why are my photos "soft"?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Timothy, May 1, 2010.

  1. Timothy

    Timothy TPF Noob!

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    so i have previously posted a few photos on here, and amoung the comments have stated that the images look soft.

    i do agree with most of them, but i don't know how to make them more sharp, i try aiming at the eye to get a nice focus, but they still seem to think they are soft.

    anything i can try to make them better?
    here are 2 examples taken a few months apart *please note that these are both unedited versions*
    1.
    [​IMG]
    2.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    Are you shooting in "green" button mode or are you using A or S? or other manual modes?
    I have found that once I get off that green button, my images get crisper.
     
  3. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It could be one of several things. Please post your, shooting mode, focusing method, 1 focus point, multi point etc., also the gear used, body and lens. Do you have a protective filter on the lens? More info will help determine the cause(s).
     
  4. Timothy

    Timothy TPF Noob!

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    in both instances i was shooting in A mode, not sure what you mean by focusing method, as i had a look on my camera and could not see a way to change it, but i just put the middle focus point over the eye and af on that, sometimes a few other points light up. gear was canon 450d (rebel xsi) with 18 - 55 F3.5 -5.6 for the first image and the 55 - 250 F4 - 5.6 for the second, just the twin kit lens really
     
  5. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Get our your manual and read it. Especially the section on focusing modes. (Page 60 & 61) I almost always shoot a single focus point. (Only one lights up) and I select the focus point I want to use usually after framing the shot, selecting the point that is on the area I most want in focus. When shooting sports I usually am shooting the center point only. While you don't have a rear thumb wheel on the 450D like my Canon bodies do, there is a way to select which point you want to use.

    When you use multiple focus points the camera is going to try to focus on a blend of those points. Photo #1 looks like the the nose is the sharpest point of the image.

    As for the lenses you were using, I can not comment on them, I have never shot them and don't know if they tend to be a touch soft or not. Maybe someone that shoots those lenses can tell you what IQ issues there are, if any.
     
  6. mdtusz

    mdtusz TPF Noob!

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    I think the issue is more the lens than focus mode. I borrowed my dads 55-200 today which is a common(ish) second "kit" lens and when I looked at my pictures, I thought I had missed the focus entirely, so I went and took a picture of a paper with writing on it and saw, it is in focus, the lens just is super soft. I don't know about the canon lenses too much, but the Nikon 55-200 seems to really suck and the 18-55 isn't great by any means either.
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I used to have both of those Nikon lenses and had no problems when I used them in their optimum aperture range for sharp focus.

    Even expensive lenses perform best when use at a couple of stops off of their max and min apertures.

    Timothy,

    You have to always be aware of the image sensor plane.

    For instance in the first image you posted one eye is further from the image sensor plane than the other. With the DOF you used there was no hope of having the far eye in focus and your lens was likely wide open, an aperture setting that doesn't usually promote sharp focus on anything.

    Also, here is a good read about how a camera auto focuses:

    http://focustestchart.com/focus21.pdf
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2010
  8. mrpink

    mrpink No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Taken with a Nikkor 55-200mm....

    [​IMG]

    I do not see any softness in this photo.





    p!nK
     
  9. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The first shot is down to shutter speed, too slow for the focal length used
     
  10. scorpion_tyr

    scorpion_tyr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Follow gryphonslair99's advice. The kit lenses aren't great, but you can make them work if you know how. A smaller aperature, good use of flash, and a good shutter speed can get you better DOF.
     
  11. Ryan L

    Ryan L TPF Noob!

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    Either way, he has the Canon XSI with a canon lens kit. I don't really think we can classify our lenses by focal ranges and judge the quality.

    I am sure you have already checked, but sometimes we overlook the obvious. Since you have 2 lenses doing it I wouldn't think you have anything on your lenses...Since they are both 55mm, you don't use the same UV or other filter for both lenses do you? IF not maybe you have something on your sensor? If not I would go with gryphonslair99's advice.
     
  12. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I'm surprised no one mentions PP as a possible part of the problem. Since the OP doesn't mention it either I would think he doesn't do any.

    Timothy, I am pretty new to digital photo but one thing I've gathered from forums is that images are softened by the built in software of the camera and every image needs a bit of sharpening.

    Hopefully, someone who does PP will explain this better than I can.
     

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