D700 vs. D200 Portraits problem

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by arthur_cargill, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. Hello,
    I currently have a D200, have had it for 5 years. I haven't been able to get the portrait look I want, ever. I've averaged 300 pictures/week since I purchased it and my focus is candids/portraits. I would think, even by coincidence that I'd have come across something close to what I'm looking for. I thought it was the lens, several years ago I purchased the 70-200 F2.8. Much improvement, but still not the look I want. I thought, maybe photoshop... another improvement but not there yet. I bought some photoshop filters (Alien Skin Exposure 3 AND Bokeh 2). Again, better but not it. I bought an SB-800, SB-600, a soft box, stand, and reflector. For about 3 years I've been using them and still can't get the look I want. I came across some portrait actions I can buy for Photoshop, the persons "actions" on their unedited pictures produce it when I run them but I don't get them when I run it on the results of my camera (the person who sells the actions uses a D700).
    Apparantly I want the look of a D700. If I do a google search and enter "D700 portrait" and then click images... almost all the images are the look I want. The pictures look alive. I do the same for "D200 portrait" and all those images are exactly what I'm getting... they're good... but seem to be lacking life.
    Everything is telling me I should be able to get similar results but I've been at it 5 years. I hate saying it's the camera, but think it is? Thanks
     
  2. You want to post a few images to tell us exactly what is wrong with your pictures?
     
  3. Well, before you run out and buy a D700, rent or borrow one for a weekend. Use it as you have used your D200 and compare the results.
    Just a hunch, mind you, but I don't think it's the camera at fault here. The one lens you did mention is not one that I would consider ideal for portraits. Have you tried a 50mm or an 85mm prime on your D200?
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have absolutely no doubt that the problem is not the camera.
     
  5. Is it possible the difference you are seeing is the difference in an increased depth of field on the smaller format? This can be a tough nut to crack with DX-format cameras, but you could experiment with a 50/1.4 wide open (or an old manual 50/1.2) on the D200.
    Until you can explain what difference you are seeing, it's hard to help.
     
  6. Arthur: If you're uncomfortable showing or linking to examples of your own work (as it relates to this issue), can you link to examples of other people's work that shows the qualities you're after?

    Here's my first reaction: you mentioned a couple of speedlights, a softbox and a reflector, but otherwise sort of gloss over that part. Unless your problem is the inability to get shallow enough DoF with your 70-200/2.8 (I'm doubting that's the problem), then what really distinguishes most portraits is control of the light - size, nature, and placement of the modifiers, quality of fill, ratios, etc. So please, link to some what-you-want shots, and you'll get some good pointers. The D700 will not solve this sort of challenge.

    In a studio setting with controlled light, you can use the D200 at ISO 100. Use it with a good lens (which you have), and that D200 can produce excellent results.
     
  7. I've used D200, D300, D700 and D7000 for portraits (depending on my mood the day of the shoot) for the past 2 years (D300 and D200 for far longer) and haven't had any issues with them.
    Dave
     
  8. I have absolutely no doubt that the problem is not the camera.​
    +1
    And since you have used Alien Skin's Bokeh 2...It's not a shallow DOF/Bokeh problem. I think you might check your eyes and do some blind test yourself. Technically, the images (d700 and d200) should be pretty much identical if taken with the same lens, same mode and if you used Bokeh 2 correctly.
     
  9. Matt, thank you very much for saying pretty much what I was going to say. You saved me dome typing.
    Arthur, read what Matt said.
     
  10. I agree it would really help if you could post something showing theses actions your speaking of. I use D200s for lots of stuff, no problems to speak of except the high ISO restrictions.
     
  11. Thanks everyone, I'll see if I can post a portrait of my son and I think it has all the makings of something, but to me looks bland. This photo of my son has the works applied to it (exposure 3, bokeh 2, some actions by paint the moon for sparkling eyes, greener grass, perfect skin).
    I want my pictures to come out looking like the ones at http://paintthemoon.net click on photos - full screen. I know she uses a D700, an 85mm F1.4, and a 35mm F1.4 for almost all of them, and I'm fully aware that is a fantastic camera, those some serious lenses, and that is a business. But that same sort of look is something I've been trying to achieve and see it when I click on D700 portraits under google images. I have a 70-200 F2.8, a 17-35mm F2.8, and a 50mm F1.4, along with the flashes, bokeh 2, exposure 3, and many of paint the moons actions but it looks to me like she just uses the camera most of the time without a flash or portrait setup, then applies an action and it looks incredible. My portraits look a whole lot better with her actions, but nothing near as good as her photos look.
    I'm hearing the issue is the painter (me). You can give someone the same brushes and paints as Da Vinci but that doesn't mean they'll be painting the Mona Lisa. Some are going to paint as if they're using finger paint :) It's sounding like, I have a problem with my approach as it's sounding like my camera, lenses, and flashes aren't holding me back it's the user. What do I need to learn to take pictures like her? As mentioned, I've been doing about 300/week of them for 5 years. Thanks
    00ZO6M-401723584.jpg
     
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Arthur, if you don't mind, could you post 2, 3 more image samples? I don't think it is fair to discuss this based on just one image sample. And if you prefer to discuss this privately, you are welcome to e-mail me some image samples as well.
     
  13. I've looked at a number of her shots. To be honest, some of those shots are kinda creepy. The world is soft and the eyes are VERY sharp. Most of them are also in a studio with large lights, it looks like. Look at the reflections in those too sharp eyes. You can see the lights reflected in some of them. Big lights = soft light. She is also using some really sharp lenses, if the 50mm f1,4 and 85mm f1.4 are in her list.
    I'm going to ask an odd question... what tripod and head are you using ? If you want tack sharp eye reflections, you need your camera in a solid place.
     
  14. Arthur, it looks like they've used skin softeners and all the tricks you are using, but I think they are also using the liquid tool in PS and distorting or enlarging the eyes and reshaping the head. Also, it looks like they are colorizing the eyes.
     
  15. If you are more a candid or portrait photographer I suggest you buy the NIKON DC 105mm or 135 mm f/2 lens. This is a lens specially made for portrait with very sharp edged to edged and the most important thing of this lens is you can create your Bokeh either in front or rear.
    I have used this lens for more than 15 years and this is my second after i spoiled my first one. The skin color is superb.
     
