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Thread: Images from a 50-500 lens

  1. #1
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    Images from a 50-500 lens

    Hi Folks,
    I've just joined and am reletively new to DSLR photography. I am really keen to get into wildlife photography and, so such ends recently bought a sigma 50-500mm lense (an older model with IS).
    Now the problem i have is on full zoom, my images, when i zoom in post processing, have a real blur to them. I'm using a good quality tripod and head (giottos).
    Being new to this, am i expecting too much from my lense or am i doing something drasticaly wrong on my settings.
    Here are a couple of images i taken, 1 at full zoom but at about 300mtrs and the other at full zoom but at only 20 mtrs.
    I'd appreciate any advice that you can can offer.

    Cheers
    Leo

    _dsc1830.jpg


    _dsc2170.jpg

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/for...1&d=1317154406
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/for...1&d=1317154406
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    Last edited by Donald; 27th September 2011 at 09:25 PM. Reason: Images posted inline

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Hi Leo,

    Can you tell us what settings were used?
    shutter speed, aperture, iso.

    Thanks and welcome to the CiC fourms from....

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    epmi314's Avatar
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    re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Leo,

    I recently picked up the Sigma 150-500mm for my Nikon. I am still getting accustomed to its weaknessess and strengths. I would say the shot of the swan at 20 meters shows some good detail though it is a bit underexposed. You should certainly expect to see pretty good detail at 20 meters. My lens is terrible in low light, even cloudy days can be a problem. So keep an eye on the exposure. The first shot at 300 meters is simply too far to pick up much detail in something as small as a bird...even a big bird. The lens has plenty of length at that distance to incorporate a large nest into the landscape but to get the detail in the feathers you'll need to put a quiet pair of walking shoes on and sneak up on it.

    I see you have only posted twice here on CIC. Initially I had trouble getting my pictures to post with the same degree of quality as shot. I have been using the bicubic sharpener in Photoshop for the reduction before posting and they are more true.

    Check out this thread for help with posting. HELP THREAD: How can I post images here?

    Here is one of my shots for comparison. This was at perhaps 60 meters. The lighting isn't very good. While you can see some of the detail in the feathers, I couldn't get close enough due to the terrain to get the shot I was looking for.

    Images from a 50-500 lens

    I hope this helps.

    Scott
    Last edited by epmi314; 29th September 2011 at 01:17 AM.

  4. #4
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    re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the reply, sorry, i forgot that settings are important. The first pic settings are as follows, F10, shutterspeed 1/320, iso 400, 500mm.
    the second pic is f7, 1/800, iso 100, 500mm.
    Would a converter help me get more detail at that sort of distance?
    Scott, what a lovely shot. Many thanks for your advice.
    Cheers
    Leo

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by baggins View Post
    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the reply, sorry, i forgot that settings are important. The first pic settings are as follows, F10, shutterspeed 1/320, iso 400, 500mm.
    the second pic is f7, 1/800, iso 100, 500mm.
    Would a converter help me get more detail at that sort of distance?
    Scott, what a lovely shot. Many thanks for your advice.
    Cheers
    Leo
    Hi Leo,

    I know you have IS, but the shutter speed of 1/320s is lower than I would use for that shot with 500mm, in fact lower than I'd ideally use at 300mm with IS.

    Was there a reason to use f/10?

    For comparison, Scott's shot was taken at 1/640s and f6.3.

    A converter will inevitably further reduce image quality, whether that's worse than extra cropping on the image a bare lens will produce to get the same framing is something I can't answer.

    It is early days though and any lens takes a while to get used to the best settings for best IQ.

    Cheers,

  6. #6
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    re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    To be fair, the settings were the ones that seems to work while previewing onsite. So a faster shutter speed and a larger aperture would be far better.
    As i said, i'm pretty new to this game and so any advice and critics are really welcome.

    Thank you so much for all your advice.

    Cheers

    Leo

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by baggins View Post
    To be fair, the settings were the ones that seems to work while previewing onsite. So a faster shutter speed and a larger aperture would be far better?
    I can't say for sure, that's for you to find out, but I'd suggest that one stop down from wide open is probably all you need use, I know my Nikon 70-300mm is better at f/8 than wide open at f/5.6. I know I can use f/11 or f/16, but not if that compromises shutter speed.

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    Re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Leo, you said that you have an older model with IS but should that have read without IS; or OS as Sigma calls it. I'm assuming that we are talking about the Sigma 50-500 which is often commonly referred to as the Bigma. I think OS was introduced with the latest models within the last 2 years.

