Old 05-07-2013, 02:00 AM   #1
strench707
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Default Blurriness

Just want to get this straight. Would some increased sharpening mitigate the blurriness here (via the high pass filter) or am I going to have to do some manual sharpening of the scene in the background by the bridge?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...42&key=2223602

Thanks guys!

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Old 05-07-2013, 03:30 AM   #2
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It is blurry,one for the personal collection.

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Old 05-07-2013, 03:50 AM   #3
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Checking the EXIF, it says you shot at ISO 200, f10, 1/400s. If this was a parked train, maybe you should have used a tripod to steady the camera. If this was a moving train, you would have been MUCH better off shooting ISO 250, f8, 1/1000s. I advise at least 1/1000s for a moving train. Second, place your focus point on the horn of the lead engine, not on the number boards above the cab. Doing the latter wastes most of your DoF. I likely would have been shooting using ISO 400 in the first place, to get shutter speed up and maintain enough DoF.


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Old 05-07-2013, 05:41 AM   #4
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ISO 200, f-10 at 1/400 should have been plenty fast.

I often shoot ISO 200, f-11 at 1/250 and that seems to get the job done for good light and train speeds of 45 MPH and lower.

If the train is going 70 MPH in good light I would go to 1/350 or 1/400 and I can't remember when I shot something at 1/1000 (trainwise).

I suspect your auto focus didn't get it right.

On this image, I would suggest selectively sharpening the number boards and that should take care of the problem.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:53 AM   #5
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Holloran Grade is right. Your settings are fine for the photo. Its not blurry, its out of focus. No amount sharping is gonna change that.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by strench707 View Post
Just want to get this straight. Would some increased sharpening mitigate the blurriness here (via the high pass filter) or am I going to have to do some manual sharpening of the scene in the background by the bridge?
Ignore the bridge and anything else in the scene for that matter. The nose of the locomotive is what you should be focusing on...ALWAYS (unless the locomotive is a secondary subject, of course).
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:03 PM   #7
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Just to pile on, the first thing I noticed as I scrolled the page were the number boards. If you're shooting in AF, you needto put the focusing point where the nose of the locomotive will be when you press the shutter. You can also pre focus on something nearby before teh train gets there. If you're shooting in MF, you may want to think about shooting in AF. (I have to most of the time with my eyes.)
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:37 PM   #8
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Just to pile on, the first thing I noticed as I scrolled the page were the number boards. If you're shooting in AF, you needto put the focusing point where the nose of the locomotive will be when you press the shutter.
Well, I have an honest disagreement here. Keep in mind I come from a landscape/nature photography background, not railfanning. If you are shooting at f2.8, then yes you need to be very precise with focus. However, most people are shooting at f8 or larger in the daytime. Add to this that most are shooting with a DX camera. In practice that works out to be about the same DoF as shooting at f11 with a 35mm camera. DoF falls roughly 1/3 in front and 2/3 behind point of focus, depending on distance and lens used. (With a long lens it falls roughly half in front, half behind IIRC.) SO, by shooting at f8 or tighter you will have nearly infinite of DoF to play with. (EXIF shows FL=18mm, and I'm estimating train is ~30 ft. away) In a scene like this, if you place the point of focus right on the nose of the engine, you are wasting a lot of DoF. Using an 18mm lens, shooting f10, I would still suggest placing the point of focus about 1/3 of the way into the scene.

DoF Calculator shows:

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Essentially, the camera was set for hyperfocal!

Was DoF the reason for the blur? I'm guessing not, because the lens was set to hyperfocal anyway. There is a chance the camera didn't focus correctly. I don't think it was camera shake since the EXIF shows a Nikon 18-55mm VR lens was used, and 1/400s is within the limits of VR capability. I'm still thinking that 1/400s is too slow for a train moving at track speed.


Maybe I should go out and take some test shots of trains moving at a steady speed showing the result of 1/400s, 1/1000s, and 1/2000s, as well as some shots illustrating the relationship between DoF and focus point. It might make an interesting thread on its own.

