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Thread: Achieving picture sharpness

  1. #21

    Default G5

    You need to figure out what is causing the lack of sharpness first. Is it motion blur? Camera shake? Image softness? Wrong focus? Etc.

    Loss of sharpness due to motion blur can be remedied by increased shutter speed. Camera shake, by tripod or sharpshooter handholding techniques.

    Image softness can be due to aperture chosen. I have a G2 (which I think has the same lens as yours), there is a big difference when I shoot at 5.6 compared to shooting at 2.0. The G2 lens is just too soft at 2.0, even when the focus is correct. If you want to have sharp pictures wide open, you may have to use L lenses.

    Wrong focus is a common problem among AF cameras, esp. prosumers cameras. The focusing area is too big, even with spot focus. You just cannot be sure, esp shooting wide open and close up, whether the camera has focused on the eyes, the nose, the ears or the mouth. With limited depth of field and a small preview screen, you may find that the eyes are soft only when you PS your pix. Of course, by then it's too late.

    The cure? Use a DSLR with many selectable focus points, or use a good manual focus camera.

    To print high quality pictures, it all starts with having good image capture and proper exposure. The whole imaging chain, from camera to lens and sensor to monitor and your PS skills to printer and ink and paper, is only as good as its weakest link, and must be properly colour calibrated as well. It is a huge topic, and getting the best equipment for the entire chain can cost a lot of $$. You should read more on the Net. Try Luminous Landscape for a start.

    Wai Leong
    ===
    Quote Originally Posted by morales
    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. #22

    Default It's not everything

    I want to add that sharpness is only one of the qualities of a picture, and by no means is it the most important (although blur/out of focus pix are annoying).

    If you look at the most memorable photographs by the masters, esp those made in the early 20th century, they were not very sharp because the technology in those days was very primitive. Yet, they are the most haunting pictures of our times.

    Examples are Robert Capa's pictures of US marines storming up the beaches of Normandy-- there was no light so the pix is quite dark (they didn't have E-TTL flash or even 400 film then), basically a ghostly shape in the water with a beach in the background, but you can recognise the shape as a soldier with helmet and backpack and rifle, and the feeling it evokes is that of pure dread. Another famous picture is that of a South Vietnamese general shooting a suspected VC in the head during the Vietnam War in the late 60's. By modern standards, it's not sharp at all-- but the content is riveting, like an arrow through the heart.

    Wai Leong
    ===
    Quote Originally Posted by waileong
    You need to figure out what is causing the lack of sharpness first. Is it motion blur? Camera shake? Image softness? Wrong focus? Etc.

    Loss of sharpness due to motion blur can be remedied by increased shutter speed. Camera shake, by tripod or sharpshooter handholding techniques.

    Image softness can be due to aperture chosen. I have a G2 (which I think has the same lens as yours), there is a big difference when I shoot at 5.6 compared to shooting at 2.0. The G2 lens is just too soft at 2.0, even when the focus is correct. If you want to have sharp pictures wide open, you may have to use L lenses.

    Wrong focus is a common problem among AF cameras, esp. prosumers cameras. The focusing area is too big, even with spot focus. You just cannot be sure, esp shooting wide open and close up, whether the camera has focused on the eyes, the nose, the ears or the mouth. With limited depth of field and a small preview screen, you may find that the eyes are soft only when you PS your pix. Of course, by then it's too late.

    The cure? Use a DSLR with many selectable focus points, or use a good manual focus camera.

    To print high quality pictures, it all starts with having good image capture and proper exposure. The whole imaging chain, from camera to lens and sensor to monitor and your PS skills to printer and ink and paper, is only as good as its weakest link, and must be properly colour calibrated as well. It is a huge topic, and getting the best equipment for the entire chain can cost a lot of $$. You should read more on the Net. Try Luminous Landscape for a start.

    Wai Leong
    ===
    Last edited by waileong; 27th May 2005 at 08:56 AM.

  3. #23

    Default

    Just to add to the softness common noted from DSLR especially from Canon.

    The softness of a picture doesnt mean the lost of details. Wonders like UnSharpenMask can bring out alot of details from a "soft" pictures. Being soft, you actually have more free play on how much details to bring out. This allows for more creativity.

    Considering the normal workflow of a DSLR user, it will involve some form of post-proccessing, which can include USM, color corrections etc etc. The softness cannot be considered as a flaw of moderm DSLR.

    By letting the camera sharpen the picture, at times the result might not be what you want. ie the dreamy look. By far, i havent seen any tools or methods to recuse oversharpen pictures. So given this disadvantage, I would rather have pictures softer and post-proccess than to lose a picture.

    PS: i remember there was once such thread on the softness of image from DSLR during the D30 era. Maybe someone can find the time to dig it up?

  4. #24

    Default sharpness

    Wor ... thanks for all the advices. You guys are really a helpful lot. Lots of to learn too.

    As for my G5, i guess waileong you were right, after scanning through my pics, i found those that were taken at wide aperture tends to lean to the soft side .Didn't knew this was the prob all along. Think i will need to hunt for the sweet spot for its aperture in G5's lens.

    Like misato mentioned the benefits of having greater control for having your pics soft, i think its great for those that are keepers. But shooting for an event with hundreds of shots may render u like a lame duck after post processing I guess that depending on what are your needs, getting a tack sharp pic would help cut lots of time after that.

    Anyway, i'm planning to get a canon DSLR soon. so what does the brothers here think of 350D ? (except tat it feels like a toy)


    Dying for a DSLR

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