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Sigma 150-500 Questions  
User currently offlinealtbg From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 39 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 4177 times:

I bought the Sigma 150-500 5-6.3 APO HSM and a Nikon D7000 at the beginning of this year and I just haven't been able to get crisp shots with that lens. I've been toying around with many of the settings and while the pictures seem to get better, I am not able to get anything without heat haze showing, even when the aircraft is fairly close. If it was just heat haze I would be ok, but I think there's more to it. Here's an example of what I'm talking about. These images are not procesed, simply cropped and converted from raw to jpg.

This first shot is taken with the Sigma at 150mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/800
http://imageshack.us/a/img839/333/cmqb.jpg

This shot was taken with an older Nikon 70-300mm at 135mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/1000
http://imageshack.us/a/img600/8427/6b6e.jpg

What is going on here? Is my Sigma lens bad? Is there an easy explanation? Just today I had the same issue. Almost all of my shots had these wavy lines in them while my co-workers shots from the same spot right next to me are crisp and sharp so it can't be heat haze, can it?

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineclickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9603 posts, RR: 69
Reply 1, posted (1 year 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 4160 times:
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PHOTO SCREENER

I can't think of anything other than heat haze that would cause distorsion like that. You say both photos were taken at the same time? How does your lens perform up close? Can you shoot something like a brick wall, from say 10'? From a tripod would be even better.

User currently offlinealtbg From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

Both shots were taken within two minutes of each other, at around 9:50 am. The heat haze is there of course (even though I wish it wasn't), but it seems to be a lot more noticeable with the Sigma 150-500 even at 150mm.

It just struck me yesterday when my co-worker opened up his shots in Camera Raw and they were sharp with zero heat haze showing, and when I opened up mine I wanted to just send them to the Recycle Bin.

I'll try to do some test shots this weekend. I'm also not too happy with the focusing of the camera so hopefully I can work that out at the same time. Being a beginner isn't helping in that regard. I have taken close to 3000 shots now with that camera set up and so far I haven't had a single one that made me go "wow, this one is great".


User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9774 posts, RR: 27
Reply 3, posted (1 year 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 4078 times:
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Quoting altbg (Reply 2):

Was the aircraft in the EXACT same location when you shot it with each lens? Had another aircraft passed by? Were the engines/APU running in one shot, and not running in another? Is there a building in between you and the aircraft that could have an exhaust on top of it (happens all the time when I shoot at LAX)?



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlinemegatop412 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 309 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 4019 times:

That's really wierd. I shoot mine at f/9 on a D90 and get shots that are almost as sharp as the 70-300mmVR. And I had to do a tripod test to see it.

Also, I just got back from 3 days of planespotting @ JFK in the middle of this heat wave we have and there is very little heat haze in most of the shots, and they are quite sharp


User currently offlinedcaviation From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3955 times:

It is heat haze on the first picture. Usually from the apu if its that high.
I also have D7K and Sigma 150-500. No problems whatsoever after I've send the camera back to Nikon for AF tune.


User currently offlinejpmagero From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 172 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3890 times:
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Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 3):
Was the aircraft in the EXACT same location

Comparing the objects/patterns in the background in those two photos indicates that it is. If it's not the lens, one thing it could be is distortion caused by another aircraft between the lens and the plane (that changed position between the two shots).

Does the lens behave this way in all environments (ie at home) or just on this occasion?



John M - Aussie expat in the US
User currently offlinealtbg From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3865 times:

I would post the uncropped shots, but I am at work right now and don't have access to them. However, I looked at them again over the weekend and there was a 747 parked to the right of the 737 - and the APU was running. A slight shift in wind probably just caused that one shot to be clear. I totally didn't think about the APU. I feel like an idiot now.   

I also looked closer at my co-workers shots from last week and there is some heat haze visible on his shots as well which makes them very similar to mine in that regard. However, the sharpness just isn't there in my shots. I shot mostly at f8, 150 mm, ISO 200, and got shutter speeds from 1/600 to 1/1200 - and not a single one was particularly sharp. I also tried to do some AF fine tuning but wasn't happy with the whole process. Nowhere in those shots I took did I see a really clear and sharp area. I am not sure what to do next.


