Even though we ARE Nikon lovers,we are NOT affiliated with Nikon Corp. in any way.

English German French

Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Recent Photos Contest Help Search News Workshops Shop Upgrade Membership Recommended
members
All members Wiki Contests Vouchers Apps Newsletter THE NIKONIAN™ Magazines Podcasts Fundraising
jfitzg14

US
141 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author
jfitzg14 Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2012
Mon 07-Jan-13 12:02 AM

I am trying to master my D800. Unfortunately, things are not going so good. I am having a hard time getting my shutter speed to handhold my camera.. I shoot a lot of wildlife, mostly birds. I am using a 300mm f2.8 VRII with a teleconverter in some cases. I am getting very soft pictures.. I know this is partially from bad technique and slow shutter speed.. I am wondering if the above will be less affected if a shoot in the DX mode or at least the less pixel FX? Any advice? Thanks.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

JonK

New York, US
6327 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#1. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 0

JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004
Sun 06-Jan-13 11:46 PM

That won't make a difference. Try raising our ISO wo that you can achieve the necessary shutter speed.

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

Leonard62

Pa, US
4419 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#2. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 0

Leonard62 Gold Member Awarded for excellent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community, especially of Nikkor Lenses Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Resources articles library Nikonian since 15th Mar 2009
Sun 06-Jan-13 11:50 PM

Shooting in DX mode won't help one bit. All you're doing is cropping the photo. Your best bet for now is to not use the converter and increase your ISO to bring up the shutter speed. Posting one of the soft photos with the EXIF data intact would help us see where the problem is.

Len

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

RECONLEY

Marietta, US
572 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#3. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 0

RECONLEY Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jun 2012
Sun 06-Jan-13 11:56 PM

I have that combo and I suggest you get your shutter speed up as switching to/from Dx or FX mode is not the answer.

Go into the SHOOTING menu and select ISO sensitivity settings, turn On the Auto sensitivity control and then scroll down to minimum shutter speed and select AUTO. Right click on AUTO and a adjustment line will appear with slower to the left and faster to the right. Move the pointer to the right one notch. Try this some and see if your shutter speed is not high enough to suit you.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

jfitzg14

US
141 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#4. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 3

jfitzg14 Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2012
Mon 07-Jan-13 10:49 AM

Here is an example of some of the softness.

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Leonard62

Pa, US
4419 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#5. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 4

Leonard62 Gold Member Awarded for excellent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community, especially of Nikkor Lenses Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Resources articles library Nikonian since 15th Mar 2009
Mon 07-Jan-13 11:27 AM

Perfect example, Joe.

The first thing I see is the bird isn't in focus, the tree branches look a little sharper.

The levels are off and favoring the right by quite a bit. Bring up the blacks and the whole photo will look shaper with better contrast.

You shot at 1/1000 sec which should be fast enough for a 420 mm telephoto. But even the branches aren't as sharp as they could be. How much of a crop is this?

This is what your levels look like.

Click on image to view larger version


This is with the levels optimized.
Click on image to view larger version


It does appear that the camera focused on the branches and not the bird. But I think it still can be sharper. The other thing to look at is VR. Did you wait for VR to settle down before pressing the shutter?

Len





Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Henry64

DK
142 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#6. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 5

Henry64 Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Jan 2008
Mon 07-Jan-13 11:48 AM | edited Mon 07-Jan-13 12:14 PM by Henry64

Switch off VR, at 1/1000s it's just causing problems anyway.

How much DOF do you have in this case? When you add a TC, you reduce the effective DOF on an already narrow DOF (FX). At F7.1 and a 2x TC the effective DOF will be half of DOF without TC? Right?


EDIT
Okay, I'll back out of that statement, it seems after some googling that a lens with a TC will have the DOF of the lens it becomes e.g. a 300mm F2.8 + TC2x become a 600mm F5.6 with a DOF like a 600mm F5.6. I don't know why I got it upside down - so forget about that :/

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

RECONLEY

Marietta, US
572 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#7. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 4

RECONLEY Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jun 2012
Mon 07-Jan-13 11:51 AM

For small birds in trees, I use AFC Single rather than AFC 9, 21, 51 etc. Just also need to be looking for the camera to focus on the bird and not a branch. Sometimes, this is not so easy to do.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

nwcs

Knoxville, US
7030 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#8. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 7

nwcs Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Landscape and Wildlife Photography Registered since 15th Jan 2006
Mon 07-Jan-13 03:16 PM

Yes, AFC Single is a much better focus choice for small birds that aren't filling the frame and that are not moving. I did some experiments and my pictures got much better.

