#50. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?" In response to In response to 47 Wed 06-Feb-13 10:05 AM by km6xz
St Petersburg, RU
This thread has wandered a bit in various directly but overall, has brought up some good points about remote problem solving or even identifying.
There are a number of limits on the effectiveness of forum diagnosis of problems. One is that we do not have the photo, usually only a small jpg which is a compressed version of a compressed file, and another is the number of uncontrolled variables that, when combined, can have more impact that the sum of their individual deviations from the norm.
What usually is being asked in questions about image quality is "I have certain expectations and this image or these images do not meet them, why?" The third missing element is knowing really what the expectations are even if expressed in words, it might not be what 3rd parties would conclude from the description.
All effective problem solving requires a degree of diagnostic skill or experience; defining a problem, taking relevant data, coming to a rough theory that explains all the observed data and refining the question to seek more detailed data that narrows the choices to the one that explains ALL the observed information.
We do that naturally to a degree in any problem, or should, but it IS a skill and set of habits that improve the effectiveness and reduce the number of steps to home in to the final diagnosis. It can actually be fun if approached with the right attitude. But unfortunately it is a life skill that is becomes rarer and less reliable from lack of use. Our distant ancestors were great in solving problems quickly in novel ways....or we would not be here. Considering the staggeringly poor odds of 2,000 generations of unbroken chain of children being born, and surviving until breeding age and successfully leaving equally successful children. Before written storehouses of accumulated knowledge, anything not told specifically to a child was learned by invention and diagnosis to solve daily crucial problems. They had to be fast effective problem solvers who put the appropriate effort into problems based on their importance to survival. Maybe life is too easy, but that skill seems to be fading. So solving problems remotely with an incomplete set of observations and data can be a challenge but it is also fun. Solving them for one's self can be quite rewarding and confidence inspiring. My chosen lines of work and hobbies have always relied heavily on effective diagnosis, so it sometimes frustrates me when I see people avoid doing it and spend much more time and energy on talking about a possible problem than identifying it and resolving it. Most of the long threads and "issues" that cause so much hand wringing would be minor speed bumps if just attacked directly and the problem diagnosed and solved. The D600 dust "issue" that has paralyzed many is like that. Some of the original D700 focus frustrations were in that category. Green screens etc on the D800 and D600 are like that. "My images are soft" is like that. To help others help you, giving as much information as possible, mostly in the form of an image or set of images that typify the problem with metadata intact would be the first and most effective step in figuring out whether there is a problem and what further checks could be made to confirm it, and finally to remedy the problem. If repair is needed, the success of the repair effort by the tech will depend a great deal on the owner. Repair can't be reliably accomplished unless the problem is demonstrated on the test bench. If it is an intermittent problem, what specific steps are needed to reproduce it. If it can't be predictably reproduced, it can't be reliably resolved. Give detailed instructions of how you reproduce the problem yourself. A sure way to have an expensive and frustrating repair experience is to assume that whatever is happening will be obvious to the 3rd party so leaving out important related information. "It stops focusing" is quite different than "it stops focusing in AF-C after 3 hours of use on warm humid days". The latter version will likely get repaired, the former will likely be returned with basic cleaning and checks. Almost guaranteed, if you can't get it to happen predictably, a tech will not be able either. He has only the camera to consider and often the problem is an interaction with your other accessories that he does not see. A sure way to miss what problem (s) you are concerned about is to just say "check it out" or "check everything". That is an impossible task to check every permutation of every setting or condition and you can't afford it if it could be done. If you really do not have a problem in mind but want it checked out before a sale for example, tell them, "I have not experienced a problem but want to verify the performance of the camera". The tech's times will be much more effectively used.