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Thread: Where is my issue here?

  1. #1
    IShootPeople's Avatar
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    Where is my issue here?

    I'm trying to pinpoint the hang up in my recent photos. I can't tell if I'm just not picking the right settings, if my lens/camera is not sharp enough or what.

    This image is just not as sharp as I want. I was focusing on the head, and while I do think I was aiming for a shallow DOF to blur the background, the whole center of the photo is much softer than I want. There also seems to be a bit of a "halo" affect or something around the fly when I zoom in a bit.

    I am just a little bit at a loss of what I need to correct going forward. If anyone has suggestions, I would appreciate it!

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    Where is my issue here?

  2. #2

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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Hi Kim,

    At 263mm focal length 1/200sec shutter speed is to slow. The image has blurred due to camera movement. At focal length 263 you should be using around 1/500sec shutter speed to prevent any blur.

    When in doubt, use a tripod.

  3. #3
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    I think Andre's point makes sense; but I think might be also running into few other issues here. You are shooting at f/5.6, which

    (a) results in a very shallow depth of field, so in a closeup shot, so a lot of the image will be out of focus;

    (b) It looks like your focus was probably not bang on. I wonder if you were outside the minimum focus distance of the lens at that focal length; and

    (c) You are shooting at an aperture where the you are going to see a bit of softness and while I don't know that particular lens, other similar designs tend to be a bit soft in the 200 - 300mm focal length range.

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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Kim, there is an old adage in photography that your shutter speed should be higher than the focal length of your lens when shooting hand held.
    E.G. in your shot your focal length (263 mm) was HIGHER than your Shutter speed (1/200). This should not be the case.
    As Andre stated you would have been better off using a tripod.


    Bruce

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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    I wonder if you were outside the minimum focus distance of the lens at that focal length;
    Manfred did you mean inside the minimum focus distance (950mm)?

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    I meant outside the focus range of the lens, i.e. closer than the minimum focus distance. Sorry for the poor choice of words.

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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Ah, it sounds like I need to rework my learning! I'm still working on the mindset that I was taught ages ago that if it's sitting still, shoot at 1/60, and anything above scale as needed. I guess I need to get a better calculation and study it. That definitely explains my problems!!!

    I cannot get over how much I am learning! Just when I thought I had learned so much about photography, then I am taught things that completely twist my knowledge! I love it!

  8. #8

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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Quote Originally Posted by IShootPeople View Post
    I cannot get over how much I am learning! Just when I thought I had learned so much about photography, then I am taught things that completely twist my knowledge! I love it!
    Kim you will see some people using remote shutter releases and mirror up modes when shooting long focal length lenses.
    Focal length X 2 = shutter speed (Non VR lens)

    What I have learned about photography is this: the more I learn the more I realise how little I know and the more I want to learn.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital View Post
    E.G. in your shot your focal length (263 mm) was HIGHER than your Shutter speed (1/200). This should not be the case.
    That old adage was for a 35mm / full frame camera, so with a crop frame some level of compensation (i.e. compensate for the crop factor) is necessary. For the 263mm x 1.6 = 421mm or 1/400th minimum.

    I personally found that the rule did not hold for longer focal lengths; I found that with my 400mm lens; I pretty well had to shoot at 1/1000th to get good results consistently, whereas with an ultrawide angle 19mm lens, even 1/8s was doable. Now with stabilized lenses, I often surprise myself as to how slow I can shoot and get away with slower shutter speeds.

  10. #10
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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Kim,

    I'm not so sure.

    Because you have a crop sensor camera, the rule of thumb would be 1/(FL*1.6), so a shutter speed of roughly 1/400. However, if you used image stabilization, you could go 2 or 3 stops slower and not have problems with hand motion, so assuming IS was on, motion blur may not be the issue.

    My first guess is that the problem is focus. I don't know the distance from which you shot, so I can't calculate depth of field, but the image looks out of focus to me. The front wings look more in focus than the body. My suggestion would be to use center-point only AF, and put the center point on the bug's eye. You might also increase ISO to 800 and shut down a stop more, for a little bit more DOF. Better to have it in focus with a bit more noise than out of focus with less.

    Dan

  11. #11
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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    The lens that I used there does not have IS, so if nothing else, that definitely contributed to the problem. And being that I was trying to focus on a very small point, I am guessing that my focus probably was off. I believe I do have center point on, but I will double check that tonight. I usually do shoot with 800 ISO, but since I was playing with DOF there, I changed it. Guess I need to get my basics back to the way I want them before I start trying to get fancy!

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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Hi Kim,

    Quote Originally Posted by IShootPeople View Post
    I'm trying to pinpoint the hang up in my recent photos. I can't tell if I'm just not picking the right settings, if my lens/camera is not sharp enough or what.
    Have you undertaken this type of shot before with success ?

    If not and you are questioning whether your camera / lens is sharp (good) enough to get acceptable results I would suggest you do some tests.