  16. Looks like the topic is about post-processing. I was to tempted to write an answer yesterday (I was online when you just posted the question) , because I`m also not satisfied at all with my results, and I currently have a D700... same happened when I had a D300 and previously a D200. I decided to wait to see if you were refering to PP issues or to the "digital" look.
    Only image sharpening is a nightmare to me. I don`t want to mean how difficult is to polish a RAW file to turn it into an outstanding image (color, noise, etc.). There are valuable post-procesing pros working on labs and graphic-art companies. There must be a reason for this.
    There are many books about the right techniques in post-processing. I have a very thick one in CS4. The author try to help the reader to find his own style, and how to achieve it. He didn`t achieved it with me.
    As mentioned above, the pics in the linked page could look impresive, but after a second deeper look, they could not seem that great. In fact, I find some of them to be really ugly. They remind me that interior decoration magazines with "real home samples" that look luxurious and impressive at a first sight, but absolutely silly, unpractical, tacky and ugly after checking them more slowly.
    Right, a D700 + f1.4 lenses wide open are the tools mentioned to get this pictures. Certainly a D200 is not capable of the very same results of a D700 (or even D300), and you need faster (fastest) lenses... but with a D200 and your current lenses you should get very similar and satisfying results, IMHO.
     
  17. Hi Arthur, your photo is alright, if you want your photos looks like the one in http://paintthemoon.net
    than you should do a digital manipulation using one of the software available such as photoshop CS or the others, cause the photos shown on Paint The Moon are already process and the look is according to the person taste doing it.
    Your photo is fine, but you can tweak it a bit in iPhoto or Aperture on your Mac.
     
  18. OPK

    OPK

    there's nothing wrong with your D200. If you want to gain a look like in "paint the moon", just start messing with sliders in PP software. the one and only way is the right exposure and unique PP which makes your pictures pop (hint: dodge, burning, curves, clarity). no camera gives you this result. moreover - you can achive similar look even with an old D70 or I dare to say - point and shot camera. the one think you can't replicate is DoF.
     
  19. OPK

    OPK

    have a look at this
    00ZO8k-401759584.jpg
     
  20. I briefly looked at the site you mention. A number of people have commented above about differences in processing. But I don't think that is the most important difference between those photos and the (single, maybe not representative) example you posted above.
    The difference is model direction. In almost all the examples in the "paint the moon" photos, the model is actually doing something. They have a prop they're playing with (candyfloss, for example) or the shot captures them part way through a motion. In your example above, perhaps the child is part-way through doing something, but the effect is quite similar to simply sitting on a rock. Part of the charm of children is not the way they look so much as how they behave, and a successful child portrait (which for my own part I have never made) should capture that.
    There is a second, and in my opinion less important difference; your child's portrait is lit almost from the camera poisition, a little to the right perhaps. Experiment with some slightly greater lighting angles; use the shadows to show more detail and three-dimensionality in the face. Also try moving the camera down quite a bit. This will give the photo a different look (and, probably, amuse the child which won't hurt).
     
  21. Arthur, is this any closer to what you have in mind?
    Tom M
    00ZO9O-401765584.jpg
     
  22. I may be wrong, but i have a strong feeling that the colour images on the linked site have been edited using some "cross processing" filters. (that's aside from standard USM/high pass and/or blurring techniques). It has very little to do with the camera used. You will not get "better looking" images straight out of the d700 - its all about post processing. and of course, it all starts with the way light is falling on the subject, the angle of the shot, etc. I don't see anything very bad about the picture of the kid, save for the overdone vignetting. It simply does not fit this kind of picture.
    btw, I saw candid shooting mentioned - if I understand correctly, one of the points in this kind of photography is about "not attracting" attention. You won't be able to do that with a d700 - it is perhaps the loudest Nikon I have ever worked with (and I had all of the Dxxx series, not to mention the good old fm2 or f5). Also, when using the d700 with your current lenses, you would have to get closer to the subject to achieve the same FOV. Again, not exactly what "candid", as I understand it, is about.
     
  23. BTW, Arthur - you said that "you threw the works" at the image of your son that you posted. Would you mind also posting a copy of the original in-camera JPG, ie, before you applied *any* effects whatsoever to the image. It would be much better if you could post it at full resolution. Photo.net won't be able to display it in-line at full resolution, but it will be vastly easier for us to work with.
    Thanks,
    Tom M
     
  24. If what you point to on the other site is what you want your camera is working too good and a d700 will make it worse. The problem isn't the camera. If you want your stuff to look like the other persons, start by overexposing in the camera, and maybe in processing make a curve that raises the value of skin tone. there are other things going on there too but everyone has there own style.
     
  25. It is difficult to get the look of an 85mm f1.4 without having an 85mm f1.4. The composition of many of the photos you linked to are quite different to your shot, taken much closer to the subject than what you have. Assuming you had the 85mm lens, the FOV is different between DX and FX so a similarly composed shot will have a different look as you shoot DX farther away from the subject to achieve the same composition as FX - so the background compression and the bokeh is different.
    That does not mean to say you cannot get similar or nice images with what you have. Try shooting at or around 200mm @ f2.8 and get a bit closer to your subject and see if the results are more to your liking.
     
  26. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I would say Arthur the OP's image of his son is not exactly exciting has nothing to do with any one of the following factors:
    • Camera, be it the D200 or not
    • Lens
    • Post processing
    I took his image and first added 100x100-pixel yellow squares to the four corners, and then I drew an orange rectangle joining the four inner corners of the four squares.
    Does that help you notice the problem?
    00ZOAs-401783584.jpg
     
  27. Thanks all, this has been very helpful. It was uplifting to hear Jose's story, sounds like we're in the same situation. I do think some of Paint the moons pictures are taken with the 35mm so things get a little warped.
    I'll work on angle, lighting, and intentionally not doing what I normally do. I'll take some at 200mm and F2.8. Martin, I found your image too bleached, and Tom M yours was pretty darn close to the look I want how'd you do it?
    Shun, thanks and here's the original direct from camera. I'll post some more portraits tonight as I'm at work right now but I feel that is the best of the best I've done. It seems the issue is, PP and to work on lighting. I think I'm very good with using flash (especially bouncing) I'll be sure to include those tonight. I'm now thinking, I should make a blog which will force me to really think, analyze, and report and possibly get me out of my rut. Maybe now I can progress knowing it's not my equipment :)
    00ZOBV-401795584.JPG
     
  28. I've noticed that everyone on this forum has made of point of saying its not the camera. I am in general agreement, as your technique is what is dramatically lacking. It is none the less this photographers humble opinion that the D200's color reproduction is noticeably weaker than the D90, D7000, D300, D700, D3\s\x.
    However any camera regardless of color reproduction ration is not going to be enough to make your shots dramatic. I think that's the key word here. "Paint the Moon's" photos are as Elliot said, dramatically framed, i.e. the photographer was much closer to his subject.
    Arthur, have you ever heard the phrase "No guts, No glory"? I think if you put this phase to use, it would help you grow as a photographer. I challenge you to get close to your subject. To get so close its scary, for your subject to completely feel the frame. I challenge you to only shoot in dramatic light, sunset or sunrise when your contrast is very high. Be dramatic, be bold! For boldness has genius, power and magic in it! (JW Goethe).
    I think the biggest problem with your image, is its perfectly "normal". If you want a dramatic shot that takes your breath away, then you are going to have to be dramatic when you shoot it, you are going to have to go way over the top, only shoot stuff this is very extreme, extreme light, extreme frame, if it isn't extreme, don't shoot it. I don't recommend shooting this way forever, but see if this isn't what you are lacking.
     
