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D70s Soft Focus
Old 08-31-2006, 10:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Here's a good one... I am having a soft focus issue with with the D70s - but it only happens outdoors. If I shoot in the studio with strobe lights I get razor sharp images. When I take the camera oudoors, everything goes soft. This is happening with two different D70s bodies and four different lenses. Shutter speed and focal length can be set at any combination and I still get soft outdoors. Go back in the studio with either body and any of the lenses and everything is razor sharp.
Anyone have any ideas or similar problems?
Indoors with strobe...

Outdoors light overcast...

Both images cropped from full frame straight from camera - no edits.
Cheers,
Robin
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Re: D70s Soft Focus
Old 08-31-2006, 11:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There are too many unknowns in your query to really help at this point. Post a link to the original images with all the shooting data. Also tell us how you shot the outdoor shot. Keep in mind that the studio shot might have been shot at f11 and the outdoor at f4 (for all we know at this point) and thus DOF alone could account for the sharpness. Shutter speed is also a critical issues, so let us know the outdoor shutter speed. Also cloudy overcast gives one a giant soft box so the lighting is softer and in the studio, you may have had a more direct light. So what was he studio lighting. If using umbrellas or softboxes, how far from the model were they?
Also when you processed the images did you apply any sharpening, either in camera or in post processing?
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: D70s Soft Focus
Old 08-31-2006, 12:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Robin -
I've got a lot of respect for your experience, but given two bodies and four lenses, I have to ask: does it happen when you use a tripod and cable release outdoors?
Not to insult you, but I've gotten a lot less stable physically (as well as mentally, according to my wife) as I've aged. FWIW.
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Re: D70s Soft Focus - More Info
Old 08-31-2006, 12:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here is perhaps a better example - I have posted two more images with almost exactly the same camera data. There is NO post processing on either image - they are both crops from the JPEG fine image from the camera which is set to "normal" sharpening in both cases. The lens used for these two shots was a Tamron AF28-75 f/2.8 XR Di, but like I said earlier, it isn't the lense because I get the same results with three other lenses (one Tamorn and two Nikons). I also get the same results at 1/1000 and faster shutter speeds and using a tripod (sturdy Manfrotto) makes no difference.

This is in the studio with two 24" x 36" softboxes as front light the key (camera right about 20 degrees) approximately 10 feet from model and the fill (camera left about 10 degrees) approximately 13 feet from model. 1/125, f/13, 68mm...

This image is lit with bright overcast and a 36" (approx.) round silver reflector approximately 8 feet from model. 1/125, f/13, 66mm...



Cheers,

Robin
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Re: D70s Soft Focus - More Info
Old 08-31-2006, 01:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well the outside photo is reasonable in sharpness given the shooting conditions. Does the d70 have a 1.5 crop factor? Did you shoot #2 with a tripod? What happens if you set the sharpness higher in the camera? What happens if you do sharpening of #2 in post processing? Was it still overcast for #2? If so, then the light was soft. With small softboxes at 10' you had harder lighting than would be the case for outdoors with overcast (giant softbox). So I still see this as apples and oranges. Under the conditions you describe, I would expect the outdoor image to be softer. Also, where did you focus in each case? Also, are you using "Save for web" out of PS. If so, for the purposes of these tests, save using the Save As command which will leave the **** data, which might yield some info for us to see out in the field.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: D70s Soft Focus - More Info
Old 08-31-2006, 01:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Boy, that's curious. Not at all what I'd expect from what I understand to be a highly rated lens.

As you know, the shutter speed of the flash/studio image isn't really a factor - at least, that's my understanding. The strobes are probably firing most of the light in 1/300 sec or so.

OTOH, the outdoor shot really is at 1/125 sec - which is pretty close to the old recommended hand-held limit of 1/f - IF (and I don't know whether this is true) the effective focal length is used - 1.5x66 mm = 100 mm (approx).

Of course, you said that a tripod doesn't make a difference, so that can't be a factor. Still, I'd loose my credibility as a professor if I didn't blather on meaninglessly at least occasionally.

(Scratches head and sighs)

Got me. Good luck, Robin.
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Re: D70s Soft Focus - More Info
Old 08-31-2006, 02:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jford
OTOH, the outdoor shot really is at 1/125 sec - which is pretty close to the old recommended hand-held limit of 1/f - IF (and I don't know whether this is true) the effective focal length is used - 1.5x66 mm = 100 mm (approx).
Of course, you said that a tripod doesn't make a difference, so that can't be a factor. Still, I'd loose my credibility as a professor if I didn't blather on meaninglessly at least occasionally.
(Scratches head and sighs)
Got me. Good luck, Robin.
I think we still don't know all the facts. On the outdoor shot he is close to the handheld limit. Also he could have used the focus lock and recompose technique which often gives these kinds of results. In my opinion, we have yet to see photographs that can really be compared. There are just too many variables as I've mentioned. I wonder, if the solution, would not be to shoot a test chart of some sort under exactly comparable conditions and see what the sharpness is. The fact that he was shooting at f13 would argue that it is not a DOF issue, though it might be an autofocus issue where the autofocus did a better job under the more contrasty studio conditions compared to the soft overcast conditions of the outdoor shot. It will be interesting to see what emerges.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: D70s Soft Focus - More Info
Old 08-31-2006, 03:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Fredrick_Smith
Was it still overcast for #2? If so, then the light was soft. With small softboxes at 10' you had harder lighting than would be the case for outdoors with overcast (giant softbox). So I still see this as apples and oranges. Under the conditions you describe, I would expect the outdoor image to be softer. Also, where did you focus in each case?rfs
Let's not lead down a path that soft light means images recorded will be soft in focus.

J T
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Re: D70s Soft Focus - More Info
Old 08-31-2006, 04:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsmith
Let's not lead down a path that soft light means images recorded will be soft in focus.

J T
That wasn't my meaning. I was merely saying that in softer light it is more difficult to tell if something is sharp because normally you have less contrast to work with. If one compares two images, one in hard light and one in soft light, the one in hard light will generally "appear" sharper than the one in soft light. All things else being equal, of course. My main point is that the shots being presented were like comparing apples to oranges in that they had too many differences in the way they were shot to judge what might be causing the soft focus.

It is very easy to confuse the two concepts of soft light vs soft in focus but it is often done, as you know. That's why for this dicussion, I'd like to see two images shot under the same quality of light and lighting ratio for each so that we could really judge the focus.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: D70s Soft Focus - More Info
Old 08-31-2006, 04:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ok, I just didn't want newbies who have not gone through old school to get the wrong impression. Thanks for clearing it up.

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