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by Porsche917 on Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:51 pm
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Ladies & Gentlemen:

For those of you that use the EOS 1DX Mk II, what picture styles to you
use for birds and wildlife images?  Do you have any customized settings that
you use for the picture style that you have selected for bird and wildlife images?

And for landscape images, do you have any customized settings that
you find productive?

Thank any and all for your suggestions and comments.

Best Regards,

Roman :-)

by jrhoffman75 on Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:20 pm
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Picture Styles are only meaningful for in-camera JPEGs or folks who use Canon DPP software, so you may not be getting too many responses.

by ahazeghi on Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:01 pm
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yes it only affects JPEG output , if you use Canon DPP you can always set or change the picture style during conversion. I use standard.

by Porsche917 on Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:43 pm
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Dear Arash & JR Hoffman:

Many thanks. This is precisely what I needed to know. With my old 1DX I used standard; and with the new 1DX Mk II I also thought that I should use standard. Since I process raw images using Photoshop CC, I did not see the value of the picture styles per se for me.

Best Regards,

Roman :-)

by E.J. Peiker on Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:14 pm
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It actually does affect RAWs but in an indirect way.  The histogram you see on the back of the camera is built from the embedded JPEG which includes any picture style.  So if you select a high contrast or high saturation picture style, the histogram will show clipping long before the actual RAW file does leading you to unnecessarily underexposing the RAW file and thereby giving up dynamic range.  If you are a RAW shooter, your best bet is to use a Neutral picture style and then customize it by turning the contrast all the way down.  This is the closest, on a Canon camera, you can come to what is in the RAW file and thereby reducing the risk of giving up dynamic range needlessly.  Do realize that the photos will look flat on the rear LCD but you will be sure that you have recorded the most amount of information your camera is capable.  Other brands include a Flat profile for just this reason but Canon does not.

by ahazeghi on Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:04 am
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Picture style does not affect RAW data in any way, it is a just a header tag. With Canon cameras you can always convert RAW in camera to see what it looks like with different picture styles right away.

I find little value in looking at histogram for bird photography because the histogram is often dominated by the BG. I also wouldn't recommend neutral picture style for Canon shooters as it applies 0 sharpening, as a result files look soft and you won't be able to to tell if the critical focus was tack sharp or not.  I use standard on all my cameras and it has worked pretty well for me.  


Last edited by ahazeghi on Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

by Neilyb on Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:08 am
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As E.J. says it is all about the embedded JPG. For this reason I use Neutral with a little sharpening and no contrast. I generally am only looking at precise focus and blown highlights (also maybe background quality in wildlife images). Using the Standard profile would show blown highlights long before they really are ;)

by Porsche917 on Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:22 pm
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Dear Arash, E.J & Neil:

Thank all of you very much for your advisements. Your input has definitely clarified this subject for me.

Best Regards,

Roman :-)

by PV Hiker on Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:03 pm
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I also use nuetral with a couple of contrast clicks down. Add a little sharpness. With the new cameras I need to shoot a range of exposures and check the raw on the computer to see where the color and highlights start to clip. Then match the camera jpeg thumbnail settings to show the same.
Patrick

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:35 pm
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ahazeghi wrote:
Picture style does not affect RAW data in any way, it is a just a header tag. With Canon cameras you can always convert RAW in camera to see what it looks like with different picture styles right away.

I find little value in looking at histogram for bird photography because the histogram is often dominated by the BG. I also wouldn't recommend neutral picture style for Canon shooters as it applies 0 sharpening, as a result files look soft and you won't be able to to tell if the critical focus was tack sharp or not.  I use standard on all my cameras and it has worked pretty well for me.  


There's nothing that prevents you from customizing the sharpening in the neutral picture style to counteract that.  The point is that if you use histogram to help set your exposure, you will select an exposure that underexposed a bit compared to what you could use.  Personally I think telling people that there is little value in the histogram for bird photography is a bit absurd.

by Ed Cordes on Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:43 pm
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If you shoot RAW, (I guess even if you don't, but not recommended for JPEG as it is already processed by your camera) you can place the Canon Picture Styles as presets into Lightroom. So, you can try any of them when you are in the develop module. I generally end up with Standard, but occasionally select Landscape. I find they still need a bit of tweaking but it gives me a starting point. Hope this helps.
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by ahazeghi on Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:02 pm
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
There's nothing that prevents you from customizing the sharpening in the neutral picture style to counteract that.  The point is that if you use histogram to help set your exposure, you will select an exposure that underexposed a bit compared to what you could use.  Personally I think telling people that there is little value in the histogram for bird photography is a bit absurd.


I disagree, in my 10+ years of bird photography I have not used histogram even once for bird shots. As I mentioned If you are shooting birds histogram does not tell you much as it is dominated by the background, not the bird. If I showed you a histogram of an owl shot against similarly colored BG it will have multiple peaks and valleys, you won't be able to tell what is coming from what.

