I have a Nikon D70 and it seems like whenever I use manual focus everything will look very sharp through the view finder and on the camera screen, however when I open the pictures up on my computer they are almost always out of focus. I am not sure if this is something wrong with my camera, or if I am doing something wrong. I always shoot in manual with a 1/250 - 1/100 shutter speed and as low as of an aperture (usually 3.5 or 4.5) I can get with what lenses I have. Here is the most recent example of a picture that looked really sharp through the view finder but came out very soft and seemingly out of focus. http://imgur.com/omBQsQE That picture was taken at 300mm, 1/125 shutter speed, and 3.5 on f stop.

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    Possible duplicate of How does one get manual focus right with a fast-aperture lens?
    – mattdm
    Dec 19 '15 at 16:40
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    I'm sure there's a duplicate for it as well, but the real issue for this question, based on the linked photo, is camera movement, not narrow aperture. And many of us don't consider f/3.5-4.5 to be a fast aperture at focal lengths shorter than super telephoto.
    – Michael C
    Dec 19 '15 at 21:39

That's looks like camera shake to me.

You need to use a faster shutter speed or flash. You can trade ISO for shutter speed.

Another alternative is to use a tripod and a long exposure at low ISO. You would ideally trigger the shutter with a timer to avoid touching the camera and causing vibrations.

  • Hmm, maybe you are right. I always shoot from hand. I will go try bumping up the shutter speed.
    – Zach443
    Dec 19 '15 at 16:52
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    Bumped shutter speed up to 1/640 and results were much better. Thank you!
    – Zach443
    Dec 19 '15 at 17:08
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    The long lens magnification magnifies the camera shake too. The old rule of thumb (for photographers careful to be steady) is a Minimum shutter speed of 1/focal length, or 1/300 second for a 300mm lens. But the D70 is a DX sensor (1.5x crop), so that becomes 1/300 x 1.5 = 1/450 second, Minimum shutter speed for 300mm lenses. Higher yet for shaky or careless people, possibly sometimes a bit lower for rock solid steady people. A tripod can help too (using the self timer to allow a few seconds for shutter finger shake to settle down).
    – WayneF
    Dec 19 '15 at 18:12
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    Don't forget that the 1/(focal length x crop factor) rule of thumb is for viewing an 8x10 display size at a distance of 12 inches. If you enlarge the viewing size then you must factor that in as well. Viewing a 24MP file at 100% on an HD monitor with 96ppi pitch is like viewing a part of a 60x40 print! Even if viewing from 2 feet away the rule of thumb becomes 1/( focal length x crop factor x 3).
    – Michael C
    Dec 19 '15 at 21:20

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