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Canon SX60HS in Action

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Old Friday 23rd January 2015, 19:47   #476
CalvinFold
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Roy C:
Yeah, point taken, and I already understood that--there's never going to be a magic bullet. I'm just fiddling around trying to find the "base settings" that maximize the dynamic range for most shots so I don't have to think too hard except on tougher shots...so I can go "ooh bird flying" and start shooting without fiddling with settings and losing the shot. Or when I adjust the camera for a specific shot, knowing what I should return the camera to when done to maximize spur-of-the-moment shooting.

I freely admit I need to jump into RAW soon. First I need to see how slow the camera is for bursts using RAW--I planned ahead and bought a memory card on the faster side. I lean heavily on burst photography to "capture the moment." But for white birds, RAW might be worth it for the extra flexibility to squeeze a bit more detail.

The local pair of white-tailed kites (if they are still there this year) generally make great "fiddle with the camera" subjects if I can catch them resting or just finished eating (and preening). They are basically still or moving only in short moments for 1-2 hours, which lets me do all kinds of experiments with settings and practice technique on a known subject in relatively static poses. Closest I can come to controlled conditions with a tricky subject (contrasty bird in lower-light/near-sunrise conditions). I just haven't had the weather or opportunity to try to see them since I bought the SX60.

kawwauser seems to be experimenting just like I am, so I'm watching that carefully for ideas as well.
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Old Monday 26th January 2015, 22:59   #477
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another 2 straight out the camera shots,the only 2 I got like this,the others will need some minor editing,after a days shooting I like to finish with a good walk (min 4 miles) which leaves me tired hence not posting the pics on the day I took them
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Old Tuesday 27th January 2015, 16:10   #478
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I actually found the white-tailed kites this past weekend, but not in their usual spot and they were backlit and in severe shadows, so my photography knowledge being what it is, I didn't get good shots from the SX60.

I did however take 40+ shots with fixed aperture and various ISO and shutter speeds (without exposure compensation) on a known real-world target, at full zoom, in the same lighting, on the tripod, which made for some interesting information once I got it all into Excel to look at.

Basically:
  • If I choose the shutter speed and ISO, and let the camera choose the aperture, it's pretty good at choosing the aperture. I found that the histogram can be fairly balanced without resorting to exposure compensation. For a basic balanced scene I think I can make a pretty accurate guess of the proper ISO based on shutter speed now.
  • If I choose the shutter speed and leave it to the camera to choose aperture and ISO, the camera is insane. It wants to wipe-out highlights. Probably okay on an overall landscape, horrible for any bird with alot of white.
  • Boy the SX60's logic hates hot highlights. Even with center-weighted metering, it will see a white bird like an egret, or a round white storage tank, that is already getting alot of sun, and choose a higher ISO. It was taking shots that would have worked at 100 ISO and used 160, 250, and more ISO. WTH?
  • I can only guess than instead of ETTR, which I am trying to do to maximize dynamic range (so worrying about "pretty" in post), the camera is going for more consumer-oriented "pretty right from the camera."
  • White birds and bright scenes still benefit from -1/3 or -2/3 EV by default, the histogram needs the nudge to the left. I'd use -1/3 if you know your ISO + Shutter Speed comfortably, -2/3 if you want to be safe or are letting the camera do more of the work guessing exposure.

Additionally, I finally gave RAW a chance. Unfortunately, even with a fairly fast memory card, it pretty much kills the burst rate, and I rely on burst too much to catch birds in action or BiF. So RAW is only useful on subjects that sit still for a while and to line-up the perfect photo. I hope to catch the kites in their eating/grooming spot some day to try this out.

That being said, the RAW data is pretty much as bad as the JPEG...it's no solution to the highlight clipping. It does make the photos a bit more "rescuable" in Photoshop. So no panacea (which I did realize, but was curious).

New to me though: using Photoshop Camera RAW on JPEG images. I just remembered the technique this week and sat down and gave it a try, and it's definitely going to change my post-processing workflow. I was using Photoshop adjustment layers (mostly Levels and Brightness/Contrast), but Camera RAW is much better at it.

