not happy with sharpness - lens or camera?

Started Mar 21, 2007 | Discussions thread
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brick33308
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not happy with sharpness - lens or camera?
Mar 21, 2007

I've got a D200. My most used lenses are (in this order): 17-55, 85/1.4 and 70-200. I'm not blown away by sharpness and don't think it's a question of user error.

Below are test shots I took on a tripod using each of those lenses, all shot without flash at f5.6, mirror up and shutter release cord. Full size versions are at http://brick.smugmug.com/gallery/2610073#137694732 .

I've always thought the 85/1.4 was the sharpest of the bunch, certainly sharper than the 17-55, and for a long time now I've been wondering if perhaps I have one of the not so great copies of the 17-55. However, all three shots are close to equal sharpness (I shot them RAW with no in-camera sharpening, and applied fairly conservative USM - amount 150, radius 1.6). And looking at them, I just don't feel that any of them are that sharp.

Do you agree the pictures aren't sharp, and if so, do you think it's the camera, lenses or me? I think that because the 3 shots with different lenses are fairly close in sharpness that the problem (if there is one) is either me or the camera. Back in September I did a front/back focusing test ( http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=20185428 ) and the camera seemed to be okay.

I'd appreciate your comments, and if you think I'm just being too picky or if you think this is a problem of user error, by all means let me know.

Here are the shots (smugmug large size - but you can view full size ones at( http://brick.smugmug.com/gallery/2610073#137694732 ).

17-55/f5.6:

85/f5.6:

70-200/f5.6

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