In fact one of the common mistakes folks make in the field when shooting birds is that they rely on histogram to tell exposure,  and end up with either blown or underexposed images. To get the correct exposure for the bird, sometimes you need to blow up the histogram, e.g. shooting eagles against snow you will only see a tiny peak in the histogram (eagle) and the largest peak, snow will be partially blown if you expose correctly for the eagle.  Similarly if you are shooting a snowy owl against a dark background, you will blow up the owl if you go by histogram. histogram is good for landscape shots but not ford birds IMO. 

by E.J. Peiker on Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:11 am
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It has nothing to do with what dominates anything nor do the peaks and valleys matter one bit.  What does matter is if you are pegging the histogram on either end regardless of how tall or short that pegged area is.  It has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not it is bird photography or any type of photography.  The amount of years you have photographing also is totally irrelevant and I can guarantee you I have you beat there but that is a completely pointless argument.  If I am photographing a snowy owl against a dark background and as long as I do not allow the owl to peg the far right of the histogram I have not overexposed it regardless of how small or large the owl is in the frame or how much of the histogram is dominated by the background.  Like I said, to me your stating that histogram is not useful for bird photography is absurd.  I'm happy for you that it works for you but I also think it is not good advice.

by ahazeghi on Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:35 am
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You clearly did not understand what I said, and I doubt you have looked at your histogram in the conditions I described above. Pegging histogram dos not work for all shots as sometimes you have to push it well outside the right or the left border, in order to expose correctly for the bird. You don't know how much exactly you have to push it either. In the snowy owl example you may not even see the owl in the small histogram on the back of the camera in order  to place it. A histogram just shows pixel population at a given intensity so when most pixels come from the BG, it will be dominated by that, it is simple math. I recognized the value of pegging histogram for the type of landscape shots you take but for birds, that is what I shoot, I believe it is not the best way and that's my perosnal recommendation to anyone who likes to take the type of photos that I take. 


EJ Piker, , You and I don't know each other but I not only find your comments incorrect but unfortunately they come across to me as arrogant and disrespectful, especially from someone calling themselves "senior technical editor".  It is not the first time you are doing it, whenever I post which I rarely do, I see some kind of hostile comment posted here. It leaves me scratching my head as why I contribute to this site. I work hard and present my best images and share my knowledge here, but I am very disappointed by your attitude. Maybe that's why some of the respected photographers who used to be here don't post anymore. 

I am not going to waste my time here anymore. 

by Mark Picard on Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:46 pm
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ahazeghi wrote:
You clearly did not understand what I said, and I doubt you have looked at your histogram in the conditions I described above. Pegging histogram dos not work for all shots as sometimes you have to push it well outside the right or the left border, in order to expose correctly for the bird. You don't know how much exactly you have to push it either. In the snowy owl example you may not even see the owl in the small histogram on the back of the camera in order  to place it. A histogram just shows pixel population at a given intensity so when most pixels come from the BG, it will be dominated by that, it is simple math. I recognized the value of pegging histogram for the type of landscape shots you take but for birds, that is what I shoot, I believe it is not the best way and that's my perosnal recommendation to anyone who likes to take the type of photos that I take. 


EJ Piker, , You and I don't know each other but I not only find your comments incorrect but unfortunately they come across to me as arrogant and disrespectful, especially from someone calling themselves "senior technical editor".  It is not the first time you are doing it, whenever I post which I rarely do, I see some kind of hostile comment posted here. It leaves me scratching my head as why I contribute to this site. I work hard and present my best images and share my knowledge here, but I am very disappointed by your attitude. Maybe that's why some of the respected photographers who used to be here don't post anymore. 

I am not going to waste my time here anymore. 

If, in the example given, of a Snowy Owl against a dark background, my experience tells me that, let's say, the owl occupies 10% of the frame the histogram will show a narrow spike on the right side (the bird). If the owl occupied 90% of the frame, that spike will be in the same location on the histogram, only it will be much wider due to fact it has 80% more of the pixels are on the bird in the photo. Technically, if you expose that Snowy correctly, the BG would most likely be a bit under-exposed (in either scenario), but we photographers can live with that scenario versus a blown out bird. If you were to expose for the background/shadows only more than likely the bird would be blown out. Anyway, I tend to agree with E.J. about using your histogram to help with correct exposures under any situation. If I were doing BIF I would shoot all manually, pre- set everything so that if the subject was to fly through differently lit backgrounds, the bird would remain the same (assuming the bird stayed in the same light, but only the background lighting changed).  
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by ahazeghi on Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:41 pm
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Thanks Mark,

It seems to me that you are saying the same thing I said above, which is if you expose for the BG-which will happen by placing the visible/dominant histogram peak, not the tiny spike- to the right, the bird will be blown up and the image is a delete. That's why I go by blinkies on the bird and not the histogram and that's why I mentioned exposing for the bird. Of course the x-axis position of the peak is fixed regardless of subject size, but it is the y-axis amplitude that is too small to be visible if the bird is small in the frame. it will look like a small bump and hard to spot. In other words, the histogram does not have local spatial resolution, so in cases where correct exposure is required for a small, localized part of the frame it is not the best choice IMO, both mathematically and also from my extensive field experience, something EJ Piker conveniently dismissed above. 

