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Not happy with focus
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Feb 11, 2018 12:26:22   #
jarneyd
 
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday and he was pretty sedentary even with folks coming and going to get his Photo. I used my D7100 with a Sigma 150-600 on a monopod stabilazation active because of the high winds, with the Iso up a bit to keep the Shutter speed up and because of the grass blowing right in front of his face, I used his front shoulder as my focus point. It just doesn't seem as sharp as it should be. I also shot with my D600, Nikon 80-200, 2.8 with a 2x converter and no stabilazition and had about the same result. Then I tried with the 600 and the Sigma and basically got the same result. I used his shoulder for my focus point in each photo. It was late afternoon and overcast. Am I expecting to much or is there something I could try for a better result?
Thanks for your informed replies.
D7100 & Sigma
D7100 & Sigma...
(Download)
D600 & Nikon
D600 & Nikon...
(Download)
D600 & sigma
D600 & sigma...
(Download)
 
Feb 11, 2018 12:34:41   #
rmalarz (a regular here)
 
The focus point was probably not the most judicious. I'd suggest focusing on the eyes. The shoulder is a somewhat non-defined edge. The camera probably had problems trying to figure out what you were trying to keep in focus. The eyes, preferable anyway, would give a sharper edge to focus, as well as greater contrast.
--Bob
jarneyd wrote:
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday and he was pretty sedentary even with folks coming and going to get his Photo. I used my D7100 with a Sigma 150-600 on a monopod stabilazation active because of the high winds, with the Iso up a bit to keep the Shutter speed up and because of the grass blowing right in front of his face, I used his front shoulder as my focus point. It just doesn't seem as sharp as it should be. I also shot with my D600, Nikon 80-200, 2.8 with a 2x converter and no stabilazition and had about the same result. Then I tried with the 600 and the Sigma and basically got the same result. I used his shoulder for my focus point in each photo. It was late afternoon and overcast. Am I expecting to much or is there something I could try for a better result?
Thanks for your informed replies.
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday a... (show quote)
Feb 11, 2018 12:43:30   #
Chris T (a regular here)
 
jarneyd wrote:
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday and he was pretty sedentary even with folks coming and going to get his Photo. I used my D7100 with a Sigma 150-600 on a monopod stabilazation active because of the high winds, with the Iso up a bit to keep the Shutter speed up and because of the grass blowing right in front of his face, I used his front shoulder as my focus point. It just doesn't seem as sharp as it should be. I also shot with my D600, Nikon 80-200, 2.8 with a 2x converter and no stabilazition and had about the same result. Then I tried with the 600 and the Sigma and basically got the same result. I used his shoulder for my focus point in each photo. It was late afternoon and overcast. Am I expecting to much or is there something I could try for a better result?
Thanks for your informed replies.
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday a... (show quote)


Or, perhaps, that metal-looking contraption on top of his head, D ... maybe, that might work ...

(Looks like he just had an operation, or something) ....

Like the second one, shot with the D600 and the Nikkor 80-200, best, though ....
Feb 11, 2018 12:49:24   #
Spider223
 
Could some of it be spray in the air? At 600mm, I would think that may be a factor. I loaded your photo into Elements, and the largest effect I saw when playing with it, was when using the Auto Haze Removal feature. The image was still a touch out of focus, but the contrasts seemed to give it the effect of being a bit more in focus.
Feb 11, 2018 12:51:19   #
PixelStan77 (a regular here)
 
jarneyd wrote:
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday and he was pretty sedentary even with folks coming and going to get his Photo. I used my D7100 with a Sigma 150-600 on a monopod stabilazation active because of the high winds, with the Iso up a bit to keep the Shutter speed up and because of the grass blowing right in front of his face, I used his front shoulder as my focus point. It just doesn't seem as sharp as it should be. I also shot with my D600, Nikon 80-200, 2.8 with a 2x converter and no stabilazition and had about the same result. Then I tried with the 600 and the Sigma and basically got the same result. I used his shoulder for my focus point in each photo. It was late afternoon and overcast. Am I expecting to much or is there something I could try for a better result?
Thanks for your informed replies.
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday a... (show quote)


The D600 and Nikon lens appears to my eyes to be the sharpest. I always try to focus on the eyes for maximum sharpness at F8
Feb 11, 2018 13:20:51   #
SteveR (a regular here)
 
You should be able to get sharp focus with the D7100 and Sigma. I have a friend who has traveled widely (Africa, Costa Rica, Pacific) using his Canon dx cameras and Sigma 50-500mm lens and has gotten very sharp photos. He's just moved to the 150-600 for the extra reach. You might pick up Steve Perry's book on the Nikon focus system available through BackCountryGallery.
 
