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The Eyes have It.

By Diwali
Birman cats are independant and aloof but they're always watching you.

Tags: Cats Pets and captive animals

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cats_123 Plus
19 5.1k 31 Northern Ireland
23 Dec 2016 11:15AM
We have one at home...she's very much a home cat...and also has deep blue eyes SmileSmile
Chinga Plus
12 112 3 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2016 11:52AM
Such a good cat photo...
I like the eyes and the relaxed look...
Isabel GrinGrin
TanyaH Plus
19 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2016 11:55AM
Hello Dai

My first thought is "what a gorgeous cat!" Smile My second thought is that it's a real shame it's spoiled by camera shake Sad

Looking at your exif data does kind of explain that to a degree - 0.4s shutter speed at a 135mm focal length, if you've hand-held it, is never going to give you a sharp image. With the best will in the world, even if you've got rock-steady hands, that's far too low a shutter speed to give a good result.

With that 135mm focal length, and if you kept with your f/5.6 aperture, to get anything like an acceptable image (and using the guideline of a shutter speed equal to or greater than your focal length) you'd need an ISO of 20,000 or thereabouts to give you a shutter speed of 1/125s - which is still borderline in terms of sharpness.

So your alternatives could be these:

Don't use Programme mode - you're essentially giving the camera all the control. Yes, it can produce acceptable results most of the time and cracking results some of the time, but if something goes wrong and you don't get the image you're expecting, you'll never really know why.

If you have a different lens that has a much wider aperture range (or a prime lens), using something like f1.8 and ISO 1600 would also give you a shutter speed of 1/125s. If you wanted to ensure a sharp result, you'd be better off with a shutter speed of 1/250s or similar - which means an ISO of 3200.

Alternatively, put the camera into Shutter Priority mode, choose a shutter speed of 1/125 or similar and then let the camera sort out the aperture and ISO.

Or, if you haven't got one already, get a tripod Smile Or rest the camera on something steady, set it on timer and let it do its thing.

I've done a quick mod where I've reduced the warm tones a little, cropped the image tighter and tried some sharpening. Trouble is, you can't sharpen what's not sharp due to camera shake. But it has made the eyes a little clearer; it has also, unfortunately, highlighted the fact that the camera's focus is actually on the fur between the eyes, and not the eyes themselves.

There is one massive plus side to this though ... it's presumably your cat, so it's a ready and willing model in your own home Smile Explore different settings and do some more of this gorgeous beastie - those eyes are too beautiful not to! Even something like a 50mm prime lens (often called the 'nifty fifty') will give you some excellent results and they frequently have apertures like f/1.4 or f/1.8 as their lowest). If you've got a cat that likes to laze around, half asleep, you'll have plenty of other opportunities for some superb images.

Diwali 8 2 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2016 2:02PM
Great comments Tanya. Very much appreciated. I'm still a novice but I have a good set of 'glass' (and a tripod!) so I will be having another go and hopefully better results.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1975 England
23 Dec 2016 4:31PM
Welcome to the Critique Gallery, Dai. Tanya's said most of what needs saying, but I'll add a little bit.

The very best glass on a Fuji is the 56mm f/1.2, which would have been ideal for this... You'd have got around 1/30 second at full aperture, almost high enough, if your hands are reasonably steady. Focus would have been absolutely critical, though!

My approach with this kind of thing - not cats, but people - is to use Aperture priority, wind the ISO up quite a bit (I have a preset of 3200 for candids and low-light portraits, with f/2.8 as the default aperture), and focus really carefully. I am not generally shy about either taking the ISO to the limit (depending which camera I'm using, 6,400, 25,600, or 104,000-odd), or opening the lens wide (f/1.4 on my portrait lens).

One other thing - your metering is set to spot: is this intentional, nad is it routine? It can be a dangerous thing to set - you need to meter from precisely the right point, and either lock exposure and recompose, or be terribly lucky. Evaluative/matrix is generally a better choice.

And, after all that, it is a lovely portrait. Try again soon!
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.7k 2575 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2016 6:37PM
A warm welcome from me too. Tanya and John have covered it, but I'll just add a further point about shutter speed - 0.4 second was way too slow to hand-hold steadily but it was also way too slow for a breathing, blinking, twitching, living creature! John advises aperture priority, I go for shutter priority, either way you need watch what one setting is doing to the other, and increase ISO if necessary. Either way, you are taking control so you can avoid something like this happening.

Diwali 8 2 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2016 6:42PM
Thank you Dudler for very useful comments especially the ISO and aperture settings. Regarding the metering, I don't usually use spot but I was having problems with focusing so I was experimenting a bit. As Tanya pointed out, the focus was between the eyes when I was really trying for the centre of the eye. A tad more practice required I think!
paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2016 8:00PM
Great potential but the problems are clearly outlined above. The eyes must be pin sharp on a shot like this and shake has stopped that from happening. You should not rely on any stabilisation system for sharp results and 0.4 sec is much too slow.

Be very careful using spot metering on any auto setting. Spot metering must be used on a tone approximating to 18% grey reflectance or compensation will be required. UK green grass is very close.

You have composed with everything that matters in the left side of the frame with the cat looking left. The head needs to be on the right looking into a wider space on the left.

Diwali 8 2 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2016 12:32AM
Thanks Paul. I take your point about leaving space where the eyes are looking. I would normally leave space in front of a subject walking/running or birds flying etc. but in this case the catís eyes were moving constantly so I just fired off several shots from a static position.
One point I'm taking from everyone is that I do need to rely less on auto settings and take control of the camera.
paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2016 8:18AM
Or take control of the auto settings! There is nothing wrong with shutter or aperture priority auto depending on subject, but paired with matrix metering. Shoot, check the LCD, use exposure compensation if needed and shoot again. Spot metering should be used with manual settings or with exposure locking. The user must understand how a meter sees light and is calibrated to use spot correctly.

I often have the camera on the 'P' setting when just out for a walk with matrix metering, and I've been at this game over 50 years! I also usually use ISO400 on modern gear. These settings mean a good chance of a decent image with a grab shot. Then, if there is time, I may try other settings. Most used is probably aperture priority.

For serious planned sessions, I use manual and a hand held meter, but I do not suggest that for general use.

laura1 18 8
25 Dec 2016 12:29PM
lovely cat! hope you like my mod!

Happy Holidays!


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