"Nex 7- Technique is critical" Similiar

Started Apr 25, 2012 | Discussions
petermc45
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"Nex 7- Technique is critical" Similiar
Apr 25, 2012

Nick Webster started a similiar thread a month ago -"Nex 7 - Technique is critical" (blurred/unsharp images)

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1042&thread=40957418&page=1

It seems there is no quick fix or applied technique that can resolve this issue except a tripod or relatively high shutter speeds which will often necessitate using higher iso, therefore diminishing the resolving power of the sensor. For myself, it is the camera I always wanted and the quality of the images, when sharp, are simply stunning. I remain frustrated however that the only solutions are those mentioned above. And yes, I am/have endeavored to improve my technique.

jpr2
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re: I'm not sure if I agree with the other thread's...
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

...conclusions or recipes; after close to 3 months of pretty intense
shooting with N7 (over 6.5k shots) and various MF-only lenses:

  • much, much more important than w/w-out tripod/support use is to attain a really critical focus;

  • which with dark lenses (or lenses just closed down, in a Sony style focusing) might be not so easy;

  • with bright primes it was often pretty impossible to shoot wide open at f/2 or f/2.8 as 1/4000 sec. was simply too a long shutter speed, so I was forced to close down even at ISO 100; but the image snapped into a critical focus pretty easily;

  • with dark lenses, the JPG real-time image N7 shows in VF or LCD was simply not detailed enough to decide on a critical focus position;

  • and this is a truly unsurmountable impediment for getting pixel sharp files, much more than handholding steady enough - which of course also exacerbates the problem when not enough light hits the N7's sensor :P,

jpr2
--
~
street candids (non-interactive):
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157609618638319/
music and dance:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157600341265280/
B&W:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157623306407882/
wildlife & macro:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157600341377106/
interactive street:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157623181919323/

Comments and critique are always welcome!
~

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blue_skies
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re: I'm not sure if I agree with the other thread's...
In reply to jpr2, Apr 25, 2012

Sharpness is usually best in mid focal range (f/5.6-f/8.0). Both in terms of lens quality and DOF.

If using fast lenses, shallow DOF can make focusing very tricky. It sounds that you have seen this.

Slow lenses are more forgiving.

Once aperture is selected, shutter speed and ISO matter.

I find that many times (people shots) shutter speeds should be fast - much faster than camera suggests - for critical sharpness. Suggest below 1/240th or so.

Indoors, underexposure allows faster shutter speeds for which you compensate for in post.

I find that this results in sharper images than lower ISO, or longer shutter speeds.

Nex-7 seems more critical to this than Nex-5 in this regards.

Sometimes (sometimes often) max sharpness is NOT desired, e.g. for shallow DOF compositions, or to reach minimum shutter speed (1/60th) under low light conditions.

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Henry

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nick_webster
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My results are due to technique,
In reply to jpr2, Apr 25, 2012

Since that thread involved shooting a large building at infinity focus, then I'm fairly sure it was due to my technique rather than, for instance, the building moving in and out of focus

Since I started that thread I've had numerous other occasions to verify that, in my case, it is down to technique - or rather lack thereof - that is giving me quite a number of not quite pin sharp images.

They are often good enough for small to medium size prints without any appreciable drop in quality, but for large prints or if I want to crop then that is when I lose the advantage of all those lovely extra pixels.

Nick

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nick_webster
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Sorry to hear of your problems
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

It is frustrating to see what the camera can do when everything comes together, when at least half the time I can't achieve that due to my own incompetence

Sadly I've not got any silver bullets to help you,

Nick

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Dennis
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Re: "Nex 7- Technique is critical" Similiar
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

petermc45 wrote:

It seems there is no quick fix ...

I remain frustrated however that the only solutions are those mentioned above. And yes, I am/have endeavored to improve my technique.

This is nothing new. I remember reading a book on photography by John Shaw (I think) that showed the difference in sharpness in an enlarged portion of slides shot handheld (at a reasonable - faster than 1/FL - shutter speed) and from a tripod.

We're talking about sharpness that can result in excellent 30x45" prints with good detail. It's not a weakness of the camera in any way that good technique is required to get the most out of it. That's just part of photography.

