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  • Soft pictures + equipment

    I would like to pose a question.

    Some of my pictures that I shoot tend to come out a little soft. Well most do (I will post some examples).

    I'm shooting with a D40, 55-200 lens. This is a standard $250 lens from Nikon. In your opinion do you think my pictures would come out better if I had a lens with better glass and more technology (Vibration Reduction). I am thinking about getting the 70-300 VRII from Nikon in replacement of the 55-200.
    The softness of my pictures is frustrating when trying to get them approved here and I'm looking for a solution. This only seems to happen when filming airplanes as I have examples from still photography with the 200 and the pictures are very sharp.

    I'm usually shooting:
    Aperture Mode f8
    Shutter is directed by the metering.
    ISO 200
    White balance set to conditions
    Continuous servo auto-focus
    Quality Fine (highest) before RAW
    Picture Size Medium
    Center focal focus point

    Any help would be great.

    Cam
    My Flickr Pictures! Click Me!

  • #2
    Although it is good to keep the lens up around f8, using this as a hard and fast setting, and letting it set the shutter speed is probably not the best.

    Try using a fixed shutter speed, and be aware of what the f-stop is doing, and if your camera is indicating under exposure. This way you can keep the shutter speed up, helpful when your fully zoomed out at 200mm.

    A VR lens will help you, but do you need the extra expense when a change in technique might work. Having said that though, the VR lens can extend the situations where you can get usable results. e.g. low light, morning or evening shots.

    Just experiment with the settings, this is all part of owning a DSLR. It usually takes a while to find the best ones that work for you and your style of shooting.

    Hope this helps
    Steve Brown

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cam
      I'm usually shooting:
      Aperture Mode f8
      Shutter is directed by the metering.
      ISO 200
      White balance set to conditions
      Continuous servo auto-focus
      Quality Fine (highest) before RAW
      Picture Size Medium
      Center focal focus pointCam
      Cam
      I would start by changing that setting to large and use the cameras full potential.
      My contribution to JetPhotos

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      • #4
        can we see an example? "Soft" can be blurry, out of focus (wrong focus point?) or indeed soft.

        Gerardo
        My photos on Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/geridominguez

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        • #5
          Considering the F8 Aperature I would fear many shots re blurry not soft.

          Furthermore you should use the maximum photo size.

          However the 70-300 AF-S VR is a really good lense at its price point. A little soft at 5.6 but even those can be uploaded here aftera bit of editing. Most of my recent shots were made with this lense.
          My photo editing guide - updated and improved Feb. 2010
          My Nikon D100,D200,D300, D800, D7200 basic spotting settings guide
          ACIG - the best resource for military aviation information

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          • #6
            Here is an example: [img=http://img110.imageshack.us/img110/69/dsc0043qx7.jpg]
            My Flickr Pictures! Click Me!

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            • #7
              Doesn't look bad at all if you ask me, especially considering the time of day and the angle (almost into the sun, causing exposure problems from the reflection). An aircraft shot at long range under a high sun will never look as sharp as a static object at close range. Leaving the overexposure aside, if you had shot that photo at full size I dare say it would be uploadable with editing.


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              • #8
                In addition to Charles' explanations: to get some decent out of that shot, you have to crop a lot into the photo. At this small photo size, the quality will be even worse. One reason more to shoot at the highest possible file size and quality settings.
                My photos on Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/geridominguez

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all your suggestions. I will take them out into the field next time I'm spotting.

                  -Cam
                  My Flickr Pictures! Click Me!

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