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Thread: how to make a picture sharper?

  1. #1

    Default how to make a picture sharper?

    hi,

    i have been taking many photo but most of them seems not sharp enough...

    1) how do i adjust sharpness in photoshop element?
    2) what is unsharp mask? what is the diff between adjust sharpness and unsharp mask?
    3) how come if i focus the subject before taking picture, the picture might not be sharp?
    4) if under sufficient lighting i use iso200 will the picture come out sharp?
    Canon IXUS 850 / Canon EOS 400D 18mm-55mm Kit Lens

  2. #2
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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    sharpness problem can arise in 2 scenarios

    1. out of focus due to wrong focus

    in this case it's not really a problem of sharpness. the problem comes with the plane of focus
    lying in the unintended area. it can be due to weakness in focussing skill, meaning you can't
    focus correctly, or front/back focussing from technical misalignment in the lens/camera
    body.

    the former can only be solved with better technique via practise. the latter can be checked
    by setting the camera on a tripod and using a ruler/rule-marked object as a testing subject.
    if a problem is detected you should send your equipment for servicing.

    2. 'handshake' blur

    this is due to instability of the camera when taking the picture. a widely accepted solution is
    to take a picture at shutter speed = 1/focal length when handheld. for example if you're
    shooting at 50mm or with a 50mm prime lens, your shutter speed is no slower than 1/50 sec.

    however there are cases where hands are so unstable that even at 1/focal length
    shutterspeed cannot eliminate the problem. and there are those who are well trained enough
    to handle slow shutterspeed without the instability.

    when shutterspeed becomes so slow that blur from instability is unavoidable, you can

    a. open up the aperture (meaning lower aperture value, e.g. f3.5, f2.8) opening up the
    aperture allows more light to be recorded on the sensor. the camera always seek to achieve
    a balanced exposure (with respect to the metering), therefore when aperture is wide and
    more light comes in, the shutterspeed can be faster.

    b. increase the sensitivity of the sensor by increasing the value of iso setting. with higher
    sensor sensitivity, the camera is able to make an image capture with lesser light entering the
    camera, thus allowing you to increase the shutterspeed. high iso is accompanied by higher
    amount of digital noise.

    if the aperture is already the widest desired and iso is already the highest desired,

    c. set the camera on a tripod, and maybe use a remote shutter release remote control, so
    that the camera can be stable however slow the shutterspeed may need to be.

    unsharp mask is a digital processing that duplicates and offsets the image by a tiny bit so
    that the lines in the image becomes more pronounced, therefore enhancing visible sharpness.

    i don't use Photoshop Elements so i don't know how it is applied in that software.

    if you're using Photoshop CS2 or earlier versions, it is located under 'Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask...'
    Last edited by eikin; 6th April 2007 at 02:54 AM.

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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    But what about the lens quality? For example, using the kit lens, the picture is usually sharper when taken at aperture f8.0.

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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by cantaresg View Post
    But what about the lens quality? For example, using the kit lens, the picture is usually sharper when taken at aperture f8.0.
    i think you can find enough resources on the internet talking about lens' sweet spot and all, otherwise if correct focussing technique is used, pictures should be acceptably sharp. there's another discussion going on --> http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=270946
    Last edited by eikin; 6th April 2007 at 01:41 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by cantaresg View Post
    But what about the lens quality? For example, using the kit lens, the picture is usually sharper when taken at aperture f8.0.
    Again, confusing DOF with lens sharpness. Your perception of sharpness is due to the deeper DOF f8 gives(more portion of the image is in focus). It does not means that the lens is sharper at f8 than wide open.

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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    Again, confusing DOF with lens sharpness. Your perception of sharpness is due to the deeper DOF f8 gives(more portion of the image is in focus). It does not means that the lens is sharper at f8 than wide open.
    No, this is not what I meant. It is known that certain lenses produce softer images at its widest aperture, and one of the best example is the EFS 18-55mm kit lens as I notice that that is the lens that TS is holding. Since the TS asked how to make the pictures sharper, I believe it is fair to include the quality of the lens into the discussion.

    More information of this can be found here

  7. #7

    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    I am using a D70 wif the 18-70mm Nikkor DF kit lens and am getting increasingly irritated with the horribly un-sharp pics it produces. I find myself always having to adjust the contrast of my shots at post-processing to get a decent look.

    anybody have dis prob as well?

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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingmuffyn View Post
    I am using a D70 wif the 18-70mm Nikkor DF kit lens and am getting increasingly irritated with the horribly un-sharp pics it produces. I find myself always having to adjust the contrast of my shots at post-processing to get a decent look.

    anybody have dis prob as well?
    maybe a pic?

