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Old 18-10-2006, 19:20   #1 (permalink)
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How to get a sharp image?

This might sound elementary but I have a problem with getting a sharp shot. Is it an issue with my camera (as it is a digital one) or is it a resolution setting or is it a user problem ???

What do I need to do to get a sharp picture?
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Old 18-10-2006, 19:53   #2 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

Hi Leanne. Two aspects to this. Are you talking about sharpness of the shot taken with the camera, or sharpness on the site/monitor?

Camera first. If you are using AF, low contrast subjects are difficult/impossible for the focus to lock on to. Also sometimes something close to the camera, like a tree, will 'grab' the focus when your main subject might be something further away. If you can't manual focus, then you need to try to get a focus lock on something the same distance away as your subject, or re-frame your shot to get a clear path to the subject. Then you can usually lock the focus by holding the shutter release halfway down while you re-compose the shot. In the first situation, you might find that the exposure has also locked (no-one said it would be easy, did they?),so something to be aware of. In the second situation, it ought not to be a problem. Low or late evening light can also a problem area for AF. I guess the best/easiest way is with some degree of manual control.

Monitor/web. If you are going to do any editing, make sure you do any interim saves as a tiff file. This is a 'non-lossy' format. If you do lots of saves in jpeg format, each time you save, the image will degrade a bit, as jpeg is a 'lossy' format. I always do a 'save as' in tiff format as the first step, so you aleays have the original left intact. Most people will also recommend sharpening any images you have edited as the last step before saving. Some will even sharpen the image that is going to go onto the web even more, because the images are of low quality from small files.

Hope this has helped. If not ask another question, and with luck, you'll get a reply from someone who knows what they are talking about.

By the way, like your mug-shot. The flash has really made you stand out against the rather lovely background.
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Old 18-10-2006, 20:02   #3 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

Can you give us a little more information on your camera equipment and what subject matter you are struggling to photograph. This would help us to give you more specific advice

In the mean time...

The other thing that may be catching you out besides what Dab has already mentioned is camera shake and/or too slow a shutter speed.

If you are hand holding the camera its always a good idea to have the shutter speed faster aor at least the same as the focal length you are shooting at. So if you are shooting at 100mm you should have a shutter speed of at least 100th of a sec, 200mm would be a 200th of a sec etc. this will go along way to eliminate any camera shake.

If you are photographing fast moving objects then its likely that if you want to freeze the action and keep the subject in focus you will have to use faster speeds still.
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Old 19-10-2006, 09:08   #4 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

On the subject of camera shake (and I'd suggest it's the most likely contender), it's definitely worth using the formula of 1/focal length, so 200mm and 1/200th BUT allowing for the crop of most sensors upping this by 50%. So 200mm becomes 1/300th.

I find that by far the commonest reason for my shots being slightly soft is down to camera shake

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Old 19-10-2006, 20:12   #5 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

Dabhand16, I'm refering to both actually. I look at some of your shots and some of the others and the end results are really sharp, whereas mine is ... well less sharp. Thanks for the tips though. Will try it out but I have to read up more on my camera's other functions.

Steve, I'm using a Olympus Camedia C-760 Ultra Zoom (this is with 10X Optical Zoom). As I mentioned to Dab above, I need to explore if this auto allows me to select the shutter speed. I confess that up till now I have only been working on using auto functions and using the flash (if necessary) or natural lighting and angles to work on my photos.

Mark, I suspect camera shake could be one of the reasons but then when I use the timer, the shot still does not turn out as sharp as I would like. Hmm ... I have to practice a bit more. In the meantime, perhaps you can recommend an article here for me to read on this (if there is one). Actually, what you wrote sound Greek to me. I am very "green" with all these terminology. Probably need a lesson in photography 101.
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Old 19-10-2006, 20:14   #6 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

Oops! One more question. What type of output is better for a photograph? Glossy or Matte finish?
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Old 19-10-2006, 20:51   #7 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

There was a school of thought that said glossy was a better finish for high detail, (a motorbike, a modern building, all crisp and linear, or with lights on at night or a close up of jewellery) and matt for portraits and landscapes where fine detail was not a requirement. But, as you know, rules are there to be broken. You can get a fantastic variety of papers, smooth, textured, and canvas effect too.

