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D3200 question/inquiry

d3200 nikon sharp focus clarity

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16 replies to this topic

#1
Tide Photography

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I have had my D3200 for about three to four months now. Seems to be having inconsistencies with "sharp" and "crisp" focused images. Example, I would take 5-10 images, 1 or 2 would be as sharp or crisp as I would like. I might be expecting too much, but before I upgrade in the next year or so, I would like to get the most out of the 3200.

 

I have the kit lens, 18-55mm as well as Tamron 70-300mm lens f/4.0-5.6

 

Two examples to help clarify my issue.

 

I like the angle and lighting, however, focus is off. Focal point is just behind the deer's eye.

aperture f/8.0

shutter 1/15

ISO 800

Focal 165mm

 

Deer-1-2.jpg

 

I really like how this image turned out.

aperture f/8.0

shutter 1/200

ISO 800

Focal 300mm

 

Fawn-1.jpg

 

Any advice, good or critical, is welcomed. 

 

Thank you in advance

 

John



#2
Russ

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What focal point method are you using, centre, auto etc?

Does it have dynamic modes? (sorry don't really know that camera very well)

 

Yeah that 2nd shot is very cool.



#3
Kenafein

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The D3200 doesn't have the best focusing system, however, you need to make sure that it is in focus before you fire the shutter button.  There is a little green dot on the LCD display that will tell you if the camera thinks it is in focus.  Just because you see the focus point flash doesn't mean that the camera is in focus.  That first shot is all kinds of confusing for an AF system, lots of stuff it can lock on to.  The fastest, for situations like that, is to use center point focusing and recompose, but make sure you see the focus confirmation dot first.

 

Good luck!



#4
Tide Photography

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What focal point method are you using, centre, auto etc?

Does it have dynamic modes? (sorry don't really know that camera very well)

 

Yeah that 2nd shot is very cool.

I have been playing with Dynamic-area and Single Point. Reason for Dynamic is because of subject possibly moving while attempting my shot. I have found that using the "back button" technique for focusing has helped.

 

The D3200 doesn't have the best focusing system, however, you need to make sure that it is in focus before you fire the shutter button.  There is a little green dot on the LCD display that will tell you if the camera thinks it is in focus.  Just because you see the focus point flash doesn't mean that the camera is in focus.  That first shot is all kinds of confusing for an AF system, lots of stuff it can lock on to.  The fastest, for situations like that, is to use center point focusing and recompose, but make sure you see the focus confirmation dot first.

 

Good luck!

I agree on the focusing system, however, I have seen and gotten quality images with sharp focus. I can't see and don't use live view while shooting. Viewfinder only, so seeing a green dot in not an option. However, there is a dot I watch for in the viewfinder. Also, for AE lock as well.



#5
Kenafein

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I have been playing with Dynamic-area and Single Point. Reason for Dynamic is because of subject possibly moving while attempting my shot. I have found that using the "back button" technique for focusing has helped.

 

I agree on the focusing system, however, I have seen and gotten quality images with sharp focus. I can't see and don't use live view while shooting. Viewfinder only, so seeing a green dot in not an option. However, there is a dot I watch for in the viewfinder. Also, for AE lock as well.

The green dot in the viewfinder is what I'm talking about.  It's in the lower left of the Display inside the viewfinder.  If you're already looking for that the camera thinks it is in focus.  

 

Of course it will give great focus sometimes, when it is not confused.  Another thing you could try is calibrating your body to the lenses. 

 

Quality light is also a big factor in perceived sharpness.  Images will look soft without any hard light.  



#6
Merco_61

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One other often overlooked point is that the focus area for each sensor is a bit larger than the square in the viewfinder and they can sometimes be a bit off-centre to the indicator too.

I don't know if the chapter describing good and less good focussing targets is in your manual, if it isn't you can download a manual for one of the more advanced models and read it.



#7
greenwing

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aperture f/8.0

shutter 1/15

ISO 800

Focal 165mm

 

 

 

I think you're confusing out-of-focus blur with camera shake, or possibly subject movement. 1/15 isn't going to cut it at 165mm focal length, even with VR it's marginal - more than 3 stops, less than 4, and there may have been subject movement. 

 

Is this any better? Touched with Focus Magic.

 

Image3.jpg

 

Chris



#8
Tide Photography

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One other often overlooked point is that the focus area for each sensor is a bit larger than the square in the viewfinder and they can sometimes be a bit off-centre to the indicator too.

I don't know if the chapter describing good and less good focussing targets is in your manual, if it isn't you can download a manual for one of the more advanced models and read it.

