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I have an a6400 and looking for a zoom lense for soccer and baseball....I have the 55-210 and looking for a better lense. Pics are not sharp when u zoom in on them. Maybe my settings are not right on the camera? Don't think I am zoomed out to 210 in the pic but when u zoom in on it it's just not clear

DSC01479.JPG

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What shutter speed did you use in this image? Seems like pretty fast-paced action so a short shutter speed is needed to prevent motion blur.

Do a couple of test on static subjects in good lighting at ISO 100 to be sure it's your lens that's the limiting factor and not your camera settings. If this is the case and you really want something better for your a6400, I'd suggest the Sony 70-350 G OSS.

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In addition to fast moving subjects, the longer the focal length the more likely there will be blurring -- even with a static subject -- unless you use a tripod.

Don't blame the lens until you run a couple of simple, quick tests.

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Posted (edited)

You need a shutter speed of at least 1/1000th of a second, faster if the ambient light coupled with your camera's ISO performance allows it.  Keep your aperture around f8/f10 but not any wider open. Keep in mind that the longer your lens the shallower your depth of field will be, eg a 500mm lens at f8 and your focus point at 100 feet will have a DoF of less than four feet, i.e. everything more than 1 foot in front of and 3 foot behind your focus point will be increasingly out of focus.  You can decrease your aperture to f16 or f22 to increase the DoF but doing so will affect your image quality. You need to experiment and find out what the best settings are for your particular requirements.

Edited by alasdairmac
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9 hours ago, XKAES said:

In addition to fast moving subjects, the longer the focal length the more likely there will be blurring -- even with a static subject -- unless you use a tripod.

Don't blame the lens until you run a couple of simple, quick tests.

Not blaming just want to fine tune it or change lenses that work better for me

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At 1/3200 sec, shutter speed won't be the problem. Might even be a bit overkill. ISO 1600 on the other hand might cause some loss of sharpness, especially with the agressive in-camera noise reduction on jpegs.

Try some shots of static subjects at ISO 1600, 400 and 100 to determine if ISO-noise at 1600 is causing your sharpness problem. If all images look the same to you, noise is not your problem. Personally I never go over 3200 unless I'm shooting at night.

The lens sharpens up a little bit if you stop down from F/6.3 to F/8, so this might help (although at the cost of shutter speed or ISO of course).

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15 minutes ago, Pieter said:

At 1/3200 sec, shutter speed won't be the problem. Might even be a bit overkill. ISO 1600 on the other hand might cause some loss of sharpness, especially with the agressive in-camera noise reduction on jpegs.

Try some shots of static subjects at ISO 1600, 400 and 100 to determine if ISO-noise at 1600 is causing your sharpness problem. If all images look the same to you, noise is not your problem. Personally I never go over 3200 unless I'm shooting at night.

The lens sharpens up a little bit if you stop down from F/6.3 to F/8, so this might help (although at the cost of shutter speed or ISO of course).

Ok thanks I'll try that and see 

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Jeff_83 said:

Camera settings 

Screenshot_20210608-165622_Gallery.jpg

Since you were at an extreme shutter speed, the problem is either poor focus or lack of sharpness of the lens.

Some things to try for a sliding into home base shot:

- Turn off face autofocus and set autofocus to center or spot.

- Either focus on home base and wait for the player to slide in *or* focus on the player and pan with him. For either approach you might want a slower shutter to allow some motion blur.

- I don’t think the 55-210 is as sharp at max focal length, so you might try backing off a little, say to 180 or so?

- Try setting continuous shooting to Mid or Low (which gives the lens more time to focus).

- Make sure your aperture setting is not greater than 8, as that makes it hard to focus. If it is, reduce the ISO or increase shutter speed.

I’m just brainstorming, but try experiments like this in non-critical events.

Also, see Sony’s advice:

https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/articles/00059736

Part of the problem may be the limited focus speed of that zoom lens. A higher end lens might have no problem with your current settings. I recently got an SEL70350G and love it, but it’s much more expensive than the kit lens.

 

Edited by Nextguitar
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1 hour ago, Nextguitar said:

Since you were at an extreme shutter speed, the problem is either poor focus or lack of sharpness of the lens.

Some things to try for a sliding into home base shot:

- Turn off face autofocus and set autofocus to center or spot.

- Either focus on home base and wait for the player to slide in *or* focus on the player and pan with him. For either approach you might want a slower shutter to allow some motion blur.

- I don’t think the 55-210 is as sharp at max focal length, so you might try backing off a little, say to 180 or so?

- Try setting continuous shooting to Mid or Low (which gives the lens more time to focus).

- Make sure your aperture setting is not greater than 8, as that makes it hard to focus. If it is, reduce the ISO or increase shutter speed.

I’m just brainstorming, but try experiments like this in non-critical events.

Also, see Sony’s advice:

https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/articles/00059736

Part of the problem may be the limited focus speed of that zoom lens. A higher end lens might have no problem with your current settings. I recently got an SEL70350G and love it, but it’s much more expensive than the kit lens.

 

Ok thanks

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Another suggestion: Before attempting to capture action shots with that lens, learn to take the sharpest possible still photos with it at a similar distance and lighting conditions. Watch or read some tutorials on sharp photography, then go back to that playfield with a tripod and and see how sharp you can get the still objects. If you use all the best practices and the still photos still aren’t sharp enough for you, you’ve probably found the limitations of that kit lens.

You might practice with the camera in manual mode, auto ISO, and manual focus. Start with a mid-range focal length (around 120 mm), mid-range aperture (around 8.0 and a fairly low shutter speed. Use a timer for the shutter release to minimize vibration. That’s where the lens is sharpest.

Then, changing nothing else try different focal lengths. See how close you can get to 210 before the lens gets unacceptably soft.

Then, set the focal length to 210 (or close to it) and try all the available aperture settings. How far can you open the aperture at maximum zoom before the image gets too soft?

Now, set the lens to the maximum acceptable focal length and widest acceptable aperture and increase the shutter speed by factors of two. This will cause ISO to double for each doubling in shutter speed. Watch how the noise increases. This will help you understand the tradeoff between freezing motion and producing noise when using that lens.

Once you’ve gone through this process you’ll know the limitations of that lens in manual mode and you can move on to learning to take sharp auto-focus shots with it, first with still subjects, then with action. I need to go through this process with my own new lens.

Also, the following short tutorial by Steve Perry is great. He’s discussing wildlife photography, but much of it can apply to sports.

 

Edited by Nextguitar
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I guess the above post is pretty comprehensive but in essence spot on. In summary, if you suffer from poor image quality:

  1. Question your own skills and knowledge of photography in general;
  2. Question your camera settings and expectations, given the environmental conditions and use case;
  3. Question wether you fully utilized your lenses characteristics for optimal performance;
  4. Question the quality of your lens.

To prevent disappointment, only when you've ruled out 1-3 as possible causes for lack of sharpness does it make sense to buy an upgrade.

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