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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Sun 03-Feb-13 12:53 PM
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"Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"


US
          

I would love to know if my D7000 is a soft focus camera. My brother posts much sharper images from his Canon 6D than I could ever produce.

EVERYBODY loves to post about soft focus. I really feel I do not know whether those posting inputs to discussions have a grasp of the subject or not. Various lens can produce various results. PS can sharpen a pic. The subject matter can give the brain an impression of soft or sharp. Heck, I see posts of bokeh circles with sharp edges (Is that possible?).

What we need is one (or a team of) the gurus' to come up with a D7000 standardized soft focus test.

Select a lens we probably have to start. 50mm f1.8. If you ain't got it, $125 is not too much investment to participate. You need that lens anyway. Or borrow one!

Tell us the camera settings.
Tell us the tripod height and subject distance. Include the distance to the background.
Detail the lighting, hopefully flash to minimize variables.
Select a subject and background we all have.

Be specific. I am a novice. I would love to post my pic to be compared to other D7000s'.

Please help me understand soft focus. I feel this would be a VERY popular test, those knowledgeable in the subject could be very helpful to us lost sheep!

This would be a timely exercise, as the new D7000 is about to come out. This test would be a great guide to those considering upgrading, once D7X00 pics are added to the info.

Thanks, John

  

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Sun 03-Feb-13 05:56 PM
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#1. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 0


Los Angeles, US
          

Thom Hogan's ebook on the D7000 includes a tif file of a focus test. To be printed out and then mounted to a wall for the test. Or, to be opened on a computer screen for an optical test.

He also suggests a commercial firm that sells such test patterns, but warns that they are expensive.

It is against forum rules to disseminate copyrighted material, but you can buy Thom's book if you go to his website --- www.bythom.com ----. His publications for sale are listed in the right column.

I shot the test pattern with a 12-24, 16-85, 60mm G, 80-200. Looking through the LiveView at 32x magnification, resolution was quite sharp. Have you tried looking through LIveView and hitting the + button to extreme magnification?

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sun 03-Feb-13 08:53 PM
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#2. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 0


St Petersburg, RU
          

There are so many possible reasons for images to appear to be soft so it will serve you better to isolate the nature of the softness so it can be attacked methodically instead of looking for general tests. When the D7000 came out, a lot of people complained of soft images but most solved their problem with a little more practice or revisiting long forgotten fundamentals.
Can you post some typical images that illustrate the problem you are seeing?

How are you viewing the images, at what magnification and viewing distance? Do you get ANY that are sharp? What shutter speeds are you using and do higher speed make a difference? What post processing are you doing and with what software? Do LiveView or a tripod make any difference? Does the ambient light level make a difference and what about when using flash?

Stan
St Petersburg Russia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Mon 04-Feb-13 03:52 AM
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#3. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

Stan, the real reason I asked for a specific test is I take many pics that I do not understand, focus and sharpness wise.

I am a basic member and as such can not put pics in posts (BOO!!) LOL

Anyway, here is an example in my Flickr account that baffles me, and surely takes my into the realm of fear as to determining a method of checking softness on my own.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/91580196@N06/8348071046/in/photostream

There are so many menu screens in a D7000, I am intimidated. I have a hard time remembering not to use f1.8. LOL

  

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Mon 04-Feb-13 04:41 AM
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#4. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 3


US
          

The issue with you example is one of DOF (depth of field). The actual plane of focus is not soft at all ( at least in my perception it isn't).

Pete

Pete

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gfinlayson Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Jan 2011Mon 04-Feb-13 08:31 AM
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#5. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 3


Maidenhead, GB
          

I agree with Pete. The bottom of the spark plug is in focus, but most of the other parts around it are out of focus. This due to a fairly shallow depth of field caused by a combination of a 105mm focal length and a wide aperture. It's also quite a 'busy' subject in terms of the number of potential points that the large central AF sensor could lock onto. This is a subject where using live view and zooming in to a precise focus point could have helped, or alternatively shooting in manual focus. If you intended to have more depth of field, then the aperture would have benefitted from being reduced to at least f/8 (ISO and shutter range permitting).

I very much doubt your camera has focus issues. Your perceived lack of sharpness compared to other images from other cameras is probably due to difference in the in-camera settings, or the PP adjustments made if shooting RAW.

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Mon 04-Feb-13 11:37 AM
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#6. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 3


St Petersburg, RU
          

I first looked at the image of the head and thought it was a joke, that it was a parody of the "soft-lens or camera" posts we see by the dozens. Why, because it is a great image, sharp as heck where the focus plane was and really good bokeh. I doubt your brother's 6D would do better.
But if you were really trying to get the whole image in sharp focus, which would probably detracted from the appeal of that image, with less 3d look, you only need to increase the depth of field by stopping down the aperture. At that distance with that lens I would think f/8 to f/11 would do the trick. At f/8 the lens is just past its optimum resolving power but much better than wide open as you had it set. That lens is spectacularly sharp from f/4 to f/8.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Mon 04-Feb-13 01:58 PM
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#7. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 3


Toronto, CA
          

>Anyway, here is an example in my Flickr account that baffles
>me, and surely takes my into the realm of fear as to
>determining a method of checking softness on my own.
>
>http://www.flickr.com/photos/91580196@N06/8348071046/in/photostream
>
>There are so many menu screens in a D7000, I am intimidated. I
>have a hard time remembering not to use f1.8. LOL

I've never heard of an f/1.8 105mm lens. I think you mean f/2.8.

If the sample photo was shot at f/2.8, then your depth of field (DoF) was simply too shallow to include the entire spark plug. Try f/5.6 and reshoot the plug. Compare the two shots to see the difference when using a larger aperture (f/2.8) compared to a somewhat smaller aperture (f/5.6). If the plug still isn't fully in focus at f/5.6, reduce the aperture to f/6.3, and re-compare.

Knowing the fundamentals of aperture size (f/stop), shutter speed, ISO and white balance, as well as practicing good handheld and/or tripod technique, and experimenting with the autofocus system to gain a good feel for its nuances, will help you make better and better exposure decisions more often as time goes by.

There's nothing wrong with your camera or your lens or your subject matter.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Mon 04-Feb-13 02:33 PM
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#8. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 7


Paignton, GB
          

>I've never heard of an f/1.8 105mm lens.

There certainly was an Ai-S 105mm f/1.8 Nikkor - it was manufactured from the early 1980's up to about 2005

I agree that the examples posted show no signs of a camera softness problem.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 05-Feb-13 12:34 AM
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#23. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 8


Toronto, CA
          

>>I've never heard of an f/1.8 105mm lens.
>
>There certainly was an Ai-S 105mm f/1.8 Nikkor - it was
>manufactured from the early 1980's up to about 2005

Not a bad lens at all. Completely forgot about it, because I'm too fully immersed in AF lenses. Thanks Brian.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Mon 04-Feb-13 02:41 PM
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#9. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

I apologize for mixing two subjects with the photo I selected.

The intent of my original question was to understand how to obtain sharp photographs.
I selected a photograph of mine that is an EXAMPLE of why it is difficult to understand focus.

The picture is, in fact, a pic taken with a 105mm f1.8, manual focus.
I selected it as many discussions of sharpness evolve to pictures of various subjects, typically taken under a world of different camera settings, circumstances, and multiple methods of post processing.

Determining sharpness differences from D7000 camera to D7000 camera can only be compared if the identical subject is photographed, under the same circumstances.

