Help getting clear photos.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by AndyH, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would be very upset if any of my lenses, zoom or prime, did not allow infinity focus. The only difference between zoom and prime (apart from one zooms) is image quality and that is not a great difference now.


     
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  2. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Again, the caveat: I'm a DSLR newbie. So take this FWIW...

    Please bear with me on the following.

    I've a technical and engineering background, and most of my friends have been techs, engineers or scientists (mostly physicists). In technical, engineering and scientific disciplines there is a common aspect of, let us say, "figuring things out." (Trouble-shooting method in tech, scientific method in engineering and science.) One of my ex-bosses put it best when he said, of trouble-shooting: "Get the cr*p off bus!" (Data bus, not transportation vehicle ;).)

    The point to my explaining that is you are making multiple changes in your experiments/trouble-shooting. Don't do that. Reduce the number of variables. Pick one aspect of what you're doing, change that, and that alone, check your results. When you change two-or-more things at once, one can correct a problem and the other re-introduce it--or something that looks very much like it.

    Btw: Re: Manual focus: You've adjusted the diopter to suit your eyesight, yes?

    Please do not take offence, as I'm only trying to help, but...

    Did you do all these things, precisely and without exception?
    • Camera on tripod
    • Stable, level surface for targets
    • Outside for lowest possible ISO
    • Widest aperture possible
    • Distance 50x focal length in millimeters
    • Single-shot, single-point autofocus
    • Image stabilization off
    • Shutter on delay timer or remote shutter release
    I only ask this, am making certain, because, as the maker of the cited video noted: It's almost never the tool, but the user. E.g.: In all the years I wrote software, and the myriad of software tools I used, I only twice found what was broken was the tool, rather than the wielder ;)

    I would hate for you to have gone to the trouble and expense of chasing a hardware problem, only to find it wasn't a hardware problem, after all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  3. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, and angle of view, often (usually?), no?

    It's moot in this case, anyway, is it not? The OP wants to understand why the photos he's taking with the body and lens he has aren't coming out like he'd like. I may be a DSLR n00b, but I have had experience with other cameras. ISTM the photos he's trying to take aren't particular demanding of his hardware, are they?
     
  4. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    no. please. no.


    also: I realize it's a language issue, but the word is prime, not primary.
     
  5. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    the 7Dmii was plagued with AF issues. I wouldn't be shocked if this 60D also had issues and needs to be serviced.
     
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  6. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    He'd need (at least) one more lens to test for whether it's the camera body, though, no?
     
  7. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No. angle of view is determined by focal length and sensor diagonal. If the zoom is used at the same focal length as a prime lens, angle of view will be the same.
     
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  8. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Supporting Member

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    Not all. I believe it depends on whether you bought an earlier model or not. I know a lot of 7DkmII owners that have no issues. Non of them bought the first year though.
     
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  9. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I agree ZS, not that you're thick! lol but that going to a larger aperture will just make the depth of field even more shallow. Doing the opposite and using a smaller aperture would give more of the field of view in focus. It depends on meter readings how much it's necessary to open/close the lens to a larger or smaller aperture, set the shutter speed to a faster or slower speed, or raise or lower the ISO, to get a proper exposure.

    By manual focus I mean not using focus points, but turning the barrel of the lens each way until it's in focus. It might be a matter of figuring out which method of focusing works best for you.
     
  10. AndyH

    AndyH TPF Noob!

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    I like the way you think! I followed those guidelines exactly except for the one about distance. I shot them all from about 4 feet away.

    A little history about this camera.
    I purchased it in December 2012.

    Took a lot of great pictures with it at Disney in 2013. Pictures were clear and sharp.

    Sometime in 2015 it was knocked off of a counter at home. Nothing external appeared to be damaged. However it started over exposing every picture. I sent it to Canon in December 2015. They said, " The unit was found to be impacted causing the ae assembly to move out of position causing unevenness in the exposure." Canon repaired the camera at a cost of $300. I posted here about this when it happened.

    I guess to be honest I really haven't been satisfied with the pictures ever since then. I thought the problem with my focus issues was just me because sometimes I can get good pictures. The more I use it and try to get good pictures the more I convince myself that there is a problem with the camera.

    I hate to send it back to Canon and pay another $300. I could just use that money towards a new camera? Idk.
     
