I have been using 30D for some time now, but I keep having this focus/softness problem. Sometimes I wonder if it is the problem of the camera or the lenses or even filter, but I would rather believe it is due to my poor basic technique.
I would like to know your opinion on this picture. It looks soft to me. I think it should be sharper even without USM by photoshop.
I used Tamron 17-35, nikon CPL II, ISO 100, F9, 1/80s, Av mode, sharpness 5; contrast 1; saturation 0, evaluative Metering, focus on the road at the right, hand-held in a bright sunny day.
Thank you in advance.
With a 30D, you definitely want to use RAW rather than JPG (I take it from the sharpness/contrast/saturation indication that that's what you set in the camera, which only makes sense for JPG). Since the image you posted is downscaled from the original, if the original was in JPG, that downscaling loses enough detail that it's hard for us to evaluate whether it's the fault of the camera or not. Try shooting some shots in RAW where more of the area around the focus point can be seen (e.g. gravel, tall grass, rough walls) to determine if the focus is off. Try with and without the filter, too.
The lens is high quality, so if it's to blame, it's a poor copy. Try with a simple 50mm f/1.8 to see if it's a lens problem. It could also be bad infinity focus, or just that that particular shot has too much haze to allow for sharpness. Closer shots are easier to evaluate.