User currently offlinedcaviation From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3822 times:

I had my camera for couple of weeks before I sent it to Melville NY for repair. They were trying to tell me that I shoudl mess with Fine tune AF, but that didn't help a lot. All of my pictures were soft. I've sent it to Nikon, waited 2 weeks for my camera to return and after they made adjustments to AF it takes pin sharp photos even with Sigma 150-500mm.
If your camera is still under warranty I would just login to the Nikon support page, create troublecall ticketm and send the camera to them.
Out of focus, softness, backfocus are the very common D7K problems. Nikon wont admit that they did something wrong, but read the D7K forum on flickr and you will see that every other post is about out of focus pictures.


User currently offlinealtbg From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (11 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3567 times:

I did some spotting at LAX this past weekend and shot with three different lenses, and I would say only a handful might be salvageable with lots of post-processing. Here are some examples of what the majority of my shots look like:

Nikon 70-300mm @ 85mm, f4, 1/4000s, ISO 200
http://imageshack.us/a/img189/5104/hdlx.jpg

Nikon 70-300mm @ 122mm, f8, 1/1250s, ISO 200
http://imageshack.us/a/img585/1008/vryg.jpg

Sigma 150-500mm @ 150mm, f8, 1/1000s, ISO 200
http://imageshack.us/a/img836/9828/m9vo.jpg

Sigma 150-500mm @ 150mm, f8, 1/1250s, ISO 200
http://imageshack.us/a/img818/1634/b18q.jpg

Sigma 17-70mm @ 70mm, f8, 1/1250, ISO 200
http://imageshack.us/a/img849/5474/kl6m.jpg

Is it save to say that it is not a lens issue but more likely to be either camera and/or user? I changed the metering from spot to matrix which seemed to give me better exposures. So at least that helped I think.


User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9774 posts, RR: 27
Reply 10, posted (11 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3560 times:
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Quoting altbg (Reply 9):
Is it save to say that it is not a lens issue but more likely to be either camera and/or user?

Few questions:

Are those just resized? Just cropped? Or both?

What focus setting were you on? If you were on one-shot focus, were you continually refocusing as the airplane moved toward/away from you?

Lighting-wise, the time of day you were shooting is not the best, with the sun almost directly overhead. But that wouldn't explain the (extreme) softness/OOF.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlinealtbg From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (11 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3554 times:

Just resized to 1600 and converted to JPG with ViewNX 2, no cropping or other post-processing done.

I have my mode set to AF-A (auto servo) and I just recently switched from a single focus point to a 21-point dynamic area.

If it helps and for comparison here is a shot of a parked aircraft:
http://imageshack.us/a/img827/2371/v4ga.jpg

I just can't see any area that is actually in focus.

Yes, the lightning definitely wasn't optimal, it was already too late in the morning, around 11am I think. I have some better sunset pictures from the In-n-Out Burger area, but those seem out of focus as well.


User currently offlineotooleg From UK - Scotland, joined May 2012, 11 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (11 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3370 times:

The softness of your shots with the 150-500 which I understand has an IS system is worrying as someone who would like to purchase this lens? I am unsure whether it is camera shake that is causing your softness?
George


User currently offlinedcaviation From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3369 times:

Ok, from your pictures it looks like this is exactly the same problem you have that I was having. Every single picture was soft.

Here is original shot number 108 out of brand new camera



And another shot after I've got the camera back from Nikon repair shop



User currently offlinedcaviation From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (11 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3369 times:

George,

Its the camera fault, not the lens. As you can see I had exactly the same problem with my D7000. These pictures above were taken with 70-300mm lens, but Sigma produced exactly the same results.
Now after my camera is back from repair I take sharp shots with 150-500mm and my IS is on all the time.
The only time when I don't use IS is when I shoot from the tripod.


User currently offlinealtbg From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (11 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3369 times:

I'm glad to hear that Nikon was able to fix your issue, gives me hope.   How long did it take for the repair?

User currently offlinedcaviation From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3208 times:

Quoting altbg (Reply 15):
How long did it take for the repair?

The usual. Two weeks.


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