No matter how stable your camera is, its stability is completely useless when shooting moving objects. Only a short shutter speed will help freeze the movement. This is why when shooting children, athletes, or even worse, children-athletes, as well as when photo hunting, you often have to shoot with the maximum open aperture and a high ISO value. A noisy but sharp shot is better than a clean but blurry one.
To reduce the impact of movement, use wired photography, and try to choose when the subject slows down or changes direction. Such moments not only provide a clearer image, but are often the most interesting and dramatic.
Another problem is the loss of focus. Autofocus, even in tracking mode, is not always able to keep up with a fast-moving object, and even less often can predict sudden changes in its trajectory. The shallow depth of field at wide apertures only highlights autofocus blunders.
Any photo reporter will advise you to spare no space on the memory card and shoot as many takes as you can. Serial shooting was invented for such cases. If for the sake of one successful shot you have to make a hundred unsuccessful ones, who cares? Only the end result matters.
For each lens, there is an optimal aperture value at which it provides the best sharpness. This value is also called the “best perception zone”. Determine the sharpest aperture for your lens, and use it for those images in which the depth of field is not important. If you are too lazy to experiment, set the aperture to f/8, which is not far from ideal for most lenses.
Even good lenses are somewhat soapy when the aperture is fully open, which is especially noticeable in the corners of the frame. The reason is that the light in this case is collected from almost the entire surface of the lens lens, which is farther from the center, the more likely to distort the image. Cover the aperture by one step and the sharpness will increase noticeably. Another step will improve the image more in the corners than in the center. Usually somewhere here, about two steps from the maximum relative opening (i.e., from the minimum aperture number), lies the “best perception zone”.
Thoughtless clamping of the aperture to limit values like f / 22 or even f / 36 significantly reduces the sharpness of the image due to diffraction. You should never use aperture values greater than f / 11, unless this is dictated by the obvious need to expand the grip.
Dirt and condensate
Keep the front lens of the lens clean. However, fanaticism is harmful here. Specks of dust and even some minor scratches do not affect the sharpness in any way. Another thing is fingerprints, stains from dried water drops and visible to the naked eye dirt. All this is better not to allow at all, and if you did, then take the trouble to bring the lens in the proper form. This should be done skillfully, and if you do not trust yourself too much, contact a specialist.
If the temperature changes dramatically, the lens may fog up. It’s hard not to notice. Most likely, you simply will not be able to see anything in the viewfinder, except for a whitish fog. It is not necessary to wipe the condensation – this will only worsen the situation. It is better to wait until it dries on its own and try to avoid such situations in the future.
The air is not as clear as it might seem. At close distances, this can be neglected, except, of course, in cases of heavy smoke, fog, snowfall, and the like. However, if you use a telephoto lens to capture a remote scene, the atmosphere will significantly affect the result, painting objects blue and reducing contrast. Early in the morning, visibility can be excellent in clear weather. In other cases, of which the majority, the dust, haze, tremor of the heated air shamelessly steal sharpness.
Sometimes filters are necessary, but in cases where you can do without them, and most of these cases, try to do without filters.
A high-quality protective filter does not significantly affect the sharpness, and in principle, you can wear it on the lens constantly if you are afraid for the safety of the front lens. However, do not forget that even a good filter will aggravate glare in the background light.
Never use more than one filter at a time unless absolutely necessary. Each filter is two additional air-glass borders not provided by the lens manufacturer. Each such border that re-reflects light rays means potential glare, reduced contrast, and light transmittance of the lens. The presence of a bright light source in the frame multiplies these phenomena.
If all of the above is not news to you, and the images, however, are not sharp, it is possible that your photo equipment still does not justify the high trust placed in it.
Unfortunately, the workmanship is not an uncommon phenomenon. In fact, it is not too fanatical quality control that allows you to keep the prices of Japanese cameras acceptable to a wide range of photographers. In addition, in Russian-speaking countries in General, not the highest quality batches are delivered, and even if the official service is present, it is not always able to cope with its direct responsibilities for the repair and maintenance of photographic equipment.
The most common defects in the focus system are front – and back – focus. In the case of front focus, the lens is pointed closer than necessary, and in the case of back focus-further. Usually the lens is to blame, but sometimes the camera is not perfect. As a rule, the focus shift is small, and can be corrected by adjusting the lens. Some cameras allow you to enter an autofocus correction directly from the menu. This is very convenient, and can save you from going to the service center, which, by the way,is not in every city or even in every country.
However, before making a final diagnosis, make sure that the problem is still in the camera, and not in you. System error focus is manifested regularly and not from time to time. Don’t put too much trust in shooting tilted test lines. If you are going to use the equipment in real life, then you should test it in conditions as close to reality as possible.
The best solution is to carefully check all equipment when purchasing and, if possible, use the services of only those suppliers who guarantee a full refund if you are dissatisfied with the purchase.