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03-30-2020, 10:26 PM - 1 Like   #16
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Technique? It is simple:
  • One cannot make consistently sharp photos with lenses incapable of the desired performance. This does not mean corner-to-corner resolution/contrast at all apertures. It depends on one's needs and aims.
  • Take care with focusing. When critical focus is desired, take care to make sure you are in control and using a method that allows both accuracy 1 and precision2
  • Be aware that depth of field may not deliver 3
  • Be aware that even wide-angle lenses require attention to focus
  • Be aware of potential for camera motion and the limitations of shutter speed and shake/vibration reduction to mitigate such. One cannot overstate the value of an appropriately stable tripod and head.
  • Be aware of factors that may result in subject motion
  • Perception of sharpness is highly dependent on contrast. Dull light will unavoidably result in less-than-crisp results that probably will not respond to contrast adjustment in post. Soft light ==> soft results.
How these points relate to your current kit or skill level is hard to say. Fortunately, using a dSLR allows one to find out what works without having to burn through a ton of film. Practice and attention to basics are probably more important than doing a deep dive on the technical side.


Steve

1 How well the chosen focus method performs in terms of placing the focus point at the focal plane of the sensor or film.

2 In simplest terms, the chance of getting the same focus over multiple attempts. Note that even a highly accurate approach may fail to provide consistent results if precision is poor.

3 Stopping down may allow more of the frame to appear in focus, with the key word being "appear". In reality, there is only one distance that is in focus., even at narrower apertures. What this means is that printing or viewing big (say pixel peeping) will always show missed focus if present, while printing smaller or viewing at a moderate distance/magnification may make even out-of-focus elements of the frame appear sharp.


Last edited by stevebrot; 03-31-2020 at 07:30 AM. Reason: word choice and grammar
03-30-2020, 11:09 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
but are there other things a pro adopts to get sharp photos?
Yes, absolutely. Since sharp is only relative to enlargement and viewing distance, for a given enlargement and viewing distance, larger sensors with more pixels deliver sharper images. That's why a lot of professionals use full frame camera and even medium format. When I was shooting apsc, I was putting lots of efforts in getting images as sharp as I could, hitting the diminishing returns , I bought a Pentax K1 and immediately obtained more detailed images straight out of the box without effort. If I want more sharpness I still have two routes: lots of efforts on getting the best sharpness out of my K1, or buying a higher resolution camera to get immediately better sharpness out of the box.
03-30-2020, 11:59 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
...Relative to live view, use magnification if your camera allows (e.g. the K-1). This allows for a much more critical focus than just live-view focusing alone...
Even old cameras like the K-7 let you magnify Live View for focussing, should anyone be wondering. Check your camera manual for details.
03-31-2020, 01:13 AM   #19
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Something that easily gets overlooked is focusing at the hyperfocal distance instead of infinity, especially when doing landscapes with wide angle lenses.

03-31-2020, 01:21 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by JensE Quote
On my K-1, I actually get sharper results in the "shutter shock" range (1/60s - 1/200s) when I leave it on (tested on a few small primes only), enough to not have to worry about it at all. My tripod isn't flimsy, but not super-heavy either.


I haven't noticed any negative effects caused by SR on a tripod, but then it is automatically off when I use the 2s shutter delay, so it doesn't happen too often.
When on tripod I use IR remote and liveview to avoid shutter shock and other camera movements.
03-31-2020, 02:32 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by iheiramo Quote
When on tripod I use IR remote and liveview to avoid shutter shock and other camera movements.
Shutter shock is movement originating from the mechanical shutter and cannot be avoided by IR remote - there have been numerous discussions in the forum, see e.g. Shutter shock with small primes - Page 3 - PentaxForums.com. Switching to electronic shutter works - when it works for your subject.
03-31-2020, 03:45 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by JensE Quote
Shutter shock is movement originating from the mechanical shutter and cannot be avoided by IR remote - there have been numerous discussions in the forum, see e.g. Shutter shock with small primes - Page 3 - PentaxForums.com. Switching to electronic shutter works - when it works for your subject.
I know. Remote is just to remove the movement from using the camera. With some longer lenses 2s delay ain't enough on my tripod.
03-31-2020, 11:04 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Don't forget about using LiveView as an aid for optimal focus accuracy and achieving image sharpness, if the subject allows it.
Liveview is a feature that I seldom use, even though it focusses the image on the actual focal plane to give the best focus. I find it difficult to use in strong sunlight because I can't see the image clearly. However, I guess I could force myself to give it a try to see if there is an improved sharpness.

---------- Post added 03-31-20 at 02:12 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
It may seem to obvious, but well, how about tripods?
Tripods are fine for reducing shake but who wants to lug around a large, heavy tripod? It's OK if your taking wedding shots in a set location, or for astro photography, but it's a hindrance if you are in a crowded tourist place where you may have to keep moving. I have several tripods and they are rusting away in a closet somewhere. Nar, it's not for me

---------- Post added 03-31-20 at 02:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
Something that easily gets overlooked is focusing at the hyperfocal distance instead of infinity, especially when doing landscapes with wide angle lenses.
Hi Wasp, let me see if I understand you. By hyperfocal distance do you mean the actual distance from the camera to the chosen image? If so, are you saying that an auto focussing camera could latch onto the horizon instead of say, the swan on a pond, which is your intended image. Thus the horizon would be in focus instead of the swan. Maybe the camera should be set to manual focus for these situations so that you focus on your intended object.

