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Thread: Focusing Issues

  1. #1
    soph98 is offline Fanatical Photographer
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    Question Focusing Issues

    One of the things I've had trouble with since the very beginning is focusing. Not sure if its the lens (for portraits I use a 55-200 f/4, I think...) or if it's the setting or what. Motion blur? I can never seem to get tack sharp images. Is it just the d3100? I will post a picture later. I use single point focusing, is there something different I should use, like the dynamic or continuous? Focus either makes or breaks a picture and with me most of the time it breaks it. =(


    This is a sooc picture that has no pp done. I took it Raw, but I think this is the JPG file.
    Last edited by soph98; 12-08-2012 at 03:36 AM.

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    sk66's Avatar
    sk66 is online now Lovable Contrarian
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    Need more info (exif) and a larger picture to really say. But my first guess would be the lens and being at f/4.

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    Sharpness can be a whole lotta different technique issues. Suggest you read this DPS article on how to take sharp pictures.

    You might also need to learn how to hold your camera.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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    mottyboy is offline Banned
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    If using aperture bang it closed f16+ hen focus manually. Photos will manually R crisp n clear

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    Focusing manually gives you exact control, but can be a bit slow when human subjects are trying to look pretty. It's even worse when there are *multiple* humans involved.

    I suggest using an aperture of f/8, as most lenses are designed to work their best at this aperture (and possibly others). It will also let in more light than shooting at f/16, allowing a faster shutter speed. Also, trying putting the camera on a tripod. Feel free to still use autofocus and you should see a sharper picture.
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    The advice the others have given is good in general but Aperture does not account for motion blur. In order to get rid of this you have to do one or more of the following:

    1) Shoot with a faster shutter speed
    2) Make the camera more stable
    3) Make your subject more stable

    3 is not really viable with families so your options are simply 1 and 2. If you do not already have a tripod, that is a good start. And for 1, you might have to raise your ISO or open your aperture up to allow for a faster shutter speed. I'd say with kids involved you want at least 1/200th of a second, better would be 1/400th.

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    TobiasK is offline I'm new here!
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    First thing you need to do is check your equipment to make sure there isn't some kind of mechanical issue. First thing would be to try another lens if you have access to one, and see if that improves things.

    But it could be an issue with the camera - the mirror or focussing screen could be out of alignment, so images the are sharp in the viewfinder come out soft. Best way to check this is to focussing on a fixed point through the view finder and then put the camera on live view and compare. If the focus is off you have a mechanical issue.

    As a caveat I would say that mechanical issues are rare, but it's best to be methodical and eliminate possible causes one by one.

    If you can't find anything mechanically wrong look closely at your photo. If there is nowhere on the photo that's sharp most likely it is camera shake or motion blur. If you can find a sharp part of the photo but it's in the wrong place you need to work on your focussing. If everything is out of focus but you are using a shutter speed faster than 1/250 chances are you are focussing on a point in front of you subject somehow.
    Last edited by TobiasK; 12-06-2012 at 04:07 PM.

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    soph98 is offline Fanatical Photographer
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    Thanks everyone, it's probably just my poor focusing techniques. I think this picture was focused on the brick. I'll check the view finder thingy, and I'll see if it makes a difference in focusing if I do it in live view. I tell you what, these forums are great. =) I think I know how to hold a camera, don't you just put your hand under the lens with your elbows in, like that? I'll try to put it on the faster shutterspeed, and f/stop, and ISO. Thing is, I get a lot of grain with the d3100. Hmmm...
    Thanks for all your help! I appreciate it!

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    Narshada is offline I'm new here!
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    A tripod would definitely help if you have access to one, as well as a remote release cable, so you don't have to touch the camera. I would also recommend looking into setting up back button focussing if your camera supports it and finally, utilising mirror lockup in conjunction with the tripod, remote release and f8.

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    ccting is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by soph98 View Post
    One of the things I've had trouble with since the very beginning is focusing. Not sure if its the lens (for portraits I use a 55-200 f/4, I think...) or if it's the setting or what. Motion blur? I can never seem to get tack sharp images. Is it just the d3100? I will post a picture later. I use single point focusing, is there something different I should use, like the dynamic or continuous? Focus either makes or breaks a picture and with me most of the time it breaks it. =(


    This is a sooc picture that has no pp done. I took it Raw, but I think this is the JPG file.
    I used D5100, 16mp DX camera. I have to tell, this entry level camera with higher resolution have focusing problem, unless u focus it very carefully via live view for stationary object. It is extremely hard to get sharp photos even you shoot raw for stationary object.

    When i switch to D700, i can easily capture very sharp photo even with 1~3MB photo (Jpeg basic small)..

    I wander Nikon entry level cameras are very hard to capture sharp photos even with small photo size, and shallower DOF for fast moving objects captured to D700 or more professional camera photos. I find many experts never use entry level cameras and they will always thought that the unability to take tark sharp photos are our skillset problem... my opinion is.. the answer is the camera body..

    In summary, my findings:

    a) D5100 (entry level camera body) with 50mm f/1.8g, 16mp photos with Raw for stationary object --> very hard to get tark sharp photos. Those 16mp photos are useless..

    b) D700, with 50mm f/1.8g, 1-3mp photos with JPEG Basic with small photo for moving object --> Always get tark sharp photos..even with more shallow DOF. Those photos with 1-3mp photos are even much sharper than 16mp photos..

    the environments and subject settings , lighting conditons are the condtion for both systemss.. that's i think differentiate entry level camera body from more professional bodies. D5100 tends to get more miss shots than D700.. and many things that i dislike..

    soph98, it is not your focusing skill, it is the camera body capability.. i face the same. All focusing problem solved when i use D700 even with more shallow DOF.
    Last edited by ccting; 12-08-2012 at 12:20 PM.

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