The camera menu settings can have a great deal to do with image sharpness, as well as camera technique.

I think I have a reasonable understanding of technique (tripod for stability, shutter speed, select mid range f stop) for sharpness of the photograph, but, I am totally baffled by the camera menu settings.

A recommendation of one or two settings is meaningless. My hope was to see multiple owners produce identical photographs taken under similar circumstances, of the same subject. The camera settings would also be identical (in camera sharpness etc...).

As mentioned also, post processing would also be important.

That is why I was recommending a test. It would be a great help to those many D7000 owners, like me, that can only wonder just what that camera is doing!



  

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mudman2 Silver Member Nikonian since 14th May 2009Mon 04-Feb-13 03:09 PM
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#10. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 9


Jamison, US
          

Comparing the image with a modern Canon with an Auto Focus designed for the computer will result in that image beating yours. Put a modern Nikkor on it and re shooting should make you at least as good as the canon

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Chris Platt Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Sep 2012Mon 04-Feb-13 03:41 PM
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#11. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 9


Newburg, US
          

I don't understand how the test you're proposing would help you understand what the camera is doing. The image you posted demonstrates that your camera and lens combination can produce very sharp images, so I wouldn't think it necessary to try to compare what others do with their equipment under similar shooting conditions. Your gear appears to be quite good, why do you care what others do?

I think it might be more valuable for you to shoot the same subject, under the same conditions, while varying the settings on your camera to understand what you, your camera, and your lens are doing together. You seem to enjoy doing close-up photography, where understanding Depth of Field considerations is critical. A good DOF table or program would help manage your expectations and assist you in planning the shoot. http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Perhaps a book on closeup photography would be helpful. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0715312766/nikoniansorg-20

I'm making these suggestions because there is no obvious softness problem with your camera/lens combination. The image you posted would not all be in sharp focus because of the camera settings you chose. If you expected that, and the wrong part of the image was in focus, that is a separate path of inquiry that could lead to equipment adjustments. If you expected it all to be in sharp focus, then you should seek to bolster your understanding of how sensor size, aperture selection, focal length, and distance to target influence the depth of field; what parts of the image will appear to be in sharp focus.

Visit my gallery.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Mon 04-Feb-13 05:00 PM
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#12. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 11


US
          

On a case by case D7000 discussion, many recommendations can be made.

Similar to an automobile, a question about a thumping noise coming from the left front would lead us to recommend that the OP check to see if the tire is flat.

But, also similar to an automobile, try to diagnose a P0300 computer code of random misfires on a 1997 Chevy S10, virtually impossible without standardizing the entire vehicle.

That is the basis for my request of a standardized test.

Oh, by the way, the next thing I am going to try on the S10 is to replace the worn distributor shaft alignment bushing, the truck has 248,000 miles.

  

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Chris Platt Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Sep 2012Mon 04-Feb-13 06:29 PM
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#13. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 12


Newburg, US
          

Ah, but in this case, those in this thread who are familiar with the D7000 "vehicle" viewed the problem you described and accompanying image as a "thumping noise coming from the left front" with an obvious cause and resolution. So that is where I suspect the confusion lies regarding an approach to fault isolation.

I can't believe that bushing is giving up after only 248,000 miles. Can't anybody make a quality product?

Visit my gallery.

  

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Mon 04-Feb-13 06:30 PM
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#14. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

>
>The camera menu settings can have a great deal to do with
>image sharpness, as well as camera technique.
>

To which camera menu settings are you referring?

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Mon 04-Feb-13 06:46 PM
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#15. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 14


US
          

>>
>>The camera menu settings can have a great deal to do with
>>image sharpness, as well as camera technique.
>>
>
>To which camera menu settings are you referring?
>

That, exactly, is my question, I understand the tripod! LOL

  

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gfinlayson Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Jan 2011Mon 04-Feb-13 07:04 PM
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#16. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 15
Mon 04-Feb-13 07:06 PM by gfinlayson

Maidenhead, GB
          

If you're shooting in JPG, then the picture control settings have a huge influence over sharpness among other things. Each picture control setting is customisable and allows adjustment of sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue. Sharpening varies from 0-9, the default values are usually around 4 or 5, so there's lots of room to tweak.

If you're shooting in RAW, the D7000 files are relatively soft and need some sharpening in post.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Mon 04-Feb-13 07:08 PM
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#17. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 15


US
          

My wife just reminded of a corollary to the test of the D7000 I have proposed.

America's Test Kitchen (TV show) wanted to help the viewers determine if the viewers oven operated correctly. Correct temperature is important to baking.

They developed a test. The test was to set the oven to 350 degrees, wait 15 minutes for the oven to stabilize, then put 4 slices of bread directly on the rack.

Remove the bread after exactly 90 seconds. The bread would be a perfect golden brown.

Redo the test at higher or lower temps, not varying the time, until the bread turns an exact color. This exercise is to determine the exact amount of offset that is required for the viewers oven at temperatures near 350.

(Note: I used this as an example from memory, do not test your oven, my numbers may be off!!)

This is the type of standardized test that I feel would be helpful for us novice D7000 users.

  

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gfinlayson Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Jan 2011Mon 04-Feb-13 07:12 PM
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#18. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 17
Mon 04-Feb-13 07:13 PM by gfinlayson

Maidenhead, GB
          

That test method is fraught with uncontrolled variables. Type of bread, freshness, moisture content of the bread, and thickness of the slices to name but a few. What's wrong with a good old thermometer?

Any test method should be devised in such a way that there are no uncontrolled variables, otherwise the resulting data is invalid.

Graeme

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Mon 04-Feb-13 07:24 PM
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#19. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 18


US
          

>That test method is fraught with uncontrolled variables. Type
>of bread, freshness, moisture content of the bread, and
>thickness of the slices to name but a few. What's wrong with a
>good old thermometer?
>
>Any test method should be devised in such a way that there are
>no uncontrolled variables, otherwise the resulting data is
>invalid.
>
>Graeme

Of course you are correct! I believe it was a test for those without an accurate thermometer (I doubt my thermometer).

I truncated the test, they specified more variables to closer control the test.
(My fingers would prefer to only type the amount that should get the point across, we ain't baking bread here.)

We all know the various results that can be had by twiddling with the little knob on the side of the toaster.

Twiddling with the menus' on the D7000 scares me to death!!

  

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aolander Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Sep 2006Mon 04-Feb-13 08:26 PM
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#20. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 19


Nevis, US
          

"Twiddling with the menus' on the D7000 scares me to death!!"

To make the above statement indicates that you don't know very much about the camera. You don't need "tests", you need instruction which can be found here and all over the net.

Alan

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Mon 04-Feb-13 08:35 PM
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#21. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 19


Toronto, CA
          

>Twiddling with the menus' on the D7000 scares me to death!!

John - the most important menu item to remember is the Reset function, which instantly puts all the menu twiddling back to the factory defaults.

Never make more than one Picture Control menu setting change at a time. Make the setting change. Observe the effect. Practice with it. Try the next setting change.

Never make more than one change at a time to the focus menu. Make the setting change. Observe the effect. Practice with it. Try the next setting change.

. . . and so on.

It's just a process.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Mon 04-Feb-13 08:48 PM
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#22. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 19


US
          


>
>Twiddling with the menus' on the D7000 scares me to death!!
>

It's a camera, not a neutron bomb detonator - death is not part of the equation.