  • Dennis

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jpr2
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re: there are some [not numerous, but they do exist] lenses...
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 25, 2012

...which are already superb wide open, although in general you're
right about sweet spots being located further up aperture scale, for
those outstanding lenses too :D,

what I was trying to emphasize is that focusing wide open leads to
critical focus attainment much easier/quicker compared to less light
situation of closed down lenses (and above a certain, lens specific,
threshold, critical focusing might be not possible any longer); such
[wide open] focusing is easy to do in e.g. canonland where lenses are
closed only just before taking a shot by FW, but not so easy in the
sonyland where focusing is done with the lens already closed (I'm
neglecting a possible issue of the focus-shift, as this is very lens
specific and not usually a big problem since only few lenses are
seriously affected);

and yes, my context is much more oriented towards shooting
dynamic scenes and moving targets, than landscapes & architecture,
so the focusing time is usually at a premium, and tripod poses more
of a hindrance than help :),

jpr2
--
~
street candids (non-interactive):
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157609618638319/
music and dance:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157600341265280/
B&W:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157623306407882/
wildlife & macro:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157600341377106/
interactive street:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157623181919323/

Comments and critique are always welcome!
~

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blue_skies
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re: there are some [not numerous, but they do exist] lenses...
In reply to jpr2, Apr 25, 2012

You'd be impressed with the LA-EA2.

A mount lenses keep their aperture open until the final exposure.
(Auto) Focus is achieved quickly, and the viewfinder remains bright (no noise).

Also, focus is at widest aperture, so it tends to be very accurate.

Good A mount primes are quite cheap: $150 for 35/1.8 and 50/1.8, $200 for 85/2.8.

jpr2 wrote:

...which are already superb wide open, although in general you're
right about sweet spots being located further up aperture scale, for
those outstanding lenses too :D,

what I was trying to emphasize is that focusing wide open leads to
critical focus attainment much easier/quicker compared to less light
situation of closed down lenses (and above a certain, lens specific,
threshold, critical focusing might be not possible any longer); such
[wide open] focusing is easy to do in e.g. canonland where lenses are
closed only just before taking a shot by FW, but not so easy in the
sonyland where focusing is done with the lens already closed (I'm
neglecting a possible issue of the focus-shift, as this is very lens
specific and not usually a big problem since only few lenses are
seriously affected);

and yes, my context is much more oriented towards shooting
dynamic scenes and moving targets, than landscapes & architecture,
so the focusing time is usually at a premium, and tripod poses more
of a hindrance than help :),

jpr2
--
~
street candids (non-interactive):
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157609618638319/
music and dance:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157600341265280/
B&W:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157623306407882/
wildlife & macro:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157600341377106/
interactive street:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/qmusaget/sets/72157623181919323/

Comments and critique are always welcome!
~

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Henry

 blue_skies's gear list:blue_skies's gear list
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JeffS7444
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Technique becomes more critical with any high-res system
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

No big surprise there! The shakiness of the photographer effectively limits resolving power of the camera + lens

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petermc45
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Re: "Nex 7- Technique is critical" Similiar
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

Interesting replies but sadly mostly confirming the issue - US! As nick says" sadly no magic bullit" I had fanticised that a practiced matured Pro might step in to enlighten us on a little known sure fire technique - fantasy!

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Dennis
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Re: "Nex 7- Technique is critical" Similiar
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

petermc45 wrote:

I had fanticised that a practiced matured Pro might step in to enlighten us on a little known sure fire technique - fantasy!

There's your answer right there

  • Dennis

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David McGaughey
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There is a sure-fire technique.
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

Practice. I'm no pro, but if I being careful I can get pixel sharp photos at even less than 1/fl shutter speed).

Some tips:

1. Balance the camera between both of your hands (get the lens over the left hand and take a firm grip with the right).
2. Elbows in.

