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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EOS Digital Cameras 
Thread started 24 Mar 2009 (Tuesday) 17:02
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Not another focus question! kit lens - hear me out

 
anothernewb
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Mar 24, 2009 17:02 |  #1

I've linked to a series of images to illustrate my question, which is this.

Do I need a change in technique perhaps or is there some method to solve my madness - or am I just looking at things wrong? - or god forbid - is there a potential mechanical limitation that I have to learn to overcome?

First of all - it's a rebel XS with the kit lens. The lens seems (to me) to be very sharp when capturing close objects but seems rather soft on landscapes or larger areas. For example - when I use a narrow DOF and focus on an object within a few inches to a few feet of the lens - The AF seems very accurate, and I consider the picture to be rather sharp. No front or back focus issues to my eyes. However, when I try to capture a building/object more than 20 feet away, or a larger landscape - it seems overall to be a much more soft and/or out of focus image. I did not focus and recompose for any of them.

My usual settings are to use center focus point, partial metering, and I always half-press at least twice to better lock in the AF.

all pictures are jpegs straight out of the cam.
The first 2 pics are an example of the focus closeup

IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3457/3383497154_96d145db72_b.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3627/3382667353_dc1eb0e693_b.jpg

the next are examples of longer shots that to me seem just plain soft

IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3620/3382668201_e27159bcd3_b.jpg


IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3591/3382667821_0a4661e80f_b.jpg

the last two are ones I shot with a tripod using contrast AF first, then live view I know the one is way overexposed - I was going for the moving water look, but it was just too bright out. The main thing is that even at the narrow aperture - it seems to me much sharper than the first. same rock was used to focus.

IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3580/3383482760_24dbc776ca_b.jpg



IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3617/3383483138_74c7dc79c7_b.jpg

Gripped 80D,10-18 STM, 55-250 IS STM, 15-85 IS USM, 85 1.8, 10-400 II, 430 EX II

  
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Brett
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Mar 24, 2009 17:18 |  #2

You've stripped EXIF from your images, so it's hard to help.

What aperture are you using in the shots? Are you familiar with aperture's effect on depth-of-field? Sorry, but from your questions, it seems maybe you are not.

Stop down (larger aperture value) for increased depth-of-field (DoF).
Open up (smaller aperture value) for decreased DoF.

The light is very flat, which is contributing to #3 and 4 appearing soft. In fact, they look fine to me for that lighting. Go outside when the sun is lower in the sky, and you'll see that light picking out details in landscapes like that, making it more interesting and appearing sharper. #3 is also under-exposed, to my eyes.



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canonnoob
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Mar 24, 2009 17:22 |  #3

the softness on the tripod shots could be due to the IS being turned on.. did you turn off the IS on the lens?


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Mar 24, 2009 17:29 |  #4

To me personally it just appears to be a difference in contrast and/or exposure. Sometimes contrast adds to the overall effect of sharpness or softness. If you change your profile to show as Imaging Edit Ok, we might be able to work with your photos. The building in particular is just too dark to know whether it has the detail.


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lucas107
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Mar 24, 2009 18:34 |  #5

the building also takes up like a 32nd of the entire picture so its obviously not going to have the detail of something you took a picture of that takes up half the entire frame


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anothernewb
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Mar 24, 2009 18:52 |  #6

I didn't realize that flickr woud strip the exif. here's the link to my flickr page where the images are

http://www.flickr.com/​photos/32107109@N02/ (external link)

I think I've got a good basic understanding of aperture and DOF as it relates to distance to the subject. At least in theory of how it's SUPPOSED to work - hands on is still a work in progress. as far as turning the IS off - I thought of that after taking the pictures. It was a completely overcast and gray day so I guess there might no have been much contrast for the system to work with.


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HoldDaMayo
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Mar 24, 2009 19:28 |  #7

I agree, I use that same lens on my XTi and I find it poor at long range... one thing I'm still experimenting with is aperture... The lens just blows wide open... at least in my experience. If I'm not shooting at around F/8 for a shot... I might as well not be shooting at all.

F/3.5-5.6 at close range seems ok... but stopped down to F/8 is noticably better.

I'm sure those "L" lenses are the boost we are both looking for, although, stopping down will help some.


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drdiesel1
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Mar 24, 2009 22:35 |  #8

anothernewb wrote in post #7590273 (external link)
I've linked to a series of images to illustrate my question, which is this.

Do I need a change in technique perhaps or is there some method to solve my madness - or am I just looking at things wrong? - or god forbid - is there a potential mechanical limitation that I have to learn to overcome?

