What am I doing wrong???


TPF Noob!
Mar 27, 2006
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Center of America
I decided to take a few shots at kiddo's ball game today. I borrowed a Nikon 70-200VR lens (I am thinking of buying one, so trying one out). Some of the shots turned out "good". Most are a little blurry. I shot at 1/1000 shutter priority, nice sunny day. The photo's are just not "sharp". This one looks blurry. Granted, this particular one was downsized for viewing. I am shooting in jpeg mode, should I change to raw? Would that help? I was not using a tripod, but leaning on a post. I did find it would focus on items in the background instead of the subject. It was not set on dynamic. I was using the center focal bracket and that is where the subjects were in the viewfinder. Any ideas why they are not "sharp" and the focus would be off?

sharp... mmm yes I get what you mean, I have allways had some problem with sharpness when it comes to zooms, having no primes of my own I don't know if its the quality of my lenses or if I'm doing something wrong, To me the picture is in focus exept for the depth of field (wich I asume you had your F stop as low as the lense permited) I see the triangle on the girls tennis shoe is not in phocus, but how far away where you?
take my picture for example

I took it with my 70-300 at F5 (can't remember the shutter speed but I think its close to yours) the details on the car ar not really readable, but I was about 60 feet away from the cars
maybe its just distance...
Hmm… That lens is one of the best in the Nikkor line-up in my opinion, so it’s doubtful the glass is at fault here. Is it possible that the VR function was inadvertently turned off prior to the image being captured? Given the action going on, and the likelihood that you were shooting at a long focal length, even the 1/1000 shutter speed might have been insufficient to capture this image sharply without the stabilization feature active.
I shoot my son's lacrosse games with my 70-200mm and I had some blurry shots when I first started. At first I was disappointed with the lens, but after some test shots and some practice on my technique I get very sharp images. I shoot at 1/500 - 1/1000 with VR off if it's bright sun. It takes a second for the VR to settle in, so if you have it on you need to give it a chance to lock in. If it's still doing it's thing when you take the shot it can cause blur. 1/1000th should have easily froze the action, slower shutter speeds stop the action in lacrosse just fine.
Just practice a little it helped me quite a bit. I had my son run around in the yard and took shots with and without VR, wide open, stopped down, etc, just to see what I got.
It might be because the image was downsided for the web, but I really don't see any area in focus, was VR on and did you give it time to settle? With my lens I can easily see the DOF in the grass even if I miss my desired focus point, here I don't see any grass area sharp.
The VR was set to normal, not active. Since my daughter was playing short stop and I was at their dugout, I'm guessing I was about 50 feet give or take. I was not aware the VR had to settle, I was just borrowing the lens and was not told about that. To be honest, I don't know. I just depressed the shutter halfway until it focused and shot. Strangely enough, some of the running shots after batting are in focus. I was not using dynamic focus, just using the center bracket as the focus point. No tripod either.
Now don't get me wrong.... I am sure it is me that is not doing something right, not the lens. The camera's sharpness was set on high, jpeg, fine.
Oh yes, on the lens, the switches... focus was on M/A not M, and the switch just below that is on FULL. Not really sure what that is as I don't have the manual for it (that is what it was on when I borrowed).
The full switch sets a limit on the focus range so that the focus times will be quicker if your subject is far enough away. I'd try to switch off the VR, as long as there is enough light to keep your shutter speeds up. Also try giving the VR a short second to settle. Another thing to consider is that the VR will help with camera shake but does nothing for subject motion, but your shutter speed is high enough that this shouldn't be an issue. Using continuous focus and not single is also a good idea for shooting sports, if you're not already doing that. Just play around with it and take some practice shots, it's a great lens once you get it all sorted out.
Well, had to give the lens back today. I did not really get too much of a chance to mess with it. I did shoot some low light stuff at kiddo's awards cerimony. I was not using a tripod, again... It was at f/2.8 and worked great with the low light. Shutter speed was extremely slooow. When the subjects were being very still, and I was not shaking (ha) the shots were great. Some shots still did not focus on what I wanted. Focus bracket blinks red, so I know the one the want. Right on the subject, something else in focus, not subject when reviewed. I guess I could have moved a little with the slow shutter, but was doing that during the game with a fast shutter.
All in all, after playing with this lens, I may have to buy one. I agree, I think it is one a person has to really use and figure out.
The shots were much better once I started shooting in RAW, bumped the iso and set sharpness to normal (as well as contrast).
Once I get the basics learned, I am sure I will look back on this and laugh.
Now I have a nice 17-55 2.8 G ED to play with for the weekend.
I'd like to hear your opinion on the 17-55 f/2.8, I'm thinking about that lens as a replacement for my 18-70mm. I've heard a little talk about some sample variation with that lens.
Personally I'd warrant that the focus was off there. I say that because at 70mm you were shooting at 1/1250th which quite honestly it'd be an achievement to blur with hand-shake.

Check the camera isn't on some kind of "soft" mode. Also, the picture is "off" a bit histogram wise - looks at a glance like the white and black points are beyond the data in the picture. Also, for some reason the picture has some digital artifacts which aren't too good - did you save with a low quality in CS2?

Coralguy said:
I shot at 1/1000 shutter priority...

I did find it would focus on items in the background instead of the subject.

Possibly the result of the chosen AF mode selection - masked by effect of using a wide aperture - dictated by shutter priority 1/1000, at low ISO.
Rob and 2frames,
It was originally shot in jpeg fine. Then in CS saved for web, so lost a lot there. Can't save nice big files in photobucket. As far as just looking at the pic, the sharpness seems the same. I did not sharpen the photo at all or alter (other than crop and save smaller).
I borrowed the lens again for another ball game. This time the sun was in my face and had troubles. Most turned out better though. The farther shots looked.... grainy? I did find by shooting in RAW and hesitating a little did seem to sharpen up the shots. I shot with priority at 800 this time still with a low iso, 320 I think, not sure.
When using another lens, the pics are sharp. Really nice, but the subjects are still and lighting in good. I'm really not sure if the camera has a "soft" mode, I'll read the book again. That would really be too easy with my luck.
Thanks for the input. Hopefully I can get the lens again to try different settings. I have to be honest, after this, I'm really not sure if I want to spend the cash on one. I'm thinking a regular 2 touch 80-200 may be the way to go, for a few hundred less.

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