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

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JanieB43
JanieB43  647 forum posts England6 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 11:29 AM

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.

Last Modified By JanieB43 at 20 Jul 2009 - 11:32 AM
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20 Jul 2009 - 11:29 AM

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lobsterboy
lobsterboy Site Moderator 1014137 forum postslobsterboy vcard United Kingdom13 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 11:31 AM

What are you viewing the images in?
Are you applying any sharpening ?

JanieB43
JanieB43  647 forum posts England6 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 11:37 AM

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
lobsterboy Site Moderator 1014137 forum postslobsterboy vcard United Kingdom13 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 11:42 AM


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
MikeA  91173 forum posts England
20 Jul 2009 - 11:47 AM

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.

Last Modified By MikeA at 20 Jul 2009 - 11:50 AM
JanieB43
JanieB43  647 forum posts England6 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 11:48 AM

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

JanieB43
JanieB43  647 forum posts England6 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 11:49 AM


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
lobsterboy Site Moderator 1014137 forum postslobsterboy vcard United Kingdom13 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 11:51 AM


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
20 Jul 2009 - 11:52 AM

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
Krakman  73615 forum posts Scotland
20 Jul 2009 - 11:52 AM

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.

Last Modified By Krakman at 20 Jul 2009 - 11:54 AM
JanieB43
JanieB43  647 forum posts England6 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 12:17 PM

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
JanieB43  647 forum posts England6 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 12:19 PM

Would having an IS lens make much difference ?

MikeA
MikeA  91173 forum posts England
20 Jul 2009 - 12:20 PM


Quote: I generally use f20

Try backing off to about f/8.

lobsterboy
lobsterboy Site Moderator 1014137 forum postslobsterboy vcard United Kingdom13 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2009 - 12:29 PM


Quote: Try backing off to about f/8.

I concur Smile

Krakman
Krakman  73615 forum posts Scotland
20 Jul 2009 - 12:35 PM


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.

Last Modified By Krakman at 20 Jul 2009 - 12:35 PM

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