New Member, not happy with new D3100
Hello all. I am a long time point and shoot camera user. I have owned 3 digital point n shoot cameras (one kodak and two sony) over the last ten years, and have taken at least 10K pictures. I know the BASICS of photography, and know how to get the most of my point and shoot.
I have been saving my pennys and waited until the D3100 was released. I build ukuleles and need to take semi-professional pictures of them for my web site.
I've had the camera about a month, and have taken about 200 pictures with it so far with limited success. MOST pictures are not very sharp(a bit blurry). It's as if the camera is not focusing correctly? I have uploaded a few pictures to my gallery so you can see what I'm talking about. I have the camera set to auto focus in these pictures. In the people pictures I have it set to aperture priority, metering mode, center weighted, and in the ukulele picturess, I have it set to fully automatic, metering mode, center weighted.
I also uploaded a picture (Maple and redwood ukulele) taken with my Sony DSC W350 pns camera, and you can see how sharp the focus is.
Is is possible I'm doing something incorrectly? I don't really see what I could be doing wrong. Is it possible there is something wrong with this camera from the factory?
Please note, there are TWO pictures here (Larissa, and Larissa and Leah) that look fantastic. And these were taken with OUT a tripod. I am not sure why those two are nice and sharp, but the majority of pictures I've taken are a little blurry.
Thanks for any advice you can give me. I'm not trying to be a "professional" photographer. I was under the impression I could get a better picture with this D3100 than with my PNS, but these pictures are not sharp.
#1. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 0Thu 04-Nov-10 12:49 PM | edited Thu 04-Nov-10 12:52 PM by jpFoto
Briefly, the images do not look bad.
1. I assume that you're using a tripod for the ukeles, since you said that you didn't use one for the girls.
2. You have shot almost all of them at the maximum aperture, thereby limiting the depth of field. You have them turned slightly making it difficult to get the instrument in focus at the open f stop. Since you are using a tripod, stop it down to about f8 or even f11. The closer that you are to the subject, the shallower the depth of field. You can also raise your ISO if need be, although the native ISO is 100, and the closer you are to that the better.
3. Change your AF mode from A to S (single). It's not a big deal, but it takes one more thing out of the equation.
4. In your Sony shot, you used flash, so if you were not using a tripod with the D3100, then that explains a few things since the flash froze any movement.
5. Finally, if you are using a tripod, turn off VR.
That should do it. Let us know if it works for you.
#2. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 0gkaiseril Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Thu 04-Nov-10 01:01 PM | edited Thu 04-Nov-10 01:32 PM by gkaiseril
Without any examples with the EXIF data,it is hard to tell what is going on.
Are you following the rule of a shutter shutter speed of "1 / lend focal length" but using "1 / ( 1.5 * lens focal length)"?
If you have your lens's focal length at 75mm you need to have a shutter speed of at least 1/125th sec, 1 / (75 + 37.5) or 1 / 112.5 rounded up to 1/125.
Are you securely, steadily, using good breath control holding of the camera?
See page 25 of your camera's manual. Also look at DEVELOPING A PROPER HANDHOLDING TECHNIQUE by J. Ramón Palacios.
Note this camera with a lens can not easily be hand held at arms length.
Are you releasing the shutter by rolling your index finger over the shutter release or gently squeezing the shutter release and not pushing the shutter release down?
Much like firing a rifle, a gentle squeeze will not jerk the rifle, but a strong pull of the trigger jerk the rifle up from the aiming point.
Have you tried using a tripod and the self timer?
As JRP mentioned, there could be a Depth of Field (DOF) issue see DOF Master for more information and calculators about this phenomenon. You P&S with a smaller sensor size and normally smaller f/stop usually has a larger DOF area than a DX or FX dSLR.
edited to add:
Sorry, I did not follow the user profile to the gallery.
For LeahAndDallas there is a DOF of only 0.31 m (0.81 - 1.12).
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#4. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 0
I am looking at 3 of your shots. (1) yellow ukulele, (2) Leah/Dallas and (3) Leah/Larissa.
Shot 1: You need a good steady tripod and time the shot or use a remote. There are parts of the Ukulele (the corner closest to the camera) that are in focus. SO may I recommend that you work with other apertures as well, since you are using aperture priority. You must know the depth of field to have your entire ukulele in focus. Always take a reference shot is program mode so you can look into the camera's mind (the EXIF data). ALso what sort of flash are you using? Move the flash(es) around so that you do not get that harsh reflection from the strings.
