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  1. #1
    Junior Member kwgrimes2002's Avatar
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    Sharpness of Digital Photos

    My wife bought me a Minolta 7D for Christmas, bless her. But so far, I have taken several hundred pixs and I can't say I real happy with the quality of the sharpness. Now, I have to confess, I have been using a Tamron 200-400 zoom most of the time, shooting the soccer players and golfers, but is this what I have to expect?

    I plan to shoot some shots around the house to see if things improve, but I'd like to hear your thoughts. Thanks, Ken

  2. #2
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Could you post an example or two?
    Sean Massey
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  3. #3
    Sitting in a Leaky Dingy Michael Fanelli's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by kwgrimes2002
    My wife bought me a Minolta 7D for Christmas, bless her. But so far, I have taken several hundred pixs and I can't say I real happy with the quality of the sharpness. Now, I have to confess, I have been using a Tamron 200-400 zoom most of the time, shooting the soccer players and golfers, but is this what I have to expect?

    I plan to shoot some shots around the house to see if things improve, but I'd like to hear your thoughts. Thanks, Ken
    Sharpness in most DSLRs is kept low so you can add it later. Sharpness can be added but not taken away. Post an example, most DSLR photos require manual sharpening.
    "Every great decision creates ripples--like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways.

  4. #4
    Member terryger's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    i have the same issue and i am using a 20d with a canon 75-300 is.

    i understand what you speak of but you caon only sharpen an image just so much. it has to be solid to begin with.

    at first i thought it may be me but that has been eleimnated as a possibility.

    here is one you can try to sharpen for me.

    thanx for any help


  5. #5
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Terryger,

    Your image is already over-sharpened. It looks like you have used the Sharpen command instead of an unsharp mask. When sharpening an image during your post-processing workflow, use the Unsharp Mask command.
    Sean Massey
    Massey Photography

    Canon 20D
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  6. #6
    Senior Member payn817's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Can't say about the Canon, but the 7D is conservative in sharpening so you would have to adjust yourself. Then again, I have yet to see a digital anything that produces sharp images right from the camera (but that is just my experience).

  7. #7
    Member terryger's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    sorry, that was enlarged strait out of the camera shooting jpg. no enhancement. see my confusion and concern?

    at 8 mg i should be getting a much sharper image before enhancement.

    if this is what i am getting to begin with even the miracle of ps is not gonna help too much.

    this lens does not live up to its promotion IMO but i would be happy to be proven wrong.


    i can take one a 75mm and get better results but why have the 75-300 if that is the case?

  8. #8
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by terryger
    sorry, that was enlarged strait out of the camera shooting jpg. no enhancement. see my confusion and concern?

    at 8 mg i should be getting a much sharper image before enhancement.

    if this is what i am getting to begin with even the miracle of ps is not gonna help too much.

    this lens does not live up to its promotion IMO but i would be happy to be proven wrong.


    i can take one a 75mm and get better results but why have the 75-300 if that is the case?
    Looks to me like a poor lens wide open. If you get better results at 75mm, but worse at 300, then it's obviously a matter of the lens. Do you have any quality optics to compare it to? Like a 50mm? Have you tried stopping down to the f/8-f/11 range and taking shots in bright daylight? Are those sharp?
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  9. #9
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Well, that might explain a little bit, Terry. Cropping and enlarging/shrinking images can alter how they look. What did you use to enlarge it?

    You say you don't have this problem when you're shooting at 75mm? It could be the lens that is causing the distortion of the image. There are reports that the lens is very soft at focal lengths greater than 200mm.
    Sean Massey
    Massey Photography

    Canon 20D
    Canon Digital Rebel XT (backup)
    Canon 70-200 f/2.8L
    Canon 50mm f/1.4
    Sigma 28-105 f/2.8-4.0
    Epson Stylus Photo R1800 Printer

    Blog:
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  10. #10
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by terryger
    at 8 mg i should be getting a much sharper image before enhancement.
    I think you mean 8mp, as in 8 megapixels - but resolution has nothing to do with sharpness. The longer the lens the harder it is to get a sharp image out of it too - and this is true of both film and digital. The longer the lens, the more any camera shake is magnified. I know the lens has IS but that only does so much.

