not sharp enough

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Philip
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#1
My first post here. How can I insert a photo. I canr post a link until I have at least 3 posts made. But can I upload a pic without it being a link. Im struggling with razor sharp images. Ive tried everything with shutter sped, aperture and ISO but thay always look a tiny bit off when I zoom in. Im using a Canon EOS100d
 
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Jim
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#2
Where are you based?
 
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Keith
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#4
My first post here. How can I insert a photo. I canr post a link until I have at least 3 posts made. But can I upload a pic without it being a link. Im struggling with razor sharp images. Ive tried everything with shutter sped, aperture and ISO but thay always look a tiny bit off when I zoom in. Im using a Canon EOS100d
Say hi in the welcome forum then reply to any response here and there's your 3 posts
 
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Bazza
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#7
not easy to say regarding sharpness, it could be on of many things. your movement- subject movement- camera settings- bad copy of the lens etc etc. If i were you I would get hold of another lens and see if you have the same again. When you say "zoom in" are you talking about with the lens ay a 18-55mm lens or with editing a photo?
don't forget you are using what is called a "consumer camera and possibly lens as well". So don't expect to get the same as a semi pro or pro camera and lens, but you should be able to get decent photos within the camera capabilities

Absolutely nothing wrong with what is really a basic camera to find out what can and can't do. i did exactly the same with my first Nikon a D70s and 18-70 kit lens. Don't make the same mistake i did several times, i felt I had "outgrown" the camera and got the next one up the line the D200, then the D300, then the D800 and now the D810. if you do decide go for the most expensive one you can afford. People say ooh all those features i will never learn how to, rubbish, just start in auto and add using other settings one by one when your comfortable.
sorry can't be more specific but too many variables to consider
 
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Philip
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#8
Thanks for all the replies. The kt lens Im using is 18-55 and the telephoto lens is 70-300. When I view the pictures on the laptop the are not as crisp as Id like when I zoom in a small bit. With regatd to focus I select single point focus and use a tripod whenever practical. Here is an example. IMG_8481 - Copy.jpg
 
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Philip
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#10
The lens is a canon EF70-300f4-5.6 IS USM. the above pic was taken at 1/250, F5.6 300m ISO 800 if that helps.
 
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Jim
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#12
I don't think it's that bad, a bit under exposed but it could be improved with a few tweeks. One good thing about starting off with low to mid range camera gear is your post processing skills develop at a speedy rate!
What software do you have available to you?
 
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Tim
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#13
Looks quite ok? This was 300mm? If so, shutter speed is a bit slow if there was any movement. Try switching IS off as you’re on the tripod and using shutter release or 2s delay to minimize any camera shake. To get a lot better in camera can cost a fortune.
 
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Philip
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#14
I don't think it's that bad, a bit under exposed but it could be improved with a few tweeks. One good thing about starting off with low to mid range camera gear is your post processing skills develop at a speedy rate!
What software do you have available to you?
I took it in RAW and I
use lightroom.
 
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Philip
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#15
Looks quite ok? This was 300mm? If so, shutter speed is a bit slow if there was any movement. Try switching IS off as you’re on the tripod and using shutter release or 2s delay to minimize any camera shake. To get a lot better in camera can cost a fortune.
Thanks for that. A higher shutter speed might have worked better but I didn't want to push the ISO up any more. It was quite a dark spot.
 
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Nightmare
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#16
1/250, F5.6 300m ISO 800 if that helps.
I'd want closer to 1/500s with that focal. The IS may or may not help much depending on your hand but then the bird also moves so faster is always better.

If that's 1:1 crop it not too bad, but yet clearly not stellar. As a 100% it would worry me about sharpness and focus a great deal and also the amount of noise.
Is this in-camera JPEG and we are seeing some heavy compression, and other artefacts by any chance? This would also kill sharpness.
 
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Philip
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#18
I'd want closer to 1/500s with that focal. The IS may or may not help much depending on your hand but then the bird also moves so faster is always better.

If that's 1:1 crop it not too bad, but yet clearly not stellar. As a 100% it would worry me about sharpness and focus a great deal and also the amount of noise.
Is this in-camera JPEG and we are seeing some heavy compression, and other artefacts by any chance? This would also kill sharpness.
This was shot in RAW and converted to Jpeg in lightroom
 
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Philip
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#19
If you've still got the RAW file and dont mind me taking a look at it then check your private messages, as until we get to see the original it's tough to give detailed reasons.

Mike
Hi Mike, I'll send that to you later. Thanks.
 
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#20
Hi you need to up your shutter speed to eliminate any shake. It’s nice to get out and take shots but sometimes you need more light to get better results. Good luck
 
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Kell
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#21
As a general rule, you want your shutter speed to be higher than your focal length.

