BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Danielle H. Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/8/2006
 

How to Decide When a Picture is Sharp


 
 
After taking pictures and going through the pics, I have trouble telling if a picture is a bit blurry. The obvious blurry pictures, I discard. But if there are borderline blurry pics, sometimes I can't tell. Is there a fool-proof method to deciding if a picture is out of focus?


To love this question, log in above
8/2/2008 10:08:13 AM

 
Susan Fox
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/27/2006
  Do you mean while viewing them in the camera? With my Rebel XT I couldn't tell since the view screen was small. So I had to wait until I uploaded the photos.

With my 40D I can tell pretty much if an image is in focus or not. But I still wait until I upload just to be sure.

You can purchase a loop or magnifier that should help you see the images better on the view screen. I've never tried it so I'm not sure how well it works



To love this comment, log in above
8/2/2008 1:54:32 PM

 
Danielle H. Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/8/2006
  Thanks Susan. Actually I am talking about after I have uploaded the pics to my computer. Sometimes I am not sure if a pic is as clear/sharp as it could be. Look on my site and take a look at the red cardinal pic. I guess I would like someone else to look at it and give their opinion. I think it is focused but sometimes my opinion may be different than a professional. Besides, I do delete a lot of pics that are out of focus due to camera shake. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


To love this comment, log in above
8/2/2008 2:04:01 PM

 
Susan Fox
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/27/2006
  Ah! Ok got it. Now are you shooting RAW or JPEG? And what program are you viewing with?

I went and looked at you red cardinal picture. It looks like the bird is out of focus but the tree branch behind is in focus. So when you took the photo the focal point was not correct. The camera focused on the branch in the left corner behind the bird.

The butterfly shots look in focus.



To love this comment, log in above
8/2/2008 2:32:33 PM

 
Danielle H. Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/8/2006
  I knew the cardinals didn't quite look as sharp as they could be. I am shooting JPEG - not sure what RAW is though. I upload to Kodak Easyshare, but I edit the pics with Adobe Photoshop. I am learning some of the manual settings. I will try the shutter priority setting to see if I can't work on my camera shake. Any other suggestions?


To love this comment, log in above
8/2/2008 2:39:27 PM

 
Susan Fox
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/27/2006
  If you can, use a tripod as much as possible. It can be a pain to carry around, but it makes a huge difference. Other than that, use a fast lens (again, a dSLR option) and/or a fast shutter speed.


To love this comment, log in above
8/2/2008 2:55:58 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Try enlarging it and see how big you can make it before it looks really blurry. You can use this technique in-camera to check the critical focus on an eyeball or other key element and delete the ones that don't pass the test.
(...but you DO have to have trust in your own eyesight.)
Once you've uploaded them, apply sharpening techniques in steps and stop before the image looks garish or fake.
I know of no "fool-proof method" to check for sharpness of a photo on a computer screen other than by closely examining it (...through your own competent pair of baby-blues).
With slides, it's easy. You can view them on a light table with a loupe. (My preferred method is with a reversed 50 mm lens.)
Even with less-than-perfect eyesight, I can move the lens up and down over the image on the light table and watch it go in and out of focus. If I can't see tack-sharp edges of a critical part of the scene while doing this, the slide was not taken in focus and gets trashed.


To love this comment, log in above
8/2/2008 3:05:16 PM

 
Danielle H. Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/8/2006
  Thanks again Susan. I guess my next purchase, as far as cameras go, will be a DSLR. I appreciate your time. Have a great day!


To love this comment, log in above
8/2/2008 3:05:59 PM

 
Danielle H. Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/8/2006
  Thanks to you Bob. I guess I am having trouble trusting my own eyesight. When my husband tells me that a photo looks in focus, but I still think that it needs some work in that area, I start to question myself. Guess I need to trust my own judgment. I knew that the cardinal pic looked like it was lacking total focus on the cardinal. I was right. Thanks again.


To love this comment, log in above
8/2/2008 3:11:16 PM

 
Ronald H. Musser
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2006
  I have found that if I magnify the image to 100 % on the computer screen it is easy to tell if it is blurry. ron


To love this comment, log in above
8/5/2008 6:19:57 AM

 
W.   
"Thanks but that's not really the answer I was looking for."

'You can't always get what you want' (Mick Jagger)

"I was wondering if there is some kind of way to check sharpness of a photo."

Sure, someone ELSE can tell you.

"I am having trouble trusting my own eyesight."

That is/was clear from your first post. There's just one way to solve that: have your eyes checked up!


To love this comment, log in above
8/5/2008 4:24:59 PM

 
Log in to respond or ask your own question.