Lack of Sharpness Issue on 350D/Rebel XT - Camera or me?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Meysha, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Hi guys,
    I finally picked up my 350D from the shop yesterday and it's awesome like everyone has told me it is.

    But... I got up this morning and took a bunch of sunrise photos down near the water. Only problem is they don't look very sharp to me.
    Here's the link to a photo showing you what I'm talking about.
    http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y51/Meysha/Blurry-Sunrise.jpg

    Details:
    350D with 18-55mm kit lens on tripod.
    1/320th
    f 11
    ISO 400
    focal length 47mm

    There is a little bit of dust in the sky - I'm not sure yet whether it was on the lens, or if it is on the sensor... I'm thinking sensor.
    So I'm looking for reasons that might explain why it's not sharp. I'm sure it's probably a combination of factors. If you want to see some other shots that are sharp, but in full sunlight they're here: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=253281#post253281

    So far I've come up with: high-ish ISO, maybe slightly dirty skylight filter and I think I tried to focus on the mountains but they were very dark so that might've caused the camera some grief.
     
  2. foxXx

    foxXx TPF Noob!

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    I have read alot about these camera's and they do not have very good in-camera sharpening. I think that and the combination of you using the kit lens would probably not help you out too much. If you put a nice 17 - 40 L F4 lens on there Im sure your pictures would improve dramatically.
     
  3. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Yeah I turned up the in camera sharpening to max... and it does an ok job i guess, but it's still not enough. This will just have to be an excuse to by a nice lens. Yippee!
     
  4. foxXx

    foxXx TPF Noob!

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    hah ya, when I used to shoot Canon I noticed the same thing. I ended up purchasing some nice L glass and it honestly made a huge differance, in sharpness, colours and contrast. Good luck though :)
     
  5. fadingaway1986

    fadingaway1986 I Burn Easily :(

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    Hey.
    My photos dont come up too sharp on my 300D either. I assume it is the lens.

    I don't have the money for a better lens right now, so I will just have to live with it... you dont notice it in 4x6 prints - and thats all i really make due to my poorness :)
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yup... the sensor. Anything on the lens would not be defined in the image, but could cause overall sharpness to suffer if there's enough of it.

    Do you use the unsharp mask before printing? I suggest you try setting it at... oh... 55 or so and run it twice. I do this after all other work is done and saved... just before printing. I don't save this though... just for printing.
     
  7. John E.

    John E. TPF Noob!

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    May be a problem with the auto focusing. For night shots or when the focus has to be spot on , I pick a point to focus on, auto focus then flip the switch on the lens from auto to manual to lock it. If you notice the centre of your picture is the black of the mountain. For night or evening shots when I am confident of the exposure I take a couple of extra shots just because I do not trust the autofocus.
     
  8. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Thanks for your hint about turning it over to manual focus! That's so handy and I dunno why I didn't think of it at the time. I did try that this afternoon with some sunset shots before reading your note, but didn't realise I should do that on the darkish difficult to focus stuff. I'm going out again tomorrow morning so I'll try this hint.

    I haven't actually printed any of my photos yet but will be doing soon, I hope. So I will have to try this unsharp mask. Does that actually make the picture unsharp? or does it fix unsharp photos? I've never actually tried it.
     
  9. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Alecia, yeah I figured that I'd just print something that I thought was blurry and see how it turns out. Coz I've never printed anything, i dunno how much I'm going to have to change in the way I edit my photos. And despite this unsharp problem with this kit lens, I'm still pretty impressed with it.
     
  10. bluesaphyer

    bluesaphyer TPF Noob!

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    Congrats on the new camera! I have the 350D also, and haven't been able to put it down since I got it!

    If you have Photoshop CS2, try the Smart Sharpen filter. I think it works better than the unsharp mask, and it gives you more control if you want to sharpen the shadows and highlights seperately. And it has option to set which type of blur your trying to remove - gaussian, motion, or lens blur.

    Julie
     
  11. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    That's the filter I have been using, bluesaphyer and I really really like that.

    This photo: http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y51/Meysha/Pelicans-Lagoon-Sunrise.jpg was really blurry before I used that smart sharpen - worse even that the example I linked to above. I love that filter now.

    I just wish I could get the camera set up so that it doesn't need any post processing except in extreme situations. But I guess a sunrise is a pretty 'extreme' situation. As opposed to full sun 'normal' photos.
     
  12. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Just about all digital images need to be sharpened. Most cameras do in in-camera but if you shoot RAW, you can get an unsharpened image and then apply your own level of sharpening with photoshop...which allows you more control.
    Even if you shoot in JPEG mode, the photos usually look better with after Unsharp Mask.

    I was confused about the name "Unsharp Mask" too...it does not make the image 'unsharp'...from what I've read...it's actually derived from an old darkroom process. Something about layering the image over itself and increasing the definition between different colored/toned areas or pixels.

    Just try it out, there are three sliders. Amount, radius and threshold. Play with them and check how it changes the image. There doesn't seem to be a right or wrong way to do it...everybody does it differently. As mentioned, some do it twice rather than just once with a lot of sharpening.
     

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