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 Post subject: Focus - blur -- Help!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:52 pm 
Hi everyone,

After much waiting and research and help from people on here i've finally got my D300 and lenses.

I've been out the past two days playing with it photographing stuff but i seem to be having a problem getting things in good focus most things seem to be blurry or the dof just seems too shallow. I've tried using A mode but still i can't seem to get what i want.

Most of my problem is with shooting macro with my telephoto lens (as macro as can be anyway) I know shooting macro has a limited dof but i'm having trouble having things in focus at all. For example this thistle and dragonfly. Can anyone see what i'm doing wrong? any pointers?

I am new to the world of the dslr but i've read the manual and before i even got the camera i read up alot and studied what i could but i'm sure there is something i'm missing.

Image

Edit : Iso : 100, 300mm, f / 5.6, 1/25 sec

Also here is a link to my flickr with that picture

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28598075@N03/2669078680/

I tried to upload a couple more but i'm having problems uploading.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:08 pm 
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Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi Shane, what's wrong with it? I think it looks great...

Macro shots (especially with DSLRs) have inherently very shallow depth of fields. All you can do is increase the f-number (but risk motion due to the longer exposure), and position the camera and lens so as much of the subject as possible is already parallel with the focal plane (rather than going away from or towards the camera).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:47 pm 
Hi Gordon, thanks for the reply.

I guess because of the size of the picture you can't really see but the dragonfly isn't in perfect focus it's a little blurry. I did want the shallow dof and just the dragonfly and grass it's on to be in focus but i took about 40 shots of this pic and just couldn't get the dragonfly in focus. I have some other pics where i've been having the same problem i'll try upload and link them so you get more of an idea of what my problem is.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:49 pm 
Ok i've managed to upload this one of the thistle i was talking about, see how it's just too blurry, for my eyes atleast.

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:21 am 
^ that's not a case of bad focusing, that's just a case of camera shake.

Your shutter was a bit too slow for you to control the camera without shaking it, or too shaky for the VR system (if used) to maintain steadiness.

If you did have VR on, then there was too much shake for it to control, and it did the best it could.

Try using a tripod, or firing a flash, but the flash will not deliver the same effect as you would get with natural light, unless controlled and synced slowly to just add to the natural light, not take away or take over.

But yeah, try using a tripod when you see a shutter speed lower than 1/15th of a second (perhaps slower) even when VR is on. You might not see the blur in the LCD, but you might when you open it at home on the PC, and at that point, your hard work has been kind-of lost... Better to play it safe.

Best,
-Sean.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:35 am 
Yep I concur this is a deffo hand wobble!

Try to up the shutter speed in increments to get the best shot...with macro you are not going to get the desired shot 1st time. Adding fill in flash with also help.

Depending on the type of tripod you have you might not be able to get down low enough without a high end model of tripod. But dont worry you will get there in the end. Half the fun of a new camera is getting to know it....

Regards.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:11 pm 
You've zoomed to 300mm and used a shutter speed of 1/25. That's a big no no, as image stabilization will most likely be unable to cope with that either.

A general rule of thumb is as follows:

Assume a zoom of N mm. In order to completely avoid camera shake, this will require a shutter speed of 1/N.

Thus, in your example you should have a shutter speed of 1/300 or more to accommodate your 300mm zoom. Image stabilization frequently means that you're able to decrease your shutter speed by 2 stops. That means a shutter speed of about 1/75 should be sufficient.

So your options are to increase your shutter speed or use a tripod.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:35 pm 
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pgtips wrote:
So your options are to increase your shutter speed or use a tripod.


Or get closer... If you want a deeper DOF, you need to avoid zoom as much as possible.

zooming in only makes it more and more shallow.

But the above photo suggests camera shake (esepcially at 300mm, you will have a hard time avoiding shake at 1/25 of a second.

Leo

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:30 pm 
Yh - it's camera shake and possibly some motion blur on the dragonfly's part. :)

So try and use a shorter shutter speed.

Mark


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:47 pm 
And there should also be room to use a higher ISO if that is necessary to give you the higher shutter speed or the smaller aperture. Since you shot this one at 100 ISO you should be able to get away with 200 or 400 without too much noise. And you can remove the noise later in PP if it is too noticeable.

Ben


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:36 pm 
Also keep in mind that even if you use a tripod, a slow shutter speed could still result in motion blur if your subject is moving! If there's even a slight breeze, it can be very tough to get a clear macro shot of something like a flower.

For shots very close to the ground, I've used my Gorillapod SLR Zoom with great success. It allows you to put the camera anywhere from ground level up to about 10 inches (0.25 meters) off the ground. Stability is fine with most lenses, although very heavy lenses like my 70-200mm f/2.8L really limit the number of stable positions in which you can use the Gorillapod (not that I'd use it for macro anyway, but....).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:09 pm 
Thank you all very much for the replies :)

I do believe it was camera shake i just didn't know what i was doing wrong being new to the dslr world and all. All of your comments really helped espically pgtips that helps alot thanks :)

One thing though, pgtips you said IS decreases shutter speed by two stops, what exactley is a stop i'd like to fully understand rather than guess :p.

Leo thanks for that about the DOF sometimes a shallow DOF is nice but it's also nice to have more in focus, it helps to know that thanks.

Ok so i understand now that one of and probably the best way is either a tripod or faster shutter speed. When using a faster shutter speed less light enters and you get a darker image so apart from flash and iso is there anything else that can be done? or just post processing?

Thanks alot for all your help it really does help i'm very new to all this and really enjoy it and want to learn thanks again everyone :)

Shane


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:43 pm 
Shane Collins wrote:
One thing though, pgtips you said IS decreases shutter speed by two stops, what exactley is a stop i'd like to fully understand rather than guess :p.


A fairly decent explanation of stops is found at http://www.uscoles.com/fstop.htm

He explains it far better than I ever could :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:43 pm 
pgtips wrote:
Shane Collins wrote:
One thing though, pgtips you said IS decreases shutter speed by two stops, what exactley is a stop i'd like to fully understand rather than guess :p.


A fairly decent explanation of stops is found at http://www.uscoles.com/fstop.htm

He explains it far better than I ever could :)


Thank you very much for that, complicated but i believe i understand now. So going up or down a stop is basically letting in more or less light by halving the aperature or shutter speed, right? please tell me if you think i've got it right or not.

Thanks alot for this it's helped alot (if i'm understanding it right)

Shane


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:04 am 
When talking about shutter speed, going up or down a stop is as you say: doubling or halving the shutter speed. The effect of aperture size on stops is slightly more complicated.

Thankfully though, the aperture "steps" on most cameras correspond to 1 stop. On my camera, the aperture goes from 4 -> 5.6 -> 8 -> 11 -> 16 etc and each of those steps is equivalent to 1 stop. I think that's the same for most budget and mid-range DSLRs.


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