SO FRUSTRATED... need focusing help!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by JenR, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. JenR

    JenR TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I bought my Nikon D50 about 3 months ago. Since then I have been really trying to learn my camera and concentrate on nailing the focus. Clearly, I need much, much more practice because the vast majority of my images are very soft.

    Since just taking four thousand shots has not improved my photography at all, I need to find a more purposeful approach to my practice efforts.
    Can anyone give some advice or encouragement on where I should go from here?

    FWIW, I have the D50 with a 28 - 80 mm f/3.3 - f/5.6 lens. I am mainly shooting fast-moving kids (ages 1 & 4) indoors.

    This is pretty typical photo...

    [​IMG]



    Thanks!!

    ~jen
     
  2. shorty6049

    shorty6049 TPF Noob!

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    there are a couple factors that could cause soft images. number one- aperture too wide may cause softness. 2- too small aperture also can cause this. 3- low light image shake (doesnt really look that way in your photo though). 4- are you focusing in manual or automatic? try switching and see if it helps at all. 5- try finding the "sweet spot" on your lens and shoot in that aperture range. 6- sharpen in photoshop or a similar program (i've heard time and time again, every photo taken with a digital camera needs sharpening, this is mostly because of the anti-moire filter that softens the image to reduce sharp edges and crazy patterns on clothing and stuff) , i have the problem as well though, and havent really found a great solution to it yet... better glass usually gives sharper images as well. hope this helps some!
     
  3. JenR

    JenR TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the quick reply...

    I have been using the focus points and auto-focusing.

    ~jen
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree with shorty.

    What is the typical shutter speed that you shoot with? That lens is a fairly 'slow' lens which doesn't lend itself well for fast moving subjects like kids...especially indoors or in lower light situations.

    What is your focus technique? What focus mode and points do you use? On my camera, I always use the centre focus point only...I focus on what I want and then recompose the shot without activating the auto focus again.

    What type of files to you record, JPEG or RAW? You could turn up the sharpness in the camera's settings or better yet, sharpen the images with software. This isn't a cure for out of focus shots...but maybe you are just being too discerning with your shots. How do the prints look? Every digital image will start to look unsharp as you zoom in on it.
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    very natural light ... but therefore you had to use high iso which gave you lots of noise in this one. depth of field seems quite shallow-ish.
    how do you focus? all on auto?

    does the D 50 have more than one AF sensor? on my first camera with multiple AF sensors I had difficulties focussing first, since the camera was trying to select the AF sensor for me, which often just meant focussing on the wrong spot.

    so I switched it to the central AF an everything was nice.

    forget about all which I just said if the D 50 only has the central AF sensor anyway ... can some Nikonians help?
     
  6. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Other than being badly underexposed, I don't see to much wrong. Looks sharp to me - remember most digital images need some sharpening in computer. Looked a bit noisy so did some selective noise reduction too (not much though). A little extra sharpening over the eye too to make it stand out a bit.

    Concentrate more on your exposure.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    "remember most digital images need some sharpening in computer."

    I agree with EOS_JD. JenR, were you by chance shooting with a "point and shoot" digital before you got your DSLR? If so, you may be expecting the DSLR to default to the same kind of in-camera processing that the point and shoots typically have as default.

    Try this. Put your camera in "P" (program) mode. Then look for a menu setting called "Optimize Image" (or something similar). Set it to something like "vivid" or "more vivid". Then shoot in "P" mode for a while.

    What "vivid" and "more vivid" (or similar settings) do is make the camera do more post-processing in camera before giving you the images...just like the point-and-shoot cameras. For the most part, you will get a boost in color saturation and sharpening, without having to load your photos into Photoshop.

    Try it out and see if you like your shots better.
     
  8. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    just to add you will need to be shooting a jpg for this to work as RAWs are not affected by the parameters set in the camera.

    Yes go to the parameter and up the contrast & sharpness and you will see a difference.

    Do you use Photoshop or other image software? Try some sharpening. You may need a lot for a high res image and not so much for a low res image (like the web sized one above).
     
  9. JenR

    JenR TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all so much for your input. I generally shoot jpg's because they are smaller and 99.99% of it is practice and garbage anyway. I will experiment with in-camera image optimization tonight.

    I just upgraded my computer for the first time in almost 7 years and in the first two weeks we haven't gotten along well. Today, I don't have ANY editing software. Hopefully, I can get my computer issues worked out soon so that I can get Photoshop Elements. I am anxious to start using a real image editing program!

    Thanks all!!

    ~jen
     
  10. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    PSE is an excellent program that will suit you well.

    Try to get your exposures better that will make the biggest difference.
     
  11. JimmyJaceyMom

    JimmyJaceyMom TPF Noob!

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  12. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Read the manual and you'll find it. Find the custom functions in the menu and it'll be one of them. I have the joystick on the 20D set to move the focus point to the one I want. Centre point is the most sensitive.
     

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