Would the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS make a noticeable improvement on this pic?

Started Nov 21, 2011 | Discussions
geepondy Senior Member • Posts: 2,250
Would the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS make a noticeable improvement on this pic?

This shot was taken with my Rebel XS (1000D) along with the kit 18-55 lens and a 430EX II flash. This is a typical school auditorium stage in that the lighting was harsh with two incandescent spotlights shining down on the stage. I adjusted the raw file the best I could using DXO Optics Pro. Still I don't think it's particularly sharp and this may be the best one out of ten pictures I took. My question is, would the 15-85 IS lens make a noticeable improvement in sharpness in this picture or because of the crappy lighting conditions, another lens would not make much of a difference.

Also, it seems like the focus is a bit off in a lot of my lower light pictures shot with both this kit lens and my 55-250 lens. As mentioned, I took about ten shots of above pictures and the focus is definitely off on some of them. I think with the flash, the shutter speed was always 1/60th of a second so don't think it's camera shake blur. Does this point to a possibly defective camera or just the fact that the lens are lower quality? In really good lighting, the focus seems more consistent but then again the shutter speed is usually higher.

Last question. I wasn't quite centered so as you can tell, this picture was taken at an angle. Is there some sort of perspective correction software that might make it look more centered? I have Adobe Elements but can get access to Photoshop at work although I'm not at all experienced with it.

Thanks for any insight.

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BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 25,503
Try to avoid shooting wide open

But it certainly looks fine to me, transferred into Photoshop Elements, whacked with auto sharpen, and enlarged so it fills a 23 inch monitor.

You would not find any improvement with a different lens, unless you started using a magnifying glass.

As for distortion... if you start playing with skew and otehr features, you end up with a faked looking photo.

You were on an angle. So, next time, don't beon an angle, or accept that the photo looks fine.

If you want to spend money, buy a 580EX flashand shoot at f5.6.

Overall, the people should be nice and happy with 8x10 prints.

BAK

OP geepondy Senior Member • Posts: 2,250
Re: Try to avoid shooting wide open

That's a good idea. Next time (Christmas), I will try locking in the aperture at 5.6. Maybe even trying to shoot manual and set the shutter speed for 1/100 and see if the flash will handle it. The 430 EX II is my newest acquisition and it seems pretty powerful to me, although I still have to play with the FE quite a bit.

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NetMage Senior Member • Posts: 2,910
Re: Would the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS make a noticeable improvement on this p

It is hard to say anything about sharpness with the low resolution image in your post, but it appears pretty sharp to me, though it seems focused a bit closer than the main subject - how were your AF settings?

As far as perspective correction, you can do that with Elements or lots of other software, though I did this correction with PaintShop Photo Pro as it has the best tool for this, I think. You simply match a rectangular area to be straightened, and the whole picture is adjusted so that rectangle appears parallel to the picture edges. It can cause your image to become softer, but again it is hard to see at this resolution.

I also darkened/saturated the image some, as it seemed to me to have too much flash, possibly caused by the dark curtain fooling the exposure calculation.

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OP geepondy Senior Member • Posts: 2,250
Thanks

I thought I had uploaded the full size image to the DP gallery? Here it is again, uploaded to my Picasa web album. It appears not to be the original size but I think you can download the original photo?

https://picasaweb.google.com/110062237402303330006/ConvertedRawToJpg#5677411729774218642

As mentioned the image was processed with DXO Optics. I left it in auto mode except to change the color temperature so it might have been overzealous with some of the exposure compensation. Sometimes I think it tries too hard for that "HDR" look, hence the curtains were lightened considerably. The AF settings was set to center point but usually what I try to do is focus on a body and then recompose if necessary.

NetMage wrote:

It is hard to say anything about sharpness with the low resolution image in your post, but it appears pretty sharp to me, though it seems focused a bit closer than the main subject - how were your AF settings?

As far as perspective correction, you can do that with Elements or lots of other software, though I did this correction with PaintShop Photo Pro as it has the best tool for this, I think. You simply match a rectangular area to be straightened, and the whole picture is adjusted so that rectangle appears parallel to the picture edges. It can cause your image to become softer, but again it is hard to see at this resolution.

I also darkened/saturated the image some, as it seemed to me to have too much flash, possibly caused by the dark curtain fooling the exposure calculation.

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SNGX1327 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,186
Re: Thanks

it sounds like some people seem to think that the picture is fine. regardless, i don't think another lens would make this picture "sharper". the 15-85 would help if you were shooting from further away or wanted to zoom in more. but both the 15-85 and 18-55 have comprable IS systems. improving your technique will help you much more than buying a new lens. so i don't recommend shelling out cash for a new lens because you may get the same results.

as for the "angle" i can recommend a simple fix --- crop. cropping is one of the easiest things to do and can make a drastic improvement in the picture. i don't have access to photoshop or the capabilities to upload any photos right now, so i'll just explain what i see. first, align the photo so that the subjects are all in a straight horizontal. it appears that they are and the white border is at an angle to the subjects. but you want the subjects horizontal.

then, just crop the white frame out of the image so all that remains is the black backdrop, the subjects, and maybe the wooden floor. don't cut off the feet of anyone or, say, a foot of a microphone stand.

this would remove the white frame which is at an intersecting angle with the invisible line that the subjects are standing on, it would remove the guy's head at the bottom of the frame that serves as a distraction, and i think would help your image.

plus, it's very easy to do. most programs it involves clicking the crop tool, dragging a box, and presing "enter". cropping can really help any photo you take to remove unwanted distractions you may have missed when taking the photo (i use it all the time because i'm not smart enough to notice these distractions when i'm actually taking the picture)

photonius Veteran Member • Posts: 6,895
Re: Thanks

geepondy wrote:

I thought I had uploaded the full size image to the DP gallery? Here it is again, uploaded to my Picasa web album. It appears not to be the original size but I think you can download the original photo?

this one worked fine.

This looks like motion blur. The venue is not that dark, so a substantial amount of light will come from the stage lights, 1/60 f4 ISO 400, that will pick up extra light not just flash light.
You should try to increase shutter speed.

f the exposure compensation. Sometimes I think it tries too hard for that "HDR" look, hence the curtains were lightened considerably. The AF settings was set to center point but usually what I try to do is focus on a body and then recompose if necessary.

NetMage wrote:

It is hard to say anything about sharpness with the low resolution image in your post, but it appears pretty sharp to me, though it seems focused a bit closer than the main subject - how were your AF settings?

As far as perspective correction, you can do that with Elements or lots of other software, though I did this correction with PaintShop Photo Pro as it has the best tool for this, I think. You simply match a rectangular area to be straightened, and the whole picture is adjusted so that rectangle appears parallel to the picture edges. It can cause your image to become softer, but again it is hard to see at this resolution.

I also darkened/saturated the image some, as it seemed to me to have too much flash, possibly caused by the dark curtain fooling the exposure calculation.

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tonyjr
tonyjr Veteran Member • Posts: 5,288
Re: Would the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS make a noticeable improvement on this p

I would zoom in a little more , use f 5.6 to 8 , ISO 800 unless you are printing over 13 X 17 , then drop to 400.
In this case sharpest is mainly f stop and shutter speed .
Crop out the cords on floor and black background .
Get there early and use a monopod .
While the 15-85 is wider and longer - it would not help
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