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Thread: Optimum shooting distance

  1. #1
    Member JimmyCat's Avatar
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    Optimum shooting distance

    Is there such a thing as optimum shooting distance for a given sensor, lens, focal length and aperture e.g. if photographing an object 75mm high at a distance to subject of 30 metres using a focal length of 300mm, is it reasonable to expect a sharp image when cropped to fill an image size suitable for AP given appropriate shutter speed (fast) and use of a tripod/monopod.

    Am I expecting too much of a camera/lens system to produce acceptably sharp images with the above parameters? I realise there are probably a lot of other variables such as glass quality but I am continually amazed at the high quality of the images appearing here but there is no distance to subject info disclosed?

  2. #2
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    OK, like a smallish bird in your neighbour's high tree. You will be reproducing an approx 0.75mm image in your camera.
    That's a small fraction of the (APSC) sensor height.

    Lots of conditions are at play. Glass, light, camera capabilities (others I haven't thought about). And on top of that, it's remains hard to say.
    Having recently done a bulk of just that at some wetlands, I can say that you will get an identifiable image - IF ALL GOES WELL.

    Birders especially (of which I am NOT one) go to a lot of trouble to get what they do. A few should answer you with more detail than this.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 24-09-2013 at 7:06pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

  3. #3
    The Cap'n o' this ship ricktas's Avatar
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    Sharpness is a quality that is not really a byproduct of distance. However longer distances and light quality between sensor and subject can affect quality.

    Consider this. An object is 50 metres away. It could be raining, it could be foggy, it could be smokey, there could be a freshly ploughed paddock nearby so lots of dust in the air. So yes distance can affect the sharpness, due to the environment at the time. Some of these conditions may not be visible to the naked eye, but they will still affect sharpness.

    However, in general sharpness is a product of the quality and calibration of the lens used, along with the camera/sensor, and focusing systems. If the lens is not as sharp as it could be, or the sensor is an older model (take a Canon 300D from years ago), or the focusing system is not accurate then sharpness will be compromised.

    Most kit type lenses are reasonable quality, but will not compete with the quality of a good professional level lens. Also lenses can be bumped etc and not be as accurate as they should be. You can get your camera/lens combination calibrated together to ensure sharpness and focus accuracy is optimal. Some cameras allow micro adjustments of the autofocus to set a lens to ensure focus accuracy and thus sharpness is improved as well.

    Also ALL digital photos need to be sharpened in editing software due to the inherent softness that a digital sensor has based on its basic design.

    lens calibration tools:
    micro adjusting:
    Last edited by ricktas; 24-09-2013 at 7:40pm.
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