I'd suggest you pick up Thom Hogan's book on the D7000.

  

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Gamecocks Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jul 2010Tue 05-Feb-13 12:48 AM
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#24. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 19


Joanna, US
          

Your profile would suggest that you are past the beginner stage and you state that you are an engineer. Since no camera body or lens comes off the assembly line exactly the same, although made in the same factory and using the same specs, such a test as you would like to see is not practical even in controlled conditions by one person but especially when being done by different people in different locations, imo.
It appears nothing is wrong with your gear but that doesn't satisfy you. You state that you are scared to tweak the menu yet all you have to do is do a camera reset or do as all competent engineers do - take notes on each phase that you go through, compare results, make changes as necessary and if you aren't satisfied, start over. The learning process doesn't cost anything but time and effort.

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. <><

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Tue 05-Feb-13 01:26 AM
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#25. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 24


US
          

>Your profile would suggest that you are past the beginner
>stage and you state that you are an engineer. Since no camera
>body or lens comes off the assembly line exactly the same,
>although made in the same factory and using the same specs,
>such a test as you would like to see is not practical even in
>controlled conditions by one person but especially when being
>done by different people in different locations, imo.
>It appears nothing is wrong with your gear but that doesn't
>satisfy you. You state that you are scared to tweak the menu
>yet all you have to do is do a camera reset or do as all
>competent engineers do - take notes on each phase that you go
>through, compare results, make changes as necessary and if you
>aren't satisfied, start over. The learning process doesn't
>cost anything but time and effort.

I guess as an engineer I like to follow (Or WRITE!) tests that are predetermined.

Also as an engineer, I know enough to not blindly go where I am not skilled.

Photography is a right brain activity, engineering is a left brain activity. I know enough to know when I am out of my comfort zone.

Engineers ONLY live in their comfort zone, that is the way it is.

Yea, I can take a picture. I gotta do something while I am learning to compose a photograph. Engineers love to multi-task!!

I am still hoping for a standardized test!!

  

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iamshunter Registered since 24th Aug 2007Tue 05-Feb-13 02:09 AM
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#27. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 25


US
          

>Engineers ONLY live in their comfort zone, that is the way it
>is.
>
>Yea, I can take a picture. I gotta do something while I am
>learning to compose a photograph. Engineers love to
>multi-task!!

Some pretty bold statements there ...

I've always hated labels, I guess this proves I'm not really an engineer after all :)

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Tue 05-Feb-13 02:50 AM
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#28. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 27


US
          

>>Engineers ONLY live in their comfort zone, that is the
>way it
>>is.
>>
>>Yea, I can take a picture. I gotta do something while I
>am
>>learning to compose a photograph. Engineers love to
>>multi-task!!
>
>Some pretty bold statements there ...
>
>I've always hated labels, I guess this proves I'm not really
>an engineer after all
>
>

Nor have you been around them much is my guess. They are all the same, until some business makes them into a manager, then they loose the functional side of their brain!! LOL

  

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iamshunter Registered since 24th Aug 2007Tue 05-Feb-13 03:55 AM
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#30. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 28


US
          


>Nor have you been around them much is my guess. They are all
>the same, until some business makes them into a manager, then
>they loose the functional side of their brain!! LOL

Maybe best if you stop guessing.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Tue 05-Feb-13 04:16 AM
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#31. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 30


US
          

>
>>Nor have you been around them much is my guess. They are
>all
>>the same, until some business makes them into a manager,
>then
>>they loose the functional side of their brain!! LOL
>
>Maybe best if you stop guessing.

Every manager (EVERY!) I worked for as an engineer was an engineer promoted manager.

I was so jealous of the non engineering departments that had real managers.

Oh, well, the life of an engineer!! LOL

"Maybe best if you stop guessing."
Engineering Manager!??

  

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iamshunter Registered since 24th Aug 2007Tue 05-Feb-13 04:28 AM
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#32. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 31


US
          


>>Maybe best if you stop guessing.
>
>Every manager (EVERY!) I worked for as an engineer was an
>engineer promoted manager.
>
>I was so jealous of the non engineering departments that had
>real managers.
>
>Oh, well, the life of an engineer!! LOL
>
>"Maybe best if you stop guessing."
>Engineering Manager!??

Wow.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Nikonian since 05th May 2002Tue 05-Feb-13 05:20 AM
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#33. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 31


Colorado Springs, US
          

Let's get back to the subject of photography, please.

Rick Walker

My photos:
GeoVista Photography

  

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billD80 Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2007Tue 05-Feb-13 03:00 AM
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#29. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 25


US
          

>I am still hoping for a standardized test!!
>

Your shot of the engine block demonstrates the camera/lens combo is VERY sharp.

If it was me, I'd set your in-camera sharpness setting to 6, and leave it there.

The D7000 is a 16mp camera, and it's resolution is phenomenal, if the other variables are sound -- lens/camera settings, technique...

Assuming the camera, or lens, is not missing focus, or the technique isn't deficient, the D7000 will yield tack sharp images, bar none.

Nikon factory sets the in-camera sharpening very conservatively at 3, assuming perhaps an owner who likes to add significant sharpening only in post-processing, not in the camera. This philosophy may differ from Canon's, but comparing apples to apples, in a number of areas, (acuity and dynamic range) your camera is at least as capable as anything Canon makes.

www.billkeane.zenfolio.com

  

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Tue 05-Feb-13 02:07 PM
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#36. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 29
Tue 05-Feb-13 02:27 PM by Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
          

There is, of course, that focus test floating around on the net — the one that uses an inclined bar chart. The shot is focused at the center, and then you can see the extent of the dof in graduated markings.

This D7000 shot was focused under ideal circumstances: bright, bright sunlight, tripod, 1/50 sec, f7+, cw metering. AF, of course. I took the image in less than 30 seconds of setup time using the superb 60mm f2.8 G Micro lens. One of Nikon's best.
Expand the image and you'll see the fine casting marks from the sand mold in the metal.


But you want metrics. Next time I'll shoot a macro of a tape measure. Ha, ha.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Tue 05-Feb-13 10:54 AM
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#34. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

A bit more explanation on the sample shot. The reason the spark plug is not in focus is that your DOF is really thin. Folks are possibly also thinking of the DOF as a purely front-to-back dimension, but it's a distance from the focal plane, in other words from the sensor. The top of the spark plug is much closer to the sensor.

This is exactly what I'd expect to see from a fully functioning D7000 with reasonable capture technique.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Tue 05-Feb-13 12:56 PM
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#35. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 0


St Petersburg, RU
          

I am going to suggest something that will not be popular but would be very useful. Read the D7000 manual from cover to cover and the nature of the subsystems and their relation to each other will be covered at least on the function level. Some people like the aftermarket books but all you really need is in the Nikon manual.
If you have the fundamentals of light, color and time down, all you need to do is brush up on the functions specific to the D7000 and the manual is pretty good.
Specs are interesting to consider on cold windy winter nights but the only thing that really matters is results and how predictably your intentions are realized with photos. Regardless of knowing the technical details or specs, AF tests notwithstanding, you got an image that looks very good, is interesting and worth viewing so that transcends specs every time. Most gear heads never get past the spec part and never produce images that anyone other than their mother would love.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 05-Feb-13 02:31 PM
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#37. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 35


Toronto, CA
          

>I am going to suggest something that will not be popular but
>would be very useful. Read the D7000 manual from cover to
>cover and the nature of the subsystems and their relation to
>each other will be covered at least on the function level.
>Some people like the aftermarket books but all you really need
>is in the Nikon manual.