3a. Brace the camera against your face (you'll need a Nex-5n with EVF or Nex-7, obviously).
3b. If using the rear LCD, then brace your arms against your waist.
4. Feet shoulder width apart, planted solidly to the ground

5. Exhale, then shoot during the brief pause before you take your next breath. This will help you relax. Google "rifle breathing techniques".
6. Don't smash the shutter. Press the shutter smoothly and gently.
7. Most important - if it's a promising looking scene, take A LOT of pictures.
8. Back to number 1* (9 more times).

Take ten of photos of the same scene at 1/fl shutter speed (i.e. 30mm lens, 1/50s) and see how many out of the ten are acceptably sharp. Compare hip shooting versus eye shooting. Compare horizontal and portrait orientation.

I've gone from a Canon D30 (3 mp), 20D (8 mp), 5d (12 mp), Nex-5 (16mp), Nex-7 (24 mp) and each and every time (well, except for the 20d to 5d transition) I've had to improve my technique to get sharp photos a majority of the time. It sucks, but better tools require better technique.

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blue_skies
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Re: "Nex 7- Technique is critical" Similiar
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

petermc45 wrote:

Interesting replies but sadly mostly confirming the issue - US! As nick says" sadly no magic bullit" I had fanticised that a practiced matured Pro might step in to enlighten us on a little known sure fire technique - fantasy!

These works for me, given a hand held shot of a certain subject, framing, lighting condition, select:

  1. DOF first - if sharpness desired, at least f/2.8, usually f/5.6 (indoors), f/8 (outdoors).

  2. Shutter speed next - don't rely on the automatically camera-chosen 1/60th - it is often too slow. Underexpose to get the shutter speed up. This helps to mitigate both camera shake and subject blur.

  3. Don't be afraid of high ISO - ISO 1600 at 1/240th may appear sharper than ISO 400 at 1/60th.

  4. Re-verify your focus method - DMF in AF mode, Zoom in during review - make sure that the image you captured shows the proper focus where you wanted it - the only way to correct missed focus is by taking another picture.

  5. Take multiple shots - this kind of goes with the statement above. Afterwards you'll find that in a series of shots, there is always a 'best' shot - people smile, have eyes open, is simply sharpest, etc.

  6. Don't get hangup on sharpness alone - Use the 'photographer's liberty' (low light, action shots, scene/composition). Often, sharpness is the last thing that the eye will notice. Plus, there is always B&W to hide/diminish any problems.

  7. Don't rely on your gear - your sharpest lens will not necessarily yield your sharpest photos. It all depends on scenery, lighting, focal length and other factors. Choose a lens that fits the scene, and don't believe that your sharpest lens will be the best. Get a feel for each lens and trust your experience/expertise.

  8. Control your subject - if you can change lighting, position, stance, do so to get the image you formed in your head. Sometimes it is timing, angle or focal length related, sometimes you can simply move your subject (e.g. to catch a ray of sunshine) - ie. don't place your subject in shadows.

Also, shoot iAuto or P-mode sometimes, just to get a feel what the camera (algorithm) would do.

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Henry

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petermc45
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Re: "Nex 7- Technique is critical" Similiar
In reply to Dennis, Apr 25, 2012

Double that smily thing!

Dennis wrote:

petermc45 wrote:

I had fanticised that a practiced matured Pro might step in to enlighten us on a little known sure fire technique - fantasy!

There's your answer right there

  • Dennis

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petermc45
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Re: "Nex 7- Technique is critical" Similiar
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 25, 2012

Thanks for reply and the tips.. I regulary print at 12x18 so sharpness matters. I know that a sharp 1600 is better than a blurred 400 but I would like to have both. My technique has improved but my success rate is still well below my D200 days.

blue_skies wrote:

petermc45 wrote:

Interesting replies but sadly mostly confirming the issue - US! As nick says" sadly no magic bullit" I had fanticised that a practiced matured Pro might step in to enlighten us on a little known sure fire technique - fantasy!

These works for me, given a hand held shot of a certain subject, framing, lighting condition, select:

  1. DOF first - if sharpness desired, at least f/2.8, usually f/5.6 (indoors), f/8 (outdoors).

  2. Shutter speed next - don't rely on the automatically camera-chosen 1/60th - it is often too slow. Underexpose to get the shutter speed up. This helps to mitigate both camera shake and subject blur.

