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Tuscany - First visit this year  Rate Topic 
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Posted by chrisbet: Thu Mar 21st, 2019 18:12 1st Post
She is waiting for me :smilesmall:


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Posted by jk: Thu Mar 21st, 2019 19:21 2nd Post
Lucky man.  Hope that all goes well.



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Posted by chrisbet: Sun Mar 24th, 2019 17:15 3rd Post
Did some testing today with the 50mm prime - there seemed to be no difference in sharpness at different f stops.


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Posted by Robert: Sun Mar 24th, 2019 20:24 4th Post
Which 50 do you have?

The difference will be not so much in the sharpness, but the rendering of the out of focus parts, the bokeh.  The 'faster' the lens the softer and more pronounced the bokeh, there is plenty of distance from the subject to the background, it should have worked well.

A wide aperture should have rendered the branches in the background much softer than they appear in that image.  Difficult to tell but I think there might be slight camera movement, the nostril whiskers should have been pretty sharp at that distance, they seem to be softer and wider than I might have expected, suggesting movement.  Higher shutter speed and wider aperture needed, to soften the background and prevent slight movement from blurring the image.  I would have gone either wide open or one stop from wide open (depending on the lens) and at least 1/500sec exposure, adjusting the ISO to get the exposure right.



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Posted by jk: Sun Mar 24th, 2019 21:18 5th Post
The 50mm lenses in any manufacturer range are usually the sharpest and cheapest lenses in the range.
However if you  push for super large aperture then cost increases but quality does not rise by much if anything.

The Nikon 50mm f1.8 is good and it is difficult to find a sharper lens.



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Posted by chrisbet: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 10:07 6th Post
Hmm - still having focus issues - need to play with different settings on the auofocus to see if that is the problem or there is an issue with camera since the 55- 200 was also soft.

Best one today -


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Posted by jk: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 10:10 7th Post
The dog tag and the whiskers under the chin are sharp.
Where were you focussing?

What focus mode are you using?

EXIF details say f1.8 which means it is going to be really easy to miss focus and then what you wanted to be in focus is lost!



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Posted by chrisbet: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 10:32 8th Post
I was focussing on the dog's head and see that the sand in front and just behind gives a good idea of dof

I was using af-a and the area focus - I am going to try again with spot focus this pm



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Posted by jk: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 11:07 9th Post
I use centre spot focus for everything except Birds in Flight where I use Dynamic AF.  I focus and recompose.



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Posted by chrisbet: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 11:35 10th Post
70-300 center spot focus wide open. The VR helps a great deal !


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Posted by chrisbet: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 11:41 11th Post
I was focussing on the riders leg - maybe one stop down would have brought thr horse's nose into focus?



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Posted by chrisbet: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 11:55 12th Post
I wish they built a dof indicator into the camera - at greater distance I need less dof cos the horse is side on, at closer distance I need more dof as the horse is more end on, so I have to juggle distance with aperture...



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Posted by jk: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 12:42 13th Post
I know this doesnt necessarily jive with the full fat form of DOF theory.

I always focus on the closest point of interest that I want in focus.
I know that the theory says that 1/3 of DOF in front of focus point and 2/3 of DOF behind point of focus but .......

If I want to use the largest aperture and get best DOF then I put camera on a tripod and then I can actually make sure that any sway or movement on my part as photographer is removed from the equation.


If you want to check this and to magnify this the get a macro lens and see how swaying just a little changes what is in focus.



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Posted by chrisbet: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 17:44 14th Post
Starting to quite like the 70-300 !


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Posted by Robert: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 20:28 15th Post
That's better Chris. :thumbs:



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Posted by jk: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 20:50 16th Post
Yes that looks sharper.



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Posted by Robert: Mon Mar 25th, 2019 20:55 17th Post
Getting the lighting right helps too, gives the AF  more detail to work with.  Side lighting and back lighting are OK but then you need to be much more careful with the focusing, especially in brighter light, the contrast is greater.



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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 10:20 18th Post
Today's close ups with the 50mm





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Posted by jk: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 10:33 19th Post
All very sharp  in certain areas.

:-)



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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 10:45 20th Post
Yes, the dog was difficult as he was sitting on my lap!!