Stan - I can't resist commenting here.

I agree. All photographers should make themselves thoroughly familiar with their camera manuals. On some photography discussion forums, the first reaction to an OP who may not have read the camera manual is almost always RTFM (Read The Free Manual). The thing is, the statement/expletive RTFM is not so much an insult as it is a wise first step toward the understanding of any advanced tool.

The subject OP excepted, how many Nikonians readily try to help in situations in which a thorough reading of the manual would have eliminated the need for the OP to ask the question in the first place? How many Nikonians joining a thread and who realize the OP will benefit from a thorough read of the camera manual, avoid responding with RTFM (or something similar but less abusive) simply to ensure that Nikonians remains the civil, helpful and positive place it needs to be? How often to do moderators contact new members who obviously are trying to find the shortest distance from A-B without reading the camera manual, to tell them that reading the camera manual thoroughly will likely help them become the best possible Nikonians members and likely help them attract the most positive and effective sorts of support from Nikonians members? How many Nikonians of all kinds (new members, short term members, long term members, etc.) use Nikonians forums to ask questions specifically in an effort to avoid the tedium of thoroughly reading the camera manual (and if necessary re-reading the hard parts)?

I don't know the answers to those questions, and I won't insult Nikonians managers, moderators and members by suggesting even momentarily that we should attempt to force any OP into a certain mode before answering a question.

Then again, a quick review of suspect posts seems to indicate a question pattern which is quite revealing. The first question in such threads is usually basic - perhaps absent common knowledge that could have been found during a thorough reading of the manual. The first question also almost always fails to include some crucial pieces of information, e.g., lens type (AF, MF) exposure settings (including inappropriately low shutter speeds, extremely high ISO setting), and other details which are often very important when trying to figure out how to help the OP. The second question by the OP in such threads often provides additional bits of information, and often also reveal the OP to be perfectly competent in many ways but sorely lacking in sufficient technical knowledge about the chosen camera. In some such threads, the third post by the OP expresses some measure of photography skill level (brand new, novice, beginner, etc.). RTFM, first before all else. Stuck on something in the camera manual though? By all means ask for clarification! Nikon manuals (and many other camera manuals) have rarely been known for their absolute clarity.

Some of this works toward the underlying idea that the latest tech is often assumed by many new users, on some psychological level, to be intuitively usable. The knowledge and usability gap (and, not insignificantly, the question gap) occurs because such OP participants have yet to achieve a knowledge baseline about photography sufficient to get them to that point at which the well designed Nikon camera becomes, for them, intuitively usable. Ergo, at the very least, RTFM.

>If you have the fundamentals of light, color and time down,
>all you need to do is brush up on the functions specific to
>the D7000 and the manual is pretty good.

Knowledge acquisition is on partial hold in the contemporary world Stan, at least where creative technical skills are the subject at hand. A much higher percentage of us than even before look for shortcuts that circumvent the need to fully immerse ourselves in product manuals. Nikonians membership, I think, has largely avoided that I-don't-need-to-read-the-manual tag because (I think) the average age of Nikonians members is relatively high. That seems to usually mean that there's a greater interest in and willingness to read product manuals, but it's by no means absolute.

Camera manuals and product manuals of all kinds are read rarely enough that product makers long ago began economizing on the production of expensive-to-write-and-print manuals. A couple of decades of elaborate telephone support systems helped product makers realize that too many of their product users would rather talk to someone on the phone than sit down to read a detailed, printed, product manual. Product makers, en masse, then began making the worst mistake of all in the early 90's - too many of them stopped producing the best sorts of product manuals. Nikon and Canon no longer produce detailed printed manuals for their entry level cameras because too few end users read the things. Nikon, Canon and many other companies also responded to lots of end user demand for digitized product manuals, the result being that people now don't read them on their laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones either. But digital/PDF versions are a lot cheaper to produce and distribute. None of the foregoing alters the need to RTFM.

>Specs are interesting to consider on cold windy winter nights
>but the only thing that really matters is results and how
>predictably your intentions are realized with photos.
>Regardless of knowing the technical details or specs, AF tests
>notwithstanding, you got an image that looks very good, is
>interesting and worth viewing so that transcends specs every
>time.

I agree completely. The only thing I'd add is that if photographers thoroughly read their camera manuals, they'll help themselves get where they want to go that much faster. And they'll turn themselves into even better photographers, Nikonians members and contributors. RTFM.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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N4TVC Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jul 2006Tue 05-Feb-13 03:15 PM
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#38. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 37


Burke, US
          

OUCH, Stan...

Charles

  

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kstrongs Registered since 04th Oct 2011Tue 05-Feb-13 03:19 PM
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#39. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 37
Tue 05-Feb-13 05:55 PM by briantilley

St. Thomas, CA
          


I have to agree with this quote.

I have been in an Engineering Electronics shop at a Canadian University for over 20 years, having repaired over one thousand various pieces of equipment.

First question I ask, do you have the manual. Second, have you read the manual. 90% of the time the answer is no. I next get, it's broken.

I find the D7000n to be a very precise piece of electronic equipment. The camera focuses where and how you set it. This camera with the "old 80-400 F4-5.6 lens is the first setup I have had that can accurately get clear shots of the moon.

It can also catch the tiniest object your eye can see.
Too many variables to standardize a test for all D7k owners.
The OP should read the manual and then come back with better samples of "soft" focus.

I am a gold member because the knowledge one can get from the many informative topics is well worth the money. I spent time reading from the forums. Sorry for the rant.

kstrong

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Gamecocks Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jul 2010Tue 05-Feb-13 03:57 PM
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#40. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 37


Joanna, US
          

Amen, Howard and Stan. I once received a gift that required batteries. Upon opening the battery compartment there was a note written in bold red "Before proceeding, get the instruction manual out of the trash can and read it". Many could benefit from what y'all have said. The brain is a marvelous instrument and both sides should be thoroughly used.

John

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. <><

  

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J_Harris Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Mar 2011Tue 05-Feb-13 05:37 PM
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#41. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          


Before Rick locks this thread , I would like to say that Stan's remarks would have been severe IF they were the FIRST response to the original posters question/request. However, after the many previous posts it was obvious the OP was not inclined to READ THE MANUAL for whatever reason. If after digesting the recommendations by moderators and members, and then READING THE MANUAL he would have most likely found his solution WITHOUT needing focus test charts or collective test results from other members.

As said previously, maybe it is a generational thing (I'm closer to sixty than fifty ) because the first thing I did after purchasing my D7000 was to enthusiastically read the manual and experiment. Only then did I ask for help at Nikonians with any unsolved mysteries. But, if the OP's Avatar is any indication the generational thing may not be so relevant .

Just my 2-cents

Jerry

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Tue 05-Feb-13 05:53 PM
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#42. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 41


Los Angeles, US
          

Just to soften the tone here, I recently purchased, of all things, a so-called 'screwdriver focus' Nikon lens. The 12-year old design AF 80-200 f2.8. When I got it, the first thing I tried was shooting low-flying jets coming into an airport 1.6km from my house.

