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Thread: Achieving picture sharpness

  1. #1

    Default Achieving picture sharpness

    Wanna seek advices from people out there regarding the isssue of picture sharpness.

    Currently i'm using canon G5 and cannot help but to relise that most of my pictures aren't as sharp as i wanted them to be.

    Besides using a tripod, shutter cable etc etc. How do i get to view my pictures sharp?? What factors do i need to take note to obtain sharpness?? What about printing high quality pictures as well?How do i go about it?

    Is it :
    ->monitor resolution
    ->Camera compression formats ( Jpeg, Raw, Tiff )

    Pls advise.

    Dying for a DSLR

  2. #2
    Moderator nightwolf75's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    really MORE diaper changes
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    eh.... the most basic principle - steady hand-holding of camera during shooting....
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Singapore - Jurong West


    It's a factor of all that you've mentioned

    If you shoot low shutter speed in low light conditions, you'll get hand shake, which leads to blur pictures.

    If you set a lower quality (and smaller file size) jpeg compression, your pictures don't come out as sharp either.

    Perhaps you might want to show us a few of the pictures which you feel are not sharp?

    Also, are you using a small aperture? (F5.6<)

    For DSLR, you'll have even more problems getting pictures sharp out of camera, for me, I shoot RAW, which means unless I do a proper post processing, the pictures will be rather... uh... raw...

    also if you don't mind, send me a few of your pictures @

    That is, if you can't find a place to host your pictures (not saying I'll find a way to host for you, but just to see what actually is wrong)

    Also, did you focus on the correct subject?

  4. #4


    i guess you hit the point, this issue i have with my G2, i cannot have the same sharpest i see in some pictures, it turns out that the prosumer cameras aka G2-3,5,6 cannot acheive a sense of sharpess of the SLR can especially in the tele end.

    so upgrade if its your bearbug.

  5. #5


    morales , maybe you can take a few shot,
    and post it here, and let some of our members to "understand"
    how sharpness/blured you mentined?

    maybe it's the limitation of the cam ?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003


    As pointed out already, there are basic limitations to a prosumer cam. Mainly caused by the significantly smaller sensor and zoom lens. Since you are using a tripod, the only other significant factor within your control is AF/aperature. The two goes hand in hand. Shoot at the optimal ISO (usually lowest or second lowest) to minimise noise.

    You might want to identify the sweet spot of the zoom range. It could be the wide/tele end or the center. If you are using a filter on an adapter ring, it may also be the cause.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Catchment Area


    If sharpness is your ultimate concern, let me recommend you to read Ken Rockwell's article on this subject. His solution - go for medium format! Even 35mm SLR ain't good enough!

    From what I know, any decent digicam should be able to give sharp results at the normal 4R print.

    If you're looking at pictures posted in this forrum, do note that fact that many of them are made with pro-level equipment and by pros or advanced amateurs.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002


    good to post some pics here. there are also some software that doesn't display pics "sharply".

  9. #9

    Default Here's some samples i took

    Wow, that's fast response. Alright here's some links to some of the "unsharp" pictures i've taken", which personally i'm not satisfied with its quality. During the shot, i've locked in to the specfic area which i want the clear most but results are still disappointing.

    In all of the above shots, the lighting was sufficient, focus was not a problem and the shutter speed was well above the speed to allow handshaking to pose a problem. All the shots were taken hand held, no tripod was used. ISO 100, matrix metering and resolution of 1600 x 1200 were used.

    Is it camera problem or technique problem or rather the shooter??

    What say the gurus??

  10. #10


    Hi Morales,
    I have owned the G5 for about 2 years now. I still used it when i feel i need to travel light. I had no issues with the sharpness of the cam, in fact, i find it to be overly sharp at default settings at times. The only thing that bothers me is the auto-focusing speed which leaves much to be desired, but then again coming from the prosumer point of view, i guess it's acceptable. You can view some of my photos taken with the G5....
    DLSR is good, but at times the weight is a burden.
    P.S i own an Oly E-1 and it's lightest amongst the DLSR, but still heavy at times....
    Thank you and good luck experimenting with the G5. It's a good cam!

  11. #11


    the original pics look pretty sharp to me. i think they look unsharp when displayed in imagestation becos imagestation does a simple resize to 450pixels (max dimension) without sharpening the resized image.


    pic #2 as displayed in imagestation (unsharpened)

    pic #2 sharpened
    Last edited by zaren; 20th May 2005 at 02:18 AM.
    you can buy better gear but you can't buy a better eye

  12. #12

    Thumbs up Sharpness

    Zaren, Thanks for your effort for showing and explaining the difference to me. Appreciate it. Did u use PS to do it? When i view my original pic didn't have the kind of crispness compared to the sharpened picture that u did ( as posted above ).

    Or rather, have you ever seen some pictures on mac displays? they are like very sharp and crisp (my own term for it ). If u could refer to picture #1, the trunk of the centre tree seems alittle blur, altough i focus on it during the shot. I mean it's not tack sharp.

    As for picture quality i would say that G5 behaves itself when its given lots of light. I do agree with tkmloh that the auto focusing is rather slow at times. But other than that, it a camera worth the bucks. Great for shooting on the move too.

  13. #13


    Try the magical tool called USM!
    Comes with all major versions of Photoshop and in other popular imaging suit.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Bedok North


    Quote Originally Posted by morales

    In all of the above shots, the lighting was sufficient, focus was not a problem and the shutter speed was well above the speed to allow handshaking to pose a problem. All the shots were taken hand held, no tripod was used. ISO 100, matrix metering and resolution of 1600 x 1200 were used.

    Is it camera problem or technique problem or rather the shooter??

    Since it's a 5MP camera, why don't you set it to the highest setting instead?
    If I'm not wrong, 1600 x 1200 is 2MP?
    By setting at a lower setting some details could be lost and makes the pictures look kind of soft, especially the edges.
    I personally have seen pictures taken with a G5 that are very sharp.
    And users of some compact cameras can still take better quality images than someone with a DLSR.

    Tripod does help to eliminate camera shake, if that was the real problem.
    But I do think you should start off shooting at the highest setting your camera allows and do some PS editing to crop or resize to the desired size.
    You can try using Unsharp Mask in PS to sharpen the pics a little, not too much though.
    If you start with a lower MP setting and resize it, you'll lose lots more detail.
    It's even worse if you upload your pics to a website that does more processing to them before the pics are posted up.

  15. #15


    Hi juz wondering wat is this USM u mentioned in photoshop? quite new to photoshop. does the function comes in ps7?

  16. #16


    USM means unsharpen mask right?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Planet Nikon


    Yes, PS7 has USM. Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharp Mask.

  18. #18


    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    Yes, PS7 has USM. Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharp Mask.
    thx for your reply.. i'm now trying this out.. in fact its very useful.

  19. #19

    Default Sharp

    Thanks MyNikon.. tried that out , it seems pretty good. But just wondering do folks out there do sharpening to every pic after every photoshoot ?? esp those pics that are keepers?

  20. #20


    I used to be a Panasonic Lumix FZ10 user, and now a DSLR user.

    I must say that the FZ10 is certainly shaper than the DSLR that I am using now.

    Certainly, prosumer has its limitation. under low light, the FZ10 will not be able to perform as you want, that is the key isue (and that is one of the key drivers for me to move on to DSLR too).

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