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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    I'm hoping I can get some advice here.

    I'm working with a D7100 / Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX OS DC combination and I'm having difficulty getting sharp images all the time.

    I was beginning to think it might be the lens, but I know better - because occasionally I get a great shot that's tack sharp and I know my skills as a photographer have some room to improve. I seem to miss a lot of shots that aren't tack sharp - I mean, they're acceptably sharp to view on the web shrunk down, but when I get to a decent size view or print size I can tell that eyes are not sharp.

    I've done the "dot tune" method on this lens/body combo. It's not exclusive to this lens, but this is my main lens I shoot with.

    For example, I have these few images:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/255636...7660287858974/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/255636...7660287858974/

    I'm unsure as to why they're not coming out sharp.

    However, I do get a few images that come out pretty good:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/255636...7660287858974/

    I have a feeling it's because I'm shooting wide open, but in most cases, neither face is sharp.

    Help?


    › See More: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!
    D7100 | D40 | 35mm f/1.8G | VR 55-200 f/4.5-5.6G | 18-55 f/3.5-5.6G | 50mm f/1.8D / Sigma 17-50 f/2.8



  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Scott Murray's Avatar

    Re: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnieZ View Post
    I'm hoping I can get some advice here.

    I'm working with a D7100 / Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX OS DC combination and I'm having difficulty getting sharp images all the time.

    I was beginning to think it might be the lens, but I know better - because occasionally I get a great shot that's tack sharp and I know my skills as a photographer have some room to improve. I seem to miss a lot of shots that aren't tack sharp - I mean, they're acceptably sharp to view on the web shrunk down, but when I get to a decent size view or print size I can tell that eyes are not sharp.

    I've done the "dot tune" method on this lens/body combo. It's not exclusive to this lens, but this is my main lens I shoot with.

    For example, I have these few images:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/255636...7660287858974/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/255636...7660287858974/

    I'm unsure as to why they're not coming out sharp.

    However, I do get a few images that come out pretty good:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/255636...7660287858974/

    I have a feeling it's because I'm shooting wide open, but in most cases, neither face is sharp.

    Help?
    F2.8 is the issue, in two of the images I see the grey sweater as in focus nothing else.

    The first image is soft maybe because the 1/60 SS ? Maybe the F stop. Who knows.

    PS turn off auto ISO if you are using it with flash.
    Last edited by Scott Murray; 12-21-2015 at 07:56 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    WayneF's Avatar

    Re: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    I suspect it is handheld camera shake. The last two seem better, but the first one says 44mm at 1/60 second. The old general rule of thumb to help hold camera shake says a shutter speed of 1/focal length, which would imply 1/44 second in that case. But it is a 1.5x cropped sensor, so the rule changes to x1.5 or 1/66 second. It says 1/60 (default minimum), but this is still borderline, considered a minimum, and still implies much conscious attention to hold the $#@# camera still.

    First one says ISO 2500 and "flash fired". Speedlight flashes help speed a lot, if at low ISO.

    But Auto ISO meters for the ambient (newest models vary if with a hot shoe flash), and boosts ISO for the ambient, and the internal flash merely becomes fill level then. Plus the flash is white, but incandescent ambient is surely orange. Mixing the light is a big problem.


    Faster shutter speed could help.
    Careful "hold it steady" attention could help.
    A tripod to hold the camera could help.

    The most help of all would be, instead of high ISO and the tiny built in direct flash, to get a bigger speed light flash and use bounce flash at maybe only ISO 400 and f/5.6. Better lighting (gradient tones on faces instead of flat light), better ISO, better aperture, better WB color, and more motion stopping ability, etc. Better all around. Sufficient light is always a good thing.

    In Auto mode, you have very little choice about anything. Auto ISO will be on.

    Auto or P modes surely always set the lens wide open indoors, but you can always set aperture directly in A or M modes. M mode works really well with indoor flash. A mode indoors will always use the 1/60 default minimum shutter speed, but you can set it directly in M mode.

    Speedlights are speedlights because their light is much faster than the shutter speed can be. IF it had been a hot shoe flash, then the recent D7200 would have limited Auto ISO to only 2 stops of increase with flash (only to ISO 400), and you would have been way ahead. But using Bounce flash too can add a tremendous amount of "better".

    You would still need camera A or M mode to get aperture off of wide open indoors.