Hope this all helps the SX60 users watching. :)
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Old Tuesday 27th January 2015, 22:32   #479
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kevin I came to the same conclusion regarding the sx 60 choosing the iso while out shooting yesterday, allowing the sx 60 to choose the iso and giving the camera a range of up to 1600 is certainly not the way to go,i had very good light while I was out yesterday and set the iso limit to 400,the camera never once went below 400 which surprised me,on my sx 40 the auto iso with no set limit worked perfectly, I was happy with nearly all the pics I took and even managed a couple of handheld shots with the 2.00 converter on,the only pics I deleted were out of focus/birds moving off etc,later in the day and with the light fading I came across a distant perched kestrel,i dropped the shutter speed down to 1/250 thinking they would end up being deleted but after adding some contrast and highlighting adjustments I think the pic ended up being not to shappy considering the lighting and distance (206.61)the first robin pic below was taken with the 1.6 converter and cropped ,the second pic taken from the same spot with the 2,0 converter and uncropped ,both pics handheld
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Old Monday 2nd February 2015, 20:26   #480
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a couple of quickly edited shots from today
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Old Tuesday 3rd February 2015, 14:27   #481
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More photos from my latest photography outing are trickling into my gallery starting today.

I accidentally left the "Safety" feature on so when I set an ISO it didn't like, it moved the shutter speed (despite being in Tv!), so my plan to test ISO settings failed. I was thankful I had at least forced the camera's hand by limiting ISO to 400. Honestly, the camera does just fine for daylight photos, even fairly gloomy overcast, in the 100-200 ISO range, even with -2/3 EV and 1/640 shutter speed.

I did however get one photo that I "shouldn't be able to get"...overcast, low lighting, white bird (egret). Oddly, it chose ISO 200, which along with a -1/3 EV was just about perfect. Yet I've seen broad-daylight shots where it tries to use ISO 400, so it's really unpredictable.

The more I learn to squeeze better data out of the camera, the more I'm enjoying it. It really is taking much better photos at 50-70m distance than my digiscoping setup did...and handheld.

My usual disclaimer: I do adjust my photos in post-processing. So I shoot in a technique similar to ETTR...the photos sometimes are just "okay" or even over-dark straight off the camera. I just changed my workflow to start with Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), because despite the fact that I shoot in JPEG, the controls are much more robust and easy to use (and I save them as DNG files). I then finalize the cropping, resizing, and sharpening in Photoshop. I don't shoot RAW because I need the burst speed and 99.99% of my photos go here on the forums.
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Old Tuesday 3rd February 2015, 19:16   #482
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another 4 from yesterday
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Old Tuesday 3rd February 2015, 22:15   #483
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Yep, I think the single biggest thing you can do to this camera to improve it is to limit the ISO and then manually set it for the conditions as needs be
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Old Tuesday 3rd February 2015, 23:13   #484
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here are 3 shots showing how usefull the sx60 is in getting those record shots of very distant birds,the first shot the diver was taken at full zoom 247mm and with the 2,0 converter on,i had to add contrast to the shot but as a shot aimed at identifying distant birds I think it serves the purpose well,the last pic of the yellowhammer is straight out of camera, I saw a flock of birds landing in a field and zoomed in taking pics to try and id them,on looking at the pic on my computer I thought to myself if the yellowhammer had been a bit more cooperative and faced the right way instead of a identify and delete pic I might have ended up with a half decent (after editing)yellowhammer in winter habitat shot
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Old Thursday 5th February 2015, 21:18   #485
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4 from today,the diver full 247mm with the 2,0 converter,the bird was closer than it was last visit
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Old Friday 13th February 2015, 14:46   #486
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Proof that you can get this camera not to blow out the highlights: Snowy Egret

This required only a very slight Highlight adjustment in ACR, was shot as JPEG, and otherwise as-is. Awful lighting conditions really...couple hours before sundown, overcast skies with the direct sun coming and going.

KEY SETTINGS:
  • 1/800 (Tv mode)
  • ISO 100 (manually set)
  • f/6.5 (automatic; chosen by camera)
  • -1/3 EV (manually set)
  • No flash
  • Maximum Focal Length (247mm = 1350mm equivalent)
  • Center-Weighted Average Metering

And I literally have over 100 images from this shoot that are nearly this good, 13 of which will slowly make it into my gallery.

Taking control of the ISO was a huge gain. I'm also experimenting with faster and faster shutter speeds. 1/800 worked better than I thought for the lighting conditions, going to try 1/1000 next time out.

Can you tell I'm just giddy about the results?
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 16:43   #487
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I didn't see comments regarding remote shooting feature with mobile phone or tablet. Easy to use with this camera?
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 17:12   #488
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryA View Post
I didn't see comments regarding remote shooting feature with mobile phone or tablet. Easy to use with this camera?
I never trust wireless devices for this kinda thing so I bought the cabled shutter release (Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3). Besides, the cable release is smaller to carry, won't break if I drop it, and won't inhale batteries (or battery life). :)

The cabled release works, but is rather feature-poor compared to the Nikon one I had for my old Coolpix 4500 (which let you control zoom, see shot count on a tiny screen, etc.). I may eventually try to see if other third-party shutter releases have more features.

