lorrin sell 2:33am, 30 September 2009
Hi. I am new to this group and I just (3 months ago) got a D700 and a 50mm 1.4 lens. I am wondering if anyone has any tips/ suggestions on how to get the sharpest images possible---apart from basic camera settings, apeture, SS, etc. I was working w a pentax k100d prior to this so this is a significant upgrade. However, I feel like sometimes i can't seem to get the same tack sharp images I was consistently getting before the switch. I'll take any suggestions. TIA!
mikael108 9 years ago
Hi boymama,

What did you use before the switch in terms of lenses?
lorrin sell 9 years ago
50mm 2.8 sigma...seems that there are times when even if i have a higher aperture it's not always as crisp...or as crisp as some of the shots i've seen by others w this camera.

more info, i shoot in RAW. i don't know if changing custom settings effects the image when shot in RAW??? i know i seem clueless...it's bc i am...in terms of this camera.

i would even take advice as far a reading material...anything would be greatly appreciated!!!
Topeeka PRO 9 years ago
In order to correctly judge the sharpness of your images, you really should do some tests with both cameras mounted on a tripod to eliminate any chance of camera shake. The classic method of photographing a sheet of newspaper might give you an idea of where you are on this...and...you can't beat the price...!!
craigohara 9 years ago
Hi. Did you get to the bottom of the issue? I've got a d700 and 24-70mm and felt the same thing. I shoot in raw too and I think straight out of the camera the shots look slightly soft even at f8 1/500. Hand held yeah but arms tight in etc. However with about 150% sharpen 1. pixel and 1 threshold in photoshop they come back round and look fine. Kinda feels like you've failed if you have to post process but I guess thats what you set yourself up for if you shoot in raw. also needs at least a linear curve for contrast. Looked at your shots though and they look sharp to me. It messes with your mind I know!!
photopath PRO 9 years ago
Looks like you might be having exposure problems though. I notice you've got spot metering and manual as your most common shooting mode but there are a lot of overexposed images in your stream - which won't be helping sharpness either.
Another victim of the "manual is mandatory" mantra?

Try to get to know how the camera sees thing in some of the auto exposure modes. If you can work out a basic exposure compensation for the kind of scene you're shooting then you can let the camera cope with changes in the light - which it'll do a lot more quickly than you can.
For anything other than a fairly static scene - spot metering can be a bit too unpredictable.

I know I'm rabbiting on about exposure when you asked about sharpness - but they are linked and you won't get optimum sharpness when the sensor is either getting too much light or not enough.

Also - RAW shots from the D700 will be a bit soft and need a bit of sharpening in post - what are you processing the RAW files with?
astockglausner 8 years ago
Great overview. I have a question. I just moved into a new office and I have a studio that is about 16 feet deep. I am a photographer in San Diego and my primary business is as a youth sports and school photographer, but we just got the studio and are doing a lot more studio work. I'm thinking I should get a full frame camera, like the D700, but what is the best lens(s)? Do I get a prime lens? Right now I have 5 Fuji S5's, 2 S3's, 2 D200's and a couple of Canons. Do I need the D700 for just studio work? I love the video on the 5d but the Nikon seems to have a slight edge on some of the other features. I am thinking of renting the D700 and maybe the 5D for a weekend with a couple of lenses to see what they feel like in the studio.

Or, am I just fine shooting with the S5's, which are great portrait cameras, but I am a little limited with the 16 foot deep studio. 16 total feet, meaning once you get a tripod and backdrop stands, etc, it is even smaller. Any pointers?
souvenirsnapshots 8 years ago
I agree with photopath on the exposures. I find the screen on the D700 on review does not give a good indication of correct exposure so I always have the histogram turne on to verify this. But your problem with sharpness could be the fact that you are now shooting with a full frame sensor.
three years ago i got a Canon 5d and grossly underestimated my DOF. Full frame sensors have a much shallower DPF than C sized sensors and looking at your images, many are shot with lens almost wide open. This gives you an approx. DOF of only 2 or 3 centimetres when shooting a close portrait so focusing is critical. try stopping then lens down another stop or two and you will find that you still have a nice shallow DOF but much more room for focusing the entire subject.
Hope this helps.
aa@gurgaon 8 years ago
boymama writes
"more info, i shoot in RAW. i don't know if changing custom settings effects the image when shot in RAW??? i know i seem clueless...it's bc i am...in terms of this camera."


All in-camera adjustments/changes made to any Picture Control settings are retained as an 'instruction" if you shoot in NEF/RAW. But only Nikon's proprietary software such as Capture NX will be able to read this in-camera adjustment/instruction. If you process your NEFs directly in Adobe Camera Raw/Photoshop, these in-camera adjustments to the Picture Control will not show up and are not taken into account.

I prefer using PSCS4 for all post-processing, so I "double process" any NEF images which were taken with in-camera Picture Control adjustments. I first open them in Capture NX, I make no additional adjustments here, just do a 'save as' and save the file as TIFF. Then open this TIFF in PSCS4, and perform any post-processing there.

Hope this helps!
lorrin sell 8 years ago
thanks!!!
Dean_Scott 8 years ago
I to have just got this camera, last week in fact. Im using it with the 24-70. Ive not found that ive suffered with any soft images as of yet. I do agree with the above comment about spot metering though.

I also noticed your iso is set to 100, ive read from several sources that the camera performs best at iso 200.
ManiacalNikonian Posted 8 years ago. Edited by ManiacalNikonian (member) 8 years ago
OK Back to basics, if you are shooting with a 50mm 1.4 you may need a ND filter of about 3 stops in bright sunlight to take advantage of the 1.4 try to remember that lens is your get outa jail free card for low light shooting ... Secondly if you are shooting without a UV filter your playing a fools game, placing the UV filter on the lens is the starting point for any reasonable test of the lens ... three we are now in that late winter early spring/summer sun, so having a circular polarizer around ain't a bad idea... After that if it still looks washed out switch to Vivid!!! just kidding...
Mistur Photography PRO 8 years ago
If you are shooting at f/1.4 it won't be as sharp as, say at f/8.
Graham Stirling 8 years ago
I may be asking an obvious question but are you converting your RAW files with the same software?
I've found that processing the same RAW image with Capture NX, Adobe Camera Raw and Capture One all produce different results.
If your technically minded you can "tune in" your lenses and save these adjustments in your custom settings.
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