90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

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BlueFish1980 New Member • Posts: 11
90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

Hi All,

I purchased them in September and overall frustrated with the image quality, looking at other pictures people are sharing with this combo, I see higher image quality when zoomed in than mine.

I have attached 4 examples, usually shoot handheld, VC in mode 3 or VC off, doesnt seem to make a difference, getting average looking images. I'm starting to doubt if i have a bad copy of lens or is it technique issues. Each of these images when zoomed in doesnt have sharpness, or looks blurry.

Please suggest if there is any inference or suggestions based on these images. Let me know if any more info is required.

Ray UK Contributing Member • Posts: 797
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations
1

Doesn't look very good to me. Possibly back focusing a little but difficult to tell from those shots, the first 2 are much too high an ISO value to make a judgement, in the other 2 it is difficult to tell what you are focused on.

Post some more shots taken at ISO100 of subjects that have some depth so that we can see where the focus point should be.

OP BlueFish1980 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

Ray UK wrote:

Doesn't look very good to me. Possibly back focusing a little but difficult to tell from those shots, the first 2 are much too high an ISO value to make a judgement, in the other 2 it is difficult to tell what you are focused on.

Post some more shots taken at ISO100 of subjects that have some depth so that we can see where the focus point should be.

Thanks for the response, I don't have much with ISO 100, should I be having?

Here is one I thought I focused on the bird, at ISO 250 but it didn't. So it does look like I have a front/back focus?

OP BlueFish1980 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

rajeshg wrote:

Ray UK wrote:

Doesn't look very good to me. Possibly back focusing a little but difficult to tell from those shots, the first 2 are much too high an ISO value to make a judgement, in the other 2 it is difficult to tell what you are focused on.

Post some more shots taken at ISO100 of subjects that have some depth so that we can see where the focus point should be.

Thanks for the response, I don't have much with ISO 100, should I be having?

Here is one I thought I focused on the bird, at ISO 250 but it didn't. So it does look like I have a front/back focus?

I'm sorry, I just rechecked this picture in DPP and I had all focus points enabled to capture when the bird flies, the auto focus latched focus on the green leaves to the right of the bird. So this may not be the right picture to determine focus issue.

I may have to end up doing a focus test in the lines of - Canon Focus testing

dave vichich
dave vichich Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

Looks like it's back focusing. The best shot to see this is the green bird. The tree is sharp, the bird isn't.

Some other issues may be, how many focusing points do you have active? Next time you go out, use the center point, or spot focus.

The other issue is 6400 iso. Canon isn't known for having the cleanest, low noise sensors. For these static shots, you should be able to drop your shutter speed to twice what you used for these shots. Instead of 1/800, use 1/400. That will bring the iso down to 3200, and that will help.

You are going to need to MFA your lens. If I remember right, to the left brings the focus closer to the camera. Just of the top of my head, I'd try 7 to the left.

After you do that, try a few shots of something at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees to you, say a fence line. Find something on that fence that you can spot focus on, and take a shot.

Review that shot and see if that thing you focused on is the sharpest thing in the photo. If it is, leave it. If it isn't, figure out if it's focusing in front of, or behind it, and make another adjustment. Keep doing that until you feel it's hitting right on.

In summary, Lower iso's, use less focus points, MFA ( micro  focus adjust ) your Len to that camera.

You'll be ok, but with that sensor, you may need to do a little more post sharpening than you're used to.

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CameraCarl Veteran Member • Posts: 7,463
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations
2

You ought to put the camera and lens on a solid tripod and try photographing things that have lots of contrast and don't move. It is difficult to assess a possible problem when you are handholding, photographing what the camera could interpret as different subjects. So share some low ISO photos of a high contrast subject, perhaps a neighbor's house, a park shelter, a mailbox, etc. Use a tripod and a wide to moderate aperture. If you don't have a tripod, set the camera on a solid surface and use a self timer.

JasonTheBirder
JasonTheBirder Senior Member • Posts: 1,384
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

I agree with the others. Absolutely backfocusing.You can tell by the shots with water in them.

Also it seems there is some in camera processing of some kind, perhaps noise reduction. If that is true turning it off should help.

Duckman21 Forum Member • Posts: 81
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

This lens is hit or miss wide open at 600mm. It can be quite sharp on some occasions, but more often than not it appears hazy and soft. Your first image is consistent with how most of my f6.3 600mm images look even if objects are in focus. Stop it down to f8 or f9 if you want more sharpness (be sure to bring down the shutter speed if possible). Note that you will lose depth of field and it doesn't do anything about heat/atmospheric haze which this lens seems sensitive to at the longer focal lengths.