    Do you have any other lenses, specifically shorter ones like a 17-85 range or so? This would eliminate one variable anyway.

  11. #11
    Junior Member kwgrimes2002's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by masdog
    Could you post an example or two?

    Here are a couple of examples. They were resized using PIXresizer. They were shot using the Minolta 7D with everything set to auto except ISO, which was set to 800 due to the setting sun and trying to boost the speed a little. Not sure why I chose that method over the Shutter priority, but I did. I was using a Tamron 28-105. f 2.8. The shutter speed set by the camera was 300 (I think - I know, "amateur").
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sharpness of Digital Photos-pict0108b-399-x-600-.jpg   Sharpness of Digital Photos-pict0110-600-x-399-.jpg  
    Last edited by kwgrimes2002; 01-26-2006 at 09:41 PM.

  12. #12
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    First, the images don't look any worse than what I get straight out of the camera. They could stand to use a little Unsharp mask filter applied when you do your post processing.

    It looks like there is a little backfocus on the second image. You can avoid this by setting the focus point to the center point.

    I took the liberty of downloading your image and running it through photoshop. I applied an unsharp mask filter with an amount of 100%, radius of .9, and a threshhold of 0.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sharpness of Digital Photos-pict0108b-399-x-600-.jpg  
    Last edited by masdog; 01-26-2006 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Added improved image...
    Sean Massey
    Massey Photography

    Canon 20D
    Canon Digital Rebel XT (backup)
    Canon 70-200 f/2.8L
    Canon 50mm f/1.4
    Sigma 28-105 f/2.8-4.0
    Epson Stylus Photo R1800 Printer

    Blog:
    IT 4 Photography


  13. #13
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Terryger, that image does not look like it should have come out of the equipment you used to capture it. It is pixelated as if you enlarged a 100k jpeg off the web. You should be getting crisp, clear lines from your 20D. Maybe not as "sharp" as you'd like, but nothing like this. Your pictures should look at least as good as kwgrimes2002's posted example, above.

    The only thing I can think of is that you've got your camera's "quality" setting way too low. Your "jpeg" setting should be set to "fine" or whatever the highest setting is. Have you checked that?

    You do not want to be getting the maximum number of pictures on your CF card.
    Drink Coffee. Do stupid things faster with more energy.


  14. #14
    Junior Member kwgrimes2002's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by masdog
    First, the images don't look any worse than what I get straight out of the camera. They could stand to use a little Unsharp mask filter applied when you do your post processing.

    It looks like there is a little backfocus on the second image. You can avoid this by setting the focus point to the center point.

    I took the liberty of downloading your image and running it through photoshop. I applied an unsharp mask filter with an amount of 100%, radius of .9, and a threshhold of 0.
    Hey Sean, Thanks. I am very new to Photoshop and am not familiar with all its features, but I like with you got out of the image from it. I will have to experiment with these and talk to a friend of mine that is a PS wizard. Thanks again, Ken

  15. #15
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Fanelli
    Sharpness in most DSLRs is kept low so you can add it later. Sharpness can be added but not taken away. Post an example, most DSLR photos require manual sharpening.
    I almost never have to sharpen any of the photos out of the my Nikon D70 or Olympus C-3030. Most of may focus problems is due to the AF locking onto the wrong item when I'm doing Micro Photography. And my old eyes make manually focusing a problem.

    GRF

  16. #16
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Fanelli
    Sharpness in most DSLRs is kept low so you can add it later. Sharpness can be added but not taken away. Post an example, most DSLR photos require manual sharpening.
    Say what!!!!