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Concerning the original crop of the OP's image, the lighting is very flat and there is clearly a lack of contrast.
    But I think the image is not exciting because it is full of symmetries. The boy is facing the camera straight. There is equal amount of space on top, to the right and to the left, and it is almost the same to the bottom too. The only thing that is not completely symmetrical is that his left foot is further out. As a result, the subject is right in the very center of the image.
    Symmetrical things tend to be boring. That is why a lot of portrait photographers prefer to pose a subject to have a front shoulder and a back shoulder.
     
  30. The look of a final portrait can have a lot to do with the lens, lighting, posing, composition, the way it is printed (either in the wet darkroom or post-processed on the computer) but it seldom has much to do with the camera body. The paintthemoon photos could have originated on anything from a Pentax K1000 to a Nikon D3x, even a Mamiya TLR or a view camera. Camera bodies play a bigger role in situations where you need to be able to shoot at high ISO in low light, or need a high fps rate to capture fast action, or need fast autofocus (combined with the appropriate lens). But those generally are not factors in portrait work, even photographing kids.
     
  31. I think Shun has hit the nail on the head... it's (mostly) not an equipment issue, it's a posing/framing issue. There are several books on the subject of posing and framing, and a lot of it depends on what you want out of your final image so I'll allow you to develop your own style rather than tell you what's right and whats wrong.
    The only equipment issue I can pin down is your lighting. The photographer for Painthemoon.com is obviously using high powered studio strobes with softboxes and umbrellas. This gives big, soft light...something your hot shoe flashes just aren't capable of when competing with a light source as powerful as the sun.
    RS
     
  32. It is none the less this photographers humble opinion that the D200's color reproduction is noticeably weaker than the D90, D7000, D300, D700, D3\s\x.​
    This is a double-blind test result? :) Because if it was, I doubt you or anyone could tell the difference between images from a D200 and a D90 at low ISO. If there was a difference, it would be in the profile used to convert the RAW image, not the sensor itself.
     
  33. I don’t think the basic shot is that bad. When doing outdoor portraits like this I think it’s important to frame the shot in a way that removes a lot of distracting elements, especially around the edges of the frame. The use of a shallow focus lens is nice because it softens the background which you did here. I myself do not hesitate to do a lot of cropping in order to get the viewers eye to be pulled towards the subject. If I had done this shot myself I would probably crop it and do a little post-processing such as these examples shown here. BTW I have been very satisfied with first the D70 and now my D80. I agree with all the others who believe its how you use your tools. I also feel personally that way too much post processing is being done and it is often "over the top" to my eyes, much like the over use of HDR when it was a fad. I do a lot of post processing, but it is usually subtle and for the purpose of directing the viewer towards the subject. I like to think of it as more "subliminal." The person viewing the photo should just "like it" and really doesn't have to know why.
    00ZODS-401809684.jpg
     
  34. Here's what I think:
    1) the paint the moon shots are less posed, more candid...
    2) the shots shown from paint the moon are definitely over exposed - either in camera or in post. Since you have Alien Skin - Try the blown highlights settings. (Polaroid 669 creamy is a personal favorite of mine). You can try this in camera by exposing for the skin or bumping the exposure comp up...or you can do it post.
    3) The eyes are enhanced in most of the photos shown. While that works fine for blue, grey, green, etc... It really doesn't work for darker eye colors.
    4) rule of Thirds...
    None of the above are dependent on the camera body. And some would argue that while the PTM photos are certainly trendy and current - will they stand the test of time? or will everyone look at them in 5-10 years and say - Yep another 2011 mommy-tog! ?
    Dave
     
  35. I think I know what you're looking for, the 'pop-up' 3D effect. Well, true, the D200 sort of kills it in portrait (the color and overall style fits landscapes much better), however more important is to have an appropriate lens with the 'old-style' look. The mentioned Sigma 85 1.4 is a good example, as are some other Sigma lenses (50/1.4, 30/1.4), also Carl Zeiss glass, but Nikkor 85/1.4 is fine too. PP helps as well, of course.
    Try renting some of the 85/1.4 lenses and check.
     
  36. Hey there Les,
    Well, I did say in my humble opinion, which was both the extent I could manipulate the color with Raw files and how it looked in JPEG files (same default profile). :) Your question did get me curious though, and I looked up the sensors on dxomark.com and according to their tests the D90's sensor has a slight edge in color depth and dynamic range. I'm not familiar with measuring colors by depth, so I don't know much this accounts into real world pictures, all I know is that it is measured exponentially so a small percentage number would make a much bigger impact than it may seem.
    Arthur's image, and where he wants it to be, is limited by his composition, well, really his distance from the subject with the lens he has. The people on Paint the Moon are clearly much closer to their subjects at similar focal ranges and as was pointed out, have much larger diffusion sources. Ultimately I don't think there is anything wrong with Arthur's picture, on the contrary, I think its plenty decent shot. Personally I feel the image is a bit loose in composition and the lighting is pretty flat. In this situation if he had a D700, I do think it would have made a difference, two fold, one because of the sensor size, the same frame with the D700 would have required he be twice as close thereby increasing the depth of field, and because the extra color and dynamic range that he got out of the D700 would have given a bit more added life into his image. Between the extra color and the extra blur, I would consider the exact same shot taken with both cameras would have made a noticeable difference.
    Now this is the one place I do disagree with almost everyone on this forum, and I myself am even guilty. Every photographer has a style, our friend Arthur here, has what I consider a loose frame, however no one here could point something specifically wrong with the image. If he is looking for a more dramatic look, then indeed a tighter frame will help. But I also wish to point something out to everyone criticizing these images, Arthur has been doing this a long time, and after as many pictures he's taken I would assume at some point he had tried closer up, or he had tried different things. So perhaps, his style is shoot a wider framed portrait? Perhaps he likes to see the area around his subject. In which case, would it not be advisable to help him find the best tools to suite his style of shooting? Would not the D700, which because of its sensor size require he get twice as close as the D200, significantly increase the depth of field thereby making the same shot much more dramatic while still preserving his frame? Isn't Ryan Brenizer famous for developing a method along those very lines, (in his case by stitching a bunch of images together thereby emulating a huge sensor, which I would recommend Arthur looking into, it might help him find a new way of shooting), a wide frame with limited depth of field, as his style? Are you all not criticizing the artist (while I notice no one by Shun has been able to pin point anything wrong with the image, and even that is merely opinion). Maybe a full frame body and a long fast (faster than 2.8 that is) will suite Arthur's shooting style?
    I think Arthur, you should take into consideration everything that people have said here, but I would, despite everything that has been said about the camera not being your issue, I would rent a D700, and I would do what Mike suggested at the very beginning, and see if the D700 suites your style of shooting better, while at the same time, using both cameras and try all the suggestions that have been said here. Maybe you will find a new way of shooting after trying what has been recommended, and maybe you will find the D200 is just fine for that style of shooting, or maybe you will find that with the larger sensor of the D700, you will have a totally different way of seeing the world that was never possible with the D200. Just because of a bunch of photographers stand up and say the camera isn't your problem, simple means it wouldn't be a problem for them at this point in their experience, you need to find out what is really best for you, and none of us know what that is, so I would highly recommend you try what has been said in addition to being able to experiment with a new camera.
     
