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05-01-2011, 10:49 AM   #1
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help me improve sharpness

I've uploaded my pictures here.
Please help me improve by registering your suggestion for me please.

thanks

05-01-2011, 11:43 AM   #2
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  • Use a tripod.
  • Mirror-up
  • SR off(in case you don't mirror up)
  • Remote
  • Try and keep shutter at/or around 1/250s
  • Get a good prime
  • Shoot in aperture sweet spot(usually 5.6-f11 depending on lens)
  • Shoot in RAW

And finally, learn to post process for detail(microcontrast etc).
05-01-2011, 11:52 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
I've uploaded my pictures here.
Please help me improve by registering your suggestion for me please.

thanks
I'm afraid it's impossible since you've killed details with the aperture closed too narrow: the diffraction kill them all. Don't use apertures below 10 (actually, it may become visible since f=9).
05-01-2011, 12:19 PM   #4
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thanks for that, does this mean that the DOF is also shallow? this is the reason I kept it at F22 expecting that I will get a wide DOF.

05-01-2011, 12:29 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
thanks for that, does this mean that the DOF is also shallow? this is the reason I kept it at F22 expecting that I will get a wide DOF.
It's a game of balance actually.

Most lenses demonstrate optimum performance within a given aperture range(typically between f/5.6 - f11). However there are exceptions such as with some of the normal primes like the 35mm 3.5 which holds-up quite well up until f16. Which is why it's so widely regarded as a cult classic for landscape shooting. And so it pays to get familiar with your lenses in order to use them to your advantage.

Anyways, the task usually comes down to balancing between distance, aperture and maximum detail/IQ. And lets not t forget the most important part of all... processing for image detail. - My recomendation would be to look into plugins such as Topaz Detail or FocalBlade which I'd consider to be some of the better sharpening tools on the market(a must for landscape shooters imo.)

Hope this helps.
JohnB
05-01-2011, 12:46 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
And finally, learn to post process for detail(microcontrast etc).
Any suggestions regarding how to learn that?
05-01-2011, 02:27 PM   #7
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Even at f/22, you'd never get both the foreground and background perfectly in focus viewing at large sizes. DOF calculations aren't meant for pixel peeping, but for "normal" prints viewed from "normal" distances.
05-01-2011, 04:11 PM   #8
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this is a great article on getting better sharpness
Advanced Tips for Tack Sharp Images

lot of other info as well

cheers

05-01-2011, 04:30 PM   #9
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I find that when I'm drinking, and then shooting with my totally manual, non-AF lenses, it helps to add 10mm to what I'm actually shooting with when I'm prompted when I boot u the camera.

Either 10mm or 100mm.

Can't remember, because as I said, I was drinking.
05-01-2011, 04:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
I've uploaded my pictures here.
Please help me improve by registering your suggestion for me please.

thanks
As others have noted using the aperture of f22 is not all that beneficial as far as DOF goes and will actually degrade clarity in your images. To put it in terms which might help you understand better, generally at f22, in theory, everything from 1 meter to infinity should be in focus but at f8 (or f11) maybe everything from 2 meters to infinity will be in focus. So the benefit you seek using f22 v f8 is really very small, maybe 1 to 1.5 meters and with cropping you might do on your final image, that may not matter. As other pointed out, generally most lenses max out to greatest sharpness (re: DOF and Performance) somewhere between f8 - f11. I've found f8 to be the magical setting on most of my lenses.

Also, in such bright conditions, you maybe better off setting your ISO at 100 instead of 200...
05-01-2011, 05:13 PM - 4 Likes   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
thanks for that, does this mean that the DOF is also shallow? this is the reason I kept it at F22 expecting that I will get a wide DOF.
sany, do help demonstrate, here's a shot taken at f/11 using a 35mm f/3.5 lens on a K20D. Click to view the image full size(1:1) and see if you think the DOF worked to preserve the sharpness within the entire image.

And though, I could have shot at f/16, I've found that shooting at f/11 at this focal length combined is all that's needed to produce sharp, crisp scenes.

K20D, K 35mm 3.5, F11, 1/200, ISO200 - cropped


QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
Any suggestions regarding how to learn that?
Hello, dadipentak
Microconstrast is an amazing feature in post processing that allows us to emphasize or extrapolate microdetail.

Which is in itself still sharpening, but that is done selectively instead of globally. This can be done with or without plugins. However, if you can, I would highly recommend using a plugin as it makes life alot easier. Otherwise, the only method I know of adjusting microcontrast, is to use the highpass filter in Photoshop to create a detail map via composite(layered image). Which isn't so much hard, as it takes practice in order to learn what to look for and how to best apply it(via masking etc). So that's that.

However, if you're into plugins, then life just got a lot easier.
The first on my list would be Topaz Detail. Because its easy and it works.
The software allows you to dial-in microntrast in form of detail size(micro, med, large etc) as well as global sharpening and deblurring. So it gives you alot of power at your fingertips. Its only downside is that it doesn't do anything to preserve edge detail and can easily result in artifacts/noise. - so that's my take on Topaz detail in a nutshell.

