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Lack of sharpness with macro shots
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Nov 10, 2018 21:30:45   #
Levi M.
 
Hello Hedgehogs

I've recently upgraded from my 18-55mm to a Tamron 90mm macro lens. Loving it in its entirety but there's something wrong with how I'm taking photographs that's preventing my photos from being sharp and I'd like to correct that. The problem is that I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm still new to this.
Here is a (in my opinion) reasonably sharp image of a pocket knife. Here I used a tripod, remote shutter, f/13, 1/8 shutter speed, 100 ISO, used flash and tripod
Here is a (in my opinion) reasonably sharp image o...
(Download)
Below are photos of the thread of a lightbulb under a continuous LED and basic living room lighting. These are not as sharp as I feel they could be. F/8, 1/100, ISO 1000, no flash and hand-held
Below are photos of the thread of a lightbulb unde...
(Download)
F/16, 1/8, ISO 100, tripod and no flash
F/16, 1/8, ISO 100, tripod and no flash...
(Download)

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Nov 10, 2018 21:47:32   #
SonyA580
 
I'm not a full time macro guy but it looks to me like the DOF is the problem (and it always is when I shoot macro). You can probably get more help if you post this in the "Macro" section on UHH.

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Nov 10, 2018 21:58:41   #
Cany143 (a regular here)
 
(Lack of) depth of field (dof) is what's killing you. Though the macro folks will better enlighten you, let me be the first to say you'll want to start looking into focus stacking.

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Nov 10, 2018 22:04:03   #
Levi M.
 
Cany143 wrote:
(Lack of) depth of field (dof) is what's killing you. Though the macro folks will better enlighten you, let me be the first to say you'll want to start looking into focus stacking.


I should have specified that I'm concerned about what is in focus.

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Nov 10, 2018 22:08:19   #
aschweik
 
I also have the Tamron 90mm macro. That lens has a minimum focus distance of about 11.5 inches. I'm usually guilty of trying to get the lens too close to the subject. The macro guys can give you more help, I'm sure!

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Nov 10, 2018 22:15:46   #
Harvey
 
Yes photo/layer stacking is the "only" way to get any quality DOF in macro - it sound difficult but really is a fairly simple prosess with PS and other digital editing programs - the main thing one needs is a " focusing rail" I like this 4 way rail as it really helps with macro adjustment -
https://www.amazon.com/SHOOT-Aluminum-Focusing-Close-up-Photography/dp/B01N0KNK69/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1541905943&sr=8-3&keywords=macro+focusing+rail+slider

Cany143 wrote:
(Lack of) depth of field (dof) is what's killing you. Though the macro folks will better enlighten you, let me be the first to say you'll want to start looking into fo
cus stacking.

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Nov 10, 2018 22:39:08   #
Harvey
 
This youtube video should help you.
Harvey
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3Dz34MMjQ0

Cany143 wrote:
(Lack of) depth of field (dof) is what's killing you. Though the macro folks will better enlighten you, let me be the first to say you'll want to start looking into focus stacking.

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Nov 10, 2018 22:47:46   #
Levi M.
 
Harvey wrote:
Yes photo/layer stacking is the "only" way to get any quality DOF in macro - it sound difficult but really is a fairly simple prosess with PS and other digital editing programs - the main thing one needs is a " focusing rail" I like this 4 way rail as it really helps with macro adjustment -
https://www.amazon.com/SHOOT-Aluminum-Focusing-Close-up-Photography/dp/B01N0KNK69/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1541905943&sr=8-3&keywords=macro+focusing+rail+slider


I'm only talking about the sharpness of the parts in focus. I'm aware of the limited DOF with macro photography. But I greatly appreciate it.

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Nov 10, 2018 22:53:45   #
Linary
 
Levi M. wrote:
Hello Hedgehogs

I've recently upgraded from my 18-55mm to a Tamron 90mm macro lens. Loving it in its entirety but there's something wrong with how I'm taking photographs that's preventing my photos from being sharp and I'd like to correct that. The problem is that I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm still new to this.


The photo below tells the story. The white areas indicate out of focus, the image area shows that which is in focus.

The camera lens was not parallel to the whole of the image plain, thus a strip of image only. It is not a lens problem, its exactly as above posters have said, its a depth of field problem.

The other two images have even less in focus, the ridges of the screw thread (actually only the parts nearest to the lens) are in focus, but again the lens was not parallel to the subject so the further away from the lens , the less in focus.


(Download)

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Nov 10, 2018 22:59:41   #
Vietnam Vet (a regular here)
 
You can get great macro pics without using layer stacking. I have been doing it since the 1980's. Try using f 32.

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Nov 10, 2018 23:25:47   #
Harvey
 
Yes - "If" your lens goes to f 32 or even f22" the higher f stop and slower shutter speed always produces sharper images if you can still balance the ISO and lighting.
Vietnam Vet wrote:
You can get great macro pics without using layer stacking. I have been doing it since the 1980's. Try using f 32.

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Nov 11, 2018 01:07:17   #
Levi M.
 
Linary wrote:
The photo below tells the story. The white areas indicate out of focus, the image area shows that which is in focus.

The camera lens was not parallel to the whole of the image plain, thus a strip of image only. It is not a lens problem, its exactly as above posters have said, its a depth of field problem.

The other two images have even less in focus, the ridges of the screw thread (actually only the parts nearest to the lens) are in focus, but again the lens was not parallel to the subject so the further away from the lens , the less in focus.
The photo below tells the story. The white areas ... (show quote)


thank you for the explanation! But I know. I understand depth of field. My concern is with the sharpness of what is in focus. I feel as if it could be sharper. No matter what I do, it appears as if the in-focus parts of the image are a bit fuzzy.

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Nov 11, 2018 08:22:25   #
Picture Taker
 
I find the best sharp focus in macro photography is focus with the lens and the final adjustment is moving the camera in or out ( on a track)

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Nov 11, 2018 09:11:37   #
aflundi
 
Levi M. wrote:
thank you for the explanation! But I know. I understand depth of field. My concern is with the sharpness of what is in focus. I feel as if it could be sharper. No matter what I do, it appears as if the in-focus parts of the image are a bit fuzzy.


You know that handholding isn't going to compete with a tripod, and you also know that more light allowing a faster shutter speed will yield better results. Those two are pretty obvious.

Next though is the question of how you focus. How are you focusing?

If you are using auto-focus, how do you know your camera/lens combo isn't slightly front-focusing (focusing slightly in front of the intended point)?

I'd use a tripod and remote, turn on LiveView, go to max magnification of the area, and manually focus. Arrangement of the lighting to cause high lighting contrast at the in-focus area can also help the appearance of the sharpness.

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Nov 11, 2018 09:19:02   #
Jerry G
 
You may want to try using a larger aperture. It will give you a smaller depth of field but give sharper image. I have a post about this that may be of some help.
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-547203-1.html

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