    The flash need not be the most expensive model. The signature link below has reviews of these two, for $50 or $80 from Amazon:

    Amazon.com : Neewer VK750 II i-TTL Speedlite Flash with LCD Display for Nikon D7100 D7000 D5200 D5100 D5000 D3000 D3100 D300 D300S D700 D600 D90 D80 D70 D70S D60 D50 and All Other Nikon DSLR Cameras : On Camera Shoe Mount Flashes : Camera & Photo

    Amazon.com : Yongnuo YN-565EX ETTL Speedlite Flash for Nikon (Discontinued by Manufacturer) : On Camera Shoe Mount Flashes : Camera & Photo
    Last edited by WayneF; 12-21-2015 at 08:52 PM.
    Thanks/Like Zeke_M Thanks/liked this post
     
    Wayne

    Flash and Camera Fundamentals We Should Know

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Horoscope Fish's Avatar

    Re: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnieZ View Post
    I'm hoping I can get some advice here...
    Yup... I'd say the first thing you need to do is increase the shutter speed. The old rule of thumb is the Reciprocal Rule which simply means we use the focal length to get the MINIMUM shutter speed, but for DX cameras we need to use 1.5x the focal length. I prefer to double it, personally, when using a DX body but that's me. The over-arching idea here is keeping your shutter speed high enough, based on the focal length of the lens you're using, to eliminate camera motion.

    For instance, if you're shooting at 35mm on a DX body, your minimum shutter speed should be about 1/60 (35 * 1.5). I would prefer to be shooting at 1/125 in that instance, but again, that's just me. If shooting at 135mm, the Reciprocal Rule tells us the minimum shutter speed should be 1/200, or higher; maybe 1/250 just to be on the safe side.
    ~ Paul
    ....
    ....
    Primary Kit :: D850, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 G2, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8, Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art,
    Godox Flashes & Triggers, Manfrotto X055PROB, 3-Legged Thing Airhed II... All Stuffed into a Manfrotto Pro Backpack 50
    ....
    ....
    ● ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ๑۩۩๑ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ●

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Scott Murray's Avatar

    Re: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!
    Sharp areas.

    Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!-screen-shot-2015-12-22-4.49.10-am.jpgNeed help with my images - Not coming out sharp!-screen-shot-2015-12-22-4.49.35-am.jpg

    Not sharp anywhere really (1st image). Maybe sharp edge hair.

    Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!-screen-shot-2015-12-22-4.49.54-am.jpg

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Re: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneF View Post
    The most help of all would be, instead of high ISO and the tiny built in direct flash, to get a bigger speed light flash and use bounce flash at maybe only ISO 400 and f/5.6. Better lighting, better ISO, better aperture, better WB color, and more motion stopping ability, etc. Better all around. Sufficient light is always a good thing.
    Forgot to include that I was using my SB-600 for these shots - had it pointed at the ceiling and slightly backwards. It gave a nice soft light that way rather than harsh shadows behind the subject.

    I had the max ISO set at 2500 - It's possible I had it set at ISO2500, not auto/max 2500. I'm slowly trying to work more manual settings in to my shooting and it seems there's much more to forget to check before taking the picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Horoscope Fish
    Yup... I'd say the first thing you need to do is increase the shutter speed. The old rule of thumb is the Reciprocal Rule which simply means we use the focal length to get the MINIMUM shutter speed, but for DX cameras we need to use 1.5x the focal length. I prefer to double it, personally, when using a DX body but that's me. The over-arching idea here is keeping your shutter speed high enough, based on the focal length of the lens you're using, to eliminate camera motion.

    I'm somewhat familiar with the reciprocal rule, however I thought that the OS on the lens would allow me to shoot a few stops lower handheld and still get fairly sharp images - the whole point of OS. Maybe the OS on the Sigma 17-50 isn't the best. I generally shoot with OS on when I have the camera off tripod. 1/60 doesn't seem unreasonable given the OS - or maybe I'm asking too much from the OS?
    D7100 | D40 | 35mm f/1.8G | VR 55-200 f/4.5-5.6G | 18-55 f/3.5-5.6G | 50mm f/1.8D / Sigma 17-50 f/2.8

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Horoscope Fish's Avatar

    Re: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnieZ View Post
    I'm somewhat familiar with the reciprocal rule, however I thought that the OS on the lens would allow me to shoot a few stops lower handheld and still get fairly sharp images - the whole point of OS. Maybe the OS on the Sigma 17-50 isn't the best. I generally shoot with OS on when I have the camera off tripod. 1/60 doesn't seem unreasonable given the OS - or maybe I'm asking too much from the OS?
    I prefer not to use VR/OS unless I really think it's needed and, when I do feel it's needed, I turn it on only as long as required. If I can acceptably adjust one leg of the exposure triangle to get a high enough shutter speed, that is definitely my preference. VR/OS is not something you simply turn on and forget about in my experience and I've found it can cause me about as many issues as it solves if I don't use it correctly.

