Handholding problems (pic added)

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To me it just looks very soft or noisy. I'm not expecting to shoot like a pro.... at least not yet..... ROFLMAO I figure I'll give it about another month or two before that.....
Again, it could be the lens. Your version is not the macro version, right? Looking at the test charts from Photozone, it isn't exactly the best of the best for sharpness at 200mm f/2.8. The link goes to a Canon-mounted version, but it probably won't be much different than the Nikon.
 
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Hi Joe

Its a lot harder to get a pin sharp photograph with a sports shot as its all happening too fast. 1/800 is a fast enough but you are using the lenses at its widest aperture - f2.8 so depth of field is going to be very limited. Its hard to tell on screen but it looks as though the player's hand is pin sharp and his head is quite a way behind that.

With sport photography a monopod is ideal. Make sure you keep your body relaxed, knees/elbows slightly bent otherwise you can cause shake yourself. Follow the action and try to make sure the subject fills as much of the frame as you can to help the focus. Do Nikons have a form of follow focus system?

stew
 
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Hi Joe

Its a lot harder to get a pin sharp photograph with a sports shot as its all happening too fast. 1/800 is a fast enough but you are using the lenses at its widest aperture - f2.8 so depth of field is going to be very limited. Its hard to tell on screen but it looks as though the player's hand is pin sharp and his head is quite a way behind that.

With sport photography a monopod is ideal. Make sure you keep your body relaxed, knees/elbows slightly bent otherwise you can cause shake yourself. Follow the action and try to make sure the subject fills as much of the frame as you can to help the focus. Do Nikons have a form of follow focus system?

stew
Thanx for the tip Stew. I think the AF-C on nikons is what you mean by form of follow focus sytem. The AF-C is continous focus.
 
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Hi Joe

Its a lot harder to get a pin sharp photograph with a sports shot as its all happening too fast. 1/800 is a fast enough but you are using the lenses at its widest aperture - f2.8 so depth of field is going to be very limited. Its hard to tell on screen but it looks as though the player's hand is pin sharp and his head is quite a way behind that.
If the lens is focusing correctly, DOF shouldn't be an issue in that shot. At 160mm, with a full body shot of his son, he must have been standing quite a distance away. The DOF even at f/2.8 should be at least one or two feet. (And I assume Joe probably focused on his son's body).
 
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Again, it could be the lens. Your version is not the macro version, right? Looking at the test charts from Photozone, it isn't exactly the best of the best for sharpness at 200mm f/2.8. The link goes to a Canon-mounted version, but it probably won't be much different than the Nikon.
Yes Jerry is the nw Macro II.
 
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I WAS trying to focus on his face. That's what I've been reading is the part you want to focus on for sports.
 
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Oops, my mistake. Make sure there's no focusing issues. I did a little bit of research on that lens and I've heard some people having major focusing issues with it.
If you have a look at my smugmug page you'll see all the shots from the parade and the soccer shots were all take with this lens.
 
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Yes. Focusing sometimes is more important, especially at 2.8 and in sports. I don't know if the D80 allows it but if you can, set release priority to Release, so the camera only fires when it's IN FOCUS. Not very practical in a game situation...but if you just have your son run around in the backyard a bit, and test this out. Of course at 1/200, set your shutter to 1/400 or so, auto ISO, try apertures from 2.8-5.6. See if you get any sharper shots than you have before.
 
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I think the only setting to get focus priority is by using AF-S.
 
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I agree with Gordon here. If you're shooting at 1/800 @200 mm, your picture is going to be sharp, unless your lens is not focussing correctly (front/back focus at sigma lenses? It has happened before...)

Shoot a large brick wall at a 45 degree angle. Drop your camerabag somewhere along it and focus on it. Then see if you can see any sharpness somewhere - around the bag, before it, after it?

It might simply be a matter of PP'ing. But if not, and there is any real softness is in the picture, I'd be highly surprised if that is caused by handshake. If it is, at 1/800, I'd like to know the brand of coffee that you're drinking because it is pretty potent stuff then...
 
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Hi J

Af-s possibly is but if its like the Canon then it will only take the pic if it is pin sharp. Can you imagine the little lad scoring the winning goal and every one saying "Did ya get it Joe" and you didn't because it was not quite sharp.

The montage is very low quality as it is part of the header for my website. They were taken on a Canon 70-210 f2.8 lens - $4000 worth over here but what a fantastic lens, no better than the Nikon I hasten to add lol.

stew

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I have not seen your hand-holding technique described in the thread. One poster noted that you want to shoot "like a rifle", great advice. What is the position of your left hand? Under the lens, on the side or on the top? I often watch people who are having "out of focus" issues, and many times they are focusing, zooming with a hand on top of the lens, no support underneath. If you do have your hand underneath, where is your left elbow? Is it tucked into your side for good support? I like to think of this as "you" being the tripod when you hand hold. Which brings up your feet. Are you balanced and stable? I shoot a lot of youth sports, both handheld and off a monopod, and one thing that is essential to sharpness is to pan smoothly with the action, which requires that you are balanced and stable. I have gotten some of my absolutely best out-of-focus shots by NOT following my own advice above :redface::redface::eek:

The last thing, practice, a lot.
 
