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What am I doing wrong ? RX10IV sharpness (1 Viewer)

Darkus_Markus

Well-known member
Hello there, I'm certainly no photography expert and while the RX10 is still pretty new to me I'm often happy with the results I get.
However, I've had a few cases recently where when photographing a seemingly 'easy' subject the results don't seem that great.

Take the attached Slav grebe for example, taken from a public hide in great light...why then isn't it in pin sharp focus ?
I use single focus mode with flexible spot S and continuous shooting which you'd have thought would have been fine for a sitting duck...sorry grebe.

Granted, I'm at the max end of the zoom and perhaps a shutter speed of 1/500 isn't the fastest but in the conditions mentioned above, I'd have thought that would have been fine ?

Any help much appreciated.
 

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Sorry, wish I could help answer your question.

But, I will be interested in hearing any replies, as I have been considering purchasing a Sony RX10IV.
 
By the way, could you say approximately how far the grebe was from you when you took the photo? (I take it you were zoomed out to the maximum.)
 
You don't think you have just overdone the cropping, do you? When you've noticed this with other images, have they also been heavy crops?

The first pic looks generally sharp enough to me, so I don't think shutter speed is the issue.

I have the RX10IV, and I'm sometimes guilty of trying to crop too severely, to compensate for the relatively short focal length. The 1-inch sensor gives a bit more leeway compared with smaller-sensored bridge cameras, but it still has its limits.

Malcolm
 
Hey MalR, I hear what you're saying.
Forgetting crops for a second, I think I'm using the best of a bad bunch as an example.
Take this shot for instance, the water around the Grebe looks pretty sharp but on the bird itself we've lost fine feather detail, particularly on the head tufts.

I notice I have the lens focus set to full rather than infinity -3m so not sure if that makes a big difference...
 

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By contrast this image of a Wren, much closer but much smaller and frantic seems to have a better level of detail in poorer light and with slower settings...
 

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That second grebe image does look worse than the first one. I wonder if the focus is slightly off with that one.

Regarding the focus being set to full, as I understand it, with a subject further than 3 metres away you should ideally have it set on infinity-3m. This will stop it hunting for focus closer than 3m.

But I think this is just a way of helping the focus to lock on quicker. I'm not convinced it has any relevance in your case with the grebe images.

With the wren, I noticed you say it was "much closer". Even allowing for the other caveats about that image, I still think that's probably the key difference.

As a test, you could try taking some shots of ducks or other fairly large approachable birds in your local park and see what level of detail you get.

I still think distance, allied to a heavy crop, is the main issue here. But I may be wrong. It has been known.;)

Malcolm
 
It seems to me in the second grebe image that the plant slightly closer than the bird is in perfect focus. If you are able to chose a slightly smaller focus area and get that on the bird or if you can activate some sort of AI bird recognition - I don't shoot your camera so don't know. Another thing to try is manual focus - I have often been able to do that with my Pana camera.

Niels
 
Hello there, I'm certainly no photography expert and while the RX10 is still pretty new to me I'm often happy with the results I get.
However, I've had a few cases recently where when photographing a seemingly 'easy' subject the results don't seem that great.

Take the attached Slav grebe for example, taken from a public hide in great light...why then isn't it in pin sharp focus ?
I use single focus mode with flexible spot S and continuous shooting which you'd have thought would have been fine for a sitting duck...sorry grebe.

Granted, I'm at the max end of the zoom and perhaps a shutter speed of 1/500 isn't the fastest but in the conditions mentioned above, I'd have thought that would have been fine ?

Any help much appreciated.

Am I right in thinking image 2 is a cropped image 1? If so, I'm no expert either, but I think you're asking for miracles - 'just nowhere near close enough to achieve the results you're hoping for. I don't think it's anything to do with your shutter speed.
 
I think the first thing to try is a faster shutter. I’m also not a pro, and very new to this with my own RX10iv, so take my thoughts as from a peer and not an expert. I find that my blurry images are either too slow, too dark, or my AF settings aren’t right for the shot. I only ever reduce my shutter speed below 1000 if the light is low or if I’m trying to play with aperture (in shutter priority mode) on a slow moving bird. I was playing with slower shutter when this Merganser came in and sure wish it were on 1250! if the light allows for it, why not shoot fast!? Also, check that IS is on.
 

