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Blurred portrait images 17-40mm L series & D-lites2 & skyport

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    dae  5
    15 Sep 2012 - 3:51 PM

    Hi All, please help!

    I have the Canon 40d with 17-40mm L Series lens, a lastolite highlite backdrop and Elinchrom D-lites2 with the sky port.

    I can only sync to 1/180 as I shot at 1/250 and had shutter curtain. So I tried all the camera settings in the world e.g f5 1/125 was what a friend recommended, I tried also all the different metering settings, I tried manual focus, AF, I tried using modelling lamps to help the AF. But still I have blurred images and I just don't have enough technical skill to understand why.

    I know my lens isn't ideal for portrait work but why can't I get the faces sharp?! Even on F22 with the lights whacked right up its still blurred! I was shooting a couple with their kids and the images are not even to be salvaged through PS even when the subject is still.

    I was shooting from a distance of about 2-3 meters as its a small room. But close up head shots ate sharp as anything when I get up close and personal. So I am guessing the problems with my lens?! But I even took them out into my garden with natural light and still blurred : (

    Please help, is it a camera setting I need to change (although I've spent hours practicing and changing everything) or do I need a different lens?!

    Thank you so much in advance

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    15 Sep 2012 - 3:51 PM

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    Niknut e2 Member 4602 forum postsNiknut vcard United Kingdom63 Constructive Critique Points
    15 Sep 2012 - 4:01 PM

    Three things that come to mind....

    a) Presumably the AF/MF switch is set to AF ?

    b) With the lens set to MF, will it focus manually ?......if not, the lens is faulty !

    c) Try cleaning the gold contacts on the rear of the lens, to make sure it's communicating with the body !!

    or d) Is there something set in the 'Set up' menu, that is stopping AF operating ?

    Take it from there..............can't think of anything else !....regards...Keith.

    dae  5
    15 Sep 2012 - 4:06 PM

    Hi Keith thank you!

    Yes AF is working and so is MF too, I have the camera set to show the red boxes that light up to shower where the focus metered from so I can see that it's working fine. I'm just so baffled. So there's no other reason like something really obvious or silly that I've missed?! But should I expect my images to be sharp from this set up?!


    Niknut e2 Member 4602 forum postsNiknut vcard United Kingdom63 Constructive Critique Points
    15 Sep 2012 - 4:17 PM

    OK.....one more thing........the lens is f4 at 17mm wide, but probably drops to f5.6 or less at 40mm ??....which is right on the
    limit of AF focus particularly in low light ?? (as in the studio), so maybe the lighting levels need 'upping' to get AF ?

    Or....will it AF OK at 17mm & f4 ??....& then zoom in to 40mm ?

    Or....if it won't AF outside in daylight.....there must be something wrong ??????

    I've got this lens, which works 100% on my Canons !!.....hope you haven't got a 'duff' one !!

    Just had another thought.....have you tried the lens on someone elses Canon, to check if it's working OK on theirs ????????

    Last Modified By Niknut at 15 Sep 2012 - 4:20 PM
    Carabosse e2 Member 1139461 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
    15 Sep 2012 - 4:23 PM

    Quote: the lens is f4 at 17mm wide, but probably drops to f5.6 or less at 40mm

    It has a max aperture of f4 at 40mm. Smile

    Niknut e2 Member 4602 forum postsNiknut vcard United Kingdom63 Constructive Critique Points
    15 Sep 2012 - 5:05 PM

    Carabosse, you're right !!!....just checked mine, & it's a constant f4 through the focal range.....soooooo.....???

    OK...yet another thought !......go into the focusing menu, & set the Central point for AF, instead of the Multi-point,
    it's usually more sensitive than the outer ones, so it might make a difference in low light ???????

    dae  5
    15 Sep 2012 - 5:49 PM

    You're fab guys thanks for taking time to help me!
    Ok I've done what you said and I think I've worked out that when used at 40mm it's sharp but it's when it's used at 17mm that it's blurred as hell. Whether in the studio or out in natural light. I've had this lens for years and never noticed a problem so I'm sure the lens is not broken, more likely my incompetence! I've set the AF point to the central point by setting custom function 3,3 to 1. I took my studio kit down in anger this morning so I'll stick it all back up tomorrow and see if there's any difference.

    What would you suggest I set my camera and lights to. My lights go upto 6 does that mean f6.

    I had them set on camera f8 1/125 and lights 4. I didnt use the modelling lamps so do you think the camera is just struggling to AF at 17mm?!

    I'm just confused as I did a studio shoot with toddlers a few days ago and they were sharp but I used the camera mostly at 40mm, but on the full length adults yesterday at 17mm blurry!

    dae  5
    15 Sep 2012 - 5:50 PM

    And I don't have any local friends who like photography so can't try out my lens with them. I joined a few local camera clubs but they weren't really what I expected!

    Niknut e2 Member 4602 forum postsNiknut vcard United Kingdom63 Constructive Critique Points
    15 Sep 2012 - 7:27 PM

    I've zero experience of studio work !!!.....so I can't help with your lighting set-up/settings.........

    The plot thickens ????????

    dae  5
    15 Sep 2012 - 7:37 PM

    Ha ha so it does! Hope we get to the bottom of it!

    Coleslaw e2 Member 913403 forum postsColeslaw vcard Wales28 Constructive Critique Points
    15 Sep 2012 - 9:07 PM

    Why not upload a few photos to show your issue?

    arhb e2 Member 72276 forum postsarhb vcard United Kingdom68 Constructive Critique Points
    16 Sep 2012 - 2:28 PM

    I had similar problems to this, using a Canon 7D with a Canon 24-70mm F2.8L, the slightly soft focus occurring at the wide end when doing full length shots - all portrait/fashion work.
    I sent the camera and lens to Canon to be calibrated, although this seemed to make very little, if no difference when returned.
    I eventually moved on to a 5Dmk2, and I no longer have any soft fucus issues.
    I was never able to work out exactly what the problem was, but now the 7D has gone, so has the problem.

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