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AlexT

Can't figure out why pictures are not crisp

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Hi,

I'm new to the Fuji system and bought a used XT-2 abd a brand new XF 18-135mm lens. Just went on my first trip with it and I'm not happy with how a lot of the pictures turned out. I can't understand why some of them look blurred (as in by movement). Some others just don't look crisp enough.

I'm attaching cropped versions at 100% zoom of the pictures to highlight some problem areas (they are not near the edges).

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I want to rule out my equipment being defective. Is this normal?

Picture1:

  • ISO-200
  • f/5.3
  • 1/1100sec
  • 74mm
  • OIS on

Picture2:

  • ISO-200
  • f/5.6
  • 1/640sec
  • 135mm
  • OIS on

Picture3:

  • ISO-200
  • f/5.6
  • 1/1000sec
  • 88mm
  • OIS on

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I was not really moving myself, and at the shutter speeds I'm using it shouldn't matter either? 

I'm using AF-S, with single point focus. 

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These images could not be sharp for a number of reasons. There is an easy way to check. Find a room with plenty of light, no wind, and put camera on tripod. Get one of those charts with lots of lines and colours - like a projector focussing chart - and take pictures (using a cable release or self timer) of it at various distances and apertures. Then you will know.

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On 2/8/2020 at 1:41 AM, Chas said:

These images could not be sharp for a number of reasons. There is an easy way to check. Find a room with plenty of light, no wind, and put camera on tripod. Get one of those charts with lots of lines and colours - like a projector focussing chart - and take pictures (using a cable release or self timer) of it at various distances and apertures. Then you will know.

What Chas said. It's impossible to objectively determine how 'sharp' a lens is while you're shooting hand held. I don't think even a monopod was used to take those pictures.

Even if a photographer doesn't have a proper chart, objective assessments can be made taking pictures of a brick wall (including barrel/pincushion distortion found in some zoom lenses).

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It's also worth mentioning that, of the fuji lenses out there, this is one of the few that is kind of known for not being super-sharp in general ..... and you have quite a huge number of elements in motion here on top of that with lots of areas that would compete for focus ..... so like the guys above said, first things first, do an objective test of the camera and lens at the focal lengths and aperture that you're describing with everything else out of the picture to determine if your combination is going to produce what end result with every other variable accounted for. 

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On 2/7/2020 at 9:38 AM, AlexT said:

I was not really moving myself, and at the shutter speeds I'm using it shouldn't matter either? 

I'm using AF-S, with single point focus. 

No matter what shutter speed you use, if you are inducing camera shake, the image will be blurry.  Up close you can see movement from left to right in some parts of the image.  As others have suggested, take some photos on a tripod and compare the results.

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What camera have you upgraded from? Bear in mind that a 24mpx pic will look a lot less sharp than a 16 or 12 Mpx pic when both are viewed at 100%. To me the first two don’t look too bad for handheld pics, at 100% you’re looking at part of an image which would be over 30” across, which you wouldn’t normally view nearly as close up. 
The third pic looks like it has some movement for sure. 

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On 2/7/2020 at 4:38 PM, AlexT said:

I was not really moving myself, and at the shutter speeds I'm using it shouldn't matter either? 

I'm using AF-S, with single point focus. 

AF-s focussing is best for not moving objects.

AF-c is best used for moving objects, it keeps on focusing with every movement of the subject or the photographer, like the boat moving or the water falling from the rock.

Regards, Roeland, x-t20

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I agree that your shutter speeds should have eliminated any blur from camera shake at those focal lengths.  However, it looks like your auto focus just missed a bit, and you probably should have stopped down to f/8 for both deeper depth of field and I suspect that your lens is probably sharper at f/8 as well.  Finally, I wouldn't use AF-S for a moving subject unless it is only lateral movement that wouldn't change the distance between you and the subject.  

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11 hours ago, Geno said:

I agree that your shutter speeds should have eliminated any blur from camera shake at those focal lengths.  However, it looks like your auto focus just missed a bit, and you probably should have stopped down to f/8 for both deeper depth of field and I suspect that your lens is probably sharper at f/8 as well.  Finally, I wouldn't use AF-S for a moving subject unless it is only lateral movement that wouldn't change the distance between you and the subject.  

Just a quick calculation.
At f 5.6, with a subject at 300ft, you get focus from 105ft to infinity.

At f8, you get focus from 85ft to infinity.

It would have had to be a serious focus error for it being a depth of field problem.

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9 hours ago, flamidey said:

Just a quick calculation.
At f 5.6, with a subject at 300ft, you get focus from 105ft to infinity.

At f8, you get focus from 85ft to infinity.

It would have had to be a serious focus error for it being a depth of field problem.

Thanks for your contribution toward helping the OP figure out his problem.  Maybe he wasn't an entire football field away from his subjects.  It doesn't look like it unless he did some very extensive cropping.  Regardless, most consumer zooms that cover that large a focal length range generally aren't their sharpest when shot wide open, and it looks like he was probably either wide open or close to wide open on those shots. 

Edited by Geno
typo correction

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Hi everyone, thanks for all the valuable input. I have contacted Fuji support and hopefully will be doing some tests with them this week to figure out if there's something wrong with the lens or not. Will post an update if they manage to get the same lens as a sample to use this week!

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19 hours ago, Geno said:

Thanks for your contribution toward helping the OP figure out his problem.  Maybe he wasn't an entire football field away from his subjects.  It doesn't look like it unless he did some very extensive cropping.  Regardless, most consumer zooms that cover that large a focal length range generally aren't their sharpest when shot wide open, and it looks like he was probably either wide open or close to wide open on those shots. 

Well, even if we assume it was a 100 ft distance, he'd still get over 100ft DoF. I agree the 18-135 is better stopped down but not to the point of having an 88mm f5/6 shot completely blurry like that.

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