How to get the most out of my Wide Angle/Macro Lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by naila_johnson, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. I have adjusted the aperture and the auto/manual setting.
    please send any pointers and advice my way on how to get the most out of this accs.
    Thank you!
     
  2. Naila: can you help us help you by mentioning:

    1) Which lens, specifically, you're talking about
    2) Which camera you're using
    3) What you're photographing
    4) What sort of results you're getting now, and what you think you're missing out on, so far

    The single most useful advice I ever got was to make sure that I have the lens pointed at something that's actually interesting.

    Because when you're actually interested in the subject matter, you'll find yourself also interested in eploring different angles/points-of-view, different compositions, different lighting, different depths-of-field, and different combinations of working distances and lens choices.

    It's difficult to give you advice beyond the usual encouragement to start with beginner-oriented photography books/tutorials without some guidance from you about your situation.
     
  3. Matt thank you for the response. I am using a Nikon D3100 18-55 and 55-200mm lens, with a circular polarizing filter. so used for more landscape photography.
    I would of course at some make the focal point a person in a wide landscaped setting.
    I am gettng "ok' results right now but am curious if this kind of wide angle/macro lens should be giving me "sharper" results?
     
  4. SCL

    SCL

    Naila - do you know why you are not getting sharp results currently? It could be the result of many factors, mostly related to your technique rather than your equipment. For instance are you sharpening the image in post processing, are you focussing properly on the subject, is the subject moving and if so what shutter speed are you using, is your camera hand held or on a tripod, and on and on. Perhaps you could post an example of a picture you wish better met your criteria along with the EXIF data produced by the camera accompanied by your comments. I sincerely doubt if the problem is your gear, but more likely your knowledge of how to achieve the results you are seeking by understanding how to properly use the gear you have. We can give lots of tips but really need more detailed information. In the meantime, you might want to reread your user manuals and a good book or two on basic photography perhaps to help formulate questions and also take a look at some of the topics under the learning tab above,...if you do a basic search here you will see a lot of recommendations already made along these lines. Looking forward to see an example.
     
  5. My first advice would be to read your camera's manual. It will explain every control on the camera. I may be wrong, but you seem to not know exactly what all the buttons and switches on the camera are for. You will start taking better pictures faster if you spend a couple of hours reading the instruction manual. Apart from the controls on the camera, it will also give you pointers on when to use different modes and what can be achieved with them.
     
  6. As others have said, Naila, I would work on my shooting skills before purchasing another lens. Most sharpness issues amateurs encounter have to do with choosing proper focusing modes and camera shake. Practice holding your camera very steady when releasing the shutter and don't jab the shutter release with your finger. Try using a tripod for your landscape images if possible.
    Here is a Nikon video tutorial you might be interested in.
     
  7. Naila:
    The AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm is actually quite sharp, even at 18mm, especially for such a budget-priced lens. If shooting a static landscape, and want the best possible sharpness, I would suggest the following:
    1. Clean both the front and rear element of your lens with lens fluid and lens tissue, just prior to shooting.
    2. Remove your clear protective filter just prior to shooting.
    3. Shade any direct sunlight from hitting the front element of your lens with a piece of cardboard, or your hand.
    4. Use a tripod.
    5. Purchase the wireless shutter release made for this series of Nikon bodies--they're quite affordable, about $12, I think.
    6. Shield the tripod, camera, and lens from any prevailing wind, with your either your body, or a large piece of cardboard (e.g., Foamcore).
    7. Choose an f/stop of anywhere between f/8 to f/11.
    8. Adjust ISO to its lowest setting, but choose an ISO which still affords a high enough shutter speed to eliminate any motion blur, either from camera movement, or subject movement (e.g., 1/250th-1/500th or higher).
    9. Try to shoot landscapes when the sun is low in the sky, so that the light is hitting your scene at a more oblique angle. A contrasty scene will appear sharper. Scenes shot in diffuse, overcast sunlight will have lower contrast, and will appear less-sharp.
    10. Download one of the many available depth-of-field iPhone/iPad apps to determine the best distance to focus at (i.e., "hyperfocal distance").
    11. Try bracketing a few exposures: over-exposure causes artifacts, and can also adversely affect sharpness.
    All of those techniques, when used together, should make for razor-sharp images with the lenses you already own. Good luck!
     
  8. I said:
    4. Use a tripod.​
    Also, the heavier the tripod, the more stable it is (though, not great for portability). Sometimes, I'll attach a 15-pound sandbag to the tripod's center column for even greater stability (professional tripods made for video cameras actually have a metal hook under the head to accomodate this technique).
    One last thing: mirror lock-up. This can also affect camera shake (but, since your body doesn't support this feature, I didn't mention it).
     
  9. And, finally . . . shoot at the lowest ISO possible, while still affording a high enough shutter speed to isolate camera and subject motion. Shooting at high ISOs degrades the image, and can also greatly affect how sharp your photos appear.
     
  10. A few more thoughts;
    Nobody mention the illumination thing. For a sharp looking nice image, light should be equally nice. Avoid too low light levels, or hard direct sunlight with their harsh shadows. If the light is right, the pic will be perfect. If you like the light somewhere in a certain moment, record the place and hour and be prepared to take the photo another day.
    Check your lens`optimal apertures (usually f5.6-f8). Lenses perform better at the center of the frame, being softer at the corners; try different focus distances/compositions.
    I`d say don`t abuse with polarization. It is not always needed. Looks like landscapes cannot be taken without this filter, quite the opposite in my experience (or maybe with my subjects).
     
  11. I said:
    7. Choose an f/stop of anywhere between f/8 to f/11.​
    To be clear, I suggested these apertures with the assumption that most people who shoot landscapes often prefer to have moderate to large amounts of depth-of-field. While lenses tend to be sharpest about two-stops down from their maximum aperture, and tend to lose sharpeness at very small apertures, f/stop selection is also a purely arbitrary editorial decision: choosing between a shallow-focus shot, and a deep-focus shot, is certainly an aesthetic decision where there is no hard-and-fast "rule." But, in general, while shooting at least one stop down from wide open will yield more optimal performance from your lens, don't be afraid to shoot wide-open, or stopped down to as little as f/16, or even f/22, when the desired for aesthetic effect produced by those apertures are needed.
     
  12. I am not quite sure what your question is, but I recommend use it a lot. Practice, practice, practice.
     
  13. More ideas...
    Do you shoot RAW? Important.
    Use a bubble level or take care of the horizon if hand held. An unleveled pic will force at least to be cropped.
     
  14. For sharper results a good tripod setup can make a big difference. Other suggestions would be to find an interesting subject with great light. F8 and good technique should deliver sharp results.
     
  15. HAVE YOU TOLD US EVERYTHING????
    My guess is that you are screwing a "wide-angle, macro" accessory lens onto the front of your 18-55 or 55-200 lens.
    If so, you need to say exactly what sort it is, and what happens when you do this.
    I'm I'm right about this, you can ignore all the earlier responses, which assumed you were using the 18-55 or 55-200 lens without an accessory lens on the front.
     
  16. HAVE YOU TOLD US EVERYTHING????
    My guess is that you are screwing a "wide-angle, macro" accessory lens onto the front of your 18-55 or 55-200 lens.
    If so, you need to say exactly what sort it is, and what happens when you do this.
    I'm I'm right about this, you can ignore all the earlier responses, which assumed you were using the 18-55 or 55-200 lens without an accessory lens on the front.
     
  17. Radford said:
    My guess is that you are screwing a "wide-angle, macro" accessory lens onto the front of your 18-55 or 55-200 lens.​
    Yes, the curious nature of the thread title made me wonder as well. Certainly, most low-cost, screw-in type adapters will really degrade sharpness and image quality.
     
  18. Re-reading the thread title makes me think the OP may be using a cheap Kenko diopter set to reduce her minimum focus distance to frame her subject very close to camera, with a wide landscape vista for a background?
     
  19. don't be afraid to shoot wide-open, or stopped down to as little as f/16, or even f/22, when the desired for aesthetic effect​
    Mmm On digital no aesthetic effect there, just unsharpness by diffraction probably..
    Posing the question that it would be nice to know which camera is used...
    HAVE YOU TOLD US EVERYTHING????​
    Radford, i think there is no need to shout, i find this quit rude to be honest...

    Wide angle Macro can easely mean something like this : http://www.adorama.com/alc/article/13056 ,
    Or this : http://naturalimagery.blogspot.com/2009/12/wide-angle-macro-nuts-bolts.html which would the givethe OP possibly a good answer to her ? ( or his?) question(s) i guess...
    Furthermore there are other good wideangle-macro techniques available ,some using "specialized" lenses, but i guess that is not the case here...
     
  20. Radford, i think there is no need to shout, i find this quit rude to be honest...
    The original poster's question was followed by a dozen or so responses that seemed to me (and I think I was correct) to totally miss what the original poster was asking about. I needed to do something to distinguish my post from the others, or the original poster would likely just skip over it.
    And the original poster does need a bit of prodding to give adequate information!
    My apologies, though, for the double posting, which resulted from odd behaviour of my browser when using the "back" button.
     

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