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Old Nov 20, 2006, 10:51 PM   #1
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The first refurbished D50 I got from Cameta had a defective flash so they replaced it the same day. The second one had 800 actuations but was working fine as far as I know.

I have taken a lot of pictures with it already since I got it a few weeks ago but there is this lingering doubt in my mind that there is something wrong with what I got.

I have three lenses now, the kit 18-55mm, Tamron 70-300mm and a 50mm f1.8 which I bought yesterday.

The photos are all soft as shown below. I was hoping the 50mm prime would be sharper but I'm just not satisfied.

These were taken as RAW then converted with Adobe software. No modifications were done but resized to about 800 pixels, 72dpi.

The mouse was focused dead-on but still came out unfocused. IT WAS MOUNTED ON A TRIPOD.

Please let me know if I should return the unit or if that is normal which I would accept.

Click on thumbnails...











Thanks for all the help.
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Old Nov 20, 2006, 11:01 PM   #2
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Hi PSilver,

Is there a local camera shop you can take the D50 to? Have the folks there put it through the paces to see what they think also.

I have a D50 also & have noticed a fair amount of softness in lower-light situations, but not as soft as the sample images you provided.

Does the camera come with a warranty of any kind?

Good Luck!
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Old Nov 20, 2006, 11:06 PM   #3
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I don't want to pay anybody else to look at it. I guess I will go back to Cameta tomorrow to have it tested. It does come with a 90-day warranty but I don't want to use the warranty just yet. To make it worse, I'll go to California this weekend and I won't know when I will be back.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old Nov 20, 2006, 11:42 PM   #4
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Check the used merchandise warranty again - looks like it's a 6-month policy:

http://www.cameta.com/used_inventory1.html


I'd bring it back & have a Senior member of the staff test it out - not some new guy/gal.

Best bet is to take it back before you go to CA - You never know, Cameta may try to say the damage happened during your trip, on the plane, got bumped in security, etc.
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Old Nov 21, 2006, 1:36 AM   #5
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I'm trying everything out tonight like making a major reset. So far it didn't improve.

I might be paranoid as well since I got a refurbished unit. I feel I'm oversharpening all the pictures too much which I'm not supposed to normally do... or do I?

I'll probably still pay Cameta a visit tomorrow and see what they say. Viewing through the LCD is okay since it's small but when viewing it 100% on a monitor, the softness is very significant. I'm not sure if that's normal.

Here are my photos... http://www.flickr.com/photos/psilver/


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Old Nov 21, 2006, 2:15 PM   #6
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Have you tried taking photos of similar/same subjects in similar/same light with manual focus? Might help you determine if the issue is with the autofocus system. If you shoot with the lens set to manual, but the switch on the body set to af, the camera will indicate when you've acheived focus on the subject. Just a thought.

Also, those shots you posted were taken indoors and without a flash I presume? Check your shooting info to see if you were shooting at ISO 1600. They almost look like a few I took about a week ago at ISO 1600 in nearly full darkness, though mine were not tripod mounted.

dp
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Old Nov 21, 2006, 4:31 PM   #7
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I don't see anything wrong the images. :-)

The only out of focus shot mouse I see is the last shot, where it looked like a focus point locked on the closer subject instead. But, the rest look as expected to me.

You're going to have extremely shallow depth of field focusing that close to smaller subjects at wide open apertures (those were taken at f/2.2).

That's why you have to be very careful focusing on the closest eye if you're going to do a head shot with a lens like that shooting at wider apertures (because that's about all that will be sharp focusing as close as you appear to be focusing at f/2.2 with a 50mm). ;-)

See this depth of field calculator and plugin your camera model, 50mm, f/2.2, and pick a close focus distance like 24 inches and see what you get for depth of field. It will only be about 1/2 inch total (.24 inch in front and .24 inch behind focus point).

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

I see a focus point in all of these photos that looks reasonable to my eyes. Even the first photo looks like the front edge closest to the camera was locked on.

If you want more of the subject in focus try to fill that much of the frame with a smaller subject, stop down your aperture some (use a smaller aperture, represented by a higher f/stop number).

Most lenses are not as sharp at wider apertures anyway (most are sharpest about 2 or 3 stops down from wide open). So, in addition to a very shallow depth of field, you'll have softer photos from shooting at f/2.2 anyway. Here's an MTF chart for the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

http://old.photodo.com/prod/lens/det...0_18-444.shtml

Also, at shutter speeds at around 1/4 to 1/10 second where you were shooting at, even if you used a self timer or remote release, you'd lose a tad bit of sharpness from mirror slap without mirror lockup anyway.

In addition, if you converted from raw, little sharpening would have been applied compared to the camera's sharpening algorithms. So, a little USM may be needed to bring out a photo's best.

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Old Nov 21, 2006, 5:02 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your help. It turns out, it was a simple newbie error in my part. I forgot all about the ISO.

The photos I posted was just to give an example but what really mattered was whenever I do a portrait on low light both indoors and outdoors. I can't seem to get a decent shot regardless of the aperture.

I've seen people take party shots only with available light and they came out pretty decent and I was in Times Square taking photos of different street scenes but almost everything came out unacceptable.

Then I read about ISO late last night and realized I was on 200 all the time! Even at 400, there was a big improvement. The shutter speed was faster and portraits came out as I expected them to be.

I got frustrated with ISO once when I left it at 1600 during a friend's visit and forgot to put it back to 200 the whole day. All the photos turned out so grainy, I spent the whole next day taking out the noise. So I never fully understood the importance of ISO until today.

I also have to learn more about aperture and shutter speed. I know the basics but was lazy to really know them in detail. I spent too much time with composition.

Thank you for the links!

Live and learn!
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