This was not the newer SWM focus where the motor is in the lens. But with a motor in the body. It was heartening to see how quickly and accurately the D7000/80-200 acquired focus. No hunting whatsoever. The planes were doing about 120mph. Blown up a bit, I could read the tail numbers of the planes on the images. Altitude was about 200 feet. Take that, Canon.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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gfinlayson Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Jan 2011Tue 05-Feb-13 06:08 PM
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#43. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 42


Maidenhead, GB
          

Four of my current lenses are screw drive and they all focus very well on my D7000. With the exception of my Tamron 180mm macro (understandably), they all focus very quickly too.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Tue 05-Feb-13 09:08 PM
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#44. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 43


US
          

This lens, blah, blah,blah,
that book, blah, blah,blah,
that pic, blah, blah,blah,
his opinion, blah, blah,blah,

The original post asked for something specific. A photograph comparison thread.

The reason that was asked for, was specifically stated. Opinions aside, a method for me to compare my pic to others would have been useful.

I am thick skinned and have enjoyed all the ribbing about RTfreeM. I get to laugh everytime I open the thread and another responder says RTFM. Truly.
I doubt few on this site have read as many pages about the D7000 and related cameras and accessories as I have. (I happened to get a GrabBox of aftermarket digital Nikon books from KEH on Nikons', D300, CLS, others by multiple authors and even including the Nikonians series)

Trust me, I am well read.

I go to a photography club, and am amazed when a true photographer starts discussing color, shading, correct use of bokeh, and so many other aspects of photography that the books can not have enough pages to go into detail on.

I for one am fully capable of transforming a thought into a completed 3D functional entity. I have done that with much success since 1975.

I have a few of those, they may make great subjects for my photography, I think I will spend some time photographing them.

BUT, transforming a thought into a 2D flat image, is a totally different skill. I for one suck at that. Luckily, 3D CAD evolved early in my career. I love to model in 3D CAD. Many can not comprehend solid modeling in a computer.

End of rant, I hope this helps the readers of this thread understand that the OP is not lazy, is not unread on the subject, but, is in fact jealous of those who can create a 2D image that can be called a photograph.

Oh, by the way, other than my brothers 6D, I consider my Nikon D7000 to be a VERY capable camera compared to the pics I see on Flickr.

I see many people start and respond to "soft focus" threads on the internet, here and elsewhere. One of the reasons for the thread initially was I thought Nikonians would like to be the "Go To" place for a definitive answer on how to know if a user's D7000 was sharp.

  

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Gamecocks Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jul 2010Tue 05-Feb-13 09:31 PM
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#45. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 44


Joanna, US
          

>for a definitive answer on how to know if a user's D7000 was sharp.<

Wouldn't the definitive proof of a sharp camera and lens be in the photograph? If it looks sharp, I would believe that the body and lens and photographer performed as hoped. No testing needed. If not sharp, then one would check settings and make corrections unless the body and/or the lens needed adjustments. Based on what you say about yourself you have a thorough knowledge of all the ins and outs of photography but......
Comparing your photo to another's will not be a means to an end unless all people are in the same controlled environment with all equipment set the same; maybe with just one person doing the actual shooting.
As it is difficult for me, and perhaps some others, to really understand your dilemma, wouldn't it be best for you to start your own program to determine how to tell if a camera is sharp? I say this with no hostility. Good luck in your quest.

John

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. <><

  

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kippford Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Feb 2012Tue 05-Feb-13 09:34 PM
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#46. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 44


falkirk, GB
          

I looked at your picture of the cylinder head.
Your D7000 is sharp. stop worrying.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 05-Feb-13 09:47 PM
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#48. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 44


Toronto, CA
          


>I am thick skinned and have enjoyed all the ribbing about
>RTfreeM. I get to laugh everytime I open the thread and
>another responder says RTFM. Truly.
>I doubt few on this site have read as many pages about the
>D7000 and related cameras and accessories as I have. (I
>happened to get a GrabBox of aftermarket digital Nikon books
>from KEH on Nikons', D300, CLS, others by multiple authors and
>even including the Nikonians series)
>
>Trust me, I am well read.

. . . and I believe you, but apparently not well-read enough to know that a close-up at f/1.8 is going to provide a depth of field so shallow that any concern about D7000 focus accuracy is irrelevant. Shoot the same engine block and spark plug at f/6.3, then compare the two photos. What other comparsion is needed? This has already been suggested, and I think you should try it. I predict you'll discover that when you perform that simple test (using some other subject if you like) it will demonstrate how detailed and sharp your D7000 really is and at the same time demonstrate clearly the effect that aperture has on depth of field.

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Tue 05-Feb-13 09:47 PM
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#49. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 44


US
          

Well, just go buy a 6D then .

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karanjikar Registered since 25th Nov 2012Wed 06-Feb-13 11:41 AM
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#51. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 44


CN
          

A small suggestion from another engineer which is quite in line with basics of DoE. You have quoted couple of times the basis for your comparison as the pictures taken by your brother with his 6D... So, why not ask your brother to take some pictures with your D7000 and see if you find them sharp enough or similar to the 6D pictures?

If yes, may be you need to polish your techniques better?

In all the discussion so far the focus was on only machine, I am proposing to keep the man, i.e. operator same and try...

Just my two cents..

Mak

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 05-Feb-13 09:38 PM
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#47. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 0
Wed 06-Feb-13 02:45 AM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

>What we need is one (or a team of) the gurus' to come up with
>a D7000 standardized soft focus test.
>
>Select a lens we probably have to start. 50mm f1.8. If you
>ain't got it, $125 is not too much investment to participate.
>You need that lens anyway. Or borrow one!
>
>Tell us the camera settings.
>Tell us the tripod height and subject distance. Include the
>distance to the background.
>Detail the lighting, hopefully flash to minimize variables.
>Select a subject and background we all have.
>
>Be specific. I am a novice. I would love to post my pic to be
>compared to other D7000s'.

Despite any other comments with respect to the need for a broader base of photography knowledge before delving into the subject of focus testing, the proposal seems reasonable on its face. The problem is, commercial focus testing products already exist that any photographer can purchase and set up at home. The products contain extensive kits, setup instructions and recommendations.

The 'gotcha' with such products is that no setup shortcuts are permissible. If all of the main variables addressed in the setup instructions and recommendations aren't fully and accurately adjusted as required, the testing will not produce valid results. Frankly, the vast majority of home-devised, commercial DIY, and field test designs are so full of technical holes that the photographers engaged in the effort might as well not bother. It's also just as important to note that the odds against getting fully usable results from such flawed setups often put them completely out of reach even by pure luck. That such setups occassionally do produce results usable enough to warrant an AF fine tune calibration tweak is not a reason to bother with it. Chances are your results will be unreliable.

Anybody who spends time performing AF fine tune calibration on a zoom lens is going to end up either limiting the usability of part of the focal range, or in the case of a combination of bad technique and bad exposure settings choices is essntially trying to overcome those mistakes by attempting to calibrate them away.

Sure as anything there are camera and lens combinations which conspire to produce soft images. They are rare. Those camera and lens combinations might benefit from an AF fine tune tweak. But always refine knowledge of the camera and the techniques being used, before fixing something that too often will prove not to be broken.

>Please help me understand soft focus. I feel this would be a
>VERY popular test, those knowledgeable in the subject could be
>very helpful to us lost sheep!

