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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 06 Apr 2016 (Wednesday) 12:23
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Beginner needs help getting crisp photos

 
CanisZen
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Apr 06, 2016 12:23 |  #1

I'm very much a beginner at photography. I feel like I have a decent beginner level understanding of basic concepts but have a hard time with practical application of them, which has resulted in years of slightly out of focus subjects.

I am visually impaired to the point of being legally blind, but feel that I have just enough functional vision to compose an ok photo. However, my vision does make focusing a challenge, as I have a very hard time seeing the small square in the viewfinder and autofocus in live view takes way too long for moving subjects. Usually I'll think I have my subject in focus but then when I review the photo on the display, I'll see that it's lacking fine detail. This happens in auto mode, aperture priority and manual.

Can anyone give me some tips on getting an exposure with more crisp, fine detail in subjects like people (baby's and children) and animals?

I have a Canon Rebel T5 and the kit lens, 55-250mm, 50mm prime and 24 mm prime (all Canon lenses)

Thanks in advance!




  
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don1163
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Apr 06, 2016 12:32 |  #2

Post a couple of your shots and let us have a look..


1DX, 500L f4, 70-200L f2.8II, 100L f2.8 macro ,16-35 f4, 1.4xIII, Metz 64-AF1

  
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Snydremark
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Apr 06, 2016 13:21 |  #3

Even if your vision is that bad, have you tried playing with the diopter adjustment on the viewfinder and/or considered getting a stronger, aftermarket diopter for it? That certainly may assist you. Otherwise, as Don said, post up a couple of examples including the EXIF information so that we can see the settings used, etc. There may be, simply, a fair bit of technique that you need to work on that would improve your results; but we'll have to see the samples to give any sort of meaningful feedback.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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neacail
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Apr 06, 2016 13:47 |  #4

You haven't specified what the medical issue is that you're dealing with, whether it is extreme myopia, macular degeneration, or something else. If you're comfortable sharing specifics, it might be easier to make recommendations.

Snydremark already mentioned aftermarket diopters, which is one of the things that came to my mind. Another thing that comes to my mind is a hooded eyecup, which would help block out some of the light coming in to whatever eye you look through the eyepiece with. I don't know if it is possible to get a hooded eyecup with a loop for the eyepiece, but it is possible to get them for the LED screen.

There could be something mechanical at work, in addition to your vision related challenges. It could be that your lens is front or back focussing. If your 50mm is the 1.4, that could be a significant cause of miss-focus. The 1.4 is a fussy lens that often requires micro focus adjustment.

Sample images might help quite a bit.


Shelley
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mcap1972
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Apr 06, 2016 14:07 |  #5

Does your camera offer microadjustments? You might be able to adjust each lens.


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ksbal
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Apr 06, 2016 14:14 |  #6

Several ideas for you.

1. go to single point focus, or center point and then focus, then recompose the shot with the shutter 1/2 down. If left on auto focus, you never know what the camera will consider the most important.

2. understand the need for a shutter speed at least 1/focal length (so 1/60th for a 50mm lens or 1/400 for the 250mm end of that lens) and better if you can do double the focal length. adjusting iso/aperature to a combination that gets the right shutter, and the right exposure.

3. reasearch the different ways to hold a camera, and try different techniques to see what works best for you


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CanisZen
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Apr 06, 2016 14:18 |  #7

Thank you! I'm going to come back to post images from my computer because the ones on my phone have been degraded from being saved a couple times over as jpegs.

About my vision...
I have an astigmatism, nystagmus (my eye shakes when I try to focus) and I don't have depth perception.




  
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CanisZen
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Apr 07, 2016 05:40 |  #8


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This was taken with the 50mm prime lens and is basically the best clarity I can get.


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Taken with the 24mm prime lens. This is pretty representative of what I typically get.



  
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Bassat
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Apr 07, 2016 06:18 |  #9

The second shot is OOF. What don't you like about the first one? It looks fine to me.




  
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Mathmans
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Apr 07, 2016 07:38 as a reply to  @ Bassat's post |  #10

1/25 seems slow to me for photographing kids. They are never still. I suppose you can hold your camera still.
24mm lens has 19cm depth of field from 1m distance and 80cm depth of field from 2m distance on f2.8.
I guess you were shooting far enough so the depth of field was not an issue. The first photo looks OK to me and the second photo is acceptable to me.
Both could use some sharpening in post. The second photo could be less sharp then the first because of yours or the kids movement (or both).
Are you shooting jpeg or RAW? Do you process your photos? Every digital photo will benefit from additional sharpening in post.
Do a test in a good light - put your camera on the kitchen table then put an object with good contrast (like can of Coke or book or something) on the table about 1.5m in front of your camera. Set your camera to M (manual). Set your camera to f2.8, ISO 100 and shortest time you could get in available light (to get a good exposure) and focus on the object with central focusing point. Fire the shot and be careful not to move the camera. Examin the photo if it's sharp.
Do it again - first focus with live view and do the photo and then with a viewfinder with central focusing point and do the photo. Then compare both photos if they have the same sharpness.
Tell us more about your shooting and what you do with photos when you transfer them to your computer.


