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Author Topic: Camera Movement / Focus  (Read 3928 times)
trigeek
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« on: May 31, 2007, 05:57:21 PM »
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Hello All,
Need some advice from some experienced photographers out there. After a day's shooting I come back and notice a number of my photos show some sign of camera shake or not spot on focus. Many are very good in this regard, but enough are not that makes me wonder how I could improve my technique.

As background, I shoot on a tripod (carbon fiber - Feios) w/ ballhead, I use a remote release with the camera on mirror lock-up. The camera is a Canon 5D and I use the 24-105, 17-40 and 100-400mm lenses. When on the tripod I experiment with image stabilization on and off, without a significant difference in outcome. Exposures range from 1 sec thru 1/250 typically since I keep the ISO at around 100 and the lens around f/8.0.

The shooting I do is landscapes and nature. A favorite of mine is to shoot in a swamp near my home since it contains a lot of critters that are interesting to me. The ground is somewhat soft, so I suspect that although on a tripod, the platform may not be the definition of stability. But then again, I also see this on more stable ground as well. Rarely do I shoot on hard surfaces such as concrete or hard packed dirt.

So my question is if there is anything I can do to improve on any micro-movements of the camera, or improve the ability of the camera to focus?
Thanks in advance,
Jim
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2007, 08:11:45 AM »
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Two words: shutter speed. For animals, ISO 100 and f/8 is a poor choice; you are better off sacrificing some noise and DOF by using a higher ISO and larger aperture to get a faster shutter speed and reduce motion blur. Some lenses' IS is not designed for tripod use; the 100-400 falls into this category, but I'm not sure about the 24-105. If your tripod is not rigid, vibrations can cause blurring as well, especially if there is any wind. Using the remote and mirror lockup is good, try using the self-timer as well to allow vibrations to die down as much as possible before the shutter opens.

Regarding focus: manually select a single focus sensor that is on what you want to be in clearest focus, or try focusing manually. The camera may be focusing on something other than what you intended. Be careful of using the focus-recompose technique, it can actually cause focus errors when using wide-angle lenses at shorter distances. See http://visual-vacations.com/Photography/fo...mpose_sucks.htm for more details.
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RomanJohnston
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2007, 08:53:44 AM »
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Quote
Hello All,
Need some advice from some experienced photographers out there. After a day's shooting I come back and notice a number of my photos show some sign of camera shake or not spot on focus. Many are very good in this regard, but enough are not that makes me wonder how I could improve my technique.

As background, I shoot on a tripod (carbon fiber - Feios) w/ ballhead, I use a remote release with the camera on mirror lock-up. The camera is a Canon 5D and I use the 24-105, 17-40 and 100-400mm lenses. When on the tripod I experiment with image stabilization on and off, without a significant difference in outcome. Exposures range from 1 sec thru 1/250 typically since I keep the ISO at around 100 and the lens around f/8.0.

The shooting I do is landscapes and nature. A favorite of mine is to shoot in a swamp near my home since it contains a lot of critters that are interesting to me. The ground is somewhat soft, so I suspect that although on a tripod, the platform may not be the definition of stability. But then again, I also see this on more stable ground as well. Rarely do I shoot on hard surfaces such as concrete or hard packed dirt.

So my question is if there is anything I can do to improve on any micro-movements of the camera, or improve the ability of the camera to focus?
Thanks in advance,
Jim
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=120519\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Might just be as simple as your sharpening routine. Do you have sharpening off? (hope so....better control of sharpening in PP than letting the camera hamfistedly apply it)

At F/8 you should not be running into diffraction limits......

Tripod....mirror locup...

Only other thing if it isnt sharpening....is potentially your camera is a little off and needs to be adjusted.

Roman
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dchew
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2007, 04:08:48 PM »
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I second Jonathan's suggestion to focus manually.  

For the last 10 years I've been switching to manual focus unless the subject is moving unpredictably.   I get better results, especially with Canon's wide angle and/or slow lenses.  They just don't seem to be critically accurate in many landscape situations.
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trigeek
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2007, 05:25:51 PM »
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Jonathan, Roman and dchew,
Thanks for the tips. While the critters that I photograph are "usually" motionless when I shoot them, increasing the shutter speed is probably a suggestion that I will take seriously. I had always figured that being on a tripod and remote release was sufficient... learning... As far as using the timer, I will most of the time click once to lock the mirror up and count to  5 then click again to activate the shutter. I am also trying out higher ISO when I shoot. Tried Noise Ninja and it seems to take care of any noise that shows up. Manual focus is also something I will certainly try.

