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Photography Question 
Mary B. McGrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/11/2000
MaryMcGrathPhotography.com
 

My digital images seem a bit soft compared to film


 
  Holiday Inn-Ventura
Holiday Inn-Ventura
I like this image, but I had to sharpen and saturate it to achieve the results I remembered from the shoot.
© Mary B. McGrath
MaryMcGrathPhotograp...
Canon EOS Digital ...
 
 
I've noticed that the images taken with my Canon Digital Rebel XT are a bit softer than those taken with my Elan. I used to shoot Velvia and Provia, and the colors were so saturated, and the images very sharp. I now shoot on the program mode most of the time, with only one red sensor lit to save time. I usually have to sharpen and saturate the images in photoshop to achieve results that are simlar to film.
Does anyone else have this problem?


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3/7/2006 10:16:57 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Digital images need post-processing to bring out all the detail, sharpness, and color saturation possible. The sensor has a "low-pass" or "anti-alias" filter over it to counteract digital artifacts like moire and jaggy stair-step diagonal lines. In doing so the initial image is softened. The default settings of DSLRs tend to do little post-processing, leaving it to the user to do with an editing program on a computer that is much more powerful than the camera's little processor. You can, however, punch things up in-camera by adjusting the Parameters (Contrast, Saturation, Sharpening,...) to your liking.


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3/7/2006 5:25:31 PM

 
Mary B. McGrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/11/2000
MaryMcGrathPhotography.com
  How do I adjust the Parameters? I'm not sure where this is in the menu?

Many thanks! You may have saved me LOTS of post-shooting time!


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3/8/2006 5:11:02 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  Awwww mary, thats half the fun....lol Actually, are you shooting in jpeg mode? because if you arent shooting in RAW we will have to come take your camera away... its in the rules in your manual.. go see if you dont believe me.
lol
just kidding, but seriously, if your not shooting raw, you should try it, you gain so much more control over you images this way. I would suggest though, if you dont have one or another version of Adobe Photo Shop, go download the free version of raw shooters essentials.. (google it) and learn to post process your files. you will see things totally different from then on AFTER you get the hang of it that is.
good luck!
Craig-


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3/8/2006 7:48:00 PM

 
Mary B. McGrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/11/2000
MaryMcGrathPhotography.com
  I was shooting raw, but it took up so much space for each image. I adjusted the parameters, and the images now look so much better!


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3/9/2006 5:34:37 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  thats good, at least you got it straightened out.

What do you shoot in? full automatic or "P" or tv or av?
I ask because DSLR's by nature arent the best things in automatic mode. I have heard time and time again, people selling thier DSLR's because they dont take as good a pic as thier old point and shoot cams.
Craig-


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3/9/2006 9:43:51 AM

 
Mary B. McGrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/11/2000
MaryMcGrathPhotography.com
  I shoot mainly in the program mode, but also TV and AV. I still think the images are better with my Elan, but the hassle of scanning and storing is a drag. Wish this shot like my Velvia stuff.

Now I can't get my images to sharpen on Elements. Another problem to conquer, although the other filters seem to be working.


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3/9/2006 9:58:59 AM

 
David A. Bliss   Your digital pictures will shoot like Velvia, it is just a matter of processing. When you shoot Velvia, the film oversaturates, and tends to have higher contrast. If you shot the same scene on different film, it would have different characteristics. These are things that you need to process yourself with digital.

P&S digital cameras do most of the processing in camera, but this leaves very little control later. Shooting RAW on a DSLR gives you an amazing amount of processing control, but you do have to do it yourself. There are trade offs no matter which option you choose, film, P&S digital, or DSLR.

I am extremely happy with the way my 10D performs. I find it to be very similar to shooting slide, and with a good shot (correct exposure, good lighting, etc...) there is very little processing necessary to acheive the same outcome I used to get with Velvia.


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3/9/2006 10:12:41 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  i have an action in photoshop to achieve the velvia or even provia look. Im not sure though if elements uses actions or not. I have #3 at work, just installed it today and I didnt see the actions window. My cs2 I have at home is loaded to the gills with different actions.
Craig-


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3/9/2006 10:22:51 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  I had my DSLR a year before I had my first print made. I thought my images were softer as well. With me it was just the monitor making them look that way. When I had an 8x10 printed at Christmas it had fantastic sharpness, clarity and detail. I was very happy!


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3/9/2006 10:24:30 AM

 
Steve Fels   I just sold my 350D for exactly that reason. I tried everything I could but just couldn't get the results I was used to with film. I replaced it with a Nikon D50 and the results are fantastic.....straight from the camera!


