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EricaSerena

XT2 and 16-55 focussing issues. Lens or user error?

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Hey all. I'm new to the Fuji system. I recently bought the XT2 and a couple of lenses (16-55 and 90mm) for travelling, and felt it was a bit of a waste to only use on holidays, so I've been shooting on it at weddings these past few weeks and loving it.

BUT.... I'm struggling to figure out whether the out of focus images I'm getting on my 16-55mm with far away subjects in particular, are due to the camera, the limitations of the lens or focal length choice, the focussing modes used, or if it's just me not nailing focus? So I'd love some insight from more experience Fuji users. I have one photo which is very far away from this set and shot on 16mm and it's pin sharp. Then the rest of this set was shot around 30-ish mm and all are very soft. Even the closer up ones, but definitely not as bad. This makes me think it's the focal length, but I'd love to hear opinions.

Photos attached are of the zoomed in version. You can see to left how much it's been zoomed in by. At full frame they all look fine on screen, but zoomed in, definitely not harp.   

Keen to hear what people think the issue is. Thank you!

 

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.35.15 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.34.12 AM.jpg

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K1W1_Mk2   

Were the couple walking when either or both shots were taken? It's hard to tell from the crops but it looks like that might have been.

At the f2.8 aperture used you have a fairly small DOF and if the couple were moving towards or away from you even with AF-C on (was it?) they may have moved out of focus.

Was there a reason why you used f2.8 for shots that are so distant from the camera?

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53 minutes ago, K1W1_Mk2 said:

Were the couple walking when either or both shots were taken? It's hard to tell from the crops but it looks like that might have been.

At the f2.8 aperture used you have a fairly small DOF and if the couple were moving towards or away from you even with AF-C on (was it?) they may have moved out of focus.

Was there a reason why you used f2.8 for shots that are so distant from the camera?

Yes, the couple were walking. BUT, I've just looked over a bunch of other photos from the same wedding and shot on that lens and I'm finding similar issues.

There's shots on 16mm which are pin sharp and they were walking. Not particularly fast, I might add. A set of completely stationery posed photos on F4 are also soft (on 22.7mm). Other walking shots (on 55mm) in the church at F4 and on AF-C were practically all out of focus even though I had it set to track the subject. The bride walking down the aisle was better, but it could be because she was walking slower maybe.  Couple walking back down the aisle at end of ceremony shot on 16mm are all sharp except ones with movement. Shot on 1/100th sec so some are blurry, but you can see it's because of the shutter speed. The others are sharp. 

So I'm starting to think this lens performs better at certain focal lengths and aperture combos. The sample shots I posted were shot on 2.8 probably because I simply forgot to change the aperture ring since I'm still getting the hang of this new system. Regardless though, I often shoot below F5.6 for the majority of my work. This wouldn't have happened on my Canon, hence why I'm trying to get to the bottom of this.

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artuk   

almost impossible to answer without knowing:

- single shot or continuous AF

- which focus mode (spot, size of spot, zonal, wide area)

- single shot or continuous drive mode

I'm tempted to say the camera is simply not focusing quickly and accurately enough with movement, but it can be greatly influenced by the modes you are using above.

same issues with other lenses or only that zoom?

 

sounds suspiciously like a lens or camera issue, assuming the camera can focus correctly with other lenses in the same focus modes.

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More than a few copies of this lens have been found to have a de-centering issue. I assume this would be more obvious at either/both longer focal lengths and wider apertures. Really need to see some pictures without movement (esp back and forward) to remove that from the equation and full exif.

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8 hours ago, artuk said:

almost impossible to answer without knowing:

- single shot or continuous AF

- which focus mode (spot, size of spot, zonal, wide area)

- single shot or continuous drive mode

I'm tempted to say the camera is simply not focusing quickly and accurately enough with movement, but it can be greatly influenced by the modes you are using above.

same issues with other lenses or only that zoom?

