Lens vs Camera

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hallo everyone i am a newbie to this hobby. i currently have 2 cameras: a manual focus canon ae-1 for learning purposes and a minolta dynax 5 with standard 28-80mm and 35-210mm lenses which i use for everyday photo taking. my question is regarding the autofocus camera, and i am hoping some people would give me some comments based on experience. until now, i am often disappointed by the lack of sharpness or clarity on the pictures taken with the dynax. once in a while, i get lucky and the picture is very nice on both fronts. but in most case, the sharpness and clarity leaves a lot to be desired. my father in law has a canon EOS300 using a 50mm 1.4 lens and his photographs (sometimes from same event) come out looking much sharper. needless to say, he takes a dig at me saying it comes from years of experience. i am assuming the 2 cameras are not significantly different quality wise so my guess is it's the lens? we both take pictures using the auto settings on the camera.

i haven't had time to read/learn much about manual settings so depending on the camera's auto programs still. in the meantime can anyone enlighten on possible reasons why there is such a marked difference between my father in law's pics and mine? i am getting so curious that am tempted to splurge on a canon with his exact type of lenses just to see if indeed the problem is my picture taking!

-- J S (soelistyo@pacific.net.sg), December 10, 2002


Hi JS,

Since you mentioned that sometimes you get some nice sharp shots, I assume there's nothing wrong with the lenses and the camera.

A couple of questions:

1) Were you using autofocus when the pics were taken? If so, your camera was probably focusing on something else, say behind or infront of the subject, when the shutter was fired. One way to over come this is to ensure that focus is locked on the subject. Most AF cameras have a focus lock, or some feature which allows you to do this.

2) What shutter speed were you using when picture was taken? As a genreal guide, try to avoid shutter speeds slower than the focal lenght of your lens. Say, if you focal length is 60mm, try to keep your shutter speed at 1/60 sec, if focal length is 120mm, set shutter no slower than 1/100 sec (there is no 1/120 shutter speed). As the focal length increases, camera shake becomes more problematic. Slower speeds will compound this problem.

I suggest you put the Dynax away and use the canon. This camera has shutter and apperture priority modes, I think it also has AE mode where the camera selects both apperture and shutter settings to get the right exposure, you simply focus manually. I reckon you'll find a marked improvement in your pictures.

hope this helps.


-- PM (gundam78sg@yahoo.com), December 11, 2002.

thank you PM. i bought a 50mm 1.7 lens for the Minolta and it now works like a charm. total improvement on the photos!

-- J S (soelistyo@pacific.net.sg), December 17, 2002.

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