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Old Jan 17, 2009, 7:17 AM   #11
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Yes, thank you. I always seem to run into lighting issues. Unfortunately with the particular lens I have to manual focus since the AF isn't compatible with my D40 so I end up concentrating on getting a crazed toddler in focus without considering light.

I know I have heard the focal length/shutter speed rule but I apparently have not paid attention to it like I should have. So given the lenses that I primarily use (50 fixed and 55-200) the rule would mean I should never have a shutter speed lower than 1/50, correct?
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Old Jan 17, 2009, 9:27 AM   #12
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Yes, and no, and perhaps.

Camera shake varies from person to person (I'm not as steady as I once was). I always found, when shooting film, that the 1/focal length worked pretty well. When I switched to digital, I found that I didn't get as reliable results but don't know if that's because I'm not as steady or because of the crop factor, where you don't have as much in the viewfinder as will film (the 1.5 crop value). So now when I think about it, I try to keep my shutter speed (assuming a 50mm focal length) at 1/75 or 1/100 to be on the safe side - that's the no part of my answer. If I'm using something that's stabilized (with either in-camera or in-lens) I use the 1/focal length rule. I know people who have much better stances than I do and can use slower shutter speeds than I do all the time - that's the perhaps part of my answer.

I don't shoot Nikon - if your 55-200 lens stabilized? If so, then if you zoom in to 200mm, you'll need at least a shutter speed of 1/200 and 1/300 if it's not.

You've probably also run across another problem that I sometimes have - trying to have good shooting skills while moving fast and focusing. I find it difficult to hike (heart rate pounding and blood pressure up), then stop, stand perfectly still, manually focus, and shoot a picture. How those Olympic athletes who nordic ski and target shoot do it is beyond me! You'd find it easier if you were using a AF lens - it would take away one motion (turning the focus on the lens) and under your situation, it takes longer to focus manually (do you feel stressed that you'll miss the shot? That stress will make it harder to relax and be still enough for lower shutter speeds).

What about buying a flash? They add weight to the camera, but the results can be much better than what you are getting now. In-camera flashes are limited and probably wouldn't give you the results you want.
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Old Jan 17, 2009, 10:02 AM   #13
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Honestly, I am not sure if the lens is stabilized, it was given to me and I don't turn down free camera stuff since I can't justify shelling out hundreds since I am not very good (yet?). I feel like a moron asking how you tell that but... how do I tell?

I do have a Nikon speedlight for the camera, and I love it, but I am unaccustomed to using it anywhere but indoors with bouncing off my ceiling. I seem to get washed out pictures if I use it directly.

Would I have been better off using a lower ISO with the flash? My ISO is set at auto so I did not pick it for that particular picture. I definitely don't have a very steady hand because I am so focused on getting the shot.

I am not sure if it would be worth me investing in a AF lens of this length but if it would take away one of the variables and lead to better pictures more often I would consider it. I guess I need to figure out if that would help me or not...

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Old Jan 17, 2009, 11:38 AM   #14
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tashanic2 -

When I look at the picture of the little boy, the blur that I see doesn't look (to me) like the sort of blur that comes from camera shake.

The picture has very shallow depth of focus & that indicates that -

1. You were definitely using a rather large aperture and

2. that perhaps the camera may also have been focussed on a point slightly nearer to the camera than the eyes.

Could you post some more pictures taken with the camera & that you find also lack sharpness?

Herb
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Old Jan 17, 2009, 4:43 PM   #15
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I agree with you Herb about it looking like just plain out of focus shot. But usually a camera will focus on something. In this case absolutely nothing. Everything is out of focus. Thats what made me think it was also a bit of hand held camera shake, very small but there nonetheless. Your suggestion to see more of the pics giving problems is a good idea and will help narrow the problem down.
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Old Jan 19, 2009, 9:03 AM   #16
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Here are some links to the pictures from the same day, same lens. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of my problem...

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/l...m/DSC_9983.jpg

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/l...m/DSC_9997.jpg

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/l...m/DSC_9982.jpg

Thanks for all of your help, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer questions.
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Old Jan 19, 2009, 11:18 AM   #17
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Hey,
I had a quick look, can you post the original files please? RAW preferred, JPEG if RAW is not available.

I am especially interested in DSC_9981, DSC_9982, DSC_9983 - thank you. If the files are too big to host somewhere I can give you an email account to send to.

With the high ISO and the amount of noise working from these downsized images is a pain.

Kind regards,
Th.

Btw. - I don't believe, that this is camera shake... but still it's mysterious. 1/100s at ISO1600 and f/4.5 or so should have a bit in focus. (i.e. DOF shouldn't be too thin). We'll know better with the full sized images.
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Old Jan 19, 2009, 11:35 AM   #18
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whenever I post the full image on here I get an error and it tells me to resize. I would be happy to email them to you though. I shot these in jpeg not raw since it wasn't for anything special, just snapshots
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Old Jan 19, 2009, 11:59 AM   #19
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tashanic,

The three new pictures are very helpful.

Picture DSC_9997 is definitely out of focus. I think the camera was focused on a point significantly nearer to the camera than either of the two boys.

Picture DSC_9982 on the other hand does appear to be in focus, though my guess is that the camera's "sharpness" setting was set at "soft". Nothing wrong with leaving the setting that way - because a computer program will do better job of it than the camera's sharpness program. I cropped - and also enlarged the word SMITH on the boy's jersey & then applied some sharpening to it. See the result below.


Picture DSC_9983 is rather like Picture DCS_9981 was - very shallow depth of focus, perhaps focused on a point slightly nearer to the camera than the boy's eyes and with the camera's sharpness setting at "soft". Applying some sharpening to the picture improves it noticeably.

I can't see any trace of camera shake in any of the pictures, but there is some graininess or "noise" that detracts from the fineness of the resolution. I can't judge whether this is caused by the camera's ISO setting being very high, or simply by the camera itself. Some cameras are less capable of recording fine detail than others.

I suggest you get something like a newspaper page and take several pictures of it from a distance of about 4 feet, with the camera set on a firm surface or on a tripod & see how they turn out. Set the ISO at 100 or 200 but not higher & check all the camera's settings - e.g. make sure it's not set on "landscape" or on "macro" if your camera has those settings (with one of my cameras I've lost quite a few pictures by forgetting that!).

Herb
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Old Jan 19, 2009, 12:11 PM   #20
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tashanic2 wrote:
Quote:
whenever I post the full image on here I get an error and it tells me to resize. I would be happy to email them to you though. I shot these in jpeg not raw since it wasn't for anything special, just snapshots
You've got a PM with my mail address.

Th.
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