I have got some nice landscapes I've printed on glossy, mostly because I can get good A4 glossy paper very cheap, about one penny per sheet for 125 sheets! (and it is 255 gm/m2-not toilet paper!)

Colour printing is an art in itself, and after reading countless books over the last year, I've just scratched the surface. The key is in colour management. I'll say no more at this time, but if you have any questions, I'll try to answer them, as the other members will too, of course.
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Old 19-10-2006, 21:41   #8 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

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Originally Posted by Leanne View Post
Mark, I suspect camera shake could be one of the reasons but then when I use the timer, the shot still does not turn out as sharp as I would like. Hmm ... I have to practice a bit more. In the meantime, perhaps you can recommend an article here for me to read on this (if there is one). Actually, what you wrote sound Greek to me. I am very "green" with all these terminology. Probably need a lesson in photography 101.
It could be Autofocus not focussing properly. Particularly poor in low light condirions

Sorry, don't know of an article but I'm sure one of the Pixalo Crew can help there - I'll try waving to attract their attention!

No worries on sounding "green". At least you say, so we can answer more understandably (maybe! LOL!).
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Old 19-10-2006, 22:11   #9 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

We have not got any articles specifically written on the rule of thumb shutter length/speed topic but I am sure that one can be written and displayed in the next day or so

In the mean time I can recommend two other articles that may be of interest and will keep you busy until the other is ready.

10 tips for digital beginners This is probably a little to basic for you but it will only take a couple of minutes to read. It maybe worth a look before you go on to the next article.

Photography tips and tricks This is a fairly long list of information that covers all areas of photography, some of it is advanced and some of it is basic, the best thing is that it is all mixed in together so you will most likely stumble upon things of interest as you read through them.

If you have any questions on any of the contents of either of those please come back and ask, we’ll be glad to explain anything at all
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Old 20-10-2006, 01:32   #10 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leanne View Post
I'm using a Olympus Camedia C-760 Ultra Zoom (this is with 10X Optical Zoom). As I mentioned to Dab above, I need to explore if this auto allows me to select the shutter speed. I confess that up till now I have only been working on using auto functions and using the flash (if necessary) or natural lighting and angles to work on my photos.
Hi Leanne, I used to have an Olympus C-765UZ (the better half has now decided it's hers ), while it is a great camera capable of capturing some very good images it did have a problem of not allways locking onto focus in less than good light, sometimes taking several times to get it right.

In regards to getting the shutter speed up, a quick fix would be to select "sports shooting" (symbol of a person running on the mode dial) as this will give you a faster shutter speed generally but the camera will still be in control. Getting into it a bit more (on my camera at least) you can go into the manual settings (A/S/M on the mode dial) and select "Shutter Priority Shooting" which will let you adjust your shutter speed. All this should be covered in the manual you got with your camera.

Hope this helps a bit
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Old 20-10-2006, 10:59   #11 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
We have not got any articles specifically written on the rule of thumb shutter length/speed topic but I am sure that one can be written and displayed in the next day or so
Article written and displayed here
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Old 20-10-2006, 11:34   #12 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

Hey! Swift work there, Steve! And a good article too!

Think my contribution probably limted to the words "Help" and "Haven't a clue"
Edit: Oh, and the formation of a new word: limted

Last edited by Markulous; 20-10-2006 at 11:36. Reason: Ummm, speeling!
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Old 20-10-2006, 12:28   #13 (permalink)
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Re: How to get a sharp image?

Wow! I am sooo impressed. Thanks guys. Do you folks work here full time or what?

I confess I am quite addicted to the forum. Probably gotta go cold turkey for a couple of days next week. Hehehe ...
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