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Old Aug 4, 2009, 9:58 AM   #1
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Default Advice needed on image sharpness

Below is an photo I took over the weekend.

Camera: Canon EOS T1i
Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Exposure program: Aperture Priority
Shutter speed: 1/64s
Focal length: 300mm
Aperture: f5.6
ISO: 400
Tripod, IS "off"

<img src="http://api.photoshop.com/home_06665f...e80aab7940b75a" width="3168" height="4752"/>

I'm not impressed with the level of detail that I can see in the subject. In your opinion, is this image "sharp", "soft", etc? I'm still trying to get a sense for what I can expect from my particular camera/lens combination.

If given the camera/lens I'm using, I should have been able to capture a sharper image of the bird, what might I be doing wrong, or what should I be doing in the future to get the kind of crystal clear super sharp images I see on this forum?

Thx
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 10:20 AM   #2
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I think you are fine here with IQ, however with f5.6 and being that close you have a shallow dof so only the middle of the bird is fully in focus. You are working at quite extreme conditions with that shutter speed so I would say don't worry.

In better light stop down a little to say f7.1 or f8 and you will be a happy man.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 11:22 AM   #3
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here is your shot


some photographers on here have being shooting for years or have letters behind there name thats how they achieve those super images you mention .... you could have the best lens in the world but if you cant set or use your camera correctly you still wont get the perfect shot .... it is a big learning curve im in the same boat LOL.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 11:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simple View Post
some photographers on here have being shooting for years or have letters behind there name thats how they achieve those super images you mention .... you could have the best lens in the world but if you cant set or use your camera correctly you still wont get the perfect shot .... it is a big learning curve im in the same boat LOL.
I'm no where near the best here by a really long way but if you were to go back to when I joined Steve's in 2005 and looked at the changes you would be amazed.

This is a great place to learn and by posting with questions on your photos you are doing the best thing.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 12:01 PM   #5
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ok, so here is another photo I took under similar settings:

Camera: Canon EOS T1i
Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Exposure program: Aperture Priority
Shutter speed: 1/32s
Focal length: 300mm
Aperture: f5.6
ISO: 400
handheld with IS enabled

<img src="http://api.photoshop.com/home_06665f...532fd3e686084a" width="3168" height="4752"/>

Again, I was not overly impressed with the detail I seemed to capture in this image and I'm seeking some guidance on what I might have done differently to get a sharper image.

One thing I may have not done correctly is focus the center of my DOF on the deer's face... is there a way in Elements to see what AF points were used to establish AF so I can check where the focus was pinpointed?
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 12:13 PM   #6
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This one is simply not in focus. If you look at the grass it is getting sharper but still not fully sharp, the focus is somewhere in front of this photo. This can happen for a few reasons and certainly won't have been helped by the low light you were in. Ensure you are only using centre point focus, that you choose a point with good contrast and you ensure that you get focus lock with the half press and then take the shot. If you are just pressing the shutter all the way and hoping it focuses correctly you are more likely to get an out of focus shot.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 12:50 PM   #7
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I disagree somewhat with the other posters. While the image is not well focused (the eye is not at the best focus position), part of the bird is at the focus point.

The image exhibits and odd blur. Vertical edges are sharper than horizontal edges. This type of flaw has two sources:

1. Vertical motion blur - exactly the type that would occur from mirror/shutter vibration in landscape orientated image and an SLR with a vertically lifting mirror and a vertically traveling shutter. It is also the direction of motion that would occur from someone pressing a typically mounted shutter release button.

2. A tilted optical system - this occurs either when there is lens damage, a mis-assembleed lens, or more likely, a less than excellent UV filter that is not in an extremely well machined mount and under no stress. This can also occur when shooting through ordinary window glass.

What tripod did you use?

Was the body or the lens attached to the tripod?

Did you use some form of remove release or did you poke at the shutter release on the body?
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 1:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwig View Post
I disagree somewhat with the other posters. While the image is not well focused (the eye is not at the best focus position), part of the bird is at the focus point.

The image exhibits and odd blur. Vertical edges are sharper than horizontal edges. This type of flaw has two sources:

1. Vertical motion blur - exactly the type that would occur from mirror/shutter vibration in landscape orientated image and an SLR with a vertically lifting mirror and a vertically traveling shutter. It is also the direction of motion that would occur from someone pressing a typically mounted shutter release button.

2. A tilted optical system - this occurs either when there is lens damage, a mis-assembleed lens, or more likely, a less than excellent UV filter that is not in an extremely well machined mount and under no stress. This can also occur when shooting through ordinary window glass.

What tripod did you use?

Was the body or the lens attached to the tripod?

Did you use some form of remove release or did you poke at the shutter release on the body?
The bird was shot with my T1i body mounted on my Sunpak PRO 723P CF tripod. The camera was tilted over and the shutter was triggered by hand, so that could be the source of some blurring. I have a wireless remote on order....
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 1:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post
This one is simply not in focus. If you look at the grass it is getting sharper but still not fully sharp, the focus is somewhere in front of this photo. This can happen for a few reasons and certainly won't have been helped by the low light you were in. Ensure you are only using centre point focus, that you choose a point with good contrast and you ensure that you get focus lock with the half press and then take the shot. If you are just pressing the shutter all the way and hoping it focuses correctly you are more likely to get an out of focus shot.
I was shooting quickly because I was so suprised to see a deer so close to my back porch.... as a result I wasnt as careful as I usually am with regards to noticing where the AF points were.... I was however depressing the shutter release button halfway to get focus confirmation before depressing the shutter release fully. it would be nice to see in this photo to see where the camera applied the AF.

The light was certainly low, but not usually low for this kind of shot. In my experience, wildlife are more active in the early morning and early evening in more wooded areas where the light is always going to be low. I was probably wide open as possible with regards to apeture and shooting at a relatively slow shutter speed to account for the low light. Is there anything else I could have done to give myself a better chance of getting a clearer shot under these lighting conditions, or do i need to invest in a "faster" zoom?
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Old Aug 5, 2009, 8:20 AM   #10
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Regarding the first picture, I agree with Mark on the IQ being fine, but I believe you'd get a sharper image if you had preferred F/8. http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/20...review?start=1

On the other hand, contrast also plays an important role on a sharper look. Below is a two step sharpening the first of which, through larger radius, was intended for better contrast.
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