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Can't Get It Tack Sharp Even On The Tripod!


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#1 Christine

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 10:53 PM

Using the great suggestions I got for holiday photos from one of your videos, I did some shots of my girls.  I even used a tripod and planned it all out.  I still cannot get the shots super sharp.  These are okay for posting on FB to share with family, but I want them to be better and I know I'm missing something, but I can't put my finger on what exactly it is.  This was shot in raw and edited in photoshop.  Thanks for all suggestions and support!

 

Canon Rebel T3i

f 1.8

1/10

50mm

external flash with lightsphere diffuser

 

Attached Files



#2 Christine

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 07:49 AM

It's the shutter speed isn't it?   More practice today is in order!



#3 Dreamjar

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:46 PM

I'm not a pro with setting but your shutter speed does seem very slow.  I think your set up is very pretty.  It would be worth trying again.



#4 Dave Clarke

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 03:14 PM

I have this lens, and at f 1,8 the quailty is not as good as at smaller apertures, ie 2.2 (or even f/2)and upwatds. At 2.8 the quality is excellent and sharp. At 1.8 the shots wull probably be a bit soft.

 

Looking at shot, i can tell would it much sharper at say f/2.8, also there would be less or no chromatic abberation, I think.


The combination of slow shutter speed and 1.8 aperture is most likely the cause, with slow shutter speed being the biggest issue, because if the shot is blurred it will be soft regardless of the aperture. I think you did everything right, like focusing in the right place, i'ts just motion blur has made it slightly soft.

 

I'me not a portrait photographer (very often), but that's my two  cents


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#5 Christine

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:00 AM

Thanks Dave. I still have the backdrop set up in the house. I think I'm going to force my slave labor...er, children to give this another go.

This is probably the failed musings of a beginner thinking..."oh, I now have a lens that I can open up all the way and that's what I need to do to get the best background blur!"
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#6 Dave Clarke

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 03:49 PM

Also if you move further away from the background (if possible), this will increase  background blur, the further away the more out of focus it will be.

If you had a Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens you could open it all way without quality loss, although i don't own one.

 

#7 Dave Clarke

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 05:39 PM

I thought i would do a test, i thought it would be interesting to see the difference
 



#8 Dave Clarke

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 06:43 PM

11612792975_c0aea3b89c.jpg
1.8 by 1Dave6, on Flickr

 

 

11613131814_6294eb577d.jpg
2.8 by 1Dave6, on Flickr

 

11613131204_3a2e966ae4.jpg
4.5 by 1Dave6, on Flickr


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#9 Christine

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 10:22 PM

Thanks again Dave. Seeing it laid out so clearly helps. It definitely emphasizes my point that as a beginner, the point I made before. You get a lens with a higher appature, you think you need to be wide open to get the best blur in a shot. I need to trust the lens more and stop trying to force what I "think" I know. 



#10 klaus

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:47 AM

Hi, I am new to this forum but have had my dslr for two years now.  It is almost impossible to get tack sharp images of people with the aperture at f/1.8. I have some blurry pictures taken only a few days ago to prove it ;) Neither my son or father were sharp in those pictures :) You'd need to go to f/2.8 I think. Or f/4.5 even. Get your subject to stand as close to you as the lens allows and place her/him as far from the background as possible. And focus on the eye, and take three pictures because the first one can easily be blurred by your pressing the shutter on your camera.

 

Klaus



#11 stenchlord

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 11:54 AM

Shutter speed is going to be the major factor for why the photo isn't sharp but it's not the only issue.
Other issue is that focus seems to be on her mouth rather than her eyes.
Always super important when doing portraits to get the eyes in focus.
 
As mentioned above, bring her forward and away from the backdrop which will allow you to separate her from the background.
I'd also maybe turn her a little more so her left shoulder is a little more forward for a more feminine pose.
 
Also, considering you're using an external flash you can push for a much higher shutter speed and smaller aperture.

