Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

Details

Closed to new replies
January 22, 2013
Link

Statistics

Replies: 93

Not sharp photos even with tripod (canon)

:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist
Hi,
it feels I've been struggling for years to get sharp photos with my camera. I then thought it would help with a tripod but no. It looks sharp before I take the shot.

I use:
canon eos 450D + 50mm 1.8 II lens and sometimes a close up filter (+4)

I don't have an image stabiliser and I shoot product photos (so nothing moving) and I usually have either 2 sec delay or remote. I choose focus point - not the camera.

I don't even feel I get sharp shots with the auto setting! I usually shoot in AV (aperture prio).

Any suggestions on how to fix it?

I mean, it's either me being stupid or my camera have some kind of focus problem.
Reply

You can no longer comment on this thread as it was closed due to no activity for a month.

Devious Comments

:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013
Sorry, but I just noticed that you said you bought your cameera used. I think the problem is going to be with the camera and I think it is going to be that someone tried to save some money on pec pads and cleaned the sensor with cotton swabs. It would not be the first time someone has done this, it wouldn't be the first time I have run into it personally, and if this is the case, then the sensor shield needs to be replaced.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist
Ow, is that expensive or is it better to look for a new camera?
Reply
:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013
$170 (filter replacement) + $120 (labour charge). Considering that B&H has a good used one for about $300, I think I'd get that instead. Sorry.
Reply
:iconravendarke:
RavenDarke Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
l2f if that doesnt help get diffrent lens to compare it with.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist
I've had the issue on all 4 of my lenses.
Reply
:icontimberclipse:
TimberClipse Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional Filmographer
As someone else sugegsted the 50mm 1.8 has some interesting effects, I too found that it was never in focus. I would highly suggest the upgrade to the 1.4
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist
I've had the issue on all my 4 lenses so I doubt it's that one. I think it's me or camera :nod:
Reply
:icontimberclipse:
TimberClipse Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Professional Filmographer
:/

I wonder if there's any way to have your camera cleaned perhaps? Maybe by B&H Photo?
Reply
:iconjanziboi:
Janziboi Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Get your focused checked, google "focus test chart" and you should be able to find something, or just use a ruler. I had my camera calibrated and it worked wonders. If you don't get sharp results from any lens it's probably your camera.

Also you say your camera is second hand, how many exposures have been done with it? Sensors deteriorate over time getting softer and softer.

Looking through your gallery, I think you have plenty of sharp images. Not pro-grade sharp but to achieve that you need pro-grade gear and editing techniques.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist
I shot a pic at a ruler the other day, I had it on 1.8 to get a narrow field and shot it with aperture prio (and everything else on auto) on tripod and it seems to be right where I focused but "dreamy" even in the "sharper" parts.

The problem being that the photos I have here usually 1-3 taken out from 60-70 picture in a session which I have to throw away due to to sharpness - I want to fix that because it's frustrating.

Unsure how many exposures it's on my camera but the problem was when I got it which I then thought was because I was new, but I still have the issue (got it in 2008) and I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

I don't need the crisp sharpness, I just need things to be less dreamy in my product shots ;)
Reply
:iconjanziboi:
Janziboi Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
well the 50mm is a bit soft at f/1.8, very few lenses are sharp wide open. Get a new camera, a good second hand 550D/600D (same sensor)doesn't cost much. Also try a different camera, you a friend with a nice camera? try it and see if those images comes out sharper.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist
Yeah, but I usually shoot between f/4.5 to f/8, so I only had 1.8 to check the focus.

