Spot, 9 point and 27 point all terrible focus

charchri4

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First time out with the new camera last night and terrible results. To be fair the lighting was horrible, the walls were orange and I have no idea what I am doing. But I still expected better. So many shots hand nothing in focus in them even though they looked sharp through the view finder.

This was the room.
_IMG0294.jpg


And this was a typical shot. Actually one of the better ones but zooming around it nothing is in focus.
_IMG0304.jpg


I tried several different settings in the focus and tried to keep the ISO down. It's a Pentax K-3, Pentax HD Pentax DA 16-85mm Lens with no filters. Most shots were shutter priority and natural with a click on auto exposure in light room after words.
_IMG0291 by Jim Stainer, on Flickr

So what should I have done to get good shots?

Thanks!
 

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Braineack

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hand held, zoomed-in, 1/13 sec.

even if you nailed focus, the image would look soft because of how slow the shutter was and capturing your movements.


the shot of the drummers was shot at 1/13sec, f/9, and iso800.

That's a really poor choice for crummy indoor lighting.

I would have shot in A mode, as wide open as possible, and then cranked the ISO until I achieved a shutter speed that made sense to kill any of my camera shake blur.
 

weepete

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Ninjaed!

but yeah, what he said.


By all means keep your ISO as low as you can, but never sacrifice shutter speed or depth of field for less noise
 
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charchri4

charchri4

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Thank you! I thought I was fast enough to not pick up my shake that is really good to know. I have heard the term wide open several times and not really sure what that means. If I take the aperture more open won't that bring my depth of field too low for the shot?
 

Derrel

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Focus is actually pretty good on these. Look at the shot of the two drummers _IMG0304.jpg, and notice that on the one girl's hair bun, that individual strands of hair are rendered, and that the name of the song is readable, and the titles on the music box folders on the shelving unit are all legible...that means the focus was good. But as branineack mentioned, the shutter speeds were slow here, as evidenced by the blurring of the drumsticks.

_IMG0294.jpg has pretty good focus, and pretty deep depth of field.

There is a sweet spot between shutter speed, depth of field, and ISO level.
 

astroNikon

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First photo
Lens: HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
Shot at 16 mm
Exposure: Auto exposure, Not Defined, 1/60 sec, f/3.5, ISO 400

As mentioned above, your shutter speed was too slow again.
at 1/60 shutter is too slow for the players body movements in addition to your own movement with the camera (unless you are really good at holding it steady, but the players are moving anyways).

It's nice to get hand/stick movement but you also have to take into consideration the players body moving too. Being part of drumlines in the past there's a lot of movement there with the bass drums and while you got hand movement you also got their body movement which created blur

If you zoom into the piano, you cannot even read the paper that has large letters on it.
I'm not sure what your focus point was on either.

on the 2nd one
Lens: HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
Shot at 60 mm
Exposure: Auto exposure, Shutter priority AE, 1/13 sec, f/9, ISO 800

the music on the first stand is OOF
but the players gray pants are in good focus as that isn't moving much. The drums stick holder name is in good focus too. So maybe the focus point was on that.
So shutter (not fast enough) and aperture (not enough DOF) related problems

but if you were limited by light you only have a few options
- increase light by using a flash or off-camera-flash, more lights, windows, etc.
- increase your ISO as far as you can without getting too much noise from it.
this will help you select a better Shutter and Aperture. But if you can't add more light and more ISO isn't available then you are kinda stuck.
 

weepete

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Depth of field is also about the distance from your camera to your subject as well so you might have had enough room to shoot wide open.
 

astroNikon

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Focus is actually pretty good on these. Look at the shot of the two drummers _IMG0304.jpg, and notice that on the one girl's hair bun, that individual strands of hair are rendered, and that the name of the song is readable, and the titles on the music box folders on the shelving unit are all legible...that means the focus was good. But as branineack mentioned, the shutter speeds were slow here, as evidenced by the blurring of the drumsticks.

