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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Canon SX50 Specs (1 Viewer)

Any suggestions on where to start with layers Roy? I have found it very daunting and never got to grips with layers so I generally use little more than basic colour, contrast and whole image sharpening.
Paul, there are numerous tutorials on the web that would explain it better than me but here is a easy guide to Layers and Layer Masks.
A layer is simply one image stacked on top of another image. A layer mask is a mask put on top of your layer which allows you to paint away parts of your layer without damaging your original image. There are many ways to do selective adjustments but I will give a very easy and basic way of doing it in Photoshop (different software will be slightly different but the principle will be the same). As an example we will assume that you want to apply some sharpening to just the bird and not the background.

1. With you image open in PS. Open the Layers window and drag it to one side of your screen (Window > Layers)
2. Duplicate the image to create a Layer (Ctrl + J is a quick way) you will now see a new layer in the layers window called Layer one. This is just a copy of your background layer.
3. Carryout the sharpening as per normal, at this stage it will be applied globally.
4. When finished sharpening hold down the Alt key and click on the 'add layer mask' icon along the botton of the Layers widow.. You will now see the sharpening you have just done disappear, do not worry - it has just been masked out.
5. Now take a White brush and paint over just the bird to reveal the sharpening underneath. This is often best done by zooming in. If you make a mistake and go over some of the background by mistake just use a Black brush over the offending part to reapply the mask over just that bit. To start with I would use a 100% hard brush for these steps but once you are used to the procedure you can play around with various brush hardness's.
6. When finished just flatten the layer, Layer > Flatten Image .
You will now see that the sharpening you did was just applied to the bird and all the rest of the image has been left alone.

That's all there is to it, you can use this to do almost anything selectively in Photoshop.
Once you have master these simple steps then there are lots more things in Layers to explore like Blending modes, Layer opacity, Adjustment layers, Stacking layers, and much much more.

Before I carryout almost anything in PS I create a copy layer (Ctrl + J) as a matter of course just in case I need to create a layer mask to apply it selectively, if it is not needed then it just takes a second to flatten the image.
I hope this helps Paul, It is very easy once you have done it a few times.
 
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Thanks for the layers tip Roy, I will give it a go. One question, when you say 'choose a black/white brush' is it literally just the brush tool and then the appropriate colour, there are no further options to worry about?

That price for the sx50 is astonishing, I was happy with the £260 I paid, so not sure I would trust anybody selling it so cheap!
 
Thanks for the layers tip Roy, I will give it a go. One question, when you say 'choose a black/white brush' is it literally just the brush tool and then the appropriate colour, there are no further options to worry about?
Yep, just the brush tool and the appropriate colour Paul.
 
Thanks Roy. Found that I can't use as layer masks as I only have Elements but googled and found a workaround which works for me :t:
Hmm I thought the later versions of Elements supported layer masks! still glad you found a workaround Paul.
Edit: I see they are in Elements 11.
 
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Yeah I saw they are available in 11 - think I am still using 6 o:)

I started looking at Photoshop upgrades whilst trying the layers out, then looking at Wacom graphic tablets (think I may have to have one at some point), and then when I had the page open for the professional level gear I realised I was having a credit card moment again!

Anyway, I feel that I have hijacked the SX50 so apologies all.

I actually came to look for a link to your "Swallow on a post" shot, Roy. You say that was taken at 50 feet, is it edited or straight from camera?
 
Yeah I saw they are available in 11 - think I am still using 6 o:)

I started looking at Photoshop upgrades whilst trying the layers out, then looking at Wacom graphic tablets (think I may have to have one at some point), and then when I had the page open for the professional level gear I realised I was having a credit card moment again!

Anyway, I feel that I have hijacked the SX50 so apologies all.

I actually came to look for a link to your "Swallow on a post" shot, Roy. You say that was taken at 50 feet, is it edited or straight from camera?

I have 10 and they are in that, possible cheaper alternative if you upgrade.

Phil
 
My current camera is a Panasonic Lumix FZ150. My previous camera was a Lumix older model as well. But two things have got me wondering whether I should switch to the Canon 50. One of course is the 50 zoom.
The other is the FZ150 has focusing issues and I'm tired of it. I am once in awhile user and never know my camera extremely well so thought it was me. However there is a guy on you tube who does really excellent tutorials of the Lumix's and he replied to a post regarding this that he had sometimes had the same trouble. I.e. sometimes when zoomed out it just won't focus. You have to turn it off or zoom it back and out again or basically randomly fiddle with it to get it to.........reset..........or something.

Anyone with experience with both camera's that can tell me how they compare in terms of ease of use, ease of learning viewfinders, LED screens etc?
I'm pretty sure I'll do this at some point but would like to hear how they compare so I know whether I should consider more carefully.
Thanks,
Mary
 
ordered

well i ordered sx50 yesterday and that was before i had seen this thread,quite glad i have now,hopefully try it out at leighton moss next week
 
Well, I still haven't managed a great bird shot with this camera but I have had a chance to play with it a bit more and it is really starting to impress with its reach and macro ability. With a Raynox DCR-250 it captures amazing detail!
I promise I will add some images once I have got something (of a bird) that is noteworthy

all the best Paul

edit: I am now shooting in RAW almost always
 
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Well, I still haven't managed a great bird shot with this camera but I have had a chance to play with it a bit more and it is really starting to impress with its reach and macro ability. With a Raynox DCR-250 it captures amazing detail!

Any chance of a few samples with the raynox? I'm still umming and ahhing whether this should be my new camera. Most of my shooting is macro but the long zoom will also be incredibly useful when our and about.
 
Can you elaborate on that, please Paul? What are your criteria for shooting or not shooting in RAW?

Morning. I am only using jpeg if the target is a long way away and I only wish for a record shot

edit: I should have said "and I wish to use the digital teleconverters for a record shot"
 
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I am not into astro shots but last night I took a few snaps of the full moon with the SX50 at 2400mm. Hand held with the 2x tc they did not turn out too bad - would probably have been better if I used a tripod.
Just for BirdForum I have plonked in a few birds for fun in the second shot ;). BTW the moon shot was the full frame and has not been cropped at all.
 

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Below is a link to a friend's Flickr photostream. He uses the SX50 exclusively and many of his macro shots are taken using the raynox dcr-150, though he often doesn't specify that he has. I asked him about this yesterday as I have the dcr-250 and he tells me that he prefers the 150 for ease of use. Overall I think he is getting good results and this has come about by regular use and learning how to get the best from the equipment. He shoots RAW only

Paul

http://www.flickr.com/photos/57683491@N05/
 
I took my first photos with the Raynox added today, with no clue about what settings to use, so I just set it on Av, zoomed in enough to get beyond vignetting, on a mini-tripod, with a remote focus/shoot gizmo that I got of ebay for a couple of quid a few months ago.

Advice on custom setting for using this lens would be gratefully received.

However, considering that I don't have a clue yet, I'm optimistic that I will get better shots of flowers, fungi and hopefully bugs than I could get just using the macro setting on the camera.

This pic of a blackberry flower lightly cropped

http://i419.photobucket.com/albums/pp275/dble_photo/Bramble1_zpsc49c30d7.jpg

David
 
They look good to me David, just need a bit of processing as they look a little flat but that is what I have found with mine too. Love the swallow and martins.

And Roy, your moon is good, tried similar myself but haven't looked at the shots yet - I got side-tracked looking at astrophotography set-ups, you know how it is!
 
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