D850 photo hazy and blurry

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by jiwooseok, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. Hello, I just started doing some photography.
    I got D850 and Nikkor 200-500mm 5.6.
    I took some practice shots. And as I zoom in, the detail of the photo is lacking severely. It looks hazy and blurry.

    Can anyone give me any advice to get clearer and sharper images please?

    The photo was taken @500mm f/5.6, 1/2000th, ISO-2000
    Also I used a tripod too. So I do not believe that I had a shaky shot.

    View attachment DSC_0136.JPG

    View attachment DSC_0136.JPG
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  2. SCL


    I didn't notice blur due to camera shake, but notice that you shot wide open, which is often not the sharpest aperture to shoot at....usually stopped down about 2 stops produces the sharpest photos...film and digital. ISO 2000, rather than base ISO will also degrade the image somewhat introducing digital noise. Did you use a lens shade...there seems to be some flare in the shot. In your settings, did you introduce any sharpening. Most digital images need at least a touch, either in camera or in post processing.
    jiwooseok likes this.
  3. AJG


    What tripod and head--that is a pretty heavy camera/lens combination. Also, a 500 mm lens at f/5.6 won't have much depth of field.which seems to be part of your issue.
  4. SCL


    A little dab will do ya test.jpg
    luis triguez and jiwooseok like this.
  5. I own the lens but not the camera. Several things come to mind. Firstly, you had the combo on a tripod and VR on - that's a no-no. Secondly, AF fine tune is turned off - it has been my experience with recent bodies (I used D810 and D500) that ANY lens with a focal length above 300mm needed AF fine tune adjustment to bring things into proper focus at a given distance. Your flower is about 24m from the camera - even a needed small deviation from the correct AF parameter will result in soft images. I am not sure what you actually focused on as the flower is not in the center of the image. To do this testing/adjustment you need a better target than a small flower in a tree - something that certainly won't move and has provides better contrast to the AF module. And you need to have it in the center of the image. The first thing you should do is put the combo back on the tripod, turn off VR and focus via live view - that takes possible AF fine tune issues out of the equation and shows you what the lens is truly capable off. If you can't get a decent image focusing that way (either via AF or manually) - then pack up the lens and send it back. Pay also attention to the atmospheric conditions - haze or shooting over a heated surface (which creates turbulence) can negatively affect image resolution. The two images you provided to me look like AF fine tune is needed though. You are also at the far end for AF fine tune distance - which should be at least about 25x the focal length; that's about 12.5m or at most 50x the focal length or 25m. I prefer to do both, starting close and then moving farther away.

    The D850 provides the means to do an Auto AF fine tune - that's something worth trying (and repeating a few times). A method that I prefer is called the "(green) dot method" - google it. It's a bit tedious but has worked for me (although it requires patience and a few repeats).

    That old rule of thumb doesn't hold for many new lenses (especially not tele ones) and certainly not when attached to high-MP camera bodies. For the 200-500, stopping down one stop improves things a little - you have to pixel-peep at high magnification to see the differences. For the 500 PF, the difference is even smaller. Both these lenses should produce entirely useful results wide open; I only stop the 500PF down if I need more DOF or have the luxury of more than enough light. My preferred aperture on the 200-500 is f/7.1. Two stops down from wide open gets you already into the region where diffraction starts to rob you of resolution.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
    jiwooseok and William Michael like this.
  6. This isn’t bad. You’re 90% there. I’d try a slight stop down, do AF fine tune and sharpen your raw files in post. With a new camera it always helps to take a variety of shots and experiment with sharpening settings to get a feel for how it will behave.
    jiwooseok likes this.
  7. Shot through a window by any chance?

    What's the black vertical obstruction to the left of the frame?

    There's also air turbulence to take into account. This can easily take the edge off sharpness when you have 50ft of air between camera and subject. This happens quite readily if there's a temperature interface - like shooting from a warm interior to the cold outside through an open doorway.
    jiwooseok likes this.
  8. Looks like there was a layer of glass in front of the lens, perhaps with some condensation or grease on it. Maybe a window or a UV filter? Or perhaps the front element of the lens was not clean?

    Since you said you just started doing photography, we should also clarify that you are not surprised by the blurriness of the out of focus areas in front of and behind the tree. Those are meant to be blurry.
    jiwooseok likes this.
  9. It would help if we got some feedback from the OP giving more detail of exactly how the images were taken.

