Taking Sharp Pictures

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by delpi, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. delpi

    delpi TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    4
    I can't seem to take really sharp pictures, they end up being noisy most of the time. They look pretty good but once I zoom in, i can see a lot of noise and I want to get rid of them.

    I have a lot of questions in mind, theories perhaps, on why my images aren't as sharp as I want them to be. Here they are:
    1. I know that the sharpness of a picture is dependent on ISO. Is it dependent on the lens as well?
    2. Does it need editing to achieve sharp images?
    3. Can sharp images can be achieved the moment you take the picture?
    4. Does my gear have anything to do with this? I'm using D5100 with 18-55mm kit lens.
    5. How do I improve the sharpness of the pictures I take?

    I hope you can provide other info which you think will help me understand sharpness of a picture. Thank you!


     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    25,125
    Likes Received:
    4,715
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Before we go any further lets see a few examples of what you mean. Either upload fullsize or resize for the net and then show us some crops so that we can see the noise you're getting. Also go through how you took the photos and what settings and setup you used.

    There's a range of things that could be going on and it would take a small book to cover them all so lets see what you're getting and go from there.
     
  3. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    Messages:
    13,654
    Likes Received:
    3,329
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    As above requested. We need examples.
    It could be one or multiple of the following:
    - Shutter speed too slow
    - Aperture too thin Depth of Field
    - Focus Mode/Area not focusing on correct subject
    - ISO too high ... need to compensate
    - cheap filter on the front of the lens
    - something wrong with the equipment.
    - Or equipment working correctly just not enough contrast, not enough light to focus, etc.
     
  4. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    18,743
    Likes Received:
    8,043
    Location:
    Mid-Atlantic US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Noise and lack of sharpness aren't necessarily correlated.
    Like ^ they said, an example with exif is crucial.
     
  5. smoke665

    smoke665 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    11,978
    Likes Received:
    5,874
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Interesting you note this. I had a problem awhile back with a couple of UV filters (not cheap ones). Everything shot with these had a softness. Didn't discover the reason till I pulled them off and held them up to a bright light. The glass had what appeared to be a haze within the glass.
     
  6. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    18,434
    Likes Received:
    4,815
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Not true.

    Very much so.


    Yes.


    That's when most of it happens.


    What you have listed; no.

    That lens is acceptably sharp.


    Post an example.
     
  7. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    41,401
    Likes Received:
    5,696
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    What file type do you use when you make photographs - Raw, TIFF, or JPEG?

    Every digital photograph has some amount of image noise, and as alluded to sharpness and image noise are different aspects photographers want to control.

    The sharpness of a photo is not dependent on ISO. How much visible image noise a photo has is dependent on ISO.

    Many DSLR cameras have a anti-aliasing (AA), or optical low pass (OLP), filter that reduces image sharpness.
    How aggressive each model/make AA filter varies. some are very aggressive and diminish sharpness substantially and some are pretty mild and have little effect on sharpness. So it depends on what camera make/model you use.
    In your case the consumer grade 18-55 mm kit lens is the limiting factor regarding sharpness. You would likely see an improvement in sharpness just by using a pro grade lens.
    All lenses have a range of lens apertures that deliver the sharpest focus a particular make/model of lens can produce.

    Note too however that you have a consumer grade camera that has Nikon's less capable Multi-CAM 1000 auto focus module that only has 1 cross-type focus point (10 single direction focus points).
    Cross-type AF point - two-dimensional contrast detection, high accuracy.
    Single direction AF point - one-dimensional contrast detection, lower accuracy.

    Every digital image will benefit from some amount of post production editing (photo finishing). In many instance we only want or need to edit part(s) of a photo (local edit) rather than the entire photo (global edit).

    It would almost take a book to describe all that a photographer has to do to wind up with an optimized final photograph.
    But sharpness is dependent on depth-of-field control, focus accuracy, the quality of the lens optics, the capabilities of the auto focus module, how steady the camera is when the shutter is released, and more.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  8. ruifo

    ruifo No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    1,200
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Mexico / Brasil
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    1. I know that the sharpness of a picture is dependent on ISO. Is it dependent on the lens as well?

