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Old 03-27-2021, 11:35 PM   #7
xBNSFer
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 60
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Looks better! I'd darken the highlights and/or boost the contrast some, since imo it's a bit washed out; that will probably make it look somewhat "sharper" too, as a bonus.

Were you shooting RAW or JPEG? Sometimes the camera's JPEG noise reduction can blur detail too. I'd recommend shooting RAW and then processing to your taste for optimal results.

I'd also check where your focus point was; if you look at the photo on Nikon's software like View NX, you should be able to turn on a setting that reveals where the focus point was when the image was taken. You might find you didn't have it on the train, which will (unless it's on something else about the same distance from the camera) also result in lack of sharpness on your subject. You may also find, depending on what autofocus settings you use, that the particular frame didn't lock focus at all (no focus point displayed).

One of the best ways to "drive" your camera (as opposed to the other way around) is to de-couple the autofocus from the shutter release, by setting the AE/AF Lock button to "AF-ON." This means the shutter release just releases the shutter, it is no longer how autofocus is initiated. By using a "continuous" autofocus mode with "back button" autofocus, you can achieve the function of both "locked" autofocus (focus where you want, then release the button; focus remains where it was and then you can shoot images focused on that point) or "continuous" autofocus (press and hold the "back button," and the camera will continue to focus while you shoot), all without menu diving and clunky "focus, then press the "lock" button, then shoot" procedures.

Sometimes what works best is to set up your shot ahead of the train's arrival (hence another reason to use a tripod) and "pre-focus" the shot using something that will approximate a similar distance to subject (like, in the shot you've shown, if you can get it that precise, the rail on the track you expect a train on, or the ballast on the track, or the bridge it is crossing, etc.). Then you won't be at the mercy of autofocus "algorithms" bouncing your focus point around when you take the shot.

You can download the camera manual (if you didn't get a copy) and the software (if you didn't get the disc) here:

https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.c.../18/D3000.html
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