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Thread: Acheiving Sharpness - hmmmm

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    The Commander mikew09's Avatar
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    Acheiving Sharpness - hmmmm

    Been taking photos now about 2.5 yrs - never been a real quick learner :-). Now I am not saying my images are not sharp but when I look at some of the portrait images taken with a 50D on say 500pix, I just don't seem to be achieving that a consistent, well, razor sharp image. I am still very much a budding amateur photographer but I and still struggle at times with achieving sharpness, especially in portraits. Am I alone here or can some of the more experienced photogs provide any tips in processing etc to move to the next step of sharpness. As an example the below image was taken in doors:

    50D
    ISO 100
    Canon 24-105 L lens @ 24mm, IS on (not tripod mounted)
    shutter 1/800
    f/6.3
    580 EX speedlite on camera with small white diffuser
    430 speedlite off camera mounted about 45 degree to subject

    RAW image looks basically sharp ready for processing

    I use lightroom 3.x to process but noticed if I apply some high pass layer adjustments in PSE 9 it improves the sharpness but still does not seem to get that razor edge finish.

    Please be honest with your Critique of my images. I may not always agree, but I will not be offended - CC assists my learning and is always appreciate

    https://mikeathome.smugmug.com/

    Canon 5D3 - Gripped, EF 70-200 L IS 2.8 MkII, , 24-105 L 4 IS MkI, 580 EX II Speedlite, 2x 430 Ex II Speedlite


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    The Commander
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    OH, I forgot to mention. I am ordering another 430 EX speelite this week to allow for two off camera flashes.

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    Go the Rabbitohs mudman's Avatar
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    wuth a cuttie like that and that smile what tha heck
    the mouth area is definately sharp
    cc and enjoy

    Photography is painting with light

    K7, Pentax 18-250mm zoom, Pentax 100mm macro, Sigma 50-500mm
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    where was teh focus point for this nice shot? the doggy seems to be teh focal point to me, as the area in focus seems to be falling off by the time i look up the top left of the baby's head. the sharpness is not bad at all, i dont know if you'd want to sharpen a lot more than this for portraits
    Successful People Make Adjustments - Evander Holyfield

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    It's all about the Light!
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    Sharpness is a bourgeois concept - Henri Cartier-Bresson.


    I like it!
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
    Digital & film, Bits of glass covering 10mm to 500mm, and other stuff



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    Thanks mudman - yea, she is a cutie this little one and I agree, sharpness is not really an issue for this portrait. Mostly an example of max sharpness achieved. If I push the boundaries any harder in pp over sharping issues start to become an issue. So I figure it must be with my initial shot or my technique although the RAW image looks pretty good.

    But again - isn't she a darling - OH, did I forget to mention she is my second granddaughter :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by zollo View Post
    where was teh focus point for this nice shot? the doggy seems to be teh focal point to me, as the area in focus seems to be falling off by the time i look up the top left of the baby's head. the sharpness is not bad at all, i dont know if you'd want to sharpen a lot more than this for portraits
    Focus point was on the eye zollo as I tend to do with any portrait shots I do. So are you thinking it may be micro adjust needed - have not really played with micro adjust to much as it is another beast to get right?

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    Thanks Kym, oh yea - I am not unhappy with sharpness in most my photos, having said that, I see some model like shots with the 50D and do wonder what it takes to achieve that super sharp shot, considering I have the same kit as some shots I see on this forum and some semi pro sights. May not be a skill I will always apply but I figure it will aide my skill set.
    I know lighting plays a big role and will soon have a couple of stands with umbrellas to mount the 430's on.

    10 yrs off retirement and hoping to make a supplement (part time) income when I retire from photography around the place, need an way to cover the cost to keep my kit up to date when I retire :-(

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikew09 View Post
    Focus point was on the eye zollo as I tend to do with any portrait shots I do. So are you thinking it may be micro adjust needed - have not really played with micro adjust to much as it is another beast to get right?
    i wouldnt micro adjust just yet, but i would test the cameras af further to see if it needed it. how? try manual focusing, using live view and full magnification of the focus point and compare it to an identical shot using the cameras af only. youd have to keep the setting idenical and use a subject that moves a little less than your granddaughter (maybe the eye of the stuffed toy)

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    Would this lens be front focusing to my eye the ear of the dog is sharper than the focus point of the eye. I like the shot, cute subject.
    Nikon D600 tamron 24-70 2.8 50 1.4 K5 Da70 Da 40

