Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
fysloc
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Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
5 months ago

I actually got my SEL1018 before christmas, but never got the chance to really experiment and learn to use it (busy life and work taking time away). I will also be leaving for japan in a week, but want to atleast experiment and get a feel of using the SEL1018 before departing for Japan to reduce the risk of taking poor shots while there.

So far, I have taken it out once and I noticed that I struggled to achieve focus throughout the frame and could really use some pointers on where to focus and how to keep things sharp.

Pictures below are probably the best one I got sofar with this lens, yet it doesn't seem very sharp and clear at 100%. Placed on a tripod and default PP from DXO optics and taken with NEX6. Any tips/suggestions to improve my shooting?

Sony Alpha NEX-6
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KBKB
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

Do you remember what you were focusing on in these shots?  If you were focused on something far in the distance, I would expect some blurring of the foreground subjects.

Also, how did you focus?  (Did you let the camera do it, or did you do it manually?)

For what it's worth, I looked at them with the loupe and they look pretty much as I would expect them to look. But, hunting around, it also wasn't clear to me where you had the focal point.

Keep in mind that these are long exposures.  If there was any wind, you can expect to see an apparent lack of sharpness in foliage and perhaps even in the lights.

Another thing to pay attention to is the quality of your tripod and how you use it.  For long exposures, it's best if you don't touch the camera or the tripod at all.  (Either trigger the shutter with a remote or use the self timer.)  The tripod should be beefy enough to hold the camera steady in the wind, if there is/was any.  Some tripods have a hook to which you can add some ballast to help hold it steady.

Below are a few of my holiday light photos taken with the SEL1018.  Note in the first one that there's some blurring in the tree due to the long exposure.  I used multiple exposures for creating these shots.  For some of them, I think I might have used focus stacking to get the immediate foreground in focus as well.

(In the photo above, I made the light reflected from the pool a lot brighter than it was in real life.  I like it that way.)

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Mike Fewster
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

I think too often people try to get as much as possible into a very wa shot. I think they are more effactive when the subject natter is actually quite close to the camera and it then uses the wa effect to place the subject into its surroundings.

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Zeisschen
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hmmm
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

There is camera shake blur in your pictures. Pictures are taken at 4-8 seconds exposure time.

Either your tripod is too bad (cheap) and not stable or the ICE surface was vibrating. Try those pictures on stable ground like concrete again with your tripod. Steadyshot should be turned off for tripod use as it tries to stabilize and blurrs picture a bit as well.

Else you have to go to F4 and try with a higher ISO of maybe 800 and shorter exposure time. for night shots. Image should still be ok then and risk of camera shake is reduced.

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KBKB
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to KBKB, 5 months ago

KBKB wrote:

Do you remember what you were focusing on in these shots? If you were focused on something far in the distance, I would expect some blurring of the foreground subjects.

So, according to the DOFMaster calculator, using a NEX-5n (or any camera with an APS-C sensor) at f/5 and 10mm, the hyperfocal distance is 3.29 feet.  If you set your focus on something at that distance, you should get a depth of field from 2.46 feet to infinity.  I could be wrong, but I would guess that you probably had your focus set quite a lot further out.

As noted in other posts (as well as my own post earlier), there could be other factors which caused you to some shots which weren't as sharp as you'd like.

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Cullings
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018? See 10 tips tutorial
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

fysloc wrote:

I actually got my SEL1018 before christmas, but never got the chance to really experiment and learn to use it (busy life and work taking time away). I will also be leaving for japan in a week, but want to atleast experiment and get a feel of using the SEL1018 before departing for Japan to reduce the risk of taking poor shots while there.

Excellent information on the use of wide angle lenses can be found at:

http://viewsinfinitum.com/2010/05/21/10-tips-on-using-a-wide-angle-lens

"10 Tips on Using a Wide Angle Lens". Photo examples shown. I suggest you print this mini-tutorial and take it with you on your trip. Perhaps you would enjoy shooting with a fisheye lens too. Have fun. - John S.

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zackiedawg
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Thanks...
In reply to Cullings, 5 months ago

Thanks for referencing that article.  Just please excuse some of the photos - those were from many years ago!  I've done much ultrawide shooting since then, both with the old trusty Tamron 10-24 on my DSLR, and the 10-18mm on NEX.  I couldn't live without an ultrawide lens in my collection - but they do take some re-learning on composition and technique.

To the OP - I also agree that in some cases, you may be seeing a little bit of shake or vibration causing some unsharpness...check that the tripod was nice and solid, maybe make sure you're using a remote or the 2-second timer when shooting off the tripod so your hand on the shutter doesn't move things a bit, and turn off steady shot on the lens when shooting off a tripod.

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emailsucks98
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

Fysloc, far as sharpness goes, I think those look pretty good. Louping around, I notice the least sharp elements are the trees and lights, which makes me wonder if bumping the ISO to 200 or even 400 might have actually helped- or at least allowed you to shoot at f11. Hard to say if that would have helped at all but I'd be curious to see.

My favorite wide angle tutorial:

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/wide-angle-lenses.htm

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cdpinker
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

Getting focus right isn't any different with this lens than any other, but you'll need to follow good practice for landscape focussing (e.g. lower apertures, focussing 1/3rd into the scene, use tripods etc).

