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11-26-2010, 01:57 PM   #1
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My *ist DL and Focusing

I'm getting a bit better at producing something besides a total blur but I'm still not quite certain of which type of focusing to use or the advantages and disadvantages of either? Manually I think I am actually doing better but the whole auto focus thing is just messing with me, particularly when I'm trying to do very close up work like macro. I'm using a Tamron 28-200MM Super Zoom f/3.8-5.6 XR Di Aspherical IF Macro Auto-Focus lens for the most part but I'll be getting some manual K-mount lenses this week also.

Which type of focusing setting in the menu is better to use and why? I've got it on center at the moment, but I've tried both. Can't see much difference really. I am thinking about getting a Katz screen down the road when I finally upgrade to a K-x or better, but it's not on the agenda as yet. I just want to work on improving my focusing with what I've got basically.

Just an FYI I am somewhat nearsighted and I do have a bit of astigmatism as well as a bit of presbyobia these days. (Not badly so in any case.) I'm using the diopter on the *ist and/or my glasses too it seems to be fine in so far as getting a good view goes, but my pictures are not coming off as crisp as I'd like.

I'm thinking I need to readjust my settings a bit to use auto focus more effectively but I am just not quite sure of what settings to use. The odd thing is that when I am manually focusing they're actually better shots about 75% of the time. Unfortunately I don't always have as much time to stop, compose, and shoot as I'd like not when shooting birds and such. I'm really not getting anything like quality of the macro on my Fuji so far no matter what settings I use in terms of aperture, iso, etc or in terms of the macro program setting either. Just blur. I know I must be doing something way wrong there, but I haven't been able to figure out what. This lens is supposed to be able to handle macro so I am assuming I'm the one at fault.

Should I even be trying to use the macro setting in combo with the macro lens? Or should I just be doing it all myself in manual mode and letting the lens handle the macro bit? I'm wondering if it's two separate things, macro via the lens and macro via the program setting with the lens not in macro mode? I've never shot macro with a DSLR before so stay with me and my ignorance. This is very different from shooting with my Fuji P&S or my film SLR's in some ways.

Tips?

Thanks!


Last edited by magkelly; 11-26-2010 at 02:06 PM.
11-27-2010, 04:35 PM   #2
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I pulled out my old *ist DL, and then realized a couple of things.

First: With all the macro shots I've taken, I've never used a "macro" setting.

Second: The macro setting isn't going to change the focus or focusing ability of the camera. It can only "optimize" the aperture and shutter speeds for macro work.

If you are having trouble with the auto focus, I would have to bet that the problem is most likely in the lens. Have you tried another auto focus lens? When you focus manually, does the focus assist light come on in the times you have good focus?

Just a couple of things to check into. I hope this can help you out.
11-27-2010, 07:36 PM   #3
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There is a macro program setting on the *ist DL but I don't know if working that with a lens that has macro capacity is the same thing as using the macro setting on a camera that's got a fixed lens with a digital zoom. I don't know if I should be using the macro settings on my Tamron and skipping the *ist program macro, using the program macro with the macro on the lens itself, or just using program macro and setting the lens normally and forgetting that the lens also has a separate macro setting.

It's a bit confusing because both the camera and the lens have macro and I'm not sure if they're working in harmony or if maybe they're clashing in some way when used together. I'm only used to the macro program on a digital camera with a built in digital zoom.

The lens seems to be capturing things okay sometimes. I think it's me. My focusing skills have gone to the dogs since I swapped my Fuji in for a DSLR it would seem. I was doing better with my film SLR's and my manual M42's actually. I know it's probably me, just having to relearn how to focus on a new kind of camera with a new kind of lens and I have made some progress there, but my good shots rate has just plummeted since I started using my *ist, particularly when it comes to the close up work.

I should be getting some K-mount lenses that I bought a bit ago on Goodwill this next week, but till then the only other K-mount lens that I have isn't safe to put on my *ist, fungus, so I am going to wait until they arrive. I can probably tell you better then. I don't think it's the Tamron though. I think it's just that I'm too dumb to use it properly, laugh.


QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
I pulled out my old *ist DL, and then realized a couple of things.

First: With all the macro shots I've taken, I've never used a "macro" setting.

Second: The macro setting isn't going to change the focus or focusing ability of the camera. It can only "optimize" the aperture and shutter speeds for macro work.

If you are having trouble with the auto focus, I would have to bet that the problem is most likely in the lens. Have you tried another auto focus lens? When you focus manually, does the focus assist light come on in the times you have good focus?

Just a couple of things to check into. I hope this can help you out.
11-28-2010, 12:14 AM   #4
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The macro 'setting' on the lens is a position that allows close focus; nothing to do with aperture or shutter speed.

Without knowing the camera, I would guess that it just uses a predefined algorithm for DOF or shutter speed. I'm not into macro, but you can easily check by taking the same shot with and without the macro setting on the camera and afterwards compare aperture and shutter speed.

11-28-2010, 08:32 AM   #5
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You are absolutely right sterretje, the macro setting on the *ist gives you an optimum DOF when working in macro ( ie greater then when you would use the portrait setting).
I am not familiar with the lens, but I would guess the macro on it would lock it into the close focus area?
Either way I can't see the macro setting on the camera having any affect on focus.
11-28-2010, 10:47 AM   #6
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I suspect that the Fuji is similar to the Lumix dmc-fz28 trough which I got to DLSRs (k-x): setting it in macro mode causes the integrated lens to focus very near (centimeters with short focal lengths). The Tamron 28-200 has a minimum focus distance of 0.49m (or so the lens database here says). It is supposed to reach about x0.25 (1:4) magnification at this distance (@200mm, probably). Also, some lenses (such as the Tamron 70-300) have a macro (= close focus) mode that is mechanically set on the lens but I would guess that the 28-200 always focuses to 0.49m and produces the 1:4 magnification @200mm FL. If it doesn't want to do this, then look for a switch or somesuch on the lens, the body cannot set this like a bridge camera with an integrated lens might.
11-28-2010, 11:16 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I'm getting a bit better at producing something besides a total blur but I'm still not quite certain of which type of focusing to use or the advantages and disadvantages of either? Manually I think I am actually doing better but the whole auto focus thing is just messing with me, particularly when I'm trying to do very close up work like macro. I'm using a Tamron 28-200MM Super Zoom f/3.8-5.6 XR Di Aspherical IF Macro Auto-Focus lens for the most part but I'll be getting some manual K-mount lenses this week also.

Which type of focusing setting in the menu is better to use and why? I've got it on center at the moment, but I've tried both. Can't see much difference really. I am thinking about getting a Katz screen down the road when I finally upgrade to a K-x or better, but it's not on the agenda as yet. I just want to work on improving my focusing with what I've got basically.

Just an FYI I am somewhat nearsighted and I do have a bit of astigmatism as well as a bit of presbyobia these days. (Not badly so in any case.) I'm using the diopter on the *ist and/or my glasses too it seems to be fine in so far as getting a good view goes, but my pictures are not coming off as crisp as I'd like.

I'm thinking I need to readjust my settings a bit to use auto focus more effectively but I am just not quite sure of what settings to use. The odd thing is that when I am manually focusing they're actually better shots about 75% of the time. Unfortunately I don't always have as much time to stop, compose, and shoot as I'd like not when shooting birds and such. I'm really not getting anything like quality of the macro on my Fuji so far no matter what settings I use in terms of aperture, iso, etc or in terms of the macro program setting either. Just blur. I know I must be doing something way wrong there, but I haven't been able to figure out what. This lens is supposed to be able to handle macro so I am assuming I'm the one at fault.