    Pick yourself an object of similar size and with some fine detail shoot it at a similar distance. Preferably use a tripod, and any of the additional aids you have such as a mirror up setting, remote release, timer and try and use settings around base ISO, and f11 that will give the best chance of highest image quality. Tests such as this can be taken indoors with good light.

    The results from this will show you what your camera IS capable of.

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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    When taking close shot irrespective of the minimum focussing distance of my lens I add my moderate CU lens to help it. Which changes anyway on where I am with the zoom. My CU lens gives me a working distance of between 20 inche and somewhat closer

    The hand holding rule of I/focal length doesn't apply if you have OIS so that is a posssible option instead of the tripod which I would suggest is a hopeless way to go for small winged wild life

    The 1/f assumes you are holding the camera steady and carefully pressing the trigger and applies to the effective focal length when the crop factor is taken into account ... the T3i is an APS-C camera ? So that 75-300 lens is a 120-480 lens for calculating shutter speed in this situation.

    I mention carefully pressing the trigger becuase I firmly believe many photos are ruined by bad trigger technique which seems to be born out by the modern practice of using burst and getting a sharper image from a subsequent exposure rather than the first.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 8th August 2013 at 10:43 PM.

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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    What lens did you use for this image?

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    Re: Where is my issue here?


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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    It looks to me like a poor sharpening workflow is a major contributor to the image softness. What sharpening has been applied to the image?

    Any better? (click on image for correct 100% view)

    Where is my issue here?

  17. #17
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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    That image was RAW, unedited at all. I can get some level of sharpness back in editing, but not the quality that I see in pictures that others post, so I knew I had to be doing something wrong somewhere.

  18. #18

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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Quote Originally Posted by IShootPeople View Post
    That image was RAW, unedited at all. I can get some level of sharpness back in editing, but not the quality that I see in pictures that others post, so I knew I had to be doing something wrong somewhere.
    Hi Kim,

    A RAW image needs 3 sharpening passes at a minimum (capture / content/creative / output). There could well be other issues as well (camera shake, subject motion, focusing issue, lens quality), but it's impossible to tell those with any certainty with a down-sampled image (I'd need to look at the original).

    From what I saw, about 70% of the issue with the above was lack of sharpening, and perhaps around 30% something else.

    If it's a persistent problem then you need to do some testing to isolate the problem(s) (eg shooting targets from a tripod - manual release - mirror up - at am aperture that minimizes diffraction).

  19. #19
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    Re: Where is my issue here?

    Quote Originally Posted by IShootPeople View Post
    This image is just not as sharp as I want. I was focusing on the head, and while I do think I was aiming for a shallow DOF to blur the background, the whole center of the photo is much softer than I want. There also seems to be a bit of a "halo" affect or something around the fly when I zoom in a bit.

    If anyone has suggestions, I would appreciate it!
    Hello Kim,

    Where is my issue here?

    The standard advice for getting a large insect, a flower, a postage stamp, etc, etc, is to try and get a flat shot with the subject in the focal-place, if possible. Thus, in your shot, you'd shoot the dragonfly ideally from above ;-)

    Your lens is perhaps not the best for the job. Above is my crop from your crop. There appears to be some chromatic abberration (CA, color fringing) - see the crittur's eye (green) for example and the lower back edge of the closer front wing (magenta). And, although the image is said to be unprocessed, simple sharpening has somehow been over-applied, perhaps in the RAW conversion? I would use a macro lens, rather than a zoom, while realizing that close-up photography may not be your main interest. Perhaps a 105mm would suit you; the Sigma model is said to be quite good and my Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro is excellent.

    The subject is quite far from the camera, as evidenced by it being only about 400px wide and this from a Canon Rebel which has a good few more pixels than that ;-) So, there is heavy pixelation and you should try to get closer to avoid that.

    Now if you get closer, depth of field becomes more of an issue - especially if you take the advice to increase the shutter speed because you'll be opening the aperture (lower f-number) to get the same exposure. I see noise in the image which could just be sharpening artifacts, being near edges. But if you increase ISO to restore a bigger f-number for more DOF, more noise could creep into the background.

    In the posted image, 30% of the problems (Colin covered the other 70% ;-) are the composition (subject too small in the frame) and also the angle (subject shot across the wing span).

    I shot this one almost from the side, more by accident than design and the DOF wasn't too bad (pity about the head & antennae). Notice the cropped image size; yep, I should have gotten closer, too!

    Where is my issue here?

    Oct 27, 2010
    800532 pixels – 83KB
    Filename: mantis800.jpg
    Camera: Nikon D50
    ISO: n/a <--- probably ISO 200
    Exposure: 1/60 sec
    Aperture: 8.0
    Focal Length: 60mm
    Flash Used: Yes

    Micro-Nikkor 60mm macro lens.
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 13th August 2013 at 12:22 AM.

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