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srd1941

Waterville, US
22 posts

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srd1941 Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2012
Sun 29-Apr-12 05:53 PM

D5100 sharpness.
I bought a refurbished D5100 about 3 months ago and although I didn’t get to use it much until recently I was never real pleased with the results. The photos, when blown up to 100%, always seem to be a shade out of focus. I normally assume that any problem is caused by something I’m doing wrong, either something moved or I’m getting camera shake or I just screwed up. But I also have a D60 that I’ve used for the past few years that takes very sharp photos. So yesterday I took some shots with both cameras on a tripod, same target, same lens, same settings, used a remote shutter release and sure enough the D60 is sharper when blown up. I tried this with several lenses, 35 1.8,18-105, 105 2.8,and 55-200 with the same results. Shouldn’t I expect as good or better results with the 5100?
Stan

Stan

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MEMcD

US
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#1. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 0

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Sun 29-Apr-12 06:53 PM

Hi Stan,

Check the in camera picture control settings on your D5100.
See pages 91-97 in the D5100 Users Manual .
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

pjonesCET

Martinsville, US
756 posts

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#2. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 1

pjonesCET Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 11th Jul 2011
Mon 30-Apr-12 02:35 PM

According to the Manual there are only 92 pages not including table of contents.

Phillip M Jones, CET
pjonescet@comcast.net
http://www.phillipmjones.net/

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srd1941

Waterville, US
22 posts

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#3. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 1

srd1941 Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2012
Mon 30-Apr-12 02:39 PM

Thanks Marty
I made some changes to the settings and it seems to have cleared it up. I have not given it a good test yet but even hand held shots are better.
Stan

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MEMcD

US
28724 posts

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#4. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 2

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Mon 30-Apr-12 02:50 PM

Hi Phillip,

>According to the Manual there are only 92 pages not including
>table of contents.

The pdf version I provided a link to is 240 pages + T of C and suffix.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

MEMcD

US
28724 posts

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#5. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 3

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Mon 30-Apr-12 02:51 PM

Hi Stan,

Glad to hear that.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

pjonesCET

Martinsville, US
756 posts

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#6. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 4

pjonesCET Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 11th Jul 2011
Tue 01-May-12 08:32 PM

Hmm, The one I downloaded at link given was only 92 pages not counting TOC.

See: http://www.screencast.com/t/uLsyqe8lqzvb

Phillip M Jones, CET
pjonescet@comcast.net
http://www.phillipmjones.net/

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MEMcD

US
28724 posts

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#7. "RE: D5100 sharpness" | In response to Reply # 6

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Wed 02-May-12 12:42 AM

Hi Phillip,

I apologize for providing the wrong link.
For some reason Nikon USA has added the abridged version of the Manual in pdf format. It wasn't there the last time I visited the site. Here is the D5100 Reference Manual in pdf format.
Good luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

rgsindc

US
25 posts

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#8. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 0

rgsindc Registered since 23rd Dec 2011
Wed 02-May-12 03:15 PM

Although likely not specifically related to your issue, a rule of thumb on shutter speed to avoid "the blurs" is to insure your shutter speed is equal to or greater than your lens zoom.

As an example, if I am shooting (hand held) with my Tamron 18-270 and I am zoomed out to 150mm, I insure my shutter speed is higher than 150.

That helps eliminate the shaking exaggeration that occurs at higher mm.

Snappo

Tulsa, US
400 posts

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#9. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 8

Snappo Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Apr 2004
Wed 02-May-12 05:30 PM

Good to see that you are getting a handle on your sharpness issue. My understanding is that the D5100 has the same sensor as the D7000 and I can vouch that the sensor produces extremely sharp images, as we own two D7000's. A bit of a learning curve for us, but you have a great camera.

an old duffer with the time to have fun,
Jim

jfb in Cali

US
5 posts

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#10. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 8

jfb in Cali Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Oct 2009
Wed 23-May-12 02:00 AM

With the 16 MP DX sensor 1 over 2x focal length is probably a better rule of thumb. At least for shaky old guys like me.