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Posted by Eric: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 12:00 21st Post
chrisbet wrote:
Yes, the dog was difficult as he was sitting on my lap!! Not sure what you are trying to establish or confirm here, Chris? Are you concerned about the sharpness of the lenses, the resolving power of the D90 or your technique?

For what it’s worth.... using a 50mm lens at f2.5 on a subject at 500mm? distance (about your lap size?) will give you a depth of field of just 10mm! Even at f16 it’s only 55-60mm. So you aren’t going to learn anything about the lens sharpness working that close.

I know people talk about using wide apertures to isolate and draw greater attention on some detail but I think that’s sometimes over egged by many photographers. IMHO. Sometimes getting a good composition and dynamic lighting is sufficient to tell the story...even at f8!  

So what are your concerns now?



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Posted by Eric: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 12:12 22nd Post
chrisbet wrote:
I was focussing on the dog's head and see that the sand in front and just behind gives a good idea of dof

I was using af-a and the area focus - I am going to try again with spot focus this pm
Just spotted you said you were using the AF-A.

Take it off that....you are letting the camera decide what to focus on. Use AF-S for static subjects and single spot focusing mode.



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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 14:23 23rd Post








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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 14:27 24th Post
I am just exploring the limits of the lenses. Yes I have switched to manual with af-s or af-c for the ones of the moving horse.



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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 14:39 25th Post
I took a whole series of photos of the horse  being lunged and as this is on a circle the distance to the subject is constantly changing - I found that using af-c spot focusing gave erractic results - the spot has only to slip off the horse onto the background as the horse bucks or leaps and you get a fuzzy horse ! 😂



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Posted by Eric: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 14:40 26th Post
chrisbet wrote:
I am just exploring the limits of the lenses. Yes I have switched to manual with af-s or af-c for the ones of the moving horse. Ah ok.

Were you deliberately overexposing the white horse shots then?  
It’s just that you’ve blown the highlights and have no true black in the last image for one.

Getting the black point set correctly will help sharpness.....

Attachment: 4B685036-F5B7-44C3-8C59-AE78966C074E.jpeg (Downloaded 86 times)

Last edited on Wed Mar 27th, 2019 14:44 by Eric



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Posted by Eric: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 14:48 27th Post
Like this......

Attachment: 8850A724-A43D-4302-AF61-87DE9284BB01.jpeg (Downloaded 84 times)



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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Mar 27th, 2019 18:04 28th Post
Ahh - thanks - that was my next project to learn about the histograms 😊



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Posted by chrisbet: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 09:35 29th Post
I have downloaded Darktable for Linux - methinks it will take a while to master the filters....

but this is my first attempt at post processing using it - comments?


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Posted by jk: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 12:33 30th Post
Also try LightZone for linux.  It is free.
http://lightzoneproject.org

This uses the Zone system as its method of determining curves/levels.  It takes a little getting used to initially but is very good.



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Posted by Eric: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 14:59 31st Post
The processing and exposure seem fine.

I am more concerned about the fact the subject is not in as sharp focus as the background. For example the red bench is sharper than the horse and rider.

This could mean one of two things....

1. The subject was moving too quickly for your chosen shutter speed.
    Choosing a higher shutter speed or even panning with the horse as it passes by would counter this.


2. You have focused inadvertently on the background.
    This may not be YOU, as the lens itself could have tendency to back focus. But it could also be your technique.


I would try panning as the horse comes across you. Remember to keep panning with the horse even AFTER you have hit the shutter.  This panning movement will tend blur the static back ground elements making the foreground look even sharper by contrast.



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Posted by jk: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 17:48 32nd Post
Do you remember/know the position of the focus point when you pressed the shutter or the point you were focussing on the horse or rider.

If I was shooting I would be using the white blanket and the saddle at rider's knee as my focus point.  This is a high contrast target that your camera's AF will fond it easier to latch onto.
Do not focus on the horse's flank or neck as this is one colour and low contrast and the AF will work less well.



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Posted by chrisbet: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 20:32 33rd Post
Yes - I focus on the saddle / saddle pad line - following an earlier comment on contrast.

One of the problems is that the horse is not moving in a constant direction - legs go back and forth in opposition and the back flexes as does the head & neck - hence my use of high shutter speeds - 1/2500 for that shot.

