UPDATED: Need some guidance - why so soft? -- Much better!!!

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I was really upset when I went through my photos last night, I'm starting to feel like I couldn't shoot an eye chart clearly if my camera were spot-welded to a pole 20ft out. :frown:

I'd like some suggestions on why these pictures seem so soft in terms of Emilie's face. They were hand-held, as we were at a sheep shearing festival. Is the problem that her face is in shadow? Does this make a person's face inherantly unsharp (when underlit) ? Or is it that I was shooting at max aperature? I wanted good back-ground blur, thus the f/2.8.

I had limited space to shoot from, b/c of the crowd and tried to make the best. I'm also surprised George's shirt did not act as more of a reflector in the first picture (I know it's horribly blown out, but I love the shot of Em applauding the goats (dunno why, but they received joyous applause!)).

I'm taking a friend out shooting tomorrow at another farm where kids can meet animals. I'm hoping that I can improve upon these shots, at least with regards to sharpness. Any suggestions for future improvement are greatly appreciated!!! I did significant post-processing sharpening (shot RAW).

For the focusing, I used the round button to select a focus spot that was on her eye (thus, no focus/re-compose).

D200 with 80-200 AFS, 1/2000sec, f/2.8, ISO 100, 145mm
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


D200 + Beast, 1/1500sec, f/2.8, ISO 100, 56mm
View attachment 93141
 
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Hmmm.....as I look at this second photo more, and specifically the rail above her head, it looks like the focus point was the rope, not Emilie.

Is there a way (once the pics are out of the camera) to see what the focus point was (ie those light-up-red boxes)?
 
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I think you are just seeing a little bit of softness because of the aperture.
I didn't even think of that last night (or obviously while shooting). I can't tell you how discouraged I was, I really thought I had some decent shots. Sigh....

Hopefully tomorrow will be sunny and I can get some more shots to work on technique.

If the light will support it, would you suggest f/5.6?
 
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Well, the 28-70 I had was amazing from about f/4 up to f/10 or so. I would image the same would go for the 80-200.

I wouldn't say these aren't nice shots though. I like them!
 
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Gretchen :


If you shot NEF (and it seems that you did from your description), go into Nikon Capture, and then Image\Show Focus Area. I can't do this with the JPEG you posted, but you may find that your focus reticule isn't where you thought it was. I've done this many times, and then sat wondering why the off-centre or off-reticule subject is OOF.

Alternately, at an f/2.8 aperture, even focusing and recomposing can shift the DOF a bit, sometimes more than a bit if you're relatively close to the subject. I don't think it could be as bad an issue at 145mm and some distance with the first shot, it might be an issue with the second, but it's definitely something to keep in mind when shooting with wide-open apertures at close ranges.

Shooting with a shallow DOF is most definitely an acquired skill, not to mention needing constant vigilance.



John P.
 
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Thank you John. :smile:

I don't have Capture, but will go download it, that would be valuable info to have in the future when trying to troubleshoot!
 
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Thank you John. :smile:

I don't have Capture, but will go download it, that would be valuable info to have in the future when trying to troubleshoot!
Gretchen :


Ah. No NC. Here's a link : Nikon Capture

I find NC pretty invaluable for my initial processing, as well as diagnosing a myriad number of screw-ups that I commit.



John P.
 
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Gretchen : . . . . . .

If you shot NEF (and it seems that you did from your description), go into Nikon Capture, and then Image\Show Focus Area. I can't do this with the JPEG you posted, but you may find that your focus reticule isn't where you thought it was. I've done this many times, and then sat wondering why the off-centre or off-reticule subject is OOF.

John P.
Gretchen,.

If you put the CF card back into the camera you can use the rear LCD to show which focus area was active. You may have to change the Display Mode in the Display Menu to activate the focus area option if you don't already have that option selected.
 
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How much is capture? I don't see any pricing.
You know what they say - if you have to ask... :rolleyes:

Just kidding! :biggrin:

Your shutter speed was way up there so I don't think you really needed that f/2.8 aperture. I think a little DOF, plus maybe even some fill flash (on the second shot) would have helped. Sometimes the camera isn't on the same page as we are when it comes to focus points so a little extra DOF (and fill light) can help.
 
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Gretchen,.

If you put the CF card back into the camera you can use the rear LCD to show which focus area was active. You may have to change the Display Mode in the Display Menu to activate the focus area option if you don't already have that option selected.
Gene :


Good idea ! I'd wondered about that as an option, but I'd thought she might have formatted/re-used the cards, though.

Your idea, however, saves download time, and perhaps money.:biggrin:



John P.
 
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John,

You were correct, I'd already formated the card. :redface:

Just got in from today's shooting, hopefully it went better. I worked at using f/4 and f/5.6. :smile:
 
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John,

You were correct, I'd already formated the card. :redface:

Just got in from today's shooting, hopefully it went better. I worked at using f/4 and f/5.6. :smile:
Gretchen :


Well, you seem like a well-disciplined and focused kind of person who'd clear the card right after verifying transfer. :wink:

Did you download NC and check the focus points in yesterday's shots ?

We'll look forward to the results from today, as well.



John P.
 
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No, haven't DL'd NC yet. We're house hunting and I'm working on saving (though I have a strange feeling that my 70-300 is leaving and VR replacement shall appear :tongue:). Hopefully in a few months when things are more settled, I'll pick it up. I do look at which box is red on the LCD screen as a double-check after I shoot, but would love to have that capability in the PP too! :smile:

I appreciate all the help, everyone here is just so nice!!!
 
Joined
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No, haven't DL'd NC yet. We're house hunting and I'm working on saving (though I have a strange feeling that my 70-300 is leaving and VR replacement shall appear :tongue:). Hopefully in a few months when things are more settled, I'll pick it up. I do look at which box is red on the LCD screen as a double-check after I shoot, but would love to have that capability in the PP too! :smile:

I appreciate all the help, everyone here is just so nice!!!
Gretchen :


Drop me a PM if you need it downloaded and I'll send it on a CD...



John P.
 
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If you still have the original file somewhere on your hard drive you can copy it back to the CF card and look at the focus sensor information in the camera. This probably isn't a viable solution if you have to do this very often but for occasional use it works well.
 

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