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Is it me? Or the camera...

PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2807 posts

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PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Mon 09-Apr-12 09:57 PM

If you spend very long doing photography, you eventually get to a point where your technical understand of it becomes quite good. You don't get "surprised" by much. Even your bad shots are passable. Well, this past weekend I had the OTHER kind of experience. Where all your experience doesn't help you a BIT as you stare at your images and wonder what in the HECK went wrong...

The weekend started off on a high note. I shot a softball game and a baseball game. The softball game was a little iffy at times because I had not yet used the D800 for that kind of sport. But things got better quickly. The baseball shoot was a dream. Tack sharp images, great action shots, etc. Pulling my images into LR that night, I was as pleased as could be.

Saturday morning came, and off to the fields I went. I shot the same settings, same lenses, same positions, and even the teams were the same. But suddenly my images were different. All of them looked soft. Mushy if you will. I checked my settings, cleaned the lenses, and still no joy. I pulled my D3s off my hip, swapped lenses, and the results were the same. I fired off a few shots on the D3s and they were as good as I remember them being. I thought to myself the camera must be malfunctioning.

After 20 minutes or so, I changed from the first base side to the third base side. Shot a few images, and things seemed better. I was getting some solid images again. It went back and forth like this all day. Getting the images in LR, my heart sunk. Some were great. But I hadn't scrapped that many images in a LONG time.

Sunday came, and I had a portrait shoot. I took the D800 again, but brought my D7000 just in case. Things seemed to go ok on the D800. Images were a little hot, but nothing I couldn't handle in LR. Or so I thought. Getting home, my heart sunk again. I had some decent shots, but many that would have to be tossed.

So this afternoon, I've been doing some testing. Trying to figure out where the wheels fell off the wagon. Was I just messing up, or was it my new camera. Well I found a few answers.

First, the camera seems to shoot "hot" in matrix mode. I have now dialed in a full stop of E.C. to keep that to a minimum.

Second, I had VR/Active mode set on my 70-200. Wrong. On the monopod, this was KILLING me. It moves fast enough to introduce slight blurring even at high shutter speeds. VR is now off on that lens.

Third, I had turned off Active-D lighting at the suggestion of a fellow Nikonian. That is now back on, as it is on every one of my other Nikons.

Fourth, High ISO NR is back on. Probably had no bearing on anything this weekend, but I wanted my settings standard across all cameras.

Fifth. I had dynamic 51pt AF on. Changing this to single point improved matters in my testing. So I think I'll stick with single, 9, or 21 point from now on. I think 51pt is adjusting all the time and the camera never really locks.

And lastly, in my portrait shoot, my shutter speed was too slow. That was an EMBARRASSING mistake. It was somewhat masked by the active VR so the images didn't look really blurry in the LCD, but they just weren't sharp when viewed full size.

So, how much was the camera, and how much was me? I don't know how to make the distinction, because I set every one of those settings myself. And they walked me off a cliff at times. Hopefully, my next outing won't be SO painful.

Thanks for reading my story, and I hope it saves someone else some grief and trouble.

------
Webpage: http://www.ptfphoto.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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