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Thread: D300s + 80-200mm 2.8f

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    D300s + 80-200mm 2.8f

    Hi there,
    I feel a bit silly asking, but I have looked around and haven't found anything that really answers my questions.
    I recently bought a second hand 80-200mm f2.8 lens. To use with my D300s for horse sports photos, and especially in dull light situations. Anyway I obviously haven't ever really used anything as nice as this, my 50mm f1.8 is about as nice as my lenses go so I'm having trouble actually getting decent pictures with it. I knew I'd have trouble, because I've been a bit "out-of-action" for over a year now as I had a baby and for some reason being pregnant and having a baby turns my brain to mush, I lose most of my enthusiasm too. I feel like a complete beginner again! I never used to be this bad, two years ago my photos were published in a national horse magazine. Now I'd be too embarrassed! haha
    I've always used a fast shutter speed when taking my horsey photos, I found they'd be crisp and bright, and for some reason I just knew how to do it that way. I've gotten some OK ones now but my dump rate is higher than normal...
    I guess I just want to know where I'm going wrong so that I can fix it and practise.
    I'll post a couple photos. The horse one was one of the first lot of photos taken, and the only one out of them I like. I haven't edited it other than resizing. The puppy was after I changed settings, again not edited other than resizing.
    Hopefully the pictures work. Anyway thanks for any advice!
    (BTW Since being resized they seem to be sharper and look better than the original pictures, is this just some illusion?)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Never squat with spurs on..

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    Member Adrian Fischer's Avatar
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    HI Sarah. If you asking for advice because your not happy with your keeper rate with the 80-200 maybe post some bad shots so we can determine what might be wrong. Other things to consider, what method of focusing are you using? How many focus points are you using? Dont use auto exposure. Sure do it once to get a ball park of settings but then go to manual and dial in those settings and then test and adjust to get the exposure you want with the shutter speed you want. Just a thought. The horse one with a shutter speed of 1/4000 should have frozen everything but his front left hoof is not sharp nor does his main seem to be. Have you tried that lens on a different camera?
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    Adrian Fischer
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    Gear: Nikon D80, D300, Nikon 35mm f1.8, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8, 105mm f2.5, 18-200 VR, 70-200 VR, Sigma 28-70mm f2.8, Sigma 50-500, Tonkina 12-24 f4, SB-600, various YongNuo Strobes, various umbrellas, 6 x 300w studio flashes, various softboxes, reflectors, stands, transmitters and receivers.

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    they look sharp to me, be aware that 2.8 doesnt give you much room re DOF on #1 and you would have to carefully select which focus point to use

    The 80-200 AF is a good lens, not rocket fast without it having AF-S

    Also at full size the D300s produces a very large file and any misfocus shows up, as you shrink the images it becomes less of an issue

    I think as Adrain says, your focussing method may be an issue
    Darren
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    I think you should lash out and get a book on photography.......I bought an easy to read one...called Understanding Exposure by BRyan Petersen. Not expensive but lots of great info and very understandable.
    Graeme
    "May the good Lord look down and smile upon your face"......Norman Gunston___________________________________________________
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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    Probably shouldn't comment cos I can't really judge pictures on my phone but a few things come to mind.
    The posted shots look alright to me re: sharpness. But in your not so sharp photos what are your ballpark shutter speeds and focal lengths. Remember you need faster shutter speeds when you're at 200mm compared to 50mm.
    If your shutter speeds are adequate in your bad examples, did you need to raise ISO considerably to achieve the correct exposure whilst maintaining the high shutter speed. High ISO can also introduce some softness.
    A 50mm lens handles vastly different to a 80-200mm. Perhaps you just need more time to get accustomed to the handling.
    And as others have said, it can also be your AF settings.
    Nikon FX

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    On this lens: (I used to have one)

    AF speed is fast enough and not really an issue if the difference in distances is incremental rather than monumental!
    That is, if the difference of one point of focus is say 1meter at a significant distance away then the lens AF is fast and accurate.
    If the distance is say 1m at a much closer overall distance, or say 10m difference at 5-15m total distance then the lens graunches into AF action. Not woefully slow like a consumer lens, but fast enough to keep track of a subject.. especially when mated to a D300.