Most of my friends with cameras live far away. I know it's not the same but I used a fujifilm finepix camera (almost like a dslr but with the lens stuck on) before this one and I had no problems with that one.
Reply
:iconxat72:
xat72 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Student Photographer
Kan det vara att fokus inte hamnar där du vill? Jag vet några som har fått lämna in sina objektiv för att få dom kalibrerade eftersom objektiven har "bakfokuserat". Jag vet att du skriver att skärpan inte blir bra och jag vet att skärpa och fokus inte är samma sak men ja, man ska inte utesluta något i förskott :)
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist
Då det är forum så måste man skriva på engelska så jag svarar på engelska:

It's been on all my lenses (4) so it's either me or the camera. It always feel like even in the "focus area" where it's supposed to be sharp it's a bit softer - this with tripod, on table and in my hands (I know I shake a bit with my hands so those I know is my fault).
Reply
:iconxat72:
xat72 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Student Photographer
yikes sorry for going native! ^^

Maybe a stupid question but did you try lower f-stops, to see if you can get sharp photos at 5.6? If you can, at least it's not a technical problem. BUT 1.8 lenses tend to go soft at maximum aperature in certain situations e.g backlit motives.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist
No worries :hug:

I usually shoot 4.5 to 8 and it still gives this soft touch, same when I started to try 16 when someone said that's a good f-stop to shoot in when doing product shots.
Reply
:iconolda-g:
Olda-G Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Are you using a protective UV filter? Bad UV filters can cause these symptoms.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist
Nope, no UV filters.
Reply
:iconjoewjacksonjr:
JoeWJacksonJr Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013
Well one, you don't really need Image Stabilizer on a prime lens. Normally with a f/1.8 lens your going to want to keep it at 1.8 as much as possible to get that nice blurry background behind the item or person your taking a photo of. That much light coming in lets you keep the shutter speed cranked up very fast, thus eliminating the need for IS.

From reading your previous post about teenage boy owning it, and lens being cracked. Sounds like the camera may have been tossed around and damaged. I'd say let a professional camera store clean the camera inside and out. If that doesnt help, then I would recommend like in my previous post that you look into buying a newer model. The 450D is fairly old and may cost you more to fix then its worth. So if cleaning it doesn't help, look into getting a T3i (600D) fairly cheap or a T4i (650D) that was just released. You can get the bare bodies reasonably priced. Both of those are 18MP.
Reply
:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013

I'm not going to read all 66 replies, so sorry if I am repeating someone else's advice, but a few things occurr to me.

1. Just how sturdy is your tripod and just how solid is your head? If you are using a cheap tripod, like you'd get at Walmart, the vibrations from the countdown timer will create some camera shake, as will mirror slap. That's why Canon's test "tripods" are massive chunks of concrete with threaded studs sticking out of the top. How steady is the rest of the shooting platform? Doesn't do much good to use a tripod if the floor is vibrating.

2. Do you get sharper photos with another lens?

3. How do you clean your lenses?

4. How long have you had that lens and do you use it a lot? Did it used to be sharp?

5. You might do better with automatic focusing. Cameras designed for automatic focusing tend to have focusing adjustments that are more extreme than cameras that are designed to be focused manually. A small adjustment to the focus on a lens for an automatic focusing camera tends to have more effect than the adjustments you make to lenses for manual cameras. This makes them harder to focus precisely in manual mode.

6. Your lens has a mnimum focusing distance and trying to alter that with a filter isn't going to work very well. Throw away the close-up filter and get an extension tube or a macro lens.

7. Do you wear glasses? Do you wear them when you shoot? A diopter adjustment does not turn your viewfinder into a prescription lens. It might look sharp to you and still be off.

8. Every SLR lens has a sharpest aperture. It will usually be f/8 or f/11, but occasionally it is f/16. Try f/11.

9. All the previous stuff said, your camera just may be in need of recalibration.

Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
1. My tripod is pretty sturdy. I also don't really raise the middle part since my table is quite low so I have the legs in and the middle part down as much as I can usually.

