Sharpness question w/ examples

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by benlonghair, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    Greetings all. I'm having problems with sharpness, and I'm pretty much 100% sure it's me. I'm wondering if there is any trick to this. I'm working with an egg collection from the early 1900s. (And, yes, for you environmentalists, this is legal since they were collected pre Migratory Bird Treaty Act according to the FWS.) I'm not thinking about composition at all at this point; composition means nothing if you can't focus the camera. I'm aware I should have probably been at f/16 or something instead of f/8.

    I'm on manual focus (auto is not as acurate as my eye), VR off, tripod, using auto timer to fire off. The only other thing I could really do is lock the mirror up. These are taken at ISO 100 with the 18-55 5.6 VR kit lens at 55mm. EXIF data should be there and on flickr. (Click originals for link to EXIF.)

    Too soft for my liking:

    [​IMG]

    A 100% crop of that photo:

    [​IMG]

    Now this one came out pretty good. I want to learn to reproduce this:

    [​IMG]

    100% crop:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. paulk_68

    paulk_68 TPF Noob!

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    Do you have any examples using AF? Try f/11,.. although they should be sharp at f/8. And, it might be that you are just too close when taking the pictures, try moving back just a little.
     
  3. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    I've got 6-8" of closer focus, so unless it gets less sharp as it gets closer to it's minimum focus distance, that shouldn't be a problem.

    Here's one with auto focus, no VR, f/11.

    Maybe it's the $129 lens?

    EDIT: paulk_68 that third pic down in your travel pics section (html version) is amazing.

    [​IMG]

    100% crop:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Pure

    Pure TPF Noob!

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  5. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    The first one is not too soft at all. At least that portion that's in focus.

    If you carefully examine the black fabric/carpet just below and in front of the egg you will see an area that's quite sharp. Its seems you misfocused. Best focus is in front of the egg.

    Are you being careful to finalize your composition and zoom setting before focusing? If not, that could be the problem. Modern so called "zoom" lenses often have a slight focus shift when zoomed. They generally hold focus at infinity and exhibit some focus shift when focused closer. The closer the focus distance the greater the focus shift.
     
  6. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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  7. Lynnzora

    Lynnzora TPF Noob!

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    Maybe it's just me but the last one you posted of the egg in auto seems the sharpest... I like it though. I guess it depends on your preference.
     
  8. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    Hadn't noticed that. Thanks. I guess it's just a question of experience.

    It's also 3x the size of the other two.
     
  9. paulk_68

    paulk_68 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the compliment and for taking the time to look, Benlonghair. The site will be changed quite a bit over the next few weeks so please check back in the near future.
     
  10. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    It's a good possibility.
     
  11. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    It seems (optically) to be fairly good (for the price). The thing that annoys the snot out of me is the fact that the manual focus is so touchy. It goes from 1" out of focus to the back to 1" out of focus to the front in just a touch. It's like you breath on it and it's out of focus again.
     
  12. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You said that you use manual focus because your eye is better than the auto. Have you attempted the same picture using auto focus? I'm curious to see the results. I find using the 9 AF points in my camera doesn't give me the results I want, but using the single middle point to focus on and learning to recompose my shot after finding my focus works best for me.

    I think Dwig nailed it in that your focus point is in front of the egg, not on the egg in the first image.
     

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