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STILL can't get the "focus thing" right !!!!!


JanieB43 6 47 6 England
20 Jul 2009 11:29AM
Just been to the Lake District and was hoping to get some really good landscape/waterscape shots. Having read other EPZers tips on getting "pin-sharp" focus throughout my images I tried.........REALLY I DID !! but they're still pretty poor. ( see recent uploads ) I tried manual focus, ADep setting ( on canon 400D ) & previewing DOF,auto focus etc etc. I think I must be pretty dim here as I've had my canon for 12 months now and landscapes are my fave subject but that "stunning" phototgraph is still escaping me...........

Extremely frustrated and unhappy snapper Sad

PLEASE,PLEASE HELP BEFORE I WHIZZ MY CANON THROUGH THE WINDOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jane

P.S. Is it wirth me splashing out on another lens ? ( I have a canon 18-55mm & sigma 10-20mm ). I read somewhere that a 70-200mm is used widely in landscape photography.

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lobsterboy e2
11 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2009 11:31AM
What are you viewing the images in?
Are you applying any sharpening ?
JanieB43 6 47 6 England
20 Jul 2009 11:37AM
Hi Lobsterboy
Not sure what you mean "viewing the images in ".
My camera settings are set to fairly sharp and I usually touch up the sharpening in the shot a bit after the initial processing ( I use Adobe Camera RAW in Elements 7 or my Canon software that came with my kit ).
lobsterboy e2
11 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2009 11:42AM

Quote:I use Adobe Camera RAW in Elements 7 or my Canon software that came with my kit

Thats what I meant by what you use to view the images in.


Quote:I usually touch up the sharpening in the shot a bit after the initial processing

What is it you are actually doing?
MikeA 10 1.2k England
20 Jul 2009 11:47AM
Have you set the viewfinder to suit your eye sight?
Check your manual for instructions, just a thought...

Your "Look into the Light" image looks pin sharp, nothing wrong with that one.
JanieB43 6 47 6 England
20 Jul 2009 11:48AM
I usually use the unsharp mask or enhance sharpening options in Elements
JanieB43 6 47 6 England
20 Jul 2009 11:49AM

Quote:Have you set the viewfinder to suit your eye sight?
Check your manual for instructions, just a thought...



Never thought of that - I do need to wear reading glasses so this could be the problem I guess !!
lobsterboy e2
11 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2009 11:51AM

Quote:I usually use the unsharp mask or enhance sharpening options in Elements


Before or after you have resized the image?
I just looked at "Casting Shadows" and it will happily take a fair bit of unsharp mask, which looks to me like it has lost sharpness on the resize.
Miles Herbert 12 1.8k 4 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2009 11:52AM
Are you using a decent steady tripod and remote release? Lighter tripods can vibrate in the wind which would cause some slight loss of quality.

Apertures ... on the Sigma 10 - 20mm F11, F16 area should be fine...

Are any filters clean? Smudges will cause a problem...

Any finger prints on the lens elements ... including the bottom one "inside" the camera? Always worth a look.

Just some ideas....
Krakman 8 3.6k Scotland
20 Jul 2009 11:52AM
Questions:

1. How blurry are the images (preferably give a lin to a crop of an image blown up to 100%)?

2. What aperture and shutter speeds are you using when you have the problem?

3. Are you using a tripod? Are you using a cable release?

4. Was it a windy day?

5. How did you set the manual focus? (eg. using the rangefinder in camera, the distance, scale on the lens, calculating a hyperfocal distance, or other method?)

6. What ISO did you have set?


p.s.: about unsharp masking - personally I only do it for print, especially large prints. You shouldn't actually have to do it for on-screen reproduction especially, and I would switch off in-camera sharpening to zero. Your pics should be sharp without it.
JanieB43 6 47 6 England
20 Jul 2009 12:17PM
I always sharpen AFTER resizing as I read this was the way to do it.
My tripod is not the sturdiest I suppose ( it was a christmas gift from my son so beggars can't be choosers !! ) - Hama Star 75. I generally use f20 ( light permitting ) and ISO is almost always set at 100, occasionally 200.
When using manual focus I generally look through the viewfinder and try to focus about a 3rd the way in but when I press the DOF preview button there's almost always bits that I can tell are going to be out of focus & by this time after trying everything else I can think of I'm so fed up with myself AND my camera I just think " sod it " & press and hope for the best !!!
JanieB43 6 47 6 England
20 Jul 2009 12:19PM
Would having an IS lens make much difference ?
MikeA 10 1.2k England
20 Jul 2009 12:20PM

Quote:I generally use f20


Try backing off to about f/8.
lobsterboy e2
11 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2009 12:29PM

Quote:Try backing off to about f/8.


I concur Smile
Krakman 8 3.6k Scotland
20 Jul 2009 12:35PM

Quote:generally look through the viewfinder and try to focus about a 3rd the way in but when I press the DOF preview button there's almost always bits that I can tell are going to be out of focus & by this time after trying everything else I can think of I'm so fed up with myself AND my camera I just think " sod it " & press and hope for the best


So it sounds like you're trying hyperfocal focussing. I suspect that the depth of field just isn't adequate for the scene. You say yourself that when you press DOF preview bits look out of focus. If you can actually see it in DOF preview then they will be out of focus for sure when you look at them blown up.

As Mike mentioned above, f20 won't give you very sharp pics anyway. You would do better making your mind up on what you want to be in focus and what out of focus, and setting your focus to whatever's most important, and opening up the aperture a bit. Rather than trying to focus fairly randomly in the middle of the scene.

Are you using a long-ish focal length?ie. more than about 35mm on a crop sensor or 50mm on a full frame sensor? In that case you will get limited depth of field anyway.

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