Sharper pics?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by TiCoyote, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. TiCoyote

    TiCoyote TPF Noob!

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    So I'm shooting with a 28-135 USM on a digital Rebel. Pretty standard. I see some pics on the site that are just so razor sharp and crisp, and I think, I want my images to look like that!

    I'd like to pick up a gently used 40D, but I'm not sure if it's going to make the images that much better. It's still an APS-C sensor size, but it is an upgrade from 6 megapix to 10. Is that going to make a big difference?

    I think I would enjoy shooting with the 40D more, because it would shoot faster and feel heavier and more comfortable.

    What about putting a 50mm f1.8 on the camera instead of the 28-135?

    Do I really need to upgrade to something with a full frame sensor? I'm just not ready to drop that kind of coin.

    I don't really want to make the jump from Canon to Nikon. I like the features of Canon, and I think I get more bang for the buck.
     
  2. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    It may be a combination of different factors.

    1)Poor technique, as in not holding steady at time of shutter release.
    2)Poor glass - the 28-135 is less than optimal in terms of optical quality.
    3)Poor focus - the lens, due to its small maximum aperture, may limit the focusing system of the camera. And the 350D doesn't have a stellar focusing system to begin with.
    4)Post processing - it is possible to take a reasonably sharp pic and make it look razor sharp in Photoshop, or the like. I actually think that this may be what you are referring to.


    If i were you, i'd borrow another, better, lens and see if that makes a difference. Don't go splurging on a 40D, i doubt the extra 4MP will make a difference.

    Good luck.
     
  3. robdavis305

    robdavis305 TPF Noob!

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    Just a reminder that all pics look better on a computer screen than on paper.
     
  4. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    No image you see posted on the web requires anything beyond about 3-4mp (probably only 2mp) and none even require a sensor as large as an APS-c sensor. If your images don't compare favorably to what you see posted, the most likely reasons are (in order of likely hood):
    1: Shooting technique - camera handling, lighting, subject choice, ...
    2: Post-processing technique
    3: (this is a distant 3rd) lens quality
    4: (this is a very, very distant 4th) body/sensor quality

    Upgrading from 6mp to 10mp will do nothing to improve the quality of images posted on the web. It can make a modest improvement in the quality of prints larger than 8x10. Upgrading from APS-c to FF will do absolutely nothing for web posted images except at the most extremely high ISOs.
     
  5. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have to agree that lighting and camera handling are going to make an image look "crisper" far quicker than a new body. Lenses on the other hand, can have a lot to do with it. If you have a soft lens, you'll have soft images no matter what you do. But, there is cheap, sharp glass out there, so don't fret. Also, all images will look a little soft straight off the camera. In-camera sharpening can help, but sharpening in post will look better.

    I'm not sure which of the cheaper Canon zooms are the sharpest, but their primes are pretty good. I do know that the 70-200 2.8 non-IS produced images that needed no sharpening at all, straight off the camera, as did the 85 1.8.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    It's mostly about technique.

    The #1 secret to getting tack sharp images is:
    Use a rock steady tripod.
    #2 Sometimes you have to buy the stuff the pro's use to get shots that look pro. Gear and software. Photoshop CS4, not Elements or GIMP.
    #3 Use a remote release or self timer.
    #4 Lock up the mirror, if you can.
    #5 Turn off vibration reduction (VR or IS) when using a tripod.
    #6 Use the lenses aperture sweet spot, usually a couple of stops less than the maximum aperture.
    #7 Good glass, Pro level glass.
    #8 Use Low ISO.
    #9 You can't rely on the LCD on the back of the camera to check focus, unless you zoom into the image.
    #10 Sharpen in post processing using professional sharpening techniques, like luminosity sharpening and LAB color sharpening, to avoid halo's.

    HTH
     
  7. Randall Ellis

    Randall Ellis TPF Noob!

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    I couldn't disagree with you more. What looks good on your monitor may look like garbage on mine. There is no way to ensure that everyone who views an image on a monitor sees the same thing. Every monitor varies in resolution. Monitors limit the viewing size. How many art galleries have you seen with their walls covered in computer monitors? Or art museums for that matter? I could go on and on. Perhaps you were joking? If so, I appologize, but if not, you're going to have to post a legitimate (scientific/academic/etc) source for that statement.

    As to the original post, you can improve apparent sharpness by using a tripod. Many people say that you can handhold a camera down to 1/30th or so, but if you examine the results very closely you'll see that a sturdy tripod greatly improves perceived sharpness from about 1/125th on.

    Camera and lens brands and different sensors are irrelevant these days if all you are going to do is judge results by eye. There may be slight differences if you test on an optical bench, but the last time I checked few, if any, people used such a device to view images.

    Work on your technique as Dwig stated. Aperture has a great deal of impact on perceived sharpness, shooting wide open will always appear softer than shooting at f/8. A sturdy tripod will almost always result in increased apparent sharpness, while a cheap tripod will make things worse by a) giving you a false sense of stability, and b) introducing even more vibration though lever action.

    Local contrast increases perceived sharpness as well, so if you work digitally learn how to use the various sharpening tools to the best effect. If you work with film learn how to use contrast masks, development, and printing techniques to improve your work.

    Don't fall for marketing ploys - what you have is perfectly capable of producing stunning images, you just need to find out where your technique is lacking and improve it...

    - Randy
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Randall says your screen may look better than his. I say you haven't seen a decent print yet. I have an NEC SpectraView screen and I say any decent chemical print that you pay more than $10 for looks much better on paper than it does on screen. If it doesn't then it's time you change your printing company.
     
  9. sween

    sween TPF Noob!

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    My first digital camera was a FujiPix 3.1mp p&s. I was still shooting film in two other formats but was very curious about digital. That camera has captured some smashing images, and razor sharp ones at that.

    While the tripod argument goes on, and I see both sides, what you're really left with is "I am going to confine myself to shooting subjects where a tripod is practical and worthwhile?" In 95% of my photography, a tripod isn't a help, it's a huge hindrance.
     

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are printts sharper than my images on screen ?