    Do you use AF-C mode(focus) and use the AF-On buton to focus?
    Do you use AF-S mode, and use the shutter button half press method and then expose.

    This makes a difference.
    If you use the AF-On method and use AF-C mode(continuous tracking) you are more likely to get the point of focus in focus.

    Some points to note on this lens. A very good lens, but not without issues.
    F/2.8 in broad daylight can induce some haziness. Not really blurry, just a soft focus, not so contrasty look to the images.

    105mm(as in Pic 1) is sharp. I've found this lens to be super sharp up to 180mm.
    it's only at 200mm and f/2.8 where it falls down slightly. F/3.5 is OK, and F/4 is sharper.


    Something really important to understand about Auto Focus in cameras/lenses!!

    AF point is critical. the subject and the periphery around the subject is also important too!
    In Pic 1, there is a very high possibility that the focus point, even tho set on the man on the horse, may have strayed onto the fence line momentarily. If you then shoot in AF-S mode and where the shutter is focusing and then exposing, the AF system may be getting slightly confused, reacting again, but not quick enough and you're (inadvertently) missing the focus on the subject you desire.

    Also on a similar but slightly different note, on the dog image, if you've focused on the dog's eye then the distraction of the eye brow may again cause inconsistent focusing. One minute focusing here and then the next there .. etc.

    Most folks don't care to understand or know anything about the technical aspects of how the camera lens does it's stuff, and on the whole, when it works they're happy enough.
    When it doesn't work, they then blame either themselves and ask for advice on how to improve their technique, or blame the gear and replace it with other gear that may work just as well(or badly) for them.

    If you take just a small fraction of the time you spend in actual photographing stuff, to understand what it is that the camera is doing when it's doing it's thing, and you are aware of these processes, even if it's only a very limited way, you empowered and are therefore in a better position to correct any issues ..... and most of those issues are trivial and easy to counter.

    Interesting to hear you response to the AF-C/S mode and AF-On use.
    Many people prefer to use one particular method, and some are often surprised at how much more efficient they become in switching to the other method, and this all depends on their field of interest too.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
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    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    I have to argue that using af-on in af-c makes any difference whatsoever

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    af-c vs af-s certainly makes a difference
    and AF-On vs shutter button half press certainly makes a difference to how steady you can hold the camera

    some lenses are uncentered and may seem to randomly misfocus, but it's a bit hard to test for.
    the pics look fine to me...

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    Thanks everyone for all the tips and advice.
    Adrian - I had read a bit of a tutorial earlier in the week so had fiddled with different bits and pieces on my camera, so at first I was using AF-C with 51 points and 3D. I read that the 3D setting was good for sports. I tend to disagree... So changed that. Then I think it was set to AF-C with a different points setting (I can't remember which it was). I haven't tried the lens on a different camera as my other camera is a D40x so wouldn't be able to AF anyway.

    Kiwi - Should I maybe not have the quality set to fine? Would normal be good enough? Or would it be better at Fine but Medium sized files? I just had it set on fine I didn't actually see there was a whole other sizing range. It's normally at large - fine.

    Old dog - Thanks for the book recommendation. I have several different books but they're all too confusing. I need something easy to read (pretty much why I came here for advice because I didn't really know what I was doing wrong or which issue to read into).

    Swifty - I have since had a better play with the lens and ISO was definitely a factor as well as AF. I changed all the AF settings back to how I used to have them and I'm having much more success. And yes, definitely just need lots more practise, I remember it took me a while to get used to my 50mm because I'd come straight from kit lenses to that.

    Arthurking83 - I've been using the AF-C mode, but I don't think I've used the AF-on button. I'll have a play with that today if I can get the other half to ride a horse for me to practise. I completely understand/agree what you mean about in the first picture and the AF straying to the fence etc. as I had it on the 3D setting I noticed it was jumping around all over the place, I didn't like that, I like to have a bit more control!

    Anyway thanks again, I had a play yesterday morning and was so much happier with the results. I'm going to a campdraft this weekend (my partner campdrafts) so will get even more practise in. Sorry it's taken me so long to reply, been a busy couple of days and this is the only morning I've had without a 9 month old attached to me.

