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Photography Question 
Wendy Wyatt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/22/2008

How to Get More Sharpness?

Okay. I'm still not getting the sharpness I want. I can't seem to get it right. Am I too far away?

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6/7/2009 6:15:10 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2008
  You're going to have to up the shutter speed to stop the action quick enough to get the sharpness you're looking for. JMHO

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6/7/2009 6:52:37 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  Also, at F2.8, you have a shallow depth of field, which could cause some blurriness. The only other option is to bump the ISO, which will give you faster SS (as Ann P has suggested). But higher ISOs yield higher grain. You should definitely have a noise program, like Noise Ninja...

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6/7/2009 7:09:20 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Your noise is coming from being slightly under-exposed.
Your blur is from what the others said about slow shutter speed. The barrel and the front foot of the horse are clear.
You should start at least ISO800 and 1/250 for the shutter speed if you shoot in that same arena.
You'll also have to pan better and use better technique of timing your shots so you won't get as much blur.

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6/8/2009 9:06:34 AM

Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  Where did you want your point of focus? The Horse seems good but the rider's face is out of focus.

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6/8/2009 6:33:28 PM

Dan W. Dooley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2005
  Wendy, as was pointed out, the primary point of focus was the front of the horse and with the narrow DOF caused by the wide open aperture, the area beyond that point is going to be out of focus. I'm using that term (out of focus) because that is a totally different thing from say motion blur. Or, "softness" which is caused by a less than sharp lens. That will not be the case with the lens you have though.

To include more of the subject within the depth of focus you will need, as has been suggested, close down the aperture some more. The problem is, then your shutter speed will be lower and you will have more motion blur. A little of that shows up in the rider's foot. You can compensate by increasing your ISO a little more but as was said, that can result in a little more noise. Some noise correction can be done in post processing.

One more thing, you did not say what the parameters for image size and quality are on your camera. If you are not using the highest quality the camera can be set to and the largest picture size, any editing like cropping to "zoom" in is going to result in revealing faults in the picture quality.

In bright light like your subject scene, at ISO 400 you should see no noise at all and if you went to 800, if any it should be minimal.

One more thing, though it will not fix the little bit of motion blur or the out of focus background, if you are shooting RAW (which I do 100% of the time) and your RAW procssing software sharpness setting is set to minimum sharpness, you are actually blurring an image which the camera made sharp. That is unless the "Picture Style" parameter setting in your camera is set to a lower sharpness setting in which case that needs to be corrected.

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6/9/2009 5:04:24 AM

Michael McCook
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  Wendy, all the answers received so far are great. I've repeated some of them here. I'd also like to add just a few more things to think about.

First, is your image stabilizer on and set to "2"? "1" is for static subjects. Also, most lenses have a "sweet spot" for sharpness, for this lens paired with your camera it is f5.6 at a focal length of 100mm. With these parameters your sharpness will be optimal and gradually fall off as each is changed. I know it is difficult to use the best settings all the time, but if you move in closer and bump up the ISO a bit, you may be happier with your results. You also have in camera sharpening with the Canon EOS 30D. The default is 3, which works pretty good, but if you like you might see how some of the larger settings look.

Be aware, that if you do use noise reduction software, that it tends to soften you image too, so there is always a trade-off. I think the shutter speed you are using is just a bit slow, make it a little faster, but not enough to destroy that nice motion blur. I think the motion blur in the tail and stirrups create that illusion of action.

To me it looks like the focus locked on the barrel because it is pretty sharp and looking at the sand on the ground, Depth of Field falls off quickly beyond that point. If you can set a narrower focus point it may help in those action shots.

So to sum it up, I suggest you try to get in a little closer to get more towards that 100mm Focal Length which will also reduce the possibilty of camera shake.

Pump up the ISO to get closer to that f5.6 which will give you greater lens sharpness and consequently greater DOF.

Increase you shutter speed just a bit to freeze a little more of the action.

Make sure you are focusing on the subject as best you can.

And finally, knowing the abilities and limitations of your equipment can greatly increase your rate of success. There are some great reviews with enlightening information about your camera and lens online. Try for one.

I hope this helps.

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6/10/2009 10:03:37 AM

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