How Can I Get Sharp, Vivid Images with Canon 40D & 70-200mm f/2.8 Is lens? Plez Help!
Greetings! Can some help me and tell me how I can get sharper and vivid images with my Canon 40D and 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens when shooting outdoor? What settings for the camera and for the lens? The eyes in the images I shot seem NOT to be sharp and in focus, and they are somewhat overexposed. The definition and color seem to be flat. I shot outdoor with a reflector, using natural sunlight..

Here are my settings on the Camera:Shooting modeMANUAL, portrait.At f/2.8, around 150s, iso 160, 150mm..

An example of the photos:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comments (7)

Where was the focus point? At f/2.8 the lens is going to have a very small depth of field. If your focus point was not set on the eyes, then it is possible the eyes are not sharp because they were not withing the depth of field at the wide open aperture..

Was IS turned on? Your shutter speed of 1/150th is marginal for handholding a large lens such an f/2.8 telezoom. Your best bet for portraiture is to set the focus point on the eyes....I use the center focus point only, focus and lock on the eyes then recompose the image and shoot. A tripod would also be useful..

As far a color processing, since I do not shoot Canon, I'm not sure how to change setting for image processing, but my guess is most of the perceived flatness is probably due to lighting, as the lens quality is not going to be an issue. You can always punch up the color and contrast in image processing though..

JohnPentax *ist-D, K100D, Fuji F20/31fd, Oly Stylus

Comment #1

Your shutter speed was too slow, your ISO setting to low, your aperture too wide (leading to too little depth of field your lens is nice and sharp, according to the folds in her dress at the bustline) her dress was too pale, your exposure was off just a touch, the day was too overcast, .....

This is one of those times when a gold reflector would have helped..

Your photo is easy to adjust in Photoshop Elements tiny changes to hue, saturation, brightness make lots of positive difference..

I guess buying thousands of dollars worth of equipment leads to expectations that there's no need to study photgraphy in order to get good pictures..

That expectation is false..

Get our the instruction book, a tripod, and a notebook, and experiment with the parameters settings. In this case, changing the contrast settings inside the camera would have improved the picture. So would changing the saturation settings..

With those settings, learn to look at the shadows case by your subjects. If there are sharp, black, shadows, lower your contrast. If there are mooderate medium grey shadows, contrast is probably fine in the middle of the scale..

If thre are no shadows, crank the contrast up to plus two; same if it is raining..

In the olden days, we changed film to accomplish this; now all you need is a thousand dollar camera..

About that particular shot; unfortunately Photoshop Elelments can't fix the focus point and the lousy depth fo field, but it can fix the colors. Try again, at f5.6, at 1/250 of a second, at whatever ISO setting permits this..

About focus choices: if you use one shot autofocus, and she moves two inches toward you after you focus, and you move one inch toward her, you'll be focussed threee inches ahead of her eyes. That's not good..

This is one of the reasons that image stabilization is an expensive gimmick that is not as useful as a tripod. It fools photographers into being careless and lazy and not bothering with a tripod..

If she'll dress up and look as beautiful once more for you, you'll get a nice portrait..


Comment #2

Have a look at this on-line dpeth-of-field calculator:.


Setting it for your camera, f/2.8, focal length 150 mm, and guessing a distance of 12 feet to the subject.... the depth of field is just 0.1 feet (about one inch) in front of and behind the focus point. So if your camera focussed on her dress, or the tip of her nose, or if either of you moved the slightest amount between focussing and shooting, the face will be slightly out of focus. Also as others have pointed out, the shutter speed is at the limit for hand-holding at that focal length so there may be a tiny bit of camera shake..

Increase the ISO so that you can use a narrower aperture and/or faster shutter speed; use a tripod / monopod. Contrast / saturation etc. can be fixed in Photoshop..

It's still a pretty nice photo!.

Best wishesMike..

Comment #3

It should be pretty sharp unless you have a focus problem, IS was not on, or the model was not steady..

As for the picture styles I feel that standard works the best..

Seems you need to bump up the saturation and contrast because of the flat light though..


Comment #4

Actual figures from the exif are:.

Exposure Time = 1/160"F Number = F3.5Exposure Program = ManualISO Speed Ratings = 125Focal Length = 148mm.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #5

What picture style do you shoot in? Are you fluent with post processing? A big way to get vivid or well exposed pictures is to PP if you have the time. Yes, I know, it's better to nail it when you take it, but I've recovered quite a few shots after the fact, and it might be something to look into. As others have pointed out, 2.8 is very narrow, I usually shoot at 5.6 just because of the DOF I get for general purpose. With faces, this leads to barely OOF eyes, trailing to the ears and beyond. This is good for me, but traditional portraits (whole face in focus) favors f/8. With your shooting conditions and 40D camera, I would've bumped up the ISO and tried f/8, or atleast 5.6...

Comment #6

As others have mentioned you need a smaller aperture and a faster shutter speed, you could also try a wider focal length. From what I understand most people suggest a focal length between 70-135mm for portraits. Given you are shooting a crop camera you had an effective focal length of 237mm..

At 150mm your DOF is going to be razor thin at f2.8 for any subject that is close to you, I have no idea how far away she was but for example with DOFmaster ( ) if you were 20 feet away your DOF would only be around 4 inches at 10ft it would be less than an inch..

Mr. Fixitx..

Comment #7

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