If you really want to delve deeply into the subject of absolute focus accuracy, first learn the basics of aperture (and how it affects depth of field), shutter speed (and why faster shutters speeds tend to produce sharper photos, ISO (and why lower ISO settings produce lower digital noise and hence photos with more finely rendered detail, white balance (and why doing a custom white balance when confronted with confusing lighting helps the camera sensor capture color more accurately and therefore gives your eyes a more accurate rendering of the subject). Add to that knowledge the practice of steady handheld shooting technique, and you'll end up getting the best out of the camera as it has been delivered to you from the factory. If you're still not satisfied with sharpness after that, you have a baseline from which to much more confidently and accurately perform focus testing.

For now though, I don't see anything wrong with your sample shot except f/1.8 which provided such a paper thin depth of field that only a tiny band is in focus.

If I've gone too far with the comments in this post, I apologize.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Wed 06-Feb-13 09:04 AM
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#50. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 47
Wed 06-Feb-13 09:05 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.

Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Wed 06-Feb-13 03:01 PM
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#52. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 0
Wed 06-Feb-13 06:24 PM by elec164

US
          

This thread has surely taken it's twists and turns. Perhaps I'm being a bit pendantic here, but I believe camera bodies don't soft focus, lenses do. So first we need to know if its your intent to determine lens copy variation or body copy variation.

So let's assume you are referring to focus accuracy not lens resolving ability. Trouble with checking for focus accuracy is that AF systems in cameras are tolerable accurate not precise. So as I believe has been already stated, even with the same body with a fixed subject distance, if you focus, defocus then refocus multiple times you will most likely come up with a slightly different focus distance. You will also see a variation if you come from infinity inward or minimum focus distance outward. I also believe that wide angle lenses will show more of a variation than longer focal lengths.

For a good read on the trials and tribulations of AF testing there are two good articles over at LensRental.com located here and here. Particularly interesting would be the second article where they plot the variation and show how far off a bad copy would plot from the scatter of good copies.

There are commercial devices you could buy such as LensAlign or there is the free much maligned 45 degree angle test charts. But the trouble with self testing is in controlling variables and setup. Personally when I wanted to test a recently purchased lens for focus accuracy I downloaded and printed a standard resolution test chart, mounted it to a wall, aligned my camera as best as I could, lit the chart with an old photo lamp that my farther had from many years ago (insuring sufficient lighting and a good contrast target), pressed the shutter half way 5 times to obtain the best AF the camera could provide then observe the results in an editor at 100% view.

I noticed that the lens seemed to not be a good match to my D7000. So I then used Live View to focus, then switch to viewfinder and half pressed the shutter button and observed the distance scale. I then adjusted the fine tune until I no longer noticed any movement between the two focus systems. The results of my testing can be seen at my Pbase site.

On a Yahoo Forum I participate in one of the more esteemed participants suggested we use the moon as a target when comparing camera/lens ability. After all, no matter where you live it receives the same light and is for all intended purposes about the same distance providing the same perspective. But I don't know how well that would fit in with your request.

Bottom line is that optical testing is not for the faint of heart, and there are numerous variables that can give erroneous results. As such a comparison on forums such as this would be difficult at best, if not down right impossible.

Hope this helps.

Pete

Edited to add:

I was wondering about this and finally stopped being lazy and download the cylinder shot to look at the EXIF data. And to my surprise what I found plays into what Stan just posted.

You took that shot using manual focus!!!

So again, what are you referring to??? An image can be in focus yet soft (usually due to lens aberrations), but a missed focus image will be soft in your intended subject area, but sharp elsewhere (actual focus plane). Also being a camera with a AA filter the end result will be soft and need sharpening. And to that end different models will have different pixel densities and different amounts of strength in the blur of the AA filter making direct comparisons difficult.

The in focus areas of your example appear to me to be very sharp, but then with an in-camera sharpening setting of 9 that’s no surprise!! So again with the thin DOF of that shot you are going to get the results you did, and if the plane of focus is not where you intended while using manual focus it’s not the cameras fault.

Pete

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Thu 07-Feb-13 12:10 AM
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#53. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 52


US
          

>
>Pete
>
>Edited to add:
>
>I was wondering about this and finally stopped being lazy and
>download the cylinder shot to look at the EXIF data. And to my
>surprise what I found plays into what Stan just posted.
>
>You took that shot using manual focus!!!
>
>So again, what are you referring to??? An image can be in
>focus yet soft (usually due to lens aberrations), but a missed
>focus image will be soft in your intended subject area, but
>sharp elsewhere (actual focus plane). Also being a camera with
>a AA filter the end result will be soft and need sharpening.
>And to that end different models will have different pixel
>densities and different amounts of strength in the blur of the
>AA filter making direct comparisons difficult.
>
>The in focus areas of your example appear to me to be very
>sharp, but then with an in-camera sharpening setting of 9
>that’s no surprise!! So again with the thin DOF of that shot
>you are going to get the results you did, and if the plane of
>focus is not where you intended while using manual focus it’s
>not the cameras fault.
>

If you read my post where I included that pic, I stated that the pic was an EXAMPLE of why you could not evaluate just any pic.

Of course I knew what EXACTLY I was doing using that pic. I was trying to post a worst case example of focus comparison, not an example of in focus/out of focus, or AF lens performance.

P.S. I worked pretty hard with the camera to make that pic just what I wanted.

I have really enjoyed the results of using the D7000.

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 07-Feb-13 12:23 AM
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#54. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 53
Thu 07-Feb-13 12:24 AM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

>If you read my post where I included that pic, I stated that
>the pic was an EXAMPLE of why you could not evaluate just any
>pic.
>
>Of course I knew what EXACTLY I was doing using that pic. I
>was trying to post a worst case example of focus comparison,
>not an example of in focus/out of focus, or AF lens
>performance.
>
>P.S. I worked pretty hard with the camera to make that pic
>just what I wanted.

Not sure what you mean. In your post that included the link to the photo, you wrote "Anyway, here is an example in my Flickr account that baffles me, and surely takes my into the realm of fear as to determining a method of checking softness on my own." Seems to contradict what you wrote above.

More important, I'm glad you're enjoying the D7000. It's a terrific camera.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Thu 07-Feb-13 12:37 AM
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#55. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 54


US
          

>>If you read my post where I included that pic, I stated
>that
>>the pic was an EXAMPLE of why you could not evaluate just
>any
>>pic.
>>
>>Of course I knew what EXACTLY I was doing using that pic.
>I
>>was trying to post a worst case example of focus
>comparison,
>>not an example of in focus/out of focus, or AF lens
>>performance.
>>
>>P.S. I worked pretty hard with the camera to make that
>pic
>>just what I wanted.
>
>Not sure what you mean. In your post that included the link to
>the photo, you wrote "Anyway, here is an example in my
>Flickr account that baffles me, and surely takes my into the
>realm of fear as to determining a method of checking softness
>on my own." Seems to contradict what you wrote above.
>


Sorry, maybe I can not write something that others can interpret any better than I can take a pic.

My intent was, and still is, that the pic in the link is one that is difficult to determine focus, and softness, to me. Nothing more, nothing less.

A SOFT photo can be obtained regardless of focus, as others have stated, manual lens, or AF.

Maybe my proposed test should include manual focus lens also!!??

Back to the original topic, a specified photo would be something others could compare their camera to, not guess, on sharpness.

JMHO

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Thu 07-Feb-13 03:12 AM
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#56. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 55


US
          

Thanks for all those that replied so far. I am exactly where I started, except with the knowledge that a concise test of the D7000 does not exist, nor, probably should it.