  37. Arthur,

    This was quick and dirty, but is it any closer?
    Danny
    00ZOHI-401855584.jpg
     
  38. bms

    bms

    A few things about what you want to achieve, according to what you posted in athat links (some photos are nice, some so so):
    - higher contrast
    - soft light
    - creamy bokeh, but not too much of a blurred background, it still has texture
    - sharp and bright eyes (IMO almost too much, I call them "vampire eyes")
    - many images seem to have a oneor a few few dominant colors in the mid range that "pop" while the highlights are pastel creamy
    It is not the camera. It is not the lights necessarily (many pics there were taken outside it seems, that light is free). The DOF of a 50mm lens at f1.4 on DX shoud get you close - hey, a 85 1.4 won't hurt but other than Harry Potter's wand, equipment usually does not make magic happen.
    If your son is willing, grab him for a session, get close, experiment with composition, make sure the eyes are in focus and then try to work selectively in photoshop on what you want to achieve, rather than throwing a "action" at it. And heed what Shun said about symmetry. Just some thoughts.
     
  39. Skyler Proctor writes:
    D700 would have required he be twice as close thereby increasing the depth of field​
    I think you mean decreasing depth of field there.
     
  40. +3 Skyler
    +1 when I was reading your first post, and started getting a whole lot of different ideas like try using my 17-35mm F2.8 and see what happens, stay away from my 50mm which is what I use most.
    +1 for realizing I've been doing it for many years. It's been 5 years with the D200, but I've tried closer, further, different settings, high, low, far, near, different ISO's. I think I have over 100,000 images I've taken with the D200 and felt none have the look I want. I tend to be conservative though, I'm inspired to be risky now!
    +1 for making me realize, the portraits I have hanging up that I love, and carry with me were taken with the Nikon F5 film camera before getting the D200. I used my F5 for so long previously (8 years before I got the D200), maybe my problem is my brain is hard wired into my F5.
    I suppose my style may be I'm a full frame photographer. This is the last portrait I took, that I love. Taken with my F5 film camera, on b&w Tri-X, and an SB-28 with a reflector underneath, in 2003. I've forgotten how much I loved portraits on the F5. I should rent a D700 and see if perhaps I start getting the results I did on my F5, or get the results I like. Thanks!
    00ZOJj-401881584.jpg
     
  41. Agree... it`s not the camera, nor the lights, nor the composition... it`s a sum of all this elements. But IMHO the lesser here is the camera.
    Straigh out of the camera images use to be dissapointing for many; personally, I use to work for a good RAW material to develop (post-process). The good image came later. Sadly, my knowledge is very limited... hence my results are not good to my taste. The most expensive camera will give the very same thing (but bigger, or with lower noise levels... but the same image).
    I have been looking for a sample to show this; a pic that look specially ugly straigh from the camera, and something different after processing. Here it is (posted on the WeD PiC two years ago):
    00ZOK2-401885684.jpg
     
  42. Now, the final pic, after the developing process:
    [​IMG]
    With a D200 + 50/1.4 I`m pretty sure you should get the very same looking than in that linked site; a D700 will provide a shallower DoF, maybe, but... is it noticeable, definitive, or necessary in a good "final" pic? I think it isn`t.
     
  43. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Your F5 isn't going to help any more than a D700. You say you have taken 75,000 photos over five years and not been happy with any of them. That points to a problem that has nothing to do with any camera. I would recommend some classes at a local school that will teach you basic lighting, composition and post-processing.
    Great portraits have been taken with pinhole cameras, toy cameras, Holgas, cheap digicams, cheap DSLRs, homemade large format cameras, expensive DSLRs, cheap film cameras, expensive film cameras. What the history of photography shows us is that the camera is not the primary factor in most photography (exceptions being specialized applications like professional sports, etc.) and that any camera change is irrelevant for what you are trying to do. A photographer masters the equipment, not vice versa.
     
  44. Arthur, I think there is one possibility that has not yet been mentioned. It occurred to me that you may have dialed in some customization setting (say, low contrast) when you first got your d200, have forgotten that you did this, and every JPG out of your camera since then has had that setting applied. Take a test shot, do a full reset of the camera and take the same shot again to see if there is any change. However, if you are shooting RAW files and processing them yourself, most of the customizations that can impact the JPGs won't make any difference in the RAW files.
    BTW, if you hadn't stripped the EXIF and IPTC data before you posted the unprocessed example image, I wouldn't have had to ask you to do this test - anyone could simply read your settings. In general, the more information we have, the better we can help folks.
    Obviously, at best, some long-forgotten, strange customization would probably be only a small part of the overall problem, but it could certainly be a contributing factor. I say this because even on a completely overcast day, I wouldn't expect the unprocessed example image that you posted to be quite that low in contrast and saturation.
    That being said, let me add my voice to the chorus of folks who have suggested that better lighting, posing, framing, etc. are certainly contributing factors, as well as those who think the problem won't go away with a different body. IMHO, don't waste your money on a new lens, either. You have enough good glass to convince me that the quality of the lens is NOT a major factor.
    BTW, when you were shooting with your F5, were you shooting slide or negative film? If the latter, can I presume you did not do your own color printing?
    Tom M
     
  45. A couple of thoughts from the cheap seats. I own a D200 and was curious about the differences between the D300, D700 and my camera so I took my 70-200 VR1 to a local Best Buy with a compact flash card and did some shooting around inside the store. The clerk was gracious and offering to let him shoot with it gave me some freedom. I have to say that I was impressed with the overall look coming from the D700. I didn't have the magnification of the Dx format but there was a quality and clarity to the photos that was more pleasing to my eye than I was familiar with in my D200. I didn't have the cash to buy (and still don't) but I would have bought the D700 over the D300 if I had the money and the choice.
    On another note, I notice in the OP's original shot more yellow than looks natural to me. Same as I am used to from my D200. I have had to avoid increases in saturation at the capture level to avoid what I consider to be slightly unnatural coloration... to my eye and to my liking. I don't set a white balance each time I'm out but I am sure it would solve the 'problem'... at least in jpeg captures. I correct this in PP with a slight desaturation of yellow if it bothers me.
    Like others, I took the liberty of working your shot and in addition to the various filters I applied, I cropped the photo to add some 'lean' to the subject. For me, it appears this might be a moment, either coming or going rather than a staged, 'sit still while I take your picture shot'. This is not a criticism of your shot but something I might have done to a similar shot I might have taken to add a little drama. A very slight amount of thinking outside the box, if you will.
    Tom
    00ZOMS-401923584.jpg
     
