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Old May 9, 2011, 10:00 PM   #1
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Default Fashion show photos not crisp - camera shake?

This is a 100% crop. I was attempting to photograph a fashion show, which is hard enough with all the variable lighting and movement, etc.

This particular photo was shot at 1/500, 200mm. I was using a Nikon D90 with the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 at f/2.8. I was using a monopod, but I'm sure my shooting technique is not yet good enough that I was holding the lens absolutely steady. But this doesn't look out of focus. I assumed that 1/500 would give me a crisp photo even if I was moving the lens a little.

And, some photos are crisper than others. So I assume it's camera shake. Can someone offer advise as to how to get crisper photos? Ought I use a tripod instead of a monopod? Or move up to the 70-200 VR?

Thanks!!

(I'm only supposed to upload one photo at a time. Would it be useful to show the resized full photo?)
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Old May 9, 2011, 11:23 PM   #2
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yeah, show the full photo. (you can upload up to 13 pics in 1 post i believe?)
My guess is that your focus is off. Either the actual focus point, or possibly a front/back focusing problem.
We'll see when you post the full pic.
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Old May 9, 2011, 11:47 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'm pretty sure I focused on the face. He wasn't moving, and I did have the AF mode set to continuous.
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Old May 10, 2011, 12:18 AM   #4
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hmmm, well 1/500 shouldn't cause camera shake at 200mm, especially when using a monopod and your subject isn't really moving... But I dont see anything in focus.

I'm stumped.
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Old May 10, 2011, 12:27 AM   #5
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Were any of your photos tack sharp or were all of them soft?

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Old May 10, 2011, 10:13 AM   #6
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You could have used a higher ISO and f/5.6-f/8 as this is where the sweet spot of this lens is.

Where you using a flash unit?... if not why not? As a fast flash not only illuminates the subject it also freezes motion.

...It's usual to save the exif to the photo before submitting it in this section, as it might give us a clue as to what has happened.

Last edited by musket; May 10, 2011 at 10:30 AM.
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Old May 10, 2011, 10:21 AM   #7
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For better responses, it's a good idea to include photos with EXIF data in them. That way, members can see things like AF mode, AF points used, ISO speed, etc.

Since those photos have no EXIF information, we have no idea about those types of things and if they may have contributed to softer images or not.

What are you using to downsize them with? If it's a Photoshop product, don't use Save for Web, as that option strips out the EXIF information. Use Save As instead.

Note that to prevent the forums software from modifying images (stripping out the EXIF and recompressing them), you will need to make sure they're no larger than 1024 pixels on the longest side, with a file size that's less than 253.9KB

When I use Windows, I sometimes use the free Irfanview for downsizing images (but, most image editors can resize if you're using something else). You'll just need to use one that retains the settings info in the EXIF.

With Irfanview,after you open an image (File>Open), select Image>Resize/Resample and make the longest side around 800 pixels (and it must not exceed 1024 pixels if you don't want the EXIF to be stripped out).

Leave the Preserve Aspect Ratio box checked. I use the Lanczos algorithm choice for resizing (you'll see a drop down list of choices) and then click OK to resize it.

Then use the "File>Save As" menu choice and give it a new filename (so you don't overwrite your original), selecting jpg as the file type.

I'd set the Quality slider you see come up at around 80% to keep the file size within limits. It will need to be no larger than 260,000 bytes (253.9KB) to prevent the forums software from modifying it, which will cause the EXIF to be stripped out; and make sure the box to "retain EXIF" is checked (you'll see that option on the box that pops up in Irfanview when you save an image using File>Save As).

Note that it might be a good idea to include a link to a full size, unmodified original, too. That way, we could get an idea if other parts of the image are sharper (for example, the arm that's closer to the camera may have been what the camera was focusing on, which is what I suspect happened).

I don't keep up with all of the free photo sharing sites. But, one way to do it is setup a free account with http://www.dropbox.com (you get 2GB of space for free there) and copy the image to the "Public" folder you'll have available and get a Public Link for it.

Then, post that link here so that members can see the full size original (but, please do not try to embed a full size image in a post here, just include a link to it instead).
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Old May 10, 2011, 2:55 PM   #8
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Jim,

I did use Irfanview. Been using it for years. 800pix on the longest side. I assumed the EXIF information would be there. It turns out that because the original image was RAW, Irfanview, I think, only transfers EXIF data if the original image was JPEG. I didn't know that until just now. My mistake. EXIF information below.

Musket,
I didn't use a flash. I have an SB600, but not an external battery. I took "only" 350 photos, and some I took very close together, with not enough tome for the flash to recharge. So I settled on existing light. I'm doing another runway shoot next week, so maybe I'll try rehearsing with the flash and use that next time. I plan to shoot over 700 photos next time.

Also, when I started, I wasn't sure of the available light until the show started, and I didn't know until well into the show that the light would be better than expected such that I could have dialed back the shutter speed and reduced the aperture a bit. Still working on technique. There's a lot to think about during these things, and one rally needs to do a lot of them to make this more "automatic".

DigMe,
So far I only see soft ones. I'll keep looking. Toward the end I started being more conscious of holding the camera more steadily. I'll post a sharp one if I find one.