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I keep my left hand under the lens. Cradling it. I try to keep my left elbow tucked in to my body. For some reason no matter WHAT lens I have on the camera I get some severe hand shake. I don't know why. I had this issue since I've been into photography seriously. That's just under a year now.

I don't think it's from the coffee. I drink 1 cup aday, and not all the time.
 
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To me it just looks very soft or noisy. I'm not expecting to shoot like a pro.... at least not yet..... ROFLMAO I figure I'll give it about another month or two before that.....

Now looking back at my shots from last night, and last week I see last night I was shooting wide open , and last week with better results I had it stopped down.
I was thinking about that. I usually get better results stopped down a bit. I think wide apertures can contribute to blur, right?
 
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As was mentioned above, there is an old rule for 35mm type focal length that you need to be at the same shutter speed as your focal length (so for 160mm you need to be at a minimum of 1/160 sec) to take a photo and reduce camera shake.

However with the advent of DX focal length you have to correct even more so a minimum rule would be 1.5 times the apparent focal length. So for 160 mm you need to be at a minimum of 1/240th sec.

Now, these are for subjects that are standing perfectly still. If your subjects are moving, you need to account for both their movement and your shake. By the way, VR should not be a factor in your shots. Yes, it can help if you are tracking..but it should have minor affect.

Again, going back to traditional 35mm, it was assumed that for most sports activities you could use something around 1/500th and stop all motion. But that was when lenses weren't so long and certainly it does not consider the DX format.

Bottom line, I would suggest a couple of minor changes that should really help your sports sharpness.

1. Shoot at a minimum of 400 ISO - You can probably easily go to 800, if necessary. Experiment. Yes, you'll get a little more noise, but if exposed properly it should not be an issue.

2. Close down your f-stop, at least to f/4 with your 70-200. You need to get closer to the sweet spot, which is probably f/8. This will improve your sharpness. Open up to f/2.8 for isolated focus on shots that aren't moving so fast.

3. Keep your shutter speed between 1000-2000 where possible. Also, note that movement toward you will be less apparent than movement at a 90 degree angle.

4. Your photo is somewhat overexposed. Overexposure reduces contrast. Contrast is important for sharpness (In many ways, it is how sharpness is defined). Try going to a minus EV under the shooting conditions you were in. I would expect you need to be at EV -.7.

5. Also, a couple of questions for you. Are you shooting Jpeg or NEF? What are you using for your post-processing? - There are some tips that can help depending on your answer.

These are some basics that should help.

Regards,

Paul

Below is an example taken with the D3, Nikkor 70-200 AFS VR, f/5.6 and 1/1250, EV -.3, FL = 190mm (35mm equiv)

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Ok I got a Sigma 70-200mm lens a couple of weeks ago. I starting to see from looking through my shots that my hand holding SUX!!! Up to about 105mm, my shots shots are sharp. anything over that, no matter the SS my shots are HORRIBLY blurry.

If i was using a VR would that help? From I remember someone saying, they told me at fast SS's the VR would not be a factor. Is this true? How can I get this better? Even if I use a monopod it's the same thing.

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1/800
F/2.8
ISO200
Focal lenght 160mm
 
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Paul thanx for those tip!!! I'm shooting RAW. And I have CS3, but know VERY lil about it and PP.
Thanx
 
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I didn't get good results when I switched to Sports mode yesterday either. I KNOW it's something I'm doing wrong.
 
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I notice all the shots you have posted are shot at f2.8.
My Sig 70-200 is a bit soft at f2.8 and longer focal lengths. Try stopping down to f3.5 or f4.0.
 
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I notice all the shots you have posted are shot at f2.8.
My Sig 70-200 is a bit soft at f2.8 and longer focal lengths. Try stopping down to f3.5 or f4.0.
I'd agree with that . Something to add though , I also have a D80 and was having issues even with my new 70-200Vr nikon lens focussing at longer distances at F2.8 . I eventually sent the body and lens in for a warranty check and they "callibrated the sensor" and did " computer checks " .
It is still not 100% at longer distances , no problems closer up but as it approaches infinity I am not too happy with the results .
F2.8 isn't much depth of field and judging by the grass that's in focus there doesn't seem to be a callibration issue but I would suggest following that advice about doing a dof/focus check at an angle to a wall to make sure .
When the mirror flips up the sensor has to be exactly the same distance from the lens as the focussing screen was , especially at F2.8 , or the focus point is in the wrong place .
 

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