Hi all I'm new to this so please forgive me for any incorrect phrases or poor explanations. So here goes...

For years now I've never been able to take consistent photos that I'm fully happy with. A little bit of background about myself, I photograph "TRAINS" and that means moving and static subjects. My main issue is they never look clear/sharp - the main problem is Motion Blur/Double vision.

enter image description here

I've uploaded part of an image that I took no more than 3 days ago. If you zoom in you will see the tree to the right is very blurry, almost like double vision. I can assure you the train itself was in focus a little better but other bits of the photo were the same...

I would also like to say I understand Depth of Field/Shutter Speed/F-stop/ISO/Continuous-Focus and so forth and yes this was taken using a tripod using a Nikon D750 and a SIGMA 24-105 F/4...

I'M NOW AT MY WIT'S END AS "everybody else" seems to be able to take descent photos. Please please help.

enter image description here

  • How are you focusing? Auto focus, manual focus? In the photo you posted ( there is no train ) what were you focusing on? i can not find anything in focus.
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 16, 2018 at 19:57
  • Hi I was using back button continuous Auto focus and the camera was set in Shutter priority mode. I do apologise about the train not being in the image but I can assue you the Focus point was set in the centre as it is most times.. and I know you cant really tell but it was quite sunny and bright that day too.
    – JOHN BOY M
    Apr 16, 2018 at 20:01
  • What are your aperture and speed?
    – Olivier
    Apr 16, 2018 at 20:09
  • Shutter speed was set at 1250 and I believe the camera chose F5.6 AND my ISO was 320 ...but can I just say I have other photos that were fired of at the same time and as the train got nearer to me different areas of the photo are out of focus like the uploaded image e
    – JOHN BOY M
    Apr 16, 2018 at 20:11
  • Without the train in the field of view the center would focus far beyond the tracks. If i am shooting a train i use manual focus and focus on the the tracks so i am already focused BEFORE the train enters the frame. I also try to use a small enough fstop to get good depth of field and a fast enough shutter speed to stop the motion of the train. That means using an ISO high enough to achieve both of those objectives. Again i can not see any part of the image that is in focus. ??
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 16, 2018 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


I think the problem is, the lens/camera combination you are using cannot meet your expiations. Top that with the fact that most lenses are compromised when tasked to work at or near their maximum aperture. If I am right, you can run a simple test. Compose a shot similar to what you have posted. Make sure the visa contains electric lines and their associated poles plus trees. Set the camera on a tripod and focus on a distant tree or power line. Now shoot a series covering each f-stop your camera/lens has. Shoot the first a f/4 and note the shutter speed. Now stop down to 5.6 by cutting the shutter speed in half. Now shoot f/8, again cutting the shutter speed in half. Now shoot f/11, again cutting the shutter speed in half. I will bet that the shots at f/8 and f/11 will be just fine.

What you will have discovered is, every lens has “sweet spot” when it comes to aperture. As a rule of thumb, this will be about 2 f-stops stopped down from the maximum. Clarifying cut shutter in half -- each time you stop down, less light enters the camera, you must compensate by allowing the shutter to remain open twice as long.

As to focus: Your shots are essentially “landscapes” meaning most of the content is quite distant. My advice, for now, set your camera’s focus to infinity and take your shot. To refine, read about “hyperfocal distance”. This is a distance focusing setting that keeps infinity (as far as the eye can see) in focus while maximizing the focus of foreground objects. If you learn about hyperfocal, it will make a big difference (improvement).

  • cheers Alan how do I set my camera to focus infinity please it's a nikon D750 and the lens is a sigma 24-105 .....cheers john
    – JOHN BOY M
    Apr 17, 2018 at 5:26
  • 2
    @ John Boy M --- It won’t do you any harm if you read the manual! This camera has built-in scene modes created by some of the best photo engineers in the business. See page 41 and learn to set your camera on “Landscape”. Also check out page 129 “Focus Lock”. On page 132 you can learn to manually focus. Also, look up ”hyperfocal” in other sources. If you set your camera to the “hyperfocal distance”, your train images will be optimized. Apr 17, 2018 at 16:48

Mention of your focus point selection seems quite important. Where and how are you focusing? Are you using Single Point focus, and are you positioning it at the exact point where you want it to focus? With Multi-point, we don't really know where it focused. Single Point completely controls it.

You can select a camera option to display the focus point (to show where it did focus) in the image preview in the camera (displayed while still in the camera). This is the Playback Menu, Playback Display Options, then Focus Point, page 300 of your D750 manual.

Critical use will KNOW where their focus point is, and this will verify where it was. With Single Point, you will already just know where it was. You can move the Single Point around in the view finder with the arrow keys.

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