Shot 2: This is a bad shot. I think you stood in front of the subjects and took the shot in aperture priority with the camera in your hands. The aperture is at f/4.8. Nice sunny day and I would on my F with an ISO 400 film use f11 and between 1/250 to 1/500 depending on the subject illumination. This is a very simple shot and camera's program will handle it with ease. Did you need aperture priority to cut the back ground? Again a tripod (every person has his/her own self shake factor, I am bad myself and I know when I will need a tripod). I am pretty sure it is a matter of tripod here. If you hand hold and take pictures, you must learn to take your time. Click and wait a second before you move.
Shot 3: This shot is quite good. You used the camera's program mode and I see no issues with this shot at all.
Cameras by themselves often do a good job and I think you should start with that and slowly experiment with other modes, including aperture priority, spot metering, bracketing, handheld versus tripod etc. If you are doing this for customers, I would also recommend some prime lenses like a 50/1.8. I am more comfortable with shot 1 using a prime lens. Also look around the web and see what is the most optimal zoom and aperture for a particular lens and try to use that as often as possible. Hope this helps.
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#6. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 5arunrajmohan Registered since 13th Jan 2010Thu 04-Nov-10 06:29 PM
Thanks, I really did not know that. Yet for still life, I would prefer a manual focus lens so I can get the focus right where I want and take time to assess the DoF, and I must also say users of manual focus lens seldom shake the camera as they are more into composition rather than the composed. But that depends on the individual.Thanks again, Arun
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#8. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 6GuyTimes Registered since 04th Nov 2010Thu 04-Nov-10 06:57 PM
Thanks for all the advice, gang. The ukulele pictures were all taken on a tripod, but I was not squeezing the trigger slowly as you say. I push it all the way down, as I do my p.n.s. Maybe it took the picture before it was focused.
"Leah and dallas" however, that picture was taken on a tripod. I was trying to blur out the background but maybe had the aperture too far open. And maybe I am too close to the ukulele.
I will back up a bit, I will try to raise my ISO, and close down the aperture to get a better depth of field.
Thanks for all your advice and I will post some new pics once I get them.
#9. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 8Thu 04-Nov-10 08:02 PM
Wait! I don't think that that was exactly what we said.
First, since you are, in fact, using a tripod, you don't necessarily need to raise the ISO. I just said to do that, if necessary, meaning that if you were taking the shots handheld.
Second, you do, in fact, need to stop down to F8 or smaller.
Third, as you correctly have observed from someone else's post, you have to squeeze the shutter button half way to let the camera focus and the rest of the way to release the shutter.
Finally, and as someone else had suggested, if you are shooting at slow shutter speeds on your tripod, you may want to get a cable release or a wireless version of it, so that you don't have to touch the camera when you release the shutter to avoid shaking the camera. In the alternative, you could use the self timer setting so that you squeeze the shutter, and the camera takes the picture a few seconds later.
The D3100 takes incredibly good pictures, so don't give up.
#14. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 8Bruce16 Registered since 31st Dec 2005Sat 27-Nov-10 11:17 AM
If you're using a tripod, don't use the shutter release. Either use the delayed shutter or a remote. There are a lot of cheap remotes out there and they'll improve your keepers when you're using a tripod.
#7. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 0
Welcome to Nikonians!
>Hello all. I am a long time point and shoot camera user. I
>have owned 3 digital point n shoot cameras (one kodak and two
>sony) over the last ten years, and have taken at least 10K
>pictures. I know the BASICS of photography, and know how to
>get the most of my point and shoot.
Remember that P & S cameras and DSLR's have little in common.
For one thing, P & S's have much more DOF (Depth of Field) for any given aperture than DSLR's.
>I have been saving my pennys and waited until the D3100 was
>released. I build ukuleles and need to take semi-professional
>pictures of them for my web site.
>I've had the camera about a month, and have taken about 200
>pictures with it so far with limited success. MOST pictures
>are not very sharp(a bit blurry). It's as if the camera is
>not focusing correctly? I have uploaded a few pictures to my
>gallery so you can see what I'm talking about. I have the
>camera set to auto focus in these pictures. In the people
>pictures I have it set to aperture priority, metering mode,
>center weighted, and in the ukulele picturess, I have it set
>to fully automatic, metering mode, center weighted.
>I also uploaded a picture (Maple and redwood ukulele) taken
>with my Sony DSC W350 pns camera, and you can see how sharp
>the focus is.
