Me, the camera, or the lens.....C&C please.....

LadyPockets

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I've gotten my camera back out and have been practicing with it in manual to get to know how the setting interact and the outcomes. My sister and I took my son out Saturday for a little practice session with him. He wasn't the best model with all the distractions around, but I got some ok shots. Or so I thought. Once I pulled them off my camera and looked at them on the laptop they all look soft, especially when zoomed in. Here's an example. Can't remember my settings exactly, but I'd guess 1/160 or 1/200 shutter, f3.6, and ISO 100. I'm shotting an Olympus E-420 with the kit lense. Yes, I know, not the best, but it's what I have right now. So I work with it.....at least for now.

These are all shot in .jpeg with no extra editing except to resize.

River_and_Bike.jpg




Thinking maybe I didn't have the shutter fast enough to catch a sharp image of him, here's a still I did. Only difference was bumping the ISO up to account for the increased shade.

Bike1.jpg



Was wondering if it's just me, I took a couple pics of dinner last night. I set the focal point right in the middle of where the 2 pieces on the right come together. ISO 800 (shot in my kitchen by a window with indirect light), f3.6, 1/200 shutter. Still feel like it's "soft" at the focal point when I'm zoomed in.

dinner1.jpg


Any tips on getting that nice crisp shot? Practice more? Faster shutter? New camera? Nothing, that's just how pics are when you zoom in close like that.
 

Derrel

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Mmmmmm, that salmon looks so appetizing!! Lovely lighting on it and the pan. YES, it is a little bit shallow on the depth of field. F/3.6 you say? That's not quite a small enough aperture to get the entiure front-to-back distance on all thee pieces of fish into perfectly good focus.

This is a case where a tripod-mounted camera, or stabilized lens, set to f/10, with a sloooow shutter speed, would have given the needed depth of field. EVERYTHING needed for a good food close-upo of food prep was there: light, food,camera,you.

A second option is actually focus bracketing: sometimes (well,often times maybe?) it's better if the focus is on the front-most stuff...a little bit more focus on the top area of the front piece of salmon, where the pin bones are located, as opposed to lower where the rib bones were, might have looked better. You got the big oil bubble in-focus, yes, because well, that is where you put the AF area, but I think what this shot needed was a wee bit more focus on the front-most piece of fish. f/3.6 will NOT give much DOF, so, better to stop the lens down, to say f/8, or f/9, or f/10 or f/11, and go tripod-mouinted at sloooow shutter.

Alternative is to bounce a flash and see if maybe you can get to f/10 using flash.

The tricycle reminds me of a bucolic wink and nod to William Eggleston!
 
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LadyPockets

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Oops...the salmon was shot at f5.5, 1/125 and ISO 1600. (I figured out the EXIF thing....see I'm learning) Surprised it doesn't have more grain. Most of the other shots I have of the salmon were a lower f-stop, just not this one. Turns out...I was zoomed in on it.....which ended up giving me a different f-stop. Go figure. I was seriously bummed when my shots from the weekend looked so soft. Maybe I'll try the higher f-stops in general and see if that will get me more of what I'm looking for. Thanks for the tips!
 
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