1. AgentOrange76

    AgentOrange76

    Messages:
    217
    Name:
    James
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    Im struggling with image sharpness and wondered if some one would advise what if anything is wrong

    On the camera it looks sharp, at home on a 24" monitor at 100% it doesnt. If you take a look am I right in that at 100% the rocks in the image should be sharper?

    Tripod mounted, f11 with a 10 stop ND. ISO 100, 1.6s. Focus point was to the left of the arch on the rock wall. D3400 with 18-55mm kit lens
    Its unedited, converted to JPEG and then loaded to flickr

    Any feedback apreaciated

    [​IMG]DSC_2666 by James Hathaway, on Flickr
     
  2. john.margetts

    john.margetts

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    1,911
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    Why are you using a 10 stop ND filter to give an exposure of 1.6 seconds? That seems quite pointless. Who made the ND filter? Lee filters are pretty good but expensive. Chinese one are cheap but not pretty good. If the filter is not optically flat, the image will suffer.

    With the camera on a tripod - is the tripod a secure one? I see many tripods when out and about that are not worth the bother. How did you trigger the shutter? There is no point in using a tripod unless you also use a remote shutter release.
     
  3. AgentOrange76

    AgentOrange76

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    217
    Name:
    James
    Edit My Images:
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    Very bright day and trying to smooth the water. I was early and trying things out before sunset. It may have been a 6 stop. I took a series with 10 and 6.oys a hoya pro screw fit.

    Tripod wise it's a benro tma38cl so thick legs and was extended only to level using the fatest sections.

    Release is using a 2 second timer as the camera only has an ir release that has to be waved infront the camera
     
  4. troutfisher

    troutfisher

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    1,601
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    Chris
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    Just to clear up one thing, you say its unedited and converted to .jpg.
    On that basis are we correct in assuming that it was shot in RAW and converted with no further post processing?
     
  5. AgentOrange76

    AgentOrange76

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    217
    Name:
    James
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    Yes
    Yep, shot in raw, copied to laptop from sd card Exported as a jpeg without sharpening.
     
  6. troutfisher

    troutfisher

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    1,601
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    Chris
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    I suspect therein lies your problem, what are you using for a RAW converter and what do you have for editing?
     
  7. Brazo

    Brazo

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    2,575
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    Mark
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    Was it a windy day?
     
    chuckles likes this.
  8. Harlequin565

    Harlequin565

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    3,099
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    Ian
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    Very difficult to tell with the image size & information you've posted.

    What was the focal length? Assuming a wider angle and assuming f11, if the AF was indicating the rocks as in focus (green confirmation light) then the image will be as sharp as it can be for that a)lens and b)aperture.

    What were you using for a filter? Poor quality glass will affect sharpness. A kit lens isn't super sharp either.

    Also, how are you viewing your image - image browser of some sort or Flickr? Flickr crucifies the sharpness on my images.

    Just a few more ideas in addition to the posts already made.
     
  9. ecoleman

    ecoleman

    Messages:
    4,668
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    Elliott
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    I’m on an iPad so haven’t zoomed into the image but.

    1. As your on a tripod, have you turned off OS/IS/VR?

    2. Are you focusing using the OVF or in live view? If using the OVF are you getting tack sharp focus? Could micro adjustment help?

    3. A raw file by its very nature is usually flat and a little soft. You need to apply some sharpening in post.
     
  10. gad-westy

    gad-westy

    Messages:
    5,909
    Name:
    Graham
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    Why pointless? If it gives the desired shutter speed (in this case it looks good as the sea retains some shape) then surely it's ticked the box? Though it's probably a six stop as the OP corrected as there is rarely enough light to shoot a 10 stop at that sort of shutter speed, especially at f/11. But either way, 10 stop, 6 stop whatever. The choice is just about giving the desired shutter speed for the available light isn't it?

    Worth also mentioning that I'm pretty damn pleased with my Haida (cheap chinese!) 10 stop filter. It's quite a bit better than my old big stopper and Hitech alternatives. Not everything made in China is crap.

