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Old Nov 21, 2002, 1:56 PM   #1
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Default How do you get sharp focussing on D7HI

I recently bought a D7hi and am having problems with out of focus pictures. Is there something that I have to do to make the pictures sharp? I mainly use this to take family photos especially my daughter usually in doors and sometimes out doors. Another thing is that when I use the flash, it makes the photos very bright and artificial. However, not using the flash increases the hand shaking problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old Nov 21, 2002, 3:17 PM   #2
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It sounds to me like you have a slow shutter speed problem more than AF focusing (ie everything is blurry, instead of something else being is focus).

You can either use a more powerful external flash and bounce it of the ceiling for less harhness or turn on more lights to increase the shutter speed (or foldable reflector from window light), or use diffused tungsten/halogen light sources. Outside would be best with shutter speed above the inverse of the focal lenght.
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Old Nov 21, 2002, 4:25 PM   #3
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You have to set the flash EV. Try -0.7 and see how that does. This varies slightly by camera and use, so try different settings until it gives the results you like.
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Old Nov 21, 2002, 9:46 PM   #4
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The manual says that the built-in flash is designed for daylight conditions. Therefore the white balance will not be correct if using the flash indoors with artificial light. That would mean that even manual white balancing will not give you the right result.

That's my understanding. Altough its hard to believe that the flash is not designed for indoor use. What about the external flashes, are they any better?
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Old Nov 21, 2002, 10:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: How do you get sharp focussing on D7HI

Quote:
Originally Posted by snsaw
I recently bought a D7hi and am having problems with out of focus pictures. Is there something that I have to do to make the pictures sharp? I mainly use this to take family photos especially my daughter usually in doors and sometimes out doors.
Welcome to the wonderful world of the Minolta 7, a world filled with focus problems. I love my 7i, but hate the focus problem, especially compared to my Nikon N90. Here are some practical suggestions:

1. You will find fewer focus problems with more light (i.e. outdoors during the day) and with greater subject contrast . It seems almost impossible for the camera to focus properly in a low light situation with a low contrast subject like a face. Indoors, adding lighting aimed at the subject from a 45 to 60 degree angle to the side of the camera, seems to help by increasing the contrast. The added light also helps.

2. DON'T TRUST THE LITTLE RED RECTANGLE. It pops up when ever the camera thinks it is focus, even when it isn't. Use direct manual focus mode and your eye. If the picture doesn't look sharp when the red rectangle pops up, then it isn't! (This assumes you have adjusted the viewfinder diopter setting correctly.) Always press the shutter button half way, wait for the red rectangle, then look at the picture. If it isn't sharp, release the button and try again. If it looks like the focus is close (i.e. the bush just behind the main subject but not the subject its self) then use manual focus to fine tune the focus. Sometimes I change the view to exclude a subject that the camera insists on focusing on in order to get it to refocus correctly, then while holding down the shutter button half way I recompose the picture (I usually use both shutter and focus lock settings). With still subjects and lots of time you can use the digital zoom button to help with the manual focus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snsaw
Another thing is that when I use the flash, it makes the photos very bright and artificial. However, not using the flash increases the hand shaking problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
First off, flash pictures always tend to look very "hard", with bright areas and very dark shadows because of the very directional nature of flash lighting. Natural lighting is usually more diffused and the images usually look "softer". A digital camera also sets the exposure to obtain a full range of light levels. This means that if your daughter's face is the lightest object in the picture it will come out looking overexposed. Try taking pictures of her with, and without, a sheet of white paper close to her face and see if there isn't a difference.

If also sounds like you may not have the flash exposure setting correct. Check to be sure that you are in fill-flash mode then check to see what method of flash exposure is being used. I have found, with normal subjects, I get better results using Pre-flash TTL mode rather than ADI flash metering. The former actually measures the amount of light reflected by the subject from the flash, calculates the exposure, then makes the exposure all in a single extended flash (the time required is so short that you won't even notice it). The latter calculates the correct exposure based on the focus distance and can be off, especially if the focus is off. Note that with subjects that don't have a full range of light values the ADI mode may work better.

If you use automatic white balance the camera is pretty good at balancing any lighting situation, even if you are using a combination of light sources such as fluorescent overhead lights plus the flash, but occasionally it will fail. If this happens, you will have to use computer processing in a program like Photoshop to correct the white balance. There are some excellent add-ons for Photoshop that do this very well. I like the white balance and white point digital imaging tools from "the imagingfactory".

I hope some of these suggestions help. When the camera works, it is great. When the focus doesn't work, it stinks. Just remember to check the focus visually and you should see a dramatic improvement.
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Old Nov 22, 2002, 9:33 AM   #6
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Wow, that's a lot of great information. I have tried the ev at -0.7. I think it is much better than before. I also am trying out the manual focus after using autofocus that surely helped but I am having problems with the diopter adjustments it's either the evf or my eyes it's just not very clear even when the subject is in focus.

Thanks again.
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Old Nov 22, 2002, 11:29 AM   #7
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Well, the EVF just isn't nearly as sharp a focussing aid as a ground glass screen in an SLR, but if you use manual focus you can engage the magnification button, and that helps a lot. I have had a lot of problems with autofocus and my 7i. After a lot of posts and responses on this and another forum it seems that a very few 7xx units may actually have a problem that involves the lens. The vast majority of users find autofocus satisfactory. One thing that has helped me a lot is to use spot mode rather than the wide area rectangle. For an interesting piece on why autofocus in general is problematic check out the link to this site. Even though the discussion is about film SLRs and they use a different system, probably a lot of the issues hold true.

http://people.smu.edu/rmonagha/third/af.html
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