>Although likely not specifically related to your issue, a
>rule of thumb on shutter speed to avoid "the blurs"
>is to insure your shutter speed is equal to or greater than
>your lens zoom.
>
>As an example, if I am shooting (hand held) with my Tamron
>18-270 and I am zoomed out to 150mm, I insure my shutter speed
>is higher than 150.
>
>That helps eliminate the shaking exaggeration that occurs at
>higher mm.

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srd1941

Waterville, US
22 posts

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#11. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 10

srd1941 Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2012
Wed 23-May-12 03:43 AM

Just out of curiosity why would a camera with a 16 mp sensor require a more precise technique than a camera with a 10 mp sensor? I’ve seen many posts suggesting this and I don’t understand it at all. I know I’m basically sloppy and probably won’t get much better as I get older but I didn’t think there would be that big of a difference between cameras. My wife and I just got back from two months in the south west and took hundreds of pictures each. I used my D5100 with a 10-24 and an 18-105 lens. She used her D60 and an 18-200 and consistently got sharper pictures than I did. Most of the time she was holding on to a leash with a 7 month puppy on the other end and she still got better pictures. When blown up hers are always a little sharper. Mine are always a little soft on the focus. I try to use a solid hold and watch my shutter speed in regards to focal length but I finally went back to my D60 and my pictures improved. I bought my D5100 as a refurbished factory demo. with 1378 actuations which seems like a lot for a factory demo. Well, back to my original question: is it harder to get a good picture using a D5100 than a D60? Thanks for all the input.
Stan

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jimbert

Vancouver, CA
7 posts

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#12. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 11

jimbert Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Mar 2009
Wed 23-May-12 12:18 PM

>...is it harder to get a good picture using a D5100 than a D60?


Thom Hogan addressed this issue in his blog of February 17, 2012 entitled, Nikon Shakes Up D800 Worshipers (refer to archived entries here: http://www.bythom.com/2012%20Nikon%20News.htm)

Note that the DX sensor used in the D5100 has about the same pixel density as the high-end D800 mentioned above. Therefore any faults in user technique are bound show up with the D5100 as well, whereas the D60 is much more forgiving.

You have my sympathy, Stan. Having moved from a D60 to D5100 myself, I'm still struggling to unlearn many years worth of bad handling habits that the D60 never revealed.

srd1941

Waterville, US
22 posts

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#13. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 12

srd1941 Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2012
Wed 23-May-12 08:58 PM

Thanks for the information. I like Thom Hogan and read him often. I’m always trying to improve my skill level as I’m sure we all are. I find the answers to most of my questions aren’t covered in the technical manuals I buy and that I have a better chance of obtaining information from the forums. There is a wealth of knowledge available here and on the other web sites and people are very generous thank you very much. I’ll keep trying with the 5100 and unless there is something inherently wrong with the camera I’ll get there eventually. When I get my tripods back I’ll run some side by sides with the D60 and the D5100 and get a better idea how them measure up against each other. I kind of did that in Camp Verde, Arizona, but the conditions weren’t all that great. The tripods, by the way, are nine hours away from here in the motor home where I’m getting the transmission replaced.

Stan

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RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3211 posts

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#14. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 13

RRRoger Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Basic Member
Mon 28-May-12 01:03 PM

From what I understand, the lower pixel (density) count cameras are actually not more forgiving.
Although it does not seem that way, the higher MegaPixels reveal user error mo beta.

Better hand held technique and higher shutter speed will help with any camera.
I had to use a MonoPod or TriPod when I first got my D7000 and D5100.
My hand holding improved so much with both cameras that the transition to a 36MP D800 has been easier.

One other factor: I think Nikon reduced in-camera sharpening to mask moire at high ISO.
Someone already suggested going to Picture Control.

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srd1941

Waterville, US
22 posts

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#15. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 14

srd1941 Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2012
Tue 29-May-12 01:54 AM

Roger
Thanks for replying. I find this whole thing quite interesting. I can see that if the higher MP sensor reveals user error to a greater degree that people, such as myself ,would assume the focus was off. Especially if everything was working fine with their previous camera. Yes Marty suggested I go into picture control and increase the sharpening, which I did, and it helped. I thought I had it fixed until I compared my pictures of the Grand Canyon on the computer with my wife’s . I shot mine using a monopod, she was hand holding her D60. I’ll run some more checks when I get all my equipment back.
Thanks
Stan


