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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Halifax, NS
    Posts
    55

    Opinions wanted on results

    Hi all,

    I recently purchased a Nikon 18-105 VR lens to go with my D200. I had my first real opportunity today to go out and try it, and I'm not entirely pleased with the results. But given that I'm still fairly new to photography, I don't know if it's the lens, my technique, the lighting, less-than-ideal camera settings, or unreasonable expectations that I have on the performance of the lens/camera combo (or perhaps something else entirely). So I'd like some input/thoughts on the results. I should point out that I've done no PP on these.

    In particular, I was expecting this lens to produce slightly sharper results (for example, many of the people that appear in the pics seem a bit soft to me). All of the pictures were taken on a "monopod" (my tripod on one leg) with VR on.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated (and don't be afraid to rip me apart ).

    Thanks,

    Gavin




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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    oslo, norway
    Posts
    1,019
    There's plenty of details there, and out-of-camera those pictures looks fine to me. None of the tack sharp pictures you see people posting are straight out of the camera - there's enhancment software involved. Lightroom, photoshop, etc etc. Plenty of guides on how to sharpen pictures on the net, to get you started.

    Here's a 50/50 of before and after some quick adjustment in photoshop, just to give you an idea of what software can do for you:


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,924
    As you can see the detail is there you just need to learn how to extract it. If you don't have any suitable software every manufacturer (Adoble - Lightroom or Photoshop Elements, Nikon - Capture NX, Corel - Paintshop Pro) have downloads available that will allow you to try a fully functional version for 15-30 days so you can see what works best for you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Halifax, NS
    Posts
    55
    Thanks for the input guys. I usually use Picassa, which for me does a half-decent job (opinions on that app welcome). I was more curious about the quality of what was coming out of the camera before any PP was done. It sounds like you both feel that the quality is reasonable, which is what I'm looking for.

    Thanks,

    Gavin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,929
    Quote Originally Posted by iiaGavin View Post
    All of the pictures were taken on a "monopod" (my tripod on one leg) with VR on.
    Why? There is really no need to have VR on if its on a tri/monopod. VR is mainly for hand/camera shake.

    Also, as a fellow D200 user.... keep your ISO relatively low (under 800). The D200 completely blows with high ISO.
    Jason

    "A coward dies a thousand deaths, a soldier dies but once."-2Pac


    A bunch of Nikon stuff!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,924
    Quote Originally Posted by iiaGavin View Post
    Thanks for the input guys. I usually use Picassa, which for me does a half-decent job (opinions on that app welcome).
    I stopped using Picassa several years ago because at that stage it was an application that wanted to take complete control of your PC as far as images were concerned. I would rather at least be allowed to thinking that I'm in charge.
    It's a low end product and if it works for you then that is all that's important but it will not allow you to get the absolute best from your images. the old story about getting what you pay for is fairly true in this case.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    3,650
    Quote Originally Posted by iiaGavin View Post
    Hi all,

    I recently purchased a Nikon 18-105 VR lens to go with my D200. I had my first real opportunity today to go out and try it, and I'm not entirely pleased with the results. But given that I'm still fairly new to photography, I don't know if it's the lens, my technique, the lighting, less-than-ideal camera settings, or unreasonable expectations that I have on the performance of the lens/camera combo (or perhaps something else entirely). So I'd like some input/thoughts on the results. I should point out that I've done no PP on these.

    In particular, I was expecting this lens to produce slightly sharper results (for example, many of the people that appear in the pics seem a bit soft to me). All of the pictures were taken on a "monopod" (my tripod on one leg) with VR on.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated (and don't be afraid to rip me apart ).

    Thanks,

    Gavin
    I'm going with 'unreasonable expectations' pixel peeping on a monitor can make you go batty Remember photographs were meant for printing
    I thought about who I am... and realized I was an
    unformed, unreconciled imagery, without "GOD"


    NikonD?
    and some other Nikon stuff

    0.0%

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,887
    I found it a massive step to go from a panasonic FZ20 to a DSLR. The pictures that come out of the DSLR are not always suited for straight to print. They usually take SOME tweaking. I have recently changed my in camera settings via the custom menu. I have put +1 sharpening and +1 tone compensation. I am far happier with the results straight out of camera (SOOC).

    The majority of PP I did prior to changing in camera settings was modifying the levels/curves and sharpening a bit. That accounted for 90% of tweaks. Obviously black and white as well as HDR take a little more PP.

    As for your shots they are what I would expect from a DSLR. I would also note that the day itself is overcast and dull, so you wont get amazing contrasting shots in that set up. A different time of day (like early morning or late evening) would have yielded more pleasing results SOOC.
    Nikon D700
    Sigma 70-200 F2.8
    Sigma 85mm F1.4
    Sigma 15-30 F3.5 - 4.5



    http://www.philipduartephotography.com

    "It's better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    1,923
    I would recommend using VR with a monopod, since it only aids against camera shift on one plane, not both.

    Your results aren't bad, and as was illustrated to you, PP (post-processing) is a necessary part of the photographer's game. Your images were all more or less exposed for the overcast sky, which means the subject and foreground tended to be underexposed. With the limited dynamic range of a DSLR, this isn't a bad idea (a circular polarizer or graduated ND filter are a couple more options), it just means you'll need to readjust in PP to get back to the original dynamic range of the scene. HDR imaging is another option.

    Picasa is nice for light-duty work, but for a more in-depth edit, where you might want to play around with individual color channels and what-not, you'll definitely need something better. I use Lightroom, and I'm fond of it.

    As for sharpness, it's not so much the lens as the camera - as you've no doubt seen, DSLRs tend to be on the soft side, although they still capture a lot of detail. You can also set the in-camera sharpness to a higher degree. This isn't a bad idea, as long as it's not so sharp as to cause artifacting in the images out-of-camera. Also, you won't want to use in-cam sharpening with every lens - I found it worked well with my kit lens, but the 50mm f/1.8 was so sharp that my in-cam sharpening oversharpened the resulting image. Just experiment, and remember that there are a lot of options to be considered.
    Nikon D40 + kit lens

    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D AF(...or not)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    748
    Actually VR with a tripod (not so sure a monopod) is usually discouraged, because VR actually causes some slight movement in itself, which is fine if you're moving, but if you have it completely stable via a tripod/monopod then VR detracts not enhances getting it 'tack sharp'
    Cameras: Nikon D300, Panasonic Lumix G2, LX3 & FZ20
    Nikkor Lenses: 24-70mm f2.8 - 70-300mm VRII f4.5-5.6 - 50mm f1.4 G - 35mm f1.8 G - 50mm f1.8 - 18-200mm VR f3.5-5.6
    Other Lenses: Tokina: 11-16mm f2.8, Sigma: 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 Macro, Lumix: 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 & 20mm f1.7
    Other: Nikon SB 600, Vivitar 1/2/4 Close-up Lens, Cokin Graduated ND Filter and more...
    Computers/Software: MacBookPro 2.8ghz, Dell Latitude D630, Lexar CF UDMA FW800 Reader, Nikon Capture NX 1+2, Adobe Lightroom 1+2+3

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