Technique Question Relative to D80...

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR' started by LG100, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. LG100

    LG100

    181
    Dec 28, 2007
    Texas, USA
    On a reasonably bright day, shooting at F8 and between 1/640 and 1/1000 of a second in manual mode, should I expect to be able to get a clear picture with shaky camera hands in addition to having to whip around fast to get "that shot"? I'm getting some good street/candids with this camera but, for every good one, there always seems to be about 50 that are blurry/unfocused/motion blur, etc, etc under these conditions...
     
  2. DJVCuda

    DJVCuda

    869
    Jun 13, 2008
    Atco, NJ
    what are you shooting?

    it could be your AF setting.
     
  3. jshurak

    jshurak

    39
    Aug 14, 2008
    Philadelphia
    sounds like a focus issue. Unless you're shooting with a 1000+ mm lens!
     
  4. LG100

    LG100

    181
    Dec 28, 2007
    Texas, USA
    I'm shooting in manual mode....but shouldn't F8 be fairly forgiving of hand focus? I'm going on the old photojournalist adage, "F8 and be there." with this....
     
  5. Are you shooting in AF-C by chance. Continuous autofocus may allow out of focus shots. Try AF-A instead.

    Does the camera have this problem with all you lenses? Maybe your lens is front or back focusing.
     
  6. LG100

    LG100

    181
    Dec 28, 2007
    Texas, USA
    It's happening with all my lenses (50 1.8, 18-55 kit, 55-200 VR). I'm shooting in manual rather than "AF" (assuming "AF" refers to "auto focus" but correct me if I'm wrong.....I've only been behind this type camera for a few months.).
     
  7. Are you saying you are shooting in manual focus at f8 and so assuming the depth of field and fast shutter speed will render everything in focus?

    How about posting some shots for us to see?
     
  8. LG100

    LG100

    181
    Dec 28, 2007
    Texas, USA
  9. LG100

    LG100

    181
    Dec 28, 2007
    Texas, USA


    Ooops.....I posted the pics in reply to this without addressing the first question.

    Yes, I'm shooting in manual at f8 and assuming the shutter speed/depth of field will render my main subjects within an area of sharp focus.
     
  10. well that's the problem right there.

    You should play around with the depth of field calculator at

    http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

    At 50 mm f/8 the hyperfocal distance is 51.4 feet, meaning that if you manually focus the lens to this distance, subjects from 25.7 ft (1/2 the hyperfocal distance) to infinity will be acceptably sharp but closer objects will be out of focus. If you manually focus to 10 feet, the depth of field extends only from 8.4 ft to 12.4 feet. Everything outside will be blurry.

    So--if you want to shoot without having to focus AT ALL, you need

    (1) smaller apertures, which has the drawbacks of slower shutter speed and/or higher ISO and makes it difficult/impossible to use selective focus/DOF to isolate your subject. This is a problem with street photography/candids where the backgrounds are often very cluttered and distracted unless you isolate the subject with wider apertures/shallower DOF

    (2) shoot at wide angles (e.g. 18mm on your 18-55mm lens) preset to the hyperfocal distance for that focal length (6.7 ft at 18mm).

    But as you can see there are big drawbacks to this approach.

    Good luck-
     
  11. LG100

    LG100

    181
    Dec 28, 2007
    Texas, USA
    Thanks very much for some good info!

    Just reading between the lines I'm realizing that, a great many of these shots I've been having trouble with are being taken from a moving vehicle. I've wanted to use manual focus only as a way to get the most intensive "self training" to get proficient at this but am beginning to wonder if autofocus from a moving vehicle is just about the only way to do it right with any degree of good success-to-failure rate. Would you say that's accurate or would it be worthwhile to practice practice practice on in manual focus?
     
  12. I think it just adds an unnecessasry complication . It is hard enough to get exposure right as it is so I would suggest using auto-focus until you have perfected exposure manually . Once you have achieved that then think about practicing manual focusing .
    I have just finished reading "Understanding exposure" which is an excellent book ..... have a look at it if you can .
     
  13. I agree with desmond -- learning how to expose 'correctly' for the subject at hand is much more important (and IMO interesting) than learning how to focus.

    I'm not sure I'll ever "perfect" the art of exposure, though!

    and why shooting from a moving vehicle? You are just making things harder for yourself. You really need time with a scene to learn how to capture it effectively. DSLR with LCD screens make it so much easier than it used to be when you had to wait to develop and print the film to see what you did right or wrong. Play around with composition, exposure, etc and learn what works and what does not work.

    I also highly recommend the book "Understanding Exposure."
     
  14. LG100

    LG100

    181
    Dec 28, 2007
    Texas, USA

    Rough neighborhoods! lol.
     
  15. SteveC

    SteveC

    38
    Jun 13, 2008
    UK
    The first, out of focus 'walking figure' photo was taken at 200mm, that's 0.1ft either side of the subject in focus, infinity starting around 970ft away! Not much chance of that happening to hit focus.

    Moving cars and spinning on the spot are the least of your concerns.

    I'd recommend you turn on AF-A, or get a good manual focus aide (split prism) and practice practice practice.
     
  16. johnmh

    johnmh

    771
    Nov 21, 2007
    Greater NYC
    You're shooting manually? Is the adjustment for the viewfinder correct for your vision? Took some effort to get this right on my cameras.

    Just a thought - because I find it hard enough to focus manually with these cameras. Am slightly nearsighted and could NOT manually focus with the standard D70 screen. Upgraded to a split screen (KatzEye) and got much better results.

    Also - the people at KatzEye noted that my MANUAL focus was a bit off - apparently not all that unusual since most people use autofocus, it's rarely noticed.
     
  17. Billy Ng

    Billy Ng

    722
    Jan 22, 2007
    Hartsdale, NY
    First photo ... out of focus and slightly motion blurred. The trees in the background are much more in focus than the cancer-patient is.

    Second photo, same thing. Look at the bench or the buildings on the left side, completely out of focus.

    This manual focus thing isn't working for you. Why both buying auto-focus lenses if you're not going to use them that way? Autofocus works - and it works well - use it.
     
  18. LG100

    LG100

    181
    Dec 28, 2007
    Texas, USA
    Thanks all for the replies!

    Will probably go back to shooting AF-A for awhile before investigating the split prism screen in earnest. My previous camera for many years was a Pentax ME which was a fairly early aperture preferred job so I'm thinking I'll feel more at home at that setting....
     
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