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Am I expecting too much?

ckristoff 13 994 Wales
20 Jan 2009 9:15PM

this afternoon, I braved the winds on the St.Brides coastline, here in Pembrokeshire.

This year I want to make an effort at improving my photo exposures.

Being diabetic, I'm concerned about the accuracy of my eyesight. However, should the auto-focussing on my 450D result in good results?

I took a photo of Roch castle, with one of the Preseli mountains in the distance. I believe I used the A-dep mode.

Give me about 10 minutes and I'll upload it, for you to look at. The lens I used was the 24-105 L zoom. Would I have had a better result with the 100-400 L zoom?

I would appreciate any advice you have. Oh, my tripod was fully extended, with my camera bag hanging underneath.


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samfurlong 12 2.5k United Kingdom
20 Jan 2009 9:58PM
I have to be honest I have never ever used the A - dep mode, it's supposedly very clever but good old manual or aperture priority are my faves.

I see you shot at 1/2000th sec at f4 which means that your tripod was unnessecary. Shooting at f4 your 24-105 L lens should perform very well although I would probably have gone for more like 1/500th sec @ F8 for this type of shot (again, without tripod) to get the depth of field.

The 100-400 zoom is one of the L lenses I have been less impressed with (I used to have one and got rid of it because in comparison to other L lenses it is fairly soft) so it wouldn't have made your image any sharper, all it would allow you to do is zoom in on the castle more.

When using my tripod I NEVER extend the centre column at all, it destroys stability. If your tripod doesn't go high enough then invest in one that will go to eye level using the legs alone. My manfrotto 055X PROB and 488RCS ball head combo does this comfortably, cost under 200 and will easily hold a 1DMKIII fitted with a 500mm F4L when the wind is blowing a howling gale.
In comparison with other photo gear tripods are dirt cheap, even the good ones. Lots of people piddle about with spindly little things costing 30 which blow over in the slightest little puff of wind when all they are really good for is the bin, then are surprised when the results are blurred.
ckristoff 13 994 Wales
20 Jan 2009 10:10PM
Hello Sam,

thanks for your kind comments and advice.

Oh, the centre column wasn't extended, only the legs - I should have made that clear.

I haven't used A-dep mode very much. It shows I don't pay attention, when I need to. As I was about to upload this image, I realised it resulted with f4, which I'm sure is not much suited to landscape.

I appreciate your comment on the 100-400 zoom. Again, I don't use it much, but it's in my bag when I need it, along with a 1.4 extender.

What I will do, on a less windy day, is to replicate the image, using a better aperture and shutter combination and see what result I get.

agoreira 14 6.0k Wales
20 Jan 2009 10:12PM


this afternoon, I braved the winds on the St.Brides coastline, here in Pembrokeshire.

And I was enjoying the breeze at Broadhaven South, the surfers were loving it as well. A good week for surfing there this week, Friday looks good. Good winds, good surf. Try that with your 100-400 lens.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2009 10:33PM
Frank I think the stuff on lenses is a red herring for this shot, at @ F8 an 100mm the 100-400 and 24-105 have very similar performance, go check out photozone and in their test the bigger zoom is slightly better. But forget the 1.4x converter, I find it better to stop the lens at 400mm to f8 and re-size than using the converter (it is the same exposure). Why because wide open at the long end the sharpness and contrast drops off and stopping it down makes a big difference. But 100-400 copies do vary a lot in performance.

A-Dep mode, I find that a bit hit and miss. If the camera decides there is info at different focus points it tries to pick an aperture and focal point to get them all sharp. It is the sort of thing where you should be able to look at the scene and decide what the depth of field required is. In this shot has it decided to lock on the bushes in the foreground and missed the castle? Probably.

On a tiny upload it is hard to see whether it is sharp or not. I assume you are unhappy with sharpness. So I would question what the camera was focusing. Now you could use live view to pop up the mirror and if you go to the 10x zoom you ought to be able to spot if the castle for example is sharply in focus.

