Do you think the higher initial resolution would really matter or make a difference?

Last edited by millerm; 07-18-2008 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:47 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Ween
If you're telling me this isn't blurry...:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=549768&key=0

...I won't be able to help you.

As far as what causes it, not sure, but I know that image doesn't look like what I'd expect to see from a Nikon D50.
I agree... If you cant see this as really blurry, then I want a monitor just like yours............ Sorry, man but it is really fuzzy
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:49 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millerm
The D50 is 6MP max. I usually use about 2-3MP (it's like the middle setting)
I have Adobe Photoshop Elements 5...

I had to get Photoshop because my old program wouldn't work on Vista and MS removed Photo Editor from Office 2003/2007.

I think i see what you're saying -- if the picture is higher resolution the cropped portion will still look as good as a uncropped picture at lower resolution. Even with the 2-3MP shots I take, after cropping I'm having to shrink the pictures down to 1024xSomething to upload them here. Do you think the higher initial resolution would really matter or make a difference?
Yes the higher image quality will make a huge difference. I said this like 20 posts ago, but you must not have read it. If you buy a camera for a lot of money, then use it for all its worth, or else you are wasting your money and might as well be using a cell phone. You will almost always have to downsize for the internet, and if you don't then you are leaving very little room for error, especially if you want to crop any.

I hope you listen this time.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:51 PM   #32
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Cropping and resizing a 6 megapixel image is alot better than cropping/resizing a 2-3 megapixel image. You understand what I am saying correctly, so start shooting at 6 megapixels. It is a good thing. Also, one last question, this may also be what is resulting in your poor image quality. Are you editing the photo (sharpening, cropping, etc) before or after you resize the image? If you resize first, the sharpening and cropping will take away more quality from the image. Always resize last, even after sharpening. Resizing first is a big no-no.
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Old 07-19-2008, 09:59 AM   #33
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Are you editing the photo (sharpening, cropping, etc) before or after you resize the image? If you resize first, the sharpening and cropping will take away more quality from the image. Always resize last, even after sharpening. Resizing first is a big no-no.
I agree except for the sharpening. I resize next to last, sharpen last. The issue is that the effects of sharpening are very much related to pixel dimensions and you want to be looking at the image as it will appear in order to get the sharpening just right.

Although, quite frankly, I suspect that for web display it doesn't matter much.
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:55 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millerm
The D50 is 6MP max. I usually use about 2-3MP (it's like the middle setting)
This is your problem. Your pictures look like they are 2 to 3 MP. Use the full function of your camera. What you are doing is sort of like buying a Ferrari and using it only to buy groceries.

I would also look at the compression rate you have Photoshop set to. It's obvious you're massively over compressing.

Lastly, as pointed out before... hold your camera steady and use a shutter speed of at least 1/320 when shooting a moving target. Aim the camera at the framing you want and wait for the train to come to where you want it to be, don't move the camera to follow the train.
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:22 PM   #35
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I would also look at the compression rate you have Photoshop set to. It's obvious you're massively over compressing.
Maybe I'm missing something with JPEG compression, I thought the only place to set this was the window that comes up after pressing save? I've been saving everything with the quality dialog set as 8/High. The next stop up is 10/Maximum.

I don't think it's my camera overcompressing it (although it's possible) because I have the quality/compression set to Normal (as opposed to Basic/Small or No JPEG Compression)...I could be wrong though.

Btw, how can you tell when it's overcompressed?

I can't really see that much of a differnce (although I understand it's there mathematically with rebuilding the image data) unless it's blown up to the extent that it begins to pixelate.
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:31 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Freericks
Lastly, as pointed out before... hold your camera steady and use a shutter speed of at least 1/320 when shooting a moving target. Aim the camera at the framing you want and wait for the train to come to where you want it to be, don't move the camera to follow the train.
Just curious, do you think it would be best to use Auto, Sports/Fast Action, Manual Shutter, or Shutter Speed Priority shooting mode?

I've usually used program-auto so I can force ISO 200 on it and the camera still figures out the exposure and autofocus (center weighted in this mode).

Thanks everyone
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:00 PM   #37
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If you are shooting moving trains, I would always go for shutter priority 1/320 at the absolute minimum, preferably 1/400 or higher; if it is too dark then change the ISO. For stationary stuff I generally use the 'P' setting on the Canons (30D / 350D), but you still need to watch the speed that you are shooting if handheld, as too low a shutter speed can cause camera shake - it depends on how steadily you can hold the camera.

Edit - just thought of something else, when saving the file before sending to RP, always save it at level 12 (maximum quality). Assuming that you have re-sized the file to 1024 x whatever, it should always turn out less than 1Mb - mine are usually 800kb plus from an 8mp camera. Don't worry about the size as long as they are less than 1mb, as they get reduced again before being uploaded.

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Old 07-19-2008, 04:05 PM   #38
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Stay as far away from Normal compression as you can. You want no compression.

Here're my recommendations --

1) Shoot at Large, High Quality, No Compression.

2) Stay in Program mode, so you can set the ISO at 200, but go to either appeture or shutter priority, so you can make sure your shutter is shooting at a minimum of 1/320 (higher if it's an Amtrak at full speed).

3) Go to the highest quality (maximum) on your editing software.

4) Save unedited versions of all your originals in a separate folder (don't let any program touch these images). This is your backup and your negative, so to speak.

As to the Sports automatic mode... to be frank, I use this myself sometimes, because it's an easy crutch. The problem with it is that the camera choses your ISO and you can end up with noisy images. I usually just go there when taking a grab shot that I don't have time to set up for.

Finally, honestly as to why you don't see the difference... I really can't answer... it's extremely obvious to me, even in the examples you posted to show that there wasn't much. Could you be sitting too close to your monitor? I'm in my 40s now and I have to sit back a little to see my monitor correctly.
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:06 PM   #39
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I'm a big fan of 1/500 f8.0 ISO 200 in sunny weather for my S3IS. Course most locations without giant hills, and haze, you could probably go ISO100 with those settings

I would highly suggest the use of a tripod, it broke me of my habit of following the lead unit with the lens.

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Old 07-19-2008, 05:37 PM   #40
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In sunny day shots, I see no reason to shoot 200 ISO. My home base positions are f8 @ 1/400 and 100 ISO. But I tweak the settings as needed depending on sun, etc. I shoot in full manual exposure 99% of the time. I'm smarter than my camera.


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Old 07-19-2008, 05:42 PM   #41
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In sunny day shots, I see no reason to shoot 200 ISO.
Unless it's gusty wind...I'll bump the ISO to get a faster shutter speed to counteract the unpredictability of the wind.
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Old 07-19-2008, 06:06 PM   #42
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In sunny day shots, I see no reason to shoot 200 ISO.
That's why I put the "course most locations.." part in my reply

Something about the southern WV area I guess. if I want f8 with a decent shutter speed, I have to go ISO 200. I'd ask around to see what other area photogs do.. but as you can tell from searching RP.. I'm it!

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