Some reading:

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...h-of-field.htm


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field

Kent in SD

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Old 05-07-2013, 02:43 PM   #9
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DoF falls roughly 1/3 in front and 2/3 behind point of focus, depending on distance and lens used. (With a long lens it falls roughly half in front, half behind IIRC.) SO, by shooting at f8 or tighter you will have nearly infinite of DoF to play with. (EXIF shows FL=18mm, and I'm estimating train is ~30 ft. away) In a scene like this, if you place the point of focus right on the nose of the engine, you are wasting a lot of DoF.
I disagree about wasting DOF. Who cares...the object is to get the nose as sharp as possible when you're shooting an approaching train...like when shooting a portrait, you want the eyes of a person to be the sharpest. f4, f8, f16, whatever...the point of focus should be on the nose of the loco when that is the main subject.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:53 PM   #10
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To be honest seems like a bit of over analysis, the picture is just simply out of focus. Settings had nothing to do with it, the autofocus didnt work or the photographer forgot to hit focus if using the * button.
Also your braver than me for going up on that bridge
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:27 PM   #11
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To be honest seems like a bit of over analysis, the picture is just simply out of focus. Settings had nothing to do with it, the autofocus didnt work or the photographer forgot to hit focus if using the * button.
Also you're braver than me for going up on that bridge
I agree, hence the "who cares." Just get the nose sharp and everything else will fall into place.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:34 PM   #12
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F8 is plenty for DOF. F8 and 1/500 (or better) is what I aim for when taking pics of moving objects.

F10 is causing you to use higher ISO or slower shutter speed.

I could also comment about your choice of even submitting this photo, but I wont. Not the best scene.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:40 AM   #13
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I spout nonsense.
Put the focus on the nose (or where the nose will be when you press the shutter).

Also, a tripod? If you're shooting at 1/400s and you can't get sharp photos (especially if you're using a lens with IS), then go see a doctor about your shakes.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:16 AM   #14
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I'm still thinking that 1/400s is too slow for a train moving at track speed.
Well, considering how 1/500 was sufficient to catch the fastest train in history, I think its a safe bet 1/400 can get a coal train going through a S turn.

Image © Jean-Marc Frybourg
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:13 PM   #15
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Well, considering how 1/500 was sufficient to catch the fastest train in history, I think its a safe bet 1/400 can get a coal train going through a S turn.

Image © Jean-Marc Frybourg
PhotoID: 175398
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There is a lot more to it than just the speed of the object you are tying to photograph. If you are handholding and dont have the steadiest of hands, higher shutter speeds help tremendously.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:26 PM   #16
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There is a lot more to it than just the speed of the object you are tying to photograph. If you are handholding and dont have the steadiest of hands, higher shutter speeds help tremendously.
I suppose to some degree this is correct (ie, long telephoto shots). But for the picture in question unless the photog is Michael J. Fox, 1/400 is more than enough to compensate for handheld shooting. Also, if you read the post I was replying to, the poster suggested that 1/400 wasn't fast enough to stop a train... hence the example in my post.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:40 PM   #17
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Also, a tripod? If you're shooting at 1/400s and you can't get sharp photos (especially if you're using a lens with IS), then go see a doctor about your shakes.
Where I live, the wind is often a factor. Several times this year I've actually been knocked off my feet by it. When it's blowing a steady 20-30 mph (fairly common here six months of the year,) the wind will cause you to be unsteady. A tripod is a huge help. A tripod seems to make a difference in sharpness even at 1/1000s. I can see this especially now that I have a high MP camera (Nikon D7100--24mp). Below are a couple of shots from last week. These were shot at sync, but in effect the "shutter speed" was 1/1200s--the duration of two Nikon SB-28 flash. First shot is on a tripod, second is off. Same Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 lens was used, same focus point. Very clearly the no-tripod shot is blurry. Wind speed was about 15-25 mph, gusty. Even on a calm day I will use a tripod. It's a great help for composition.