My second plugin would be Nik Software Sharpener Pro, which shares many of the capabilities of Topaz Detail, but uses a very different approach via u-point technology and I believe they recently incorporated brush/masking in their plugin. Either way, microntrast is rightfully called "structure" in this package and has the advantage of edge preservation over Topaz Detail. However... it does not have features such as deblur and some of the other useful tools in Found in Topaz Detail and so I would highly recommend someone try(30 day demo) both prior to investing any money in them.

For the 3'rd and final plugin(saved the best for last ), I would recommend Focal Blade.
Focal Blade is the most powerful, advanced sharpening, edging tool ever created for Photoshop.
However... as with everything else, the old adage of "with great power comes great responsibility" is in full effect with Focal Blade.
And that is, where it has a learning curve. And the curve can be long and steep, if you want it to be. It really depends on your needs and how much you know(understand) about unsharp masking, and digital image technology. However, there's no doubt that Focal Blade can do anything if you know how to do it. - And so I'll just summarize that Focal Blade as the ultimate tool.

Well that's it in a nutshell for microcontrast and sharpening.
So in summary, I'd like to add that sharpness is a highly misinterpreted image attribute. Especially in RAW!
I often hear people complaining about sharpness and/or detail when processing in RAW only to find that they misunderstood how sharpness works in digital imaging. To which I'd add, if the image characteristics are good, then it can be sharpened to any level.
A good RAW image is never sharp, it is neutral.. This means artifact free contrast edges, noise free shadow and midtone regions and uniform, consistent grain. This means, we can extrapolate detail without artifacts and distortion. And that is what GOOD RAW images are made of.

Hope this helps
JohnB

Last edited by JohnBee; 05-01-2011 at 05:44 PM.
05-02-2011, 02:40 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Thanks all for that knowledge sharing, but all these are really going over my head. I am getting stuck and confused with DOF and Sharpness (sharpness or focus!?)
My learning was:
1. small aperture=more depth of field (presumed all or most in focus) + also can focus to infinity
2. large aperture=shallow depth of field (presumed the focus area to get more in focus than the rest)

This is why the week before last after my shot in the same location, I was not happy with the overall sharpness and noticed my aperture was less so this week i went to the same location and with smallest aperture but they all seem to be wrong after this new learning.

Going by these new knowledge, when I set some aperture as mentioned will it not selectively get the frame in focus? what about infinity focus?

Also, some questions from JohnBee's suggestions:
  • Use a tripod. (I was thinking I must use tripod when the shutter speed is low to avoid hand movement)
  • Mirror-up (how to do this and what is it)
  • SR off(in case you don't mirror up) (what does Shake Reduction do negative, I was thinking it only helps us to reduce reduction)
  • Remote
  • Try and keep shutter at/or around 1/250s
  • Get a good prime
  • Shoot in aperture sweet spot(usually 5.6-f11 depending on lens) (is this the same for all lens if not how to find the sweet spot for my lens 35mm for example)
  • Shoot in RAW
JohnBee - pls dont mistake me, these are a learner's question - not that I am questioning your knowledge

thanks
Sany
05-02-2011, 03:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Hope this helps
JohnB
Yes, thanks!
05-02-2011, 07:51 AM   #14
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QuoteQuote:
Mirror-up (how to do this and what is it)
SR off(in case you don't mirror up) (what does Shake Reduction do negative, I was thinking it only helps us to reduce reduction)
I'm wondering the same things. I doubt my K100d has the option to mirror up.
05-02-2011, 08:26 AM   #15
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f/11 gives DOF from 2.75 meters to infinity with a lens with a focal length of 35mm; hyperfocal distance is 5.45 meter (source: Online Depth of Field Calculator). To use those numbers, you however need to focus at 5.45 meters.

This is easiest done with a lens with a DOF scale like in the attached image. This lens has a DOF scale (the ring with the numbers 22 to 4, the red diamond and the numbers 4 to 22) and a distance scale (in feet and meters) above it that is connected to the focus ring. You manual focus so the infinity mark is opposite the f/8 mark left of the diamond and check the f/8 marker at the other side of the red diamond (it should be somewhere between the 2 meter and 4.5 meter indication).

Note that I use f/8 here as your camera has a smaller sensor than for what the DOF scale was designed (f/8 more or less matches f/11 that you select on your Pentax digital camera).



If your lens is the DA(L)35/2.4, it's more complicated as this lens does not have a distance scale and a DOF scale. You need to focus on something 5.45 meters away to get the effect.

If you always want max DOF at f/11, I suggest that you do a controlled focusing on something 5.45 meters away (e.g. at home, use a tape measure). Next mark the position of the focus ring (opposite the white line between the word ' Pentax' and the word '35mm' on your lens).

Last edited by sterretje; 05-02-2011 at 09:10 AM.
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