Yes, I was panning with the horse and that is one of a burst of exposures. These three taken in less than a second give an idea of the range of movement ...










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Posted by jk: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 20:49 34th Post
Looks like I need to come to Tuscany!   
Sigh..... such a trial now there is no freedom of movement!  
Well if JR-M can, then I can, as he only went to a 'rich boys with no intelligence school'.  :devil::lol:



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Posted by chrisbet: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 21:21 35th Post
We haven't left  yet .... maybe never will!

It's not going to stop me going to Tuscany - might even get dual nationality, keep options open!



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Posted by Eric: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 21:29 36th Post
Sorry but the bracket on the scaffold board bottom left corner and the M on the sign extreme right are sharper than the subject.

If you are using 1/2500, with should be sufficient to freeze SOMETHING of the subject.....then I fear that lens is back focusing.



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Posted by jk: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 21:32 37th Post
I am never sure with these AF problems.  
Is it the lens back focusing or is it the camera's  AF that needs adjustment?
Need to test with several lenses I guess.

My D90 that I use with a 18-200 VR is very sharp but I only use it in Spain when I am out walking.



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Posted by Eric: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 21:51 38th Post
I don’t wish to labour the focus point but this photo was 70mm, f5.6, 1/640th and 1000iso. (It’s a low res jpg so the photo isn’t as sharp as the original)
They were going hell for leather, so I had no time to wait to focus...I couldn’t even see them coming.

I set focus to manual and prefocused on the fence, and fired as the horses head appeared.

I appreciate your subject may be more unpredictable in her line/position, but your depth of field and shutter speed should be sufficient to cover her movements. 

Don’t quite understand why the action isn’t being frozen and the background is sharp ....unless the focus point is behind the subject??

Attachment: 1732823D-C6CB-4EB2-A55C-B0BEB67EBDE9.jpeg (Downloaded 36 times)

Last edited on Sun Mar 31st, 2019 21:53 by Eric



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Posted by Eric: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 22:03 39th Post
And this one is f2.8 at 1/2500th at a focal length of 150mm.  (Again the full size file is sharp side to side)

Note the depth of field ....even at f2.8. The sign at the back of the jump right through to the front left of the jump are sharp. This should have given you enough dof to cater for mis position on your picture. So something isn’t right.

Attachment: FBE8F0D5-D567-4AB8-9F9D-9525BF4E3810.jpeg (Downloaded 32 times)

Last edited on Sun Mar 31st, 2019 22:04 by Eric



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Posted by chrisbet: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 22:35 40th Post
Hmm - yes, something isn't right and since I had the issue with the 55-200 as well, I wonder if it is the camera.

There doesn't seem to be a fine adjustment for AF in the camera's menu - any ideas?



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Posted by chrisbet: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 23:00 41st Post
Calculating the dof at the settings for that first pic gives something like 10 feet in front of the horse to 15 feet behind - maybe there is an issue with the body. I don't know its history - how much is it likely to cost to get it serviced?



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Posted by Eric: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 23:04 42nd Post
chrisbet wrote:
Hmm - yes, something isn't right and since I had the issue with the 55-200 as well, I wonder if it is the camera.

There doesn't seem to be a fine adjustment for AF in the camera's menu - any ideas?
If it were me, I would go out and place a small object (piece of paper) at the nearest distance I anticipate the horse will come. Focus on THAT object and see if IT or the background or both are sharp at f5.6 (a good safe starting point for most lenses).

I would then set the focus to Manual, confirm the focus spot and shoot the passing horse without adjusting focus....several times. (That way you decouple the AF from the process.)

I do wonder if the camera is changing focus point at the time of hitting the shutter?


You could decouple focus from the shutter button by assigning the rear AE-L button to focus ( p200 in manual, custom function f4 to AF-ON)

I use this method all the time but especially for moving subjects. It can take some time getting use to focusing with your thumb, separate from operating the shutter in the usual manner. But you might find it helps as an alternative to manual focus while you re testing things.



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Posted by chrisbet: Sun Mar 31st, 2019 23:11 43rd Post
Thanks Eric - I will try your suggestions and see what the result is.