Feb 11, 2018 13:20:56   #
rgrenaderphoto (a regular here)
 
Agree with rmalarz about focusing on the eyes, which was probably difficult with the grass waving and the mist in the air. These are great photographs; but try adjusting exposure, highlights, shadows, etc to bring out the hidden beauty that I know is in there.
Feb 11, 2018 14:39:53   #
d3200prime
 
jarneyd wrote:
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday and he was pretty sedentary even with folks coming and going to get his Photo. I used my D7100 with a Sigma 150-600 on a monopod stabilazation active because of the high winds, with the Iso up a bit to keep the Shutter speed up and because of the grass blowing right in front of his face, I used his front shoulder as my focus point. It just doesn't seem as sharp as it should be. I also shot with my D600, Nikon 80-200, 2.8 with a 2x converter and no stabilazition and had about the same result. Then I tried with the 600 and the Sigma and basically got the same result. I used his shoulder for my focus point in each photo. It was late afternoon and overcast. Am I expecting to much or is there something I could try for a better result?
Thanks for your informed replies.
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday a... (show quote)


If your eyes are sharp, focus on the eye with AF them put your lens on M and manually tweak the focus and take the shot. This should solve the focus problem with any lens. BTW those are really nice shots.
Feb 11, 2018 14:43:28   #
jackpi
 
jarneyd wrote:
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday and he was pretty sedentary even with folks coming and going to get his Photo. I used my D7100 with a Sigma 150-600 on a monopod stabilazation active because of the high winds, with the Iso up a bit to keep the Shutter speed up and because of the grass blowing right in front of his face, I used his front shoulder as my focus point. It just doesn't seem as sharp as it should be. I also shot with my D600, Nikon 80-200, 2.8 with a 2x converter and no stabilazition and had about the same result. Then I tried with the 600 and the Sigma and basically got the same result. I used his shoulder for my focus point in each photo. It was late afternoon and overcast. Am I expecting to much or is there something I could try for a better result?
Thanks for your informed replies.
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday a... (show quote)

The AF system in your camera will struggle at f8. A 2x converter will also cause a loss of sharpness. Also, the 150-600mm lenses are not as sharp at 600mm as at 500mm. I would focus manually at around 500-550mm with the 150-600mm lens, at f8 or f11.
Feb 11, 2018 15:13:32   #
CHG_CANON (a regular here)
 
Hi jarneyd. Looking at the EXIF data, I'd like to suggest a few other ideas for your next opportunity with the Sigma 150-600. As shown in the screen capture, your exposure settings are creating a somewhat grey owl out of a snowy white owl. Whether you go with ISO, aperture or shutterspeed, your histogram should fall much further to the right for a brighter and whiter bird. My other points echo those already made, specifically a) focus on the bird's eyes with a single AF point or small cluster and b) consider aperture values in the range f/8 to f/11 with this lens at focal lengths 400+. Note your use of f/18 in this image. This left you plenty of room to adjust your exposure with changes to only the aperture.


(Download)
Feb 11, 2018 16:09:10   #
Steve Perry
 
Were you shooting from a car? Looks like some heat diffraction although I do see some signs of motion in one of the image too.
 
Feb 11, 2018 16:13:14   #
jarneyd
 
I did use single point AF and I would have focused on the eyes had the grass not been waving around in front of him and had he kept looking my way.His head was constantly spinning from side to side and I tried to grab my shots while he was looking. If I get a chance and can find him again I will try the f8-11 and a little better exposure and in the 500-550 range. I don't know photoshop so I won't be trying anything with that. Thanks to all of you for your help on this.
Feb 11, 2018 17:30:31   #
Gene51 (a regular here)
 
jarneyd wrote:
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday and he was pretty sedentary even with folks coming and going to get his Photo. I used my D7100 with a Sigma 150-600 on a monopod stabilazation active because of the high winds, with the Iso up a bit to keep the Shutter speed up and because of the grass blowing right in front of his face, I used his front shoulder as my focus point. It just doesn't seem as sharp as it should be. I also shot with my D600, Nikon 80-200, 2.8 with a 2x converter and no stabilazition and had about the same result. Then I tried with the 600 and the Sigma and basically got the same result. I used his shoulder for my focus point in each photo. It was late afternoon and overcast. Am I expecting to much or is there something I could try for a better result?
Thanks for your informed replies.
I was able to find a snow owl to shoot yesterday a... (show quote)


Were these taken at Island Beach NJ?

You have more noise than you need because you underexposed the image, which does rob sharpness and contrast, particularly in the D7100 image. Increasing the ISO in the D7100 may have been an option.

I think the softness is due to a combination of a very slow shutter speed, not using the sharpest aperture for the lens, and some camera movement that seems to be evident in all three images. The 80-200 is a nice sharp lens, but putting a 2X extender will easily take away 25% of the sharpness.

I would go back and shoot with the Sigma at F7.1 and the D600, ISO 800 - 1250, and a shutter speed shorter than 1/400 - perhaps on a brighter day when you could use a shutter speed of 1/800 or shorter.

This was at about 50 yds, NIkon D810, Sigma Sport 150-600 at F7.1, ISO 400, 1/800, stabilization on, hand held around 3:15 on a cloudy afternoon last week.


(Download)
Feb 11, 2018 17:49:55   #
Bobspez
 
The exif tells the story. I think the best shot was shot #3, f6.3, 1/400 sec., iso-640.
Shot #2. iso-200, f5.6. 1/200 sec. Shutter not fast enough. Plus you lose clarity with the TC.
Shot #1. f18, iso-1100, 1/640 sec. iso-1100 you picked up noise. f18 you lose clarity at the higher f stops.
Feb 11, 2018 18:29:25   #
jarneyd
 
Thanks, I was on Cape Cod. I will give your suggestions a try. The difference in sharpness between Gene 51's and mine are like night and day. Very nice shot. Thanks again
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