>Is is possible I'm doing something incorrectly?
The Yellow Ukulel image (A) was captured at: 26mm, 1/40th sec., f/5, @ ISO 400.
The top od the instrument looks over exposed. This is a result of using Auto exposure mode and Center Weighted metering combined with the dark background. By comparison the Ebony Ukulele image (B)captured at: 18mm, 1/125th sec., f/4, @ ISO 160 is exposed much better and is sharper to boot. Comparing the shooting data the thing that stands out is the 1/40th sec. exposure for image A. The slow shutter speed is the likely cause of the lack of sharpness. More so when considering image B was captured at f/4 though the wider FOV (Field of View) could account for some of the additional DOF.
Were you using a tripod? If yes, is it a stable good quality tripod and head?
>really see what I could be doing wrong. Is it possible there
>is something wrong with this camera from the factory?
It does not appear to be a camera problem as the images you refer to beleow are sharp.
>Please note, there are TWO pictures here (Larissa, and Larissa
>and Leah) that look fantastic. And these were taken with OUT
>a tripod. I am not sure why those two are nice and sharp, but
>the majority of pictures I've taken are a little blurry.
Checking the Exif data of Larissa image (C) 85mm, 1/800th sec., f/4.5, @ ISO 400 and Leah & Larissa image (D) 125mm, 1/250th sec., f/4.8, @ ISO 100 confirms that a slow shutter speed seems to be at the root of your problem.
>Thanks for any advice you can give me. I'm not trying to be a
>"professional" photographer. I was under the
>impression I could get a better picture with this D3100 than
>with my PNS, but these pictures are not sharp.
Getting used to a DSLR takes practice.
It looks like you are using "hot lights" to capture the images of the Ukulele's. I would shoot in Manual exposure mode to get consistant exposures. Since image B was captured at 125th sec., f/4 @ ISO 160 that should be the place to start. Increasing the aperture to f/5.6 will provide a little more DOF so increase the ISO to ISO 340 or so to maintain the shutter speed. You could also add more light (double) and shoot at f/8 or so which will provide even more DOF.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#10. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 0
Since this topic is unhappy about D3100 please welcome my comments.
I am a newbie to this forum but not digital photography. D3100 is my fourth digital camera. I had a coolpix 995 mainly used to digiscoping. Afterwards I bought a Canon G3. Still have it. Great camera with thousands of shots in my library.
My D3100 arrived two days ago and shot a few photos. Then uploaded to my computer. I was very disappointed when I highlighted each shot in Windows MY Pictures or Paint Shop Pro the photo's data was primitive. Only dimensions, type and size.
No date, no time nor camera model in this data. I think this is called exif tag. My other cameras and even cell phone photographs have this information which I find essential when storing pictures for years.
Have I missed something in setup? I know I can imprint date and time on the photo but I do not want to do that. I want to see this data on my computer with the software of my choosing.
Any comments will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
BTW the 7 indoor shots already taken were no better than my G3 in sharpness but the D3100 color rendition and lighting is better.
#11. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 10jmschwartz Registered since 08th Apr 2010Thu 25-Nov-10 09:35 AM | edited Thu 25-Nov-10 09:41 AM by jmschwartz
Are you uploading RAW or JPEG? The D3100 RAW support is just now being updated. Mac already did it. Don't know about Windows. Load the Windows version of ViewNX2, or download the Windows NEF RAW Codex files from support.nikonusa.com:
* Supports NEF (RAW) images taken with the D3100.
* Supports NEF (RAW) images taken with the D7000.
* New color processing is supported.
* Distortion control data updated.
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#12. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 10Thu 25-Nov-10 12:31 PM
Congratulations on the purchase of your new camera. It's really a state of the art camera, and IMHO, a bargain.
This post really was not an "unhappy" post, it was just about a fellow phtographer that needed a little help with his technique.
As for the EXIF data, you should have received a CD with your camera so that you could load View NX2 onto your computer. If not, you can download it for free on the Nikon website. If you open your photos in View NX2, you will see all of the EXIF data that you could ever possibly imagine, and then some. You can also check your Focus Point and do a few other nifty things with your images.
#13. "RE: New Member, not happy with new D3100" | In response to Reply # 12Raptors Rule Registered since 24th Nov 2010Thu 25-Nov-10 06:13 PM
Thanks for your prompt responses.
A View NX2 cd was in the box. However, I downloaded v.2.0.3 from Nikon's website. I found where to look for the EXIF data in the program. Happy Holidays.