    Otherwise this just goes into the 'X files' unsolved cases annals.
    jiwooseok and Dieter Schaefer like this.
  10. Did you shoot raw or JPEG? what's the dark on the borders? Were you shooting through a window? That certainly could degrade the image. Where did you focus? How did you focus (single point?). The camera may not have focused where you wanted. Did you have VC on? I don't know Nikons, but that's a no-no with many lenses. How far away was the plant? That affects depth of field. As SCL said, ISO 2000 is going to cost you in terms of image quality.

    It's good that you are asking about what you can do. That's very high-end equipment for someone starting out, and many newbies falsely assume that good equipment produces good images. It's good that you aren't falling into that trap. Ansel Adams supposedly said that the most important photographic equipment is the 12 inches behind the viewfinder.
    jiwooseok likes this.
  11. Looks as if the OP is willing to start threads, but not engage with anyone that answers!

    I think we might be wasting our time.
    Dieter Schaefer likes this.
  12. Indeed, though some of answers can easily be obtained by looking at the EXIF.
    JPEG Fine*
    Lower right portion of the red flower; AF area covers portion of the red and the buds below it, more than half the AF area is on the background.
    AF-S, single area.
    Already answered in my post above - yes.
    Also answered in my post above - about 24m or 80ft according to the EXIF - which as we know isn't all that accurate in reporting distances.

    That's an important question to answer - it's moot to discuss air-turbulence or AF fine tune if the OP took the image while shooting through a window. Or whether having VR on while mounted on a tripod has an effect. Or whether the tripod itself induced vibrations resulting in a blurry image (in that context it would be important to know how the shutter was released - hopefully without touching the camera (unless a long shutter delay was selected)).
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  13. I'm not trying to waste anyone's time. I'm reading and running. I have a full time job that keeps me occupied. Sorry I couldn't be more responsive.
  14. I bought a tripod from amazon GEEKOTO AT24EVO and Fluid Head, Pangshi VT-1510

    I didn't use the lens shade because I was shooting from inside the house through the window.. And also I don't think i introduce any sharpening and I know how to introduce in the settings.
    I did shoot through window.
    That is a blind.
    it was JPEG.
    It's a blind.
    It was through a window.
    I focused on the flower. single point.
    I did have a VR on. I don't know what VC is..
    I think i was about 100 ft away?

    Thank you all.
  15. If you're shooting through a window, expect some degradation. After all, that isn't optical-quality glass. Moreover, the farther from the sensor, the more dirt will show.
    Sorry, in the nikon world, it's VR. Check the instructions for your lens. Many lenses need to have this turned off when on a tripod.
  16. Shot through a window - you need to redo the test without the window; no conclusions about the lens can be drawn from the shots you already took.

    I have strong doubts about that cheap tripod being up to the task.
    Tony Parsons and AJG like this.
  17. Which tripod would you recommend?
  18. AJG


    A fluid head for under $34 isn't going to support that camera and lens adequately at all. Combine that with shooting through a window and I would say that your results were remarkably good.
    jiwooseok likes this.
  19. Do you have a recommended fluid heads?
  20. Unfortunately, that's a question that's not so easy to answer. Tripods are always advertised on what load they can handle - there's no standard and those numbers mean very little. What is important is how a tripod is constructed and how it can dampen vibrations induced by the camera, wind and other influences (hanging some weight from the tripod center can increase stability and help dissipate vibrations (unless that weight starts swinging by itself). Carbon fiber does better than aluminum in terms of damping; it also makes for a lighter tripod. Wood would be even better - but not many want to deal with the weight. How many leg sections is important for stability (the fewer the better - but the downside is a larger tripod when folded). Not having a center column also makes for a sturdier tripod. How big a tripod one needs is determined by the maximum focal length of the lens one wants to use on it - not only because longer teles tend to be heavier but because of their large magnification vibrations affect image quality more. For 500mm, I would recommend one of the Gitzo Systematic Series 3 as a minimum - or equivalent ones from RRS, Induro, Feisol or FLM. A good tripod will cost you - expect $600 - $1200 or more. In addition to a good tripod, you also need to apply the correct long-lens technique. When using a long tele one often does not have the luxury to lock-down the tripod head solid as one often needs to follow some motion. There are then a few tricks to apply to get the lens/camera rig as stable as possible - like pushing down on the lens, pushing one's head against the camera and one's leg against the tripod. I mostly shoot handheld as carrying and setting up a tripod is often too cumbersome. I only tend to use one for those occasions when I know I will be mostly stationary and wait for some time for some action to take place.

    Long teles are usually put on gimbal heads - another $500 or thereabouts expense. The Flexshooter is a more recent alternative - it replaces a gimbal and a traditional balllhead with one device. I have not used a fluid head for still photography (and I don't do video) - so I can't help there.
    charles_escott_new and jiwooseok like this.

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