Almsost too embarrassed to ask

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12
Name
Norman
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#1
I've always fancied a full frame dslr and recent I bought myself a used Nikon D600 and a Nikon 24-120 lens from a big , advertised as nearly mint with under 10000 exposures and almost mint condition lens but I am having a little difficulty as the images are worse than my old camera and my old i phone. Sunday was a beautiful clear day so out I went with camera in hand but when I uploaded to the laptop everything seems out of focus or not quite right. The last two were on the tripod about seven feet away. All cropped to make them fit.

Your thoughts on the attached pics would be most welcome.

Forgot to say that it was on auto until I get used to the wonders of manual etc.
 

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12,707
Name
Keith
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#4
Definitely try another lens, if you can borrow one maybe? or even head to a camera store and ask can you try a lens in there. Take some test shots and if they are clear and sharp, then it's the lens, if not something's up with the sensor. Been a while since I used Nikon, but I know there lens calibration somewhere in the menus. A Nikon user can help you better with that.

On the purchase itself, I wouldn't call a camera with 10K clicks 'mint' - that's been used a fair bit, it's not high but 'excellent condition' might be a better description. Sellers use 'mint' way too loosely, it's to give the impression the camera is new but used a couple times
 
OP
OP
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12
Name
Norman
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#5
I have no other lenses to try and I stay well away from a big store. Since posting I nipped out between showers and took these, the higher image is on a mini tripod sittinging on top of a concrete bridge and the other two are hand held. The weed is 1/100 f5 iso400, the elevated shot is 1/200 f4 iso125 and the low one is 1/200 f4 and iso110. Again I have had to crop to attach. Focus is af s and single spot.
 

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12,707
Name
Keith
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#6
I wouldn't be happy with those, should be much sharper. The flower in particular is soft and out of focus. Testing another lens is the only real way to give you a clue as to there the issue lies.
 
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1,368
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#7
They do all look very soft, no real solid point of focus. Do you have VR turned on or does this lens even have VR ?

maybe try a few at F8-F11 see if its the same?
 
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7,734
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#8
Hi Norman

Can I just clarify with you?
  1. When you say cropped do you really mean resized to attach?
  2. The file sizes are very small suggesting for the full image sizes that you are saving at below JPEG quality 6.
    Such a loss of quality does not help with giving "help"
  3. What else have you done to them once copied across to the computer
    Plus though I don't know about the Nikon but what settings such as Sharpening & Contrast have been 'set' for the JPEGs???
  4. Are you saving for Web, why do I ask is because the EXIF has been stripped :(
    If you use "Save As" that normally preserves the full EXIF :)
  5. You mentioned previous camera and the iPhone
    Just what was the previous camera and is it a dSLR?
 
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796
Name
Chris
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#9
I have no other lenses to try and I stay well away from a big store. Since posting I nipped out between showers and took these, the higher image is on a mini tripod sittinging on top of a concrete bridge and the other two are hand held. The weed is 1/100 f5 iso400, the elevated shot is 1/200 f4 iso125 and the low one is 1/200 f4 and iso110. Again I have had to crop to attach. Focus is af s and single spot.
I can't see where you are but if close enough to me (Doncaster) you are welcome to try one of my lenses so that you can at least eliminate a lens problem.
 
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1,368
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#10
I can't see where you are but if close enough to me (Doncaster) you are welcome to try one of lenses so that you can at least eliminate a lens problem.
Same as above but somerset area
 
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4,284
Name
matt
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#11
I would suggest your shutter speed needs upping a bit if you are using a 120mm lens as does your aperture as I am guessing it's possibly wide open? so, up the Iso to 800/1600 and then take the shots again, I usually use a brick wall, making sure I am square on (or the camera is) and if possible a tripod and cable release (or delayed action timer). If at all possible have the mirror locked up too. If the camera is on a tripod it may be necessary on that lens to turn IS off (if it has it, or if it's required - I don't have a Nikon but I know some lenses need it off when on a tripod). Make sure you use a nice hefty pod and not a flimsy thing. Basically bolt the camera down to avoid any possibility of camera shake.
 
