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Why are my photos not very good?

Kevlar 12 161 3 United Kingdom
12 Jul 2006 7:02PM
Am I expecting too much or have I got bad gear..or (more likely) am I the bad one?

All my pics are either blurred, grainy or if neither of those 2, not particularly sharp?

I have the following gear (an no idea)
Nikon D50
Nikon 18-55mm
Tamron 28-300mm
Speedlight SB-600

Mainly I use the Tamron lens. For example, with my dragonfly picture (which doesn't look too bad small, but is really grainy when big) I used the following settings:

Shutter speed 1/1600
Manual Mode
ISO 1600

I am guessing that the ISO is the sole reason for the grain? and guess that I should have used something like ISO 200 for a better picture? but even at this settings my pictures are nowhere near as sharp as the majority of the ones I see in the forum.

Am i expecting micacles with the equipment I use, or should I be able to get more out of it??

Would be interested to hear if anybody has better results with the same lenses/camera too.

Many thanks for your help


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AngelaD 13 2.9k Wales
12 Jul 2006 7:10PM
ISO too high, do you use a tripod?
u08mcb 14 5.8k
12 Jul 2006 7:12PM
Your photos are bad because you use a ****lens. 1600 will produce some grain but not like a 1600 film. The plastic optics in the lens will contain imperfections not present in a higher quality glass lens that translate to noisy photos made all the worse with the resolution that comes with digital.
Kevlar 12 161 3 United Kingdom
12 Jul 2006 7:12PM
no, i didnt use a tripod....would iso 200 have been better and produce a sharper image? tho' I usually shoot at that iso?
MarkyMarc 13 498 Canada
12 Jul 2006 7:18PM
I'd say that the noise in your photo is from the ISO being at 1600. You'll get less noise with a lower ISO, then when you go to sharpen the shot in Photoshop or something you won't be sharpening the noise too so the image will look better.

The optics of the lens are a contributing factor as well. A lot of the insect images you see on here are shot with macro lenses which are usually amongst the sharpest of any manufacturers lenses.
dalowsons 14 89 Australia
12 Jul 2006 7:20PM
Hi there,

I am a complete amateur as well, but just wanted to give you what little advice I can. No idea about your gear, but with regards to ISO, etc. ...

From what I know, you are always better off using a lower ISO - 100 or 200 if you can. This will mean that your shutter speeds won't be as fast (especially in low light) but will hugely reduce the grain in your pics. As for the blur ... that is probably caused by low light / slower shutter speed, but it could also just be focus (in which case, just be more aware of where you are focusing, maybe use manual focus if you find that more accurate ?).

I would suggest as someone else did - always use a tripod where possible, and just be aware of your shutter speed. Sometimes you are going to have to accept either grain OR blur (grain is better Smile, unless you are prepared to upgrade to faster lenses, etc.

Hope that helps some !!!

User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
12 Jul 2006 7:20PM
Kev. Your pictures aren't ****. Your first upload was awarded an 'HC' - that ain't no mean feat.

Having had a quick 'fly by' of your PF to date I would say three things.

1. Your kit is fine (although you ARE asking a lot from a 28-300mm btw...)

2. You have a good 'eye'; your PF is diversified - and good. SO many 'toggers' here on EPZ just produce image after image (after image!!) of the same subject and it can become boring frankly. They can produce great images of their chosen subject - BUT what else can they do?? You are already 'there' IMHO.

3. I believe you need to focus on your post-production skills with your image manipulation package of choice. Learn how to emphasise your subject matter; introduce enhanced contrast, saturation, 'burn'/'dodge' et al.

Stick with it Kev...

[removed - latin or not!]

JohnHawthorne 12 1.7k 5 Scotland
12 Jul 2006 7:20PM
I think what Malcolm was trying to say was that the 28-300mm lens is not the best lens when it comes to sharpness.

Your equipment isn't great, but it certainly isn't cr*p and it should be capable of really decent photography. I certainly wouldn't call your photography c**p either, so don't be discouraged!

Having said that about your equipment though I notice that you like macro photography and this is an area where a decent lens could make a significant difference. If you can, think about getting something like a Sigma 105mm lens or Tamron 90mm.

Finally a point about high ISO. Yes ISO 1600 will definitely cause high noise level. I never use ISO 1600 (nor ISO 800 if at all possible) for that reason.
Kevlar 12 161 3 United Kingdom
12 Jul 2006 7:32PM
Do not confuse reading to be the same as understanding u08mcb...I should know...I read my manuals, but don't understand them....

Thanks everybody for your advice - didn't want this to be used as a rant, just wanted to get some advice.
JohnHawthorne 12 1.7k 5 Scotland
12 Jul 2006 7:32PM
What is good photography anyway? I'd trade my RCs for your HC and once I learned you had an HC, my feelings could be described like:



(if you're judging how good your photography is on how many clicks you get ..... DON'T!)
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
12 Jul 2006 7:35PM

Quote:I read my manuals, but don't understand them....

Who can point Kev at those online PS tutorials? They're pretty good and might help...

Somebody did a link to them recently.

aftertherain 13 4.2k 2 United Kingdom
12 Jul 2006 7:35PM
I use the Nikon D70 with the kit lens 18-70mm and it's great.
The ISO was way too high and you need to use either a tripod or monopod. IMHO.
I also fell into the one lens does everything trap only in my case it was the Nikon 28-200mm - it was only really sharp at 100mm so I sold it.
Sold it and several other bits I no longer wanted on Ebay and got enough to buy the Nikkor 70-180 micro lens. It's big and it's heavy but it's a cracking lens and I wouldn't be without it.
Stick with the D50 it's a good camera.
aftertherain 13 4.2k 2 United Kingdom
12 Jul 2006 7:39PM
You might also try this free noiseware package - I and lots of other people on this site find it useful.
CathyT 12 7.3k 18 United Kingdom
12 Jul 2006 7:39PM
Have a look at Neat Image
Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
12 Jul 2006 8:31PM
Ah a nice clean thread...shame I needed to spend 10 mins on it :-(
Kev...we're back on track Smile Sorry about that!

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