Also the camera clearly focused on the branches at the bottom. Focus systems have a hard time with meshes and patterns. And it will usually focus on the closest thing with highest contrast. So the branches fit that bill. You have to be a bit more careful in AF on a bird in a tree. And doing a focus override will really help. That and a good stable platform. If you're handholding and swaying even a little that can throw off good focus.

jfitzg14

US
141 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#9. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 5

jfitzg14 Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2012
Mon 07-Jan-13 03:56 PM

It is a pretty substantial crop. Should I have shot this at F12 or more? VR was not making any noise.I assume it was settled down. My technique for hanheld is not the best. I am a little shaky at times. Should I have had exposure compensation more to the negative? Thanks for looking at the picture.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

jamesvoortman

Durban, ZA
1468 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#10. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 4

jamesvoortman Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Sep 2004
Mon 07-Jan-13 04:52 PM | edited Mon 07-Jan-13 04:53 PM by jamesvoortman

I don't think the D800 is at fault here. It looks like the camera has focused on the branches in front of your subject. Difficult shot with the branches and light background.

Using a converter on your 300 f2.8 may well hobble it a bit. There will be some loss of quality with any converter, some more than others.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit

RWCooper

Winnipeg, CA
1019 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#11. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 9

RWCooper Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jul 2004
Mon 07-Jan-13 05:02 PM

At f/12 you would lose sharpness due to diffraction. I would suggest f/8 as your limit with a D800. If can't or don't want to use a tripod perhaps you should try using a monopod.

Enjoy!

Randy

km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3559 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#12. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 11

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Mon 07-Jan-13 06:14 PM

It is true that diffraction sets in early on such a high res system but it is not his problem here or any time. Diffraction will limit potential acuity but it will still be able to resolve more detail than anything else out there so he is not losing anything in the desirable balancing act of enough DOF to get the subject fully in-focus by stopping down and retaining the most potential resolving power.

This case here is the problem with cameras that act like computers, they do only what you instruct them to do, not what you think is should.
The AF system did what it does, focuses on the best target that falls under the focusing point(which is actually quite a bit larger than the red box indicates in the VF). The AF locked onto the best target from the point of view of an AF system: foreground, distinct edges, linear lines in either vertical or horizontal planes(assuming the cross sensors in the center) and contrast. In some modes color is a major criteria. So looking at the scene from the cameras's point of view it was expecting a pat on the head and praise for picking and locking on the obvious target, the foreground branches.
The bird was a poor subject because it was the opposite of the traits that AF are looking for. For a sure shot, let the camera AF do its thing by getting close and then switch to MF( of let go of the AF-On button) and fine tune focus manually for the bird. Either that or stop down the aperture so the bird would be well within the DOF centered on the plane of the branches, so getting 8 inches of acceptable focus, forward and backward 4 inches each side of the branches.
If on a tripod, this is a good case for using LV.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Chris Platt

Newburg, US
481 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#13. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 4

Chris Platt Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Sep 2012
Sun 13-Jan-13 10:52 AM

How far were you from the bird? Can you post an uncropped version of this shot?

Visit my gallery.

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10538 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#14. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 0

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Sun 13-Jan-13 12:25 PM

Joe

The 300 f/2.8 without a teleconverter should be tack sharp on the D800. There are reasonable limits as to how much you should crop, but the lens should be sharp.

With the teleconverter, you are trading off slightly on sharpness plus you are losing light. I'll assume shutter speed needs to be 1/1000 sec or faster for birds regardless of other settings. I willingly use the TC14E II and find the drop in quality minimal. I avoid using the TC17E II and TC20E III unless truly necessary as the softness and impact on aperture make a difference. When you use those teleconverters, you need to have excellent light and crop less than with a bare lens.

You need to be careful about expecting too much from severe crops on distant targets. I would avoid cropping teleconverter images beyond 50% unless you are comfortable with the drop in image quality.

If the subject is distant, the image is likely to be a little soft. Teleconverters just make it larger but still soft. It varies by lens, but I find beyond 100 yards most lenses are softer.


Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5702 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#15. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 0

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Sun 13-Jan-13 01:47 PM


I know a lot of people think one should not do an AF fine tune, but I'd like to suggest you consider it. At least analyze a bunch of your shots, and see if the focus always seems in front or behind (for a give focus point).