For me, the most important thing to get right with this lens is the composition. Its wide angle fits so much into the scene that you have to be really careful to create a strong composition. Also, the closer you get to 10mm, the smaller everything in the middle will appear - a very important thing to remember when composing a shot.

The best thing I read was by Ken Rockwell when he explained the basic rule - these lenses are not for 'fitting more in' - your image will be weak if you use them that way. Use them to exaggerate depth and perspective in creative ways.

Here's probably the favourite image I've taken so far with this lens:

Maldives Sunset

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fysloc
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to KBKB, 5 months ago

I set my focus onto the tree in the distance using flexible focus. Would this explain alot of the blurs?

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KwhyChang
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

This might be helpful:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/how-to-use-ultra-wide-lenses.htm

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cdpinker
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

With such a great depth of field in your images, I don't think F5 is enough to even get close to focus throughout the scene. Also, the shutter speeds are quite slow considering you have lots of trees - you'll likely capture movement if there is a breeze.

Maybe try a higher ISO than 100 so you speed up the shutter speed and/or decrease the aperture. Review each shot in-camera and adjust to suit your preference.

With the NEX and landscapes, I would also highly recommend using MF Assist to zoom in on what you want to focus on, and Focus Peaking to really nail it.

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KBKB
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

fysloc wrote:

I set my focus onto the tree in the distance using flexible focus. Would this explain alot of the blurs?

It could.  (Though it could also be due to camera movement or OSS if you forgot to turn it off.)

As indicated by my earlier post, you should be focusing only about 3.3 feet away (at f/5 w/ a focal length of 10mm) to get a depth of field from about 2.5 feet to infinity.  If you focused further away, some of the foreground detail that's closer will be blurred.

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Mel Snyder
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to cdpinker, 5 months ago

cdpinker wrote:

Getting focus right isn't any different with this lens than any other, but you'll need to follow good practice for landscape focussing (e.g. lower apertures, focussing 1/3rd into the scene, use tripods etc).

For me, the most important thing to get right with this lens is the composition. Its wide angle fits so much into the scene that you have to be really careful to create a strong composition. Also, the closer you get to 10mm, the smaller everything in the middle will appear - a very important thing to remember when composing a shot.

The best thing I read was by Ken Rockwell when he explained the basic rule - these lenses are not for 'fitting more in' - your image will be weak if you use them that way. Use them to exaggerate depth and perspective in creative ways.

Here's probably the favourite image I've taken so far with this lens:

Maldives Sunset

Absolutely correct! And a great example.

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gkstar
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to KBKB, 5 months ago

KBKB wrote:

Do you remember what you were focusing on in these shots? If you were focused on something far in the distance, I would expect some blurring of the foreground subjects.

Also, how did you focus? (Did you let the camera do it, or did you do it manually?)

For what it's worth, I looked at them with the loupe and they look pretty much as I would expect them to look. But, hunting around, it also wasn't clear to me where you had the focal point.

Keep in mind that these are long exposures. If there was any wind, you can expect to see an apparent lack of sharpness in foliage and perhaps even in the lights.

Another thing to pay attention to is the quality of your tripod and how you use it. For long exposures, it's best if you don't touch the camera or the tripod at all. (Either trigger the shutter with a remote or use the self timer.) The tripod should be beefy enough to hold the camera steady in the wind, if there is/was any. Some tripods have a hook to which you can add some ballast to help hold it steady.

Below are a few of my holiday light photos taken with the SEL1018. Note in the first one that there's some blurring in the tree due to the long exposure. I used multiple exposures for creating these shots. For some of them, I think I might have used focus stacking to get the immediate foreground in focus as well.

(In the photo above, I made the light reflected from the pool a lot brighter than it was in real life. I like it that way.)

KBKB, nice images. I see you are using this lens with the N7, how much does the magenta cast bother you?

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KBKB
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to gkstar, 5 months ago

gkstar wrote:

KBKB, nice images. I see you are using this lens with the N7, how much does the magenta cast bother you?

To be honest, I've never noticed it.  But I shoot RAW and post process everything.  I fix problems I perceive with color during that time.

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Fstop85
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to fysloc, 5 months ago

Aside from the advice that's already been given, it's a good idea to turn off the OSS when you're on a tripod. Using a sturdy tripod and a self timer I've managed very sharp 30s exposures.

Possibly you will need to try perfecting your focus technique - this isn't easy in the dark on an NEX. It will take some practice.

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RonFrank
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to cdpinker, 4 months ago

cdpinker wrote:


Here's probably the favourite image I've taken so far with this lens:

Maldives Sunset

OK, using the Maldives as your example is like cheating!

Maldives with turquoise blue water, and a beautiful sunset is stunning!

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RonFrank
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Re: Any tips for shooting with SEL1018?
In reply to fysloc, 4 months ago

Shooting long exposure at night as your 'Test Shots' is a tough way to start. As you may have noticed the image quality is lacking and that maybe poor focusing, wind, a wobbly tripod, or combination of all of the above!

Start simple, a photo of your favorite plant, a shot of your dog, whatever. But use a shot where you are in control of the camera and know exactly how the shot was done. If things are sharp as I would assume with a new lens then you can start adding variables. As you shoot with the lens you will become more comfortable.

I know photographers the set the focus on manual and shoot max DOF at f5.6 from around 2 feet to infinity. Not a bad way to go. Ultra wides are kinda a tricky lens to get great composition. Practice.... Practice.... Practice....

Have fun on the trip!

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