 

sounds suspiciously like a lens or camera issue, assuming the camera can focus correctly with other lenses in the same focus modes.

My general settings are single point focus (91 points), single shot. Face detection off (wondering if I should switch it on to see what happens). When taking walking shots, I switch the lever to C and change the focus point to  a 9 point zone. This is what I was recommended. I was advised leaving it on single mode would cause more photos to be OOF as the focusing point would be too precise. I find focussing very quick, but after looking at photos, obviously not accurate. There just seems to be an overall softness to the entire image. I only have 2 lenses for now. My 90mm I mainly use for close up stuff, so it's hard to compare as I don't have any issues with close up photos. I did a handful of further away shots on f2.8 on my 90mm, and they're sharp, so it's just this lens. I'll try to attach more photos so you can see a variety. It's not just this wedding either.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.02.31 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.02.31 AM (2).jpg

8 hours ago, artuk said:

almost impossible to answer without knowing:

- single shot or continuous AF

- which focus mode (spot, size of spot, zonal, wide area)

- single shot or continuous drive mode

I'm tempted to say the camera is simply not focusing quickly and accurately enough with movement, but it can be greatly influenced by the modes you are using above.

same issues with other lenses or only that zoom?

 

sounds suspiciously like a lens or camera issue, assuming the camera can focus correctly with other lenses in the same focus modes.

More photos

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.04.18 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.04.23 AM.jpg

8 hours ago, artuk said:

almost impossible to answer without knowing:

- single shot or continuous AF

- which focus mode (spot, size of spot, zonal, wide area)

- single shot or continuous drive mode

I'm tempted to say the camera is simply not focusing quickly and accurately enough with movement, but it can be greatly influenced by the modes you are using above.

same issues with other lenses or only that zoom?

 

sounds suspiciously like a lens or camera issue, assuming the camera can focus correctly with other lenses in the same focus modes.

 

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.06.26 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.06.30 AM.jpg

8 hours ago, artuk said:

almost impossible to answer without knowing:

- single shot or continuous AF

- which focus mode (spot, size of spot, zonal, wide area)

- single shot or continuous drive mode

I'm tempted to say the camera is simply not focusing quickly and accurately enough with movement, but it can be greatly influenced by the modes you are using above.

same issues with other lenses or only that zoom?

 

sounds suspiciously like a lens or camera issue, assuming the camera can focus correctly with other lenses in the same focus modes.

 

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.07.59 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.07.59 AM (2).jpg

8 hours ago, artuk said:

almost impossible to answer without knowing:

- single shot or continuous AF

- which focus mode (spot, size of spot, zonal, wide area)

- single shot or continuous drive mode

I'm tempted to say the camera is simply not focusing quickly and accurately enough with movement, but it can be greatly influenced by the modes you are using above.

same issues with other lenses or only that zoom?

 

sounds suspiciously like a lens or camera issue, assuming the camera can focus correctly with other lenses in the same focus modes.

Last example of a non moving subject and fairly close up shot, yet still soft.

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.36.24 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.36.24 AM (2).jpg

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8 hours ago, veejaycee said:

More than a few copies of this lens have been found to have a de-centering issue. I assume this would be more obvious at either/both longer focal lengths and wider apertures. Really need to see some pictures without movement (esp back and forward) to remove that from the equation and full exif.

What's a de-centering issue? I'm not sure what that means. I've uploaded more photos of both moving subjects and stationary subjects where I think shutter speed and camera shake can be ruled out. Thank you 

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1 hour ago, EricaSerena said:

What's a de-centering issue? I'm not sure what that means. I've uploaded more photos of both moving subjects and stationary subjects where I think shutter speed and camera shake can be ruled out. Thank you 

It seems your copy of the lens may be defective, one of the lens elements inside may have become misaligned and is causing the lens to incorrectly focus. If the lens was simply focusing in the wrong place, you'd be able to identify at least some point of focus, but if the camera thought it was focusing accurately with no warning otherwise, and the images are still this out of focus, the lens itself is probably the issue.

