Need ideas/focusing help

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Winona, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. Winona

    Winona No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a Canon D80, Tamron 100-400. My eyes aren't so good, but I don't think its just that. I have had good photos with this camera, but very few. I do know I need a tripod/monopod, but I also know people who get good results freehand. I am shaky-even just holding binoculars. I leave in 8 weeks to go out west and do not want to cart this if I can't get good photos. I do not know if it is lack of light? The days it is very cloudy are the worst. But, today I took some photos of a distant heron and they are no good. I have had good results with birds, chipmunks, and hummingbirds on sunny days. The seagull and kittens were on dark days. The kitten photo-took many in different settings and even with the camera resting on the porch railing-all the same. I started with spot-centered focusing and then used multiple focus points in the center-still the same. I have been using AV and manual with various f stops, etc. Part of the problem is it hard for me to tell if something is in focus until I get the photos on the computer. I wish I could see the LCD better in the bright light. Part of it is not having reading glasses on me during hikes, but also the brightness. Guess I'll have to try the dark towel trick and make it a point to bring readers.

    1. When I look at the data of each picture- the info shows me using a Canon 300mm f2.8. I do not own one. Why?
    2. Ideas regarding the photos below. What can I do to improve them? Or just avoid cloudy days? LOL. But-today is sunny and the heron from today was cloudy as well.
    3. Should I stick with spot centered focusing or expand the focus points a little? I'm going to start another thread because I want to expand on this.

    Kittens-Cropped, otherwise untouched.ISO 2500, 400mm, f8, 1/1000. I assume blurry from high ISO? Very cloudy day. I was resting the camera at times with no change. Ideas? I think I will go into the menu and not allow it to go over a certain ISO, although thought I did this on set up.

    View attachment 175284

    Sparrow-this I lightened and cropped a little. ISO 4000, 339mm, f/9, 1/1250. I thought this actually came out pretty good. Again a really dark day.



    View attachment 175285

    Seagull-ISO 640, 400mm, f/6.3, 1/640. Probably AV setting. But this day took many birds with blurry results. Even tried manual to get a higher shutter speed. Maybe not high enough...At first glance it looks good, but head isn't focused. Was I focusing on its wing, or is the overall picture blurry? Hard for me to tell.


    View attachment 175283


     
  2. Winona

    Winona No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My computer/internet was giving me hassles and two of the same thread were added. I can't see how to delete one. Maybe a moderator can?
     
  3. JonFZ300

    JonFZ300 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Honestly, I think it might be your eyes. All three of those pics look fine in terms of sharpness to me at the size they are displayed on here. The kittens could use a little shadow lightening and the other two are underexposed but none of them are what I would call "blurry."

    Edit: It's not your internet, it's the board.
     
  4. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    Yes, there is some noise due to higher ISO's but the shutter speeds should be enough to stop action.

    What focusing points and mode are you using. The 80D should be okay for this type of stuff.

    If you have someone else with a canon camera, try the lens on theirs and see if you are getting the same results. If so, it's the lens and would need to be worked on.
     
  5. wfooshee

    wfooshee No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm calling it a lens issue, if anything. It may well be that the lens just doesn't cut it.

    Especially when looking at the seagull picture, there's some very odd bokeh going on in the background, there, with those lines slanting upward from left to right. I had a Tamron 200-500 that did that. I bought the lens used on eBay, and reBayed it almost immediately.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Do you have a tripod?

    if you do stick the lens on that and try shooting something contrasty and static at a resonable distance (all the usual: mirror lockup, VR off, no sources of vibration) and see what you get. Try f11, f8, and wide open. This should give you a baseline of how well you lens performs and what the best image you can achieve is. Get one with the same shutter speed you'd use to hand hold.

    Then try it from a similar postion hand holding with mirror lockup off and see if you get close to the reference shot.

    If they are both duff then it's the lens, if the tripod shot is sharp but handholding isn't it indicates your technique and if they are both ok then probably your settings. That's how I'd try troubleshooting it.

    I agree about the jittery bokeh, it looks weird and may well be a lens issue.
     
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  7. Original katomi

    Original katomi No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi you said about eye sight, there are corrective attachments you can add to the viewfinder eye piece
    I have looked at the photo it looks Sharp in all the right places
     
  8. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Have you done a micro focus adjustment with this lens ?
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Sparrow-this I lightened and cropped a little. ISO 4000, 339mm, f/9, 1/1250. I thought this actually came out pretty good. Again a really dark day.

    Yeah, not too bad. The kittens look soft all over, just all over the frame, a bit too soft. Seagull- gray day, underexposed, focus looks just "okay", but not a crisp shot--low in contrast due to the light and the weak exposure...needs brightening.

    How much sharpening are you applying?
     
  10. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Few ideas:
    • Shutter speed should be 2x the focal length. So if you have the lens at 400mm, ss should be 1/1000 sec.
      • The more wobbly you are, the higher you want to push the shutter speed.
      • A monopod will help support the weight of the camera + lens. But you need to use the tripod collar for the lens.
    • Area vs single point AF
      • With Canon area/zone auto focus, the camera will focus on the closest subject in the area/zone. At least that is how the EOS T5 and T7 works. So ANYTHING between you and the subject in the focus area will be focused on, instead of your subject. This is why I generally do not use area AF.
        • Example, with the kittens, it could be focusing on the grass, rather than the kittens.
        • On your camera, I think you can select a back screen display mode that indicates where the camera focused on.
      • With single point AF, YOU select what the camera is to focus on. This is MY standard AF mode.
    • With single point AF, YOU are responsible for putting the AF point on a part of the subject that the camera can focus on.
      • Example, on the gull shot, there likely is not enough contrast on the wing for the AF to focus on, similarly with the right black cat and focusing on his side/back where it is all black.
    • Slow lenses want lots of light for the AF to work well.
      • Depending on the camera, they will work with different levels of lower light.
    As @Derrel said, on an overcast day, contrast will be low, so things will naturally be hard for the camera and your eye to focus.
     
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  11. Winona

    Winona No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow! Thanks for all the ideas and tips!
    -I have not done a micro focus adjustment and hope I don’t need to go there.
    -I have been using single point focus on most of the my shots and sounds like I should keep it there.
    -I am using AI Servo and continuous high speed.
    -I just ordered a tripod collar and will test it -hopefully the weather allows.
    -I do have a Canon T2i and put the lens on that. I was less shaky due to less weight. I’ll try this combo for awhile.
    -The seagull and sparrow were sharpened. Not the kittens. Once I get decent photos I’ll start fine-tuning the post-processing.
    ——And maybe I expect too much. The kittens were tiny in the picture to begin with ( they are from a feral Mom and Dad). Another dilemma. But, I think this lens should be better. I also know most people micro-tune. I will if I have to, but more $, time I don’t have, and have no idea how.
    Thanks everyone and I’ll try the above.
     
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  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The seagull and sparrow were sharpened. Not the kittens
     
  13. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Note that this setting means that the shutter will fire, even if the subject is NOT in focus.
     

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