    Oh and I've attached some dodgey pictures. Although again as i've resized them they've come up a lot better... The first two are one of the first couple I took with the lens so was before any tweaking/fixing of settings (WB is way off for a start and ISO was on auto I think)... and the last one is from yesterday morning when I felt a lot happier with them...although still not perfect
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    nooo, don't use 3D, I find it OK for picking up a bird in flight, but not for sport where youre not really wanting random AF

    I use pretty much use 21-Pt dynamic for sport all the time but I manually "land" the AF point while shooting on the area I want to focus on - ie the eyes, head, etc as much as I can and then track from that point on

    Read this http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/manuals/...nicalGuide.pdf and it explains the AF modes for sport and when you should use them quite well

    Also, I wouldnt shoot 2.8 unless you need too, I will shoot 3.2 or 3.5 most the time
    Last edited by kiwi; 23-11-2011 at 1:33pm.

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    Thanks for that site!
    Yeah I've been using 5.6-8, I found 6.4 was pretty good today but that's just shooting animals standing around. I'll find out what is best on Saturday
    I'm feeling so much more comfortable with this lens now. I think half my problem was being scared of it haha. Learning how it works will help me a great deal

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    If you're shooting at f/8 you might as well use an iPhone, lol

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I reckon f/4 in most conditions is ideal.

    if the day is less contrasty(cloudy, or later in the day when the sun is lower) f/2.8 may look less unappealing.

    I found that f/2.8 the lens produces a hazy look, and in contrasty conditions this becomes more apparent.

    That's how I remember this lens, but this is going by a failing memory and that memory has now been close to 3 years on!

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    Perpetually Bewildered fillum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuinesqueak View Post
    Arthurking83 - I've been using the AF-C mode, but I don't think I've used the AF-on button.
    Sarah, a setting you might want to look at is the "a1" setting under "Autofocus" called "AF-C Priority". The default setting is "Release" which means that the camera will take an image when the shutter-button is released/pressed regardless of whether the subject is in focus or not. (i.e. The lens can still be moving towards focus when the shot is taken resulting in a soft or out-of-focus image). A second option is "Focus" which (as the name implies) only allows the camera to take a shot when the subject is in focus. The third option is "Release + Focus" which is kind of a combo of the other two options - it gives some priority to focus but doesn't necessarily guarantee that you'll have the subject in focus. The downside of the "Focus" and "Release + Focus" settings is that the frames-per-second (fps) rate can slow down when shooting in "burst" mode. I use "Release + Focus" which seems to work well for me, but if you don't need a fast burst mode "Focus" might work better in your situation.

    BTW, I shoot AF-C regularly and never use the AF-On button...



    Cheers.
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    Some Nikon stuff. I shoot Mirrorless and Mirrorlessless.


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    Thanks for that filllum, that was another setting I tweaked before using the camera the other day (I don't know why I bothered reading the tutorial since everything they suggested doing has ended up buggering up for me, but I guess I just wanted to try new things).. It was set on focus + release, so have changed it back to Focus for now, once I'm more in the swing of it I might change back to focus + release if I need the speed. I don't normally machine-gun it though, three photos of a horse chasing a cow usually get's me 1-2 good pictures (well back in the day before my brain turned to mush )

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    Just focus is appropriate.

    Machine gun away - that's what's its for - its easy enough to cull later. No matter what the subject at 10fps I'll only really think one frame is peak action

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I prefer shutter priority 'Release' myself.

    Mainly because I'm primarily a landscape type shooter, where I may focus in one spot and then meter off another, and nothing drives me bananas quicker than a camera that doesn't do what it's told too .. and that is to shoot .. NOW!

    So because of this, I use the machine gun method for any action type images too, and shoot about 5-6 frames in quick time and delete the ones that are not worth keeping. Costs nothing to delete images .. and with the right software and workflow deleting images that don't make the cut is easy to do.

    Another thing that drives me crazy is getting that almost perfect shot, but may ruined by a small flying speck, or an unfortunate expression on a face(something which kids are prone to do), so shooting at 6fps for a 6frame burst helps to ensure at least a 1 in 6 chance to get a closer to perfect image.

    another reason I prefer release priority is there are many situations where I may adjust focus by a smidge myself too, and when you do this the release is locked out once again! A missed opportunity is a missed opportunity, and I hate them too

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    Yikes, yes, I use release not focus too, duh, sorry

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    nice Jack Russell !!

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