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3/9/2006 12:07:05 PM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  dont forget also, the lens youre using has allot to do with sharpness as does your aperture settings. Most lenses ar sharpest at about two stops below their max aperture. Usually around F8 or so.
And forget the 18-55 Kit lens, its a good one for the right conditions, bright sunlight and stopped waaay down. I think since the canon 50MM f1.4 is so cheap, it should be included in the kit instead of the 18-55.
Craig-


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3/9/2006 12:43:18 PM

 
Mary B. McGrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/11/2000
MaryMcGrathPhotography.com
  I just found this thread again. I notice that when I shoot straight on with my Digital Rebel XT, that the images are much sharper, like shooting a fence where there's lots of texture. But when I take other types of shots, they still seem soft. I notice this even more so when I enlarge the image to its maximum capacity. Maybe I'll switch back to Raw again, but those images take so much memory!


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8/13/2007 9:50:28 AM

 
Tom Leckwart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/7/2007
  Mary,

I went from an Elan IIE shooting Velvia to a Digital Rebel as well, and found the same softness. I post process anything I plan on printing, and I almost always have to sharpen a bit, and play with the contrast to achieve results I can live with. Considering the substantial increase in the amounts of shots I can now take (due to cost of course) I have no complaints. Velvia was awesome, but I'll take close enough for alot less investment.

I shoot in TV and AV for the most part, but P when I'm feeling lazy. TV is great for action/sports/kids, and since the trial and error part was free I am very comfortable with the right shutter speed pretty quickly now.

Yes RAW gobbles up memory, but I think you can use a 4GB card in your XT, so grab a couple of those, they are cheap. If you do sports, a faster card is helpful.

And last, I have been told by several photographers, the Canon "L" series lenses have no equal. That's my next purchase for improvement in sharpness and overall picture quality. Even used they lighten the wallet big time, but those that use them swear by them.

Hope that helps a bit.


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8/13/2007 10:21:24 AM

 
Mary B. McGrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/11/2000
MaryMcGrathPhotography.com
 
 
  Fence
Fence
A test shot seeing if the softness of the image has been affected after I dropped my camera. I sharpened it a bit after converting it to b&w.

By the way, do these types of images look far less sharp when you enlarge them to 100% of their actual frame size?
© Mary B. McGrath
MaryMcGrathPhotograp...
Canon EOS Digital ...

 
 
Thanks for your information. I fell on my camera about a year ago while on assignment, so I'm getting the camera checked optically. Looks ok when I shoot straight on, but softer when there's a greater depth of field. I always see those "L" lenses in pro situations. I don't really want to carry something that heavy, and besides, I'd probably need a larger camera also...One step at a time! Thanks again! May look into shooting raw again. Probably need another external drive...Sure wish the 5D would come down in price, so that there's a full image sensor without that 1.6 conversion factor. I think they'd sell a lot of cameras if they had something without the distortion that was more affordable.


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8/13/2007 1:58:56 PM

 
Julie A. Whyte   I'm going to post this here rather than start a new thread simply because clarity is my dilemma as well.

I own two Canon 30D's. I am noticing that my close-up shots are drop-dead gorgeous in clarity. However, I just photographed a wedding and I can not find ONE photo of the large bridal party that has decent sharpness. I used my EF 28-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. Yes, the image stabilizer was on, as well as my Auto Focus and there is no way that I had camera shake 30 times throughout the day. I have no idea where to go from here. I absolutely will not tri-pod my camera for a wedding shoot throughout the entire day, flip flash bracket and all, so are there any other suggestions?
(Most of the time I shot 200 ISO to allow for nice enlargements (was this a mistake?), 1/125 and 4.0. The subjects were pretty much lined up side-by-side (I would post the photo but I don't have permission) so DOF should have been okay with a 4.0 setting....or so I thought. NOT ANY ONE of the subjects are in sharp focus though, even though my AF points are all on people and nothing else. Any thoughts?

If this is my fault I need to learn why. Otherwise I am seriously doubting the tons and tons of money I have been sinking into Canon equipment. I'm sure it must be me...but now I have to be convinced. Before I call Canon for the zillionth time I would respect any input you all can give me.

Thanks


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8/20/2007 10:31:04 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  f/4 may (or may not) give enough depth of field, but on the 28-135 f/4 is wide open - where sharpness is weakest. Stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8 should show noticable improvement. You'll need to up ISO to keep the same shutter speed, or drop to 1/60 which should be fast enough for posed group shots.


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8/21/2007 5:40:59 AM

 
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