At 1/2000 you should be far away from camera shake, but the lens will get sharper if you stop it down to @ F8. But I guess in a howling gale who knows. You could always turn on the IS Smile
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2009 10:41PM
If it is RAW then do any of your camera software tools show the active AF points? If yes you could look to see what part of the photo the camera decided to focus on.
ckristoff 13 994 Wales
20 Jan 2009 10:49PM
Strawman, LOL!!

Was my IS on? Er, I didn't check, although it usually is on. Smile Thank you also for your other comments, very much appreciated.
I also admit that I haven't used live view yet.

Abwhitt, I haven't had the pleasure of visiting Broadhaven South yet. I will do so at some point. I'm not too brilliant at sports photography, but thanks for your advice - I'll try it one day.

ckristoff 13 994 Wales
20 Jan 2009 10:52PM
Hi Strawman,

I'm still trying to get to grips with all things digital.

Yes, in DPP, tonight I clicked on the AF function for the first time.
I'm not sure where the camera focussed on exactly, I need to look again.

Silly bugger time. Smile I don't suppose there's a magic button on there to make everything look sharp? Ha ha.

strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2009 10:58PM
Well you could set the lens to f16 and bolt the camera to a big solid lump of concrete and focus it out to about 3M Smile
ckristoff 13 994 Wales
21 Jan 2009 8:25AM


agoreira 14 6.0k Wales
21 Jan 2009 8:42AM


Abwhitt, I haven't had the pleasure of visiting Broadhaven South yet. I will do so at some point. I'm not too brilliant at sports photography, but thanks for your advice - I'll try it one day.


Frank, head south, park down at Stackpole Quay, and walk across Barafundle Beach (the best in Pembrokeshire?), Stackpole Head and then Broadhaven South. A great walk. I visit your area a lot, like St Davids, Whitesands, , Solva, Abereiddi, Porthgain, Pwll Deri, etc, but you are missing out by not checking out the south of the county. Wink Any advice or tips, PM me, I know the area well, certainly better than most locals!!
ckristoff 13 994 Wales
22 Jan 2009 11:39AM

Hi, I've just seen this. Thanks for your info.

You're right, I don't know too much about South Pembs. I've been to Stackpole and seen the Green Bridge of Wales - 6 years ago, when I had my T-90 ( long gone! Sad ).

IT's stupid to admit I haven't seen Barafundle yet. The thing about exploring the Castlemartin area is the time restrictions regarding military operations.

Do others feel the same way? It's my impression that the MOD seems to keep all the best landscapes to themselves.

ckristoff 13 994 Wales
22 Jan 2009 11:43AM

I've just checked the info on my image again. It appears that the camera was set on centre-weighted metering, would evaluative metering have been a better choice?

Also Strawman mentioned focussing points, would using just one focus point result in a better exposure?

strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
22 Jan 2009 12:22PM
Frank could you tell us what you think is wrong.

Focusing choice is independent of metering choice in the more advanced modes like Aperture priority. The set modes like A=DEP or scenery modes may well set the metering and focusing settings for you.

So looking at the thumbnail, I would guess that the metering was not miles out, so mode not an issue. I guess the problem is what is in focus in the scene. That would be set by your choice of aperture and focus point.

For a scene like that I would guess that an aperture of f8 to f11 would give a good depth of field (what was your focal length?) I would focus at a point between you and the castle (if you use live view you can check that everything is in focus). And evaluative would be fine, just dial in the compensation you want.
ckristoff 13 994 Wales
22 Jan 2009 2:39PM

thanks for your valuable advice!

What 'I' think is wrong, is that the image is not totally pin-sharp, I've just printed it out on A4 and to my eyes, the image looks soft.

According to my post title, I may be expecting too much, as I took this image in quite windy conditions. I was standing on top of a grassy bank.

I definitely need to get out more and just ' Do it! '. As I've already been advised by a friend of mine, who owns a 5D, but won't let me touch it! Smile

In simple terms, what my ambition is, is to be able to eventually sell some of my images at a local gallery. I believe personally, I have an issue with my eyesight, but maybe I'm too fussy! If you look again at my current upload, I believe it doesn't quite cut it.
I may feel that it's better than a snap-shot, But I probably wouldn't expect anyone to buy a copy.

Strawman, thanks for taking the time on little ol' me.


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