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Thread: whats your keeper average?


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    Supa Dupa Poster Glassman's Avatar
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    whats your keeper average?

    Before I had my 20D calibrated my average keepers (sharp) was not that good. Now its better but I find myself wondering what my keeper average would be with a better camera, like 1DmkIIN or even a 5D or even....well you know what I mean. I was talking to a friend who said he felt good if he got 10 keepers out of a hundred but that seems way too low. By keeper, I mean sharp and in focus. Did anyone upgrade from 20 D or another camera and see big improvement in focus?

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    Camouflaged Moderator Daniel Bates's Avatar
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    Keepers shooting what? I get a ~ 80% keeper average when shooting architecture, but closer to 8% average when shooting field sports.

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    Senior Member hmiles619's Avatar
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    what do you mean by callibrated? can you tell me a little about that?

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    Supa Dupa Poster Glassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Bates
    Keepers shooting what? I get a ~ 80% keeper average when shooting architecture, but closer to 8% average when shooting field sports.
    Sorry, I should have said shooting wildlife, sports shots?

    What I meant by calibrated was I was getting lots of shots almost sharp, sent my camera back to canon and they electonicall calibrated it for back focus problem. It was really noticable for me taking bird pictures, I want around the eye to be really sharp and it was usually almost. Now it nearly always pretty sharp. It was the same for people pictures but is a lot better now.

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    Forum Master mdurisseau's Avatar
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    I might participate in this...with two different cameras, I have to remember the focus technique for each, though I have to say that the 1D allows me a higher 'keeper' rate in terms of sharp photos than the 20D does, strictly talking about sports...for everything else, they are pretty well equal...

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    Uber Poster thelegend1472's Avatar
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    Or you could say keeper as in you actually like the photo. Then the ratio would probably get a lot lower.

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    Rest in peace John... johnastovall's Avatar
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    The quality of the equipment has nothing to do with your "keeper average." It has to do with the quality of your esthetic vision and should always be getting less and less if you are growing in your art.

    Ansel Adams was happy with 18 good prints a year.

    I look to the day I'm there but less that 1/2 of 1 precent of my work makes it to a print and the print is the culmination of the photograhic process.

    Paul Strand only had 22 keepers for The Mexican Portfolio which represented about 10 years of work.
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    Rest in peace John... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelegend1472
    Or you could say keeper as in you actually like the photo. Then the ratio would probably get a lot lower.
    Why keep anything that you don't like? Burn it.
    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Senior Member Tapper's Avatar
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    Your camera has zero to do with your "keeper ratio". The secret to improving your keeper ratio is deliberation, and a focus on technique - not technology.

    After shooting digital for quite a while, my keeper ratio was low. Digital prompts you to fire that shutter, even when you know conditions aren't really right, or the composition is weak. There's no cost to firing losers, so you do.

    Looking at my work, I decided I needed help bad. I was sloppy and lazy, my composition was crap, and I was relying on pure luck to get good shots. A thread here on this board, along with advice from Fran and others, convinced me to stop, and try large format for a while.

    I bought a 4x5 field camera, and brother, shooting that is a whole different world. You have no choice but to slow down, think the shot through, and be exceedingly deliberate, or you won't get squat out of it. It was a solid month before I got a negative out of it worth a bucket of poo. I'm getting the hang of it now though.

    After shooting the field camera for a couple of months (and really enjoying it), I took my digital to the studio last weekend. Instead of the 500 shots I would have normally taken, I came home with about 80. Every last one in perfect focus, exposure perfect, and almost no blinkies. Out of 80 shots, I got about 60 worth printing. The 20 that weren't, I just didn't like the pose. I found I had slowed way down, was more finicky about the lighting, had fine-tuned my understanding of exposure greatly, and vastly improved my sense of when to fire that shutter. My composition skills are improving too, albeit more slowly. The eye is the hardest thing to train.

    Digital cameras are wonderful things, and in no way am I advocating against them. But like all disciplines, training and study matter. And digital cameras teach bad habits, and teach them very fast.

    Technology is no substitute for basic photographic skills. You can buy the latest whiz-bang camera, but if your basic technique sucks, then so will your pictures. I can't say my technique is great yet, but I am committed to putting in the work, practice, and training to improve it. And my "keeper ratio" is starting to show me some fruit for my efforts.
    Last edited by Tapper; 03-14-2007 at 05:34 AM.
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    You Can't Be Serious!! Patti Edens's Avatar
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    All the discussion about what is a keeper is interesting, but I'll direct my response to the OP's definition of keeper.

    OP defined keeper as "sharp and in focus", not keeper in the usual sense - In other words not if you like the photo, if it is composed well, if it is exposed properly, if it is color balanced or any of those other things. Just if it is sharp and in focus.

    I think having a camera with a better focusing mechanism has to improve the keeper ratio as defined by the OP.

    That's one of the reasons I want to move up from the 20D. According to what I've read, the 1D Mark III is much better at locking focus on a moving subject. I don't know if that's true or not, but I need some reason to convince dh that I need $4000.
    Regards,
    Patti

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    Supa Dupa Poster Glassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patti Edens
    All the discussion about what is a keeper is interesting, but I'll direct my response to the OP's definition of keeper.

