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Lack of sharpness from Nikon D80

Boyoclark 12 16 1 Wales
15 May 2008 10:51PM
Thanks everyone for your views. I've not had enough time to digest them all, especially your e-mail CathyT. Thanks for this.

From what I've gleaned however, it may just be down to my poor technique. I'll concentrate on this over the forthcoming weeks and post the results.

Finally, yes it is 50mm. Slip of the fingers. Perhaps this is the problem after all !!?

Thanks again,


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miptog 14 3.6k 63 United Kingdom
15 May 2008 11:07PM

Quote:Quote:Nikon's... need a lot of sharpening.I would challenge that.

I use almost no pre-sharpening in Lightroom (and most often, none at all) and very, very little in PS using nik Sharpening filters. Suggest you check your camera settings/technique(s)

Lightroom, Capture One, CS3 each seem to have a different default sharpening settings, so whilst I also use the default sharpen value in camera, I find the sharpness can vary depending on which RAW processor you use. Try this test in LIghtroom: toggle off the sharpness setting.
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
15 May 2008 11:30PM
I generally set sharpening to zero in-camera, as it can't be undone. The last thing you should do in your workflo is sharpening, especially after any resizing. If you are using any in-camera scene modes such as landscape, portrait, sports, etc., these have pre-set amounts of sharpening, plus other settings, and won't be affected by your custom settings. BTW, I used USM.
squodge 13 123
16 May 2008 6:52AM
As stated by others, you should definitely stick with no sharpening in-camera, and avoid using the scene modes. Sharpening is the very last thing I do in Photoshop after I've resized to 600x400 [which is the size of all my internet images]. Well, the very last thing I do is stick on a bottom border and logo... no point in sharpening the logo!

~ squodge ~
happysnapper 16 14 United Kingdom
18 May 2008 5:07PM
We use D200's at work with 18-135 ( 6 in all) we found when we first used them the results were soft even with a 17-55 (not a cheap lens). As we were all getting the same result we thought it might be the lens
But we had the man from Nikon come for a days training who explained that unlike Canon or Sony, if no in camera sharpening is set, you need to sharpen them , which we did on our minilab and what a difference they came out as we expected nice and sharp.
Milvus 12 168 2 United Kingdom
18 May 2008 8:31PM
I have a D80 with the kit 18-70 lens and a Sigma 70-300 APO. I have found no problems with softness at all apart from when it's my technique. I've had photos published that only needed a very small amount of sharpening.

Just some thoughts:
1. Are you shooting with a high enough shutter speed?
2. How is your autofocus set? If it's fully auto is it picking the right part of the image? At large apertures this is critical. Try setting it so you can select the focus point manually.
3. Have you thought about how your breathing technique affects camera motion when handheld?
4. Are you using any filters. There is no point putting a cheap filter on a good lens?
5. At what magnification are you judging the sharpness by on screen? 100% is good but realistically 50% will be more like how a print will appear.

Hope this helps...
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
18 May 2008 8:55PM
If you use USM in Photoshop, you have to be aware of all three settings, and what they do. You mentioned getting noise when using a larger amount of sharpening. The noise will show up in certain areas if you have your settings wrong. I think you may need to learn how to do selective sharpening, that is, only those areas that need it. I'm sure we all had our problems with things like this in the beginning. Just remember, sharpening is the last thing you do to an image.
Strobekid 13 369 United Kingdom
20 May 2008 11:30AM
Many good advises above. It's also worth noting that every lense have sweet spot in both apperture and if zoom lens, the focal range. Find it, and you'll be surprised by the differences even on the same lens.
silverhorse 12 87
28 May 2008 1:10PM
Hi, Try shooting with jpeg set to fine and then use levels followed by a little contrast only then consider sharpening if necessary. Then compare to raw
TyChee 15 275 1 United States
3 Sep 2008 3:06AM
I too came from a D50 and found that the images I got from the D50 were much sharper than the D80. I started getting used to the d80 and compensated for the lack of clarity with post production. I have been frustrated with this and and have just been putting up with it but never feeling fully satisfied. I revisited the D50 recently. This is a link to a photo that I too right out of the d50 with no post production sharpening:


As you can see the sharpness is amazing! I have not been able to reproduce this with the D80. I am starting to wonder is something is wrong with the camera. I read on another form that someone sent their D80 back to Nikon and they made some adjustments. I could not find out what the results were however. I was wondering if anyone else had heard this.

Thank you for your time,

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