    Just the opposite is true. Sharpness certainly can be taken away. Just use gaussian blur in Photoshop. Generally speaking sharpness cannot be added, rather a photo can be modified to give the deceptive appearance of greater sharpness until you look more closely and see for example more contrast in edge colours, less dithering in colour transition areas etc.

    Ronnoco

  17. #17
    can't Re-member lidarman's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnoco
    Say what!!!!

    Just the opposite is true. Sharpness certainly can be taken away. Just use gaussian blur in Photoshop. Generally speaking sharpness cannot be added, rather a photo can be modified to give the deceptive appearance of greater sharpness until you look more closely and see for example more contrast in edge colours, less dithering in colour transition areas etc.

    Ronnoco
    Correct.

    On the O.P.,

    Do you have some more infor on the photo, shutter time, and where you were focusing when you shot it. I would do a test using manual focus and compare it to autofocus at 300 mm.

    Another big problem is showing us this is when you reduce the size, the software does a defocus effect when it interpolates. To show us a sample, it's best to cut out a piece (say near the eye of the bird) and post that. Thus, you retain original pixel info.

    A general rule (for 35 mm cameras) is you need a minumum shutter speed of 1/ focal length for a hand held shot to have no motion blur. That means basically you need a minimum of 1/300 s to hold it at 300 mm. Anyhting shorter and you get a bad pic.

  18. #18
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnoco
    Say what!!!!

    Just the opposite is true. Sharpness certainly can be taken away. Just use gaussian blur in Photoshop. Generally speaking sharpness cannot be added, rather a photo can be modified to give the deceptive appearance of greater sharpness until you look more closely and see for example more contrast in edge colours, less dithering in colour transition areas etc.

    Ronnoco
    In the context of digital capture, Michael is 100% correct. Digital cameras add sharpening in-camera (the modification you speak of) to the original data. This, since it is done with no regard to output resolution, degrades the image. Taking the very same raw data and applying more advanced sharpening methods and keeping output methods and print size in mind, will give you better final results than it would to let the camera apply rudimentary sharpening.

    And sharpness can be taken away, but the artifacting caused by the digital sharpening can not. Not with any filter, including gaussian blur. Garbage is garbage, fuzzy or not.
    -Seb

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    (Please don't edit and repost my images without my permission. Thank you)

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  19. #19
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    In the context of digital capture, Michael is 100% correct. Digital cameras add sharpening in-camera (the modification you speak of) to the original data. This, since it is done with no regard to output resolution, degrades the image. Taking the very same raw data and applying more advanced sharpening methods and keeping output methods and print size in mind, will give you better final results than it would to let the camera apply rudimentary sharpening.

    And sharpness can be taken away, but the artifacting caused by the digital sharpening can not. Not with any filter, including gaussian blur. Garbage is garbage, fuzzy or not.
    We are talking apples and oranges. Michael is wrong. Digital cameras do not keep sharpness low so that it can be added later. If your focus is dead on, your shutterspeed appropriate for your subject and there is no camera vibration then you will get a sharp image. If the image is blurred, all the modifications of edges and dithering will not add detail and definition where there was none to begin with. In camera "sharpness" adjustments are really just hardening or softening the edges and colour transitions and degrade the image as you indicated. Yes, taking the raw data and using more sophisticated software will produce better results but only within a very limited range based on the original sharpness of the image.

    When I said that sharpness could be taken away, I was referring to the original sharpness of the image and that can be blurred without artifacting. Certainly the "artificial sharpening" either in camera menu adjustment selections or less sophisticated software causes noise and artifacting. With luminance, chrominance noise filters and surface allgorithms it can be greatly reduced but in the end poor focus or camera vibration still produce a lousy image.

    Ronnoco

  20. #20
    Member Stephen Lutz's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Hello,

    The duck looks out of focus, rather than un-sharp. I had the 75-300 IS at one time, and it was plenty sharp at 300mm and wide open. It certainly wasn't that bad. Anyway.... most DSLR cameras have some user selectable in camera sharpening for jpgs! If you shoot RAW, it is a full sensor capture, that is pretty much unaltered. That's why RAW is the most flexible format to use.

