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Author Topic: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there  (Read 14276 times)

chauncey

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 11:56:49 AM »
Great PP advice from digital paradise on the PP aspect of getting tacky sharp, but...
I've found that nothing beats manual focusing in live view using the zoom feature or...
if you're able to shoot tethered using Canon Utilities software, that same LV image is now on your computer screen for an even larger LV image.
I use this method to check my auto focus results.  If it needs tweaked, you're able to do that right in the computer.

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 11:56:49 AM »

digital paradise

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2013, 12:04:56 PM »
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.

There is another option. If it is critical to the OP can have the AA filter removed. I have contemplated getting a used 20D and trying it just to before destroying any new camera I have but have never gotten around to it. I doubt I ever will.   

Trevor

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2013, 12:24:23 PM »
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.                       


Could you post a RAW file? You may be being overly critical of your own work (we all do it!).

Sharpness is to do with edges, and is only one part of the measure of image quality.

I was always taught, and believe it to be true, that the world is made up of varying tones - not edges - and that the way your photo conveys these tonal variations is the most important technical quality factor. So minimising non-image forming light (flare) is one of the best and easiest ways to up the quality of your pictures... you can do this with a good lens hood, and by shooting from a good position.

Also, if you have time to put your lenses through something like FoCal - you'll get an idea of how performance varies with aperture - shooting at the sweet spot is an easy way to extract max quality too ...


East Wind Photography

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2013, 12:49:19 PM »
Better yet, rent a 60Da to see if it suits what you need.  Lots of other issues crop up as a result of removing the filter.

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.

There is another option. If it is critical to the OP can have the AA filter removed. I have contemplated getting a used 20D and trying it just to before destroying any new camera I have but have never gotten around to it. I doubt I ever will.   

East Wind Photography

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2013, 01:00:58 PM »
Tack Sharp is maybe not what you really meant.  You can sharpen edges to fool the eye and make it "appear" sharper on the edges.  Probably what you meant is getting the highest resolving power to reveal finer details.  This is more about the quality of the lens for a particular purpose rather than specifically about cameras.  Most modern cameras are capable of resolving fine details.  Full frame more so (and also able to reveal the faults of a fine lens).

There are sites that test and review the resolving power of optics.  If you are looking for the finest detail then you need to be selective on lens choices and even then compare multiple copies of the same lens as there are differences and some of the differences are striking.  Always good to check.

Also there are other factors to consider too.  While a lens may test at a high resolving ability, if it suffers from chromatic aberration it's going to be difficult to achieve what you want as eliminating the CA will also eliminate some of the color that reveals the finest detail.

Here is a good site that lets you compare various lenses to see which ones resolve more detail and which ones suffer from CA and how much.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx



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!

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2013, 01:32:25 PM »
Your 100mm f/2 should be great, and so is the 60D, but, if you use raw, sharpening is going to be needed, the reason for using raw is that you can adjust the processing to your taste as opposed to jpeg which bakes it in.
 
As noted, focus accuracy is also a factor, even if you use manual focus.  Check the focus accuracy of your lens, goggle autofocus tests to see the many different methods to see if you are front or rear focused.
 
Third, and very important is to set your lens aperture at the position where it is sharpest, and use bright light and a fast shutter speed.  With a 60D and a 100mm lens use 1/200 or faster for still subjects.  If you want it pixel perfect, I'd use 1/500 sec.
 
Your 100mm f/2 lens is typically sharpest at f/4 or f/5.6.  f/5.6 is a pretty safe value for most lenses.
 
You might think a tripod is rock solid, but the head is usually a culprit too.  Even a $1200 tripod setup can move if not carefully setup.
 

Plato the Wise

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2013, 02:03:08 PM »
Shoot 100 ISO with a flash or studio lighting and have the shutter speed high enough to block all ambient light.

I have shot with Hasselblads, Nikons, Canons - both film and digital. The sharpest images come from fast studio lights freezing motion and creating strong contrast (paired with decent camera and lens of course).

Rent a Prophoto or other high end studio rig for a weekend.

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2013, 02:03:08 PM »

Rockets95

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2013, 02:12:26 PM »
7D, WFT-E5A, 70-200 F/2.8L IS II, 24-105 F/4.0L, 10-22 F/3.5-4.5, 580EX-II, Wife has: 5D2, 70-200 4.0L IS, 100 2.8L IS macro, 24-105 F/4.0L IS, 17-40 F/4.0L

RickSpringfield

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2013, 02:58:45 PM »
Here is an example of what I am talking about.  I took this the other day and you can see its not tack sharp.  Yet it was locked off, continuous light but good light, and the 24-105.  So, I am fuzzy on how this looks so fuzzy.  To me it just looks softer than it should.


Trevor

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2013, 03:36:46 PM »
Choice of lighting and an aperture of f/4 are working against you here ...

I have the 24-105 and it's best performance is about  f/8.

Perhaps some lighting to reveal the texture of the object too ... There's probably a nice sheen on the metal ....

digital paradise

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2013, 03:41:28 PM »
Choice of lighting and an aperture of f/4 are working against you here ...

I have the 24-105 and it's best performance is about  f/8.

Perhaps some lighting to reveal the texture of the object too ... There's probably a nice sheen on the metal ....

That is true. Had the 24-105 for about 5 years and always regretted shooting F4 for critical shots. Starts to sharpen up at 5.8 and by 8 you lose Bokeh.   

digital paradise

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2013, 03:46:28 PM »
Shoot 100 ISO with a flash or studio lighting and have the shutter speed high enough to block all ambient light.

I have shot with Hasselblads, Nikons, Canons - both film and digital. The sharpest images come from fast studio lights freezing motion and creating strong contrast (paired with decent camera and lens of course).

Rent a Prophoto or other high end studio rig for a weekend.

That is interesting. I know flash freezes but never thought about it the way you described it. Amazing freezing power flash has. Here is was experimenting and had the shutter at 1/10. Swept the camera while I took the shot. T shirt was about 6 feet away and the christmas tree about 12. The started falling off before the tree. T shirt still overpowered but the flash froze.


digital paradise

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2013, 03:50:46 PM »
Here is an example of what I am talking about.  I took this the other day and you can see its not tack sharp.  Yet it was locked off, continuous light but good light, and the 24-105.  So, I am fuzzy on how this looks so fuzzy.  To me it just looks softer than it should.



I applied my sharpening action. Click on it to see actual size.   


d by Zen1950, on Flickr
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 03:52:55 PM by digital paradise »

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2013, 03:50:46 PM »

iMagic

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2013, 03:53:14 PM »
Needs better light and post processing. Maybe a little AFMA? Can you post the raw file and we can see what we can do with it?

iMagic

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2013, 04:07:10 PM »
Quick run through DPP and changed sharpening to MAX from ZERO. Sorry I am not at my normal editing computer and I cant post the result but it looks similar to the last post. As I said before you need output sharpening. I think it still needs AFMA or manual live view focusing. Could be the 24-105mm is just not up to the task. RAW would be better than jpeg.

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Re: Chasing Tack Sharp ... Just can't get there
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2013, 04:07:10 PM »