    OP, there can be a load of things that can effect this. I think most have been mentioned already but one other thing. On a wet beach, it's very difficult to stop your tripod sinking, even just a tiny amount. It can cause movement that you don't even notice. Are you able to make image public access so we can see if there is anything hiding in the exif info that might help?
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  11. jonbeeza

    jonbeeza

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    john
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    I don't think the D3400 or the kit lens, has those functions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  12. realspeed

    realspeed

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    5,881
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    Bazza
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    First of all is your camera and lens fine tuned to each other. Next how good is the graphics card in your computer and last is your monitor up to showing a good picture. Just 3 ideas spring to mind

    Rememer you can't expect the best from an entry level camera.

    I made the same mistake and took the long route in upgrading via D70s to D200 to d300 to d800 to d810. Why? I felt I had outgrown each model after a time or just wanted something better
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  13. gad-westy

    gad-westy

    Messages:
    5,909
    Name:
    Graham
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    With the greatest of respect none of these things should be much of a factor. You cannot af fine tune on a d3400.

    A graphics card can only speed or slow the process, not change the end result and monitors can only display 2-8mp ish depending on exact model. It’s highly unlikely any camera including all of those on your list would be a limiting factor. The 24mp sensor on a d3400 is superb and the 18-55 kit lens is more than capable too. Especially at f/11.
     
    yzfmike likes this.
  14. woof woof

    woof woof

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    18,646
    Name:
    Alan
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    A while ago I struggled with sharpening, radius, amount, detail, masking and all that so I Googled my way to a few blogs and found some example setting to use as a starting point and I took it from there.

    Maybe you could do the same... Google your way to a starting point and see if it works for you and if not tweak from there. Note that sliders and settings will vary with the software so if you go Googling look for examples using your software.
     
  15. AgentOrange76

    AgentOrange76

    Messages:
    217
    Name:
    James
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Firstly thank you all for your input, its much appreciated

    Image is now public - im not a great social media whiz

    VR was turned off - im remembering to do that when using a tripod!

    using live view to focus

    Light breezy would be my guess, if you dropped a crisp packet you woudnt be chasing it up the beach

    Laptop is a Dell inspiron 3 months old,

    Monitor is a Dell IPS Ultrsharp 24" (the recomended one)

    18mm focal length on the 18-55mm kit lens

    Software - Nikon View NXI to cull, On1 photoraw to edit, also have rawtherapee which gives same result re-sharpness

    already feel the need for a new camera - I bought the D3400 as the cheapest way to a detactable lens system and the good reviews instead of the XT2 the shop was looking to sell me based on my wants. £315 (nice lot of discounts combined)
    My plan was to learn the ropes and upgrade, by keeping the initial camera cost low I can change systems/brands. already found the limitations of variable aperture lenses
     
  16. ecoleman

    ecoleman

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    4,668
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    Elliott
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    Your money would probably be better spent with a new lens not a new camera. Kit lenses aren’t usually the sharpest lenses around. You should see a marked improvement insourcing images by using a good quality lens. A new camera with a kit lens and you’re back to square one.
     
  17. JohnX

    JohnX

    Messages:
    361
    Name:
    John
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Nothing in your shot appears to be in focus. Shake?
     
  18. Marc1548

    Marc1548

    Messages:
    52
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Couple of other points for sharper images as far as I am aware of, for what it’s worth, turn VR off on your lens when using a tripod, as I’m informed it causes vibration to counter handheld camera shake. & lock the mirror up during the exposure, if your camera supports this function. Mirror movement causes vibration during The exposure as well
     
  19. Teflon-Mike

    Teflon-Mike

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    994
    Name:
    Mike
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    If an F16-Sunny day, then, at ISO100, f16 and 1/100th second. Ten stops of filter factor would put your shutter up to around 16 whole seconds, and shooting up one stop of aperture at f11 another, to about 30 whole seconds.

    Sooooo, if you shot at ISO100, f11 and 1.6 seconds, with a ten-stop ND... then... the sums say, that it wasn't an f16-Sunny day, and they don't tend to come any brighter, only dimmer,.... so your ten-stop filter, probably isn't a ten-stop filter! To be using a shutter of 1/1.6 seconds, suggests that it was taking about 5 or 6 stops of light off the top.

