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Sharpness


SlowSong Plus
12 9.3k 30 England
28 Jun 2012 1:34PM
Well, here's a good way of depressing yourself. Instead of going out in the hot sunshine, get a test chart, set up your tripod, two camera bodies and three lenses. Do all the tests at various focal lengths and apertures. Look at the results at full magnification and find that absolutely none of your lenses at any setting is sharp.

I would have thought that at least one lens or setting would be quite sharp, but no, nothing. Am I expecting too much? I'm sure I've done the tests properly. I know my kit isn't quite top notch but I am rather disappointed.

Canon 60D
400D
Canon 28-105mm USM
Tamron 18-270mm VC
Canon 18-55 kit lens
whipspeed 16 4.2k 22 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2012 1:49PM
I had this problem with a 40D, nothing was sharp with any lens from the day I bought the blasted thing & I had been getting decent shots with a 20D. Sent it off to Canon & they recalibrated it and it was fine after that. Never did trust it or like it after that, so it got ebayed & replaced.
GarethRobinson 14 1.0k 2 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2012 1:55PM
Test charts and zooms are not a good mix, they are best used with fixed primes. You can fine tune a zoom to be sharp at one focal length and it wont be sharp in say the middle or end of the range etc.
If you must have critical sharpness spend the money on primes and fine tune them.
Don't beat yourself up over it
SlowSong Plus
12 9.3k 30 England
28 Jun 2012 1:59PM
Well I looked at the charts on the computer and they certainly looked better than on the replay on the camera but it's quite disheartening. I suppose I just need better lenses. I'm only a hobbyist so it's not critical. I'm not going to try it on my primes as I don't need any more disappointment for one day. Sad
mikehit 11 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2012 2:42PM
I read a very interesting article about sharpness and it described how the manufacturing tolerances of the lens and the body can result in a non-compatible pair (if the camera is at one end of the tolerance and lens is at the opposite end).
It also describes (and I have seen several posts by people doing this) about people who buy a new lens and obsessively test it like you have done, return it, get another one, test it, return it.... and reject 6 or 7 lenses and complain about the manufacturer's quality control of lenses. Of course all they have done is find 'the perfect lens' for that particular body so if they upgrade their body, guess what......


By 'full magnification' I guess you mean 100%? For a 60D that is a print abvout 6 foot wide - are you printing even half of that size?
Unless you can see the difference at your normal viewing size, don't sweat about it...


Quote:absolutely none of your lenses at any setting is sharp

How far out is the focussing? You can check this by knocking a series of pins/nails into a wooden bar (or in blu-tak) at fixed intervals, focus on one of them and see which ones fore or aft are in focus.
SlowSong Plus
12 9.3k 30 England
28 Jun 2012 2:46PM
By 100% I meant at the limit of magnification on the camera and full screen computer. My limited photographic vocabulary obviously confused you. Tongue How I wish I could produce a decent image that'd blow up to 6ft wide. GrinGrin

I'll try the nails thing, but not today. Smile
User_Removed 10 4.6k 1 Scotland
28 Jun 2012 4:03PM

Quote:

By 'full magnification' I guess you mean 100%? For a 60D that is a print about 6 foot wide - are you printing even half of that size?




Pardon?????


Quote:Unless you can see the difference at your normal viewing size, don't sweat about it...



...but that comment is still valid.

SlowSong - How 100% translates into an image on your computer depends upon both the pixel dimensions of your Raw file and the pixel dimensions of your monitor. Typically a PC or Mac monitor might show a "full screen" image at about 50% or less from a 60D.

One question - are you sharpening your Raw files before assessing them on the screen? They do need sharpened in software before they will look sharp on screen or on prints.
kodachrome 8 723
28 Jun 2012 4:41PM
Never had this problem with 35-mm slide film and my Canon AE-1, it was either razor sharp on the screen or it wasn't, if it wasn't it was my fault not the lens or camera. I definitely think tollerences have widened a bit in the digital age. Thankfully picture sharpness is digitally retrievable in PP.
SlowSong Plus
12 9.3k 30 England
28 Jun 2012 4:44PM
I was looking at them unsharpened. It didn't say in the article to sharpen any images before looking at them, but the jpgs looked the same anyway.
And I wish I hadn't mentioned this 100% now. I obviously don't understand what I meant or what you lot mean so forget it. Grin

I think I'll just carry on regardless. It's too hot today to sweat over. Smile
KingBee Plus
14 544 2 Scotland
28 Jun 2012 4:50PM

Quote:One question - are you sharpening your Raw files before assessing them on the screen? They do need sharpened in software before they will look sharp on screen or on prints.


Chris, my thought exactly. And the most relevant comment of the day, for me. My best lens is a Canon 17-40L. The first time I used it I found the results a tad average, but that's because I was shooting Raw, and all the camera settings (a 40D) were set to neutral. However, as soon as I sharpened the images with whatever software I was using at the time, the results blew me away.

You don't actually say if you are shooting in Raw. If you are, no lens will ever deliver the sharpness you seek until you've processed the images with Photoshop (full or Elements) or whatever. Unless of course there really is some kind of fault with the camera, but that's for you to decide after you've done as LeftForum suggests.

Regards.

Bob
SlowSong Plus
12 9.3k 30 England
28 Jun 2012 4:58PM
Hi Bob. I did RAW and jpg. They looked the same to me but I hadn't sharpened them. I only did it as an exercise as you read these things and they sound interesting, but I sort of wish I hadn't bothered. I haven't been too happy with many of my images lately so perhaps it's just a case of a bad workmoman blaming her tools. Smile

Thanks for your comments everyone. Think I'm just over-analysing.
mikehit 11 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2012 5:08PM

Quote:Quote:

By 'full magnification' I guess you mean 100%? For a 60D that is a print about 6 foot wide - are you printing even half of that size?



Pardon?????



I know it depends on the pixel pitch on screen, but between my two screens a RAW image will be equivalent to nearly 5 feet wide or greater.
User_Removed 10 4.6k 1 Scotland
28 Jun 2012 5:36PM

Quote:Well, here's a good way of depressing yourself.


....then you post on ePz about it and we seem to depress you even more!!

Have a very large glass of G&T - great antidote for photography-induced depression.

Wink
User_Removed 10 4.6k 1 Scotland
28 Jun 2012 5:37PM
....by the way, have you tried Hendrick's Gin?

I am not making this up but it is great if you substitute a slice of cucumber for the lemon or lime in your G&T.
User_Removed 10 4.6k 1 Scotland
28 Jun 2012 5:37PM
....mind you, the price of Hendrick's Gin might make you slump back into depression!

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