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Lenses help for beginner

desbarnio 6 14 Scotland
21 Jan 2012 1:17PM
I have a Canon 450d with Canon 18-55 Kit Lens and Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 Lens.
When I use these indoors with or without flash images are pretty sharp.
When I use them for landscape photography my images never really look as sharp and I use a tripod and remote release.
I have a budget of 300 and would like to either replace both these lenses for 1 or buy a good lens if possible for landscape use only.
I have looked at Tamron 17-50mm f2.8xr Di II LD Asp IF Lens and Tamron 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 Xr Di II LD Aspherical.
Do you have any other suggestions that I could look at or suggestions on what I might be doing wrong.

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rambler Plus
9 964 17 England
21 Jan 2012 2:18PM
Could you upload a shot so that we can judge what might be wrong.
scottishphototours 14 2.6k 2
21 Jan 2012 2:24PM

Lenses like the 18-200 are always an optical compromise, so are best avoided.The Tamron comes highly rated and would be an optical improvement on your kit lens. Sigma also do a lens in this range that gets good reviews, or you could get the brilliant Sigma 10-20mm for around your budget (or try the classifieds on here).

Technique - what aperture are you shooting your landscapes at? If its around f16 on your kit lens then this will probably be one of the main reasons. Lenses at that price range do not perform well at f16!

Why not post a sample image so we can see what the problem is and help you further?

desbarnio 6 14 Scotland
21 Jan 2012 3:19PM
I have posted this pic which was in good light at f5.6 iso 100 , you say with my kit lens should be not taken around f16, I take them at the landscape setting mostly or have read it should be around 11 when I use aperture priority img-3620.jpg

cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
21 Jan 2012 3:37PM

Quote:in good light at f5.6

Well thats the first mistake, At f/5.6 your DOF ( Depth Of Field ) is going to be very shallow, Not recommended for landscape really.

With care the right settings and reasonable light there is no reason your " Kit Lens " could not make a much better job than this, Unless there are technical issues with lens or camera...!!!
adrian_w Plus
10 3.7k 4 England
21 Jan 2012 3:56PM
I would say that the canon 18-55 is vulnerable to a slight softness, which is easily corrected in PS. MAy be worth having it checked.
desbarnio 6 14 Scotland
21 Jan 2012 3:57PM
Great point, cameracat, I have just checked my pictures on PC and 90% of them taken on landscape mode are all around f/5.6 to f/7.0, would this then mean that I should always then use aperture priority and pick around f/11.
Does my landscape setting on camera require adjustment if it is always picking up this f number then
Thanks for all your help
desbarnio 6 14 Scotland
21 Jan 2012 3:58PM
Adrian what is PS?

User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
21 Jan 2012 4:37PM
PS = Photoshop

My advice would be to completely forget about the "scene modes" on your camera and stick with Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program or Manual according to the type of subject and the effects you want to produce. That way you have much more control.

For landscapes I would suggest either Aperture Priority of Manual.

In aperture priority, unless the light is very low, think about an aperture of f/11. With the camera on a tripod and a remote release, then unless there are moving objects in the landscape, you will get away with slowish shutter speeds. Make sure you are not set for auto ISO (set it as low as it will go) and that if your lens has image stabilisation, that it is switched off.

Only if, after doing all of that, you still get blurry images, should you consider that there may be a lens fault.
scottishphototours 14 2.6k 2
21 Jan 2012 4:57PM

a picture like this, where the subject is distant and small is not really ideal for gauging how sharp or otherwise your results are.

Would suggest you try and replicate some of the kinds of pics in the gallery that have a subject in the middle distance or closer to get a better idea of the results. Leftforum's advice is spot on, forget the scene modes and use aperture priority at f11 as a starting point with the camera on a tripod, using a remote release and ISO 200. Switch IS to off on your lens if you have it.

By all accounts the 18-55 kit lens is pretty soft ( as Adrian says - do a google search on it) and this may be the issue - you're simply expecting too much!

desbarnio 6 14 Scotland
21 Jan 2012 5:11PM
Cheers Guys for taking the time to answer.
I probably am expecting to much as when I look at pictures I have taken they are not that bad, just sometimes you see the picture on the 3 inch screen and think ya beauty, then you put on Pc and its just not as good as you thought. Will take your points on board and stop using the automatic scene modes I am hoping this is where I may be going wrong, thanks again for taking the time to write.
armyroach 6 2 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2012 5:17PM
New to this forum, but just reading through the advice so far I have learned so much, great forum.
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
21 Jan 2012 5:26PM
(Stick around Tom... there's loads like this. Welcome aboard! Wink)
bainsybike 8 327 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2012 5:57PM
I have to disagree with the depth of field comments - assuming focus was on infinity, pretty much everything in the posted image should be in reasonable focus even at F5.6, since there is nothing close to the camera. (See here for more details.)

I suspect the problem is more to do with all the other factors that go towards making a good landscape picture rather than limitations of equipment. I'm afraid I have the same problem. Sad
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
21 Jan 2012 6:06PM

The DoF comment by Vince is very valid.

For the sake of this 'discussion' (Wink) lets assume the focal length used was 150mm. (I get the impression it was a long focal length employed Des..?) then the hyperfocal distance would have been in the area of over 600ft with the nearest 'in-focus' point being over 300ft away.

f11 or more would have been a better choice - assuming one wants to take diffraction into account.


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