2. No. I have had four lenses and it's the same sharpness issue with all of them - from start. I've had the issue since 2008 when I bought the camera second hand (it's my first dslr so I can't compare). The kit lens had a crack which I noticed quite some time after which I am sure I didn't cause and the 55-200 canon lens motor gave up. After still trying to photograph I finally a year ago or so (I think it was spring 2012) bought the 50mm and just some months ago I bought my tamron 18-270mm (I haven't used that as much).

3. I usually use the bag blowing thingy and a "pen" brush if there's any dust parts left that refuse to leave.

4. My 50mm isn't a year old yet. I barely used it last year until the autumn.

5. When you say automatic focusing, do you mean the switch on the lens or the focus point option? I usually use automatic focusing on the lens (AF) but sets the focus point manually. It's just sometimes that I focus with the lens manually.

6. The photos have the same sharpness issue with or without the filter.

7. Yes I wear glasses and yes I use them when I shoot.

8. I feel like I've been in most apertures. I've lately started to shoot my jewellery in f/8 but that doesn't help, before I tried around 3.2-5.6.

9. Hand it in for service?
Reply
:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
3. Try this: get a bottle of lighter fluid and some q-tips. saturate one end of the Q-tip with the lighter fluid, blow and brush the lens, and then swab it with the wet end of the swab. Then mop up any lighter fluid remaining on the lens with the dry end. Rotate the swab when you do this, so you keep a fresh bit of swab in contact with the glass and don't rub dirt against it. This will remove any traces of oil, like from fingerprints, from the glass and it will do it far more effectively than a lens pen. When done, go over it again with distilled water, to get any remaining traces of oil that the lighter fluid hydrolized. Don't neglect to clean the rear lens element.

5. I mean any camera capable of autofocusing and any lens capable of autofocusing. They don't focus as easily manually as a purely manual system does.

9. If these don't solve your problem, it probably needs service.

10. It could also have outgassed fluid residues condensed on the sensor shield. Those would need to be cleaned off. This leads me to...

11. If the sensor shield has been cleaned recently, look at it very closely and see if it has very fine scratches. That would indicate that someone who did not know what he was doing has screwed up your camera while attempting to clean the sensor shield.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
3. I will try to do that but I mean the sharpness issues have been since I got it new from the store and on all lenses so it seems more likely to be me who do something wrong or that the camera is fucked up.

5. Well as said, I set the focus point manually but let it focus automatically. If I let it set the focus point it go insane and focus on everything and anything except where it's supposed to.

9. Hm ok

10. Outgassed fluid residues?

11. Now, I'm not used to discussing parts of my camera in English so - what part do you mean when saying sensor shield?
Reply
:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013
10. There are various fluids in a camera that can condense on parts of it. Obviously, atmospheric moisture can condense on it, but there are also fluids from the grease and oil that are used to lubricate it, fluid components (coal tar, chloroform, formadehyde and so on) used in the manufacture of the materials used for light seals, and so on. In old cameras these condensed fluids often show up as a milky or yellow/white residue deposited on the back of the lens.

11. You probably can't touch the senor itself. There is a plastic shield covering it. That shield also works as a IR filter. That is what you actually clean when you "clean your sensor."
Reply
:iconjessicaann87:
JessicaAnn87 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
try setting your timer on 2 seconds and allow the tripod to fully stop moving before the shutter goes off.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
I wrote in my intitial post: "I usually have either 2 sec delay or remote." so I already do that ;)
But thanks for trying to help! :hug:
Reply
:iconkingstephenarthur:
KingStephenArthur Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Student Photographer
Do not use in-camera sharpening. Cameras are not good at editing, lol. Not sure if you use that or not...but don't, especially if you sharpen with unsharp mask then it is just overkill. when you use unsharp mask, which I use, do not over-sharpen. When I sharpen it is barely noticeable, sometimes not at all.

this is probably not the case...but I use a nikon and on my nikon next to the viewfinder is a tiny dial that adjusts the focus of the viewfinder itself, perhaps it is not your lens or camera or tripod, but the viewfinder is not focused. Though I do not think this is the problem because you said it looks sharp before you take the shot...

you could try putting the aperture around 8-11 that will increase focus, you probably know that already though...

