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Question on sharpness . . .
Old 11-25-2005, 03:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I was just wondering how you pro's take the super sharp images ?

It seems to me that there are basically 3 levels of images on GG...

soft ( blurry )
OK ( just OK )
SHARP ( no "grain" , POP , clean etc... )

I would say that most of mine are OK , but I have no chance of getting those incredibly crisp details like some on GG

Before you all say to switch to canon to solve my problem , I will say that I HAVE shot a 20D and to me it is looked about the same as my D100

AND assuming most are resized about the same way/size ??

SOOOO....
is it a post process like pushing the Unsharp mask farther
-or- settings on the camera ( does adobe RGB or S RGB make much of a difference? )

OR is it some thing as simple as needing to use a faster shutter speed and/or more depth of field ?

Theses 2 images are probably the "sharpest" ones out of the last 500+ I shot
NicoleG was shot at 1/200 at F 2.8 RAW
Kaylia was shot at 1/60 at F 6.7 JPEG / FINE-LARGE
BOTH shot (months apart) with a Nikon D100 and Nikon 28-70 2.8 AF-S lens( handheld off camera SB-800 Flash for fill ) NO tripod
Both of these would have been great pretty much "OUT OF THE CAMERA" although I DID play with one to change it to B&W

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Re: Question on sharpness . . .
Old 11-25-2005, 04:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There are several things that can contribute to more sharpness.

1, Faster shutter speed. (the faster the better with hanheld)
2. Opitmal lens aperture (each lens has an optianl aperature in which can give the sharpest image for that lens.)
3. lighting (good contrast with kicker lights to create contrast on the edges of the subject.)
4. Overall contrast (color contrast can work to your advantage with sharpness too)


clark
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Good Answers !
Old 11-25-2005, 04:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was just looking at various pics on GG and it seems to me that most NON sharp images are shot at f 6 to f 2.8

JT and others are the exception to that theory though !!!

they do a lot at 4.5 , 5 , 3.5 ...

I do think my Nikon glass went bad [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] , Have a shoot next week sometime , will see THEN if it was part of the problem
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Re: Question on sharpness . . .
Old 11-25-2005, 04:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Your images don't look soft on my screen...they just look really compressed for quick uploading. I shoot with a nikon D70 and 80-200 2.8 at f4-5.6 regularly and my images are tack sharp...some say too sharp. I always use a tripod!
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Re: Question on sharpness . . .
Old 11-25-2005, 05:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Something I have been doing lately is when I downsize I downsize in 20 to 25 percent steps. I found this to hold my images together better and sharper.

Instead of taking a high res image and taking it down 90 percent all at once, do it in small steps for better web presentation. You can do sharpening techniques in between those steps as well but don't over do it.

Some experts have developed specific actions for bringing an image down but I just end up going through the motion.....

J T
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Re: Question on sharpness . . .
Old 11-25-2005, 05:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The problem with the issue of sharpness is to define what one means when one talks about sharpness, especially in a digital age. If you're shooting a book and you want to be able to clearly read the small text in the shot, then you need to have it be really sharp. But if you're shooting a model, and you want the best look to the skin, you might not want it ultra sharp. But in that same shot of the model, you might want the eyes to be ultra sharp since they are the window's into the soul. Sometimes people look a different photos and they say the photo is sharp when maybe they are drawn to the eyes of the photo and they are sharp, so they call the image sharp. But is it. Here is a sample photo to judge:



Now is it a sharp shot or a soft shot? The one of the right is out of the camera. The one on the left is with eyes sharpened slightly and face softened slightly. Which shot of the face do you prefer? Notice that the right shot is sharp enough to see the pores of the skin. Do we really want to see the pores of the skin in a glamour shot. The left photo uses just enough softening and a bit of healing brush to tone down those sharp pores.

Now here is an example of three types of sharpening:



As you can see, each shot is too sharp, but each photo has different qualities of sharpness that some may like. Check out the eyes in each shot. What I normally do is sharpen the eyes selectively and then soften the face. I would simply pick the best eyes of the three samples, and then do a bit softening to the face as was done in the first example above.

cheers,
roger
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Re: Question on sharpness . . .
Old 11-25-2005, 05:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have found that the stepped approach was effective in Photoshop CS and earlier versions but with the new Bicubic Smoother and Bicubic Sharper that it makes no difference in the end result. People don't seem to be able to pick out which photo was adjusted by steps as opposed to the one that was done in one step using the correct Smoother or Sharper Bicubic Resampling technique.

Here is a link to an example reducing the photo size in three different ways. One was stepless using bicubic smoother, one stepless with bicubin sharper and one using enough steps to reduce the photo to the same size as the others using the default resampling technique.

http://www.rfredricksmith.com/threesaves.jpg

Can you tell which was done with which method? For that matter, can you see really much difference at all?

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Question on sharpness . . .
Old 11-25-2005, 06:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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All I know is I could tell a difference in my work. Mainly eye definition in 3/4 and full lengths by stepped approach while in ps7....

jt



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Re: Question on sharpness . . .
Old 11-25-2005, 06:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Stan,

Referring specifically to the fact that you're shooting a D100 (like I am), I've found (and learned from other folks shooting the same camera) that you can achieve very sharp results from the D100, if you apply a little bit of tradecraft:

(a) if at all possible, put it on a tripod - should be self-explanatory

(b) find (by experimentation) the 'sweet spot' of each of your lenses - and they are NOT usually at the same aperture. My Nikon 80-200/2.8 gives me the sharpest image at about f5.6 while the Nikkor 35-70/2.8 is sharpest at about f8 and my Sigma 18-35 is sharpest at a spot half-way between. Granted, the differences aren't a whole bunch... each of these three lenses is pretty sharp.

(c) set your in-camera sharpening to OFF. The sharpening routines in the D100 are noticeably lacking (go back and read the first couple months of reviews of the D100 and you'll find that it was probably the most complained-about 'feature' of the D100 by early adopters).

Instead, use either Nikon's CAPTURE or one of the third-party RAW products to sharpen the images. I use CAPTURE and can batch process a whole day's shoot in just a few minutes, if all I'm doing is sharpening. Of course, normally I also adjust white balance and may be doing a bit of exposure correction at the same time.

Most of the time, I tend to soften the image a bit, especially when I'm photographing a woman with less than perfect skin (and I've yet to find one of those out there)... not too many ladies want all the pores and blemishes jumping out at them.

Hope this helps with some specifics for the D100.


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Re: Question on sharpness . . .
Old 11-25-2005, 07:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You're right, in PS7 the stepped approach did seem to make a noticeable difference. But when they added the Bicubic Smoother and Sharper Resampling, in the CS versions, it seemed to make a big difference.
cheers,
rfs
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