Thanks for the tip on sharpening... I shoot in RAW and have a couple of sharpening programs... specifically PS CS3 (and the new Camera Raw 4.1), and PK Sharpener from Pixel Genius. I have mainly used PK Sharpener, but the CR 4.1 looks interesting. Since the camera takes many spot on photos, I tend to think that the focus errors are mainly "pilot error", not due to the camera.

Finally, Jonathan, when you say a rigid tripod, what specifically do you mean?... the tripod itself is quite rigid... are you referring to the surface it sits on? I guess I am at the mercy of the location that I am shooting at. If you have any suggestions as to how to improve a bad situation, I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

Best Regards,
Jim
« Last Edit: June 01, 2007, 05:28:26 PM by trigeek » Logged
dchew
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2007, 07:44:14 PM »
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"As far as using the timer, I will most of the time click once to lock the mirror up and count to  5 then click again to activate the shutter."

Aha! That might explain some of your problems.  That second press of the shutter can ad some movement, even if you are very carefull.

Try going into custom functions, set mirror lock up, then set the camera to timer mode.  When that combination is set on the 5D (and many other Canon models), the mirror pre-flips when you press the shutter and then 2 seconds later the shutter fires automatically without you having to touch the camera a second time.

Many folks have tested and verified that shutter vibrations are essentially gone after two seconds. The only disadvantage is that you have to anticipate action such as waves crashing or flower movement in between breezes blowing.  You may have to take some extra frames.  But who cares; pixels are free!

Another option is to buy the expensive and bulky remote.  I bought a used one but I only use it when I need an exposure longer than 30 sec.

Best,

Dave Chew
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2007, 08:13:34 PM »
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The 24-105 on a tripod should be used with IS off. I tend to set my 5D higher than ISO 100 try 250 or 400 still not much noise in a daylight shot
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
daws
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2007, 06:28:57 PM »
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Quote
...I shoot on a tripod (carbon fiber - Feios) w/ ballhead, I use a remote release with the camera on mirror lock-up. The camera is a Canon 5D and I use the 24-105, 17-40 and 100-400mm lenses. When on the tripod I experiment with image stabilization on and off, without a significant difference in outcome. Exposures range from 1 sec thru 1/250 typically since I keep the ISO at around 100 and the lens around f/8.0.

Jim,

I've had the same issue with my 5D & 24/105 on a Bogen 3046 tripod/3275 geared head: occasional movement during a shot, and more frequently between shots, especially during bracketed exposures. (I shoot at ISO 100, f8 or 11, IS off, manual focus, cable release, MLU-and-6-count.)

What works for me on the vibration issue is to boot-stomp the ground beneath the tripod feet to give them as firm a platform as possible, and push the feet into the ground as firmly as possible. I also drape two, 5-pound sandbags across the legs' crossarms. (I improvised bags for a while, then later bought a more rugged, waterproof version..) And don't laugh, but I also I drape a small beanbag (16 oz. of popcorn kernels in a stretchy gym sock) over the camera and lens.

On the neverending battle between my old eyeballs and uber-sharp focus, my gnashing of teeth only stopped after I got a Brightscreen (p232 Proscreen) and Angle Finder. Set me back a bundle, but I figure I saved on dental bills.  

Regards,
Fred Dawson
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trigeek
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2007, 11:20:36 AM »
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Hello Fred,
The focusing screen is a very interesting idea. Do you see any issues with the auto focus or exposure (especially in the center)?
Thanks,
Jim
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daws
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2007, 12:41:45 PM »
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Jim,
I've had no focus or metering issues with the Brightscreen. Other users' experience vary, however -- if you're considering swapping screens, a search for Brightscreen on the various forums is a good idea (e.g. there's been quite a discussion on the subject in the dpreview Canon EOS-1D/1Ds/5D forum).
Regards,
Fred
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