03-31-2020, 11:23 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
Tripods are fine for reducing shake but who wants to lug around a large, heavy tripod? It's OK if your taking wedding shots in a set location, or for astro photography, but it's a hindrance if you are in a crowded tourist place where you may have to keep moving. I have several tripods and they are rusting away in a closet somewhere. Nar, it's not for me
There are no 'tripod' police for sure. And I wouldn't begin to differ with you on what you need for your photography, but while I have a number of large heavy tripods, I also have several tripods which weigh in at a little over 2 lbs. I use those when traveling or when I want to go light. At that weight, I have a number of lenses which weigh more. As I've said above, I don't use my tripods as often as I should.
03-31-2020, 11:33 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Yes, absolutely. Since sharp is only relative to enlargement and viewing distance, for a given enlargement and viewing distance, larger sensors with more pixels deliver sharper images. That's why a lot of professionals use full frame camera and even medium format. When I was shooting apsc, I was putting lots of efforts in getting images as sharp as I could, hitting the diminishing returns , I bought a Pentax K1 and immediately obtained more detailed images straight out of the box without effort. If I want more sharpness I still have two routes: lots of efforts on getting the best sharpness out of my K1, or buying a higher resolution camera to get immediately better sharpness out of the box.
Hi Biz, your two rules for sharpness are what I have been driving at. They are "buying the highest resolution camera/lenses that you can afford" and develop techniques for "getting the best sharpness out of your current equipment". In this thread I'm trying to coax out of you guys your trade secrets for getting the best sharpness out of your equipment. Come on, spill the beans, we ordinary photographers need help.
03-31-2020, 11:36 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by iheiramo Quote
I know. Remote is just to remove the movement from using the camera. With some longer lenses 2s delay ain't enough on my tripod.
When i don't have my tripod with me, and afraid of camera movement, i use medium or slow continue mode and make at least 3 shots in a row. The first is often motion blurred by pressing the shutter button, the last image is often blurred by releasing the shutter button. The middle picture(s) is(are) sharp.
But the subject must allow it.
03-31-2020, 11:36 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Technique? It is simple:
  • One cannot make consistently sharp photos with lenses incapable of the desired performance. This does not mean corner-to-corner resolution/contrast at all apertures. It depends on one's needs and aims.
  • Take care with focusing. When critical focus is desired, take care to make sure you are in control and using a method that allows both accuracy 1 and precision2
  • Be aware that depth of field may not deliver 3
  • Be aware that even wide-angle lenses require attention to focus
  • Be aware of potential for camera motion and the limitations of shutter speed and shake/vibration reduction to mitigate such. One cannot overstate the value of an appropriately stable tripod and head.
  • Be aware of factors that may result in subject motion
  • Perception of sharpness is highly dependent on contrast. Dull light will unavoidably result in less-than-crisp results that probably will not respond to contrast adjustment in post. Soft light ==> soft results.
How these points relate to your current kit or skill level is hard to say. Fortunately, using a dSLR allows one to find out what works without having to burn through a ton of film. Practice and attention to basics are probably more important than doing a deep dive on the technical side.


Steve

1 How well the chosen focus method performs in terms of placing the focus point at the focal plane of the sensor or film.

2 In simplest terms, the chance of getting the same focus over multiple attempts. Note that even a highly accurate approach may fail to provide consistent results if precision is poor.

3 Stopping down may allow more of the frame to appear in focus, with the key word being "appear". In reality, there is only one distance that is in focus., even at narrower apertures. What this means is that printing or viewing big (say pixel peeping) will always show missed focus if present, while printing smaller or viewing at a moderate distance/magnification may make even out-of-focus elements of the frame appear sharp.
Thanks Steve, that's a good analysis.

---------- Post added 03-31-20 at 02:45 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Kobayashi.K Quote
Two other factors that influence sharpness are the weight of the camera and the length of the lens. A heavier camera reduces movement because a greater force is needed to accelerate the mass (f=m.a). You can easily increase the weight by adding a battery grip. A shorter lens is favourable too, the opposite of a telelens.
Hi Kobayashi, it's been a long time since I encountered the f= m.a law of motion. It shows that a camera with a heavy mass (m) will take more effort (force) to make it move or accelerate (a). However, the law also shows that if you are trying to take of photo of a flying bird, and you have to pan to keep the bird in the frame, a heavy camera is a disadvantage. Did you realize that?
03-31-2020, 11:53 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
It shows that a camera with a heavy mass (m) will take more effort (force) to make it move or accelerate (a). However, the law also shows that if you are trying to take of photo of a flying bird, and you have to pan to keep the bird in the frame, a heavy camera is a disadvantage.
Only true if the bird is accelerating.

More direct to the matter of heavy kit for BIF (birds in flight), two words:
  • Tripod
  • Gimbal
FWIW, the same two words may apply to lighter kit too.


Steve
03-31-2020, 01:43 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
Hmmm...I feel like I need to have a full disclosure here. So, in bringing up the whole tripod thing, I have to admit that, while I too know to use it and more often than not have one handy, I do tend to feel like, it's ok I don't want to bother setting it up and just take the shot without the tripod. I do that many more times than I break the tripod out and use it. Ok, now I have a clean chest here.
Confession is good for the soul. You can be forgiven.
03-31-2020, 02:52 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
Confession is good for the soul. You can be forgiven.
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