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 Post subject: Nikon D7000 - Soft Focus
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:36 pm 
I recently upgraded from a Nikon D90 to a D7000. I was persuaded to do so because all the reviews suggested that this was a significant improvement on the D90 and that in many ways the D7000 was at least as good a performer as the D300 / 300s.

I have used Nikon cameras for 25 years only changing models when I felt there was good cause to do so.

The D7000 ought to be just the camera for me. It's improved video performance as well as the build quality and comprehensive menus seem to offer more than enough for the serious amateur. But the truth is, I am disappointed.

I am just not getting the sharpness I would expect from a camera of this pedigree even though I am using the 18-105 Nikon DX VR kit lens that gave me terrific service on the D90 and a brand new AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 G Prime lens.

Overall, the results are significantly poorer than those from my Panasonic Lumix LX5.

I thought your review of the D7000 was very comprehensive Gordon and I wish I had watched it before I bought the camera. It would certainly have made me think twice.

When I rang the shop to ask for an explanation they told me not to take any notice of online reviews and that they had never had a complaint about a D7000. "The people who buy these are very particular and if there was a problem we would certainly have heard. Are you sure you know how to operate the camera properly?" .... was the patronising response.

At another specialist dealer, I was told: "People don't seem to realise that the more expensive and professional the camera - the softer the image might look on the screen. That is deliberate. All the information is there, it simply needs processing. You select the level of sharpness you want."

Frankly, this last statement leaves me completely baffled. Can this really be right? Am I and thousands of other photography enthusiasts buying cameras that are DESIGNED to produce SOFT results? If so, why isn't that made clear in all the marketing and hype?

Frankly, the image is what is important to me and I want a camera that is going to get it bang on first time.

I don't want to give up on the D7000. I would really like it to give me what I expected to get.

Happy to send samples of the pictures I am concerned about if required.

Your thoughts - and any others - most welcome - before I phone the shop again !


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:09 am 
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Location: Gold Coast Australia
Welcome to the forum Tim, sorry about the disappointment with the D7000, I have the opposite opinion. I'm surprised the 18-105 Nikon DX VR kit lens gave better quality on the D90. I found kit lenses on my D40x soft as well as a 70-300mm on the D7000, I beleive kit lenses are not that sharp. I get sharper pics with my 18-200mm heavily cropped than with the 70-300mm.

This link has a couple of user setting for the D7000, hope it helps.


viewtopic.php?f=7&t=26987&p=231450#p231450

Cheers

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Nikon D7000, Nikkor 80 - 400G, Nikkor 18- 200 VR II, f3.5-5.6.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:54 am 
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Hi Tim, welcome on-board!

I'd actually agree with the advice you got from the second store. Believe it or not, unprocessed images from ALL digital cameras are pretty soft-looking. They only look sharp when digital sharpening is applied, and as you're probably already guessing, some cameras apply more sharpening than others by default, but it is a setting you can change.

DSLRs generally apply less sharpening by default as the manufacturers expect the owners to do more processing themselves, whereas most images from point-and-shoot cameras are already fully cooked and ready to go!

There's three routes I'd recommend for you:

1: First is to choose an alternative picture style as the camera will have several presets, some of which will be sharper or more vibrant than the standard one. You could also tweak a style to have as much sharpening as you like.

2: Second would be to open your images in manipulation software like Photoshop and simply add more sharpening,

3: Third, and best of all, is to shoot in RAW, then process the file in software to have as much sharpening as you like.

The reason the third approach is the best is because sharpening will add some artefacts to the image, so you only really want to do it once. It'll look better than adding more sharpening to an image that's already been sharpened a bit.

Gordon


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:29 am 
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@ Gordon: Once again, I've learned something from your suggestions. All my experience with digital photography comes from the Canon PowerShot line (point-n-shoot). I wasn't aware they did in-camera sharpening. As you mentioned, sharpening an image twice could create artifacts. I experienced this with applying vivid twice: I got colored dots.

So, now that I have the Canon Rebel T4i DSLR (and have read the manual), I'll be paying attention to sharpness. I've been shooting in Picture Style: Auto, mainly because this is the one feature I understand the least. It doesn't really apply to my PowerShot G12 and has no meaning in my world of 35mm SLR. In Auto, Sharpness is set to 3; that's out of a range from 0 to 7. Here are Sharpness default settings for other Picture Styles: Standard - 3, Portrait - 2, Neutral/Faithful - 0. So, you're right: By default, even DSLR cameras default to some level of sharpening. Considering the T4i is an entry level DSLR, it's understandable that it sharpens by default.

This made me revisit my G12. I had to dig into its manual to discover Sharpness control. It ranges from 0 to 4. It is normally set to 2. Under My Colors setting, one setting - Custom Colors - allows you to set several things, one of which is Sharpness (0 to 4, default 2). Unfortunately, if you want a different setting for Sharpness, it'll be at the exclusion of any other My Colors setting; You'll have to duplicate another setting's attributes, which are not known.

So, this brings up several questions:
1. What level of Sharpness mimics 35mm film?
2. Is Sharpness a factor of JPEG compression?
3. Does RAW image storage automatically disable Sharpness?
4. Is it best to shoot in RAW w/o in-camera Sharpness and add it later on your computer?

Sincerely,

-=- PalaDolphin

_________________
-=- PalaDolphin
http://www.PalaDolphin.com
My equipment are:
Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D
lens: EF-S 18-135mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS STM
lens: EF-S 55-250mm 1:4-5.6 IS II
lens: Tamron SP 60mm F/2 Di II 1:1 Macro
Canon Speedlite 380EX flash
Canon PowerShot G12
Canon AE-1 Programmable w/55mm, 200mm, & 24mm lenses
bag: Lowepro® SlingShot 202AW


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:37 am 
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Something else Gordon mentions in his review of the D7000 is back-focusing
Quote:
Unfortunately though, all was not well with our D7000's focusing. Our initial test images looked a little soft, and upon further investigation, our sample kit was suffering from back-focusing.


Maybe you could follow his suggestion for fixing this to see if it helps your issue.
Quote:
Nikon includes AF Fine Tune facilities which allow you to correct for front or back focusing on up to 12 lenses, and applying a value of -8 for the supplied kit lens greatly improved our results

_________________
Nikon D90
Nikkor AF-S DX; 18-105 f/3.5-5.6G VR, 55-300 f/4.5-5.6G VR, 35mm f/1.8G
Speedlight SB-700

http://keystrokesukimages.com


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:10 pm 
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Digital sharpness is a very subjective thing. Some people like lots, others don't like much. Sometimes it depends on the subject too.

The best advice I can give you is to experiment until you find something which looks good for you - and taking into account how you want to use your images. If you're viewing on-screen, reducing for email or preparing for print, you'll also probably want different degrees of sharpening.

I would recommend shooting in RAW, as this saves the data before sharpening. Then you can experiment with different sharpening settings on the same image.


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