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      08-30-2016, 11:37 PM   #1
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A focus question...

I was just looking through some old pictures I took when I still had my Rebel XT and I was just surprised at how incredibly sharp those pictures were, especially considering they were taken with the cheapest kit lenses. For some reason, I feel like my 5D Mark III with L lenses aren't quite as sharp, so I'm wondering if the settings on my camera are terribly wrong.

I admit I haven't exactly read the manual, or even really looked through the menus of the camera very much. Which setting should my camera be on to ensure maximum chances of getting super sharp photos?

Right now it's set to Single-point Spot AF and AI Servo High speed continuous.
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      08-31-2016, 06:53 AM   #2
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My 5D111 + L lenses produces incredibly detailed images and super image quality.
I'm sure your settings are very similar to mine, except maybe that because of the images I take, I normally have One Shot AF selected and single point AF.

However, whilst initially they may look sharp, I firmly believe that every digital image (from whatever camera) requires at least a little post-capture sharpening. Obviously the taking aperture can also affect how sharp the image appears.

I process the RAW files in ARC and, in addition to all the usual WB and exposure stuff, I apply a little CVS (clarity, vibrance and saturation). How much to apply is subjective and I have a small preset which applies what I think brings out the best in my images from the 5D3.
The RAW file is then saved as a TIFF. When I open up the TIFF file generally the only adjustment then needed is to apply a 'little' sharpening. As there are so many ways to sharpen an image, I still find that my settings in Unsharp Mask work best for me.
Hope this helps and I'm not telling you stuff you already take into account.

An example - 5D3 + 24-105L

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Last edited by allachie9; 08-31-2016 at 07:02 AM.
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      09-01-2016, 12:09 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response allachie9. I suppose what I'm looking for, is what settings on my 5D Mark III would ensure the sharpest possible pictures straight out of the camera.

I think my mistake might have been shooting moving objects using Single-point Spot AF using lenses that are stopped down to F/2.0.

I'm going to try shooting in AF Point Expansion (eight surrounding points) with the lens not as wide open to see if that makes a difference.

I'll keep it in Servo IO.
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      09-01-2016, 01:08 PM   #4
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While I can't speak for Canon, I find that most of my Nikon f/1.8 lenses are sharpest between f/2.2-3.5
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      09-01-2016, 01:11 PM   #5
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Focal distance also effects the sharpness. I have a 70-200 F4L IS and while it will claim to focus wide open at 1.2m away at 200mm, it isn't anywhere near as sharp as the same focal length and aperture but 5m away.
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      09-01-2016, 01:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daftasabrush View Post
Focal distance also effects the sharpness. I have a 70-200 F4L IS and while it will claim to focus wide open at 1.2m away at 200mm, it isn't anywhere near as sharp as the same focal length and aperture but 5m away.
And with 1.2M and 5M away, you are talking about the subject you're locking the AF on?
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      09-01-2016, 01:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P1et
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daftasabrush View Post
Focal distance also effects the sharpness. I have a 70-200 F4L IS and while it will claim to focus wide open at 1.2m away at 200mm, it isn't anywhere near as sharp as the same focal length and aperture but 5m away.
And with 1.2M and 5M away, you are talking about the subject you're locking the AF on?
Indeed
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      09-01-2016, 01:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daftasabrush View Post
Indeed
Thanks. I'll play around with it a bit more this weekend. The 5D is a complex beast, and I simply haven't taken the time to really dial it in yet.
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      09-01-2016, 02:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P1et
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daftasabrush View Post
Indeed
Thanks. I'll play around with it a bit more this weekend. The 5D is a complex beast, and I simply haven't taken the time to really dial it in yet.
Another thing I noticed is that when my lens was new, I had to adjust the micro focus thingy on the body, since it's been serviced, that's way out of whack so I need to do it again
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      09-01-2016, 02:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daftasabrush View Post
Another thing I noticed is that when my lens was new, I had to adjust the micro focus thingy on the body, since it's been serviced, that's way out of whack so I need to do it again
Never played with that, so I'll take a look. Another thing I read was to not use the largest format the camera can support, but perhaps take one format smaller. I always take photos at the large resolution possible, but apparently that doesn't mean a sharper photo.
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      09-13-2016, 02:35 PM   #11
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What type of L lenses? Some are not as sharp as others, especially wide open, or the zooms.

I dont have a 5d3, only a 5d2 since I moved to sony, but some of my sharpest pics on the 5d2 came from sigma primes.