  3. Don't be afraid of high ISO - ISO 1600 at 1/240th may appear sharper than ISO 400 at 1/60th.

  4. Re-verify your focus method - DMF in AF mode, Zoom in during review - make sure that the image you captured shows the proper focus where you wanted it - the only way to correct missed focus is by taking another picture.

  5. Take multiple shots - this kind of goes with the statement above. Afterwards you'll find that in a series of shots, there is always a 'best' shot - people smile, have eyes open, is simply sharpest, etc.

  6. Don't get hangup on sharpness alone - Use the 'photographer's liberty' (low light, action shots, scene/composition). Often, sharpness is the last thing that the eye will notice. Plus, there is always B&W to hide/diminish any problems.

  7. Don't rely on your gear - your sharpest lens will not necessarily yield your sharpest photos. It all depends on scenery, lighting, focal length and other factors. Choose a lens that fits the scene, and don't believe that your sharpest lens will be the best. Get a feel for each lens and trust your experience/expertise.

  8. Control your subject - if you can change lighting, position, stance, do so to get the image you formed in your head. Sometimes it is timing, angle or focal length related, sometimes you can simply move your subject (e.g. to catch a ray of sunshine) - ie. don't place your subject in shadows.

Also, shoot iAuto or P-mode sometimes, just to get a feel what the camera (algorithm) would do.

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Cheers,
Henry

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petermc45
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Re: There is a sure-fire technique.
In reply to David McGaughey, Apr 25, 2012

Thanks for reply. I have put into practice most of what you recommend and it has improved my technique but I wish tha it was better. As I said earlier my sharpness % is still way below my D200 days.

David McGaughey wrote:

Practice. I'm no pro, but if I being careful I can get pixel sharp photos at even less than 1/fl shutter speed).

Some tips:

1. Balance the camera between both of your hands (get the lens over the left hand and take a firm grip with the right).
2. Elbows in.

3a. Brace the camera against your face (you'll need a Nex-5n with EVF or Nex-7, obviously).
3b. If using the rear LCD, then brace your arms against your waist.
4. Feet shoulder width apart, planted solidly to the ground

5. Exhale, then shoot during the brief pause before you take your next breath. This will help you relax. Google "rifle breathing techniques".
6. Don't smash the shutter. Press the shutter smoothly and gently.
7. Most important - if it's a promising looking scene, take A LOT of pictures.
8. Back to number 1* (9 more times).

Take ten of photos of the same scene at 1/fl shutter speed (i.e. 30mm lens, 1/50s) and see how many out of the ten are acceptably sharp. Compare hip shooting versus eye shooting. Compare horizontal and portrait orientation.

I've gone from a Canon D30 (3 mp), 20D (8 mp), 5d (12 mp), Nex-5 (16mp), Nex-7 (24 mp) and each and every time (well, except for the 20d to 5d transition) I've had to improve my technique to get sharp photos a majority of the time. It sucks, but better tools require better technique.

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creeker
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Re: "Nex 7- Technique is critical" Similiar
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 25, 2012

blue_skies wrote:

petermc45 wrote:

Interesting replies but sadly mostly confirming the issue - US! As nick says" sadly no magic bullit" I had fanticised that a practiced matured Pro might step in to enlighten us on a little known sure fire technique - fantasy!

These works for me, given a hand held shot of a certain subject, framing, lighting condition, select:

  1. DOF first - if sharpness desired, at least f/2.8, usually f/5.6 (indoors), f/8 (outdoors).

  2. Shutter speed next - don't rely on the automatically camera-chosen 1/60th - it is often too slow. Underexpose to get the shutter speed up. This helps to mitigate both camera shake and subject blur.

  3. Don't be afraid of high ISO - ISO 1600 at 1/240th may appear sharper than ISO 400 at 1/60th.

  4. Re-verify your focus method - DMF in AF mode, Zoom in during review - make sure that the image you captured shows the proper focus where you wanted it - the only way to correct missed focus is by taking another picture.

  5. Take multiple shots - this kind of goes with the statement above. Afterwards you'll find that in a series of shots, there is always a 'best' shot - people smile, have eyes open, is simply sharpest, etc.