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https://www.flickr.com​/photos/149610703@N05/ (external link)

  
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BigAl007
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Apr 07, 2016 07:42 |  #11

You should be able to get an optician to replace the normal adjustment lens in the external diopter lens holder for one with you astigmatic correction as well. This should help to have the viewfinder image looking the correct "shape". Also when it comes to the diopter adjustment to get the best results from the viewfinder, it should be adjusted to that you are effectively focusing on infinity when looking at the focus screen. It is the image of the focus screen that the camera diopter is designed to adjust. To ensure that you get the best possible view of the screen follow the following system.

1 Remove the lens from the camera, and stand facing something that is nice and bright. A window with lots of sky(as long as the sun is not directly visible) would be best. You do really need to see off to a distant horizon.

2 Looking at the distant horizon, so that you start with your eye at around infinity focus. Bring the camera to you face, then quickly look into the viewfinder and look glance at the AF indicator squares. Don't stare at them and only look for a couple of seconds maximum, before looking away from the viewfinder.

3 Adjust the diopter focus adjustment a bit, say half a turn. Repeat step two, and:

3A If it seems less focused turn the adjustment a whole turn in the opposite direction.

3B if it seems better continue adjusting in the same direction in small steps.

4 Once you have gone past the point of best focus, move back in even smaller steps. This way you will go back and forwards around the point of best focus, until you arrive at optimum focus.

By doing it this way, with lots of looking away from the viewfinder you tend to keep the eye at infinity focus, which is a generally relaxed position for the eye. The eye will not have time to refocus. Doing it without the lens ensures that you are really looking at the image of the focus screen at not at something being focused by the camera lens. The camera lens can really throw you off doing this process, if you have generally poor eyesight.

This is the same process I would use in setting up a telescopic sight on a rifle, that also relies on focusing a screen (the cross hair) with one lens, while focusing an image of a subject onto the same screen with another lens.

Alan


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Cliffbsa
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Apr 07, 2016 08:04 as a reply to  @ CanisZen's post |  #12

EXIF says they were both with the 24mm. To me, it looks like the lens is front focusing. The first pic has her hands more in focus than her eyes and the second has her right knee more in focus than her face. I don't know if your camera is capable of micro focus, but if so, give it a go.
The diopter being slightly off should not be a problem as long as you are using auto focus since you are using the eyepiece mainly for composing and not focusing.
Look at some of your older pics with the focus point turned on in your processing program and make sure that the camera was truly focusing where you thought it was.
If it is, then you need to concentrate on controlling camera movement: shutter speed, more stable grip, higher ISO.
If the focus is not where you expected it to be, then you need to work on focus and recompose, single point focus.




  
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neacail
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Apr 07, 2016 08:27 |  #13

I've been trying to come up with hardware aids for you, but the t5 apparently doesn't have a focus screen that can be switched out, and the eyepiece adapter that I envision as being helpful for you apparently hasn't been invented.

In looking at your photos, it looks like your lenses are performing well and that you're doing a good job of focus.

As Mathmans pointed out, the blurriness in the second photograph appears to be motion blur as a result of her movement and your slow shutter speed. I like a shutter speed of 1/250 as a minimum for subjects who are likely to move. The photograph at 1/100 shows no signs of motion blur that I can see. You may find that 1/100 suits you well.

To make focusing faster, it might be helpful to narrow your aperture to widen the depth and field and use auto focus points. While not typically ideal, that may speed things up for you and provide results that you're happy with as far as your subject being in focus.


Shelley
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neacail
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Apr 07, 2016 08:57 |  #14

Cliffbsa wrote in post #17963547 (external link)
EXIF says they were both with the 24mm. To me, it looks like the lens is front focusing. The first pic has her hands more in focus than her eyes and the second has her right knee more in focus than her face. I don't know if your camera is capable of micro focus, but if so, give it a go.

You might be correct. I'm looking at the photos on a different computer now (Mac with Retina screen) and it does look like the lens is front focussing a bit. I don't think the T5 has mfa. There is no Magic Lantern for the T5 either, by the looks of things.

I suppose in this case the only option is a narrower aperture? Or, try to focus on the subject's ear instead of the eye?


Shelley
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Snydremark
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Apr 07, 2016 10:29 |  #15

Try using the rule of thumb of 1/<focal length> x 1.6 while getting started; that will give you a target shutter speed that should be fast enough to eliminate any problems with camera shake and let you work on other potential issues, such as possible front/back focusing issues.

For these shots, where you using a single focus point and focusing at a specific point or were you using all focus points and allowing the camera to choose where to focus?


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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Beginner needs help getting crisp photos
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