    The Nikkor 18-55 IS a tad 'soft', and the higher sensor count of the newer D3xoo's tends to show that up, but, sticking another bit of glass in front of its front element wont help any, and how much softer it would make it will depend on how wobbly the filter. A-N-D Raw-JPG conversion etc etc etc... is more techno-waffle to get lost in...

    Bottom line.... AS SHOWN, fill size, on screen, no pixie-peeping.... DO YOU LIKE IT?

    To me.... well, it looks like the chitty chitty bang-bang beach-arch... which is a bit of a cliche to begin with. Milky long exposure water, is more.. putting the two-together, is a bit icing the kendal-mint cake, b-u-t your photo....

    To my eye, foreground beach and cliffs looks rather red, and a bit bright, the rock-arch itself rather brighter than I would expect; whole shot looks a stop or two over-exposed, pulling the arch out of the shadows..... but the sky's not blown so possibly not so far over.

    Sooooo.... conception and composition..... start of the craft. Rock's not going anywhere, and you had the idea to use long exposure on a tripod, you are not rushing to capture a once only 'moment' you could pick your time of day and even year, to get the most flattering natural light and pull out detail in the rocks, both in subject arch and the closer cliffs.

    At another time of day/year, you likely would have a much lower ambient light to begin with, you probably wouldn't need to use big-stoppa to stretch shutter-speed and milk your water, for the 'effect' you were after. B-U-T... potential IQ degradation using a filter could remain, the inherent softness of the Nik-Kit 18-55 would remain, and so would the nit-picking potential of the processing......

    BUT.. as it stands, SILL..... DO YOU LIKE IT!??!!

    At full size display, on my monitor, shrunk in pixies to screen resolution, something well under 1 Mega-Pix from the 24odd mega-pixies caught by the sensor....

    Its a pleasant enough shot! The quibble over exposure is, my main gripe; that cliche, gives you a curved leading-line, taking your eye from the foreground to the arch..... the brightness and redness of that cliff then doesn't make my eye want to linger there, and when I get to the arch, I don't think that its any particular lack of sharpness, but, a bit bright, there is a lack of shadow and contrast, and the generic mid tone exposure, doesn't make me linger trying to peer into the shadows, getting any sense of mood or mystery.....

    Back to fundamentals.... sharpness.... so oft argues to death, is so often NOT in the gear but the scene, and the 'perceived' sharpness a function not of the resolution of the camera, but the shadow contrast revealing 'texture' in the subject.

    I suspect that the exposure, a tad high for the arch, is to a degree flattening that texture, probably more over-head mid-day-ish sun, flattening it some more..... A-N-D you are pixel-peeping....

    Look at the whole.... DO YOU LIKE IT?

    It's a chocolate box shot... as hintimated, its not my favourate box of chocolates, BUT, as chocolate box shot, its a fair attempt... BUT, it could be better... A-N-D this obsession with sharpness, is common, and so-oft erroneous, in this instance, I 'think' its a red-herring.

    There ARE things in there that could make the shot better.... but, time of day, use of filter, metering-method, and looking at the whole scene, would make far more difference, far sooner than fretting over subtleties of technical equipment or equipment use.

    Stuff the jargon..... DO YOU LIKE IT?

    End of the day, that's all that matters... and if not, why not.. and if you want to do better... how; and there, I would say, start by stop pixel-peeping or fretting about popular jargon; if you want to pastiche cliche's fine, go for it, but critique the original's before you try reproduce them, and work out exactly what it is in them you want to pastiche and how they got it, and don't expect one 'trick' like an ND filter, to do it for you with a cheque-book...
     
  20. Marc1548

    Marc1548

    Messages:
    52
    Edit My Images:
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    Sorry for stating the obvious here. I’m assuming you focused first without the ND then turned AF off before fitting the filter & then recalculated for correct exposure?
     
  21. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

    Messages:
    22,635
    Name:
    Richard
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Most likely causes:
    - tripod, wind, soft sand
    - shutter release technique

    Least likely:
    - camera or lens
    - filter (unless it's a real cheapo nasty)
     
    chuckles and gad-westy like this.

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