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11,467
Name
Rich
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#12
Thinking user error rather than equipment malfunction.
For example the flower/weed is a very small size file so bound to be a low quality setting.
Also it only takes a slight bit of breeze to render the photo blurred.

As suggested above try a few in good light, mirror up, stabilisation off mounted on a tripod using a shutter release or timer.
If it were me I would reset the camera to factory default to ensure nothing has been changed by mistake
 
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3,427
Name
droj
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#15
Thinking user error rather than equipment malfunction.
At least at this stage. So Norman, don't panic - yet.

The WD40 looks pretty sharp - the background objects are blurred and that's a function of wide aperture coupled with being fairly close. The flower is quite close which makes focus more critical & magnifies camera movement.

Also note:
did you turn vr off on the les when used on the tripod
It sounds like you maybe need to engage with the camera more in terms of (1) setting it up and (2) taking more control when photographing. For instance, I don't know what type of auto exposure you used, but for the type of (static) shots here most would advise the aperture priority mode - where you decide and set the aperture and let the camera decide the shutterspeed. Have you heard of the 'exposure triangle'? - it's a basic essential to wrap your head round and commit to memory.
 
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12,707
Name
Keith
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#16
I don't think it's anything to do with the resizing, I've resized images and uploaded here and they still look sharp [never as sharp as the original, which is why it's better to use the likes of Flickr] Would be best if we could see some full res versions to compare to though. But I'm thinking they look much the same pre-downsize or OP wouldn't go through the bother to begin with

but there could be something to Brownie's suggestions:

Hi Norman

Can I just clarify with you?
  1. When you say cropped do you really mean resized to attach?
  2. The file sizes are very small suggesting for the full image sizes that you are saving at below JPEG quality 6.
    Such a loss of quality does not help with giving "help"
  3. What else have you done to them once copied across to the computer
    Plus though I don't know about the Nikon but what settings such as Sharpening & Contrast have been 'set' for the JPEGs???
  4. Are you saving for Web, why do I ask is because the EXIF has been stripped :(
    If you use "Save As" that normally preserves the full EXIF :)
  5. You mentioned previous camera and the iPhone
    Just what was the previous camera and is it a dSLR?
 
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14,380
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#18
OK, firstly the images don't look great you're right however I do feel that most of it will be user error I"m afraid to say, added to that it looks like you've massively reduced file size to post on here. It's best to post to a site such as flickr and then post the bbcode from there onto here. This site does still degrade IQ (ironic for a photography forum), but nowhere near as much as uploaded a 500k file.

There is a huge leap going from a phone and/or compact camera to a DSLR, let alone a FF DSLR. FF cameras aren't very forgiving and it's easy to get bad images from them. Learn about technique, especially correct focussing techniques and you should see your pictures improve, most of the shots above look like they've not been focussed well. Whilst auto modes do give you the 'point and shoot' option more often than not you're not going to get the best images from them. Stick with it and you'll get there I'm sure.

Lastly, as above there are two 24-120mm Nikon lenses and the f3.5-5.6 version isn't great. That being said, it should still give better results that a phone/compact camera.
 
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11,467
Name
Rich
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#20
Thanks everybody. Operator error indeed and here's the witches cat ( cropped ) taken earlier today, same with the car, there's a lot more learning to be done.
That's good, glad your new camera and lens are ok.
 
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1,368
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#21
So what actually was the issue ?
 
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4,284
Name
matt
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#22
Thanks everybody. Operator error indeed and here's the witches cat ( cropped ) taken earlier today, same with the car, there's a lot more learning to be done.
I like the cat shot, great use of limited depth of field, nicely lit and we'll exposed, plus the content is terrific.
 
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2,119
Name
Jonathan
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#24
Something else to consider - there are two versions of the 24-120 lens. The original f3.5-5.6 model is not well regarded, whereas the newer F4 model is a much better, much sharper lens.
Actually three versions as there are two versions of the f3.5-5.6. I had the first which was an AF-D lens and I much preferred my Tamron 24-135mm.
 
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