    Can't speak for Nikon or Minolta, but Canon DSLR cameras are generally set to a default of no sharpening at all. The user can select a sharpening effect if desired. As for myself, I have an Action in photoshop that applies the unsharp mask to just the Luminescence Channel. This is the most subtle way to give a little sharpening to a picture without blossoming artifacts.

  21. #21
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Taking sharp pictures with such a long lens (Tamron 200-400mm) requires much attention and experience. Generally, you won't get a sharp picture unless the shutter is slower than 1/200 (if you don't use a tripod). Try to support the lens barrel with your left hand and press the button very gently - experience with shooting a rifle may be helpful. Press yout arms to the body to get more stability. I was getting unsharp pictures from this lens even when using a tripod. Tripod must be quite sturdy and heavy to support adequately long range lenses. Attach the tripod head not to the camera, but to the collar on the lens. If possible, use mirror lock (no need to use this feature if exposure time is longer than about 1/4s).
    Even if you follow all these rules, you will not get pictures with super sharpness, simply because TAMRON zoom 200-400mm is a POOR PERFORMER at any aperture. I have checked that making test pictures with a flash (eliminating in this way bad technique that might influence results). This is the most expensive and the worst lens I have!

  22. #22
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by helical
    Generally, you won't get a sharp picture unless the shutter is slower than 1/200 (if you don't use a tripod).
    I'm sure this is just a typo, but it should be faster, not slower. For a lens that long, I'd probably go faster than this old rule too due to the weight of the lens.

    The "rule" was that the slowest shutter speed you should use with a handheld camera is the inverse of the focal length, or 1/200 for 200mm, 1/400 for 400mm, etc. I can handhold short lenses about 1/2 stop slower than this from practice, but probably would go faster than the rule for a lens like this - but my first choice would always be to shoot it on a tripod. There is a technique to shooting on a tripod as well; look here.

  23. #23
    Chronic Gadget Junkie SCOOTERINSLC's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    If I can jump in here. I own a 7D and the 200-400 Tamron. It's a very sweet lens, but remember you are effectively handling a 300-600mm lens with the 1.5 crop factor, so a tripod is an absolute must in most situations, and focus is critical. Here are a few taken with the 7D and 200-400. I've posted these in the last year or so and they've been sized down to post here at less than maximum quality settings, and still look o.k. I'll send you the originals if you want to see how sharp they really are. (The cat shots were taken thru green chainlink, thus the green hazy look over parts of them, but check the cats tounge. Tack sharp.) Get the tripod out and practice, practice! E-mail or PM me if you have questions. Regards,
    Scooter
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sharpness of Digital Photos-pict0401.jpg   Sharpness of Digital Photos-pict0501.jpg   Sharpness of Digital Photos-soccer-post-2.jpg  

  24. #24
    Senior Member payn817's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    Exactly Scooter. I had a sharpness problem with my 5D, it took an entire day to realize the 1.5 factor, and another half day to realize a filter on one lens was the culprit. Do you have a filter on this lens? It seems a few people have problems with certain filters, depending on the coating and thickness.

    You can check out dyxum.com or dpreview.com on their forums for more help on issues, there's alot of KM D owners there, and a huge knowledge base.

    Perhaps soon PJ will give us a KM/Sony forum to attract some of that knowledge this way.

  25. #25
    Chronic Gadget Junkie SCOOTERINSLC's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Sharpness of Digital Photos

    I just have always kept a UV filter on it. It's only a 5.6 so a polariser would really make it a dog. I used this lens on my film bodies for 5 or 6 years and it's every bit as sharp on the 7D. I love it with the crop factor. People pay $10,000 for 600mm f4's. I have one stop slower for about $9,500 less. I can live with that. ;)

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