I am trying to figure it out if I am at the limitation of my camera or lens or both. The camera is a D90, and the lens is the VR 70-300mm F 4.5-5.6. This picture is pretty much a perfect example of what bothers me about that set up. Here is the Exif data: ISO: 3200, F 5.6, and 1/400s. 155mm. I just cropped the image and messed around w/the colors a little bit.
I am somewhat pleased with the camera and my other lens for closer up pictures, but when it comes to distance, that's when I start to think about upgrading. Would that same lens produce sharper images on a newer body, or would be I chasing my tail if using that lens and be better off starting from scratch? New body recommendation if I should go that route?
An example of a picture that I actually like. Most of the pictures end up on some forums, so strictly for fun.
No sarcasm here. I appreciate you being brutal with me.
Again, I do appreciate the feedback. I will take your suggestions and try them out before I do anything else. Thank you.
Originally Posted By Zack3g:
There are about 7 different versions of the 70-300 lens. AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
Which one you have greatly influences my opinion of it.
The 70-300 G VR is a great lens. The newer 70-300 AF-P lenses are by all reports excellent. The others range from mediocre to terrible.
Looking at your first image of the helicopter I see several things wrong.
#1 - you say you shot it at 155 and cropped - why? It's a zoom, use it. I basically grabbed the camera as it flew over my house and tried to get the best picture I could. That is typical for when planes/helicopters and other aircraft fly over. My fault, I trashed the original image already to show the difference between that and the cropped version.
#2 - ISO 3200 - on this camera it's not really gonna give much good result, especially if you have to crop.
#3 - It looks like it's a bit out of focus. Ignoring the other two, this is a deal breaker. The D90 while it was a great camera, it does not offer the option of fine tuning autofocus. I can't guarantee it is needed just by seeing a few pictures but so far I'm not impressed.
#4 - the white balance looks screwy. I will look into this.
Looking at the second picture of the...knife and whatnot
#1 - where's the focus? I'm having difficulty finding it. I was going for the reflection of the cap in the blade, and apparently left to much empty space on the left side of the knife.
#2 - I can't really offer any further advice as there's no exif data/shooting settings mentioned for this image. I no longer have that info, so again, my fault for not being better prepared.
Summary -- depending on which 70-300 you have, it could share part of the blame. In either case, there's both an old camera issue happening here, and some misuse and incorrect settings being done as well. Also keep in mind that long lenses are not really intended for distant subjects. They're better suited to resolve more details on closer ones. Especially when you're talking about budget zooms like this. They really don't do well with atmospheric distortion over any meaningful distance.
Resolution - Get back to basics and shoot some serious test images with this lens with attention paid to the fundamentals. Get the white balance right, get the focus right, get the framing right so you don't have to crop. Reassess performance after this. If the 70-300 is the G-VR one..it's fine. If it isn't, I'd replace that before I bought a new camera. If it is the newer lens...I'd be looking at a used/refurb D7200 or better.
Assuming you have the "good" version of the 70-300, you're running into ISO and focusing limitations with that ancient D90 body.
Here's some shots with a D500 and my 70-300 (eta and it looks like mine is the same one you have). Bear in mind I have about a decade's worth of experience shooting helicopters, and I have access to the helicopters (during spray season) that few others have.
N9677N NEL93062 Morning Turning by FredMan, on Flickr
N420AT LSA97002 Spraying by FredMan, on Flickr
N420AT KWM94074 Boom Detail by FredMan, on Flickr