As for focus, I tend to notice front-focusing with my unit and typically set it to +10 at all focal lengths on the 80D. You could try using the AF Microadjustment of the camera, or you could purchase the Tamron Tap-In Console. I found the Tap-In adjustment process quite tedious and not necessarily accurate for adjustment.

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JasonTheBirder
JasonTheBirder Senior Member • Posts: 1,384
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations
1

Duckman21 wrote:

This lens is hit or miss wide open at 600mm. It can be quite sharp on some occasions, but more often than not it appears hazy and soft. Your first image is consistent with how most of my f6.3 600mm images look even if objects are in focus. Stop it down to f8 or f9 if you want more sharpness (be sure to bring down the shutter speed if possible). Note that you will lose depth of field and it doesn't do anything about heat/atmospheric haze which this lens seems sensitive to at the longer focal lengths.

I think this is good advice. I never shoot mine wide open, but my gut feeling is that this lens peaks in sharpness at f/7.1, so I usually just leave it there unless I need more depth of field, or the subject is really far away and the focus point is too big for the bird. (I use it on a Nikon, but it's the same idea.)

David1961
David1961 Senior Member • Posts: 3,867
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations
2

For me, your shutter speeds are too slow.

I have the older Tamron G1 150-600mm on my 90D and at 600mm I use at least 1/1600s or faster for stationary subjects.

I don't worry about ISO at all. In manual mode I set the aperture I need to give the DOF I want, usually ~f/7-8 and 1/1600s or a faster. I set ISO to Auto and let the camera set ISO where it wants.

With the high pixel count sensor on the 90D it doesn't take much camera movement while hand holding to introduce camera shake.

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OP BlueFish1980 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

dave vichich wrote:

Looks like it's back focusing. The best shot to see this is the green bird. The tree is sharp, the bird isn't.

Some other issues may be, how many focusing points do you have active? Next time you go out, use the center point, or spot focus.

The other issue is 6400 iso. Canon isn't known for having the cleanest, low noise sensors. For these static shots, you should be able to drop your shutter speed to twice what you used for these shots. Instead of 1/800, use 1/400. That will bring the iso down to 3200, and that will help.

You are going to need to MFA your lens. If I remember right, to the left brings the focus closer to the camera. Just of the top of my head, I'd try 7 to the left.

After you do that, try a few shots of something at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees to you, say a fence line. Find something on that fence that you can spot focus on, and take a shot.

Review that shot and see if that thing you focused on is the sharpest thing in the photo. If it is, leave it. If it isn't, figure out if it's focusing in front of, or behind it, and make another adjustment. Keep doing that until you feel it's hitting right on.

In summary, Lower iso's, use less focus points, MFA ( micro focus adjust ) your Len to that camera.

You'll be ok, but with that sensor, you may need to do a little more post sharpening than you're used to.

Thanks Dave for your very valuable inputs, I will do some testing on focus and do MFA . I have also checked more of my images with DPP and agree with using lesser focus points. Will try them.

OP BlueFish1980 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

Thanks CameraCarl for your input. I have planned to do some focus testing tomorrow, will report back later in the week on how my experience is with all the various suggestions coming in this thread.

OP BlueFish1980 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

JasonTheBirder wrote:

I agree with the others. Absolutely backfocusing.You can tell by the shots with water in them.

Also it seems there is some in camera processing of some kind, perhaps noise reduction. If that is true turning it off should help.

Thanks for the input.

I turned off high ISO NR now, also Face detection in AF and a bunch of other changes. Will report back later this week.

OP BlueFish1980 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

David1961 wrote:

For me, your shutter speeds are too slow.

I have the older Tamron G1 150-600mm on my 90D and at 600mm I use at least 1/1600s or faster for stationary subjects.

I don't worry about ISO at all. In manual mode I set the aperture I need to give the DOF I want, usually ~f/7-8 and 1/1600s or a faster. I set ISO to Auto and let the camera set ISO where it wants.

With the high pixel count sensor on the 90D it doesn't take much camera movement while hand holding to introduce camera shake.

thanks David. I plan to test Manual mode as well , for a separate scenario of subjects in tough light/shade.

John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 24,184
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

dave vichich wrote:

The other issue is 6400 iso. Canon isn't known for having the cleanest, low noise sensors.