I just got a 200/F2, also an extremely sharp lens and one well known for working with a TC. Out of the box it was softer than my 70-200, except it wasn't -- it was just focusing in the wrong place.

I did a very careful fine tune. On the D800 I needed a +10, on the D4 I needed a -7. Now it is sharp enough to hurt you.

It's always a can of worms, some will tell you if you need to fine tune "send it back to Nikon". But the D800, with people viewing them 1:1, you are into low-tolerance photography. Anything that's not off shows up magnified.

Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

Bump57

US
6898 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#16. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 12

Bump57 Silver Member Awarded for his high skill level in Landscape and Nature Photography and willingness to share his learning experiences to help others. Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Laureate Ribbon awarded as a winner in a Nikonians Best of Images Annual Photo Contest Nikonian since 01st Apr 2007
Sun 13-Jan-13 02:53 PM

Joe, after reviewing the image Stan's above post I feel is spot on.

.
.

Click on image to view larger version


Scott Martin Sternberg

Scotts Fine Art

The Colonel

UK
5 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#17. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 15

The Colonel Registered since 20th Oct 2012
Sun 13-Jan-13 03:02 PM

Agree, looks like the bird is out of focus.

davidgoerndt

Orlando, US
52 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#18. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 17

davidgoerndt Registered since 04th Dec 2012
Sun 13-Jan-13 07:58 PM

Here is an article by Thom Hogan on VR http://www.bythom.com/nikon-vr.htm
See what he has to say about not using VR at shutter speeds above 1/500 sec.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10538 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#19. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 15

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Sun 13-Jan-13 08:04 PM | edited Sun 13-Jan-13 08:12 PM by ericbowles

The 300 f/2.8 is a very sharp lens. AF Fine tuning may not be required on the bare lens, but still could be needed on one or more teleconverter - or vice versa. It is worth testing under controlled conditions. Every lens and lens/teleconverter combination is independent.

This image appears to be a distant subject highly cropped with branches in front of the subject. My experience is that it's tough to even see small branches to grass that may cause focus in front of the subject. In any event, I would not draw any conclusions about AF tuning from this image and would look at a larger sample of clean subjects. If you have a pattern of consistent front or back focus, fine tuning could be useful.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5702 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#20. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 15

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Sun 13-Jan-13 10:02 PM


By the way, I was not reacting to the single picture but by the OP's indication he has ongoing frustration. I agree that the branches could have been the object of focus, but I assume the OP had more of a consistent issue than one shot.

Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

jfitzg14

US
141 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#21. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 20

jfitzg14 Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2012
Sun 13-Jan-13 11:21 PM

Thanks for all of the help and information. Fine tuning is probably not viable for me at this time. I feel that it is just way above my capabilities. I know that my interest in birds is making the learning process a little more complicated. I appreciate the patience everybody has shown. i am going to keep reading and practicing. I am trying to stay away from the teleconverters. It is just hard to get close to some of these birds. I am putting up another picture I took yesterday. It is similar to the first, but different. Any opinions are valued. Thanks. No crop or adjustments. Handheld with great sunlight.

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

jfitzg14

US
141 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#22. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 20

jfitzg14 Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2012
Sun 13-Jan-13 11:32 PM

This is another shot. To me, the camera looks to have focused on the bird. I was much closer to the subject. Is distance the mitigating factor?

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

danshep

Olympia, US
1629 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#36. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 12

danshep Gold Member Charter Member
Mon 14-Jan-13 01:45 AM


So Stan, if cameras sometimes act like computers, I wonder when my D700 is going to shut down while I'm taking a photo of a rare bird, only to tell me that there is a Windows update ready to deploy.

8o}



"Today is the tomorrow that yesterday you spent money like there was no"

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

briantilley

Paignton, UK
30235 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#37. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 22

briantilley Gold Member Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Mon 14-Jan-13 07:38 AM

With subjects like the one in that image, I would always resort to focusing manually. There are just too many branches in front of and behind the intended target for any AF system to focus reliably on the bird itself.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10538 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#38. "RE: DX vs. FX" | In response to Reply # 22

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Mon 14-Jan-13 09:21 AM

I agree with Brian - the camera has no way of knowing whether your subject is the bird or one of the sticks. AF may be close, but you have to either accept a low percentage of sharp images or manual override/manual focus to capture a subject in a cluttered environment.

This kind of image is tough. It requires lots of practice, patience, and a high skill level. Even then, the percentage of keepers is relatively low.


Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

G