why do my photos not look as sharp as I like them?

SnowOrchid

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So I am looking at my photos and I am pretty happy with them aside from the fact that they just don't have anywhere near the sharpness and clearness that I like to see..

Canon EOS Rebel T3i
F/10
1/125
ISO 3200
18 mm lens

Pic #1

I tried to fix it..



Maybe I did too much there?




Pic #2 is a little better( I think..or is it?)



I had to crop out a lot of the background, because it was just too distracting-it was just the wall, and the rest of the room.

I think it has to be the aperture, I had it set for a little bit higher not realizing the background was going to be distracting, and only later saw that when I opened the file..
I needed the fast shutter speed because he was moving around a lot..

Sorry if I am asking annoying beginner's questions, it's all very new to me..I had never shot in manual mode until a few weeks ago.

PS Sorry for my bad grammar in my title ...I meant to say "would" like them, but i can't edit it..
 

480sparky

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Missed focus, mostly. High ISO noise as well.
 
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SnowOrchid

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I cropped about 75% of the image..

ETA Here is one of the originals..the other is almost the same. I was just practicing, taking random photos but then I decided i would have really liked these if it wasn't for the background...So I tried to save them by cropping..does that never work?

 
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TonyMontanaSlot

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Well as for cropping, I think it's better not to crop an image but shoot the proper area first. That way you'll have far more better quality image with better editing capability as it will have much more pixels. And I believe it will be less noisy and sharper. Focus is also might be an issue.
Nice cat btw

P.S. I just figured out what appears to be a nice tip for you. Leave the shutter speed fast, leave the ISO settings as you have, set the widest aperture (with wider aperture you might want to set your ISO value to less than 3200 to prevent overexposure). Keep the distance too. That way your cat will be the main object in your photo and background will blur out. Make sure that the focus and the depth of field are correct
Yeah you can also push your zoom to the limit and move farther away from your cat
Remember the less the value of an aperture the wider it's opened
 
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minhhich

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I think you missed focus on the eye. High ISO noise and noise reduction affects too. One more thing, if you used the kit lens for the photos, it will have some bad effect on the final image aswell
 

Gavjenks

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It looks like the whiskers are quite sharp, so you or your camera, depending on AF settings, seems to have focused on those.

Try manual focus for the cat and/or single center point AF if not doing so already.


Edit: @ guy above me: There shouldn't be anything really wrong with the kit lens at f/10, especially at its widest setting nearish the middle of the frame.
 

SCraig

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I cropped about 75% of the image..

ETA Here is one of the originals..the other is almost the same. I was just practicing, taking random photos but then I decided i would have really liked these if it wasn't for the background...So I tried to save them by cropping..does that never work?
No, it's not that it never works, it's just that when you crop off 75% of your image then what's left only contains 25% of the resolution of the entire sensor. Or, in other words, the original 18mp image has been cropped 75% so that the remainder only contains 4.5 megapixels. That is obviously never going to look as sharp as if the subject occupied the entire 18 megapixel frame.

In this instance it looks to me like your focus was off as well. The white quilt in the background looks more in focus than your cat. The exact center of the frame (where the focus point most likely was) is on the wall just slightly to the right of the cat's perch.
 

KenC

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I agree with others that the focus is off - looks like it was closer to the camera than anything in the image. However, the first image looks a little less sharp to me than the second, so I think motion blur also plays a part. From experience I know that 1/125 is not a fast shutter speed for a cat cleaning itself.
 

Centropolis

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With the possible focus point issue, you can try switching to single-point focus instead of auto-multipoint to ensure you're focus at the eyes instead of letting the camera choose for you. Just make sure your focus is locked when you recompose.

Second thing is, I think you should try shooting at a wider aperture than F/10 so that you can have a faster shutter and/or lower ISO. At 18mm, your lens should be able to go wider than f/10 for sure.
 

Destin

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The high iso is killing the sharpness. As is the cropping. There is absolutely no need to be shooting at f/10 and iso 3200. You should be more in the neighborhood of f/3.5 (wide open) and iso 800. Maybe iso 1600 and keep your shutter speed higher, depending on how well your camera handles those iso levels.
 

Derrel

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f/10 is probably causing a bit of softness due to diffraction. ISO 3,200 and a huge crop hurts. There's probably some in-camera Noise reduction going on. The combo of f/10 at 1/125 at ISO 3,200 is a slightly odd pairing...the aperture is VERY small, and the ISO is VERY high.
 

runnah

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f/10 is probably causing a bit of softness due to diffraction. ISO 3,200 and a huge crop hurts. There's probably some in-camera Noise reduction going on. The combo of f/10 at 1/125 at ISO 3,200 is a slightly odd pairing...the aperture is VERY small, and the ISO is VERY high.

Anytime you see wonky settings you can bet it's an auto mode.

Hence why I don't trust my camera to make choices for me.
 
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SnowOrchid

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Thank you all for all the tips...I did shoot this in manual mode, I played around with the settings to get the exposure I was happy with. I knew I needed a faster shutter speed, but there was no real reason I chose f/10, I was just experimenting...I had read that for close ups the number should be smaller. My camera lets me go go f/5.5, so I probably should have used that.
i will try to figure out how to get better at focusing.. The single point focus was a really good tip, I'll definitely see if I can do that.
 

Richichi

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IMHO you can change your aperture but that would even make your focusing more critical as the depth of field will be shallower, aperture wasn't your enemy here. Looking at the original image I find it difficult to determine what you were taking a picture of as the composure isn't good. Therefore the camera didn't know what to focus on and guessed wrongly if this is a picture of the cat. I think composure as previously mentioned was.
Remember post processing can't make a bad photo good no matter how much you try. Everyone gave you good information - Good Luck !!
 

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