  11. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Since you posted these as RAW images, I downloaded them and opened them in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4

    IMG_1820 - you selected center focus point and camera nailed focus. The image needs a bit of exposure adjustment, but focus is fine. You used manual exposure and f/5.6

    IMG_1821 - you selected the center focus point and camera nailed focus again... but the subject is in motion and I do see some left-right motion blur (duck was moving his head). You also used manual exposure and f/5.6 again.

    IMG 1841 - you selected the center focus point and... I'm noticing a pattern here... again, you used f/5.6.

    Ok, time to talk about f-stops and why you would choose one over another.

    f-stops control the aperture size of the lens which has a strong influence on "depth of field" (the range of distances at which subjects will seem to be in acceptable focus... not that's "acceptable" not "perfect") When you are shooting a single subject at a given distance and don't care if objects at other distances (such as backgrounds) are in focus, you can select a low focal ratio. In fact doing so can render a strong background blur which is sometimes highly desirable (although these strong levels of blur usually comes when you also used moderately long-ish focal lengths and the focal ratios are particularly low... f/2.8, f/2, f/1.4, etc. you wont see strong blur with a shorter focal length and f/5.6 ... you'll get just enough blur to realize it isn't "sharp" but not enough to be "artsy".

    But then you shoot the pond with a near-shore, a tree stump on the near shore, some rocks on the far shore... and you focused on the middle of the pond... where there isn't much interest.

    If you want the "whole" scene to be in fairly good focus... use a higher focal ratio... f/11 or f/16 for example. f/22 will give you even more depth of field but if you REALLY pixel-peep the image you may also start to notice that while everything is "pretty good" that the best parts aren't as sharp as they might be down at say... f/8. This is due to something called "diffraction limits" and has to do with the wave nature of light (it's a physics problem... not a lens problem or camera problem.) You can do some pretty cool things at f/22.... shoot a night-scene with street lights and notice that at f/22 the lights turn into "stars" with diffraction spikes coming off every point of light (a nice "artsy" effect.)

    So far I'm looking to see if you'll change the f-stop to anything other than f/5.6.

    IMG_1844 - another f/5.6 shot that would have been better at a higher f-stop. I see you set the center focus point. It looks like there *might* be a tiny bit of camera movement in this shot. It also looks like the nearer part of the scene might be slightly better focused than your chosen focus point. Might you have moved the camera just a touch after focus? In "One-Shot AF" mode the camera will only focus until it achieves focus and if the camera moves at all after that, it will not update the focus again. When using that mode it's important to not move the camera after it locks focus.

    IMG_1833 - another f/5.6 shot that would have been better at at higher f-stop. Like IMG_1844 I see you used the center AF point and it's not as sharp as the closer parts of the image.

    Your lens MIGHT be front-focusing... or your sensor MIGHT need a shim adjustment (sensor plane might not be orthogonal to the optical axis of the lens) or your lens MIGHT have a decentered element. It's hard to tell.

    IMG_1840 - hard to tell

    IMG_1825 - this one looks pretty good. I see you put the focus point on moving water ... which might make the focus system struggle a bit.

    IMG_1832 - this one looks pretty good.


    Now back to the original image...

    Those two kids look microscopic in this big image with all the rest of that clutter. As Robert Capa is quoted as saying "If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough."

    Back to my commentary on what might be wrong (besides shooting everything at f/5.6 regardless of what depth of field might work better for your subject). I'm somewhat skeptical of a decentered lens element or non-orthogonal camera sensor (e.g. needing to be shimmed) because if that were the case, is think i should see the issue in _every_ image... not just some images.

    When you want to test a camera or a lens, eliminate any possibility of human error or problems with the subject. Go shoot something you can control.

    Find a FLAT brick wall. Put the camera on a tripod. Make sure the camera lens is perfectly orthogonal to that wall (wall is perfectly parallel to the camera sensor) -- nothing is on an angle. You need something "flat" so that you can be sure everything is in the plane of focus (with the caveat that technically the plane of focus is fractionally curved so don't expect corners to be quite as sharp as the center.)

    Since your photos are typical outdoor landscape photos ... your foreground is nearer than the background and we can't quite be sure why part of an image has better focus than another part.
     
  12. AndyH

    AndyH TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much for your help! I need to learn more about aperture. I mostly thought of it as a way to adjust exposure. So when I take a picture of a brick wall, what should my settings be as far as how far away, focal range, aperture?
     

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