The D7000 appears to be an artists brush, rather than a calibrated instrument. That is OK. I am not very good with a paint brush either, as my wife will attest. (I seem to do OK with a spray gun!! ??)

I am comfortable with the camera, I was just hoping for a specific test.

To show how the camera works for me, I uploaded a pic of some alien UFOs' I happened to get a pic of.

http://images.nikonians.org/galleries/showphoto.php/photo/411791/cat/24170

Come to think of it, much about light that I know, they taught me!!



LOL

  

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J_Harris Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Mar 2011Thu 07-Feb-13 12:02 PM
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#57. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 56
Thu 07-Feb-13 02:18 PM by J_Harris

US
          


Hi John,

In several posts, you claim as a self-pronounced engineer attributes you have that are a result of that profession. Judging by how this thread has progressed I believe you missed one - stubbornness!

Jerry

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 07-Feb-13 05:57 PM
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#58. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 56


Toronto, CA
          

>Thanks for all those that replied so far. I am exactly where
>I started, except with the knowledge that a concise test of
>the D7000 does not exist, nor, probably should it.

But that is entirely inaccurate. It has been mentioned repeatedly in this thread that concise tests exist. Products such as FoCal and LensAlign are both used by some photographers in the relatively rare situation in which AF fine tuning is needed. The three main things that a number of members have have suggested to - based entirely on the example photo you offered and based on the substance of the questions you posted - are that a) based on the example photo there is nothing wrong with your D7000 or the lens that was used, b) based on your example photo any concerns you expressed about a unsatisfactory comparison with your compatriot's Canon 6D were likely irrelevant because the aperture chosen to make your example photo was much too large for the subject target, and c) use of any focus testing tool requires extremely diligent and careful setup in order to obtain valid results.

>The D7000 appears to be an artists brush, rather than a
>calibrated instrument.

It is both, as can be inferred directly from the posts by a number of members contributing to this thread, and by the tests done using widely available testing tools, and by the various photography applications for which a wide range of photographers around the world use the D7000.

>I am comfortable with the camera, I was just hoping for a
>specific test.

Asked and answered. Either you're not asking the question you mean to ask, or you don't consider some of the specific recommendations made in this thread to be valid. If I have missed your meaning, repeatedly, I apologize. But if your viewpoint has changed or your own clarity about the questions asked in your original post has changed or improved, please let us know.

If you're asking strictly about a homemade or home-brewed or fully DIY test toolmaking and test application method, then you're completely right - no such thing exists. The reason is mainly that it is highly unlikely that even an avid hobbyist has the toolmaking skills and test target creation skills to make something that actually challenges the resolution and AF fine tuning control range of the D7000 (or any other advanced digital SLR camera for that matter).

Perhaps you're asking strictly for the standard against which all Nikon cameras are commonly calibrated during manufacture and during service? If so, then the answer is that Nikon establishes the standard and applies its testing tools, test bench measurement standards, software analysis standards and allowable calibration tolerances. Nikon does so in a standardized procedure designed to establish a very high baseline below which no Nikon camera should be adjusted, and above which the majority of cameras coming off the assembly line or out of a Nikon service bench should ideally be operating. Nikon does not publish or discuss the proprietary details of its AF control software, AF/MF operation (except in very general terms - the methods and hardware are patented), image data processing as it is fed from the sensor to the CPU and firmware, etc., etc., etc. If that's the sort of brand-wide standard you're seeking for AF performance testing or general focus performance testing, it does not exist in the public domain in any form of which I'm aware.

HOWEVER, you're an engineer - so I think it's appropriate to offer you the engineer's approach to answering the questions you've asked. When a FoCal or LensAlign product is set up diligently, with all primarly factors (setup stability, evenness of lighting, lens, ideal test distance between the plane of sensor and the plane of the target given the chosen lens, alignment in all planes, positional relationship, sufficient lighting to use base camera ISO with a range of common aperture settings, test target design validity sufficient for the AF system to consistently recognize and lock, and so on), then it is possible to obtain test results using a large number of sequential test shots which will provide a) the maximum range of variability in the AF system design, b) the sub-range of variability in which the camera most often functions, c) the amount of fine tune adjustment (frequently a much smaller adjustment than anticipated, if any at all is actually needed), and d) the decision point based on the tendency of the camera to fall outside the point of absolutely satisfactory focus too rarely for an AF fine tune adjustment to be valid.

I hope this helps.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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Chris Platt Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Sep 2012Thu 07-Feb-13 06:06 PM
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#59. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 56


Newburg, US
          

Honestly, I think a calibrated test for you at this point would be premature.

The image you shared and the problem it revealed have nothing to do with artistic skill or nuanced creative understanding of the many D7000 control options available. It had nothing to do with any of the reported soft focus concerns of the D7000.

The image demonstrates a predictable result of the optical physics in play and the camera settings you selected. As an engineer, you should be able to understand that you could know, in advance, exactly what parts of that image would be in focus and which would not by applying this formula:

Near Point in focus = (D x H2)/(H+D-F)

Far point in focus = (D x H2)/(H+F-D) (if this expression is negative, then infinity is the far point in focus)

Where H is the hyperfocal distance
D is the distance at which the lens is focused
and F is the focal length of the lens

(Thanks to BobAtkins.com)

I love Nikonians because of the patient, collegial nature of the community. But honestly, you have turned a deaf ear to the many and very consistent explanations and remedies for your image. If you don't understand what has been explained here about depth of field, softness comparison images would not be helpful for you.

The following statements are evidence of your right brain speaking, not the engineer in your left brain:

"There are so many menu screens in a D7000, I am intimidated. I have a hard time remembering not to use f1.8."

"The intent of my original question was to understand how to obtain sharp photographs."

"I selected a photograph of mine that is an EXAMPLE of why it is difficult to understand focus."

"I am totally baffled by the camera menu settings."

">To which camera menu settings are you referring?
That, exactly, is my question, I understand the tripod! LOL"

"I doubt few on this site have read as many pages about the D7000 and related cameras and accessories as I have."

"Twiddling with the menus' on the D7000 scares me to death!!"

"Trust me, I am well read."

"This lens, blah, blah,blah,
that book, blah, blah,blah,
that pic, blah, blah,blah,
his opinion, blah, blah,blah,"

We are here to help, but you need to listen.

Visit my gallery.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Thu 07-Feb-13 06:40 PM
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#60. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 59


US
          

agitater, you live up to your name.
Chris, the intent of this thread was, and still is, not about me.

Everyone wants to fix MY problem. I started this thread with a specific request, and it was not about fixing MY problem.

I have been told I do not listen. ????????????

The thread was started with a request of developing a method for the masses to find out if their camera is making pics that are sharp.

Look through the threads, D7000, D90, D600 whatever,
Is my pic soft?
Is my pic soft?
Is my pic soft?
Is my pic soft?

I am an engineer, I have NO interest in fixing one problem. To me if the camera doesn't work, toss it.

Yea, guys like agitater like to shoot holes through my statements and responses, that is because they have nothing to add other than spam.

If you can not stay on topic, if you do not wish to read the thread,
if it is the Nikonian way to convert an OP to what they want to talk about,

let the thread die.

Back to the original topic, can a standardized test be developed to determine if a camera like the D7000 is producing sharp photographs?

The test would allow many users of DSLR's to compare their results to others..............

