Nikon D3200 advice

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alcatraz
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Nikon D3200 advice

I bought a near-new Nikon D3200 in about June last year. It came with a standard 18 -55 mm lens and a 55 - 300 mm lens. I soon realised that I needed a longer and lens and bought a Sigma 150 -500mm lens, which I am quite happy with as it allows me to pursue my bird photography passion without a great outlay. For several months a played around with settings and eventually a professional photographer mate of mine told me to use the biggest settings possible for the image size. I was already using the large format and went to Raw + fine. Didn't seem to improve the images, which I think were OK. NOT great, not above average. So I did some more research and found a comment on a US forum where another D3200 owner said he had changed his size setting from large to medium. Yes, less megapixels to get a better result. More detail. So, I have made the same adjustment. I was already shooting with the Sigma lens set at 450mm as it is very soft at 500mm. The results are like chalk and cheese from where I was a few weeks ago. OK, it's still not as sharp as the better Canon and Nikon lenses. But I am more than happy with the results. Hope this tip might help other D3200 users. The images below were taken on the new setting.

automorphism

Sorry to say but shooting at medium does not improve pictures. You'd get the same result or better by shooting Raw and doing a conversion to a jpeg of the same size, and Raw will help with highlight and shadow recovery. It only seems to work because of two reasons: (1) a smaller jpeg compared to a larger one is viewed at a smaller size on average, and (2) you have probably improved your lens technique and familiarity with the sharpest range of the lens.

The reason for this is that no matter what settings you use, your camera will first take a Raw file. If you select Jpeg in the settings, then the camera converts the Raw to Jpeg. As a corollary, you'll get the same image quality by selecting large Jpeg and then resizing it yourself.

On the other hand, shooting in Raw is about colour depth and lack of lossy compression. Therefore, you won't achieve noticeable improvements in sharpness by shooting in Raw.

Nice bar-shouldered dove by the way! I don't recognize the other though.

alcatraz
alcatraz's picture

Thanks Automorphism. Beg to differ that downsizing image size does not alter the amount of detail. This one factor has really made a difference to my shots. As a matter of interest I will copy the comment that gave me this tip. It's too technical for me. I just want more detail in my images! You might be able to make more of it. Cheers, Murray

I bought a D3200 a few days ago and was very disappointed in the quality of the images it was producing. The problem seemed to be that the signal to noise ratio in the image sensor was marginal. So I started playing around with the settings and learned a lot! First; the RAW image format is poorer quality than the jpeg 'fine' images, with (unbelievably) compression artifacts at ISO 400! Aren't Raw images supposed to be uncompressed? Not in Nikon's D3200 cameras! So step #1, don't use RAW format at high ISO. Poor SNR...hmmm, probably caused by packing way too many sensor sites on to a comparatively small sensor array chip. The obvious solution; reduce the number of pixels. Yep, cut the image size down to 13.5 megapixels in the camera settings. AMAZING DIFFERENCE!! Images are incredibly crisp! This is what I expected from a 24 megapixel camera! The smaller size image has a four times better SNR! The image quality is so good it can easily be up sampled back to the 24 megapixel size and still have the benefit of the improved SNR and dramatically improved image quality!! :D

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