Quick polls result on dpreview

Photo from Flickr

Just came across results following quite a few polls on dpreview, one of the most popular photography website.

Some of the results are worth commenting.

For “What shooting mode do you most often use?”, half answered Aperture Priority. In general, I am more of a Program guy (during the day) and Manual guy (at night.) But I have also noticed that I tend to use Aperture Priority more now because I have just bought a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8. During the day, you can’t really let the camera choose the aperture as, most of the time, it will tend to choose f/1.8 and this will give you a too shallow depth of field. So, what I do, is that I just AP and select f/8 which gives me admirable results.

[ad]For “To what extent do you post-process your images?”, most answered “Most shots get a little brightness/contrast and/or sharpening.” This is exactly what I do: some cropping (I love cropping my photos!) and lighting and that’s it. Direct to Flickr if it’s good enough!

To “What single thing contributed most to learning your photographic skills?”, half answered “Practice – I’m 100% self taught.” A quarter answered “Books / magazines / online articles.” This means that 3/4 of photographers out there learnt their art by themselves.

And, finally, “How often do you shoot raw?”, half answered “I only ever shoot raw.” Personally, I am more in favour of getting it right the first time


  1. Manual, 100% of the time.

    Post-process, 100% of the time. Some retouching to remove dust specks, especially on my film pictures, and local sharpening (because my sight is poor and I don’t get the focus right all the time).

    I have loads of books, not really to learn how to take pictures, but to read about photography. I always say that I like the process of photography more than its end result.

    Raw, 100% of the time, so I can fix the White Balance — BTW, WB is something you can never get right without aid (gray card, colour gels, or post-processing).


  2. 1. Aperture priority most of the times. At night, might switch to manual mode, especially if I am using the external flash.

    2. I usually correct the levels too in photoshop, play a bit with the contrast, add the watermarks n frame if need.

    3. Very rarely, only in a few occasions.

  3. @Eddy You always do RAW? What’s your workflow? What software do you use? @Yashvin What lens do you use?

    BTW, for the uninitiated, here is an extraordinarily deep and interesting article on Canon flash photography. It explains in details why Manual mode is needed when using flash.

  4. Nikkor’s 18-105 VR and Tamron’s 70-300mm lens.
    + the excellent condition Nikkor’s 18-55mm lens which is peacefully enjoying it’s retirement in a cupboard :-)

  5. Yes, I use RAW all the time. Actually, there are two selling points for RAW: 1) White Balance correction, as I wrote earlier, and 2) exposure latitude. Regarding the second point, you can recover +/- 3EV with RAW images, that is, if you over- or under-expose by 3 EV (for example, you used f/2.8 instead of f/8), you can still get a good picture out of it. This is particular import for me because I shoot manual and sometimes without complying with what the lightmeter says. This gives me a bit of latitude as film would.

    The workflow is straightforward. My tools are Windows Explorer, GIMP and UFRaw.

    1. Copy .NEF RAW to folders (eg. \Photos\Originals\2010 11 21).
    2. Rename files to 2010 11 21 – nnn.NEF.
    3. Review and delete in Windows Explorer + Image Preview.
    4. Open .NEF RAW images in UFRaw and apply corrections.
    5. Open in GIMP and immediately save as .XCF (eg. \Photos\Modified\2010 11 21).
    6. Duplicate layer.
    7. Adjust Levels and/or curves
    8. Clean images.
    9. Save .XCF
    10. Scale image.
    11. Sharpen (never before scaling).
    12. Save as .JPEG in same location.

    Remember: RAW = +/- 3 EV latitude! :-)


  6. BTW, this is what I am talking about when I mentioned film latitude.


    See how the over-exposed image was recovered.


  7. Thanks!

    @Eddy, I didn’t know you use UFRaw. I’ll surely give it a try when I manage to get a decent DSLR… Linux + Gimp + UFRaw + Shotwell look like a potent combination!

    @Yashvin Do you know anyone selling a Canon DSLR here?

  8. Yes, I have formal training on PhotoShop but prefer to use Gimp. Actually, I’ve used Linux/Gimp/UFRaw for about two years before I migrated to Windows 7.
    Unfortunately, Mac OS X /Gimp/UFRaw is a disappointing combo.

    UFRaw has amazing lens correction features.

    My other workflow is as follows.

    1. Shoot rolls of film.
    2. Forget about rolls in fridge for 3 months — too lazy to go to the photo lab.
    3. Develop rolls in lab for £2.75/roll.
    4. Scan.
    5. Then proceed as with DSLR workflow.


  9. Not at this moment, not second hand. Might be a bit difficult to get a second hand DSLR on the Mauritian market, but not impossible.

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