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I recently shot some pictures for a graduation where the audience is seated like a hockey arena around 50m distance from the stage.

I used a Nikon D5200 with Tamron 90mm Macro lens f/2.8 VC and am disappointed on the focus of my shots.

Any suggestion on what to upgrade for this kind of situation? The only telescopic lens I have is the 55-200mm kit lens and I didn't use it.

Side question: I assume my SB-700 AF assist doesn't help at this kind of range?

Sample shots:

sample 1

sample 2

  • The question is about different specific camera gear but it is essentially the same question. The accepted answer is certainly applicable to your question as well. the best way to improve image sharpness on Canon 700D – Michael C Jul 4 '18 at 3:47
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    Possible duplicate of How do I diagnose the source of focus problem in a camera? – Michael C Jul 4 '18 at 3:57
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    The D5200 is better at ISO 3200 than the 7D. The D5200 sensor pretty much outperforms the 7D sensor at every metric measured by DxO. It's not the gear... – Michael C Jul 4 '18 at 4:22
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    first time I heard that shooting full stop of ISOs is better than it's 1/3 stop behind though. Might do some testing on that – MDuh Jul 4 '18 at 4:35
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    The 1/3 stop ISO thing varies depending on the sensor design and the way the camera has been set up by the designers to handle different ISO settings. Almost all Canon DSLRs since about 2004 are set up that way. Nikon cameras can vary from one model to the next, with some of the Sony sensors having actual amplification for every 1/3 stop step, and other models doing it 'push/pull' from the "whole stops'. – Michael C Jul 4 '18 at 5:30
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In my opinion the images are in focus, but the noise is making the soft and appear out of focus.
Since you have not included any deatils in the photos it's hard to give suggestions.
But I assume you shot at 2.8 and I see in the comments you write 1/1600 ISO 3200

Did you really have 1/1600?
What did you expect was going to happen so fast that you need 1/1600 to capture it?
At 90 mm with crop sensor you have 135 mm full frame. That means 1/125 is the closest equivilent.
But I would probably go for 1/250 and add a little ISO.
1/250 would probably been fast enough to not get motion or shake blur and have less noise from the high ISO.

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From what I can gather from your shots, I'm assuming that in order to attempt and thwart the low light situation, you opted for a larger aperture to allow more light in. Whilst this does work, it also comes with a shallower depth of field which is not what you're after here considering you have a larger subject.

In this case, you would need to use a smaller aperture to increase depth of field & get more of your shot in focus, increase the shutter speed and bump the ISO setting. Unfortunately, an APS-C sensor is not the best for low light situations.

What I personally would have done is that I would have moved in closer and used an external flash to illuminate the subject so you can freeze the subject better and reduce the need to increase the ISO as much as that will help cut down the noise in your image.

That said, you seem to be headed in the right direction but I would focus more of my attention on composition more than anything else at this stage.

Sean

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