I presume it's still covered under a warranty? Perhaps you're still in the exchange or return period?

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46 minutes ago, Christopher said:

It seems your copy of the lens may be defective, one of the lens elements inside may have become misaligned and is causing the lens to incorrectly focus. If the lens was simply focusing in the wrong place, you'd be able to identify at least some point of focus, but if the camera thought it was focusing accurately with no warning otherwise, and the images are still this out of focus, the lens itself is probably the issue.

I presume it's still covered under a warranty? Perhaps you're still in the exchange or return period?

Yes, it's under warranty. I haven't had it long. I'm thinking I might need to do some tests on it at different apertures and focal lengths... I'm just trying to figure out how much of an influence the different metering modes would also have on this.

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artuk   
10 hours ago, veejaycee said:

More than a few copies of this lens have been found to have a de-centering issue. I assume this would be more obvious at either/both longer focal lengths and wider apertures. Really need to see some pictures without movement (esp back and forward) to remove that from the equation and full exif.

normally a decentred lens has uneven sharpness on one side of the frame compared to the other (or towards one corner). With zooms it may be more of an issue at some lengths than others, but generally tends to show up across many focal lengths. A decentred lens should still focus sharply but not be even across the frame. A lens that wont focus sharply anywhere suggests some other issue, possibly with the focusing group.

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artuk   

I'm confused by your statement about settings.

for moving subjects you need to be in continuous AF.

I don't know what 9 point zone is. Single point (spot) AF is unsuited to movement.

For movement I wold suggest either zonal focusing (let the camera choose from a larger focus area that covers the whole area of movement) or some kind of tracking mode if Fuji has that (don't have any of the newer cameras). Face detection would be another option if it can be combined with continuous AF (again, don't know, the 2 things may be mutually exclusive)

you need the try with both lenses to identify if the problem is the lens or the camera.

1 hour ago, Christopher said:

It seems your copy of the lens may be defective, one of the lens elements inside may have become misaligned and is causing the lens to incorrectly focus. If the lens was simply focusing in the wrong place, you'd be able to identify at least some point of focus, but if the camera thought it was focusing accurately with no warning otherwise, and the images are still this out of focus, the lens itself is probably the issue.

I presume it's still covered under a warranty? Perhaps you're still in the exchange or return period?

I don't agree. The camera focuses off the main sensor through the lens. If the lens cannot focus correctly, how could the camera think it has achieved focus?

if the camera thinks it has focused sharply, and is working correctly, I'm confused how a picture could be out of focus (ruling out movement etc). All the misfocusing I've seen with mirrorless is when the camera thinks it has focused correctly but actually hasn't .

 

also does Fuji firmware have a concept of allowing the shutter to be released even when focus isn't locked?

other systems allow shutter priority over af when in continuous focus or continuous shooting, which will result in out of focus pictures

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artuk   
1 hour ago, EricaSerena said:

Yes, it's under warranty. I haven't had it long. I'm thinking I might need to do some tests on it at different apertures and focal lengths... I'm just trying to figure out how much of an influence the different metering modes would also have on this.

metering modes have no influence on focusing.

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K1W1_Mk2   
59 minutes ago, artuk said:

also does Fuji firmware have a concept of allowing the shutter to be released even when focus isn't locked?

Yes

 

I assume by 9 point focussing the OP means zone focusing within a selectable 9 point grid (3x3 focus points). The camera will automatically track focus within that 3x3 grid. The problem I can see with that set up at f2.8 in many of the shots presented here the 3x3 grid is going to be an area way, way bigger than the subjects head due to the distance from the camera and the camera may well be focussing on something behind or beside the subject. To me on the examples shown with the lens and aperture used the 9 point grid would be the last thing I would be using.

I really think the OP needs to spend time with the camera and lenses in a controlled environment and to learn how to use them rather than charging wedding customers while experimenting with unfamiliar equipment.