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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingmuffyn View Post
    I am using a D70 wif the 18-70mm Nikkor DF kit lens and am getting increasingly irritated with the horribly un-sharp pics it produces. I find myself always having to adjust the contrast of my shots at post-processing to get a decent look.

    anybody have dis prob as well?
    if it happens all the time.. have u tried doing a focus test? check for front/back focus...
    Canon EOS 30D w/ grip 580EX, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, EF-S 10-22mm
    :bsmilie:

  10. #10

    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by cheekiang View Post
    hi,

    i have been taking many photo but most of them seems not sharp enough...

    1) how do i adjust sharpness in photoshop element?
    2) what is unsharp mask? what is the diff between adjust sharpness and unsharp mask?
    3) how come if i focus the subject before taking picture, the picture might not be sharp?
    4) if under sufficient lighting i use iso200 will the picture come out sharp?
    I think some people might kill me for this.. Try changing to an equivalent Nikon system. Just joking... Post a few images 100% crops and let us see what is the cause of the lack of sharpness. Although lenses do affect, but you'll need to know that the 400D, with such a high mp count, the sensor has already outresolved most optics. Then there are other problems which might be user related, like camera shake etc.. They usually cannot be seen but with a high mp count body and viewing at 100%, these will be visible.

  11. #11

    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingmuffyn View Post
    I am using a D70 wif the 18-70mm Nikkor DF kit lens and am getting increasingly irritated with the horribly un-sharp pics it produces. I find myself always having to adjust the contrast of my shots at post-processing to get a decent look.

    anybody have dis prob as well?
    If your problem can be fixed with contrast adjustment, you're not facing an un-sharp problem. Try using the sRealav2 custom curve. I think it's not that your image is not sharp.. it's just dull due to the contrast of the camera, so the perceived sharpness is not there.
    Last edited by lsisaxon; 7th April 2007 at 05:03 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by ExplorerZ View Post
    maybe a pic?
    ok bro...

    original shot...



    contrast-adjusted shot...



    or do i juz suck at focusing...

  13. #13

    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon View Post
    Try using the sRealav2 custom curve.
    errr...Noob here...simi lai eh?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingmuffyn View Post
    ok bro...

    original shot...



    contrast-adjusted shot...



    or do i juz suck at focusing...
    i dunno if it's just me... i find ur original quite underexposed... so that can be the problem of your lack of depth in colours...

    secondly.. i find that it's not a problem with the focusing, but rather the lack of depth of field.. try stopping down and u should be fine.. maybe u could post a 100% crop at the point where u focused on?
    Canon EOS 30D w/ grip 580EX, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, EF-S 10-22mm
    :bsmilie:

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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    and perhaps include the exif?

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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingmuffyn View Post
    ok bro...

    or do i juz suck at focusing...
    focusing looks ok
    exposure looks under
    lighting look flat

  17. #17
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    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by cheekiang View Post
    hi,

    i have been taking many photo but most of them seems not sharp enough...

    1) how do i adjust sharpness in photoshop element?
    2) what is unsharp mask? what is the diff between adjust sharpness and unsharp mask?
    3) how come if i focus the subject before taking picture, the picture might not be sharp?
    4) if under sufficient lighting i use iso200 will the picture come out sharp?
    for the sharpest image you can get out of your setup

    1. mount your camera on a sturdy tripod
    2. make sure that your subject does not move at all
    3. use the lowest iso speed that you have
    4. use the sweet sopt of your lens
    5. use the fastest shutter speed that the lighting and chosen aperture allows

  18. #18

    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingmuffyn View Post
    ok bro...

    original shot...

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/254/4...feb8d42b42.jpg

    contrast-adjusted shot...

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/236/4...50455d55b3.jpg

    or do i juz suck at focusing...
    Your focusing is ok. If you want more region to be sharper, you will need to increase the depth of field by reducing the aperture (increase the f-number).

    As for the dull contrast, like ortega mentioned, the shot is slightly underexposed. I think sRealav2 curve will definitely help. Try searching the web for it.

  19. #19

    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelfin View Post
    i dunno if it's just me... i find ur original quite underexposed... so that can be the problem of your lack of depth in colours...

    secondly.. i find that it's not a problem with the focusing, but rather the lack of depth of field.. try stopping down and u should be fine.. maybe u could post a 100% crop at the point where u focused on?
    i tink u might b rite wif the underexposure part. to get min DOF (blur b/g) i used max zoom and opened the aperture to say f3.5...dat cuts down on light entering the sensor doesn't it so hv to compensate by for it...

  20. #20

    Default Re: how to make a picture sharper?

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon View Post
    Your focusing is ok. If you want more region to be sharper, you will need to increase the depth of field by reducing the aperture (increase the f-number).

    As for the dull contrast, like ortega mentioned, the shot is slightly underexposed. I think sRealav2 curve will definitely help. Try searching the web for it.

    yup i suppose dats the prob. i used too big an aperture to get dat blur b/g effect....but hor, i hv taken pics on P mode and still the sharpness is still not there leh...perhaps its time to get rid of the kit lens?

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