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Out focus scenery help needed

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Motorhomer, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Motorhomer

    Motorhomer Member

    I took some photos whilst in Ireland and found that the background image is all out of focus. When zooming in on the trees they all look like green blobs. I don’t understand what i did wrong. I am a beginner in this hobby so I expect this might be a simple mistake. I have attached two images one post production in Lightroom and the other pre production. The image was taken using a Canon EOS 600D with a Tamron 16-300mm lens, setting where Focal length 32mm ISO 200 F/13 shutter speed 1/250. I was trying to focus half way then bring the camera and take the shot in an attempt to get the hyperfocal distance correct. But i expect this might be the problem. Also I maybe the aperture was set to low.

    Any tips please so next time I get a better picture in focus

    Attached Files:

  2. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Hi! NOt sure what you mean by 'and then bring the camera'? Were you using a tripod? My best guess looking at these is that the focus was simply on the wrong point. Look at the branches that are encroaching around the front lower edge of the frame. They are sharper than anything else in the shot. That would seem to suggest that you have focused too close.
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Three possibilities spring to mind. First is that you are using manual focus and either messed it up or didn't realise. Second is that you are using full automatic mode in which case the camera will decide where to focus. Although I wouldn't expect it to pick on anything close to the edge of the frame the tendency is to go for the closest thing it can. Third, if you are in another mode then pre-focussing, keeping the shutter release at half-pressure and recomposing the shot before taking it is one technique but the camera needs to be in one shot mode. If it is in a follow focus mode, designed for sport where the subject moves, then it may refocus while you recompose. For landscape my starting point is to use something like Aperture priority set to F8-F11 but beware that a composition with a lot of sky can cause underexposure as you have here. You can check by taking a meter reading off something closer to you and mid-tone ( such as grass) and compare that with the reading from the wider shot. Apply exposure compensation to account for all or part of the difference. You can experiment while you get experience, it is much easier with digital than with film to see the effect of camera settings.
    Geren likes this.
  4. Motorhomer

    Motorhomer Member

    Thanks for the reply's, I meant to say in the first post 'camera UP and take the shot' missed the word up out sorry. I was taking the focus about 1/3rd way then hold the focus recompose and take the picture.

    The lens was in auto focus and I did have the camera in manual mode and set to one shot. But I did notice the trees close to me are in focus as you said Pete. You have made me think that maybe I had the focal point set to the right and it picked up the trees and not the mid-ground that I was pointing at. Thanks Pete for the tips on exposure something I will have to try. The day was cloudy and not much light so the picture was underexposed. I thought the aperture was too low at f13 but you use f8-11 which I never use on landscape usually f18-20.

    One more question if you don't mind, the photo comes out grainy when processed. Is this because the picture was underexposed?

  5. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    When using smaller apertures, beyond f8 in many cases, diffraction starts to set in, reducing image quality. Additionally in my experience the resolution tends to soften further out anyway, a mix of lens characteristics and atmospherics, few days are absolutely clear.

    An underexposed image will tend to show more noise (grain) when processed, compared with a correctly exposed original, the higher the iso setting the more marked this becomes.
  6. Motorhomer

    Motorhomer Member

    thanks i will try different aperture's next time. From what I've read I thought landscape was always above f13 to get the foreground and background all in focus. Still got a lot to learn

    Finally great to find a place i can post a picture and get feed back to what i am doing wrong.
  7. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    The nautical boys have a phenonem called "a radar assisted collision"and I rather suspect that this is the photographic equivalent - meaning there can be too much reliance on automation Certainly I remember once carefully arranging a family group with small children seated on the ground, other children standing behind them and adults behind those, the first test shots showed perfectly focussed children's feet with everything else out of focus. This is the result of relying too much on the automation and the cure is to select to a single focus point on the camera, place that roughly one third of the way into the picture (or whatever is the critical point, perhaps the nearest eye) and half press the button. The camera should then select focus and if you continue to hold the button the camera will not re-focus. Then compose the picture and finish the exposure.
    Some cameras have a button on the backplate that helps with this procedure but I have never had any problem with the half press technique.

    Incidentally you do not have to go to Ireland to perfect the technique - just step outside and practice.
  8. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    F13 seems fine to me, do not go smaller (larger number) or some nasty called "diffraction" may step in and ruing the shot.
  9. Motorhomer

    Motorhomer Member

    Hello Roger. I was doing exactly what you said. The camera was on full manual but I believe now that I had the focal point set to the right instead of center so it picked up the trees, either that or I have something wrong with the lens I will need to get out this week and test it. I expect it was my mistake.

    As for going to Ireland it was a Easter holiday with the family and a great place to take landscape pictures. But I agree there are wonderful places all over the world to take pictures.
  10. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Sorry I did not mean that Ireland does not have lovely landscapes (it certainly does), just that one can get this little bit of technique sorted before the trip
  11. Motorhomer

    Motorhomer Member

    Agree I do need to get out more at home and practice. Living on the outskirts of a city I still find it hard to get inspiration to take good photo's. I will be in the new forest next month so looking forward to getting more great pictures
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    An extreme zoom is unlikely to be diffraction limited by f/8. An easy rule of thumb is to divide 1500 (or 1000, or 2000 -- it's open to dispute) by the f/stop in use (again, it should strictly be the numerical aperture, but you don't need to worry about that) in order to get the resolution limit in line pairs per millimetre (lp/mm). Thus the diffraction limit for f/8 is something between 125 lp/mm and 250 lp/mm, both of which are likely to be beyond the resolving power of the lens (and probably the sensor too). At f/16 you're looking at 62 lp/mm (entirely possible) and 125 lp/mm (improbable again).

    Diffraction limited resolution explains why most small format camera lenses stop at f/16 or (more rarely) f/22, but even f/22 isn't a problem unless you want big prints. It corresponds, after all, to 45-90 lp/mm. Given that 8 l/mm on the print is normally taken as pretty damn' sharp, and 5 lp/mm is often taken as acceptable, 45 lp/mm allows for 5.5x (45/8) to 9x ( 45/5) and 90 lp/mm allows11x (90/8) or 18x (90/5).

    So just don't worry about that one.


  13. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    These things are seldom down to equipment faults, it does happen, but it is pretty rare.

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