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2 minutes ago, artuk said:

metering modes have no influence on focusing.

I meant focussing modes. Not metering modes. 

49 minutes ago, artuk said:

I'm confused by your statement about settings.

for moving subjects you need to be in continuous AF.

I don't know what 9 point zone is. Single point (spot) AF is unsuited to movement.

For movement I wold suggest either zonal focusing (let the camera choose from a larger focus area that covers the whole area of movement) or some kind of tracking mode if Fuji has that (don't have any of the newer cameras). Face detection would be another option if it can be combined with continuous AF (again, don't know, the 2 things may be mutually exclusive)

you need the try with both lenses to identify if the problem is the lens or the camera.

I don't agree. The camera focuses off the main sensor through the lens. If the lens cannot focus correctly, how could the camera think it has achieved focus?

if the camera thinks it has focused sharply, and is working correctly, I'm confused how a picture could be out of focus (ruling out movement etc). All the misfocusing I've seen with mirrorless is when the camera thinks it has focused correctly but actually hasn't .

 

also does Fuji firmware have a concept of allowing the shutter to be released even when focus isn't locked?

other systems allow shutter priority over af when in continuous focus or continuous shooting, which will result in out of focus pictures

I am on continuous AF when shooting moving subjects. I move the focus mode selector to C for continuous. The 9 point zone, is basically a larger area where the camera focuses. So out of the 91 single points, it now chooses from an assigned area of 9 so larger area to choose from. I think we're using different terminology for describing the same thing. In your case, zonal focusing. Face detection I'm yet to try. I have tried both lenses, and I'm not having problems with my 90mm.

1 hour ago, artuk said:

normally a decentred lens has uneven sharpness on one side of the frame compared to the other (or towards one corner). With zooms it may be more of an issue at some lengths than others, but generally tends to show up across many focal lengths. A decentred lens should still focus sharply but not be even across the frame. A lens that wont focus sharply anywhere suggests some other issue, possibly with the focusing group.

Thanks for the detailed description. I don't think that's what's happening. it just seems soft all over. 

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artuk   

focusing manually and then checking if the resultant photo is in focus at various focal lengths would be a way to determine if there is a problem with the lens that is preventing it from focusing correctly (i.e. misaligned lens elements or other issues like that).

 

if you can correctly focus manually and get sharp results, you can probably rule out lens issues with your copy and therefore concentrate on getting the right settings on the camera to get accurate focus.  there are a whole range of issues that could be causing mis-focusing and so far it doesn't seem possible to rule any out.  I tend to agree with K1W1 that learning how to correctly use the camera (or finding out if it has a fault) seems a responsible route when customers are being charged for the photographs.

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So, K1W1, what WOULD you use then? The 3x3 focus grid is what I've been using so far with continuous tracking as I was advised on not using single point focus. And bear in mind shooting at F8 in a church on a fast shutter speed is more often than not, not possible. You're assuming I'm shooting an entire wedding's worth of photos on a Fuji with majority OOF images, which is absolutely not the case. I did some testing before taking it to a wedding, as well as side by side comparisons with my other camera on the first wedding I took it to, so I could see the differences. Once I was more confident using the camera, I used it more at the next wedding, and am now finding this issue with the one lens. So I'm here to get advice and suggestions on what the problem could be and how to fix it. Especially if it is a settings/user issue. So far, I've decided I will give face detection a try, and as artuk suggested, I will have a play with manual focussing on far away subjects at different focal lengths and see what happens. I still haven't ruled out that maybe this lens is simply not as sharp as I thought it would be.