The 90D has one of the lowest noise sensors in the industry, per unit of sensor area. It may seem noisier at 100% pixel view because you are magnifying the sensor more with the smaller pixels.  Nothing particularly wrong with the sensor; a 1.6x crop from the Nikon D5 at ISO 6400 is barely cleaner at all, both viewed at the same subject size.

John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 24,184
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

David1961 wrote:

With the high pixel count sensor on the 90D it doesn't take much camera movement while hand holding to introduce camera shake.

It doesn't "introduce" camera shake; the higher pixel density makes it easier to see that there was camera shake, only because larger pixels would have a made a bigger mess of their own, and you wouldn't have noticed the shake as readily.

David1961
David1961 Senior Member • Posts: 3,867
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

Yes thank you.  We are essentially saying the same thing but your way is clearer

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IAMAI Senior Member • Posts: 1,833
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

Didn't see it mentioned but remove any front filter glass and be sure the lens is impeccably clean, front and rear.  A lot of magnification there. Did you buy the camera and lens brand new or used?

Use live view also to see if you can get a proper focus with a solid mount.. If not then don't waste time with a micro adjustment as it is some other problem.

Also use multiple shots of same scene in live view with lens stabilization switched off and without moving camera and see if any are in focus. If some or most are in focus then it is likely not a camera problem. If none in focus then try it in live view with another lens. If that also fails to focus then it is a camera issue. If you can get focus then try micro-adjustment of the Tamron lens for use with viewfinder. If that fails then get lens repaired.

You could also try a few shots with manual focus and see if that works any better.

Duckman21 Forum Member • Posts: 81
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

JasonTheBirder wrote:

Duckman21 wrote:

This lens is hit or miss wide open at 600mm. It can be quite sharp on some occasions, but more often than not it appears hazy and soft. Your first image is consistent with how most of my f6.3 600mm images look even if objects are in focus. Stop it down to f8 or f9 if you want more sharpness (be sure to bring down the shutter speed if possible). Note that you will lose depth of field and it doesn't do anything about heat/atmospheric haze which this lens seems sensitive to at the longer focal lengths.

I think this is good advice. I never shoot mine wide open, but my gut feeling is that this lens peaks in sharpness at f/7.1, so I usually just leave it there unless I need more depth of field, or the subject is really far away and the focus point is too big for the bird. (I use it on a Nikon, but it's the same idea.)

I find f7.1 good for some situations but in others it seems to still be soft compared to f8. For flying birds I typically use f8-f9, f11 for more distant scoping (though diffraction starts to set in).

Are you shooting APS-C or full-frame? I read some reviews saying this lens is much sharper on full-frame.

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Duckman21 Forum Member • Posts: 81
Re: 90d and Tamron 150-600 - sharpness issue or wrong expectations

David1961 wrote:

For me, your shutter speeds are too slow.

I have the older Tamron G1 150-600mm on my 90D and at 600mm I use at least 1/1600s or faster for stationary subjects.

I don't worry about ISO at all. In manual mode I set the aperture I need to give the DOF I want, usually ~f/7-8 and 1/1600s or a faster. I set ISO to Auto and let the camera set ISO where it wants.

With the high pixel count sensor on the 90D it doesn't take much camera movement while hand holding to introduce camera shake.

I don't mind if my ISO goes up to 1600 in some situations, but I try to keep it below 800 if possible. I generally stay above 1/640 for stationary objects, and above 1/1600 for birds in flight. On the 80D I find the auto-ISO to be hit or miss, often overexposing for birds out on dark bodies of water. Not sure if this has improved with the 90D though. If I know I'm in a stable daylight condition I'd cap it to ISO 400 . Since I shoot raw I could lift another stop up in post, but for JPEG shooting this is not an option.

My bigger gripe about the G2 is the stabilizer. I only trust it down to 1/250 and I've been told people are able to get tack-sharp images at much lower shutter speeds with the Nikon 200-500 and a lesser extent with the Sigma 150-600. It seems to me the problem is not just motion blur but that the stabilizing lens element is optically sub-par, adding smearing and softness in some situations (I tested this by locking the focus and taking a stationary subject).  Mode 1 lacks panning detection and I often forget to flick the switch to Mode 2/turn it off when a bird starts to fly. Otherwise I'll end up with viewfinder lag and added motion blur. Mode 3 seems to work for a few shots of BIF but after taking many shots it starts to add motion blur as well. Funny enough Tamron introduced panning detection to the G1 via firmware update but since you can't use the Tap-in Console with it you must send it in for service.

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