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Old Oct 1, 2010, 3:40 PM   #1
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Default Long Shots are not clear

I've been noticing this for a while that the long shots i take on my Sony a550 with the kit 75300 zoom are not clear. I know it's not a great lens but am I getting the most out of it or should it be better? Here's a 100% crop from a picture I posted in another thread
Unionville Too Good Pond

I'm not happy. Perhaps the shutter speed was a little low? Perhaps I missed the focus point by a little? Perhaps what? Do I need to buy the G lens? I don't take many long shots. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 4:10 PM   #2
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Since the EXIF data shows a 1/500 sec with a 300mm lens, the shutter speed seems fine to me. f/6.5 also seems to be an aperture where you should be getting good DOF, so my guess is on of two things.

You either have a lens not capable of high IQ, or you didn't hold the camera steady, which will both cause a soft image. I did read a couple of reviews on the lens and it seems to be fairly soft at the edges, but reasonably sharp in the center of the image at 300mm.

Tom

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Old Oct 1, 2010, 6:46 PM   #3
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The 75-300 is not a really good lens, I would see if it gets sharper stopping down to f8-10. But you have IS so that will let you shoot with a bit slower shutter speed on the long end hand held with the slow shutter speed.
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 7:02 PM   #4
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I'll stop down a bit more and I'll do a small comparison between me hand-holding and my tripod doing it's job. I'm hopeful it's just me.
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 7:13 PM   #5
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also go with single point AF. It will help for more accurate focus
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Old Oct 3, 2010, 2:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
also go with single point AF. It will help for more accurate focus
I think shoturtle hit the right answer. I do a lot of bird photos, and your example was definitely soft. I blew up you example shot above about to 400%, and there is no camera shake, it just seems to just be soft and out of focus. Then I followed your link to our original post and looked at the whole photo. That bird is facing away from you, and look at his wings that are closer to your camera, and the wings are in better focus than the head of the bird. It appears that your camera was focusing on the wings and you wanted it to focus on the head. Always use single point focus, and it should improve your results.

Here is an example of what you should get when you us single point focus aimed at the head of the bird. Shot with an Olympus E-520:
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Old Oct 3, 2010, 5:31 PM   #7
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I always use spot focus so I believe I was then too. But I mighta froze focus on the wrong spot! That seems likely as getting the head would have been difficult. I probably just picked his body. And at that focal length, dof is small. I almost never do birds but it was just sitting there. More practice is required. (i'll still do my little lens test). Thanks for the ideas.
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Old Oct 3, 2010, 8:10 PM   #8
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If you're going to use that lens past 200mm, I'd stop down the aperture to f/8 or so. That lens going to be soft at f/5.6 to f/6.3 if you try to zoom into 300mm with it.

Click on the blur index in it's review here:

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/986/cat/83

Then, move the focal length slider to 300mm and you'll see what I mean. But, if you move the aperture slider to f/8 to f/11, it gets a lot better.
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Old Oct 4, 2010, 1:16 PM   #9
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As has been indicated, the DOF at longer FLs is very shallow, and you should "spot focus" on the head at all times, as a sharp eye can save an otherwise OOF image. You could also have a cheap or dirty (or both) filter on the lens - that could add softness to an image as well.
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Old Oct 4, 2010, 4:52 PM   #10
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I have read these suggestions and I am checking a few things. Running little "tests" to figure out what's wrong. The blur stuff wasn't new to me but I hadn't looked at it too closely before. Hey! Big diff between f6.3 and f11! Very Big!
thanks.
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