how to make a picture sharper?


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cheekiang

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Jan 15, 2007
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#1
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?
 

eikin

Senior Member
Apr 27, 2004
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#2
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...'
 

cantaresg

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Feb 23, 2007
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Woodlands
#3
But what about the lens quality? For example, using the kit lens, the picture is usually sharper when taken at aperture f8.0.
 

eikin

Senior Member
Apr 27, 2004
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#4
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
 

Kit

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
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#5
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.
 

cantaresg

New Member
Feb 23, 2007
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#6
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
 

Mar 28, 2007
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#7
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?:confused:
 

ExplorerZ

Senior Member
Jan 9, 2006
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#8
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?:confused:
maybe a pic?
 

Adelfin

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Dec 18, 2005
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#9
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?:confused:
if it happens all the time.. have u tried doing a focus test? check for front/back focus...
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
11,941
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#10
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. ;p 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.
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
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#11
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?:confused:
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.
 

Adelfin

New Member
Dec 18, 2005
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#14
ok bro...

original shot...



contrast-adjusted shot...



or do i juz suck at focusing...:confused: :bsmilie:
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?
 

ortega

Moderator
Staff member
Nov 2, 2004
23,694
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Singapore, Singapore, Singapor
#17
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
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
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#18
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.
 

Mar 28, 2007
22
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#19
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...
:confused:
 

Mar 28, 2007
22
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44
#20
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?:confused:
 

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