I just bought this combination a few weeks ago and have been having trouble getting some clean pictures from it. I bought my D5100 with the 18-55mm kit lens. I get very good pictures with this lens. I have been shooting with the Sigma lens on a tripod at all different ranges of the lens and they all seem to be grainy and not well in focus when blown up to actual size. I have shot with VR on and off and tried at different ISO speeds as well.
Would somebody with experience with this setup please lend me some advise on what I should do or try? I have seen some great pictures from people using this same setup so I know it is capable. Thanks in advance for your help.
#1. "RE: D5100 and Sigma 150-500mm" In response to Reply # 0
Grainy is not a property attributable to a lens, at least not directly. It's usually a direct effect of ISO changes, as well as potentially exposure quality. (Underexposure, followed by post processing to correct, generally causes a lot of noise/grain.)
As far as out of focus, let's (1) see an example with EXIF data, and (2) pop a file directly out of the camera into ViewNX2 and see what AF sensor is locked on. Especially for (2) you may find that nothing is locked on at all, or in some cases, I've found that a very different sensor was locked on, in the case that the focus mode is not single-point but group dynamic or (say) 51-point.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#2. "RE: D5100 and Sigma 150-500mm" In response to Reply # 1
Thanks for the response. I will post up some samples tonight when I am back at my home computer.
I agree that this is not necessarily the lens and more than likely camera settings. As a person that is just learning and fairly inexperienced I can say with almost certainty that it is camera setting (operator error) that is causing this.
I guess I was more so looking for what type of settings others are shooting with this setup. For example ISO and Shutter speeds. Also I have been shooting in Aperture Priority. Is this good or bad?
#4. "RE: D5100 and Sigma 150-500mm" In response to Reply # 2 Wed 05-Sep-12 07:44 PM by grnzbra
I'm using that same setup for pix of birds at the bird feeder. Typically what I do is set ISO at 100 and A priority. This is a starting point. The feeder is in a fairly bright location, although usually not in direct sun. Since these little guys are move suddenly and often, I prefer to keep my shutter speed up. But I want the lens wide open so that the bird and the bird feeder are the only things in focus. If I don't feel the shutter is fast enough, I'll bump up the ISO 'til I get something that seems quick enough.
Try to keep the ISO down. That will cause grain which could be mistaken for a focus problem. Somewhere I have a post about soft focus with a d5100 in which I compared pix of my dog taken with a Cannon A610 Power Shot and the 5100. Someone noticed that the 5100 had the ISO set at 3200, while the Cannon was set at ISO 50. After I set the maximum ISO that the camera could go to on its own down to 100, the "soft focus" on the dog was gone.
Also, mount the camera on a 5 ton granite slab. Well, not really, but use a tripod that is built like one.
In my gallary, the pix of the goldfinch and cardinal and the goldfinch by itself were taken at a distance of 15 feet. ISO was 800 and the shutter went where it wanted to. The dove in the tree was about 60 feet away.