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Quote: Thanks for your patience too. It must seem like I am totally thick!
Not at all!
We were all new once upon a time.
Learning how to get the best out of your kit takes time.
I would almost certainly say that the focus points are causing the problem.
I normally use just one of them.
Which you decide to use is dependant on what you are taking and how you want to compose the image.
Remember if hand holding that the shutter speed needs to be fast enough to overcome camera shake.
So with a 50mm lens on a 400D (1.6 crop factor), you need to have the shutter speed above 1/80 sec.
200mm = 1/320+
Hope that helps.
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I took the 50mm to my local camera store where it gave exactly the same error message on their 400d. I have returned it to Amazon and should get a full refund. Does this mean I will have the same problem with other prime lenses, if I choose to get others in the future do you think?
One little admition here too. I decided, just for this particular event, that I would take my Olympus C765, because I knew I could get the pics I wanted with it, without messing them up. I will try the options mentioned though, when I have a little more time with a particular subject, or even just practising not at an event.
Thanks again, Paul
It sounds like it was a fault on the lens if it did the same on another 400D.
You shouldn't have any problems with other lenses.
It's usually only the older lenses that give the error99 message.
If you still have your Olympus and feel more comfortable using it to get shots, then why not.
The best thing to do is as you say, go out and practice with the new kit until you can use it without thinking about it.
I use aperture priority mode 90% of the time when taking pics, I always use the following bit of info to make sure I am pretty much guaranteed a sharp image:
Minimum shutter speed equal to focal length. If you are using a 50mm lens you need 1/50th sec. 300mm lens = 1/300th sec and so on. Obviously, the higher the shutter speed over the focal length the better the prospects of a sharp pic.
As you already said, try setting the focus point as the center setting. If you want to have the subject off center - put the center point on the subject, half depress the release to focus and lock, move the camera to where you want the subject to appear then fully depress the release. As long as the subject is not moving this should work.
Hope this helps,
Perhaps your AF setting is set to closest subject priority, if your using auto I think thats the default setting....Change it to dynamic area...
Quote: Whether I use auto or manual focus, it's just a lottery as to whether I get a sharp subject or not.
One problem may be the auto mode. In auto mode, the camera will determine the best focus point in the frame to use, and you can't manually set a focus point in auto mode... if you are shooting a very "busy" scene (lots of varying "stuff" in the frame), the auto mode may be picking the wrong thing to focus on. If you're aperture is wide open then your DOF is probably very short. If the camera focuses on something closer or further away than your desired subject, then your subject is probably out of your DOF. Get off of Auto mode and use one of the "creative" modes, sports, Av, Tv, etc, check your manual on how to change your "focus point" ( I use the center focus point on my 350D), then focus using that point, and while holding the shutter button half way, reframe the shot and press the button fully.
Just a thought on possible problem.
Went to a racecousre gig with my 400d and the 55-200 canon lens. Soo dissappointed with the results I used 800 iso for most of the pics as with any less they seemed very dark, but can honestly say my Olympus C765 would have got much sharper, crisper images than I achieved with the Canon
I was only 15 feet from the artist, so the flash should have been effective, but I don't think I achieved one pic that I would say was good quality I took quite a few on full auto too, just to make sure I wasn't messing the setup completely, and they came out just the same.
At the moment I can't afford any more lenses, but if in time I went for the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM perhaps even with the IS would it gaurantee me being able to get high quality low light pics, or is it just me that is not up to the job?
Can't convey how frustrated I am that the one thing I bought this camera for, is the one thing it can't(or I can't) do
Photographing in low light conditions (very low in this instance) is very hard to do regardless of lens used (even if it is fast). There aren't many scenes harder to shoot imo.
If it were me, I'd be taking test shots outdoors in bright light on a fine day of stationary subjects using the central AF point, with one shot AF mode (not AI servo or AI focus) and as plenty others have also said, I would take control of the settings to be absolutely sure the equipment was sound. This can be painstaking (ruling out lens back or front focusing issues [incorrect calibration]) but you ought to be able to get decent enough results to gauge whether user error (lack of equipment knowledge) is to blame or not.
So, shoot mundane -non moving- subjects, using Aperture Priority (say f5.6 or higher to give enough DOF) and a high enough ISO to compensate and give fast shutter speed and then you should have a clearer idea where the problem lies. This way you keep control of the variables and rule out things like camera shake/low shutter speed/too shallow DOF and miss focusing (user or camera). If it's poor light, overcast weather etc, use a wider aperture (result should be the same but with shallower DOF: ie determining point of focus is where it should be and resultant sharpness).
Also, you could try borrowing other lenses to test on your camera body - I am sure you could do this in shop, and with their advice, either yourself or of the staff can fire off some shots and determine their overall sharpness and accuracy in focus. Again, about front and back focusing - there are charts available online you can download in order to test this but it's a really pernickity route to take imo (having done it myself once upon a time) and can lead to over scrupulosity. Do check your dioptric adjuster (as advised) also just to be sure when manually focusing, the subject and focal point really is as sharp as you think it is.
It's not unusual to be initially disappointed with the results an SLR brings and there's loads to learn but it's worth it just for the ride - you learn so much more. Even when a shooting session doesn't give the great results you'd like the day isn't entirely wasted. But do choose an easier environment to practice in! And good luck.
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