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Thread: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

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    How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Hi pros,

    I'm new in photography. Just got my new Olympus EP3 with 14-42mm. Any advice on which setting should i use in order to get sharp image of a person?

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Try to use a tripod. Keep your aperture at least to f/8 if possible either in manual or aperture priority mode. Tell your subject to keep his/her pose for at least a second or two until you hear the sound of the shutter close. For DSLR's the time lag to take an exposure is not too long (usually less than 50 msec. but it varies from camera manufacturers). Good luck Sir.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Hello, welcome . . .

    Assuming you are not using Flash.
    Then set an ISO which allows a shutter speed of about 1/500s and an aperture of about F/8.

    The shutter speed is to arrest any Subject or Camera Movements and the Aperture is to make about the best Image Quality of your Lens: and also you need to ensure the Subject is still.

    That might not be the answer that you were seeking – as you might have been asking which “automatic” setting do I use.

    WW

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Hi Jiro

    Thanks! Does it mean that i should use "Aperture Priority?" for most shooting? And set it to F8? I want to go for Travel/Street Photography. Something like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/delhaye...in/photostream

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Hi Bill,

    If i use 1/500th, and F/8, won't my photo become very dark? What's the ideal shutter speed for sharp image? 1/125th and above?

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Don't worry about getting sharp shots just concentrate of getting great shots.

    Careful PP sharpening and careful final outputting will give you sharp images regardless of the settings you use.

    Yes a slow shutter speed might cause blur but what if the blur adds to the image by expressing movement.
    Why always use f8 when you might want to throw a background out of focus - the usual technique for great street photography.

    Never, ever, ever limit yourself by sticking to 'optimum settings' just go out and be creative.

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Hello, Johnson.

    Over the photo on flickr is a button called "Actions" -> View EXIF information(or smth like that). Choosing that option it lets you see the important data on how the image was done(the attributes-Exposure, Shutter Speed, etc). You can start by observing at every photo how is the so called "depth of field"(how much is in focus). Regarding the sharpness, if you shoot in RAW, you will post process it on your tastes.

    Hope it helps, Anita.

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsonwoan View Post
    (1)If i use 1/500th, and F/8, won't my photo become very dark? (2)What's the ideal shutter speed for sharp image? 1/125th and above?
    A(1) - No not necessarily - I mentioned that you should set the ISO first.

    A(2) - A sharp image of a still person, without using Flash? - typically 1/250s for a standing adult who is in good health, 1/500s for a child or an infant or an elderly person who is standing.

    WW

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsonwoan View Post
    Hi Jiro

    Thanks! Does it mean that i should use "Aperture Priority?" for most shooting? And set it to F8? I want to go for Travel/Street Photography. Something like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/delhaye...in/photostream
    Thanks for giving some more information on what type of photography are you after. I thought that you are into portraiture that is why I recommended an aperture of f/8. Yes, you can use any aperture you like depending on the effect and creativity that you want to include on your shots. However, you need to know at what aperture does your lens really take sharp images. Usually it is 2 f/stops higher than the widest aperture opening.

    As for the aperture priority mode, the advantage of setting your camera to this mode is that you are not anymore calculating what is the best shutter speed to go with your aperture setting. The camera will now do that for you. It helps a lot specially when capturing those decisive moments in time and you only have one or two shot opportunities to take. However, doing some test shots at the same lighting will help you nail the right exposure even in manual exposure mode. On a personal level, I usually set my camera to Aperture Priority when I am in an unpredictable situation. If I know what will possibly happen (anticipating an expression or an event) I can shoot either in AP or in Manual mode with ease. For me, my best advice for you is to have a lot of time familiarizing yourself with what your camera can and can't do. If you can shoot sharp images even at f/1.8 then that means you know how your camera works. Good luck.

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Hi Johnson, although there are a lot of tutorials on this subject, you might also want to consider the following e-book. At this link you can also a free downloadable preview - http://www.flatbooks.com/tack-sharp-...nailing-focus/.

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Hello,
    I used to have 1/500s for sharp and F depend on each shot and composition.

    Candid Shot ( sharp/clear ? )

    How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    FYI : @1/500s @F2.0 @85mm ISO200

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsonwoan View Post
    Does it mean that i should use "Aperture Priority?" for most shooting? And set it to F8? I want to go for Travel/Street Photography. Something like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/delhaye...in/photostream
    This is a different question than ‘how to make the sharpest image’.