First of all - it's a rebel XS with the kit lens. The lens seems (to me) to be very sharp when capturing close objects but seems rather soft on landscapes or larger areas. For example - when I use a narrow DOF and focus on an object within a few inches to a few feet of the lens - The AF seems very accurate, and I consider the picture to be rather sharp. No front or back focus issues to my eyes. However, when I try to capture a building/object more than 20 feet away, or a larger landscape - it seems overall to be a much more soft and/or out of focus image. I did not focus and recompose for any of them.

My usual settings are to use center focus point, partial metering, and I always half-press at least twice to better lock in the AF.

all pictures are jpegs straight out of the cam.
The first 2 pics are an example of the focus closeup

the next are examples of longer shots that to me seem just plain soft

the last two are ones I shot with a tripod using contrast AF first, then live view I know the one is way overexposed - I was going for the moving water look, but it was just too bright out. The main thing is that even at the narrow aperture - it seems to me much sharper than the first. same rock was used to focus.


Welcome to the reason I sold my XSI copy after 6 months of frustration. Nothing I tried and no lens I used, including my L glass would solve this problem. Sorry I can`t be more help, but my copy was a miserable POS. Good Luck.

EXIF data photo #1
File Name IMG_0014.JPG
Camera Model Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi
Firmware Firmware Version 1.0.4
Shooting Date/Time 11/15/2008 5:25:59 PM
Owner's Name
Shooting Mode Auto
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/125
Av( Aperture Value ) 5.6
Metering Mode Evaluative Metering
Exposure Compensation 0
ISO Speed 400
Lens EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Focal Length 18.0mm
Image Size 4272x2848
Image Quality Fine
Flash On
Flash Type Built-In Flash
Flash Exposure Compensation 0
Shutter curtain sync 1st-curtain sync
White Balance Mode Auto
AF Mode AI Focus AF
Picture Style Standard
Sharpness 3
Contrast 0
Saturation 0
Color tone 0
Color Space sRGB
Long exposure noise reduction 0:Off
High ISO speed noise reduction 0:Off
Highlight tone priority 0:Disable
File Size 5594KB
Dust Delete Data No
Drive Mode Single shooting
Camera Body No. 0570122619

EXIF data photo #2

File Name _MG_0023.CR2
Camera Model Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi
Firmware Firmware Version 1.0.9
Shooting Date/Time 1/10/2009 12:51:22 PM
Owner's Name
Shooting Mode Aperture-Priority AE
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/2500
Av( Aperture Value ) 4.0
Metering Mode Spot Metering
Exposure Compensation 0
ISO Speed 200
Lens EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
Focal Length 44.0mm
Image Size 4272x2848
Image Quality RAW
Flash Off
White Balance Mode Auto
AF Mode AI Focus AF
Picture Style Faithful
Sharpness 0
Contrast 0
Saturation 0
Color tone 0
Color Space Adobe RGB
Long exposure noise reduction 1:Auto
High ISO speed noise reduction 1:On
Highlight tone priority 1:Enable
File Size 13166KB
Dust Delete Data No
Drive Mode Single shooting
Camera Body No. 0570122619


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drdiesel1
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Mar 24, 2009 23:08 as a reply to  @ drdiesel1's post |  #9

Here are two taken with the XSI`s replacement the Nikon D90


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Brett
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Mar 25, 2009 00:45 |  #10

The Canon shots are f/5.6 and f/4.

The Nikon shots are f/11 and f/8.

I'm surprised the second set are slightly sharper?



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Rafromak
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Mar 25, 2009 00:55 |  #11

Brett wrote in post #7592973 (external link)
The Canon shots are f/5.6 and f/4.

The Nikon shots are f/11 and f/8.

I'm surprised the second set are slightly sharper?

bw! You nailed that one on the head.

But not only that. Look at the first two (taken with the Canon) and notice the bright background, versus the dark backgrounds on the Nikon's.


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drdiesel1
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Mar 25, 2009 01:34 as a reply to  @ Rafromak's post |  #12

All 4 shots are taken in direct sun light.


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tkbslc
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Mar 25, 2009 01:40 |  #13

I just think it comes down to the resolution of the sensor. At long distances, like a landscape of a mountainside, 1 pixel might cover 5 leaves on a tree, whereas a close up of a tree, you could have 5000 pixels per leaf.

As for the XSI vs D90 comments, I don't think they are related.


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drdiesel1
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Mar 25, 2009 02:12 as a reply to  @ tkbslc's post |  #14

I`m trying to find some old shots with the Canon that closely match the Nikon setup.
This is further away, in direct sun light and they look sharper with better IQ then the Canons below.


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drdiesel1
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Mar 25, 2009 02:13 as a reply to  @ drdiesel1's post |  #15

Canon
The first one is inside and the second one has the sun setting to the right.
They are soft and oof. This was the best image I could get with the XSI unless I was up very close.


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Not another focus question! kit lens - hear me out
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