Back Modifications (1)
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By paulbroad  
This may seem silly, or even being a bit clever, but I've put this in for a reason. It is another Dunnock, but I want to show that even after reducing the size of an image for internet use, it is still sharp. I know I go on about sharpness, but it does matter in the wider world than family photography, and so many images we see are not sharp enough.

For natural history/record they MUST be pin sharp in the right places and most modern gear (not all!) can do it if handled correctly and the processing is done correctly. I hope others will look and have a think. Blow your images up to 100% and think - IS IT SHARP ENOUGH? If not, refine your technique.


Tags: Bird Dunnock Sharpness Wildlife and nature

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DeSilver Plus
14 14 12 England
12 Feb 2017 9:42AM
Beautiful capture!

12 Feb 2017 10:10AM
A beautiful image of this Dunnock, Paul, and I concur with everything in your description remarks.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2518 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2017 11:32AM
I'm not sure that there's a dogmatic right and wrong. It is a matter of taste. For my taste this is oversharpened on the feathers nearest to us, between wing and breast, in that they are forming a crisp herring-bone pattern which doesn't actually look like feathers...

I see this effect most often in sharpening on feathers, fur, hair and beards. It seems to have become a conventional requirement with advances in digital processing over the last ten years or so. I personally find it distracting. But that is my personal preference.
dudler Plus
18 1.8k 1928 England
12 Feb 2017 12:11PM
There's a balance: a really unrepeatable shot can get away with unsharpness - think news images, or a wildlife shot that shows a new behaviour.

And there are images that play with unsharpness - what Lensbaby optics do is often better than the 'best' glass, for the right subjects.

But, in general, I back Paul's view that togs aren't sufficiently self-critical of sharpness - how much, where... And on the other hand, there's often far too much reliance on software, rather than choosing the right lens and settings, and good technique (which often means 'getting out a heavy tripod and using it').

My mod makes it a touch less magenta.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2518 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2017 1:02PM
I do agree about self-criticism. It's often a good idea to put images to one side for a few days and then review them after the initial excitement has perhaps cooled.
paulbroad Plus
14 131 1294 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2017 3:37PM
Bird feathers are a herring bone pattern and thus, surely, should show his in a sharp fashion. This is a natural history record and the focal point is the eye, but ost of the bird is in the same plane. I would not consider this over sharpened in any respect,but that is open to discussion.

As John says, hard news shots may well be soft, but they should be sharp. It's just that only one image of low quality may exist, and it becomes important. Family shots can get away with more because of the content, but the correct bits should still be sharp, ideally, and the author, if they wish to learn needs to be aware of that.

Why spend hundreds of pounds on high tech modern gear, then not learn how to use it properly?

I sometimes have a look at the main gallery, and the comments.There are some superb images but the majority are somewhat less than superb and a high proportion of those posting might gain from posting in the critique section, then listening to the opinions given.

It is a proven fact that an image to be printed requires extra sharpening for that print over screen use, and I do print quite a lot, that is a separate issue of course. The site has done a lot to try and curb people saying 'what a wonderful image' when it clearly is not, but the comment, or similar is still very common.

Content is purely personal, composition is to a degree, but quality is not. It is a scientific fact and the problem often in this modern world is that it is influenced by the very variable qualities and sizes of the screens and equipment it is viewed on.

An image which looks superb in every way on a 24 inch monitor can look very different on a 7 inch tablet screen due to simple compression and data loss. the same applies in the opposite direction - fine on a phone screen may not be so on a large monitor.

dark_lord Plus
18 2.9k 810 England
12 Feb 2017 8:22PM
I am entirely with you on sharpness Paul.
I do view my images at 100% and am very self critical with sharpness. Where it matters is also an important distinction.

As an aside, and I know you're not into abstract images in any big way, but even those shots with intentional camera movement such as trees in a wood benefit from having the lens properly focused on the subject. It may sound contradictory but it results in better looking blur.

I also agree about screens. Even on my old laptop, which I'm using at the moment I can see the magenta 'cast' and John's corrected version. I say 'cast' in inverted commas as it's only small, and some may not notice. I must add that my screen is calibrated (last done yesterday).

Resizing down should result in a sharper looking image, care is needed when upsizing and viewing on a large screen.
This doesn't look oversharpened to me. It's very typical of the feathering on those birds.
There are times when I don't vote on what may initially look good only to find it's soft when viewing large.
paulbroad Plus
14 131 1294 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2017 8:02AM
I had not noticed the magenta, but it is there. I think it's the low light. The bird was in shade but on a reasonably bright winter day and, I assume, hence the magenta which I should have dealt with.


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