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I don't know the camera, but to me 1/500 shutter speed is way too slow. I don't shoot slower than 1/2000 unless I am using a tripod. I suggest that you go and practise on something stationary,using different shutter speeds. Take plenty of photos and spend time checking the results. Also take bursts of photos, in the hope that one or more are better than the rest. 🤞
 
I don't know the camera, but to me 1/500 shutter speed is way too slow. I don't shoot slower than 1/2000 unless I am using a tripod. I suggest that you go and practise on something stationary,using different shutter speeds. Take plenty of photos and spend time checking the results. Also take bursts of photos, in the hope that one or more are better than the rest. 🤞

No offence intended, but I'd suggest something entirely different.

When I first bought a camera, I watched a Chris Bray tutorial, works for the National Geographic, award winning photographer. I reckoned that given his experience he'd be someone worth listening to.

He said something along the lines of: don't get lost in the science, use some simple settings, practice being able to get close to your subject and keeping your camera steady. Not once did he mention being concerned with shutter speed, and he suggested aperture mode, choose your ISO and let the camera do the rest; bear in mind the OPs pictures are not birds in flight. More than anything, he said: enjoy it, it's meant to be a creative, enjoyable pursuit.

In the end, the OP is simply too far away from his subject. He could have the very best settings that his camera affords, but it won't make a blind bit of difference at that distance. He or she needs to get closer and ensure the camera is held steady - lie down or sit down - preferably lie down with your elbows on the ground.
 
Yes, full zoom...tricky in terms of distance probably around 60ft. They're pretty small birds too.

I reckon it would be a mistake to think the answer lies in the camera. I've attached a few pictures at low shutter speeds. I'm using a Nikon P950, by the way, with a smaller sensor than your camera. From memory, I think the woodpecker is 1/80 shutter speed, the kingfisher 1/60, the merganser 1/250 and the chiffchaff 1/500. I have quite a few similar pictures at similar shutter speeds. They're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but then I'm using an 800 quid camera, but they aren't bad at all and they're a product of being able to get close to birds and keep the camera steady far more than any technical skill/knowledge.
 

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The shutter speed has been mentioned a number of times and I am more in line with those who say this is not the end all. For example, in post #6, the focusing mechanism seems to have chosen something else than the bird to focus on, and no amount of shutter speed can help with that.

best
Niels
 
The shutter speed has been mentioned a number of times and I am more in line with those who say this is not the end all. For example, in post #6, the focusing mechanism seems to have chosen something else than the bird to focus on, and no amount of shutter speed can help with that.

best
Niels

Birds in flight, yes, high shutter speed is needed. But, I'm guessing I'm not the only one who has taken pictures on a beautiful, sunny day, with a high shutter speed, only to find the picture is nowhere near as good as expected. Background is another huge factor. He or she is shooting into what looks like not particularly blue water. Take those same pictures with nice, bright, green grass or leaves in the background and they would have turned out a million miles better. Over the course of time, I have found that the difference between say 1/500 and 1/2000 shutter speed, stationary bird, is negligible; and what matters far more is distance, background and a steady camera.
 
Thanks to you all for your responses and thoughts, there’s been quite a bit of discussion and questions so I’ll give my responses in a rather broad way below.

I’ve been using Stephen Ingrahams excellent guide (and settings) on the RX10 as my main source of education with this camera.
So essentially it’s usually in a slightly modified auto mode and occasionally I’ll switch to shutter priority.

I think the question of “what am I doing wrong” arose because while in that hide looking at that Grebe I also had a spotting scope setup, the detailed views were wonderful and so when taking a shot through my camera with a similar reach I was instantly disappointed when I reviewed the picture and asked myself where has all the detail gone ?

Of course the quality of the RX10’s sensor isn’t quite up to the standards of the human eye yet, so perhaps in this scenario I was a little unrealistic in my expectations. I’m guessing if you took the same shot on an equiv lens / FF body the results would be much better. (Not an option for me as I already have enough gear to carry)

Of course with any, but particularly wildlife there’s so many factors which will effect the end result.
Perhaps the one I didn’t think enough about was the size of the bird in frame, in this instance there was no way to get any closer (without trespassing and more importantly disturbing the bird) so I guess sometimes that’s just the way it is. Perhaps in this case atmospheric conditions, a slightly twitchy grebe and good light a higher shutter speed would have given some better results.

I shoot jpeg only, as on a personal level I don’t want to have sift through and convert / process / store many GB’s of images, I spend enough time sitting in front of a computer as it is.

Saying that, I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen of some of the post processing software out there, I wonder how much of that is one click and whether similar results can be achieved with the adobe suites (something which I use with work)

I found myself shooting on AF-S as I found the camera started hunting focus when using AF-C / A perhaps I’m not holding the camera steady enough ? (The Grebe shot was resting on a table)

Clearly more practice all produce better results in time, and the knowledge to adjust the cameras settings in different situations.

Cheers
Mark
 
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