An Amateur: Fighting Red Eye

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Fed, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Fed, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012

    Fed macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2012
    It dawned on me a few months ago that I never take photographs. Now, looking back, I think of all the moments I missed or had to bare my phone's camera. I've finally decided to ditch the poor quality photographs and buy something half-decent. If I enjoy it, go one up again. I've narrowed it down to a Panasonic TZ30 and a Canon S100. I think the former has won me though, as the zoom looks very good and will hopefully be adequate for my post-University travelling (now that I have money).

    However one thing I've took note of is that small cameras are apparently prone to red eye? Is this correct? Within a review someone explained it was due to the close proximity of the lens and flash? Unfortunately I'm a not a photographer (obviously) and have absolutely no idea why this is so.

    Will an application like Apple's Aperture be able to fight this? If so, from an amateur point of view, will it be easy or require a bit of effort learning?

    A slight side question to those who are prepared to indulge me: I've noticed the TZ30 doesn't shoot in RAW format. Frankly the fact I have no idea what this is, means that I probably won't need it. But if shooting in this format produces better picture, I'd consider my options.
  2. Nordichund macrumors 6502

    Aug 21, 2007
    Oslo, Norway
    Congratulations on wanting to improve your camera skills and upgrading your camera.
    Both are great cameras with some great specs. As most people on here advise, go down to your local camera store and check out the models you are interested in and experience how comfortable they feel in your hands.

    Don't be overwhelmed by all the sales talk of specifications the seller gives you. 99% of cameras in that price range will take excellent photographs.

    As for red eye, Apple's iPhoto will easily remove or greatly reduce the problem. All cameras with a flash directly on top are prone to red eye.
    Aperture is a great application if you would like to get a little more creative in editing your shots, and organizing them.

    I would check out iPhoto first and if you find that it is no longer able to do what you would like to do, then move on to Aperture.
    If you learn the basics of Aperture and there are thousands of free tutorials online then it is easy to use.

    I wouldn't worry about shooting in RAW just yet. Simply put RAW files give you a greater control of editing the picture after you have taken the shot. I would recommend a bit of experience using Aperture before you begin.RAW also takes up a lot of storage space as the files are quite large.

    The great thing about photography is there is that it is a never ending learning and taking better pictures process. Only you control your limitations.
    Good luck with your new camera, whichever one you choose.
  3. haoledoc macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2011
    Red eye generally occurs when using a flash in a dark environment. The red is the person's retina, which is visible because the their pupils are dilated in the dark and the flash lights it up. Photos with on camera flash in dark indoor environments tend to look awful anyway, as you get harsh lighting and that 'deer in the headlights' look. There are several ways around this. You can avoid flash in these situations, but you'll need to understand some things about exposure to make this work. You'll probably need to maximize your aperture (low f number) and increase the ISO to keep the shutter speed from dropping too low, so that you don't get a blurry picture. If you want to remove red eye with software, just about any photo organizer or editor will work. Aperture can certainly do this, but iPhoto will do just as well.

    RAW files are the raw, unprocessed information from the camera sensor. You use software (Aperture/iPhoto, Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop, or software provided by the camera maker or a third party) to produce an image file (JPEG, TIFF, etc.) from the RAW file. This gives you maximum flexibility when editing the photo and a greater ability to fix problems in photos (bad exposure, blown highlights, dark shadows, etc.). It can take some extra work, but software can produce images automatically form or RAW files as well. You only need to tinker if you want to or there is a problem with the image.

    In general, if you want to take better photos, worry less about the camera and more about the photographer. The first things you should read about if you want to get better are exposure (aperture, shutter speed, ISO) and composition (framing, where to place the subject, etc.). A little knowledge goes a long way and a good photographer with an iPhone will produce better images than someone with a great camera who just points and shoots without any thought.
  4. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Red eye is caused by the light hitting a specific part of the eye (the fundus) and coming back to hit the sensor on the camera. First, the flash enters the inner part of the eye through the pupil, then is reflected off the red interiors of the eye back at the sensor. This causes the eye to appear red. Logically speaking, this is only possible when the flash is close to the camera sensor/lens, as with most compact cameras and cell phones.

    The most obvious solution to this would be bouncing the flash. If you hold an index card or any other white, opaque object 45° next to the flash and aim it at the ceiling, the light will bounce off the card then the ceiling to emulate a natural lighting situation. The light source is then moved to the ceiling, not next to the lens, thus preventing red eye.

    (side note: ring flashes do not suffer from red eye because it is in a ring; none of the light is able to enter the pupil but instead reflects off the iris, showing off its natural colors instead of turning red.)

    Then the issue of outdoor flash comes to mind. There is no way to reflect light to avoid red eye. Now your only option is to move the flash away from the sensor. Most larger cameras do this. Both the S100 and TZ30 have a relatively big space between the sensor and the flash, but are still prone to red eye. Usually with DSLRs I use a large aperture and a high ISO to avoid flash altogether in these situations, but as a last resort you could try diffusing the flash with a piece of paper to reduce the amount of light that enters the subject's eye. This will minimize red eye.

    Of course, if you still get red eye (some professionals with 1D Mk IV and Speedlite 600EX-RT occasionally still do), you can always correct it in your photo management software.
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    As others have confirmed above, the closer the flash is to the lens, the more likely you are to get red eye because there is a very small angle between the light entering the eye and reflecting back. You can minimize/eliminate red eye by increasing this angle - usually by moving the flash head away from the lense slightly. You can also just have your subjects look slightly away from the camera (but it's gotta look natural) or you can have them stare at a bright light just before looking a the camera. The bright light contracts the pupils. But you gotta be quick on the shutter since the pupil will dilate in less than a second.

    Of you can just use software. I grew up with film when you had to recognize the conditions that might produce red eye, and counter those conditions, because you wouldn't know you had red eye until the film came back, and that point getting rid of the red eye was a serious PITA. Serious PITA.

    Interestingly, blonde/blue-eyed people are more prone to red eye.

    I'm not sure that this is true. I may just be that ring flashes are generally used closer to a subject, and therefore the angle of light in/out inside the eye is large enough to minimize the red eye. My understanding is that shape of the light has nothing to do with with red eye, it is simply the angle of light entering/exiting the eye. Can you link to a reference?
  6. codymac macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2009
    Which is one reason I used a Polaroid back.

    OP - yes, in simplest terms:

    1 - flash close to the lens
    2 - dark environment simply because the subject's pupils are dilated

    There's plenty of ringflash photos out there in google-land with red eye. All of which were shot by people whose last name is not Newton and therefore have no business shooting with ringflash.
  7. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Ah, yes... the good ole' days... I remember them well. :)
    Thanks... I kinda thought there would be, but hadn't bothered to check. My name's not Newton, so I couldn't check it myself. :)

Share This Page