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Old Mar 20, 2008, 12:06 PM   #1
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probally another dumb ? but, whyare my pics not in focus when i try to get a lcose up of something? is it something im doing???? the lens is the one that come with it. (18mm) please help. i know im going to want close ups at easter!
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Old Mar 20, 2008, 12:50 PM   #2
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More information would help, camera and if a DSLR the exact model of lens.

Most likely you're just getting closer to the subject than the minimum focussing distance for the lens.

If it's a compact do you need to set the camera to macro mode?
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Old Mar 20, 2008, 1:23 PM   #3
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thanks. it is a nikon d40 the lens is nikon 18-55mm. i get better photos close up with my digital that isnt a dslr. thanks for your time
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Old Mar 20, 2008, 1:51 PM   #4
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how closer are you to the subject? Try to be very specific. As mentioned, lenses have a minimum focus distance - i.e. your subject must be at least that far away. If you get inside that distance the camera cannot focus.
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Old Mar 20, 2008, 2:06 PM   #5
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Another thing it could be is a common problem with dSLR's over P&S cameras. As you have a larger sensor you will find that the amount that is in focus is a very narrow plane (won't go into details as to why this happens for now) but with the P&S a much wider area is in focus. As an example at 55mm and f5.6 shooting at a distance of 1.5' you have 0.05" both in front and behind that is going to be in focus. If you have the same situation using a Canon A570 (just picked as a random P&S) to have the same framing (field of view) then the lens is only 9.1mm so the amount in focus is huge. With this setup you will have just over 6" in front that is in focus and over 2' behind so that is a very different feeling shot.

As John says please give us some specifics and if possible some examples so we can help out.
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Old Mar 20, 2008, 2:38 PM   #6
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okay, for example id do lifecasting (molds) of babies hands. i was trying to get a good close up pic and i had to get about 2 ft away for it to focus and at that point it is too far away to get the details i need. and this afternoon i was about 4 ft. from my sons and needed or should i say wanted a good close up of their faces and it just wouldnt allow. does that help with my ?
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Old Mar 20, 2008, 3:13 PM   #7
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If you're not getting as much detail as you want at the closest focus the lens allows (0.28m or 0.9 feet with your 18-55mm), and depth of field isn't the issue (use a smaller aperture, represented by a higher f/stop number to get more of an image in focus), get a lens with better macro ability. Your lens allows you to fill the frame with a subject 3.2 times the size of the camera's sensor. It's a 1:3.2 lens.

A 1:1 Macro Lens will allow you to fill the frame with an object the size of the film or sensor. A longer focal lens is often preferred to a shorter one (so that you are not in the way of lighting that could cast shadows).

You'll find that zoom lenses you look at with Macro in their description are not 1:1 Macro lenses. Most are 1:4 (you can fill the frame with a subject 4 times the size of the film or sensor). Some are as good as 1:2 (where you can fill the frame with a subject twice as large as your camera's sensor). But, a dedicated 1:1 macro lens allows for smaller subjects, and lets you fill the frame with a subject the same size as your camera's sensor. Look for a Maximum Magnification parameter in lens specs to see they compare.

I'd look at lenses like the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AF-S VR Micro for more capable choices for smaller subjects compared to your kit lens.


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Old Mar 20, 2008, 3:27 PM   #8
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I'd make sure your issue isn't softness due to blur from camera shake, too (using shutter speeds too slow for the lighting conditons, ISO speed and aperture settings without a tripod).

Indoor lighting is much dimmer to a camera than the human eye thinks it is, and if you use a smaller aperture (represented by a higher f/stop number) for more depth of field, you'd best be using a tripod with good lighting (especially with the kit lenses, which are too dim for most indoor use without a tripod or flash, unless you want blurry photos).

My suggestion would be to post a sample image showing the problems you're having. See Steve's How to post your photos

Then, forum members could make better suggestions on how to correct your issues.

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Old Mar 20, 2008, 3:30 PM   #9
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okay, i feel like a total idiot!!!! sorry! i was fooling with the camera some more and sent to seetings and there the problem was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it was set on manual! so sorry! im new at this. but, your advice on lens helped me to understand more!!
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Old Mar 20, 2008, 4:19 PM   #10
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I noticed the Nikon part earlier. But, I just noticed that you're shooting with a D40 (which doesn't have a focus motor built in). So, you'd need to use manual focus with some lenses on your camera.

If you want Autofocus, your choices are going to be limited in Macro lenses if you need one, since some of the popular 1:1 Macro lens choices like the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro and Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro don't have focus motors built in (and you'll need lenses with built in motors to get Autofocus with a D40, D40x or D60).

But, many users like to use Manual Focus for close ups anyway, and it sounds like your issue is probably not related to the maximum magnification the lens is capable of.

Edit: Nikkor makes a 105mm f/2.8 AF-S VR Micro lens that works on your model. I changed my previous post to include it.
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