    It occurs to me that you are actually asking about Depth of Field and how to Separate the Subject from the Background.

    To make an image like the one in the link, you must use the Maximum Aperture (or close to it) which the lens will allow. (That is the SMALLEST f/number). This will in turn make the Narrowest Depth of Field for any particular Framing of the Shot (i.e. Smallest DoF is creating the 'most' Out of Focus Background.)

    Your lens is a Varying Maximum Aperture Zoom Lens, which means that at Focal Length 14mm the Maximum Aperture is F/3.5: and at Focal Length = 42mm the Maximum Aperture is F/5.6.

    You will get close to but you will not be able to achieve the same narrow Depth of Field as the sample in the link, because it appears that photo was taken at F/2.8, using a Four Thirds Camera.

    However you can leverage the amount of background blur by ensuring the Subject is a distance from the Background (as the Photographer also did in that link). You can also leverage to achieve the narrowest Depth of Field possible with your lens for any particular Framing of any Shot, by using the lens at the wider Focal Lengths (i.e. nearer FL =14mm than FL = 42mm), as this will allow you to use the larger Apertures and thus create the smaller Depth of Field. However if you do this, you also need to be aware of The Perspective of the Shot: as you get close to the Subject, the facial features can appear odd if you are using a Wide Angle Lens.

    Four Thirds Cameras intrinsically are NOT suited to very shallow Depth of Field Images, because of their small sensor size.

    You do NOT necessarily HAVE to use Aperture Priority to ensure that you are using the Maximum Aperture available: but using Aperture Priority would likely be the easiest, provided that the camera is smart enough to adjust the aperture automatically as you zoom: and I expect it will be smart enough.

    In this case you would select FL = 14mm; select Aperture Priority Shooting and then select the Aperture to be F/3.5. The lens should stop down progressively to F/5.6 and still allow you to shoot as you zoom from FL = 14mm to FL = 42mm.

    Taking the example in the link – that appears to be shot at about SD = 10ft (Shooting Distance) and at that SD, the DoF is about 1ft, when the Aperture is F/2.8, (that’s a DoF of about from the Subject’s Shoulder to her nose and a few inches beyond).

    If you wanted to use your lens to make similar to that photo - you would shoot at about the same distance and use your lens at FL = 42mm and use F/5.6. This would mean your Depth of Field would be about 2ft and this would be suitable to provide nice Subject Separation provided that the Background was distant enough away – like across the street as in the sample link.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 6th June 2012 at 06:05 PM.

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    Hi all!

    Really appreciate all of your various inputs to help me understand more. Yes, this is some of the things i would want to achieve.

    How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

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    Re: How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    1. Hold camera steady or use a support such as a tripod. If hand holding use AT LEAST a shutter speed of 1/focal length times the crop factor of your camera.

    2. Shoot with the best lens you can afford and ensure it is clean...

    3. Do not use a cheap filter in front of the lens...

    4. Shoot at approximately two stops smaller than maximum this is the "sweet spot" of most lenses.

    5. Shoot at the lowest ISO commensurate with a fast enough shutter speed to avoid camera shake and to freeze the motion of your subject...

    8. Use a lens hood at all times to protect the front element from glare which will reduce the contrast and sharpness of any image.

    7. Use an editing program and understand the various phases of sharpening. For this, there is a really good tutorial above on sharpening. All DSLR images need post production sharpening....

    Note: Using selective focus with the largest aperture - smallest f/number; you can separate your subject from the background. Using the longest focal length possible will also contribute to a narrow depth of field. Selective focus "gives the appearance" of a sharper image but actually has nothing to do with sharpness.....

    How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    However a narrow DOF can be a two edged sword and if your focus is not right-on, important parts of the subject can be out of focus and fuzzy...

    Often a contrasty subject will give the impression of being sharper; as with the bronze of the above statue against the colorful background...

    Another parameter of sharpness in landscape photography is the general air quality. In my area, some days are bell clear and other days are obscurred with haze or smog. Obviously, the clearest days will provide the sharpest images.

    When I visited Beijing, I was lucky to be visiting as the cold winds out of Mongolia cleared the terrible smog out of that area. This allowed me to get some very sharp images of the Great Wall.

    How to take SHARP/CRYSTAL Clear image?

    I have seen other photos of the Wall when the smog was terrible and much detail was obscurred...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 7th June 2012 at 10:47 PM.

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