Easier to show what I mean though, don't have any live models on hand (4am here) but Darth Vader seems willing to help out and I'll just google image for a stock photo of some Christmas lights.

Exact same settings, same composition, only difference is distance between subject and background.
 

jbhkUyYfIZ44Ls.png
(click image for larger resolution)


Bring her forward about 1m (~3ft) and you'll get some nice separation between her and the background.

You'll be able to get a sharper image than what you've captured at f/1.8 long as you focus properly and have a slightly faster shutter speed.
Issue at f/1.8 will be the depth of field more than anything.

EDIT: Added in a third shot using a Canon 50mm f/1.8 wide open to show that you can capture a sharp image with it at f/1.8
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#12 cyberioten

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 03:30 AM

Low aperture is not an issue as Stenchlord mentioned with his lovely Darth Wader shots (love StarWars btw). Here is a self portrait I shot at f/1.4 with a Sigma 50 mm on a Canon 70 D. The low aperture makes a nice bokeh with only the right eye in focus.

 

Self portrait


#13 Shoeless Wonder

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 12:37 AM

I'd definitely kick the aperture toward a stop higher, like f/2.8.  Her right arm and hair on her right side are out of focus.  If you want a larger depth of field, f/1.8 is a bit narrow for this shot.  That's my 2ยข worth anyway.


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#14 Bill Peppas

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 04:51 AM

Actually all his right part of the face is out of focus.
The DoF ( Depth of Field ) at f1/.4 is very narrow, even for a straight face shot in most situations.

One eye considerably blurrier than the other which is tack sharp is a downer for me.



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#15 john whittaker

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:39 PM

put your 18- 55m back on open it up to 3.5 .

go into your flash compensation menu, put your flash on second curtain, and drop flash compensation 2 full stops and shoot again , you won't believe how mush of a difference this will do for your built in flash.

I shot rebel for7 years, they are great cameras and will take you a long ways, that kit lens is much maligned and is not justified, I have prints hanging up in all different places and never once did somebody walk up and say.. OH that was taken with a 18-55mm, if you don't tell them and it is a great shot they are none the wiser.

get a real good feel for what your camera can do then worrie about trying all sorts of fancy lens, because by then you will be getting the most out of your camera.

 

search:  Rudy Winston canon . rebel .                 he is the top guy from canon and a great learning resource.


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#16 ajax

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 02:20 AM

John,

        I'm  curious as to why you threw in setting second curtain sync.  I generally use that for my purposes but I wonder about your rationale for suggesting it in a portrait shot.

 

Mike



#17 RAH1861

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 11:17 AM

I think that at 1/10 shutter speed, shooting from a tripod (good idea!) you should be using a remote control AND Mirror Lock. This is exactly the area of shutter speeds most affected by mirror slap. So you need to use the remote control set at 2 second delay (on back of remote), and have mirror lock enabled. If you don't have a remote, use the self-timer with 2 second delay, PLUS mirror lock.


Rich


#18 john whittaker

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 11:20 AM

Ajax.
I use second curtain on my build in flash, I find that it gives the pictures a unique look that I like, better than first curtain.
I find first curtain harsh,even when I lower flash compensation.
I have seen several videos since, from B&H and other reputable sources that also recommend this for built in flash.

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#19 Geri Freitas

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 05:28 PM

Until you get into your groove, kick up to f/5.6 > ISO 400. When using a tripod, be sure to turn off your  camera (or lens) image stabalization (or "image vibration" or whatever). Don't hand-click the shutter button! Use the timer delay or a wired or wireless remote shutter release. Carefully use single-point focus on the eye. Ask you model to "freeze". Rock on!



#20 cuda

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 12:19 PM

Christine, 1/10 shutter speed and f1.8 are not ideal settings for a portrait. The subjects breathing is enough to cause blur and such a shallow depth of field only the smallest part of your focus point will be sharp. A better choice might be f4 or f5.6 and a shutter speed of about 1/60




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