Help explain the out of focus

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wasserball Veteran Member • Posts: 4,352
Help explain the out of focus

This picture was taken with the Nikon 70-20mm f2.8 VR (off) on the D600. Please overlook the oil spots in the sky area, but I am puzzled with the fuzzy result. Now, at the autocross event, I wanted to show the car in motion, which I have done many times. The camera setting was at 200mm, manual setting to f14, 1/160 sec, auto ISO at 250. I handheld, but did not pan the camera. The photo was slightly cropped and the resolution reduced on purpose, but that is not why the photo is fuzzy besides the car, which looks good to me. Can you explain why the cones just in front of the car and the background look so fuzzy? The autofocus is in good order, and I did not pan the shot. I would expect the cones to be somewhat in focus since I was shooting at f14. All other cars that I shot came out the same so it is not just this one photo that is puzzling me.  I added another photo with a more detailed background, which looks like it is in motion too.

 wasserball's gear list:wasserball's gear list
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED-IF VR Nikon D3S Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G ED VR II +4 more
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Ferguson
Ferguson Senior Member • Posts: 1,800
Re: Help explain the out of focus
4

It sure looks to me like you panned.

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OP wasserball Veteran Member • Posts: 4,352
Re: Help explain the out of focus

Ferguson wrote:

It sure looks to me like you panned.

I said I did not pan. I said it twice. If you have an opinion, share it. But, please don't complicate the issue. Thanks. I googled to see if other photographers have similar issue, Could be lens related? I don't know. Maybe shooting a high f number?

 wasserball's gear list:wasserball's gear list
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED-IF VR Nikon D3S Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G ED VR II +4 more
Kae1 Junior Member • Posts: 37
Re: Help explain the out of focus

wasserball wrote:

Can you explain why the cones just in front of the car and the background look so fuzzy?

In my opinion this is the effect you get when you photograph a moving object against a static one. When you use a slower shutter speed it exaggerates the effect. If you wanted everything to be sharp, i.e. the cone, the car and the background you would have to use a very fast shutter speed.

If you use a slower shutter speed you have two choices. Either keep the camera still and let the moving object go across the frame or follow the car with the camera. The choice is yours but the effects are different.

Here is a photo where I kept the camera still

The foreground and the background are in focus but as the car is moving and at the slow shutter speed I've used it is blurred.

This is a photo where I've followed the car.

The foreground and background are blurred but the car is in focus.

The only way to get both the foreground and the background in focus would have to have used a very high shutter speed, but the car would then look as if it wasn't moving. Unfortunately I don't have an example of that.

I don't know whether this helps.

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cosmicnode Veteran Member • Posts: 5,237
Re: Help explain the out of focus
3

wasserball wrote:

Ferguson wrote:

It sure looks to me like you panned.

I said I did not pan. I said it twice. If you have an opinion, share it. But, please don't complicate the issue. Thanks. I googled to see if other photographers have similar issue, Could be lens related? I don't know. Maybe shooting a high f number?

I agree with Ferguson it looks like you have panned, if only slightly as a reaction when you pressed the shutter. I don't believe the car is out of focus it simply has not been panned correctly or the camera held steadily enough to prevent movement and is blurred. You are moving the camera as you shoot. If you want this effect with those settings put the camera on a tripod and then everything but the car would be sharp,

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Mike.
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OP wasserball Veteran Member • Posts: 4,352
Re: Help explain the out of focus
1

OK, the conscientious is that I panned, ever so slightly. Next time, I will use a tripod for a few shots for comparison. Thanks, guys.

 wasserball's gear list:wasserball's gear list
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED-IF VR Nikon D3S Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G ED VR II +4 more
cosmicnode Veteran Member • Posts: 5,237
Re: Help explain the out of focus

cosmicnode wrote:

wasserball wrote:

Ferguson wrote:

It sure looks to me like you panned.

I said I did not pan. I said it twice. If you have an opinion, share it. But, please don't complicate the issue. Thanks. I googled to see if other photographers have similar issue, Could be lens related? I don't know. Maybe shooting a high f number?

I agree with Ferguson it looks like you have panned, if only slightly as a reaction when you pressed the shutter. I don't believe the car is out of focus it simply has not been panned correctly or the camera held steadily enough to prevent movement and is blurred. You are moving the camera as you shoot. If you want this effect with those settings put the camera on a tripod and then everything but the car would be sharp,

I have had a re-think and feel this may be a combination of camera shake and VR lens settings. You are basically taking a landscape shot into which a car is being driven. I have during this lock down taken lenses with similar FOV around to take shots of a distant mansion, When framing the image in the viewfinder mover around a lot even with VR at slow shutter speeds using Normal setting would give a reasonably sharp shot. You are at a race meeting and may have VR on set to Sport which is compensating for vertical movement and not horizontal which is why the background is blurred right to left, the car only has a small amount of horizontal. it could be you have a natural tendency to move the camera very slightly right to left when you press the shutter If you shoot with VR set to Normal you may get the effect you are after, Or I could be barking up the wrong tree,

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Mike.
"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure."

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Ferguson
Ferguson Senior Member • Posts: 1,800
Re: Help explain the out of focus

wasserball wrote:

Ferguson wrote:

It sure looks to me like you panned.

I said I did not pan. I said it twice. If you have an opinion, share it. But, please don't complicate the issue. Thanks. I googled to see if other photographers have similar issue, Could be lens related? I don't know. Maybe shooting a high f number?

I know.  I read it multiple times, but I also stared at the shot and offered the only opinion I could come up with. Look at just this snippit from the shot.  Look at the 69 -- it's not completely sharp, but fairly so.  Now look down at the roadway, each reflective point on that road has a line that's about the width of the "6" in the number.  That's definitely motion blur. There's simply no way the 69 is that sharp, and the road at the same distance that blurred in a consistent direction, from anything other than panning.

Our reflexes often betray us. After a few years of photography, you do not have to think "pan and follow the subject", it's ingrained deeply in there somewhere. Your conscious mind sometimes gets taken for a ride by your reflexes.  Think how often you click the shutter at just the right spot in a sports shot long before your conscious brain decides "right there".

Now if you were a novice photographer this would have worked fine and you wouldn't have panned.   

Linwood

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MILC man Senior Member • Posts: 4,414
Re: Help explain the out of focus
1

wasserball wrote:

This picture was taken with the Nikon 70-20mm f2.8 VR (off) on the D600. Please overlook the oil spots in the sky area, but I am puzzled with the fuzzy result. Now, at the autocross event, I wanted to show the car in motion, which I have done many times. The camera setting was at 200mm, manual setting to f14, 1/160 sec, auto ISO at 250. I handheld, but did not pan the camera. The photo was slightly cropped and the resolution reduced on purpose, but that is not why the photo is fuzzy besides the car, which looks good to me. Can you explain why the cones just in front of the car and the background look so fuzzy? The autofocus is in good order, and I did not pan the shot. I would expect the cones to be somewhat in focus since I was shooting at f14.

if you didn't want to pan the camera, then you must have wanted to freeze the action, right?

so the problem is that you used 1/160th shutter speed, which is way too slow for freezing action.

i think that you should keep the settings as they are, and pan the camera, unless you are shooting cars coming out of a turn.

as far as why your shots look like they were panned when they weren't, well, fwiw nikon has a history of parasitic interaction between v.r. and shutter/mirror at slow ss, that results in mushy pics: https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-d810/17

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