So in your shot above, if your focal length was 300mm then 1/250th of second will introduce camera shake into the mix if you're shooting handheld. It's different on a tripod, but from any of the great shots I've seen on this site of wildlife (especially birds) the shutter speeds tend to be up around the 1/1000th region.

I've not done much wildlife photography, but my miss rate is far higher than my hit rate. I had the same lens as you (70-300mm IS USM - just sold it) and in all the time I had it, I think I only produced about three or four shots of birds I was happy with. And even then, when you start pixel peeping, they're not that sharp. I had better luck with bigger, slower moving animals.

In my case, I suspect a lot was down to bad technique and incrorrect settings, but there is a limit to what you can achieve with 'consumer' kit.
 
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Conrad
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#22
A general rule of thumb regarding shutter seed and focal length is to always aim for a minimum of the reciprocal of the focal length you are using, so for a 300mm lens, 1/300th of a second. As has been mentioned, you would likely have been better at 1/500th or faster - particularly if the subject is likely to move (which birds have an annoying habit of doing)! Obviously this can be a challenge in lower light, as you're always compromising with aperture limitations of the lens, shutter speed, and noise due to higher ISO.

The other comment above about image stabilisation is also quite correct. If you're using a tripod, turn IS off. This is because IS is designed to counteract small movements of the camera (camera shake), and this should be non existent when on a tripod. That can sometimes "confuse" IS which can have the effect of introducing slight image softening. It's worth remembering that IS does not help with improving sharpness regarding subjects that are moving - it only reduces blur caused by the camera moving.

Also when using a tripod, use a cable/electronic release, as physically pressing the shutter button on the camera can also introduce slight blur. The other option is to use the self-timer function, but that's far from ideal if shooting subjects like birds, where the timing of the shot is critical.

ETA - looks like I posted similar stuff to Kell at the same time! :)
 
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Richard
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#23
That image doesn't look bad at all for the gear you're using and conditions you're shooting in. You'll see plenty of stuff online saying gear doesn't matter but to get that last bit of critical sharpness it does. I don't see how you could have got your shutter speed much higher in the example you've posted, as the image is already fairly noisy. I'd be interested to see what settings you've used in Lightroom to process the image. Have you used the masking slider after applying your sharpening?
 
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#24
That is just what images are like with a 2013 Canon APS-C with budget zoom lens at 800 ISO.

You are not doing anything wrong IMO and nothing wrong with the camera.

Many people found out the hard way that wildlife photography is frustrating.

Many throw thousands of pounds on it to try and get the results they desire from it.

I think us poor people are best off doing it in sunny conditions so that we can keep ISO near 100
 
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#26
Doesn't look too bad to me considering the conditions, don't forget your 300mm end is approx 450mm on a crop sensor (equivalent) so 500th would be minimum for me even allowing for IS and subject movement.
 
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Tony
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#28
The 100d is entry level but an ok camera, I started off with one.

The lenses are most likely letting you down, I find that they are just about OK in ideal conditions, but anything other than ideal and it shows!

T
 
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Kell
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#29
I must admit, I hadn't read the bit about it being a dark spot...

It looks like the conditions were against you and your kit.

But in the finest forum traditions, I feel compelled to point you towards something very expensive which is complete overkill.

So...

Can I interest sir in a a 300mm F/2.8 Prime? Just £5,599. And, of course you'll want the new 1DX-3 to make the most of it. just another £6,499. So that's just over £12,000 to take some nice pictures of Robins.



 
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#30
The lens is a canon EF70-300f4-5.6 IS USM. the above pic was taken at 1/250, F5.6 300m ISO 800 if that helps.
I can't comment on the image as I don't know if it's cropped or not, and if so, by how much it's been cropped. However, as a general comment, that particular lens tends to be better at an aperture of f/8 and smaller, rather than at maximum aperture of f5.6.

Also, as Newbie1 says above, if using a tripod turn the IS switch to off on the lens, as it's designed to stabilise hand-held movement and may work in reverse on a tripod. As others have said above, you really need 1/500 sec or faster hand held with your lens at 300mm on a crop frame camera. However, if the animal is moving (small birds are notorious for not staying still for long!) then no matter how steady the camera and lens are, the movement of the subject will cause softness or blur if the shutter speed isn't fast enough to freeze the movement... that goes for vegetation swaying in the breeze or blowing in the wind too.

