Jawed
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Nikon D80 Problem: Does This Look Sharp?

Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:41 pm

I got a D80 a few days ago and am running into a problem with the focus/sharpness of the images.

Please take a look at the below image (original unmodified):

I was using the "Auto" mode on the camera. The camera focus setting was set to use "Auto-Area AF", meaning that it automatically selects several of the 11 points in the 11-point focus matrix. When I took the picture, most of the 11 points turned "on", and thus were set to focus on the vertical column that you see in the center of the image (the active focus area was set slightly below the vertical center of the image). I also turned on Vibration Reduction mode on the lens just in case.

This is an 18-200 Nikon lens, though in this picture I zoomed only a little bit (26mm) since I was standing close to the object. This was shot with aperture F5 and shutter 1/100.

When I look at this image at its original size on my monitor, I get the impression that it is not very sharp. Even the area that is supposed to be in focus does not look "crisp" to me. I'm having the same problem with most images I've taken with this camera. The objects I'm focusing on do not look OUT of focus, but they don't look crisp and super sharp either.

Do you have the same impression in this picture? What could the problem be? Thank you so much for any input!

http://www.jawed.com/stuff/DSC_0016.JPG

For comparison, here is a similar image that I shot with a very cheap compact Canon Powershot. I think it looks way better! Disappointing since the Nikon D80 is a much "better" camera -- so am I doing something wrong?

http://www.jawed.com/stuff/IMG_2770.JPG

[Edited 2007-12-05 16:02:36]
 
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clickhappy
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RE: Problem With Nikon D80: Does This Look Sharp?

Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:49 pm

The 18-200 lens is pretty soft, especially out towards the edges.

What aperture were you shooting at?
 
Jawed
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RE: Problem With Nikon D80: Does This Look Sharp?

Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:55 pm

Clickhappy, the aperture was F5.
 
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clickhappy
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RE: Problem With Nikon D80: Does This Look Sharp?

Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:05 am

that is pretty wide open for a consumer grade lens.

What was the shutter speed? Ideally you want to be around f/8. You might try recreating the scene and playing with Aperture or Shutter Priority Modes. The D80 has low to moderate noise at lower ISOs, so you are better off shooting at say ISO200 at f/8 then ISO100 at f/5.6
 
777MechSys
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RE: Nikon D80 Problem: Does This Look Sharp?

Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:35 am



Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
18-200 Nikon lens

YES! Another Nikon 18-200 thread. Sorry couldn't resist.

Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 3):
Ideally you want to be around f/8.

Royal is absolutely right. I did best around f/9. Never a consistent lens. Marginal results at best. Best of luck with it.
 
Jawed
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RE: Nikon D80 Problem: Does This Look Sharp?

Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:49 am

Is the 18-135mm sharper?

Quoting 777MechSys (Reply 4):
Royal is absolutely right. I did best around f/9. Never a consistent lens. Marginal results at best. Best of luck with it.

 
CalgaryBill
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RE: Nikon D80 Problem: Does This Look Sharp?

Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:51 am



Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 3):
that is pretty wide open for a consumer grade lens.

Especially that lens. The 18-200 doesn't get rave reviews for sharpness from many people. But if you were getting good results before, it's possible something is out of alignment inside the lens - it takes a lot of moving parts to make a 10x zoom.

Royal also makes a good point - while 1/100 at 26mm is a decent speed, it's not fast enough to completely eliminate camera shake, so that could be a cause.

I would do some quasi-scientific testing before sending it back to Nikon. Set it up on a tripod in bright light with a contrasty target to shoot at. Take a shot, then take another with a different lens using the same focal length on both. If the images are sharp, the softness was probably SFS (shaky finger syndrome). If the results are different, try both lenses on manual focus. If the lens focuses manually, it may need the autofocus calibrated. If it doesn't focus manually or in auto, send it to Nikon.

B
 
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clickhappy
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RE: Nikon D80 Problem: Does This Look Sharp?

Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:01 am

Bill - I read the above that he has just had the D80 - 18-200 set-up for a few days, and is disappointed in the results.

Although I offer nothing more than anecdotal proof, I think earlier versions of the 18-200 were much better than current stock (made in the past year).
 
CalgaryBill
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RE: Nikon D80 Problem: Does This Look Sharp?

Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:48 am



Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 7):
Although I offer nothing more than anecdotal proof, I think earlier versions of the 18-200 were much better than current stock (made in the past year).

I'm hearing similar - that QC is going downhill. One person is thrilled with their lens, someone else goes through three of them before they get a good one. I saw a guy on my recent trip using one, and the front barrel of the extension part was loose enough that he could wobble it up and down...

B

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