Back Modifications (1)
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Another from Fellfoot

By Lou_C  
I'm sure theres loads wrong with this, but the main problem for me is that it looks out of focus and not sharp.

Someone once told me the 18-55 kit lens was sharpest at f8, and this was taken at f20. What can I do to compensate for the loss of sharpness apart from using Photoshop?

Tags: Lake district Cumbria Windermere Landscape and travel Fellfoot

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


gary_d 8 576 13 Wales
22 Sep 2008 11:22PM
This looks very nice to me and does not stand out as being un sharp, shoot on a tripod and use the self timer or cable release if you want to ensure maximum sharpness but this is a lovely image. - gary

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pamelajean Plus
10 969 1832 United Kingdom
23 Sep 2008 7:58PM
Hello, Lou, I can see that the overhanging leaves top left are out of focus, and the bottom of the picture is too, where the path, grass and shrubs are, whereas the rest looks fine. So it's the areas closest to you that are not sharp. It might be worth giving your other settings, too, so that people can help you better. My question is, did you try f8, as was suggested to you? I know you are aiming to get things right in-camera, avoiding photoshop, but I couldn't resist a quick mod, adjusting levels and selectively sharpening the bottom. I do hope you get some expert help because I don't personally know anything about your camera. I'll pop back to see.
phil_j 10 134 4 England
23 Sep 2008 8:58PM
Hello Lou.
As a D50 user as well, I hope I might be able to help a little.

When I am using the 18-55mm kit lens for landscapes or seascapes I will not go above f16, I find f8 doesn'f really give enough sharpness from front to back in a wide angle shot and above F16 the sharpness drops off a lot, possibly from camera shake due to the longer exposure times.
I will always use a tripod and because the D50 doesn't have a mirror lock up facility for taking pictures (just for sensor ceaning) I will trip the shutter using a remote shutter release, I found the Nikon remote infra red device great for this and picked one up cheap from ebay (3 + p&p new from Hong Kong).

I also found that not using the lens at 18mm helps the sharpness a little as well, I usually go no wider that 20mm.

When I am using f16 I try to pick a focal point just about a third of the way into the scene, looking at your shot perhaps the fallen red leaves on the path would be about the right focal point for this instance.

An example of the settings I have mentioned above can be seen in a shot on page 4 of my portfolio, titled Bas Fors.
There was a brisk breeze blowing off the loch when this was taken, so I set the tripod down really low to give more stability.
The focal point for this shot was the smaller boulder in the loch, just left of centre, between the two larger boulders.

I hope this all makes sense, and helps you a little.


Lou_C 9 755 2 England
23 Sep 2008 9:14PM
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I had always thought that the larger the f number the more of the shot would be in focus.

I thought I'd tried it at f8, but when I checked the exif of the other shot it was f5.6 :-/ But TBH there's not a lot of difference between them.

But now Phil has mentioned it, maybe there's not much difference because of camera shake from the longer exposure.

Good tips about not going wider than 20mm and above f16, I will keep them in mind for next time.

I really must start using my tripod, I just get a little embarrassed because its a cheapy from Asda not a proper one!

Thanks for the great tips and the mod looks better Pamelajean Smile
banehawi Plus
12 1.5k 3531 Canada
23 Sep 2008 10:22PM
All lenses have " sweet" spots where they are sharpest, not only in the centre, but at the edges.

At smaller apertures, - larger f numbers, - the "apparent" sharpness is better in the sens that the depth of field in greater, so all areas are equally "sharp". Take a 100% crop of an f/16 shot and compare it to the same crop of an f/5.6 or an f/8 and you will see quite a difference.

Check out for great info on lenses, and you can see your own lens's best apertures, and how they fall off.

For landscape, you want depth of field so the advice abve to focus 1/3 in at f/16 is good, - if you use your lens sarpest setitng you will have a shallow sharp area and a large out of focus area.

For indformation on deptth of flield for your camera and lens, see

Hope all this is helpful, - check out the links and start snapping.



dianah 10 24.5k 4 United Kingdom
23 Sep 2008 10:23PM
Hi there Lou,
Pamela asked me to have a look as I have a D 50 as well. I tend to use my newer lens which which is 28-105mm but I do have the 18-55mm as well for distance shots...landscapes etc.
I am really not very technical and think that Phil has answered your question better than I could . Your composition is lovely but there are areas that almost look slightly pixelated. I know this is probably a very silly question but is your camera set on the finest setting?
Certainly a tripod should help but I know what you mean about carrying them around..I very rarely take mine out !
Pamela's mod has improved the focus so if all else fails selective sharpening works well.
I am sorry not to be more help..I need loads of practise on settings.
Best Wishes Di
Lou_C 9 755 2 England
23 Sep 2008 10:32PM
Thank you Willie and Diana. I'll take a look at those websites tomorrow, no good looking tonight lol my brain turns off this late Grin

I always have the camera set to raw Diana , so the pixelation (is that a word lol) might be from saving it.

Lots of great advice tonight, I cant thank everyone enough Smile
Cole 12 53 16 England
24 Sep 2008 9:18AM
Looking at the shot it has a nice variety of shades and colours but the path spoils it for me, its a little too central and it could be used to better effect as a leading line, but it would need to lead to something of interest. use a prop, partner, child or a dog even.

reference sharpness, are you familiar with hyperfocal distance?
dont want to teach you something you already know but just in case;
"... the hyperfocal distance setting ... is simply a fancy term that means the distance setting at any aperture that produces the greatest depth of field."

How to Use Your Camera, New York Institute of Photography, 2000.
Now if you google this tem you will come up with all sorts of in depth complicated tables and charts, however I was taught a simpler method.

1. Compose your shot and focus your lens on infinity.

2. Look through your viewfinder (using DoF preview if you have it) and identify the sharpest part of the image.

3. refocus your lens on that point and you should be focused on the hyperfocal distance.

Hope that helps

Lou_C 9 755 2 England
24 Sep 2008 10:16AM
Thanks Andy I'll do a search on that, I dont have a dof preview, but hopefully I'll be able to work around that Smile

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