I have used the software that lets you view what's on the camera with an iOS device (iPad in my case) and it works okay, but it doesn't have standard features I expect like zoom-in, and it causes photos to look blurrier than they really are.
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 19:51   #489
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3 pics taken yesterday,the pipit pic was taken in very windy conditions only about 2 pics had the bird in the frame out of about 40
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 20:07   #490
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Nice shots kawauser! Check my gallery for my latest (though not from this past weekend, still processing those).

I've been experimenting with higher shutter speeds. I liked 1/800 and can get great results at ISO 100 and either 0 or -1/3 EV pretty reliably in good sunlight. Depth of field is good, and the camera doesn't complain about the aperture values (not turning the number red as I shoot).

This past weekend I tried 1/1000 and underexposed everything pretty badly (too much negative EV), what good photos I got need help in Photoshop. Live and learn.

I also tried 1/2000 and got some interesting shots of a Bufflehead flapping fast while washing and a big black bee feeding, and while freeze-framed well, are so badly under-exposed I can't salvage them. Again, I forgot to adjust the ISO and EV...but that's what these experiments are for.

Also, 1/1000 and 1/2000 at ISO 100 is causing the depth of field to get shallow (I assume because of the very limited aperture range available to the SX60), which I'm not sure I like. I hope ISO 200 will improve things, as I'm not fond of the noise starting at ISO 400.

I think 1/1000 and 1/2000 need ISO 200 even in good lighting, and either 0 EV or even a small amount of +EV. Guess I'll try that next time out. I suspect I won't be able to use 1/2000 all the time but I want to see how far I can push it because I like capturing those special shots of moving or flying birds.
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 21:11   #491
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cheers kevin, I checked your gallery,love that pintail shot,these are usually very distant birds in my area,since controlling the iso I haven,t went above 1/400 shutter speed,its interesting to read of your experiences, below is another edited pic of the robin from yesterday,i was hoping to get the usual blue/great tits but a female sparrowhawk flew past and the only brave bird was the robin
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 22:07   #492
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawwauser View Post
kevin I came to the same conclusion regarding the sx 60 choosing the iso while out shooting yesterday, allowing the sx 60 to choose the iso and giving the camera a range of up to 1600 is certainly not the way to go,i had very good light while I was out yesterday and set the iso limit to 400,the camera never once went below 400 which surprised me,on my sx 40 the auto iso with no set limit worked perfectly, I was happy with nearly all the pics I took and even managed a couple of handheld shots with the 2.00 converter on,the only pics I deleted were out of focus/birds moving off etc,later in the day and with the light fading I came across a distant perched kestrel,i dropped the shutter speed down to 1/250 thinking they would end up being deleted but after adding some contrast and highlighting adjustments I think the pic ended up being not to shappy considering the lighting and distance (206.61)the first robin pic below was taken with the 1.6 converter and cropped ,the second pic taken from the same spot with the 2,0 converter and uncropped ,both pics handheld
Nice results using the Teleconverter.
Photoshop has a function called HDR Toning (Image/Adjustments) that I use to save underexposed images. It pulled a bit more detail out of the Kestrel photo. I bit more fiddling could probably even do a better job. Hope you don't mind.
Neil.
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 23:17   #493
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cheers neil that looks a lot better,kevin done a similar edit again showing a lot more detail,i own photoshop elements 11 but basically haven,t the time to learn enough about it to get the full advantage, a week after taking the kestrel pic I changed my camera settings to jpeg large (kevins advice)and noticed a lot more detail in my pics, im really enjoying this camera and cant wait until the seabirds return to our local colonys
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Old Friday 20th February 2015, 03:10   #494
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You guys are doing great work in teasing out the best from the SX60 - really encouraging. I recently got together with Jeff Hosier from this forum, who has an SX50, to compare ease of use and quality of results. Generally, we found there was not much to choose between the final outcomes (neither of us are great photographers I hasten to add) BUT the IS on the SX50 was vastly superior the the SX60 at full zoom, at least compared to my copy

I have decided against the SX50 mainly because of the EVF, but not at all happy with the IS on the SX60 - are any of you having trouble with it, particualrly at full zoom? I am going to try out another copy or two in order to rule out mine being faulty. It's been away for repair and had the whole optical unit replaced apparently, but doesn't seem any different to me.