  6. Don't get hangup on sharpness alone - Use the 'photographer's liberty' (low light, action shots, scene/composition). Often, sharpness is the last thing that the eye will notice. Plus, there is always B&W to hide/diminish any problems.

  7. Don't rely on your gear - your sharpest lens will not necessarily yield your sharpest photos. It all depends on scenery, lighting, focal length and other factors. Choose a lens that fits the scene, and don't believe that your sharpest lens will be the best. Get a feel for each lens and trust your experience/expertise.

  8. Control your subject - if you can change lighting, position, stance, do so to get the image you formed in your head. Sometimes it is timing, angle or focal length related, sometimes you can simply move your subject (e.g. to catch a ray of sunshine) - ie. don't place your subject in shadows.

Also, shoot iAuto or P-mode sometimes, just to get a feel what the camera (algorithm) would do.

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Henry

Good points, and good routine to use on all your shots. One point that I would ad, and one I use, is to use a monopod. I carry one that weighs less than a pound and is only 14" long. When I'm composing a scene that I think I will want to print large, or print a crop large, out comes the monopod. For what some are having a problem with the Nex-7, is what makes is so good, it's resolution.
Ed

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Dennis
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Re: There is a sure-fire technique.
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

petermc45 wrote:

Thanks for reply. I have put into practice most of what you recommend and it has improved my technique but I wish tha it was better. As I said earlier my sharpness % is still way below my D200 days.

Is that 100% sharpness ? Or overall sharpness due to the form factor of the camera ? (Sorry if I missed that elsewhere in the thread). One thing to figure out is how sharp you actually need your pictures to be. Save the tripod for the "fine art" stuff and avoid pixel peeping the rest. But if you're getting results that are worse than the D200 in captured detail (as opposed to 100% views) then that is a frustrating problem.

  • Dennis

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petermc45
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Re: There is a sure-fire technique.
In reply to Dennis, Apr 25, 2012

Ultimately, I have only one criteria for sharpness - can I print 12x18 and have it acceptably sharp (not necessarely fine art sharp) I have a few of those from the 7 - wonderfull - and many that I wish I could have but they are blurred and lost forever.

Peter

Dennis wrote:

petermc45 wrote:

Thanks for reply. I have put into practice most of what you recommend and it has improved my technique but I wish tha it was better. As I said earlier my sharpness % is still way below my D200 days.

Is that 100% sharpness ? Or overall sharpness due to the form factor of the camera ? (Sorry if I missed that elsewhere in the thread). One thing to figure out is how sharp you actually need your pictures to be. Save the tripod for the "fine art" stuff and avoid pixel peeping the rest. But if you're getting results that are worse than the D200 in captured detail (as opposed to 100% views) then that is a frustrating problem.

  • Dennis

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blue_skies
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Re: There is a sure-fire technique.
In reply to petermc45, Apr 25, 2012

Can you post such an example - maybe people here can give you specific tips?

I find sharpness not a problem, in general.

Two 16Mp examples (view by clicking Original )

  • 200mm

  • 24mm

An an 6Mp HDR shot:

  • 24mm

Next is a pano shot, limited to 5000 pixels in long direction, but do view it by clicking Original

And another low light 16Mp shot, that could have been better at higher ISO (check hand):

petermc45 wrote:

Ultimately, I have only one criteria for sharpness - can I print 12x18 and have it acceptably sharp (not necessarely fine art sharp) I have a few of those from the 7 - wonderfull - and many that I wish I could have but they are blurred and lost forever.

Peter

Dennis wrote:

petermc45 wrote:

Thanks for reply. I have put into practice most of what you recommend and it has improved my technique but I wish tha it was better. As I said earlier my sharpness % is still way below my D200 days.

Is that 100% sharpness ? Or overall sharpness due to the form factor of the camera ? (Sorry if I missed that elsewhere in the thread). One thing to figure out is how sharp you actually need your pictures to be. Save the tripod for the "fine art" stuff and avoid pixel peeping the rest. But if you're getting results that are worse than the D200 in captured detail (as opposed to 100% views) then that is a frustrating problem.

  • Dennis

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Cheers,
Henry

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