    OP defined keeper as "sharp and in focus", not keeper in the usual sense - In other words not if you like the photo, if it is composed well, if it is exposed properly, if it is color balanced or any of those other things. Just if it is sharp and in focus.

    I think having a camera with a better focusing mechanism has to improve the keeper ratio as defined by the OP.

    That's one of the reasons I want to move up from the 20D. According to what I've read, the 1D Mark III is much better at locking focus on a moving subject. I don't know if that's true or not, but I need some reason to convince dh that I need $4000.
    Patti, that kinda what I was meaning. You look at all the great photos that are posted here and Fm and you wonder if it's me or the camera, all of mine are not razor sharp (in my case the camera did need calibration) and my keepers have gone up some since I got my 20D back but I think I am also guilty of what Tapper mentioned, I do tend to fire off more shots because it does not cost me. I just want my keepers to be decided on composition, etc and not on focus and it was obivious something was wrong on my camera when taking pictures of birds eyes they were kind of sharp but not nearly as sharp as they are now but I am thinking I need a 1dmkIIn :)

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    Supa Dupa Poster engstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall
    The quality of the equipment has nothing to do with your "keeper average." It has to do with the quality of your esthetic vision and should always be getting less and less if you are growing in your art.

    Ansel Adams was happy with 18 good prints a year.

    I look to the day I'm there but less that 1/2 of 1 precent of my work makes it to a print and the print is the culmination of the photograhic process.

    Paul Strand only had 22 keepers for The Mexican Portfolio which represented about 10 years of work.

    I agree with John's comments here. What I consider a keeper is more than just what's sharp and in focus. If you want to know what percentage of my shots are sharp and in focus (discounting shots where there was shooter error - focused on the wrong thing, locked focus and then stuff moves, etc.) then it's probably:

    Sports/wildlife: 75%
    Studio: 99%
    Macro: 99%
    John Engstrom
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    http://www.pbase.com/engstrom


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    Forum Regular Arnor's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Glassman
    You look at all the great photos that are posted here and Fm and you wonder if it's me or the camera, all of mine are not razor sharp
    What kind of lenses are you shooting with? I'm not saying that higher end camera doesn't help, but maybe better lenses would help too.

    Best regards,

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    Uber Poster zeroendless's Avatar
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    I'll say hang in there.

    Sometime i drive an hour to a destination, waits for 2-3 hours but never fired one single shoot. On a good day, i get to use my photo storage for backup. My normal rate is less than 10% keeper, 1-2% showcase then it made my day. I'm cruel on standard, if all the elements aren't in placed it's going to trash. ps, i carry 16GB for shooting at all time, you get the count :)

    A good wildlife photographer knows to pick the spot for better lighting and background. Knowledge of the subject and the games. I don't think it's any different than sport photoG, You got to learn the game and anticipate the next move. But I'm not the kind of shooter believe in "it's not the equipment, it's the photograhper". Equipment helps, no Questions about it. 20/30d is fine for static subjects and can do action alright but the 1 series can do better. My "in focused" rate for moving or fast action between 20/30 and mark 2 n is 30%/70%. Keeper is another story. I only trusted my 30D for perching birds :)

    The fabulous wildlife images you seen here and there doesn't come easy. Personally, I don't feel guilty shoot extra frames, in fact, i am glad i do. Even shooting at 8.5fps at all times, i barely get 5% of them with the post i could live it Example: subject head turn, catchlights, birds wing stretched. If you want "the shot", shoot a lots and at full speed. It isn't a studio with decoy and artificial light. It's wildlife. Don't let go for the changes and moment when you have it.

    Example,
    7 days shooting at Bosque, average 1 1/2 hours each handheld my 11.7lb setup to get the duck in flight. The only thing i can control is push him where to fly, force him to take off againts the wind direction and hope i got him in between the fall foliage for background. 15 continue shots, 13 in focused, 2 with full background but only 1 makes it!. The rest are either uneven background or less than desired wings position. Let's not counting the rest of the 7 days duck hunting, how many are not usable at all.

    Don't worry about keeper rate.... keep shooting. I'm more than happier than you friend if i get 10 in hundreds. :)

    Last edited by zeroendless; 03-14-2007 at 10:26 AM.
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    Premium Member lhdvies's Avatar
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    Glassman said:
    " By keeper, I mean sharp and in focus." in the original post, and anyone who has had to have a lens or camera calibrated knows that the equipment does make a difference in that respect. Having said that, for some areas upgrading may help if the type of shooting called for it. The 20D is a great little camera and the expensive pro cameras are better, but they also take more skill to get the improved results. A "right on" 20D will not be improved by a 'back focusing" 1d2 (except for speed). I would shy away from the idea of getting more "sharp in focus" just by getting more expensive equipment(except maybe for certain lenses) unless you are planning to get the skill level to fully utilize that equipment also. I had my 20D cleaned and calibrated(didn't know it needed the calibration) and in the 9 days I was without it I certainly did not improve that much, but the results certainly did.
    lhdvries

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