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Is it me

ray1 13 546 1 England
13 May 2010 7:07PM
I have done a number of group shots lately and whilst happy with the overall sharpness etc when I zoom in to 100% Im not totally happy as the faces appear to me to be a tad soft. If I do a single portrait all is ok. Im using a d200 with sigma 18-50 2.8 and have experimented with different focus setting and seem to get the best group results with dynamic closest subject. The shots have been hand held but the light has been good and the shutter speed has been good 1/200 at f8 for example. My mind is saying that the skin tone/colour gives a soft apperance and small faces in amongst a larger scene just makes faces look a little soft. So is it me expecting too much, is it normal with group shots or is it the lens.

I have a group shot to do tomorrow but this will be on a tripod so will be interesting to see the results. However, saying all of the above i was looking at a number of past group shots of tomorrows shoot and all the faces look soft to me on those as well so perhaps it is just me expecting too much.

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User_Removed 8 1.4k England
13 May 2010 7:08PM
Its called diffraction.
ray1 13 546 1 England
13 May 2010 7:10PM
Can you explain please.
Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
13 May 2010 7:32PM
I'd like to hear as well - f8 it about the sharpest point on many lenses and diffraction normally kicks in from f8 onwards - though shots should still be usable with f13 on crop sensor and f16 on fullframe. (in many cases though specific camera bodies and lenses will give different results)

I would say it could be one of two things - I suspect Ray you might be right in that its you judging the little faces on the 100% crop against a portrait face too much. Provided the overall image stands up quality wise you should be ok.
The other thing is motion of the subject, since (for most people) 1/200sec should be perfectly handholdable with a short lens; it might be that slight motions of the subject are causing slight blur. If you can a few experiments with faster shutter speeds would show this or not (though be carefull if you have to upp your ISO as that will of course also introduce softness.)
User_Removed 11 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
13 May 2010 7:34PM
I wouldn't be happy with handheld below 1/500th second if looking at it that closely.
User_Removed 8 1.4k England
13 May 2010 7:52PM
Diffraction - when a wave encounters an obstacle.

Wave = Light.

Obstacle = Air.
ray1 13 546 1 England
13 May 2010 7:52PM

Quote:I wouldn't be happy with handheld below 1/500th second if looking at it that closely.

Hopefully, the tripod shot tomorrow will see if this is the problem.

Got my head round diffraction - sort of so I suppose the next question would be what sort of lenses are less prone to this, if any.
User_Removed 8 1.4k England
13 May 2010 8:09PM
All are prone to it, it is a optical discrepancy that cannot really be solved.

Lenses are a fine balance between managing alot of optical limitations. - The term Diffraction has became a blanket term to cover alot of optical laws which effect photography.

This is why true macro lenses have the subject plane is exactly parallel with the film plane and why polarisers are used to remove Rayleigh effect ect...

Shooting a group changes the effective resolution capability of your camera/lens - when compared with just a portrait.

So overall, you are making an unfair comparison of "sharpness" Smile.
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
13 May 2010 8:25PM

Quote:Its called diffraction.

discreetphoton 13 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
13 May 2010 8:37PM
Getting past the lens issues, it may also be a matter of resolution. How many people are in your group, and how far away are they? If the faces are too small in the frame, then the features can lose definition. You're unlikely to have to print at 100%, so it might not be as bad as you think.
ray1 13 546 1 England
13 May 2010 8:43PM
Probably 20 sitting and standing and past pics have printed ok ish.
ray1 13 546 1 England
15 May 2010 8:55AM
Well the shoot went well last night and I am sure people will be very happy. However, the tripod made no difference so I can count camera shake out so it is either diffraction, resolution or me expecting perfection. Overall sharpness remains good but close in 100% is not good enough in the detail in my eyes. Im going to go for resolution and accept that small things such as faces in a large picture will not be pin sharp or what I perceive as pin sharp. Grin
User_Removed 11 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
15 May 2010 9:42AM
Any chancing of posting up a 100% crop of a bit that you're unhappy with ?
ray1 13 546 1 England
15 May 2010 3:06PM
100% Crop Chris Not sharpened.
User_Removed 11 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
15 May 2010 5:22PM
Interesting. Thanks for that. I'm not familiar with the D200 but from the amount of bleed I would imagine it's a fairly dense sensor. A bit of Googling shows it be an APSC sensor and I've seen the same sort of behaviour on my 450D when I use it.

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