Am I expecting too much?/Is this the limit of my lens?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by MGY, May 27, 2010.

  1. MGY

    MGY TPF Noob!

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    I took some shots at small apertures and the images still do not seem sharp. Am I doing something wrong or is it my setup?

    [​IMG]

    this is a full sized image taken at f22, iso 100, 1/10 sec shutter speed, tripod mounted and timer. I am disappointed that the signs are not super sharp.

    [​IMG]
    f9, 1/160 sec shutter, iso 100, tripod, timer
    please excuse the crookedness.

    These are just 2 of many images, but none of them seem sharp to me. Both were taken with a d80 with a 28-200mm f3.5-5.6 lens.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Some lenses do not perform best a the smallest aperture.

    There appears to be some aberrations ... especially around the edges.
    Not the highest quality lens ... but it is a 28-200mm.
    The camera sensor will also affect the image quality.

    I tend to stay away from such wide focal length zooms.

    I prefer having dedicated lenses in a wide, middle, and long focal length ... as it is easier for the manufacturer to make optical corrections.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Firstly a point - I understand how you want to show fullsized images to show the quality you are seeing, but please keep your images to 800pixels or shorter on the longest side when embedding them into the forum. This helps keep the image size down and thus means that those on slower connections are able to view and use the site. If you want to you can put a direct link to the larger versions so that we can follow that.


    As for the images a few points:
    1) Avoid f22. The smaller the aperture the closer you get to where diffraction starts to affect your overall image quality. For most lenses they tend to get sharper as you approach f8 and then will start to soften again as you head away from f10. On most camera bodies and lenses you can get away with f13 and even f16 without too much trouble from diffraction, but going any smaller and your shots will get softer and softer no matter how well you take the shot itself. This is what I suspect is leading to the softness you are seeing in shot 1.

    2) Your second source of softness is the shutter speed of 1/10sec. Whilst you used a tripod which means that shake at the camera end is not a problem, your shutter speed is way too slow to capture motion - which means the cars will blure, the trees and vegitation and anything that moves (even in light wind) andany mpeople or other moving elements. The only things that will come out sharp are going to be totally static elements.

    3) Depth of field - going for something like f22 for more depth is an option, but a better one is to head over to google and start learning about hyperfocal distance and focusing - which is what many landscapers use so that they can get a whole landscape sharp whilst still at apertures like f8 and f10. I am guessing that the signpost in shot 1 is possible out of focus rather than being soft for the lens - so review your focusing method (I would elaborate more but its not an area I am well enough experienced with.
    something to get you started with:
    Online Depth of Field Calculator

    4) Remember a superzoom lens is always going to be a compramise - especaially at the longer focal lengths of its range. At 28mm it should give good, usable results - and as you get closer to 200mm things will change. I know the generalities but I've never used the lens nor camera body so I can't be certain how "well" the combo should work

    5) Sharpening - I bet you if you run some sharpening over shot 2 you can improve the end result. Good sharpening (if you work in RAW or JPEG) is an essential part of working with digital images - as well as other editing methods you can learn. There are some good articles on sharpening, as well as other editing aspects here:
    Ron Bigelow Photography Articles
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I got tired of waiting for the huge photos to load and moved on. TPF requests that you resize before you upload. About 1000 or so pixels on the long side works ok.
     
  5. MGY

    MGY TPF Noob!

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    thanks. photos have been resized.

    overread- I was always under the impression that the smaller the aperture, the sharper the image. thanks for pointing out that f8 or so is typically the max sharpness. For you point 2, I purposely wanted the cars to be blurred, but I thought that the brown sign left of center would have been sharp. I'm assuming it it because it is your 3rd point. Both images were taken at 28mm. Thanks.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Aye I suspect it must be depth of field and your focus not being set right - that added to the diffraction effect resulting in way too much softness slipping into that area of the shot.
    Also the diffraction effect is very dependant upon the camera body, the lens and the photographers own feeling of quality. Like I say most can stop down to around f13 and still get very usable results and it really does vary from lens to lens if you happen to sit down and test them - on a zoom like yours I also wouldn't be surprised if it changes through the zoom range - f10 might give a good shot a 28mm but at 200mm you might find that f8 is the best you can go to.
     
  7. JasonLambert

    JasonLambert TPF Noob!

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    A little bit of Post can go a long way. A lot can wreck it... I wrecked it! But I just wanted to show you that you can sharpen the images a bit. I just did the right side. (like you couldn't see that)

    [​IMG]
     
  8. MGY

    MGY TPF Noob!

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    wow, thanks. looks like you saved the image before the edit ;) I don't usually do post processing because I'm not very good at it and I tend to ruin everything.
     
  9. JasonLambert

    JasonLambert TPF Noob!

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    Well get something like Gimp and work on it.... PP is just part of photography... Most of the time... Ok, for me anyway.

    Gimp is free and works a lot like Photoshop.
     

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