  

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Gamecocks Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jul 2010Thu 07-Feb-13 07:16 PM
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#61. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 60


Joanna, US
          

>to find out if their camera is making pics that are sharp.<

All a person has to do to find that out is look at their printed picture. My goodness, why would a test be needed to determine that? After all, isn't a picture worth a thousand words? Yes, there have been threads with questions regarding "softness" but in each and ever one of them critical information was given and with that information a process started whereas other people made valid suggestions. Most of the time answers were provide that cleared up the softness question. Your picture, or example, was not soft and, therefore, there was nothing to be critiqued.

>Back to the original topic, can a standardized test be developed to determine if a camera like the D7000 is producing sharp photographs?< I believe it would be called a printed picture but I don't believe that will satisfy you.

I truly believe all the people, who have taken their time and effort, have tried to understand and assist you but it has not been well received on your part.

>let the thread die.< Finally, your engineering prowess has surfaced.

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. <><

  

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Thu 07-Feb-13 07:17 PM
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#62. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 60
Thu 07-Feb-13 07:19 PM by elec164

US
          

>Back to the original topic, can a standardized test be
>developed to determine if a camera like the D7000 is producing
>sharp photographs?
>
>The test would allow many users of DSLR's to compare their
>results to others..............
>
>
No, one cannot develop a standardized test.

Appearent sharpness is perceptual, and everyone's perception will be different. As such. No standerdized test can be useful.

Unfortunately many (including myself) thought this was another focus calibration issue. If it were, and your being an engineer I believe you can appreciate the nuance between accuracy and precision. AF systems are designed to be precise within a tolerable accuracy.

But I now understand that this is not about focus accuracy, but image quality. As such it's more about accutance than sharpness. For an image to be sharp it needs a good focus, but it also needs high accutance or high edge contrast.

What you see to be asking is for a common target with the same lighting with different Picture Control preferences from various members for comparison. But again what I might like as far as Saturation, Hue, Contrast and Sharpening might not be your cup of tea.

If you haven't tried this already I would recommend doing this. Load ViewNX2 onto your computer, take various test shots then bring them up in the VNX2 editor. In the right pull out window there should be a heading "Picture Control". In that heading will be a button labeled "Launch Utility". Once launched select "manual adjustment". You can then change the Picture Control options as if you were changing the in-camera settings and visually see how it affects the image. Perhaps that will demystify some of the choices that have you paralyzed in fear.

Hope this helps!

Pete

Pete

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Chris Platt Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Sep 2012Thu 07-Feb-13 07:18 PM
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#63. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 60
Thu 07-Feb-13 07:21 PM by Chris Platt

Newburg, US
          

Well, there are standardized tests developed already. We don't need to develop any new ones. They generally test camera and lens combinations.

With respect to the camera sensor itself, DXOMark.com has already done a magnificent job characterizing the capabilities of the sensor and you can compare the D7000 capabilities to Canons or other cameras on their site. I highly recommend the site if you want to know what the design capability of the camera is.

http://www.dxomark.com/

There are tests you can perform yourself; meticulous and exacting; things an engineer should love. Many of the tests to characterize the focus ability of individual camera samples have been discussed in numerous threads posted on this site. Those tests don't need to be repeated in this thread.

For a very exacting test of lens capabilities, you want to test modulation transfer function. Imatest has standard software and procedures for doing that.

Softness issues are almost never related to just an issue with the camera - it is a camera and lens combination that is most often problematic.

The type of test you propose to determine if a camera is capable of producing sharp images simply will not be adequate for a reliable conclusion.

I do think this thread should die at this point.

Visit my gallery.

  

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kippford Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Feb 2012Thu 07-Feb-13 07:50 PM
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#64. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 63


falkirk, GB
          

The first line of your original post was"I would love to know if my D7000 is a soft focus camera. My brother posts much sharper images from his Canon 6D than I could ever produce." I think most people have taken this to mean what it says. Are you saying it was an example of what other people say?

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Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Thu 07-Feb-13 08:00 PM
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#65. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 64


US
          

>The first line of your original post was"I would love to
>know if my D7000 is a soft focus camera. My brother posts much
>sharper images from his Canon 6D than I could ever
>produce." I think most people have taken this to mean
>what it says. Are you saying it was an example of what other
>people say?
>

Again with the critiquing of my writing, next you will want to come to my house and critique my penmanship. You are just typing more spam.

Add to the conversational topic, do not critique SweetMK.

I understand this is a big thread, after reading it, you want to add something.

Try to move the thread in a positive direction.

Hindsight is 20/20. It is easy to bash. Try to come up with a novel positive response.

When a guy asks for help getting his soft box close to the subject, I do not tell him he is wrong for using a soft box.

I may recommend a larger soft box because it gives the same results as getting close with a small one.

On subject.

  

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kippford Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Feb 2012Thu 07-Feb-13 08:04 PM
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#66. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 65
Thu 07-Feb-13 08:06 PM by kippford

falkirk, GB
          

what a rude man. I asked an honest and straightforward question. If you cant be bothered to answer why should any one bother to answer you.

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Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Thu 07-Feb-13 08:05 PM
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#67. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 66


US
          

>what a rude man.

Again with off topic, spam.

  

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EAPhoto Registered since 16th Jan 2013Thu 07-Feb-13 08:29 PM
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#68. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 65


Asheboro, US
          

This has a been quite entertaining to read.

The flickr image was sharp.

The standard test should be, go out and shoot and observe your results.

As for reading the manual cover to cover.........well I just finished and my Cokin UV filter is no longer cracked. I can eliminate those nikon service bills from here on out just by reading the manual again. My shooting technique has been raised bar none beyond all photographers on the planet just by reading the manual cover to cover.

Most important thing I learned from reading the manual cover to cover was under

Warnings

"When operating the viewfinder diopter adjustment control with your eye to the viewfinder, care should be taken not to put your finger in your eye accidently"

Seriously, the image was sharp. The more you shoot the more you will see.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Thu 07-Feb-13 08:37 PM
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#69. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 68


US
          

"Seriously, the image was sharp. The more you shoot the more you will see."

And I am finding that out, an extreme plus for digital over my attempt to learn with a F3HP.

By the time the pics came back, I forgot everything I was trying to do.

The D7000 allows me to adjust, take, observe, and learn, within moments.

I just hope my "adjust" is in the right realm.

Some day I will have the adjust down, then I can KR "FART"!!

  

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Thu 07-Feb-13 08:52 PM
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#70. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 65


Paignton, GB
          

This discussion is becoming rather personal. Let's make sure we keep withing the spirit of Nikonians, and stick to the letter of our Terms of Use.

Thanks!

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

  

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Gamecocks Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jul 2010Thu 07-Feb-13 09:19 PM
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#71. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 70


Joanna, US
          

I believe I'm going to put SweetMK on the ignore button and move forward.

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. <><

  

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SweetMK Registered since 22nd Jan 2013Thu 07-Feb-13 09:20 PM
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#72. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 71


US
          

>I believe I'm going to put SweetMK on the ignore button and
>move forward.

More spam!!

  

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kippford Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Feb 2012Thu 07-Feb-13 09:28 PM
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#73. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 72


falkirk, GB
          

There is an ignore button?

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Nikonian since 05th May 2002Thu 07-Feb-13 09:48 PM
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#75. "RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"
In response to Reply # 0


Colorado Springs, US
          

It's safe to say that we're done with this topic.

Rick Walker

My photos:
GeoVista Photography

  

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