Thanks everyone! EXIF data:

Filename - DSC_1676.NEF
ImageWidth - 160
ImageLength - 120
BitsPerSample - 8 8 8
Compression - 1 (None)
PhotometricInterpretation - 2
Make - NIKON CORPORATION
Model - NIKON D90
StripOffset - 109396
Orientation - Left bottom
SamplesPerPixel - 3
RowsPerStrip - 120
StripByteCount - 57600
XResolution - 300
YResolution - 300
PlanarConfiguration - 1
ResolutionUnit - Inch
Software - Ver.1.00
DateTime - 2011:05:07 20:18:39
ReferenceBlackWhite - 0
ExifOffset - 480
DateTimeOriginal - 2011:05:07 20:18:39
ExposureTime - 1/500 seconds
FNumber - 2.80
ExposureProgram - Manual control
ISOSpeedRatings - 800
DateTimeOriginal - 2011:05:07 20:18:39
DateTimeDigitized - 2011:05:07 20:18:39
ExposureBiasValue - 0.00
MaxApertureValue - F 2.83
MeteringMode - Center weighted average
LightSource - Auto
Flash - Not fired
FocalLength - 200.00 mm
UserComment - Copyright (c) 2010Elliot Mednick
SubsecTime - 00
SubsecTimeOriginal - 00
SubsecTimeDigitized - 00
SensingMethod - One-chip color area sensor
FileSource - Other
SceneType - Other
CustomRendered - Normal process
ExposureMode - Manual
White Balance - Manual
DigitalZoomRatio - 1 x
FocalLengthIn35mmFilm - 300 mm
SceneCaptureType - Standard
GainControl - Low gain up
Contrast - Normal
Saturation - Normal
Sharpness - Normal
SubjectDistanceRange - Unknown

GPS information: -
GPSVersionID - 2.2.0.0

Maker Note (Vendor): -
Data version - 0210 (808595760)
ISO Setting - 800
Image Quality - RAW
White Balance - 4550K
Focus Mode - AF-C
Flash Setting - NORMAL
Flash Mode -
White Balance Adjustment - 0
White Balance RB - 730
Exposure Adjustment - -452916224
Thumbnail IFD offset - 13954
Flash Compensation - 67072
ISO 2 - 800
Lens type - AF-D or AF-S
Lens - 974
Flash Used - Not fired
Bracketing - 65536
Contrast Curve - I0
Noise Reduction - OFF
Total pictures - 10491
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Old May 10, 2011, 5:14 PM   #9
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Here's another 100% crop. Not "tack" sharp, but sharper. The focus is not on her face, but perhaps the shoulder. Again, I used continuous focus and point focus, always attempting to focus on the face.

I'm going to try putting the lens on a tripod and trying out some distance focus compositions and use a remote. This will tell me if all this is camera shake, softness at 2.8. or something wrong with the focus of the lens of body.

It ought to be tack sharp at 100% crop, right?

EXIF:

Filename - DSC_1851.NEF
ImageWidth - 160
ImageLength - 120
BitsPerSample - 8 8 8
Compression - 1 (None)
PhotometricInterpretation - 2
Make - NIKON CORPORATION
Model - NIKON D90
StripOffset - 105296
Orientation - Left bottom
SamplesPerPixel - 3
RowsPerStrip - 120
StripByteCount - 57600
XResolution - 300
YResolution - 300
PlanarConfiguration - 1
ResolutionUnit - Inch
Software - Ver.1.00
DateTime - 2011:05:07 21:40:58
ReferenceBlackWhite - 0
ExifOffset - 480
DateTimeOriginal - 2011:05:07 21:40:58
ExposureTime - 1/320 seconds
FNumber - 2.80
ExposureProgram - Manual control
ISOSpeedRatings - 800
DateTimeOriginal - 2011:05:07 21:40:58
DateTimeDigitized - 2011:05:07 21:40:58
ExposureBiasValue - 0.00
MaxApertureValue - F 2.83
MeteringMode - Center weighted average
LightSource - Auto
Flash - Not fired
FocalLength - 125.00 mm
UserComment - Copyright (c) 2010Elliot Mednick
SubsecTime - 00
SubsecTimeOriginal - 00
SubsecTimeDigitized - 00
SensingMethod - One-chip color area sensor
FileSource - Other
SceneType - Other
CustomRendered - Normal process
ExposureMode - Manual
White Balance - Manual
DigitalZoomRatio - 1 x
FocalLengthIn35mmFilm - 187 mm
SceneCaptureType - Standard
GainControl - Low gain up
Contrast - Normal
Saturation - Normal
Sharpness - Normal
SubjectDistanceRange - Unknown

GPS information: -
GPSVersionID - 2.2.0.0

Maker Note (Vendor): -
Data version - 0210 (808595760)
ISO Setting - 800
Image Quality - RAW
White Balance - 4550K
Focus Mode - AF-C
Flash Setting - NORMAL
Flash Mode -
White Balance Adjustment - 0
White Balance RB - 730
Exposure Adjustment - -637465600
Thumbnail IFD offset - 13954
Flash Compensation - 67072
ISO 2 - 800
Lens type - AF-D or AF-S
Lens - 974
Flash Used - Not fired
Bracketing - 65536
Contrast Curve - I0
Noise Reduction - OFF
Total pictures - 10673
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Last edited by elliotm00; May 10, 2011 at 5:20 PM.
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Old May 10, 2011, 5:53 PM   #10
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Your PIXes are not in focus because your camera is not in focus. Switch to spot, and verify your focus in the viewfinder (do multiple composes till you get one thats correct then hold it in place). If you still have trouble then compose on a vertical line of contrast (eg, the edge of a vertical piller or door frame near by and hold that focus for the PIX). Your PIXes look like typical stage shots done under colored lighting in which the camera isnt composed properly (I experience this all the time when shooting concerts). If you still have trouble then use manual mode. Set shutter, f stop and focus. This can be nice because since the lighting and distance are effectively constant for stages and there is no need to worry more about settings which allows you to better concentrate on the subject.
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