Is the 18-105 soft for distant subjects?

Started Jan 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
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georgehudetz Senior Member • Posts: 2,467
Is the 18-105 soft for distant subjects?

Or is it operator error? 

Background:

New D7000 shooter with the 18-105, both of which I bought (lightly) used. Brought it skiing on Mt Hood (Timerbline Lodge) over the weekend since the weather was supposed to be glorious (it was) and I was hoping to get some good shots.

Have not done AF calibration, however, I do not think AF is the issue here, since I am shooting at F8-F9 and have a generous depth of field. Also, I took over 100 shots that day, with only one obviously OOF shot (yay!). I’m using the Ray Soares setup, and it worked quite well for me capturing both stationary and moving subjects against the snow, even when fumbling around with gloves on.

I’ve attached one of those shots. The focus point (using 9 sensors) is right in the middle of the image, as per VNX, so I should be well beyond the hyper focal distance. Details in the center of the image (lift towers and tiny little people) look fairly good to me, but the mountain peak looks soft. Note that I’m not pixel-peeping – just looking at the image at 1:1.

Is this to be expected of the 18-105? Or does anybody suspect operator error? If this is typical, can you suggest any lenses that have good sharpness for distant subjects? If not, what am I doing wrong?

The image has been post-processed from raw in DXO8, with the default settings. I can get more sharpness out by using the unsharp mask and micro-contrast controls, but there always seems to be a trade-off when doing this and I am wondering if there is something I can do to alleviate the need for sharpening of distant subjects (not that I am against PP – still a lot to learn there).

Thanks in advance!



 georgehudetz's gear list:georgehudetz's gear list
Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS +7 more
Nikon D7000
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