Sharpness not satisfing


TPF Noob!
Feb 6, 2013
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Hey guys,

I am really really new and fresh to photography overall, so I am not sure if my gear is not well, or the problem is from me...

I am with D5100, 35mm 1.8 lens

Here is 3 raw pictures Index of /raw

test for sharpness with aperture 22/11/8 iso 100...

I've made manual focus, while zooming in the viewer, to it's maximum so I can be precise as much as I can...

But I still think the pictures are blurry.

If someone have a clue where I am mistaken, I would be really appreciated to hear... : (
Raw images always look a bit soft, when you post-process just remember to do a bit of sharpening.

PS just saw your bump, I did look at your linked photos, but bear in mind that most people won't go to an external link, that's probably why you didn't get any response until now.
Raw images always look a bit soft, when you post-process just remember to do a bit of sharpening.

Thanks, but Think there's a problem in my camera, have you checked the pictures?
I looked at the third one only, but it looked fine to me. The focus was good on the white house to the right of the shot.
Thanks a lot!

I was wondering if it's my imagination only or there was a problem in the hardware =)))

Thanks again!
Sharpness is like a curve with relation to aperture size.

The widest apertures (smallest f numbers) will start out generally with a usable level of sharpness on most lenses*

Using smaller apertures up to around f8/10 the sharpness will increase (the actual peek point will vary from lens to lens but its around that ballpark area on most).

Using apertures smaller than (bigger f numbers yet again) the peek point of sharpness will see the sharpness degrade (as a result of diffraction). Generally you will still get usable results up to around f13/16 (again varies from lens to lens - and a little on personal standards and needs).

Thereafter the sharpness will degrade further and further. So your f22 shot I would certainly expect to look the softest of the 3 test shots that you did.

Otherwise BlackSheep raises the important point that RAW shots will always look a bit soft. RAW shots don't get in camera sharpening that your JPEGs do. As a result they will require sharpening during editing before they will be of use. Typically they get this in 2 waves:

1) First is the capture sharpening performed automatically by nearly all RAW processing software. You can disable or vary this amount yourself in the sharpening tools, although its advised to leave it active and minimal. This is an important part of the process since a fully unsharpened RAW will look very soft; the capture sharpening is just enough to give you a sharp shot to work from during the rest of editing

2) Output sharpening; typically the last stage of editing performed due to the inherent destructive nature of sharpening to image data (ergo you want to do all other editing before sharpening). You'll often do this in a few stages if you need to resize the photo since sharpening before resizing is needed; then you'll have to sharpen after resizing as the process itself will soften photo details

*some zoom lenses that cover a very long zoom range might require you to stop down one stop to get a usable level of sharpness.
Amazing help guys,

Thank you again!
Cropped section of the wall in the third file. Unsharpened on the left, some output sharpening on the right. Otherwise they are the same image. The difference is pretty obvious.

The vast majority of Raw file type images need to be sharpened.
Most Raw converter software does little or no image sharpening.

Post process image sharpening is involved enough that an entire book has been written to cover the subject.

This book was written by the guys that wrote Lightroom's Sharpening and Noise Reduction software: Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom

In fact they recommend sharpening be done in 3 stages - 1. Capture sharpening/noise reduction in Camera Raw/Develop module.
2. Local sharpening in Photoshop using the wider range of sharpening tools and techniques available in Photoshop.
3. Output sharpening based on intended image use. Images destined for print can usually can be sharpened a bit more than images destined for electronic display.

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