Sharp close-up focus. Help!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Cinka, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    Issue: Sharp close-up focus

    I'm shooting close up product (shoes with rhinestones) and no matter what I try, I can't get the focus completely sharp. This is particularly noticeable in the rhinestones, which are small and multi-faceted.

    I'm using a Canon 40D and a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS lens, a light-box, two lamps, and a speedlite. AF is turned off. Mirror lock is on. I'm using a tripod and have tried 2-10 seconds timer to minimize vibration. I'm running out of ideas. The depth of field is shallow, but there doesn't seem to be ANY spot that's in focus.

    Is the 24-105 lens able to shoot sharp close-up details? I can get reasonably sharp results when I'm in macro, but that's too close for the product. The lens' minimum non-macro distance is 18 inches. Even at 24 inches, I still get soft details.

    Help?

    Shutter: 0.3s
    Aperture: f22


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. potownrob

    potownrob TPF Noob!

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    I would try a bigger aperture to get things sharp. At f/22 just about everything's in focus but nothing's sharp. F/4 should be sharp despite being the biggest aperture but I'd try something between f/5.6 and f/8 since it would probably look sharper. Another benefit of the bigger aperture is quicker shutter speed which means less chance of camera shake.
     
  3. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    if your using it (IS) try turning it off and I'd also go f8-f11-f16 and view the results to determine the sweet spot on the lens, also focus 1/3 into the image/shoes. H
     
  4. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    +1 to everything they said.

    Also be aware of the minimum focusing distance on your lens. Look on the bottom and it will tell you "infinity to XXX". Whatever XXX is, is the closest you should get to your subject. (you being the end of your lens)
     
  5. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    Sometimes you can get better results by moving the camera away form the subject and zooming in. That will improve your DOF as well. I agree with the above that you should use F8 to F11.
     
  6. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys! You all rock. Will definitely try your suggestions today and post results.

    I wonder, is there a lens that can get crisp close-ups of items with rhinestones at f22? I was hoping to catch that sparkle effect you get with a smaller aperture. Might have to face facts that it's all about post processing.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Every lens does have a sweetspot. Knowing what your lens' sweetspot is, will result in better pics.

    For most lenses it is 1 particular aperture somewhere between F/5.6 and F/11. For example, on my 50mm F/1.8 lens, it's sweet spot is F/7.1, on my 18-200 Nikkor, its F/11.

    Find out what the sweetspot is for your lens... and use it! :D
     
  8. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    OK, so I tried f4 through f11 and at one point, determined that f11 at 1/160 was pretty good, not brilliant, but much better. I was zoomed in. When I went back to shoot the whole shoe, no dice. Still the same results as before. I can't seem to find the "sweet spot" - I've tried all combination of shutter speed and aperture.

    Perhaps this is a limitation of the sensor of the 40D or is is possible that the lightbox is causing the rhinestones to haze or become fuzzy?

    Thanks!
     
  9. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Maybe it is the lens and not the limitation of the sensor. What other lenses do you have to play with? You might try one of those and see what the results are. Especially if you have a prime.
     
  10. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Joves. What lens are you using? That's what I would be suspicious of at this point. Your 40D is capable of capturing perfectly sharp images.
     
  11. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    My lens is: Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS lens - I also have a 50mm macro 2.5. I also tried the 55mm standard that came with my Rebel XT. Same results every time. It appears all 3 lenses are getting the same results. Which is why I'm starting to wonder if it's not light refraction or bounce or something to do with the lightbox. Who knows. I'm stumped.

    It's very odd. I just tried letting the AF do the work, thinking maybe my eyesight ain't what it used to be -- even locked the AF. Same. Still fuzzy and not sharp.
     
  12. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well in manual you could measure your distance with a tape measure to the focal plane. If that body has it marked. I know it is the old fashioned way but it works.
     

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