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Subject: "RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle" Previous topic | Next topic
dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Thu 31-Jan-13 02:21 AM
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#34. "RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle"
In response to In response to 32


Lowden, US
          

>>“Of course, now I have to decide to go to Yellowstone or not.”

Yes, go to Yellowstone! That park in the winter is a once in a lifetime experience for most people. No matter if you get 100 great shots or none at all experiencing Yellowstone in the winter is woth the trip.

>>“The other approach is to go to Yellowstone as planned and enjoy the view, take photos with this and my other lenses, and not worry so much about taking perfect photos.”

Sharpness – In my opinion uber-sharpness is way over rated. The ability to zoom into ridiculously high magnifications and the constant pressure exerted by our “peers” over the internet have caused us to become obsessed with sharpness to the point that loose site of what makes a great photograph.

Reading the internet, we are lead to believe that sharpness (or sometimes low noise) is the most important aspect of image quality. I respectfully disagree!

A great photograph is about combining your subject, the light and your composition to create a compelling image. If the image is not compelling or interesting or if it has no message to convey to the viewer, then it won’t matter how sharp it is – it only becomes a very sharp snapshot. On the other hand if you have an image that is a tad soft but it draws in and holds the attention of the viewer – that has the potential to be a great photograph.

Now, I strive to get the most out of my gear and I hope to get the sharpest image that I can, but I don’t worry all that much when an image is a little soft at 100% zoom. I have come to know, through experience, how sharp an image needs to be for my intended output.

Unless you print really big and then examine the print with your nose against the glass a lot of the detail and “perfect sharpness” we look for at 100% will not show in the print.

I don’t make my images for other photographers, who are the only people who closely examine photos looking for perfect sharpness and grain. I do not want the viewer’s putting their nose against the glass to examine minute details. My photographs are intended to be viewed as a whole – I want the viewer to absorb the entire composition. When we stand back and view the entire image, no matter how big it is printed, those tiny flaws that we obsess about at 100% on our computer screen just blend in and disappear.

Remember that on your computer screen at 100% zoom you are looking at a huge version of your image. My laptop screen is about 100ppi so when I view D300 image at 100% it is like looking very close at a 43 inch wide image printed at a very low resolution.

Also, I noticed that your first image, the bolt, is an unprocessed NEF shot using the Standard Picture Control. The sharpness setting is 3 in the Standard Picture Control. This is a fairly low value, it is a great start for post processing, but it is not a good judge of the sharpness that you can achieve with some basic post processing. (And No - I don’t recommend increasing the in-camera sharpness setting, sharpness is better controlled in post processing)

Try this; Take the best shot that you got of that bolt. Then post process the image, resize for printing and sharpen. Now make an 8” x 10” or even a 12” x 18.” Once you have the print/s view them in good bright light at a distance that your eye can take the entire photograph and judge your sharpness from those prints.

------------------->>>>>

Having said all of that – My advice...

Continue to work toward making images as sharp as you can - but try not to get caught up in the pursuit of (sharpness) perfection. Concentrate on capturing compelling well composed images. Your ability to consistently get very sharp shots will improve with time and experience.

When you judge sharpness – consider what you can do in post processing to increase sharpness – decide how you will eventually output (a print, on screen) the image and who the intended viewer is. Remember that you and other photographers are the only people who will be scrutinizing every little detail of the photo.

Don’t let the internet driven hype over sharpness (or making perfect images) detract from your enjoyment of the craft.

On any given day of shooting wildlife my goal is to get 1 “keeper” – anything more is a bonus. On a trip like you are planning to Yellowstone I would be more than happy to get 10 -15 above average shots and hopefully 2 or 3 truly great shots.

So, go to Yellowstone – have fun – get some shots – have more fun!

PS I agree with Neil about the 5 series tripod for the 600mm lens. The bigger tripod is not a magic bullet and it will not instantly solve all of your problems but it will help you to get more consistent results.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

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This is a hot, active topic!sharpness: my perpetural struggle [View all] , bobpilot Silver Member, Tue 29-Jan-13 07:19 PM
 
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
HBB Moderator
29th Jan 2013
1
Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
3
Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
backpacker24 Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
2
Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
4
     Reply message I don't think it's your tripod Bob....
Jim Pearce Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
5
     Reply message RE: I don't think it's your tripod Bob....
bobpilot Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
6
          Reply message Shoot a ruler at 45 degrees Bob...
Jim Pearce Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
7
     Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
HBB Moderator
29th Jan 2013
8
     Reply message There's no need for this...
Jim Pearce Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
9
     Reply message RE: There's no need for this...
bobpilot Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
10
     Reply message Post them here Bob...
Jim Pearce Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
11
          Reply message RE: Post them here Bob...
bobpilot Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
13
               Reply message Sorry, shoot wide open Bob...
Jim Pearce Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
15
     Reply message RE: There's no need for this...
HBB Moderator
29th Jan 2013
14
          Reply message RE: There's no need for this...
bobpilot Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
16
               Reply message RE: There's no need for this...
HBB Moderator
30th Jan 2013
19
     Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
12
          Reply message f/4 2000 ISO; 1/800
bobpilot Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
18
               Reply message Focus looks pretty good to me Bob...
Jim Pearce Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
21
                    Reply message RE: Focus looks pretty good to me Bob...
bobpilot Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
22
     Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
backpacker24 Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
23
Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
nrothschild Silver Member
29th Jan 2013
17
Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
20
     Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
nrothschild Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
24
     Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
25
          Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
nrothschild Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
26
          Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
nrothschild Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
27
               Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
backpacker24 Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
28
                    Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
29
     Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
nrothschild Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
31
          Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
32
               Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
nrothschild Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
33
               Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
31st Jan 2013
35
               Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
dm1dave Administrator
31st Jan 2013
34
                    Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
31st Jan 2013
36
                    Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
Bump57 Silver Member
31st Jan 2013
37
Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
Bump57 Silver Member
30th Jan 2013
30
Reply message Bob, did you re-shoot that bolt?
Jim Pearce Silver Member
31st Jan 2013
38
Reply message RE: Bob, did you re-shoot that bolt?
bobpilot Silver Member
31st Jan 2013
39
     Reply message RE: Bob, did you re-shoot that bolt?
Lunastar Silver Member
01st Feb 2013
40
          Reply message RE: Bob, did you re-shoot that bolt?
bobpilot Silver Member
01st Feb 2013
41
          Reply message RE: Bob, did you re-shoot that bolt?
bobpilot Silver Member
05th Feb 2013
42
Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
Dubes Silver Member
06th Feb 2013
43
Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
bobpilot Silver Member
06th Feb 2013
44
     Reply message RE: sharpness: my perpetural struggle
Dubes Silver Member
06th Feb 2013
45

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