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Yet Another Sharpness Sort of Question

goldberg96

Martinez, US
144 posts

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goldberg96 Registered since 11th Feb 2007
Wed 29-Aug-07 12:28 AM

Hi all. I know some of you are probably completely sick of hearing people talk about not being able to get sharp pictures but I am going to possibly bore you one more time because I am getting frustrated.

Let me start by saying a few things: firstly, yes, as far as DSLR's go, I am an absolute beginner. I am an avid reader, have great books on how to get good pictures and stuff like that, but well recognize that you don't become a good photographer by reading books. I certainly don't find the time to get as much practice with my setup as I wish I could.

So what do I have: A D80, an 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 VR, a 50mm f/1.8, an SB600 flash, gitzo 2530 tripod, Markins base and M20 ball head, and RRS quick release plate and L-Bracket.

I have tried everything I can to get really sharp pictures. I use the tripod, I set the custom parameter to delay the picture so the mirror can go up first, I use the wireless remote, I turn off VR, etc, etc.

Yet still I can never seem to get really sharp pictures. The pictures I take are not terrible, they're just not that great. And I am not talking about composition because I know that will only come with time.

I guess I should ask specific questions where possible: I know that the 18-200 VR is not considered top quality glass but I thought when I bought it that it was high enough quality that I would get really sharp pictures with it with some practice. That doesn't seem to be happening. Even when I use the 50mm f/1.8 lens I still don't seem to get pictures of the quality I would expect from this gear.

Do you pros think it is still just my lack of experience that causes this? I mean I certainly admit I am new to all this but I think I am doing all the things I read about doing (tripod, remote shutter release, etc, etc).

I guess I need some words of encouragement and/or advice because I really don't know where to turn next to help myself realize the true potential of this rig (or perhaps to set my expectations realistically as to what to expect from this rig).

It is hard enough just trying to figure out things like should I shoot raw or jpg, should I use Capture NX, should I use LightRoom or Adobe Bridge/CS3 (I happen to have all of these products). But I know all this post processing confusion I am having doesn't mean much if I don't like the pictures I am taking to begin with.

I have no aspirations to be a professional. I do not take hundreds of pictures a day or a week and probably won't ever. I take pictures of my family, places I go on vacation, scenery when I'm driving around with my wife, people at my parties that I throw at my home, and other such unglamorous things.

I don't even know exactly what I am expecting anyone to reply to me about in this thread but I just know that my frustration level is mounting and I have reached the point where I am thinking of just selling the whole thing and going to back to a simple point and shoot. I really thought I was going to enjoy getting into photography as a hobby and I think I am still interested in that but I need to lower the frustration level somehow and I'm not sure how.

Advice, suggestions, words of wisdom??????????

Thanks everyone .... I am sorry if this sounds like I'm just dumping but I don't know anywhere else besides this forum where I could say these things and have a halfway decent chance of getting some well intentioned advice or counsel that will help me.

Rob Goldberg
San Francisco Area Nikonian

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