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    Quote Originally Posted by zollo View Post
    i wouldnt micro adjust just yet, but i would test the cameras af further to see if it needed it. how? try manual focusing, using live view and full magnification of the focus point and compare it to an identical shot using the cameras af only. youd have to keep the setting identical and use a subject that moves a little less than your granddaughter (maybe the eye of the stuffed toy)
    Thanks Zollo, actually you make a good point that one would assume I had considered - drrr. I would think 1/800 shutter would be sufficient but yea, Abbie is a pretty active little one and defiantly not posing perfectly still. I might re-assess some images to check this out. Maybe it is just that very thing as some of my recent self portraits I have been playing with have managed to achieve that razor sharp look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wedgtail View Post
    Would this lens be front focusing to my eye the ear of the dog is sharper than the focus point of the eye. I like the shot, cute subject.
    Thanks wedgtail, I was thinking maybe micro-adjust too but Zollo has also made a very good point. See how this goes. I tried micro adjust on my 70-200 but to be honest I think I made things worse from what was not really a non issue :-). Having said that, I have read a few threads that in view of positives with micro-adjust.

    thanks,

    Mike

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    I just another look at this image in raw @ 100% and the ear does look sharper, also I noticed tht the button on the front of the bond suite are also quite noticebly sharper. I also forgot to mention my self portraits were taken with my Sigma 10-20mm.

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    Sharpness in that image looks fine to me at that size, what you may be comparing to on the site you mentioned is images taken with a good quality prime lens. Whilst the 24-105 is sharp, a good prime will have the edge on it.

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    Um, Is it just me but you say you were lighting this with speed lights and have stated a shutter of 1/800??

    I thought the 50d had a max flash sync of 1/250??

    (ps I thought it plenty sharp enough, but without the full size file its hard to tell)
    Greg Bartle,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
    Sharpness in that image looks fine to me at that size, what you may be comparing to on the site you mentioned is images taken with a good quality prime lens. Whilst the 24-105 is sharp, a good prime will have the edge on it.
    Sharpness is still pretty good say at A4 too - good point, I may have had some assumptions when looking at the shots, I will look at the site again to see if all were 24-105 L lens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus79 View Post
    Um, Is it just me but you say you were lighting this with speed lights and have stated a shutter of 1/800??

    I thought the 50d had a max flash sync of 1/250??

    (ps I thought it plenty sharp enough, but without the full size file its hard to tell)
    Hi Greg, yep default sync is 1/250 on the 50D but if you enable high speed sync on the flash (I think it is called high speed sync) you can run shutter speeds all the way to 1/8000, not that you would want to do that. I think there is a chance of the shutter being captured in the frame at higher speeds but I have never had the problem.

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    Uh Huh! that makes more sense to me now, for some reason I thoght you were using Yongano flashes that dont' support HSS.

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    My 60D was giving me all sorts of problems with focus. I ended up sending it back to have the issue corrected. It was focussing about 10mm behind what it thought it was focussing on. Yours may be focussing slightly in front of what it thinks it's focussed on. Try a test with one of the focus charts to make sure. If it comes out fine then you know there's another issue, and if it does show a focus problem, you'll have a photo of the chart to send in with the camera to get it fixed. It made such a huge difference to mine that I've gone from wanting to sell it off, to wanting to keep it.
    Canon EOS 60D ..... EFS 18-200mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS - 430 EXII Speedlite - "eBay special" Remote Control Unit - Manfrotto 190XPROB w 804RC2 head.

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    Forgive me if I'm repeating that which has already been said, as I haven't read all the replies, but maybe the OP is having an issue with the sharpness in the resized image rather then the original file. I suspect that the 24-105 will be very sharp at mid apertures so sharpness in the original file shouldn't be an issue, assuming good photo techniques are employed (which I suspect is the subject of most of the replies).

    I would suggest that maybe the issue is the resizing and sharpening technique used. I simply use Photoshop and resize and sharpen once but I know that some people use a multi step resize/sharpen process which gives a much sharper looking image in the resized file, presumably as less data is lost along the way, or at least utilised better. I have no idea how to do it but Google is your friend. No doubt there are posts about it on the interweb, maybe on other forums or maybe there are folks here who go to the trouble and can contribute.

    Consideration must be given to the jpeg compression used as this will obviously reduce sharpness in the final resized image.

    JJ
    Last edited by jjphoto; 15-02-2012 at 7:12pm.

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