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grnzbra

Springfield, US
393 posts

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#16. "RE: D5100 sharpness" | In response to Reply # 7

grnzbra Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Sep 2011
Thu 31-May-12 09:38 PM | edited Thu 31-May-12 09:40 PM by grnzbra

I don't understand. After reading the manual, I get the impression that the settings are adjusting "processing" in the camera. It seems that if the sharpness is set to zero, there should be some kind of setting of the optics that would give a sharply focused picture. The film cameras didn't have any in-camera processing. With the 5100 set for the largest, finest pix, when viewed in a size to fit the monitor, the pix are nice. But when displayed at full size (so that only about 20% of the picture shows) it is definitely out of focus. Shouldn't we be trying to start with a sharply focused picture and then process from there, rather than shooting a pic that isn't in focus and using processing to get it to where it should have been in the first place?

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Stonecherub

Tucson, US
27 posts

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#17. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 3

Stonecherub Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jan 2011
Sat 02-Jun-12 12:39 AM

I just chanced on this thread and wonder if there is something wrong with my D5000 or with me. I got the 18-200 lens, a compromise because I work in the desert and wanted to never change lenses.

I have always wondered why my pictures were unsharp. There have been days when I thought I had a coke bottle bottom. I have borrowed more expensive lenses from a professional friend and tested mine and his with the 1952 Air Force target. The results are comparable, his are no sharper than mine. (Camera on a heavy tripod).

I read this thread twice and still don't understand how I can change the settings on my camera to make it sharper. What, exactly, did you do?

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srd1941

Waterville, US
22 posts

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#18. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 17

srd1941 Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2012
Sat 02-Jun-12 03:26 AM

Stonecherub
I don’t know what the menu in the D5000 is like but in my D5100 in the shooting menu under “set picture control” you use the right arrow on the multi selector to bring up the various pictures controls. I chose “Vivid” just because I like the look. Another push of the right arrow after selecting vivid brought up the adjustment screen. There you can adjust sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue. I set my sharpening at 6 and upped the saturation and hue to +1 each. This seemed to help somewhat but still blown up to 100% in View NX2 my pictures weren’t as sharply focused as my wife’s pictures. She was using the 18-200 like you have and her pictures are much better than mine. I pretty much agree with grnzbra in that what I did was in camera processing not focus adjustment. I know that the D7000 and other cameras have a feature called “Auto focus Fine Tune” which would probably solve my problem if it was available in the D5100. Also the information I get is that I need to develop better technique using the D5100 than I needed with the D60 because of the increased mp. I bought the camera because of the better ISO capabilities and other features instead of the 16 mp so if it’s the mp that is causing me problems with focus what would happen if I just set the image size to medium (9mp) instead of Large (16mp)? I haven’t tried that yet and that would be closer to the D60.
I’m mostly a snap shooter and that’s what I want to be. I’m not going to do portraits or ever attempt to make a dime with photography, just have fun. But I do like sharp photos just like I want tight joints in a wood project. It just seems strange that I can get them with my D60 and not my D5100. Like I said before, I’m going to run some more tests and if I can prove to myself that it isn’t just me then I’m going to go ahead and send it back to Cameta for an adjustment. I hope I can convince myself that it’s me and just figure out what I’m doing wrong. I really like the D5100.
Stan







Stan

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grnzbra

Springfield, US
393 posts

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#19. "RE: D5100 shapness" | In response to Reply # 18

grnzbra Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Sep 2011
Sat 02-Jun-12 03:16 PM | edited Sat 02-Jun-12 03:21 PM by grnzbra

I am wondering if the sharpness setting from 0 to 9 is really from little or no processing to extreme processing. Could it be that 4 and 5 are little or no processing with 0 being soft focus and 9 being extra crispy. After all, back in the day, things were done to achieve soft focus for portraits etc. It would seem logical that the DSLRs would have processing available to create the same effect.

By the way, when I Googled "D5100 soft focus problem" (or something like that), I came across some interesting sites. One in particular discussed the idea the the focus system depends on contrasts in the focus area. It also suggested that the focusing sensor might not be dead on the spot in the rangefinder and even had instructions on how to adjust it yourself (well, better you than me, pal. I'm not going to muck around with the innards of my camera)

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G