  46. "... On another note, I notice in the OP's original shot more yellow than looks natural to me. ..."
    I noticed the same thing, and was about to comment on it when I realized that we couldn't take anything at face value in the 1st image he posted because, as he said, "...This photo ... has the works applied to it (exposure 3, bokeh 2, some actions by paint the moon for sparkling eyes, greener grass, perfect skin)...". His in-camera JPG (captioned, "Portrait Original") looks a lot less funky.
    Tom M
     
  47. Les Berkley [​IMG][​IMG], Sep 27, 2011; 11:56 a.m.
    It is none the less this photographers humble opinion that the D200's color reproduction is noticeably weaker than the D90, D7000, D300, D700, D3\s\x. This is a double-blind test result? :) Because if it was, I doubt you or anyone could tell the difference between images from a D200 and a D90 at low ISO. If there was a difference, it would be in the profile used to convert the RAW image, not the sensor itself.​
    As an owner and/or frequent user of all the cameras on this list aside from the D3 series, I can attest that the D200 is indeed weaker at lower ISOs. The D200 is the only one that uses a CCD (the rest are CMOS), which results in much greater noise and less colour information in shadow areas, regardless of ISO. This effectively limits the amount of "extra" information that can be brought out during post-processing.
    Before you say it, I will freely admit that low-ISO RAW files without any processing look almost the same. But that's like saying that cat food tastes just like pate if you fry it and add hot sauce. Since people don't shoot RAW and not edit the files, the similarity of unedited RAW files is totally irrelevant.
    For what it's worth, I'm a hard-core film shooter, generally preferring FP4 on my Hasselblad, and the D700 and D7000 are the only affordable digital cameras I've ever used to produce a black and white image that didn't make me wish I shot it with the Hassy.
    Also, I use the 70-200 VR as my go-to portrait lens. It's awesome. I still miss my 85 f/1.4 and will probably replace it as soon as I switch to an FX camera, but the 70-200 is just so much more useful.​
    Sorry for the awful formatting. For some reason photo.net doesn't want to see my line breaks. My words start with, "As an owner..."
     
  48. Total amateur here - but just looking at the F5 picture you like vs the picture you posted I was reminded of something I have a problem with too in portraits. Looking at all the portraits I've liked best that I have taken, it's usually the ones that are closeups rather than full length and part of that is because with closeups, it's more the expression in the eyes rather than trying to pose people.

    Even with dog pictures I usually like it's the expression that makes the picture (unless it is an action shot)


    I hope that made sense and helps!
    I have no idea what they did on that website tho.
     
  49. Rent a D700 for a weekend. Then you'll know.
     
  50. I have portrait professional software that I use on some pictures of older subjects. I don't use it often but I can do things like really sharpen eyes and make them more intense while softening skin or overexposing it. I can whiten teeth and intensify lips etc. I also have had the same studio lights since 1988. I use the software because it cuts down considerably on time in any PS retouching that I have to do. I use four lights usually --A main, A fill, background and Hair. As everyone does I can vary each of these lights by distance or conrol and use light modifiers, namely softboxes, to get what I want. I settled into what was comfortable light conifigurations a long time ago. I have used probably fifteen or more bodies including medium format to do portraits over this long period. The quality of my photos has stayed the same throughout, perhaps getting better and easier when I went from darkroom to digital because of the increased flexibility afforded by digital. Although Kodak and Fuji portrait films were really great. I have used a variety of lenses all of which have produced salable results. I suggest that the OP learn more about lighting and invest money in better lights and more knowledge rather than trying to get results from a different body. In my humble opinion I don't think a new body although it maybe better will substantially make the changes the OP is looking for.
     
  51. All you can do is keep trying. There is not anything wrong with you camera, your 50mm should make for a great fast lens for portraits. Here is one taken with an old D1h and a 50mm f1.8.
    00ZOXM-402125584.jpg
     
  52. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Please take a look at the current photo of the week: http://www.photo.net/photo-of-the-week-discussion-forum/00ZO7J
    The subjects are towards the far right side of the image and there is also major contrast between very bright and almost complete darkness on the upper left. The difference and contrast is what makes an image interesting.
    As I said from the beginning, this is not a camera problem. As a number of people have also pointed out, buying a new camera, whatever format, is not going to change it.
     
