mattdm
  • Member for 11 years, 2 months
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What makes a Carl Zeiss lens so special in a smartphone?
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22 votes

Carl Zeiss is a very well respected lens maker, with 125 years of history, and very literally one of the reasons "German engineering" conjures images of precision and care. Camera phone manufacturers ...

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Why do my photos appear grainy when taken at the widest aperture?
22 votes

Looking at your samples, the answer seems clear to me: that's not grainy, that is, actually, out of focus. Here's a 1:1 crop of your wide-open image: It seems pretty apparent that the wooden sign is ...

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Are equipment reviews from websites like kenrockwell.com and bythom.com reliable?
22 votes

I think these two sites should not be completely lumped together. Let's let each man talk for himself. From Ken Rockwell's "About" page: Apparently the world finds my opinions very useful, ...

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DSLRs with separate controls for aperture and shutter?
22 votes

This is normally referred to as something like "dual control dials", and you're right, it's a very desirable feature. Very few entry-level cameras have this, but it's common on mid-tier "prosumer" ...

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Google Photos high quality backup -- how does Google achieve great compression and am I losing some data?
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21 votes

Well, for one thing, all photos larger than 16 megapixels are resized to 16 MP — so, for many cameras today, that's an immediate, obvious drop in resolution. But all other photos are compressed too, ...

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What factors cause or prevent "generational loss" when JPEGs are recompressed multiple times?
21 votes

Recompression loss is real, especially when working with higher levels of JPEG compression. In theory, if you re-save a JPEG files with the exact same parameters and have aligned your crop to 8×8 ...

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What is the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed?
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21 votes

The Factors There is an equation, and by convention, it's set up to be really simple. There are basically five factors to consider together: Aperture — the size of the opening which lets light in, ...

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What's the difference between exposure and shutter speed?
21 votes

The term "exposure" is used for a number of different but related things in photography. I can see how this might be confusing. Here are six different ways in which it is used: The combination of all ...

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Does using an extender actually change the aperture of the lens?
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21 votes

This is really simple when you think about it. The additional element changes the focal length of the lens, without changing the apparent size of the aperture. That means that the relative size of the ...

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Why is my large format lens so much smaller (in length) than my 35mm-format lens?
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21 votes

The focal length is the distance from the (theoretical) center of the lens to the image plane. On the large format camera, there's a lot more camera between the lens and the film. The lenses are also ...

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Is there a standard tripod mount?
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21 votes

Yes. The tripod thread is standard: 1/4-20, which means ¼", with 20 threads per inch. This is specified by ISO 1222:2010. I'm not willing to pay the $57 for my own copy, but I'm kind of curious, as ...

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What's the difference between colour space and bit depth?
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21 votes

Basically, life color information is like a box of chocolates crayons... Color information is stored in integers, not analog values — there are a discrete, countable number of colors that can be ...

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How do I compose photos with prime lenses?
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21 votes

The key to using prime lenses effectively is to use them enough that their field of view becomes instinctive to you, so that you can stand somewhere and know what the resulting image will look like, ...

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How to I get the Instagram "Lux" effect without using Instagram?
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21 votes

So, here's what I got in just a few minutes using two basic tools: Curves, and Unsharp mask: I used Gimp, but this is basic stuff any decent image editing software will have. Here's all I did. First, ...

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Does the selection of sRGB or Adobe RGB in camera when shooting RAW ever matter?
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21 votes

The answer is basically the same as this one on white balance and raw. You're right, it doesn't matter at all in how the image is recorded or stored. As you note, the selected color space applies to ...

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Prime lens or flash: which upgrade will most improve baby photos?
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21 votes

I agree that you'll probably eventually want both (no one said that this is a cheap hobby!), but I'd go with the flash first. It's easier to use quickly, and works well when you have multiple ...

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How can I fix an out-of-focus blurred photo in Photoshop?
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20 votes

I don't have Photoshop, but there's an ancient open source project called refocus-it (for iterative refocus), which uses some of the same techniques as Photoshop's new-in-CS6 deblur feature. This ...

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Why are DSLR lenses measured in F stops instead of T stops?
20 votes

Because in cinema, it's common to change lenses within a shoot while preserving identical exposure. This is rarely important in still photography (and even less so with the flexibility of digital). ...

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How do you unlock a memory card?
20 votes

The write-protect lock on an SD card is a very small plastic slider on the side of the card itself. It should be labeled as such, probably in fine print. (File modified from original on Wikicommons ...

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What are the first few steps a beginner should take in post processing?
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20 votes

Don't overdo it. A light touch is often best. Watch for destructive operations and decide if they're really what you want to do. Increasing contrast (or hitting "auto" in the levels dialog) can add a ...

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What causes lens flare?
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20 votes

Uncontrolled light causes lens flare. This can be light that's reflected from internal lens surfaces, or that's scattered by imperfections in the glass. If the flare is badly controlled, it will ...

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When should you use a normal flash vs a second-curtain flash?
20 votes

There are actually three possibilities here: "Regular" flash First-curtain slow-speed sync Second-curtain slow-speed sync The last is also goes by a couple of other names: trailing curtain or rear ...

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Why do people say they like "art" and "photography", instead of just "art"?
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19 votes

Not all photography is art, not because of some failure, but because it never meant to be that. Some documentary photography may be art, but most isn't. Some of it is just recording a moment. Most ...

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Multiple copies of the same exposure, but randomizing the noise?
19 votes

Image stacking works to reduce noise because the noise is random — or at least, ideally so — while the stars are (famously) constant. That means that (once you've corrected for rotation) the stars ...

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Do any DSLRs offer in-camera file encryption?
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19 votes

Canon used to sell a data verification kit which signed images for verification, and that had an encryption feature which worked with the EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS-1D Mark III (only). However, the ...

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Why do camera manufacturers stick with the same awkward control layout imposed by film cameras?
19 votes

I highly recommend you read Neal Stephenson's essay In the Beginning Was the Command Line. It's a decade and a half old now, and about computers rather than cameras, but a lot of it is very relevant. ...

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Is there a tool to check the file integrity of a series of images?
19 votes

If you are talking about JPEG files, then the utility jpeginfo is exactly what you're looking for. It can check files for different types of JPEG errors and corruption and either return an error code (...

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How many pixels in a megapixel?
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19 votes

About a million. I think that in general due to rounding — and more importantly, other real world factors which mean that megapixels only relate loosely to actual resolving power — it doesn't really ...

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How to stop a high F number from appearing blurry?
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19 votes

You've hit the diffraction limit. That link has some amazing answers with a lot of detail, so I won't be redundant, but in short, once the aperture gets to be below certain physical size, diffraction ...

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What's the difference between a wide angle lens and a landscape lens?
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19 votes

There is overlap between the two terms, as you'll see as you browse the lists of both at LensHero. Basically, they're two different directions from which to approach the problem of narrowing down lens ...

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