Basically, with the kit you've got, and without getting into the use of a remote flash set up, if you want sharp shots then stick to bright or sunny days and well lit subjects, up your shutter speed enough to freeze any movement and use a smaller aperture (between f/8 to f/16 for the longer end of that lens) and you should get better results. Even with the kit I've got (Canon 6D with a modern 100-400 Sigma zoom) I'm pretty much wasting my time trying to get pin sharp shots of small birds that show every feather unless it's a fairly bright or sunny day. Hope this is useful and best of luck.
 
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Tim
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#31
Flash for bird photography is quite contentious from the point of view that it may disturb them. The National bird photography completion where I am does not accept any entries with flash per their rules.
 
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Tim
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#32
I must admit, I hadn't read the bit about it being a dark spot...

It looks like the conditions were against you and your kit.

But in the finest forum traditions, I feel compelled to point you towards something very expensive which is complete overkill.

So...

Can I interest sir in a a 300mm F/2.8 Prime? Just £5,599. And, of course you'll want the new 1DX-3 to make the most of it. just another £6,499. So that's just over £12,000 to take some nice pictures of Robins.



300 is a bit short? surely 600 prime at a mere 12k? ;)
 
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#33
Flash for bird photography is quite contentious from the point of view that it may disturb them. The National bird photography completion where I am does not accept any entries with flash per their rules.
Quite right, and well done for mentioning that. I was thinking more along the lines of a back garden bird feeder type situation. I certainly wouldn't countenance anyone other than a suitably experienced (and licenced, if required) ecologist/wildlife researcher using flash in the wild, especially during the nesting season, times of stress (bad weather), etc. The animal's welfare must always come first. (y)
 
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Nightmare
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#34
300 is a bit short? surely 600 prime at a mere 12k? ;)
I had 600... It weighed as nice RPG setup or more, and I still couldn't get a photo in most cases. That is I believe a very typical issue with most of wildlife. And if I could, the MFD was too long anyway for smaller birds for a frame filling shot... You have to be able to get close enough with any lens in both technical and practical sense.
 
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Nightmare
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#35
Flash for bird photography is quite contentious from the point of view that it may disturb them. The National bird photography completion where I am does not accept any entries with flash per their rules.
In any case if you want it done properly it needs off camera flash setup, which is hard to image in a truly wild place. Sometimes sunlinght works just fine anyway.
 
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Redsnappa
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#36
There is a formula I was told when I started out in photography which is: crap light=crap photos, so I do believe that lighting is more important than sharpness.
Even with better gear the best the OP would have got is a pin sharp record shot of a robin in very flat boring light conditions.

You do not need better gear yet, you are better off learning more about lighting so you can recognise the best type of lighting conditions to photograph in.

Look at these fantastic images taken by a TP member using 'only' a bridge camera, Wasps_In_Flight
 
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Gil
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#37
What metering settings were you using, and what was your exposure compensation set to? To me it looks too dark, and I'm guessing you didn't darken the photo in PP given the noise at ISO800. I think if you had exposed it better with a higher ISO you would have had better results. When I started, I made the mistake of thinking low ISO was better than a higher ISO, but getting exposure right is more important, and when you have poor light, sometimes a higher ISO is unavoidable. Also the closer you get to the subject in poor light makes for better results. I know with wild birds - that may not be possible, but poor light with your subject only filling a small area of your frame will result in even softer looking images when you crop in PP
 
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Richard
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#38
What metering settings were you using, and what was your exposure compensation set to? To me it looks too dark, and I'm guessing you didn't darken the photo in PP given the noise at ISO800. I think if you had exposed it better with a higher ISO you would have had better results. When I started, I made the mistake of thinking low ISO was better than a higher ISO, but getting exposure right is more important, and when you have poor light, sometimes a higher ISO is unavoidable. Also the closer you get to the subject in poor light makes for better results. I know with wild birds - that may not be possible, but poor light with your subject only filling a small area of your frame will result in even softer looking images when you crop in PP
That's correct to a point, although a lot of modern camera sensors are ISO invariant, meaning you can either shoot at the correct ISO at the time, or just shoot everything at base ISO and brighten it up in PP later and the results will be the same.
 
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Gil
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#39
That's correct to a point, although a lot of modern camera sensors are ISO invariant, meaning you can either shoot at the correct ISO at the time, or just shoot everything at base ISO and brighten it up in PP later and the results will be the same.
I always find that boosting exposure significantly after the photo has been taken results in a noisy image more so than getting the photo right in camera. I'm never happy with photos that need more than +1 compensation in PP, they never look as good
 
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Craig
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#40
I had that same lens as a kit lens when I got my first camera a 1200D. It was not sharp at 100% on any camera at any focal length or aperture. It was fine for snapshots, but anything more "serious" like birding I think that you are simply butting up against your equipments limits.
 
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