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Posted by chrisbet: Tue Apr 2nd, 2019 22:52 44th Post
Reviewing the photos I took last in tuscany using the 70-300 lens, all the f5.6 / f4.5 ones are focusing behind the subject so I don't think it is technique - those taken at f8 were sharp like this one - if you look at the sand you can see the horse is pretty well in the centre of the dof.

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Posted by Eric: Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 08:48 45th Post
Nothing wrong with the focus on that image.

The horse is overexposed (whiter than the background) and this leads to loss of detail in the body. I’ve selectively darkened the horse a tad, on the image below ....but it only adds a smidging extra detail. The problem is that the horse body is primarily low contrast but also overexposed ...so can’t be back adjusted.

The other thing I notice is iso noise and some jpegging artefacts.....these can also add to the appearance of soft focus in areas of low contrast. It’s less obvious in the contrasty sand for example.

Clearly using 6400 iso is too far on the D90. I seem to recall never going beyond 1600 back in the day when my wife used the D90.  I understand it was necessary for the shutter speed you chose but you should have still frozen the action at 2000th. 

I assume you are using camera settings to maximum quality and minimise compression of your JPEGs. So that really only leaves a couple more suggestions.... try setting exp comp to -1/3 or even -2/3 for the light horse and drop ISO to 3200 better still 1600.

Can’t explain why the lens back focuses at wider apertures....maybe being narrower dof field it’s just more obvious? 

Normally mis focusing is more likely to be a function of the focal length on zoom lenses. That’s why it’s harder to optimise the AF on a zoom .....often one end is sharper than the other due to the factory’s compromise setting.

I’ve shied away from saying change the camera. But it’s true that advances in processors and sensors will improve performance under these sort of exacting conditions.

Last edited on Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 08:50 by Eric



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Posted by jk: Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 09:32 46th Post
Agree with Eric.

ISO at 6400 is very high.  That is the max limit that I use for my D3S, Z7, D500 and D850.  These are newer cameras with better EXPEED electronics.

Regarding the AF I can suggest a test that may lock this down to either lens or camera.

Take a look at this url and test as described.
https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2010/11/how-to-test-a-lens/

Look at step2.
You can substitute a newspaper or a magazine page for the testing.

I use this method.
http://www.zen20934.zen.co.uk/photography/LensTests/simplemethod.htm

This is an alternative method.
https://backcountrygallery.com/lens-sharpness-testing/



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Posted by Eric: Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 13:51 47th Post
The sad fact is that there are only 3 reasons for an out of focus image...

1. The lens is faulty
2. The camera is faulty
3. The technique is faulty.

I suppose a 4th reason might be a combination of 2 or more of these points. 

Isolating each one in turn with structured testing is the only way to sort the problem.


But from that photo, at that f-stop, I can’t believe the lens is faulty?

Last edited on Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 13:54 by Eric



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Posted by Eric: Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 14:18 48th Post
Just as an aside.....

My wife upgraded her D90 to a D7000 and found it significantly better in terms of IQ (with same lens) and more ‘responsive’.

Further iterations of the D7xxx have no doubt further progressed the performance.

But if I were in your situation, and didn’t want to spend too much at this time, I might be inclined to order in a used D7000 on a 14day unconditional return (like this one ... https://www.wexphotovideo.com/nikon-d7000-digital-slr-camera-body-used-1696828/). Sometimes having a comparison to hand will clarify the thinking.

Alternatively you can pay WEX a visit ...they are happy to let you shoot off some files with your lens and SD card on their bodies before purchasing.

.....and it that doesn’t suit, you are more than welcome to pop up to Kings Lynn and have a play with my cameras and lenses. ( admittedly far more limited than JKs collection....but he is in the deep SWest);-)

Last edited on Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 14:20 by Eric



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Posted by jk: Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 14:48 49th Post
Yes if you want to test AF then I have a good collection of cameras here but the best test would be with my D90 which is in Spain.

Flights from Heathrow to Newquay go twice daily!
o.O



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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 18:07 50th Post
Lol - I have a better idea - all fly out to Tuscany and enjoy some chianti, food and clear night skies :wine:

Actually I was looking at a 610 that oddly seems cheaper to buy than the 7200



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