    ISO has a relation with digital noise, not sharpness. Your image can be tack sharp but noisy due to high ISO. Try to keep your ISO at maximum 1600. The lesser the better for less noise.

    The quality of your lens means a lot for sharpness. The macro/micro lenses are among the sharpest out there. Prime lenses tend to be sharper than zoom lenses, overall.

    The quality of the camera body and lens focus means hugely for sharpness. Study how to get the best focus out of your camera/lens combo. That's critical.

    Shooting at the correct aperture as well, to avoid very thin depth of field, at very low f/#, what may decrease the visual feel on sharpness.

    Kit lenses like the 18-55mm are good enough lenses to start with, but they are not the best. Look for a Nikkor 40mm f/2.8 Micro or a Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 micro as your next lens and see the difference.


    2. Does it need editing to achieve sharp images?

    You can always sharp the image a bit more in post processing, considering you are taking into accout what's state in the previous response above. Having said that, you really don't really need to do that all the time. Focus on getting it right on the camera while shooting.


    3. Can sharp images can be achieved the moment you take the picture?

    Of course.


    4. Does my gear have anything to do with this? I'm using D5100 with 18-55mm kit lens.

    D5100 is a fine camera but it does not hold well high ISO. Keep it below 1600 if you can. That will help to decrease noise and has nothing to do with sharpness itself. Get a macro prime lens for the sharpest lenses out there.


    5. How do I improve the sharpness of the pictures I take?

    Practicing a lot. See all responses in here and they will help you. Using a tripod is always a good idea for sharper images. Do you have one? Good handholding techniques as well. Using flash as well. High f/# as well. High shutter speeds as well. Mastering the focus is critically important.

    Good luck!
     
  9. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2016
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    284
    Location:
    Austria/Europe
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Adding to the good advice you already received:
    one thing I often see is people comming from point and shoot cameras to DSLRs and being disappointed by the sharpness of teir new camera. Point and shoot cameras have sharpness all over the image, which usually is also a result of "overprocessing" in camera plus the missing shallow depth of DSLRs.

    I have to disagree though with what most of you said in regard to ISO and sharpness. We can call it detail, but detail also has to do with sharpness. Here is a sample I shot with ISO 100 vs ISO 10.000. I´d say ISO 100 is sharper.

    noiseComparison.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    927
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The simple solution is "don't zoom in." Appreciate the photo as it is-- in its entirety.
     
  11. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,898
    Likes Received:
    394
    Wrong.

    With my D750 I have made tack sharp, perfect looking images with ISO 3200.

    Highest useable ISO depends upon the individual picture and your personal standards, really. Also theres external noise reduction software, of course.

    At very high level of noise, noise will destroy all attributes of image quality, including sharpness. Thats when you might think about technologies such as flash, or tripods.


    Technically it ONLY depends upon lens.

    Technically means: if you're not making any error, or hit a wall of technology (such as noise).

    A lot of factors can destroy sharpness: wrong focus, too wide aperture for subject, camera shake, too slow shutter speed (i.e. subject movement) etc.

    If any of these things happen, a sharp lens wont save anything.


    You cannot fix images in post that arent sharp in the first place at all.

    Specifically the sharpness slider found in many image editors is for fixing the lack of sharpness caused by the Bayer color filter or the slight subpixel camera shake thats still present even if you have high enough shutter speed. It cannot fix a missed focus, severe camera shake, or the like.


    Sure. Why do you think all professional photographers use the best gear they can get for the task ?


    Ah, my first DSLR and lens (very quickly got an AF-S 35mm f1.8 DX though). Limit yourself to 24-50mm, stop down to f/8, avoid ISO above about 1400 (for example with flash, tripod). Also use the image stabilization wisely.


    Better technique. Such as knowing your camera and lens and their limitations.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  12. Advanced Photo

    Advanced Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2016
    Messages:
    718
    Likes Received:
    92
    Location:
    Western US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit


    That's tough with macro.
     

Share This Page