Btw through trial and error I found the SX60 remains at f5.6 up to 184mm, which gives 1030mm equivalent with that extra 1/3 stop

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Old Friday 20th February 2015, 03:28   #495
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I haven't found the SX60 autofocus to be any more odd than any other P&S class camera. I have noticed lately that backing-off from full zoom just a tiny bit, a quick flick of the dial, will sometimes help in difficult autofocus situations.

I'm not sure what you mean by IS issues, but then again I've been shooting at 1/500 and up, and have been using 1/800 by default in good lighting, so maybe IS is a much lesser issue? Can't really say.
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Old Friday 20th February 2015, 04:04   #496
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No I'm not talking about auto-focus, I'm refering to the image stabilization not working well enough to get many keepers. For me, at full or near full zoom the image in the viewfinder moves all over the place, whereas in the SX50 it stays still. A a result I do get an awful lot of blurry photos, so in that sense auto-focus is affected - it doesn't get a decent chance to work. So does the image stay pretty still for you?

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Old Friday 20th February 2015, 12:54   #497
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No I'm not talking about auto-focus, I'm refering to the image stabilization not working well enough to get many keepers. For me, at full or near full zoom the image in the viewfinder moves all over the place, whereas in the SX50 it stays still. A a result I do get an awful lot of blurry photos, so in that sense auto-focus is affected - it doesn't get a decent chance to work. So does the image stay pretty still for you?
Still really not sure what you mean, and it may because none of my previous cameras ever had image stabilization...the image stabilizer was always me or the tripod.

The SX60 has a very long focal range, so I expect every little motion I make to translate to exaggerated movement in the viewfinder. The fact that I can even handheld photos of subjects that are 50+m distant, I figure the IS is doing it's job.

I also figure if I can get birds in flight where I am swinging the camera around in a fast arc during a continuous burst means both the IS and AF are working in concert in some fashion, yes? Otherwise I'd have severe blur even at 1/800?

But again, since I generally am using at least 1/250, but more normally 1/500 or 1/800 shutter speed, within reason, IS is sorta moot, isn't it?

So I suspect I'm missing your point...I get good photos at long range, even handheld, even at full zoom. To me, sounds like the IS is working.

Do I shoot 1200 shots in two hours and get 1200 keepers? Oh heck no. Do I get as many keepers as my girlfriend with her DSLR? Nope. Do I get far more keepers than my old digiscoping setup? Oh yes!

I don't have an SX50, and I'm sure the lower-res EVF would drive me nuts. I'm sure the other superzooms had characteristics that would have bothered me (primarily: less reach than my digiscoping setup). So the SX60 works for me, really all I can say.

Are there compromises over DSLR or MFT? Of course, that was a given. Am I disappointed with some aspects? Yes, most certainly. Has the SX60 met my expectations? Exceeded, actually.
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Old Friday 20th February 2015, 12:55   #498
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Questions about Digital TC

Hello everybody
I am interested to buy the SX60 but as a scientist I like to understand how the stuffs are working and I did'nt found complete explanation about the Digital TeleConverter so I have theses questions for the owners :
The manual said the DTC ratio we can choose (1.6 or 2) depends on the image size we choose so how it depends ?
Second question What is the size(pixels) of the resulting images when we used the DTC 1.6 or 2 ?

Thanks to anybody who can answer these questions
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Old Friday 20th February 2015, 13:15   #499
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Hello everybody
I am interested to buy the SX60 but as a scientist I like to understand how the stuffs are working and I did'nt found complete explanation about the Digital TeleConverter so I have theses questions for the owners :
The manual said the DTC ratio we can choose (1.6 or 2) depends on the image size we choose so how it depends ?
Second question What is the size(pixels) of the resulting images when we used the DTC 1.6 or 2 ?
My experience and 2 worth:

I looked around, and Canon has never explained how the Digital Teleconverter works, or why overall the image quality is better than using Digital Zoom (they are two separate things). Lots of theories, but no definitive answers.

The DTC works in the same way as a lens-based teleconverter would work on an optical system...if max focal length is 1350mm, then activating the DTC at 1.6x gives you an effective 2160mm focal length.

The image size is the same as whatever your camera settings are, as far as I know. Only the effective "magnification" changes.
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Old Friday 20th February 2015, 14:16   #500
clbirding
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Questions about Digital TC

Thanks Kevin
Is that mean we can get maximum resolution (L) while using TC 1.6 or 2 ?
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