  53. As I said from the beginning, this is not a camera problem. As a number of people have also pointed out, buying a new camera, whatever format, is not going to change it.​
    Shun, your a pro photographer, and your portfolio, traveling experiences, and general experiences far exceed my own, so I want you to know right up front I have a lot of respect for you and although I'm not as familiar with other photographers on the forum here, I also have a great respect for my fellow photographers, whether they shoot with a coolpix or the D3x, however, I do strongly disagree with you and the majority of the posters that in Arthur's case, the camera isn't the problem.
    In my book, to rephrase the above statement made by the majority of the posters would be something like this:
    We here all love sushi, therefore we know that Arthur loves sushi too, even though he makes funny faces when he eats it and after 5 years he still gets really green after eating, we know he really does love sushi and shouldn't consider ordering something else because we all love sushi and Arthur should too.
    Maybe all of you are really amazing photographers with the D200, but photographers are different, and y'all put Arthur into a one dimensional box, that states all photographers everywhere should be able to get great images out of the D200 and no photographer can improve with a different camera or a different format. Did the thought never occur to you that maybe not all of us are masters of post processing and cameras that require lots of post processing just to look normal might be a huge problem? Did it ever occur to you, that some people are better suited to one format or another and by being in the wrong format could throw you're whole creative mojo off, without you even knowing?
    Further more, how many of you shoot with a pinhole and only a pinhole camera you made yourself at home??? Wait a minute, you mean all of you standing up saying the camera doesn't matter has each taken for himself a company, a format, and a camera model that he feels most comfortable with? If you are going to tell others the camera doesn't matter, then wouldn't your words carry much more weight if you yourselves listened to your own advice by shooting exclusively with a pinhole camera made at home?
    I'm not here to debate that Arthur's photo could be greatly improved with post processing. That's obvious, what I am here to criticize is your complete lack of observation and understanding to Arthur's specific problem. Clearly he doesn't handle post processing well even after 5 years experience, so what do y'all recommend? Don't get rid of a camera that requires lots of Post Processing, because that couldn't possibly be your problem! Brilliant! I'm forced to assume that answers like that came from people who didn't even read his post, and only saw "D200 vs D700", because I would have assumed that anyone that was listening, would have realized that it would make sense that a photographer who is poor at post processing would be wise to sell his camera that requires lots of advanced post processing (undisputed on a sensor technical level according to dxomark and even agreed to by some posters that out of camera results from the D200 are very poor) and at very least buy a camera that produces good pictures without the need for so much post processing so that he can start at a more basic level of post processing before taking on looks like the one's referenced in Paint the Moon, and\or just to get the D200 to look "normal", even if it were a mere point and shoot.
    Isn't that why are here? To listen to people's problems and help them find the best way for them rather than simply handing out a generic answers that I hear practically all the time on these forums? Some of you made excellent post processing comments, which is good, but still, you are recommend that someone who struggles with post processing keeps a camera that requires lots of it.
    I want you all to note that I'm not some die hard believer that the camera makes the photographer, on the contrary, photo.net is full of forum posts from new photographers and don't know much about exposure much less if a full frame camera will help them or not, and the general response given here is proper and what I would expect for those people. However it seems to me that Arthur's extensive 5 year\100,000 picture experience, goes to prove he knows a thing or two about photography & the D200, and since he's shot film, he's demonstrated that he was pleased with using the other format he is asking about; evidence (if dare I say solid proof, based on 100,000 images and not one yet he was pleased with vs the old format) that the camera format does matter to some photographers.
    Take it for whatever its worth, I'm sincerely not trying to offend anyone or step on toes, I'm trying to help you see Arthur's problem in a different light so you can help him. If I come off blunt and offensive, I did not mean to do such, I'm simply wired that way.
    Arthur, forgive me I've criticized your post processing abilities to no end and I've dragged you into a big debate. I feel weird talking about you in the third person, and I truthfully hope you find a way to be satisfied with the pictures you take, even if it is with a pinhole camera, or with the advice given here and your D200. I do think you should learn more about post processing, and I also think you will find a newer model camera, whether it be a D7000, D300, or a D700 will all spit out much better images, and I think you will find you won't have to mess with them so much to get the look you are after. I do hope you spring for the D700, as I think you just might be wired for full frame :). Whichever direction you choose to go, I would like to hear how it turns out, so let us know would ya?
     
  54. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Maybe all of you are really amazing photographers with the D200, but photographers are different, and y'all put Arthur into a one dimensional box, that states all photographers everywhere should be able to get great images out of the D200​
    No, it's much simpler than that. No camera change will fix a photo with bad composition in poor light. The reason for all the post-processing given here is to correct for the fact that the image wasn't shot well. And this is the image that Arthur chose to post, not something randomly picked by a responder. No camera will fix basic shooting problems.
     
  55. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Skyler, first of all, I am not at all a professional photographer; I am a software engineer by training and profession, although some professional photographers occasionally come to me for equipment advice.
    And as I mentioned in my earlier post yesterday (Sept 28, 8:58am), Arthur's problem is not post-processing either. If you take a look at Arthur's original image, he actually had a lot of background above his son in the image, but he cropped it so that his son ended up in the very center of the final image.
    I have a D200 myself. The design and electronics are almost 6 years old now; its AF is slow and its high-ISO results are poor in today's standards. However, for portrait work, those should be non-issues. Otherwise, the D200 requires no more post processing than any other newer camera today.
     
  56. Skyler Proctor , Sep 28, 2011; 06:01 p.m.
    Words​
    Dude. Chill out. First off, your analogy makes no sense. Does the sushi represent the camera? Or photography in general? Or is it Arthur's photos? I honestly don't know what you're trying to say.
    Second, we are listening; the fact that we haven't reached your conclusions doesn't mean we're not reading the same words. We have merely interpreted them differently, as any diverse group of backgrounds, geography, and skill level is going to do.​
    Lastly, I'm afraid your statement about 'getting a camera that doesn't require post processing' is way off the mark. Arthur obviously doesn't mind post-processing, so it's not an issue at all here. The only time one needs to upgrade is when the equipment no longer meets the user's demands. This is not the case here. We're not saying that a D700 won't help; we're saying that since Arthur isn't using the 'lesser' camera to it's full potential, an upgrade - helpful though it may be - won't actually solve the problem.
    Let me give you an anology that does work. If you take away a slow driver's Hyundai and give him a Porsche, he will still be a slow driver. The speed of the car is irrelevant, because the problem is the driver. Arthur needs to be a faster driver, and worry about changing his gear when his Hyundai (D200) is no longer able to keep up with him.​
    Arthur, I hope I didn't sound rude there. I don't mean to come down on you for the sake of making a point. The fact is though that the problem is something you're doing - or not doing. It's your eye, your timing, your composition, or your editing. Personally, I wasn't blown away by your Tri-X shot either. I think you've been perfectly happy operating on a certain level until recently, and now that you see what's out there you want to improve. This is good. Very good.
    The good news is the bad news. All you need is a big box of practice. Challenge yourself more, and you'll improve and get the photos you want. Don't be afraid to fail, and keep at it.​
    (Formatting issues again. Sorry all. My computer hates me.)
     
  57. Hey guys,
    Sorry if I get a little fired up about this stuff, as you can tell, I'm really passionate. To sum up my point in a littler more clearer words, I feel like you are all attacking Arthur's style, i.e. his composition and his lighting. Believe it or not, that's not at all what bugs me about his image. I actually like the breathing room of his composition, and I feel like the boy is nicely placed in the image. The lighting is a little flat for my tastes, but I don't feel it doesn't work either. Sure its different, but as the man himself pointed out, he's tried a lot of other methods, close, far away, etc, which leads me to believe that he liked the way this shot was framed, what he didn't like was how it looked, and I agree, the image's colors all seem really off, like they were taken with a D200!
    So no more analogies, straight up, I think this image is weak primarily because its contrast and color rendition are off and not just in any way, its off in a way that I specifically associate with the D200 and there around series of cameras, so in my minds eye the first things that draw negative attention trace straight back to the camera. True, lighting is a little flat, true, composition is a little loose, but with the right contrast and the right colors, I think this would make the image work, just as it is. None-the-less working or not, I still feel Arthur and all of us should be in a constant state of learning, constantly looking to improve our selves.
    But enough said, I've made my point, you've made yours, and I will no longer comment on this subject. I'm sure Arthur has enough to fill several books with now!