I can't think of anything else people haven't already said...not sure :(
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
I rarely use unsharp mask, I add sharpness in photoshop when I feel it's needed but the problem is in general that the sharpness needs to be a bit better to even be a photo I can work with.

I've adjusted that one already, it's as far as it goes toward one end. I usually shoot around f/8 when I do product shots.

Thanks for trying to help.
Reply
:iconkingstephenarthur:
KingStephenArthur Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Student Photographer
no problem, very strange situation hope you figure it out.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
I really hope so too, it feels like I'm grasping at straws here :faint:
Reply
:iconvelox-mortis:
Velox-Mortis Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're taking photos of mostly small things product wise. Lighting is a big deal. I use the close up setting for small things. Normally I'll allow the camera to auto focus, sometimes doing some fine tuning manually. A tripod helps, but mostly with a remote which eliminates any vibration which of course leads to blur. 

Hope that is a little helpful. 
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
It doesn't matter if I have auto setting or manual or aperture. Pictures end up the same. In my studio I have three daylight lamps and I shoot in a studio box.

I do use tripod and self timer or sometimes remote. It still shows these issues.
Reply
:iconvelox-mortis:
Velox-Mortis Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Time for a Nikon then. ^_- I switched from Canon to Nikon in 2011 and haven't ever looked back.

I don't know what other advice to give.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
Nikon seem in general lighter (at least the cameras I've held) but I'm kind of used to canon now and starting to get used to Digital Photo Professional so I think I'd go with another canon if I would change.
Reply
:iconvelox-mortis:
Velox-Mortis Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I see.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
But I might change in the future, there are several I know (and now you too) that have gone from canon to nikon and that has to mean something too. :nod:
Reply
:iconvelox-mortis:
Velox-Mortis Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
indeed. ; )
Reply
:iconjoewjacksonjr:
JoeWJacksonJr Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013
Newer Nikons 3200 and 5200 have upped their megapixel count (24MP on 5200), seems they are following Sonys trend. That is a plus. But if your already using Canon like my wife and I, it does not make since to replace camera brands and buy another 3K worth of lens. But I am hoping Canon follows this trend and raises their MP count on their upcoming models. That being said, a T4i (650D) is reasonably priced about 600 USD without a lens. T3i (600D) is about 200 USD cheaper and still a very good camera for the money. Both are 18MP.
Reply
:iconvelox-mortis:
Velox-Mortis Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're taking photos of mostly small things product wise. Lighting is a big deal. I use the close up setting for small things. Normally I'll allow the camera to auto focus, sometimes doing some fine tuning manually. A tripod helps, but mostly with a remote which eliminates any vibration which of course leads to blur. 

Hope that is a little helpful. 
Reply
:icondhik-a:
dhik-a Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Student General Artist
The best way IMO is to set your picture to lower resolutions. :)
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
How do you mean?
Reply
:iconeyeballman:
eyeballman Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
Some things to be aware of (in no particular order):

1) The closeup filter will definitely cause your images to be unsharp. If you require magnification, a set of extension tubes or dedicated macro lens will give much better results.

2) If you are not running a sharpness filter, you should. In digital photography, sharpening is always required to correct anti-aliasing artifacts caused by demosiacing the sensor's Bayer-pattern. It doesn't take much, but it needs some. I find PS's high-pass filter gives me more control than other methods.

3) Realize that at close working distances, depth of field can be very small. Some of your issues may be caused by objects (or parts thereof) falling outside the plane of best focus. Place your focus-point carefully and realize that some parts of the frame will be less sharp than others.

4) If you notice that the images are consistently over- or under-focused, it is possible that the lens needs to be re-calibrated. All lenses should be CLA'd and recalibrated every 3-5 years (more often if you use them hard).

