Focusing tips for a beginner

Started Oct 24, 2012 | Questions
tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 24,146
Critical sharpness......
2

kckempf wrote:

I was open to the idea that I didn't know what I was talking about!  Certainly I'm still learning what sorts of results to expect from the equipment I have.  If this is the expected output, I can't complain.

in my oppinion, at this level of magnification critical sharpness is more dependent on using a tripod, locking up the mirror/usning "anti-shock" setting, IS off, remote or timed shutter release and doing some PP than whether you are using a 12mp or 16mp sensor.   If you are not going to do that then larger, heavier cameras have an advantage because they have more mass to damp vibrations, etc. I think a lot of people with compact cameras complain about critical sharpness and jump to more expesive cameras because they are not willing to acknowlge that cirtical sharpness really depends on doing a lot of unpleasant work (e.g. using a tripod, etc.).    Tedolph

 tedolf's gear list:tedolf's gear list
Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R +8 more
Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 33,619
Re: Critical sharpness......

tedolf wrote:

kckempf wrote:

I was open to the idea that I didn't know what I was talking about!  Certainly I'm still learning what sorts of results to expect from the equipment I have.  If this is the expected output, I can't complain.

in my oppinion, at this level of magnification critical sharpness is more dependent on using a tripod, locking up the mirror/usning "anti-shock" setting, IS off, remote or timed shutter release and doing some PP than whether you are using a 12mp or 16mp sensor.   If you are not going to do that then larger, heavier cameras have an advantage because they have more mass to damp vibrations, etc. I think a lot of people with compact cameras complain about critical sharpness and jump to more expesive cameras because they are not willing to acknowlge that cirtical sharpness really depends on doing a lot of unpleasant work (e.g. using a tripod, etc.).    Tedolph

This suggests you see camera movement responsible in the example, and the lens itself is not part of the problem.

-- hide signature --

...Bob, NYC
http://www.bobtullis.com
/"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't."/ - Little Big Man
.

 Bob Tullis's gear list:Bob Tullis's gear list
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bowportes Veteran Member • Posts: 3,349
Re: Critical sharpness......

Bob Tullis wrote:

tedolf wrote:

kckempf wrote:

I was open to the idea that I didn't know what I was talking about!  Certainly I'm still learning what sorts of results to expect from the equipment I have.  If this is the expected output, I can't complain.

in my oppinion, at this level of magnification critical sharpness is more dependent on using a tripod, locking up the mirror/usning "anti-shock" setting, IS off, remote or timed shutter release and doing some PP than whether you are using a 12mp or 16mp sensor.   If you are not going to do that then larger, heavier cameras have an advantage because they have more mass to damp vibrations, etc. I think a lot of people with compact cameras complain about critical sharpness and jump to more expesive cameras because they are not willing to acknowlge that cirtical sharpness really depends on doing a lot of unpleasant work (e.g. using a tripod, etc.).    Tedolph

This suggests you see camera movement responsible in the example, and the lens itself is not part of the problem.

-- hide signature --

...Bob, NYC
http://www.bobtullis.com
/"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't."/ - Little Big Man
.

It also suggests that the camera is actually focused correctly -- on the trees -- which I'm inclined to think it is not, since areas in the foreground appear to be in sharper focus.

 bowportes's gear list:bowportes's gear list
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tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 24,146
Re: Critical sharpness......

Bob Tullis wrote:

tedolf wrote:

kckempf wrote:

I was open to the idea that I didn't know what I was talking about!  Certainly I'm still learning what sorts of results to expect from the equipment I have.  If this is the expected output, I can't complain.

in my oppinion, at this level of magnification critical sharpness is more dependent on using a tripod, locking up the mirror/usning "anti-shock" setting, IS off, remote or timed shutter release and doing some PP than whether you are using a 12mp or 16mp sensor.   If you are not going to do that then larger, heavier cameras have an advantage because they have more mass to damp vibrations, etc. I think a lot of people with compact cameras complain about critical sharpness and jump to more expesive cameras because they are not willing to acknowlge that cirtical sharpness really depends on doing a lot of unpleasant work (e.g. using a tripod, etc.).    Tedolph

This suggests you see camera movement responsible in the example, and the lens itself is not part of the problem.

-- hide signature --

...Bob, NYC
http://www.bobtullis.com
/"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't."/ - Little Big Man
.

As I remember, the OP's example photo was taken with an Oly 45mm f/1.8, no?   Tedolph

 tedolf's gear list:tedolf's gear list
Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R +8 more
OP kckempf New Member • Posts: 24
Re: Critical sharpness......

Lack of correct focus could very well be the case, with as new a photographer as myself.

And for the record, I upgraded for decreased noise at higher ISOs, since a lot of my photography has been indoors.  I do want to use every opportunity I get to learn more about how to get various desired effects, in this case sharpness in wide angle landscape photos.

I'm definitely looking into using a tripod, as I'm interested in delving into night photography at some point.  I don't know how much effect camera shake had on these particular photos, however, as there's little opportunity for it to have an effect at 1/800.

Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 33,619
Re: Critical sharpness......

tedolf wrote:

Bob Tullis wrote:

tedolf wrote:

kckempf wrote:

I was open to the idea that I didn't know what I was talking about!  Certainly I'm still learning what sorts of results to expect from the equipment I have.  If this is the expected output, I can't complain.

in my oppinion, at this level of magnification critical sharpness is more dependent on using a tripod, locking up the mirror/usning "anti-shock" setting, IS off, remote or timed shutter release and doing some PP than whether you are using a 12mp or 16mp sensor.   If you are not going to do that then larger, heavier cameras have an advantage because they have more mass to damp vibrations, etc. I think a lot of people with compact cameras complain about critical sharpness and jump to more expesive cameras because they are not willing to acknowlge that cirtical sharpness really depends on doing a lot of unpleasant work (e.g. using a tripod, etc.).    Tedolph

This suggests you see camera movement responsible in the example, and the lens itself is not part of the problem.

-- hide signature --

...Bob, NYC
http://www.bobtullis.com
/"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't."/ - Little Big Man
.

As I remember, the OP's example photo was taken with an Oly 45mm f/1.8, no?   Tedolph

And there's no issue there.   Look further down.

-- hide signature --

...Bob, NYC
http://www.bobtullis.com
/"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't."/ - Little Big Man
.

 Bob Tullis's gear list:Bob Tullis's gear list
Sony RX1R II Sony Alpha a7R II Fujifilm X-T2 Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 +11 more
tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 24,146
Ok professor.....

Bob Tullis wrote:

tedolf wrote:

Bob Tullis wrote:

tedolf wrote:

kckempf wrote:

I was open to the idea that I didn't know what I was talking about!  Certainly I'm still learning what sorts of results to expect from the equipment I have.  If this is the expected output, I can't complain.

in my oppinion, at this level of magnification critical sharpness is more dependent on using a tripod, locking up the mirror/usning "anti-shock" setting, IS off, remote or timed shutter release and doing some PP than whether you are using a 12mp or 16mp sensor.   If you are not going to do that then larger, heavier cameras have an advantage because they have more mass to damp vibrations, etc. I think a lot of people with compact cameras complain about critical sharpness and jump to more expesive cameras because they are not willing to acknowlge that cirtical sharpness really depends on doing a lot of unpleasant work (e.g. using a tripod, etc.).    Tedolph

This suggests you see camera movement responsible in the example, and the lens itself is not part of the problem.

-- hide signature --

...Bob, NYC
http://www.bobtullis.com
/"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't."/ - Little Big Man
.

As I remember, the OP's example photo was taken with an Oly 45mm f/1.8, no?   Tedolph

And there's no issue there.   Look further down.

-- hide signature --

...Bob, NYC
http://www.bobtullis.com
/"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't."/ - Little Big Man
.

I am at a loss.  What did I miss?     I am not talking about the 17mm photo if that is what you are refering to.  If you are, the 17mm always benefits from some sharpening in PP and fixing CA (as well as distortion correction!).   Ah, I see it now! S= 1/800.    Nevertheless, IBIS can do "stuff" at high shutter speeds.   I think any analysis of "critical sharpness has to be done with IBIS off and on a tripod, anti-chock on, etc.  otherwise there are just too many variables.    Tedolph

 tedolf's gear list:tedolf's gear list
Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R +8 more
bowportes Veteran Member • Posts: 3,349
Re: Critical sharpness......
1

kckempf wrote:

I'm definitely looking into using a tripod, as I'm interested in delving into night photography at some point.  I don't know how much effect camera shake had on these particular photos, however, as there's little opportunity for it to have an effect at 1/800.

I agree with all of Tedolf's suggestions if you're looking to maximize sharpness for a critical shot. One place where I often stray from his suggestions, however, is in the use of a tripod. Not that you won't get the sharpest results with a tripod, mind you, but if you're just out having fun with your camera, I would do this to get sharp shots:

1. shoot at the lowest possible ISO.

2. Shoot at a shutter speed that quadruples your FL.  For a 17mm shot, for example, shoot at faster than 1/68th of a second.

3. Be conservative with rule 2.  I already was by saying to quadruple, but then round up. I'd generally take such shots at 1/100th of a second or faster.

4. Turn of IS (if Olympus camera) or OIS on the lens (if panasonic).

5. Focus manually.  It's just an extra touch of control. You could pick the particular branch or leaves that you want to be most sharply in focus.  Your landscape is going nowhere, so why not?

6. Shoot multiple shots of the same thing.  Invariably, one will come out a little sharper than the others.

7. Turn off Noise Reduction and sharpening in camera.

8. Shoot raw and apply noise reduction and sharpening to achieve the desired result in Lightroom (or another raw developer).

9. In addition to multiple images, take multiple images at different apertures without dropping below your shutter speed threshold. Depending upon the composition, you might find that a shot at F8 appears sharper than one at f4. Sometimes, however, you might find the opposite.

10. Don't stop down below about f8. (This varies from lens to lens.) Your photos will look fuzzier at f11 and f16 than at f4 or f5.6.

11. Remember that one of the advantages of M4/3 photography is that it has greater depth-of-field than full frame photography. Use the greater depth of field at f4, etc. to your advantage.

 bowportes's gear list:bowportes's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 Fujifilm X-M1 Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm X-Pro2 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH +13 more
selected answer This post was selected as the answer by the original poster.
OP kckempf New Member • Posts: 24
Re: Critical sharpness......

Excellent set of suggestions, which incorporates a lot of the advice from other responses.

I'll do some shots with a tripod after I get one, but in general those are going to be a more planned trip.  These shots are just in my neighborhood during a break from work, since I have the good fortune of telecommuting and living in an interesting neighborhood.

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