    And for whatever its worth, I do enjoy hearing everyone's opinions, someday sooner or later I'll post questions I'm sure, and I hope I hear from y'all, even if you it is only to tell me my camera isn't the problem :)
     
  58. Shun: "...Otherwise, the D200 requires no more post processing than any other newer camera today...."
    Exactly! I own both a d200 and a couple of d700s.
    Based on color, contrast, etc. I would have a very hard time telling which of my shots were taken on which camera unless I can see that it's a situation that I know required the faster AF or higher ISO of the d700 (as Shun pointed out). If I get a chance, in the next day or two, I'll photograph the same daylight, outdoor scene with both cameras using the same lens, the same settings, factory default customization, etc. and post the results straight out of each camera. While it's possible that there might be some small differences that might be visible in a side-by-side comparison of the images, if there are any, I can guarantee you the differences will be small - certainly not large enough to require different amounts of PP or make anyone reject images from the d200. Sheesh.
    Tom M
    PS - In addition to the lighting, posing and compositional issues, I still think there is a good chance that somehow the OP programmed in an image customization such as "softer" (see http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond200/page13.asp for the nice roll-over comparison of these settings) and has completely forgotten about it. I mentioned this in a previous post. Given the amount of time others are devoting to trying help him, it would be really nice if Arthur would confirm or exclude this possibility by taking a test shot, doing a full camera reset and taking another test shot of the same scene.
    PPS - Skyler, let me be blunt: Do you have any significant amount of personal, hands-on experience with both of the cameras under discussion, ie, so we are convinced that you are speaking with authority on the differences between them?
     
  59. I must have missed the memo. I thought a D200 was capable of taking some pretty terrific shots. Did it suddenly become junk because newer models are out? Skyler has proposed, "that out of camera results from the D200 are very poor". I honestly wasn't aware of that. Hasn't been my experience.
    I have a friend who has a D200 like myself. We are very different photographers (both amateurs). I am very technical in my approach and he is more artistic. He has something I am jealous of because I don't always see what he sees or capture from the angle he does. I think it is easier to master technique than to see with an artist's eye. I have often wondered if that is something that can be taught or whether a person is born with it. But the fact that he is better at seeing and perceiving doesn't stop me from shooting and trying to improve. For me, I think it boils down to the fact that I tend to take pictures of something (and sometimes they can be very good) but better photographers capture moments. I always fight putting the subject smack dab in the middle of the frame. But I'm learning and still shooting. I want more moments.
    My D200 isn't holding ME back... it's the other way around.
    Tom
     
  60. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Skyler, please let me tell you one more time: there is nothing wrong with the contrast and color from the D200. I have one and I know that very well. For example, I captured the attached image a few years ago when I first bougth my D200 (which I still own today), but I took advantage of the warm morning light when the sun was at a low angle, at 8:25am in April here in California. You may or may not like my composition, but contrast and color are certainly not lacking.
    The OP is not happy with his images. While I understand nobody likes to hear why and where they are wrong, I cannot see how we can help him without pointing out where we think the problems are in that one image. I prefer to see more samples before making comments and I did ask for more images, but unfortunately, that is the only image sample we have here. On some other forums and sometimes even here on photo.net, the custom seems to be everybody just praises everybody else's work to no end; while that may make you a "popular" person and other people feel good, I don't think that will help people improve as photographers. IMO that is precisely why some people stay as beginners for years.
    I know that the OP very much would like to buy a D700, but again, I am not one who tells you what you want to hear. Obviously whoever can afford one is free to buy a D700; I have one myself, but a higher-end camera is not going to automatically improve your photography.
    00ZOfm-402263584.jpg
     
  61. These types of threads are always difficult. The OP, is likely overwhelmed by the replies. I did want to make one comment about the artist's work linked by the OP. She has excellent ideas, coupled with expert execution. Post-processing aside, this lady can shoot. She has an innate talent for conceiving incredibly well-formed compositions. She can direct, and she can pose and engage her subjects. As you can see from her portfolio, these images aren't taken by your typical $300/session, work-a-day portrait photographer. She's an accomplished artist, and her work product shows that her vision comes first to her as an idea . . . each image is "crafted," not merely "taken." Kudos to her for creating such strongly branded images, and for marketing her creative tools to boot.
     
  62. Arthur:
    If you're still keeping up with this thread, here's my advice to you: study others' work which you admire. Buy photography books--the kind with artists' works in them, not the "how-to" kind. Analyze the images. Figure out precisely why they're good. Study those images, and make a self-assignment out of them. Try to emulate one image as best you can. In addition to lighting and composition, don't forget to also consider lens height (how high or low your camera is in relation to the subject). And, just as in real estate, remember, "background, background, background." Control every element in your frame. In motion picture and television lighting, I always say, "90% of great looking lighting is having great looking art direction to light." So, art direct your scene as best as possible. Consider every element.
    As part of most college photography metiers, several art classes are also included, including a two-dimensional design class. To supplement this effort, I would suggest some non-photography titles for your library as well: 1.) Two-Dimensional Design by Wucius Wong (as well as his other titles), 2.) Art and Visual Perception by Rudolf Arnheim. If searching Amazon, and you see something that catches your eye in the row of titles at the bottom of the page, listed under, "customers who bought this item also bought . . . " then get that as well, or, even instead of. The Wucius Wong title is a very brief primer, and an easy read. He also has several other, more recent titles you may like.
     
  63. Arthur, here is my 2nd try at tweaking your image. Unlike my 1st tweak, I based this version off of your post titled, "Portrait Original". It was much easier to work with.
    To me, the main purpose of these tweaks (many of which ask you, "Is this any closer?") is not to show what can be done in post processing, or even to urge you to get more into post processing, but rather, to try to discern exactly what aspects of the image you feel need improvement. Except for Tom Best's neat "Lean Left" version, these tweaks don't address posing issues, but they do try to partially compensate for lighting, cropping, and possible camera issues. It would really help if you could give us some guidance as to whether any of the tweaked versions offered are in a direction you like.
    Tom M
    00ZOlb-402367584.jpg
     
  64. Shun is absolutely right. This was taken with the cheapest SLR in the market now, Olympus E-420, and my customers like what I offer to them. I am here because Nikon will be my next system, again... D700 is great in terms of DR, noise, and speed. But the final picture depends on you. I am not admirer of hi-key portraits you showed us I more like natural skin and sometimes low-key, but those - it all is a matter of technique - not the technics.
    00ZOna-402411684.jpg
     
  65. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If I were to crop the OP's image, I probably would do something like this. Again, the main objective is to move the subject off center. And since the boy's left foot is further out, I would leave more room on that side.
    Of course we cannot change the pose afterwards.
    00ZOoB-402421684.jpg
     
  66. IT IS NOT THE CAMERA! CMOS, CCD, whatever. The D200 can take excellent portraits with very strong color. Check out the work of our own Rakesh Syal, to see what can be done with an even 'worse' camera, the D70. Hell even I can take a good picture with one!
    [​IMG]

    If you can't take a good picture with a D200, you will not be able to take one with a D700, 5DMkII...
     