5) If you are manually focusing, make sure that the viewfinder is well focused. If it is not, the image might look well focused when it's really not. This focusing is usually accomplished by a small wheel located near the VF-lens.

6) Every lens has a "sweet spot" - i.e. an aperture setting which gives maximum sharpness. For 35mm-format lenses, that aperture setting is most usually found between f/5.6 and f/11. A series of test exposures will help you find that aperture (using aperture-priority metering at ISO 200). Once you find it you should stick with it (or close to it) - using whatever shutter-speed the camera's A-mode selects (since you're on a tripod you don't need to worry about long exposure times).

7) A "wimpy" tripod can be a problem - especially if the center column is extended. Make sure you have a good, heavy-weight 'pod, and whenever possible adjust the height with the legs, not the center column.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
1. I don't see much unsharpness difference from with or without close up filter actually.

2. I do use sharpness filter. My camera adds a bit and I usually do check in Digital Photo Professional before I open it in photoshop where I either use unsharp mask or high-pass.

3. Yes, of course I know how DOF works but I don't feel anything gets really sharp.

4. I've had the issue with 4 lenses.

5. I have already put the wheel as far as it goes in one direction to get it sharp in the viewfinder.

6. It feels like I've worked around on several apertures for a loooong time and still don't really get any better results.

7. I usually have the tripod on the lowest since my table is only like 50cm high.


I can add though that a while ago when I was trying a bit I shot with my camera on manual mode (1.8 aperture, 200 iso, don't remember shutter speed). I focused on my lens cap, every time I focused on a letter I felt that the focus was a bit better on the letter behind it.
Reply
:iconchristophmaier:
ChristophMaier Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
5. I have already put the wheel as far as it goes in one direction to get it sharp in the viewfinder.

Uhm... that sounds like a problem. Normally the wheel should be in the middle, turning it either way is a means of adjusting for bad eye sight. going all the way into one direction does not sound like a good idea.

Have you ever tried Live View? For studio shots like this LV is actually the most accurate way to achieve the perfect focus normally. (I've never had a 450D so I don't know how many of the nifty little features it does have) While it is annoying in everyday work it would be a good way to do a double check.
Reply
:iconchelliusbee:
Chelliusbee Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
If you bought your entire system second-hand, and you've been having the issue with lots of lenses, it might be worth taking the body in for a service. You never know how much the body was used before it was sold and I think I remember reading somewhere that you should get it serviced every 3-5 years (probably either the Nikon or Canon website). But personally I don't see anything wrong with your photo!
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
Hm... all I know was that it was bought in the US as a Christmas present for the teenage boy in the family who tried it a little but said it wasn't for him so they put it up for sale and I bought it shortly after. I do know though that my kit lens had a small crack which I am sure I didn't cause so maybe there are issues with the camera body :shrug:

The photos I have up are a few. I can shoot like 100 photos and have to throw 70 directly and from the rest maybe 5 are in a state which I'd like to upload. It's quite discouraging to mostly have to throw away lots of good photos because of sharpness when I like the image.
Reply
:iconchelliusbee:
Chelliusbee Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I know that feeling, but when I throw my photos away for sharpness, its my error that's caused it ^^; If the kit lens had a crack in it, I'd get the body checked out just in case. It could be that the boy dropped it, leading the family to sell it on because they didn't think he could look after it. That'd be enough to cause a crack in the lens and knock something in the camera.
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
I'm thinking about going to this small photo store I've seen and see if the person there can try my camera out just to be sure that it's not me. Last time I did though (at a bigger place) the person there got the same results as me but wasn't really helpful.

I would be more ok if I knew if it was me or camera that causes it, then it would be more ok to throw away photos if it was me because then I have myself to blame but now I don't know.
Reply
:iconchelliusbee:
Chelliusbee Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
See what they say! It's always best to check, even for a simple sanity check!
Reply
:iconpetrova:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist
So true :nod:
Reply
Add a Comment: