Sony A100 Focusing Issues/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Discussion in 'Sony' started by infiniteMPG, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    I have a Sony A100 with a Tamron AF 18-250/3.5-6.3 DI II Macro Lens
    with a UV filter on the face to keep from scratching the lens face. I
    have been playing with this camera for months and still can't seem to
    get the clarity in the pictures that I'd expect. The colors seem to
    be washed out in outdoor greenery scenes and the focal depth seems to
    be very narrow no matter what I pick for settings. I just can't seem
    to get that crisp clear image that I was hoping for.

    I am shooting RAW and normally at ISO 100, other then that I pretty
    much have run the gambit on settings. Unless I'm in bright daylight
    and have a high contract in the viewing area (a lone flower sitting in
    front of blue skies) it seems the image is either out of focus to some
    extent or another or the depth of focus is so narrow that the picture
    isn't worth the memory it's saved on.

    I'm have way tempted to toss the whole setup off and go back to a
    P&S.... :O(
    infiniteMPG, Aug 29, 2008
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  2. infiniteMPG

    Doug Jewell Guest

    These 2 things are your problem. With the lens you have, you
    do not have enough light going into the camera to hand-hold
    at ISO 100 unless you are in bright daylight. Anything short
    of bright daylight, and you will need either
    a) a better lens
    b) higher ISO setting
    c) tripod or similar to support the camera.
    Your camera will give excellent results up to ISO 800 - so
    if you are indoors, or in cloudy/shade conditions lift the
    ISO by a few steps.
    I doubt it is focussing issues, because that lens won't have
    a very narrow depth of field. More likely to be movement
    problems. Narrow depth of field is a good thing though -
    allows you to be selective about your subject and helps
    frame your subject better. I find I'm looking for less depth
    of field far more often than I seek more.
    Toss it my way if you like.
    Doug Jewell, Aug 29, 2008
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  3. infiniteMPG

    saycheez Guest

    As you shoot raw color, saturation and contrast are yours to determine,
    rather than a fixed jpeg in-camera algorithm doing it for you.
    I doubt your lens/camera has technical focusing issues. However you may not
    be using optimal f-stops.
    More likely since you are shooting raw and you have color issues you
    probably also do not understand software image sharpening either. Again a
    jpeg algorithm applies a very large amount of sharpening whereas most raw
    converters open an image with little or no sharpening. Raw images coming off
    the sensor are nearly unusable without considerable software sharpening for
    most purposes.
    If you are only using the Sony converter that may be the source of your
    If you are not interested in some version of Photoshop/Elements if you have
    not done so try the Bibble converter. It has many auto presets that may well
    get the results you want.
    saycheez, Aug 29, 2008
  4. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    If you are not interested in some version of Photoshop/Elements if you have not done so try the Bibble converter. It has many auto presets that may well get the results you want.

    Do you have a link to this????
    infiniteMPG, Aug 29, 2008
  5. infiniteMPG

    ASAAR Guest

    The use of ISO 100 and problems being more prevalent if you're
    not in bright light suggest that the problems may be occurring when
    the lens is used at its widest apertures, which will give you the
    smallest depth of field. Check your picture's EXIF data to see what
    apertures tended to be used for the good shots and which were used
    for the problem shots. If you see that many have wide apertures
    such as f/4 and f/5.6, try taking some pictures at f/11 and f/16.
    To get a proper exposure at those small apertures you'll probably
    have to use a much slower shutter speed, which might require the use
    of a tripod to prevent significant blur due to camera movement if
    the A100's stabilization can't cope. Another tactic would be to
    increase the ISO. Try ISO 400, ISO 800 and ISO 1,600. This will
    add a little noise to the shots, but it may give you much better
    overall results, and if too noticeable, software can be used to
    reduce the image noise.

    Also, use the A100's histogram to see if you're getting the best
    exposure possible. Underexposed images can produce flatter, more
    washed out shots. Solutions could be to use exposure compensation,
    to change the exposure mode that you're using with the A100, or to
    learn how the A100's different exposure modes work, so you'll know
    how to give them the best chance to work properly.

    Also, what focusing mode are you using? I'm not familiar with the
    A100, but my D50 has Single Area, Dynamic Area and Closest Subject.
    Using the wrong one (without realizing it) can allow the camera to
    focus in ways that weren't expected. Similarly (as already
    mentioned), not being familiar with the metering mode being used can
    produce seemingly unpredictable results. Some of these are Matrix,
    Center Weighted, Multi-Segment and Spot metering.

    I just checked DPReview's A100 review and one of the "Cons" listed
    was "Occasional Multi-segment metering under-exposure". If you've
    been using Multi-segment metering when getting the washed out
    images, either try using exposure compensation or try one of the
    other metering modes.
    ASAAR, Aug 29, 2008
  6. It does sound to me as though you may be trying to run before you have
    learned to walk. I don't think you should be using manual camera
    control settings if you can't get shots nearly as good as the camera
    will do on its own if left to decide on full auto. My apologies if I'm
    misjudging your situation, but I do often come across DSLR owners who
    have decided they must take full manual control of the camera and a
    RAW editor to get the best results, but who simply aren't yet skilled
    enough to be able to get near the quality the camera would get if left
    to its own fully auto choices and its own best JPEG output. It's also
    the case that sometimes it requires special RAW editing skills to
    match the quality of JPEGS the camera can do on its own. The natural
    default RAW settings of some RAW editors deliberately offer default
    flat soft images as the starting point.

    I have that lens and a similar camera, and I've also seen enough
    photographs by others with A100s to know that your combination of lens
    and camera is capable of very impressively sharp clear vivid
    professional quality results, and that the camera if left to its own
    fully auto devices will quite often do so (although some adjustment of
    the highly adjustable auto program modes might be required for your
    specific tastes and kind of photograph).

    I suggest you spend some time taking shots on full auto (including
    auto ISO and most generalised autofocus), repeating the shot with your
    own manual settings of choice, and then letting the EXIF data show you
    what the camera did to get the better shot.

    Once you have become as good as the camera's auto functions and its
    best JPEG processing you can then start trying to improve on them :)

    If that camera and lens on its own fully auto choices and JPEG output
    won't at least sometimes in good light produce results which impress
    you it might be the case that there's a fault in lens or camera.
    Chris Malcolm, Aug 31, 2008
  7. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    I suggest you spend some time taking shots on full auto (including auto ISO and most generalised autofocus), repeating the shot with your own manual settings of choice, and then letting the EXIF data show you what the camera did to get the better shot.
    Started trying that yesterday at the beach with some shots of some
    surfers enjoying the waves from Hurricane Ike passing by. Left
    everything on auto and then played only with the exposure setting as
    the sun was in my face a lot. Haven't had a chance to study what I
    did (got back late) but figure I'm not even ready to walk with this
    yet let alone run, figure I better start to crawl.
    Not sure how I'd go about checking that unless I had another A100 to
    compare it to. I can grab my Z3, point and shoot and get clear crisp
    shots. I can grab my A100 in full auto and point and shoot and get
    fuzzy pictures without much crispness at all. The camera was brand
    new out of the box and so was the lens. I am going to strip the lens
    filter off as I do believe when it first arrived I was getting better
    shots then I am currently getting. Maybe I can upload some and give
    some examples and get suggestions off that.

    I also got Gary Friedman's Complete Guide to Sony's A100 book on PDF
    but wish I'd of gotten the printed version as I have a hard time
    following on my PC and when I'm in the field the PDF version doesn't
    help much and I always seem to have the wrong pages printed out.

    infiniteMPG, Sep 12, 2008
  8. infiniteMPG

    me Guest

    me, Sep 12, 2008
  9. infiniteMPG

    me Guest

    Yes and be sure to keep the exif info intact or at least that as well.
    Some simple info such as the focal length, aperture and shutter speed
    might identify an obvious issue.
    me, Sep 12, 2008
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