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Old Oct 13, 2008, 9:58 PM   #1
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I've been playing with my new Canon XSi and the kit lens for the last couple of weeks. I'm hoping someone can shed some light on my problem, or let me know if my expectations are too high.

I've noticed that my landscape-style photos look blurry when magnified to 100% in Photoshop. I don't recall this being the case with my old point-and-shoot (a Canon S2 IS). I've attached an example below. The image is downsized to fit here.

It looks fine from a distance (in terms of clarity), but it's quite blurry close up. (I'll post a zoomed shot as a follow up to this message.)

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Old Oct 13, 2008, 10:05 PM   #2
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And here's a 100% zoom cutout I grabbed in Photoshop. As you can see, it's far from clear.

I used a center-point focus with no tripod.

Is this a limitation of the lens? I didn't have my S2 with me today, but I'm quite certain that it would have snapped a better, more clear shot.

Forgive me if you've seen my other posts in other threads talking about similar problems. I don't mean to repeat myself... I thought I'd resolved the problem by using the center-point rather than the 9-point AF, but apparently not. It's very discouraging.

Could I have been too far away from the subject? (On the opposite side of the fairway.) Is a tripod absolutely necessary when using a DSLR? Perhaps my expectations are too high? Ug.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 7:20 AM   #3
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Firstly - pictures from all DSLR cameras look blurry at 100%, and if not 100% then 200%, or 300%. Who cares? What matters is how they look at output resolutions - either for the web or in print. Are your web exports OK? Are your prints OK?

What happens if you crank up the sharpening as high as it will go? Try that, because it will probably give results that remind you more of the P&S, even though you will probably find that over time you come to see that over-sharpened pictures produce artifacts and can be very unpleasant.

Read this article and do some googling for others like it.


However it is possible that...

You may have a focus problem with the camera, or have a poor copy of the lens. Can you get sharper pictures by using MF and live view?

There is no general problem with thatmodellens, it's very sharp.If you can, take your camera back to where you bought it, ask to trysome shots with a different copy of that lens, and ask to try your lens (with your CF card) in another camera and comparethe results.

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Old Oct 14, 2008, 7:47 AM   #4
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You were shooting with the aperture wide open at f/5.6 on the long end of that lens. So, you may find that stopping it down a bit (for example, to around f/8 ) may help some. But, the 18-55mm IS kit lens is pretty decent, even wide open.

Be careful of camera shake if you do stop down the aperture anymore, as your shutter speeds were already on the slow side for that image (and I'm assuming you had IS turned on). Even with IS, be careful that you're holding the camera steady and smoothly pressing the shutter button when shooting at shutter speeds that slow. Or, use a tripod if you plan on taking mostly landscapes like that in lower light. Even taking those precautions, with slow shutter speeds like that, you may be getting a bit of blur from wind, too.

As already suggested, you may want to try bumping up your sharpness some if you want a look closer to a point and shoot model. Ditto for Saturation and Contrast. Or, try some of the Picture Style settings like the Landscape mode.

Most dSLR models use relatively conservative image processing compared to a point and shoot model. That gives you more latitude for processing using software later. If you oversharpen an image in camera, you can lose real detail because of it. Ditto for things like Contrast settings.

Another observation is that some of the samples I noticed you posting earlier look like they may have a bit of veiling flare (that hazy look you sometimes see when shooting into a bright sky). That can be caused by stray light reflecting in between optical elements. So, make sure you're using the hood on the lens and try not to shoot in the direction of the sun if possible. If you're using a filter, you may want to try removing it and see if you get better results, too.

Here's your image lightly sharpened:

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