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03-09-2011, 04:47 PM   #1
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My photos always seem a bit soft?

Hi all,

When I compare my shots to other peoples (Ok they're professionals, but still!) mine always seem a bit soft. I usually lock focus and then recompose. For example this photo was shot at ISO 400 (very overcast) FA50mm, f3.2, 1/100. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong?


Last edited by NicoleAu; 08-20-2011 at 12:53 AM.
03-09-2011, 05:37 PM   #2
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what a cute shot!
here is what might help. take the kx off of auto select autofocus point.... read this it might help. when you have a shallow depth of field when you are shooting close to a subject, the depth of sharpness is sometimes just inches. focus on the eyes with the following technics
also try a small f stop (say f 4 or 5.6) if you are close to the subject, this will still blur the background although not as much but it will keep more of your subject in focus

Advanced Tips for Tack Sharp Images

hope it helps

randy
03-09-2011, 06:00 PM   #3
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Also check the Custom Image setting. The default custom image setting is Bright which has sharpness set to +1. Try bumping it up to +2 or +3. Maybe bump up contrast as well.

Pg 194 of the manual.
03-09-2011, 06:15 PM   #4
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Thanks Randy, I will give that a go with him. I always have it on center focus though, which is why I always have to recompose. I prefer portraits with larger depth of field to help people pop out a bit more.

Is it my recomposing that's buggering me up?

Cheers Boris, I didn't realise you could adjust sharpness in camera. I had it set on portrait image mode I think, which sets sharpness on the 0 line. I have bumped it right up now, so will see if that helps at all.

03-09-2011, 06:30 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicoleAu Quote
Thanks Randy, I will give that a go with him. I always have it on center focus though, which is why I always have to recompose. I prefer portraits with larger depth of field to help people pop out a bit more.

Is it my recomposing that's buggering me up?

Cheers Boris, I didn't realise you could adjust sharpness in camera. I had it set on portrait image mode I think, which sets sharpness on the 0 line. I have bumped it right up now, so will see if that helps at all.
when you choose where you want the camera to focus (like a focus point near the rule of 3rds zone) you don't need to recompose... the camera will focus with you son off center,,,,
I read that if your depth of field is only a couple of inches, then if you recompose, you might be focusing on something other then the original intent (usually the eyes)
do you shoot in raw or jpg? try raw if you have a program that will edit it... when you shoot in raw bumping the sharpness in the camera is irrelevant as you control the amount of sharpness with software like adobe photoshop or photoshop elements

randy
03-09-2011, 06:41 PM   #6
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I'm not getting you, my focus point is in the centre, so I'd need to recompose to get the shot how I want it? If I use continuous, the focal point changes as I move the camera.
03-09-2011, 07:02 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicoleAu Quote
I'm not getting you, my focus point is in the centre, so I'd need to recompose to get the shot how I want it? If I use continuous, the focal point changes as I move the camera.
In you manual it will tell you how to choose just one focus point in your viewfinder (at least I read that it should be able to)
then all you have to do is focus on the eyes and click with your subject off center.

I have a k10 but I will try to help as much as I can but I need to go to work
let me know how you do and if you need more help I can look up your owners manual tommorow or someone here might have the answer
here is a link to your manual http://www.pentaximaging.com/images/temp/63399407595779261272600manual_k-x_en_official.pdf
page 117

randy

Last edited by slip; 03-09-2011 at 07:08 PM.
03-09-2011, 07:18 PM   #8
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Right, I get what you mean now. I'll give it a try and see how that goes...

Here's one with the new focal point. I'm also now wondering if my shutter speed is too slow for Mr Runs-around-as-soon-as-he-sees-Mummys-camera?


Last edited by NicoleAu; 08-20-2011 at 12:53 AM.
03-09-2011, 08:03 PM   #9
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Nicole, I agree both photos look awfully soft, a FA50 should be razor sharp at 3.2.

I don't think your problem is focus & recompose, that's the technique I use, that can affect your focus point by maybe 2 cms or so, but you should have ~20cm DOF at least in that first shot (looks like you were about 2 meters away or more).

I assume the softness wasn't only introduced when you resize and upload to the web, does the original look soft on your monitor?

I'd first check your processing in camera and out, specifcally what sharpening is being added and confirm that you are shooting the highest quality JPEG (if you are shooting JPEG).

I'd then also check for back focus or front focus (use the 5% or 10% chart from here Jeffrey Friedl's Blog Jeffrey’s Autofocus Test Chart ). I think it's common for K-x's to back focus out of the box.

Apart from that maybe you have shakey hands and need a 1/160 or so shutter speed for your FA50? Are you waiting for the SR symbol to display being taking the pic?

Maybe your FA50 is a dud copy? Can you lend it to someone else to try, or try someone elses FA50? Do you get sharp photos with other lenses?

Last edited by twitch; 03-09-2011 at 08:20 PM.
03-09-2011, 08:26 PM   #10
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I'm half wondering whether it's my son, because here's a recent one of my daughter and I'm happy with the sharpness there. What do you think of it? It was shot at 400 ISO f2.5 and 1/25 handheld.

Yep the original looks soft in lightroom as well. Almost all my photos of him are on the softer side. I just seem to have virtually no luck in getting sharp shots of him, the ones I have are very few and far between.

Last edited by NicoleAu; 08-20-2011 at 12:53 AM.
03-09-2011, 08:29 PM   #11
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You should do some tests with your camera tripod-mounted, and see what results you get on a static subject, so you'll have something to compare to. If you have any other lenses, you should do tests with each one.

You can get an idea if motion is a problem by looking at the images at 100%. Motion will have a more "directional" look than soft focus. It's much easier to tell about sharpness at 100%.

The picture of your daughter looks soft to me where it matters (eyes), and while it looks like there might be some sharper areas, nothing looks really sharp. I've found that all my pictures (K100 and K200) need sharpening, but at 100% I can tell whether they're basically sharp to start with. It's harder to tell at lower magnifications.

In general I think you're going to have a tough job getting a high percentage of sharp pictures of kids at less than 1/125th or maybe even 1/250th. I'd usually expect to need 1/250th myself for a subject where you can't really stand still and prepare yourself to take the picture. The usual rule would say 1/75th would be sufficient, but I think that's for more of a best-case situation.

Except for the lack of sharpness, those are excellent pictures!

Paul

Last edited by tibbitts; 03-09-2011 at 08:43 PM.
03-09-2011, 08:30 PM   #12
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Argh I'm just awful at focusing
03-09-2011, 08:35 PM   #13
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Nicole, to me that looks soft too, not as much as before, but then 1/25 is very slow. Your 2nd and 3rd photo look like they might be front focused, hmmm, I'd do the focus chart test I posted a link to if only to rule it out.

Last edited by twitch; 03-09-2011 at 11:42 PM.
03-09-2011, 08:41 PM   #14
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Yeah I think I had the focus on my daughters nose instead of her eye lol. Yep yours looks good. I seem to do ok at bigger numbers, but the smaller ones I am complete crap at I'll get that chart printed out and do some testing over the weekend.

But you know, if you like, you can just package up your skills and send them to me. I think that would be much easier
03-09-2011, 09:23 PM   #15
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Well, I think its your son, he's greased lightning, and requires a faster shutter speed to freeze the motion blur he is causing.
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