If the snowy owl is 90% of the frame of course it will be very easy to go by histogram  but I cannot imaging a case in my head where a snowy owl is 90% of the frame. To me that means more like a head shot of  captive bird with from a couple of inches away. And yes I also agree shooting manual for BIF is the best method and it's also how I do it.

I would also like to take this opportunity as my last post to thank folks who have provided positive and constructive comments on my posts, reviews and images,  I wish you all well.

best 

by Mark Picard on Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:36 pm
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ahazeghi wrote:
If the snowy owl is 90% of the frame of course it will be very easy to go by histogram  but I cannot imaging a case in my head where a snowy owl is 90% of the frame. To me that means more like a head shot of  captive bird with from a couple of inches away. 


That was just an random example to understand the basic differences in the two photos. Besides, one can easily get shots of wild Snowies with 90% fill frame. They are quite easily approached and if your using a 600mm with a APC sensor camera it is easy to get. No, I wouldn't want a 90% fill frame either, just pointing out an example of 10% vs. 90% for histogram purposes. Here's an example that fits the bill in our discussion:

Image
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by Jens Peermann on Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:35 pm
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
Other brands include a Flat profile for just this reason but Canon does not.


I checked all four of my Sony cameras and could not find a Flat profile. They all have the latest Firmware.
Life without a camera is possible but pointless!

by E.J. Peiker on Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:41 pm
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Jens Peermann wrote:
E.J. Peiker wrote:
Other brands include a Flat profile for just this reason but Canon does not.


I checked all four of my Sony cameras and could not find a Flat profile. They all have the latest Firmware.


Sony only does for video although you can use it for stills but you are then limited to ISO 800.

by E.J. Peiker on Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:47 pm
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ahazeghi wrote:
Thanks Mark,

It seems to me that you are saying the same thing I said above, which is if you expose for the BG-which will happen by placing the visible/dominant histogram peak, not the tiny spike- to the right, the bird will be blown up and the image is a delete. That's why I go by blinkies on the bird and not the histogram and that's why I mentioned exposing for the bird. Of course the x-axis position of the peak is fixed regardless of subject size, but it is the y-axis amplitude that is too small to be visible if the bird is small in the frame. it will look like a small bump and hard to spot. In other words, the histogram does not have local spatial resolution, so in cases where correct exposure is required for a small, localized part of the frame it is not the best choice IMO, both mathematically and also from my extensive field experience, something EJ Piker conveniently dismissed above. 

If the snowy owl is 90% of the frame of course it will be very easy to go by histogram  but I cannot imaging a case in my head where a snowy owl is 90% of the frame. To me that means more like a head shot of  captive bird with from a couple of inches away. And yes I also agree shooting manual for BIF is the best method and it's also how I do it.

I would also like to take this opportunity as my last post to thank folks who have provided positive and constructive comments on my posts, reviews and images,  I wish you all well.

best 


Nobody ever said that you should expose for the background.  Certainly I didn't write that.  I simply responded to your point that the histogram is not useful in bird photography.  Even with your method of using the blinkies as a guide, if you use a picture style that bumps the contrast or saturates the colors, you will get blinkies when the RAW file has plenty of room left.  That is because the blinkies are calculated off of the embedded JPEG, not the RAW data which has a significant tone curve applied to it.  This can lead you to giving up dynamic range unnecessarily by exposing less than you could.  The more you can negate that tone curve, which you are doing when you turn down the contrast, the closer your re getting to simulating the RAW data.  So even if you never use a histogram, you still can indirectly affect the RAW file with the picture style that you use.  An easy test of this is to change your picture style to vivid and expose something that just gives you a small amount of blinkies.  Now leave everything the same except changing you picture style to neutral, you will have no blinkies or at least far fewer.  Both RAW files will be identical but if you had responded to those blinkies you would have now reduced the exposure unnecessarily.  It doesn't matter if it's a white bird (large in the frame or small in the frame) or if it's a cloud in a landscape shot that causes the blinkies, neither one is desirable.

I have always found your photography to be absolutely first rate and most certainly hope you continue to post them but when I see statements like you made about the the lack of usefulness of the histogram I respond.  But you can consider your issue with me as resolved as I will no longer respond to your comments regardless of how right or wrong I find them. 

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