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Old Feb 7, 2010, 9:58 AM   #1
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Default Critiques appreciated :)

I recently 'redeemed' my mileage points for a Sony A300. I now have a new hobby, but I want to get better at it. So please take a look at this and let me know what I could of done better.

This was taken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium with the Sony 50mm f1.4 prime lens.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 10:56 AM   #2
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Well, it's soft. One would expect a certain degree of softness when you shoot through glass, but this is clearly not in focus. You also cut off the body of the top jellyfish. A shame, because it adds to the picture -

Saying all this, it has a pleasing effect, soothing...

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Old Feb 7, 2010, 11:21 AM   #3
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Shooting at the Monterey Aquarium is very difficult. This is actually not bad considering what you are dealing with - extreme conditions.

Even with a fast lens, you still end up using relatively slow shutter speeds. When I was there I ended up using an f2.8 lens, ISO 1600 and still had shutter speeds of 1/10-1/30 sec., showing some motion blur. I tried shooting with a fast 50, but mine is manual focus and it was too dark to see the focus.

I'm not familiar with Sony's 50 1.4 specifically, but any lens at that aperture/focal length is going to have a tiny dof, so it will be hard to get everything in focus. And most cameras will struggle with some of the jelly fish as some are so small and pale, there's not enough contrast for them to focus on. So if you use the lens wide open you'll be able to get as fast a shutter speed as you can, but your dof will be so small, you won't have all of one jelly fish in focus. If you stop down to something like f2.8, you might get most of the fish in focus but then you get some motion blur.

I'd love to go back to the aquarium and shoot with something wider than 50mm at least f2.8, to see if I could get a better dof with a faster shutter speed (I don't anything between 24-50 mm and the 24 mm lens I had with me was f4). Oh well - that's another thing on my shopping list...

P.S. holding the camera against the glass also helps you keep the camera steady when hand-holding at such slow shutter speeds. Anti-shake helps a great deal, but it doesn't work miracles.

Last edited by mtngal; Feb 7, 2010 at 11:45 AM.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 4:29 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the replies. It is helpful and you guys are completely right on everything. It is on the soft side. I didn't want to raise the ISO to 3200 or 1800 fearing the noise would ruin the shot but at the same time, I didn't want motion blur, so I opted to completely open the aperture to f1.4.

I think the prime lens that I had with me is a capable lens, I could of probably bumped up the ISO and taken another shot. I should try that next time and experiment with different settings and see the difference. I can always delete bad pictures but retaking the shots is not so easy
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