_IMG0294.jpg has pretty good focus, and pretty deep depth of field.

There is a sweet spot between shutter speed, depth of field, and ISO level.
ahh .. I had to switch glasses to see them in focus .. there's a good reason I use AF nowadays. LOL
 
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charchri4

charchri4

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Fascinating! So I'm mixing the terms focus and soft then. I did try a few with 1/500 shutter speed to freeze them more but they were worse than these. As I recall the ISO was 12500 and the aperture 5.6.

I should have tried a few on full auto and looked at the settings then worked from there. It was kind of hard because I didn't what to get all up in their face and bother them and stands everywhere blocked a lot of a shots.
 

KenC

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To get those results at 1/13 you must have good steady hands. Just boost the shutter speed a bit and you'll be good.
 

Derrel

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This is a room lighted by overhead fluorescent light...it's got pretty stable, consistent light levels, as long as there's not some flicker effect going on with the lights. In a word, the camera did a great job focusing all these images, but the shutter speeds were a bit slow for maximum crispness. The speed of 1/13 second at f/9 at ISO 800 is...well...less than optimal in my book. The aperture of f/9 at that distance, with that short a lens length means there was plenty of depth of field--more than enough, really, so, the small aperture size was hurting light transmission. "wide-open" on that lens would have been anywhere from f/3.5 to f/5.6 I would guess; as weepete mentioned, at that distance, shooting "wide-open" might have been no problem at all.

And yes, you were not properly diagnosing the image fault; the terms missed focus, and subject motion blurring, are often encountered. The way to diferentiate is to do what I did in my example of the girl's hair: look for some items that ARE sharply-rendered, like the individual hairs, or the song tile, or the writing on the boxes on the shelving units. Lettering is always CRISP-edged, so it can reveal a focus hit or a focus miss; if the lettering has smeared edges, then camera movement or camera vibration is the culprit; if people who are moving are blurred, but there is crisp detail to be found somewhere at their plane of the shot, like the hair in the bun, or the music on the music stand, then you know it's subject movement that is being recorded. Sometimes, it can be a little of both, the photo AND the subject, moving slightly.

The 1/13 second to 1/25 second shutter speed range is a really tricky one for movement: it will more often than not give a TON of blurred shots!
 

Dave442

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With a new camera and in a test like this it would be good to try a range of ISO settings. As soon as you are inside and not using flash it is helpful to know the upper limits you like to use for your ISO settings.

It was noted the 2nd shot was 1/13, f/9, ISO 800. You could have gone to 1/60, f/5.6, ISO 1600 for the same exposure.

I don't think there was any pressure to just start shooting away. Make sure to look at the exposure settings; now you know the 1/13 is not going to stop motion and can add blur due to camera motion, that f/9 is stopped down more than a full stop from "wide-open" when it may have been better to put that extra stop towards a faster shutter speed due to the people motion, and finally that ISO 800 may be a good starting point indoors, but you could easily go to ISO 1600 for another stop available to apply to increasing the shutter speed. I wouldn't hesitate to go to ISO 6400 with that camera and apply some noise reduction to the RAW file in LightRoom.

As far as the Auto Focus and what to use, for that situation I would have used single point and move the focus point closest to my main subject. That 27 point may have been in the second shot where the camera picked the thing closest to the camera and focused on that.
 
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charchri4

charchri4

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I was wondering about single vs 9 or 27. All of them put the red light in the center unless I move it so as I understand it that is where the focal point should be but it seems like a couple of shots focused on something in the fore ground rather than where I had the red dot.

You are right there was no pressure to shoot but a lot of my problem was I really was focused on the line. It's been 5 years since I worked with a line and it was all new and exciting again. I probably should have left the camera at home but I learned so much by this thread I'm glad for the lousy shots when they really didn't count.

Thanks Dave for the comments that is very helpful.
 

KmH

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The camera has to select just one of the 9 or the 27 to use to auto focus.
It can't use all 9 or all 27.
 

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