    In short, I would suggest you experiment with your gear to find out what works, too what extent it works and what doesn't work.
    ~ Paul
    ....
    ....
    Primary Kit :: D850, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 G2, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8, Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art,
    Godox Flashes & Triggers, Manfrotto X055PROB, 3-Legged Thing Airhed II... All Stuffed into a Manfrotto Pro Backpack 50
    ....
    ....
    ● ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ๑۩۩๑ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ●

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    WayneF's Avatar

    Re: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnieZ View Post
    Forgot to include that I was using my SB-600 for these shots - had it pointed at the ceiling and slightly backwards. It gave a nice soft light that way rather than harsh shadows behind the subject.

    I had the max ISO set at 2500 - It's possible I had it set at ISO2500, not auto/max 2500. I'm slowly trying to work more manual settings in to my shooting and it seems there's much more to forget to check before taking the picture.
    So much ISO is not necessary with the larger flash. A direct flash exposes the subject and the room behind is generally left dark. But if bounced up, then the flash tends to better fill the whole room (a regular size room anyway).

    You must have set the ISO 2500 as Minimum. The Exif says Auto exposure mode, so it would have been Auto ISO on, and the recent models (D7200) should have limited Auto ISO to 2 stops increase from minimum. But I suppose we can still set the Minimum to be high. If you had left minimum at 100, then Auto ISO would have stopped increasing at ISO 400 (if with a hot shoe flash). There is good reason for that. Using flash instead.

    So you are using bounce, great. There is a little shadow under chins, I should have noticed, but 1) ISO 2500 really increases the ambient exposure, and 2) the lack of shadow gradients on the faces suggests considerable forward fill. Which does cause good forward catchlights in eyes, which is good (some forward fill is good), but I was looking at the highlights on the faces, which suggest a bit too much forward? Maybe just ISO, or maybe the bounce card, or maybe the back wall was reflecting a lot of it... Anyway, that becomes arbitrary, about lighting, subject to personal opinions.


    I'm somewhat familiar with the reciprocal rule, however I thought that the OS on the lens would allow me to shoot a few stops lower handheld and still get fairly sharp images - the whole point of OS. Maybe the OS on the Sigma 17-50 isn't the best. I generally shoot with OS on when I have the camera off tripod. 1/60 doesn't seem unreasonable given the OS - or maybe I'm asking too much from the OS?

    1/60 is MINUMUM based on 1.5x cropped focal length at 44mm. Not optimum, but MINIMUM. The speedlight would help a lot, except ISO 2500 lets the ambient butt in. Also, Auto, A or P modes will always set 1/60 second MINIMUM with flash (or rather, it is the default Minimum in the E2 menu). Indoors with flash (dim where we need flash), automation will always set a wide open lens at 1/60 second. We can choose other settings.

    I believe you can set the D7200 Auto ISO minimum shutter speed to a value called Auto, which should use the 1/focal length rule as minimum (in auto modes). But indoors, that minimum will always be the value used for all pictures activating Auto ISO. Except the E2 menu minimum can always override if flash in A, P, or Auto.


    One time, try a similar test, camera M mode (indoors, where ambient exposure is far down, so does not matter), with ISO 400, f/5.6, and 1/200 second shutter speed. This does not affect the flash, the flash does what the TTL camera meters it needs to do at the settings discovered to be in effect. The speedlight stops the motion, the 1/200 second merely keeps the ambient out, which keeps the orange incandescent out (rear walls in room). 1/60 second in camera A mode would allow a bit of the orange in, giving it a bit more warm color, which some do like. But keeping ISO lower reduces risk of the metered ambient being able to blur motion that the speedlight would have stopped.
    Last edited by WayneF; 12-21-2015 at 09:48 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member

    Re: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    When you fine tuned the focus in camera, was it OK afterwards?

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Senior Member

    Re: Need help with my images - Not coming out sharp!

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneF View Post

    One time, try a similar test, camera M mode (indoors, where ambient exposure is far down, so does not matter), with ISO 400, f/5.6, and 1/200 second shutter speed.
    Took a few shots over the holiday and gave these settings a shot, save for I went with 1/100 vs 1/200 - bounced the flash off of the ceiling with the little built-in diffuser plate over the flashbulb.

    The images came out great - Nice, even lighting and such. For the most part unless the subject was really close the flash, these are some of the best images I've taken with the flash indoors outside of using "Auto" (and even better than some inside.)

    I'll post a few samples once I get them off the camera in hopes that I can get some feedback on them vs. the shots I posted prior.

    Thanks for the advice to all!
    D7100 | D40 | 35mm f/1.8G | VR 55-200 f/4.5-5.6G | 18-55 f/3.5-5.6G | 50mm f/1.8D / Sigma 17-50 f/2.8





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