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Old Sep 18, 2006, 12:36 AM   #1
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ok, this is the third time i've typed this. it's being deleted from clicking back, and then by the picture being 2 bytes to big, so i'm going to try this again. hopefully it'll work this time.

my shots don't pop anymore. they don't have sharp focus, i don't know if it's my lens, or what. the equipment i have, i would think would be capable of taking absolutely breathtaking group shots, and i'm sure it's able to, but i can't make it. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

here's my setup:

Canon 350d (rebel xt)
Sigma 18-55 EX DC
Sigma 500DG Super Flash
tripod, and remote shutter release cable.

i used this today for this group shot, and they aren't sharp at all. (later i will take a test shot w/ my camera body and my Canon 50mm 1.8 and Sigma 18-55 2.8 at the same settings and compare shots and post them)

but the attached picture is cropped down to size, with a blow up of a 100% selection of a girl's face. the link below is a link to a 1.5mb, full raw conversion jpg with no altering done to it at all.

if you can please tell me something that i'm visibly doing wrong, i would greatly appreciate it. this has me just at a loss what to do. i've tried many different things. aperture priority mode at anywhere from 5-12 or so, w/ varying ISOs to get the shutter speed up to around 1/100-1/120 manual mode to do the same thing.

i greatly appreciate any input anyone can give me. i really need help with this, so if anyone can help me, thank you SOOOO much.

here's the link to the full file.


thank you so much
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Old Sep 18, 2006, 6:05 AM   #2
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Just a question...Why are you using 800 ISO....These pictures seem to be outside in bright sunlight...The photos look washed out to me...Have you tried shooting 100 or 200 ISO...
I do see your problem with the out of focusness, if that is a word...
I tried to look closely at the weeds and rock in front of the girls to see if the camera is picking up on those objects and focusing on them...It does seem to be more in focus with the grasses and rocks...Try dropping to a lower ISO and set the cameras focus to the center focus only...When I shoot weddings, I have to use the center focus because there are to many other things the camera might see and pick the wrong area to focus on...Brides get real cranky when their eyes dont sparkle...
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Old Sep 18, 2006, 8:18 AM   #3
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Your camera might be front-focussing a bit.

It's very hard to tell.

A few things do spring to mind though (I mean you were using a flash here right?):

1. Why were you using ISO800?

2. Why use f6.3 instead of f8 or f11 if you are concerned with maximum sharpness?

3. A 100% crop of the edge of a picture is really pushing things beyond what is reasonable to expect from that camera/lens. In relative terms that equates to a print that is maybe 10ft wide - you can't expect it to look sharp. How sharp are billboards up close?

4. What RAW converter and what parameters were you using?

5. How big are you trying to print? What does the print look like at that size?

6. What sharpening or contrast enhancement have you applied?

There may be a problem with your camera/lens, on the other hand it is certainly clear that you don't understand "sharpness" when it comes to digital images.

Here's a good place to start...

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Old Sep 18, 2006, 7:44 PM   #4
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It does clean up a bit with some PP. I gave it a bit more contrast (actually boosted the black end with the level tool), boosted red & blue and pulled back yellow a bit (maybe a bit too much), and then sharpened it some. Still out of focus some, especially I think on the left end. I think it is maybe front focused some.

Is the lens any sharper in the center?

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Old Sep 26, 2006, 6:20 PM   #5
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I think peripatetic may have hit on part of the problem when he mentioned the edge of the shot and a 100% crop. Looking the full size image in the link, it is sharper in the center. It also appears over exposed and that is probably just adding to the effect on the edges. Heres an edit, I hope you don't mind. There is no sharpening applied here. It already looks sharper just by getting rid of some of the blown highlights.
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