What am i doing wrong to get this focused?

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by Ganoderma, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. Ganoderma

    Ganoderma TPF Noob!

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    i use cannon eos kiss x. just bought a new lens. Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 macro.

    so far i have been shooting with the standard kit lens 18-55mm.

    i will admit so far i have just been messing with autofocus cause i honestly cant do manual with my eyes.

    this is under a cloudy but bright day. these are flower buds. i was shooting on a tripod with a remote to be sure there was no shake at all.

    this example is is 1/5 sec.
    f/22
    300mm
    iso-200
    exp. comp. 0

    any tips?

    not cropped but resized
    [​IMG]


    cropped and not resized
    [​IMG]

    see how out of focus that is? why? i tried about 20 pics at different distances from 4 feet away to 15, and this was the best... :(
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    1. On a crop sensor, diffraction at f/22 is horrendous. I don't go past f/16 unless I desperately need that extra DoF.

    2. 1/5s is way, way to slow to handhold a 300mm. You need to get that shutter speed up. Open the aperture to something more reasonable like f/8, or even f/5.6. That will lessen or eliminate shake, and I'm talking about shake from the mirror slapping up and other vibrations. And, let you get down to ISO 100 for cleaner images.

    Also, familiarize yourself with this page. Apparently that lens isn't very sharp at all at 300mm, particularly around the borders. Meep.
     
  3. HeY iTs ScOTtY

    HeY iTs ScOTtY TPF Noob!

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    use a tripod too.
     
  4. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    *coughcough* ;)
     
  5. Ganoderma

    Ganoderma TPF Noob!

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    hehe, ya was on tripod and remote so i didnt touch the camera. i never knew the camera would cause so much shake itself, good to keep in mind!

    thanks for the link, i wont lie, i need to look up about half those words lol.

    but i have another Q. if using a tripod and remote or timer, why is 1/5 too much? i understand 300mm makes everything more sensitive, but does the camera/lens make that much movement for it to cause shake?

    thanks a lot for the pointers!!!
     
  6. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    It can cause some unsharpness. Truth be told I wrote that before really considering the tripod and remote, but it's good to know anyway. If you want to eliminate shake, you've gotta dig-in the tripod if it's on a soft surface, and set mirror lock-up to on in the custom functions. Just go through the custom functions in the menu and you'll find it. It'll lock the mirror up on the first shutter press, then open the shutter on the second. Waiting a little in the time between will give time for the vibrations to die-down.

    Honestly I think your worst problem is diffraction. Lighten up on it and come back to the world of f-stops below f/16. Looks like the lens is sharpest around f/8 (like many lenses).
     
  7. dizzyg44

    dizzyg44 TPF Noob!

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    Ditto what they said on aperture, gotta be in the "who cares" range or f8-f11
     
  8. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    Go into your Custom funct. menu, turn mirror lock up on, Press the shutter onece (with the remote) to lift the mirror, then press the shutter again about 1 seconds later, This reduces movement in the camera body thus removing the shake,

    f22 is too high... its kinda like if you went in the sea, you start swimming from a shallow end, Then it starts to get really deep eventually, but you keep going, it will start getting shallow again.

    as ^ said, Stay at f16, no more..

    some lens' have certain sweet spots for sharp DOF (at this close you dont need a high Aperture either... f/8 - f/11 would do this...)
    usually the sweet spot is about 2 stops up from your max aperture meaning if your max aperture (like my 50mm ii) is f1.8, put your aperture at about f2.8 / f4 for a sharp image

    Checklist:

    Use a good tripod
    use a Wireless shutter release
    Turn mirror lockup on
    Turn IS or VR off for still objects
    use your lowest ISO setting.
    use the best glass you have!

    It may also be to do with the focusing of the lens...
    If you have live view function, turn it on and zoom in to x10 or its highest zoom (this is a digital zoom = lower IQ)
    this is just to check that you have focused properly, although your using AF it might still be off a little! so just focus with af then turn to MF and re-adjust as necessary.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2009
  9. Ganoderma

    Ganoderma TPF Noob!

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    excellent tips, thanks guys! i use wireless remote, one of my favourite "toys". so nice not to have to touch the cam while shooting.

    the reason i (used to) shoot such high f/stop was because often i take pictures for study, so art and appeal is not important, but having great detail is essential. but now that you guys helped me out with the whole diffraction bit, i think i get the general idea, enough to practice a bit and hit the books :) thanks for that!

    So my goal is to have as much of the image in focus and detailed, you say f/16 is tops. what about for other situations, say 100mm or even 20mm? would the diffraction then be changed a bit due to angles? sorry i am still a bit fuzzy in this area lol.

    last question. mirror lock up, just learned about this as well. is all it does is make a 2 step (press) method? is there any reason not to leave this on all the time? i know for well lit situations it may not be needed, but is there anything wrong with leaving it on aside from convenience?

    thanks again.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well for mirror lockup its a good method for a static camera and subject, but if either is moving (handheld or moving subject) then in the time between lifting the mirror and the second pressing of the shutter the subject could very easily move out of frame or the camera move out of focus (AF will also be off when the mirror flips up). Also its desigend to counter micro movements - if your holding your camera your going to get those movements just from your natural body movement.

    As for getting more depth of field f16 is a rough ballpark figure that applies to pretty much all lenses (I am sure there are exceptions to this rough rule with some performing better and others worse). And in general its also the upper limit - myself I prefer to operate mainly in f13 for macro.

    However depth of field is always limited, but there is a trick - focus stacking. That is you take a series of shots using a camera on a tripod with a focusing rail - keeping the focus in a fixed position, but moving the camera and lens closer to the subject for each shot - getting a bit of depth over the whole image in stages (making sure there is some overlap). Then you can either work on stacking the shots manually in editing with layers and layermaskes (urgh takes for ever if you do more the 2 shots) or better you can use a program (free) like Combine ZM *Updated now to Combine ZP I belive* to stack all the shots into a single composite image.

    The great thing is from my experiments in this, is that you get great sharpness and very little noise through this process - and it gives you such a deeper depth than you would otherwise be able to get
     
  11. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    It gets annoying having to press twice, you only really need it for tripod work so you get the sharpest image your camera is capable of
    if you dontm ind pressing twice (although it will have no effect if your holding the camera therefore useless. then use it all you want)
     
  12. tomhooper

    tomhooper TPF Noob!

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    Agree with the above posters. Mirror lock-up, be sure and use a tripod. Remote triggers are also helpful. I also find that unless you have the higher end glass (L or something very close), most zoom lenses are not very sharp at the upper end of the zoom. Keep your ISO low. Shutter speed at least 1/30 or better and get in the sweet aperture zone of your lens. You need to shoot some test shots with that lens to find out if it is 5.6, 8, 11, 16, or whatever. I would bet on that lens being in the 5.6-8 range. One other thing to do is to add light. Even if it is just for fill, you can then use shutter speeds and apertures that you want. Most of all, keep on shooting. Shooting good macro shots takes lots and lots of practice.
     

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