How sharp is sharp? (Is this considered in focus?)


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#1
Hi all, am hoping the pros here to enlighten me on my topic. Very often when I take picture, somehow I feel that all my pictures are not sharp/ in focus and I can't seem to pin point my exact mistakes!



Here's what I've used to take this picture:
1) Canon 400D
2) 50mm f1.8
3) Aperture Priority mode
4) Aperture set to f5.6 (Shutter 1/25)
5) Auto white balance
6) I have a desk lamp (white flourescent tube) right above the subject
7) Used only the center AF point and meter off subject's green nose
8) ISO 400
9) 0 Exposure compensation

Photo is not edited in any way except for the size (made it to fit 4R)

I would like to ask what am I missing or am I asking for too much? (you get what you paid for? haha)

I guess using f5.6 will be safe enough to ensure sufficient depth to be covered but where should the AF point aim at? I was told that we should always use single AF point (and not auto) and take metering off the subject's eyes. But when I tried doing that, the nose of the rabbit became blurer! (I read that it will always be shallower in the foreground than in the background and maybe that explains why when I aim at the subject's eyes, the nose became blurer)

Anyway, hope to receive valuable feedback from the community and sorry for the long post!
 

Dec 7, 2006
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#2
ur focus point, dof and metering is ok.
ur problem is the shutter speed.
at 1/25 there will be camera shake.
use a tripod.
 

neubdetat

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#3
the image looks very soft for a 5.6. Looking at your shutter speed you'd want to bump up your iso to at least 800 (best 1600) if you want to ensure that there isn't any camera shake.

Always remember that the shutter speed should always be the same as your focal length x sensor multiplier. In the 400d, that'll be a shutter speed of 50 *1.6 = 90 to ensure there's no camera shake. You can try 1/50 though, and if you have good technique and stability, shouldn't be a problem for you.
 

jdredd

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Mar 30, 2006
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#4
short answer.. 1/25 is a bit slow..

if you use the 1/focal length rule, your min speed for a 50mm should be 1/50. but if you really want a sharp pic.. should aim to shoot around 1/100 or faster.

also, what do you mean by photo unedited? did you shoot it in jpeg mode or raw.

if you shoot raw, a good sharpening in your post processing will yield better results than the in camera sharpening for jpeg conversion.
 

ngck12

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Dec 4, 2007
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#5
the image looks very soft for a 5.6. Looking at your shutter speed you'd want to bump up your iso to at least 800 (best 1600) if you want to ensure that there isn't any camera shake.
Do note that at high ISO picture will turn out to be soft also. Due to noise.
 

#6
Hi all,

Sincere thanks to all those who replied.

My colour seems abit dull. What could be wrong? Not enough light source?

With the shutter speed rule, the min that I can go for a 50mm lens is 1/50s (unless I go on tripod) but what aperture will be good? Anything that is lower than 4.0 might give me shallow DOF.

I am learning to take at least decent photos (nice vibrant colours and in focus). Are we able to achieve that with a minimum setup? (most of the time I will be taking indoor photos with my 50mm, kit and body - no ext flash)

Or is it the post processing that makes an image wow! (I understand that its the photographer that makes a picture wow) What I am trying to say here is if it is actually possible to achieve http://www.flickr.com/photos/21469584@N05/3029241394 (or at least close to this without expensive lighting equipments)
 

ngck12

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Dec 4, 2007
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#7
Its normal for the photo to look dull, just do abit PP will do. Nobody can tell you what aperture to use, people will usually use it wide open, if you want use it at 5.6 all the time might as well get the kit lens. Flash is almost a must for indoor, w/o flash your photo might just look oh well, boring. Also using that lens indoor might result in low hit rate, cause the focussing in low light situation sucks. That guy used external strobes to light up his object, FYI.
 

ahbian

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May 23, 2006
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#8
If you aim to take most of your shots indoors, I would suggest you get a external flash, makes a world of difference.
Post processing is also needed, more often than not.
 

#9
Nobody can tell you what aperture to use, people will usually use it wide open...... Flash is almost a must for indoor, w/o flash your photo might just look oh well, boring....
For the test shot, i agree with most of the bros that it might be due to camera shake that caused the blur.

Indeed, what aperture to use is subjective. Really depends on what you're trying to achieve. You'll benefit from quicker focusing by getting a lens capable of a larger aperture but you won't get the sharpest pictures shooting wide open. Having a 50mm f/1.8, you'd probably wanna use apertures smaller than f/2.2 (some advise f/2.8) to get sharper pictures.

Flash is a great help indoors, however it requires good understanding to use it to your advantage. Wedding photographers may prefer get creative at times, making shots without firing the flash, the pictures turned out pretty nice too. :)
 

#10
For the test shot, i agree with most of the bros that it might be due to camera shake that caused the blur.

Indeed, what aperture to use is subjective. Really depends on what you're trying to achieve. You'll benefit from quicker focusing by getting a lens capable of a larger aperture but you won't get the sharpest pictures shooting wide open. Having a 50mm f/1.8, you'd probably wanna use apertures smaller than f/2.2 (some advise f/2.8) to get sharper pictures.

Flash is a great help indoors, however it requires good understanding to use it to your advantage. Wedding photographers may prefer get creative at times, making shots without firing the flash, the pictures turned out pretty nice too. :)
Shooting wide open means I will have a shallower DOF right?

Do you guys consider this kind of shots portraits(minus the photo shopping)? http://www.ilovelrh.com/Stock.aspx?TID=21&IID=175

Is there a 'rule' that you guys follow when taking these kind of 'product shots' (see link above)

What I usually do is to use the Center AF point and meter off subject's eyes. But what I usually get is a focused face but blurred dress (when the dress is supposed to be the main point of focus). I've tried using different combinations of Aperture/ Shutter speed but I get lousy shots.

I do not have external flash and also trying to take nicer than average pictures (focussed and preferably with nicer colours) at a low cost. I am sure in terms of picture quality, there is surely a difference between a DSLR and a compact camera. No doubt about the quality from a compact camera. As the saying goes, its the photographer not the camera. :)
 

#11
Shooting wide open means I will have a shallower DOF right?

Do you guys consider this kind of shots portraits(minus the photo shopping)? http://www.ilovelrh.com/Stock.aspx?TID=21&IID=175

Is there a 'rule' that you guys follow when taking these kind of 'product shots' (see link above)
Larger aperture = shallower DOF.

For portraits i usually meter off the subject's skin in aperture priority mode, sometimes areas of white or black (eg. hair) on the subject then compensate accordingly in manual mode. Focus is on the subjects eyes.

I'd consider those pictures in the link a portraits. There is no rule for that, its really what you're going to shoot and how you want it to look like that determines the aperture to shoot at. Sometimes, you'd be forced to work with limitations too.
 

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