I agree with the member above who stated all pics need some form of post. I mostly use lightroom now, but have used canon's DPP and photoshop before with success.
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      09-14-2016, 05:36 AM   #12
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Also dont forget that a large increase in MP, will show more faults and user error. So if u miss focus by 0.1mm on a 16mp crop camera vs a 36mp FF, it will be more obvious in the second - due to the amount of detail captured.

I witnessed this when i first switched from my d300 to my d800. i was pretty sure the camera was shot, but it was just a matter of realizing that it is much less forgiving.

Just my 2 cents...
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      09-14-2016, 08:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barfastic View Post
Also dont forget that a large increase in MP, will show more faults and user error. So if u miss focus by 0.1mm on a 16mp crop camera vs a 36mp FF, it will be more obvious in the second - due to the amount of detail captured.

I witnessed this when i first switched from my d300 to my d800. i was pretty sure the camera was shot, but it was just a matter of realizing that it is much less forgiving.

Just my 2 cents...
That is a really good point! The Rebel XT is 10MP vs. the 5D Mark III which is 22MP.
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      09-14-2016, 12:35 PM   #14
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Go to One Shot mode when shooting stationary subjects. AI Servo will hunt slightly, particularly as your Single-point AF point moves over different parts of the subject.

We can probably help further if you'll post a troubling image and give us a look at the EXIF. Posting two or three may reveal different problems. If you happen to use Flickr, post using the BBCode and enable EXIF viewing on Flickr and we can really pick them apart. It's a learning process that we all go through.

Dave
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      09-14-2016, 10:39 PM   #15
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If I was wondering about focus I'd mount to a good heavy tripod, use the camera timer, use the mirror lock-up, set the lens around f5.6 or so, and turn off image stabilizing. Set the focus, and hit the shutter button.

If that doesn't give a clear image, then either your auto focus is off, your subject moved, or you really do have an issue.
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      09-14-2016, 11:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer bullet View Post
If I was wondering about focus I'd mount to a good heavy tripod, use the camera timer, use the mirror lock-up, set the lens around f5.6 or so, and turn off image stabilizing. Set the focus, and hit the shutter button.

If that doesn't give a clear image, then either your auto focus is off, your subject moved, or you really do have an issue.
A $20-bill, taped to the wall, makes a good subject.
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      09-14-2016, 11:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allachie9 View Post
My 5D111 + L lenses produces incredibly detailed images and super image quality.
I'm sure your settings are very similar to mine, except maybe that because of the images I take, I normally have One Shot AF selected and single point AF.

However, whilst initially they may look sharp, I firmly believe that every digital image (from whatever camera) requires at least a little post-capture sharpening. Obviously the taking aperture can also affect how sharp the image appears.

I process the RAW files in ARC and, in addition to all the usual WB and exposure stuff, I apply a little CVS (clarity, vibrance and saturation). How much to apply is subjective and I have a small preset which applies what I think brings out the best in my images from the 5D3.
The RAW file is then saved as a TIFF. When I open up the TIFF file generally the only adjustment then needed is to apply a 'little' sharpening. As there are so many ways to sharpen an image, I still find that my settings in Unsharp Mask work best for me.
Hope this helps and I'm not telling you stuff you already take into account.

An example - 5D3 + 24-105L

That is simply a great picture. Well done, Alan.
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      09-15-2016, 12:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
That is simply a great picture. Well done, Alan.
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      06-02-2017, 08:16 PM   #19
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this might be way late but it's your AI servo. That's made for sport tracking focus.. it continuously adjust on the focal point. It's not locked. so when you think you're focused on one point by half pressing the button, in reality, it has already focused on something else.
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      06-03-2017, 12:26 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benacto View Post
this might be way late but it's your AI servo. That's made for sport tracking focus.. it continuously adjust on the focal point. It's not locked. so when you think you're focused on one point by half pressing the button, in reality, it has already focused on something else.
Yep, I changed that setting and the pics have been super crisp!

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      06-07-2017, 03:40 PM   #21
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Yep, I changed that setting and the pics have been super crisp!

fantastic. glad you'd figured it out.
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      Yesterday, 10:04 AM   #22
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In addition to the proper focus mode, give back button focusing a try. I use AE-Servo for all of my shooting and release the back button when I want to lock the focus on a non-moving subject. Servo works well not only for tracking motion of subjects, but if you're shooting wide open at close focal distance, it helps with your own movement as well.

Last edited by 90c4; Today at 12:12 AM.
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