July 31, 2014, 09:17:09 PM

Author Topic: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there  (Read 13579 times)

RickSpringfield

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« on: March 20, 2013, 09:32:05 AM »
So, a friend and I have been on this quest to shoot a photo like we have seen online countless times or in video training etc.  Its where you take a picture of a person and even when you zoom into it at 200% the clarity of the image and sharpness is just off the charts.

We have tried everything to replicate this level of sharpness and just cant.  Locked off on tripods, cable release, etc. Its just not working.

Are we expecting too much out of our gear?  We are both rocking Canon APS-C (7D, 60D) with good glass 100mm F2, 50 1.4, Zeiss 35mm F2, 25-105 F4.  It just feels like we are missing something somewhere because our expectations are to take pictures like scott kelby or joel grimes or someone where the sharpness even zoomed in is amazing without a bunch of post processing.

HELP!

canon rumors FORUM

Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« on: March 20, 2013, 09:32:05 AM »

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • ********
  • Posts: 13622
    • View Profile
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 09:51:34 AM »
We have tried everything to replicate this level of sharpness and just cant.  Locked off on tripods, cable release, etc. Its just not working.

You can make the camera rock-solid, that doesn't help with subject motion.  Even with people posing for portraits, you need either a relatively fast shutter speed or a flash (and for the latter, settings such that the flash overwhelms ambient in terms of lighting the subject).
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

EOBeav

  • 7D
  • *****
  • Posts: 404
    • View Profile
    • My Landscape Photoblog
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 09:58:05 AM »
The first thing I would explore is whether your un-sharpness is due to misplaced focus or due to camera/subject movement.
In landscape photography, when you shoot is more important than where.

Gear: Canon 5DmkII, 17-40mm f/4 L, 50mm f/1.4, 70-200mm f/4.

RGF

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1237
  • How you relate to the issue, is the issue.
    • View Profile
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 10:09:01 AM »
fast shutter speed, reasonable ISO (high ISO can lead to noise which appears as fuzziness), use live view to focus, ...

Check were you focussed and around that area.  Depending upon the subject something may be sharp.

RLPhoto

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 3293
  • Gear doesn't matter, Just a Matter of Convenience.
    • View Profile
    • My Portfolio
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 10:19:13 AM »
135L @ f/4 or smaller, high shutter speed and low ISO. That is my definition of tack sharp.

vbi

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 10:22:34 AM »
Tack sharp? Full frame IMHO is the only way to go with a aperture setting on your lenses sweet spot...usually f5.6 to f8. It is extremely difficult to get the same result on the 7D
All politicians are scum
5D3, 5D2, 7D and too many lenses

J.R.

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1468
  • A Speedlight Junkie!
    • View Profile
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 10:35:36 AM »
In addition to what has been recommended above, you should choose a single focus point for AF - preferably the center focus point (if you are not doing that already).

That aside, AFMA may be required, you may have an issue with the body.
Light is language!

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 10:35:36 AM »

photorockies

  • SX50 HS
  • **
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 10:44:49 AM »
I returned a 7D for just that issue when it first came out.  It couldn't a candle to my 1DMKII.  Buy a 5DMKIII and be much happier. 

digital paradise

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 284
    • View Profile
    • Zenon Char Photography
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 10:52:31 AM »
I do OK with my 7D but you can't beat FF. I would not compare my 7D to my 5D3 

My 7D



Original






Original



I have never really been able to achieve what you want either but this has not prevented me from creating tack sharp prints or on line images. There are a lot of factors involved but PP is important as well. Maybe you are looking for this clarity before PP but here are a few PP tips. Every sensor has an AA filter which corrects Moire patterns and all are different strengths. There are 3 phases of sharpening - capture, creative and output.

Capture you sharpen to compensate for the AA filter when you open the RAW file. Creative is selective sharpening. Eyes only, lips. Stuff like that. Output is for media type - paper or screen? Output sharpening is very important as well.     
 
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/image-sharpening.htm

Resizing and sharpening methods are pretty important too. They both work together.

Photoshop Top 40 #3 - Image Size Small | Large


Small | Large
!

This is by far my most favourite sharpening method. It is edge sharpening and I sharpen to 300 because you can feather back at the end. No two images are alike.
 
http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/photoshop-really-smart-sharpening.html?search=edge+mask&bool=and

I wrote a tutorial which has an action that includes resizing you are welcome to. I used resizing and sharpening methods based on the two videos I posted.       

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1099897&highlight=really+smart+sharpening

Finally use the masking when you open a raw file. Hold the Option Key (not sure about PC) as you slide to see results. Also edge sharpening. Only the white areas are sharpened so background noise is not.  I'm usually at about at 80.

   

Good luck
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 10:55:08 AM by digital paradise »

Spooky

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 11:11:48 AM »
I have no issues with sharpness with my 7D, what I did find was I had to get exposure bang on and avoid under exposing to avoid noise. I also have the 5D3 and it has better latitude of exposure.
I was originally disappointed with my 7D, like others until I used AF expansion instead of 'all zones', and also using live view to focus.
I have the 50 1.4 and don't think it is particularly sharp.

Digital paradise - great pics, and good advice regarding PP.

You may have difficulty achieving everything in frame sharp if shooting close range. I find selective sharpening can create a good illusion of increased sharpness when other areas are softened.

Good luck but IMHO you don't need to trade in your 7D!

Edit- good advice privatebydesign! My thoughts too!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 11:13:38 AM by Spooky »

digital paradise

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 284
    • View Profile
    • Zenon Char Photography
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 11:27:39 AM »
Thanks Spooky. You are correct. 7D is good camera but has a light hungry sensor. Exposure is key as it is not as forgiving as a FF or other crop sensors. Pack that many megapickles on a crop sensor you get great resolution which I'm grateful for but you pay for elsewhere. As sensor tech gets better that will improve.       

Trevor

  • Power Shot G16
  • **
  • Posts: 30
    • View Profile
    • Trevor Smeaton | Photographer | Portfolio
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 11:29:07 AM »
HELP!


HCB ... "Sharpness is a bourgeois concept"

Orangutan

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 588
    • View Profile
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 11:41:08 AM »
Start by achieving this on motionless objects, e.g. stone buildings.  Once you have that under control, make the adjustments needed for people.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 11:41:08 AM »

digital paradise

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 284
    • View Profile
    • Zenon Char Photography
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 11:50:50 AM »
HELP!


HCB ... "Sharpness is a bourgeois concept"

Good one. H. Cartier Bresson.  Although this not the most important part of the photography I want to know that I can achieve a tack sharp image when I want it. Ansel Adams is my hero and mentor but he was not a birder. I worked just as hard learning how to get sharp images in the digital world as I did learning the zone system. 

A well composed interesting shot will trump a boring shot but an interesting OOF bird in flight shot is useless in the bird forums and competitions. Of course I'm excluding intentional blurred wings, etc shots that can make BIF shots very interesting. I think being able to handle all situations is OK as well but I'm not HCB so what do I know.

Only reason I did put all that effort into it was when I started looking at bird images on line they blew me away just like Ansel's work did 40 years ago. I figured if that person could do it, so could I.                       

« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 11:52:40 AM by digital paradise »

iMagic

  • Rebel SL1
  • ***
  • Posts: 99
    • View Profile
Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 11:54:55 AM »
Sorry if this sounds obvious, but are you applying decent output sharpening when you are finished editing the photo? The AA filter on Canon is strong and sharpening is required for enhancement of the details.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 11:54:55 AM »