That would make a lot of sense. With that, the further way the subject is, the wide the "single point" is. Will definitely get that in mind during next outing.

 

 

I think you're confusing out-of-focus blur with camera shake, or possibly subject movement. 1/15 isn't going to cut it at 165mm focal length, even with VR it's marginal - more than 3 stops, less than 4, and there may have been subject movement. 

 

Is this any better? Touched with Focus Magic.

 

I was thinking that as well. As look more into this photo, I look at the small tree to the left of the deer. It appears to be more of shake than blur, due to it being about the same focal length as the deer.

 

Decent touch up, cool.

 

 

The green dot in the viewfinder is what I'm talking about.  It's in the lower left of the Display inside the viewfinder.  If you're already looking for that the camera thinks it is in focus.  

 

Of course it will give great focus sometimes, when it is not confused.  Another thing you could try is calibrating your body to the lenses. 

 

Quality light is also a big factor in perceived sharpness.  Images will look soft without any hard light.  

I will be honest, I don't look at that "dot" every shot. Most of my shooting is outdoors and subjects don't necessarily play along fairly. Need to "think" about that more often.

 

I will go back and look at my images and see which are in focus and with are not, I am sure lighting is a difference there as well.



#9
Kenafein

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I think you're confusing out-of-focus blur with camera shake, or possibly subject movement. 1/15 isn't going to cut it at 165mm focal length, even with VR it's marginal - more than 3 stops, less than 4, and there may have been subject movement. 

 

Is this any better? Touched with Focus Magic.

 

attachicon.gifImage3.jpg

 

Chris

Oops didn't notice the 1/15, that's the culprit for this image to be sure.  As for the other images he's talking about it could be a combination.  The OP should set his minimum shutter speed to 1/30 or faster for most shooting.  



#10
TBonz

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I would have to agree with Greenwing...1/15 is way too slow for that lens unless you had it on a tripod...

 

Everyone is different but the normal rule is at least as fast as the lens (200mm means 1/200 or faster) or the long end of the zoom - in your case 1/300 for the 70-300...some can get by with less and VR helps, but that is a very big difference...



#11
Merco_61

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I missed the 1/15 part too, but I feel that my advice still stands in that it is an often overlooked factor, especially with the D3xxx series cameras.



#12
Tide Photography

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Oops didn't notice the 1/15, that's the culprit for this image to be sure.  As for the other images he's talking about it could be a combination.  The OP should set his minimum shutter speed to 1/30 or faster for most shooting.  

 

I would have to agree with Greenwing...1/15 is way too slow for that lens unless you had it on a tripod...

 

Everyone is different but the normal rule is at least as fast as the lens (200mm means 1/200 or faster) or the long end of the zoom - in your case 1/300 for the 70-300...some can get by with less and VR helps, but that is a very big difference...

 

 

I too agree with Greenwing. When shooting images such as this, I will change to Shutter Priority. This may help things out a bit.

 

 

I missed the 1/15 part too, but I feel that my advice still stands in that it is an often overlooked factor, especially with the D3xxx series cameras.

 

Which manual would you suggest to download about focusing?

 

I appreciate everyone's input. It is great to finally find a place where you get answers and tips, not empty opinions. Thanks again.



#13
Merco_61

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The chapter I mean is "Getting good results with autofocus" and is only one page long. It is on page 80 in the D700 manual and page 70 in the D300 manual. There are six situations described where the autofocus will either hunt or lock on the wrong thing.

I wouldn't be surprised if you already have it in the manual for your camera.



#14
Ron

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I see it's already been mentioned but I too was going to point out the slow shutter speed in the first photograph. I think that's a much bigger problem here than imprecise focus. If you compare it to the second photo which was taken at a much higher shutter speed you can readily see how much steadier the image is... and that leads to higher level of perceived sharpness. 

 

--Ron



#15
TBonz

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I agree - autofocus can do crazy things in some situations...sometimes the results are not what you want :)  Definitely good info to know though...



#16
Tide Photography

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Just from tid bits here, I paid closer attention to the lower left of my view finder yesterday at a car show. Ensuring I did in fact have a dot (focus locked) as well as shutter speed fast enough for clarity (anti blur and/or camera shake). Even adjusted aperture just prior to shooting due to cloud moving in front of sun causing shutter to fall below 1/50.

 

I have shared a few of them over in photo sharing (cars and machinery)

 

Thanks again.



#17
Allen McMurtrie

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I too agree that 1/15 is too slow for that long of lens. When shooting wildlife I try to stay above 1/500 on the 70-200. The problem seems to be slight motion in your deer / camera







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