I am not pro-photographer but do some basic photography as my hobby. I have Nikon D800 with 25-85 3.5 - 4.5 G lens. I sometimes look pictures taken with D800 with same lens and they look incredibly sharp. Anything that I am missing? Thanks everyone! Some images here on aperture priority mode: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/sc66jbg68p2n3f0/AAAZk0szwuQbpLk3g3-Ji-KSa?dl=0
On the Nikon Cameras, the best setting for NON Moving objects ( buildings, flowers, Macro, Portraits) will be the AF-S mode.( Singe Focus Mode)
The camera will lock onto a single object and remain focused until the finger is released. result will be a sharp Picture.
From previous experience, I have noticed that the Nikon Cameras are set to AF-A as a default.
This although a great all round focusing method, is not a dedicated Single Area Focus Method because it relies on the onboard computer to determine if there is anything moving in the frame. If there is, say a bird, or a slight movement of your hand, it will change to the AF-C Mode (used for moving Objects) and this can sometimes throw off your focus slightly and give you that slightly blurry image compared to a very sharp image.
Other areas that I pay special emphasis on when taking photos of buildings are as follows;
Tripod or beanbag on a wall.
I also tend to shoot such subjects with the self timer to avoid any camera shake, that is if I don’t have a remote release.
Sometimes I may even lock the Mirror, specially if it is Macro shooting where there is a greater chance of camera shake.
I always pick the focus point manually. When you view the dots through the viewfinder, set manually the area you want to be your main focus.
I also ensure that I use an Aperture where I have everything in focus based on the dept of field. Generally f8.0 or higher.
If I have to use the camera in hand and not on a tripod, then the shutter speed is very crucial, even if that now means that the ISO has to go high.
As a minimum, I will ensure that my shutter speed is always slightly higher that the focal length of the lens. If I am shooting with 200mm lens, then I ensure that my shutter speed is higher than 200sec.
You can also set a back button button for focusing, and also play with different stances for handholding. Left hand over your right bicep creates a very solid platform to rest your camera on and can help create steady shots
If none of the above improves your pictures, then there could be back/front focusing issue. You may need to check out how to on Youtube of your camera. It is a simple process and will help
Please also note, Trees can also sometimes make an image look a little blurry if it is a slight windy day. Cure; higher shutter speed or wait till the wind drops.
Hope this help and good luck
Two of the photos I examined were taken at f/13. By f/11, considerable degradation from diffraction has set in and only gets worse at f/13. Please see: http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/768-nikkorafs2485vrff?start=1
Using a smaller aperture requires a longer exposure time, in your case 1/60th second. At a focal length of 85mm, blur from camera shake will be evident. Had you taken the photos at f/8 or even f/5.6, the exposure time would have been shorter and blur less evident.
Of course, sharpness will be improved dramatically by using a tripod. I realize that good tripods are expensive and cumbersome to carry and set up, but the D800 is an awesome instrument and deserves a solid platform.