    With your first photo you appear to have totally failed to focus correctly rather than suffered from camera shake problems. Was it auto or manual focus? Either way there can be a number of causes. Personally, I normally prefer to use just the centre focusing point for shots like that, which can reduce false focus problems.

    The second photo has detail but lacks correct exposure, which others have pointed out. However this should be easy to fix with basic editing software.

    I use the Sigma 150-500, like Scott, and agree that it is something of a good light lens, as most larger zooms. I also mostly use it around F8 to F11 for best results.

    One other thing to consider with long distances is the 'quality' of the air. If there is a lot of water vapour in the air (ie humid days) you will get poorer results no matter what lenses you use. Sometimes there is a considerable difference in quality if you have the sun directly behind you.

    And with regard to getting the best results during uploading to this site. What size was your uploaded image? If it is too large (above 700 pixels on the longest side) it will be automatically resized which can possibly cause some loss of quality.

    I always resize to correct dimensions before posting but don't use Bicubic Sharpener as I found it gives automatic sharpening which isn't always the best setting for every image. So after resizing, I give my photos a little bit of Unsharp Mask to suit each image.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 28th September 2011 at 07:20 PM. Reason: grammar correction

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    Re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Hi Geoff,
    Many thanks for your reply. Yup, it was a typo, the Sigma model i have doesn't have the IS. I tried using manual and auto focus on a range of shots and this one was the best. It was taken using Auto focus, but i am aware that at the distances i was shooting, it wouldn't be that accurate. It was taken across open water at the end of a warm day.
    As to my image uploads, i'm afraid i've been a bit of a techno luddite until recently, so am now trying to learn everything i need to know in a short space of time (very scary). I'm still trying to get to grips with understanding picture sizes, file sizes etc. so thank you for explaining that to me.

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    Re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    As to my image uploads, i'm afraid i've been a bit of a techno luddite until recently, so am now trying to learn everything i need to know in a short space of time (very scary). I'm still trying to get to grips with understanding picture sizes, file sizes etc. so thank you for explaining that to me.

    Yes, I'm from a pre digital age myself and although I have overcome my initial confusion with digital photography I still find this internet stuff totally strange.

    Originally, I couldn't understand the concept of using pixels until I changed the name to Pixies and imagined them standing shoulder to shoulder inside my camera. Each pixie has a choice of three different coloured hats to wear (red green or blue) which creates the digital photo.

    I can add or remove pixies as required, which changes the image size; and how close together they are standing alters the resolution.

    Absolutely crazy idea - but it worked for me!

  11. #11
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    Re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Brilliant ! Will be using pixies from now on.
    Cheers

  12. #12
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    Re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post

    I always resize to correct dimensions before posting but don't use Bicubic Sharpener as I found it gives automatic sharpening which isn't always the best setting for every image. So after resizing, I give my photos a little bit of Unsharp Mask to suit each image.
    Geoff,

    I will have to try this. Until now I thought I had the whole posting thing figured. My reduction process never seemed to be perfect but better than other options. This is helpful.

    Thanks,

    Scott

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    Re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    As a personal preference I have tried to keep zoom lenses to no more than 4.5 x optical zoom as I find past that you can get significant distortion at the extreme ends of such lenses. Lens manufacturers have a big job to try and get very good optics in one lens covering such a range. I think the new Sigma is 150 - 500mm or just 3.3 x optical zoom.

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    Re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Hello Baggins Sir, please do a sharpness test at 200, 300, 400 & 500 mm in bright sunlight. Car number plates are a good subject as are brick walls. Vary the distances. Use a good sturdy tripod. I am sure you know the shutter speed setting for zooms. Try and get the aperture sweet spot for your lens and use it. Please do not use Shake Reduction on a tripod. ISO should not be more than 400. And both manual focus as well as auto focus should be used.
    Best practice with this lens for some time. Then post a crop of the subject with exif data.
    If you decide you have a bad copy of the lens, send it for alignment / focus correction or sell it off.
    I have attached a bird shot with a cheap zoom lens the Tamron 28-200 - just to tell you the worst zoom lens need not be bad, unless it is dropped / knocked about. Re-sized by the forum from 800 KB. Was originally 10 MB. I have the same shot with a Nikon prime 300 mm / f4 + Nikon 1.4 TC - amazingly sharp.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
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    Re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Hi Nanhi, many thanks for that. i shall do what you suggest and post up the results when i can.

    Cheers

    Leo

  16. #16
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    Re: Images from a 50-500 lens

    Hi Leo,
    There seems to be a lot of interest whether or not you have the OS (Image Stabilization, Anti-Shake, call it what you like) version. This is irrelevant. You should not use any such feature when you're using a tripod.

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