  67. Yep you don't need a CMOS sensor to achieve nice colors or bright colors.
    00ZOqz-402449684.jpg
     
  68. Hey everyone, I just caught up hadn't realized this kept going! Tom, my son looks like he no longer has eyes to me, like someone plucked them out, I hope you didn't spend too much time :) I'm not saying good pictures aren't possible with the D200, however the look I'm after apparantly I really struggle with the D200. I keep seeing the D200 look when I see samples people post. They're fantastic examples of great portraits, but they don't have the look I'm trying for. When I google D700 Portraits and click on images there's something about them that I find totally different than the D200.
    Skyler understands my feeling(s). I talked to my wife the other day, and I told her... don't you think it's odd that for 5 years now I have attempted to attain a picture like (my favorite photographer) and post processing and have yet to succeed? I feel by now a monkey by simple statistics should have a couple. I can also relate to a better starting base before post processing... I struggle with it (and why I buy all those filters and actions).
    I ordered a couple books, my technique/style is that of a wedding photographer (bouncing flash, using it w/available light). I think I'm good at bouncing flash already (and I like using reflectors) so I'm starting with a book by Neil van Niekerk (bouncing flash) followed by retouching techniques (by Scott Kelby). When I get back from my vacation I'm going to rent a D700, Skyler I'll let you know. I think, if the D700 is like the F5 which I think it is... I'm going to be back in heaven. Certainly going to come back with my results.
    Here's a portrait of baby Vader I took. I did this by using a remote flash with a red gel over it and moving a house plant in front of it to splash that interesting pattern on the back wall and bounced my other flash off the ceiling. I haven't post-processed it yet, I only wish the D200 had live view I couldn't see what I was doing with the camera on the floor with a table behind me so it was shoot and hope for the best.
    00ZQ4L-403775584.JPG
     
  69. Arthur, there are two Toms participating in this thread, and several tweaked versions of your image presented to you. There have been *many* requests along the lines of "is this any closer", yet you have not responded to a single one of these requests except to point out you don't like the eyes in one (you didn't say which one) of the tweaked versions.
    It would help both you, and everyone else participating in this thread if, when comparing either the various tweaks, or when comparing d200 to d700 shots, you can be a bit more analytical than simply repeating general statements like "there's something different". For example, you could compare & compare tonal contrast, skin tones, focus accuracy, depth of blacks, saturation of particular colors, highlight details, isolation from the background, processing artifacts, etc... ie, *anything* concrete that we can get a handle on to try to figure out exactly what you seem to think you will find in a d700. Several people participating in this thread either own, or have owned both cameras, have taken tens of thousands of images on each, and are more than willing to try to help you get to the bottom of your question, but if you want our advice, you need to help us out a little with more detailed comments.
    Finally, may I ask what was your purpose in posting the "Baby Vader" shot in this thread? It introduces into this discussion a huge set of variables associated with lighting, but which have absolutely NOTHING to do with any d700 vs d200 issues. You also mentioned post processing this photo, as if doing so will miraculously cure it of the blur problem, the large area of the boy's face where the red channel is completely blown, etc. YMMV, but most photographers that I know would not spend any post processing time on this image.
    Tom M
     
  70. Arthur, Skyler - I just noticed that both of you joined photo.net quite recently, in fact, within two weeks of each other, and seem to be "sympatico". By any chance, do you happen to know each other outside of photo.net?
    Tom M
     
  71. Buy the D700. It's what you want and you don't need our permission. Problem solved. There... that was easy! But, I just have to say that it is laughable to think that a D700 will automatically allow you to capture moments like those seen on paintthemoon.net Do you have any idea how talented she is?
     
  72. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Finally, may I ask what was your purpose in posting the "Baby Vader" shot in this thread?​
    To prove, beyond a doubt, that a camera change will change nothing.
     
  73. Tom M, sorry I was referring to your previous images, and I can't prove Skyler isn't me. Only imply he has a D7000 and EOS 7D (by the exif data as well as description) and I a D200. It would be odd for me to have that many cameras, ask questions about the D200 with a D7000 and EOS 7D in my aresenal (I'd be using them instead), and odd first response to this post if it were me :)
    The purpose of posting the baby vader is some wanted more examples and to show I'm not some newbie using the built-in flash and upset with the results and thinking using a D700 w/pop-up flash is going to magically solve my problem. Doing so I probably just dug up the burried hatchet.
    I know my issue now. I find the D200 colors are flat and have little depth, I feel others D200 images have the same issue even with proper technique, framing, and lighting. I can describe it as the D200 being a monitor that has poor gamut. Adding color/saturation/contrast to liven it up the colors top off and there's only so much that can be done... yet leaving it at default looks flat. Then I see what a monitor with a great gamut can do. What I should be asking is, when I take a picture with the D200 I want the color depth to be that of the D700. How do I do it? If the answer is there isn't a way, the camera is the problem (I actually have a feeling I had outgrown the D200 before purchasing).
    The posts have been very useful. I looked at a local camera club, purchased some books on portraits/flash and retouching, and now googled D300 portraits and it is another camera like the D700 that seems to pull color out of photos/portraits in a way I've not been able to with the D200. Now I'm thinking of renting a D300 since it's 1/3rd the cost of a D700 and that will answer it. I'll be sure to tell everyone how it goes, it's going to be a few weeks before I get the rented camera. Thank you!
     
  74. Arthur, you are continuing to ignore the large number of posts by many different individuals, all of whom say that you can get very strong, clear color and good contrast straight out of a d200?
    I have no doubt you are seeing the effect you describe, so something else clearly must be going on. This is why I keep repeating my suggestion that you do a full reset of your d200 system and see if this changes anything. Another thing to check is that your lens is clean front and back (...ck your UV filter also, if you use one...). What you are saying about muted tones, small gamut, etc. just doesn't jive with the very consistent experience of many other folks using d200's.
    Tom M
    PS - Here's how you do a full system reset on a d200:
    At the same time, press and hold the QUAL button(it has a green dot) and the +/- button( it also has a green dot) for several seconds. If you don't like the results of this, go into the menus and increase the contrast and saturation. If this doesn't give you more contrast and saturation than you can stand, let me know.
     
  75. Arthur -- here's another possibility.
    Do you have your d200 set to produce only JPGs, only NEFs, or both? Do the in-camera JPGs look like the NEFs?
    If you are using NEFs as the basis for processing and printing your images, what program are you using to read them, eg, some version of Photoshop, some version of Capture NX2, DxO, some other raw converter, etc.?
    Tom M
     
  76. The D200 is a fantastic camera for portraits. I don't use it as much since getting a 5D which I prefer, but here are some samples from Yves P. to make the point.
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