"Base" photo:
Sync, f5, 100% unsharp mask
applied, no tripod.


x2 Close up, no tripod, 100% unsharp mask:


x2 Close up, with tripod, 100% unsharp mask:


As you can clearly see, the tripod did make a difference. Your shot of the blue train doesn't really tell us anything because it's just a small 72 shot and there are no close ups of details. Enlarge you photo so I can see the face of the engineer, then we can evaluate sharpness. I hope to do some actual tests of moving trains at different shutter speeds, hopefully today if it stops raining.


Kent in SD

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Old 05-08-2013, 01:54 PM   #18
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Okay, you win, yes there is a very minute amount of difference between using a tripod and not @ 1/400. But, as your own example points out, the only time you would notice it is if you made a billboard size print. For all practical purposes, 1/400s is more than enough to shoot a train.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:58 PM   #19
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There is a lot more to it than just the speed of the object you are tying to photograph. If you are handholding and dont have the steadiest of hands, higher shutter speeds help tremendously.
More than that, remember that most freight trains are moving in more than just the x/y plane. Especially on the rough tracks we get in winter. They are bouncing all over the place! It has nothing to do with steady hands, either. I'll do some test shots just to nail down what the differences are between fine detail resolution at different shutter speeds. I'll also do the equations to show just how much calculated movement there is (at least x/y) too. As I recall, a train moving 45 mph translates into about 3 inches of forward movement at 1/400s. That's actually a lot if you want something sharp! The won't lie.


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Old 05-08-2013, 02:09 PM   #20
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Kent, why would you not use a tripod for night shots?

It is comparing apples to oranges.

Daylight shots and night shots are very different even though you might have the settings set the same.

Ergo, your analogy makes no sense to me.

Further, the Mojave has plenty of wind too, in fact it is rare that there is very little air movment.

And I shoot at 1/250 fairly regularly.

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Old 05-08-2013, 02:17 PM   #21
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I'm sorry but your trying to give advice based off the very specific conditions that don't apply elsewhere, I dont think you will ever encounter 50 mph gusts of wind in Atlanta, and if you do you probably shouldnt be outside anyways. As Troy said F8 and 1/500th will work perfectly fine 99% of the time anywhere outside of North Dakota. If you are shooting at a very wide angle in low light, then yes you want a higher shutter speed, but if you blur a train due to shutter speed at a head on angle like this you just suck.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:09 PM   #22
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As I recall, a train moving 45 mph translates into about 3 inches of forward movement at 1/400s. That's actually a lot if you want something sharp! The won't lie.


Kent in SD
Only if you're shooting a train moving across the sensor plane at a 90 degree angle. At 45 degrees to the sensor, the apparent motion is 1/2 the actual motion at 90 degrees, and directly into or away from the sensor is only 1/4 the 90 degree actual.

So when Jimbob Fred pops that sweet dash 9 head on wedge in a cornfield in Nebraska at 1/400th, he'll be under the 1 pixel of movement guideline for the full size print he'll be making.

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Old 05-08-2013, 09:25 PM   #23
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Thanks everyone for your tips and suggestions! Even though this particular photo is probably worth scrapping due to the blurriness, would you say a slight improvement is achieved here? Compare to the clarity of the nose on the original reject.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...18&key=7216728


Thanks again guys,

Davis
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:27 PM   #24
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Looks a bit oversharpened on the trailers (or just a very contrasty day), and as the ballast still looks lousy, I'd say it's hopeless. Always check the ballast.
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:05 AM   #25
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Thanks everyone for your tips and suggestions! Even though this particular photo is probably worth scrapping due to the blurriness, would you say a slight improvement is achieved here? Compare to the clarity of the nose on the original reject.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...18&key=7216728
The nose (and particularly the number boards) is still not sharp. It has that 3mp camera look to it.
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