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artuk   

1. Manual focus tests at various focal lengths and open aperture - prove the lens can focus and be sharp

if yes

2. Single point AF tests using single focus (not continuous) to prove the lens can focus accurately and be sharp on status subjects.

if yes

3. Single point AF and continuous focus on the same subject, prove that continuous focus can focus accurately and give sharp results

if yes

4. Repeat step 2 with zone focusing

if yes

5. Repeat 3 with zone focusing

I cannot look at your samples as I'm browsing on a phone but remain unconvinced that its not an issue with the camera mis focusing on the wrong thing - is ANYTHING in your samples sharply in focus (in front or behind the intended subject)?

alternate test: Try face detection

final question: Have you ruled out camera shake causing slight blur as neither the camera or lens is stabilised?

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roryp   

This really sounds like a lens problem, she's not trying to capture a fighter jet zipping by here, even if it's a single tiny focus point and set to AF-S you wouldn't keep getting soft shots like this unless you were spectacularly unlucky or had incredibly sloppy technique. From the shots posted, these do not look like challenging conditions for an X-T2 so the most likely explanation is the lens needs servicing or replacing. PS I wouldn't recommend face detection as it disables the phase detect autofocus which will dramatically slow down continuous AF or AF in general in dim light conditions.

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@roryp, I will do some testing and check out the results. I was under the impression (after lots of research) that the 16-55 is fairly on par with the canon 24-70 (I have the latest version and it's a fabulous lens for a zoom). If this is the case, it's so far off the quality of the Canon it's not funny! So maybe I do have a dud lens. I'll see what my results come up with, and then take it back to the store and see what they say. Considering I've been shooting weddings professionally for 16 years, I'd like to think I don't have a sloppy technique! ;)

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On 19/10/2016 at 7:03 AM, artuk said:

I'm confused by your statement about settings.

for moving subjects you need to be in continuous AF.

I don't know what 9 point zone is. Single point (spot) AF is unsuited to movement.

For movement I wold suggest either zonal focusing (let the camera choose from a larger focus area that covers the whole area of movement) or some kind of tracking mode if Fuji has that (don't have any of the newer cameras). Face detection would be another option if it can be combined with continuous AF (again, don't know, the 2 things may be mutually exclusive) Face detection and cont focus is ok but eye focus is single point only.

you need the try with both lenses to identify if the problem is the lens or the camera.

I don't agree. The camera focuses off the main sensor through the lens. If the lens cannot focus correctly, how could the camera think it has achieved focus?

if the camera thinks it has focused sharply, and is working correctly, I'm confused how a picture could be out of focus (ruling out movement etc). All the misfocusing I've seen with mirrorless is when the camera thinks it has focused correctly but actually hasn't .

 

also does Fuji firmware have a concept of allowing the shutter to be released even when focus isn't locked? Yes - Fuji cameras have a choice of release priority or focus priority.

other systems allow shutter priority over af when in continuous focus or continuous shooting, which will result in out of focus pictures

 

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On 20/10/2016 at 3:22 PM, artuk said:

1. Manual focus tests at various focal lengths and open aperture - prove the lens can focus and be sharp

if yes

2. Single point AF tests using single focus (not continuous) to prove the lens can focus accurately and be sharp on status subjects.

if yes

3. Single point AF and continuous focus on the same subject, prove that continuous focus can focus accurately and give sharp results For subjects moving toward you this is Fuji's recommended method.

if yes

4. Repeat step 2 with zone focusing

if yes

5. Repeat 3 with zone focusing

I cannot look at your samples as I'm browsing on a phone but remain unconvinced that its not an issue with the camera mis focusing on the wrong thing - is ANYTHING in your samples sharply in focus (in front or behind the intended subject)?

alternate test: Try face detection Fuji face detect is not great except in studio situation - then eye detect is also useful especially if using 56mm f1.2.

final question: Have you ruled out camera shake causing slight blur as neither the camera or lens is stabilised?

 

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3 minutes ago, raagamuffin said:

Not putting pressure or anything, its Wednesday, any updates ? :) 

(I have a vested interest, I am considering this lens for purchase soon) !

 

I couldn't make it down there today, so I'm going in Friday morning instead now :)

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