Should I even be trying to use the macro setting in combo with the macro lens? Or should I just be doing it all myself in manual mode and letting the lens handle the macro bit? I'm wondering if it's two separate things, macro via the lens and macro via the program setting with the lens not in macro mode? I've never shot macro with a DSLR before so stay with me and my ignorance. This is very different from shooting with my Fuji P&S or my film SLR's in some ways.

Tips?

Thanks!
Have you tried using the Sharpening Tool on the DL?
I had a istDL myself, and it was the very 1st DSLR I ever had, but now I am going after the K-5 myself!
11-28-2010, 05:35 PM   #8
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More on this tomorrow, still reading the posts and I haven't had a chance today to even take my camera out. People dropping in and out, cleaning, just a busy day on today, but thanks to all for the replies.

11-29-2010, 03:26 AM   #9
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Macro / Manual focus with ist DL.

I've had an ist DL for a few weeks now and I am finding it as good as my K7 in terms of manual focusing. Unless I need to be discrete, I set the beep option for focus confirmation as sometimes the in-focus indicator in the viewfinder can be hard to see in bright lighting. The image below was as I was going for macro close up with the 18-55AL zoom on a dandlion flower when my cat wandered through and the AF locked onto it and got a shot of a different sort of dandy-lion. The distance was at the lens' minimum focus.
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11-29-2010, 04:27 PM   #10
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It would appear that it's me whatever I am doing. I let my new teacher have the *ist and the lens today so he could check it out for me while he was working? He says it's fine. We're getting together this weekend and he says he'll figure out it out then, what I've been doing wrong. But I just cannot seem to get a decent close up shot (macro or not) with this lens on this camera no matter what I do.

My portrait distance shots, my long shots, are getting to be okay, but every time I try to take a shot of anything that's not at least 5 feet away, they're awful. I've tried glasses on, glasses off, flash on/off, diopter on/off, auto focus, regular focus, shooting closer in regular mode, in macro mode, w/wo macro settings on the lens and every combination there of. All I am getting is a lot blur except for a random shot once in a while in macro mode.

Lots of nice shots at 5 feet and more, but nothing close up at all. I had to go back to my Fuji earlier just to get a quick shot of this lens I got today via a swap...

I don't know what I am doing, but clearly I'm screwing up somehow.
11-29-2010, 06:25 PM   #11
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Well, I tried a couple of things listed above and it did seem to help a lot actually. I bumped up the sharpness setting, and the contrast setting and also the iso and I found actually that while I prefer shooting in the 200-400 iso range that the camera seems to do better at a slightly higher iso probably because of the lack of an in camera flash. Bumping up the sharpness and contrast probably helped too, ditto the white balance which I'd thought was probably a bit off. From now on I think I am going to set my own white balance. I don't think the auto mode for that is so hot.

I am going to shoot at above 400 more. I got some consistently decent shots of the monitor screen with text at a 800 up to 3200. Seems my habit of shooting at a lower iso, I shoot 200-400 range in film mostly, isn't so great when you're shooting digital?

It seemed to worked both in manual focus and auto focus so I think it's just mostly a question of tweaking those settings. My pics might be a little noisier than they have been but if this is any indication they'll definitely be a whole lot better than what I've been taking so far!
11-29-2010, 09:40 PM   #12
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Low ISO should be fine on digital; I shoot ISO100 mostly on K10D and K5 and ISO200 on K100D.

Check the shutter speeds that you used in the failed shots. I guess they are quite low. The macro position on the camera will probably favor deeper DOF (so your shutter speeds will be long). And with closeup the slightest movement of the camera will result in blur (same as for tele).

@Ps3737
lovely shot
11-30-2010, 03:06 AM   #13
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If bumping up the ISO helps then it could simply be about the shutter times being a bit long for handholding (?). Also, it seems that most DLSRs struggle with the AWB under tungsten light (or fluorecent mimicking that), another thing I have noticed with the the k-x is shade in daytime, this often results in a bluish tint. Fortunately this can fixed in PP. Having started with film I've marvelled the availablity of these high ISOs, and being able to change it just like that (without wasting the rest of the current roll :-)
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