Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Aug 21, 2007, 10:04 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
Default

Lets not forget the anti-aliasing filter.
That effectively blurs the image slightly (reduces sharpness) to remove the jagged edges that diagonal lines in a photo can produce.

Different cameras have different strength anti-aliasing filters, and therefor blur the image slightly more than others.

So while I think this *isn't* what fofa was thinking about, I personally think that it is technically true that different cameras do blur the image slightly more or less than others.

But this is well overshadowed by post-processing technique or just better-than-bad quality glass. When you get into the upper end of the lenses the benefits are more around shooting at larger apertures and faster AF speed and less about how it performs when used with its ideal settings.

Eric
eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 2007, 10:07 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
BillDrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Hay River Township, WI
Posts: 2,512
Default

Quote:
...

So you can really see what's happening, here's a very closeup shot of the first image with no sharpening:






And here it is with high sharpening:






As you can see, while the sharpen filter made the image appear more detailed and sharper when viewed at a lower zoom level, once you get really close you can see that it doesn't have more detail at all. You can probably also understand why there would be a problem trying to work with the oversharpened image, particularly if you wanted to enlarge it. You could always enlarge the first image and apply sharpening later, but there isn't a lot you could do with the second one except use it as is.
Good illustration.

I'd like to point out the increase in "sharpness" in the white area of the sign, otherwise known as noise. That is the reason for subdued sharpening. As in pretty much everything in photography there is a trade-off: in this case sharpness vs noise.

As slipe points out, you can shoot RAW and deal with sharpness, contrast, saturation, ... in post processing. Since that takes time to do, it is worthwhile to figure out what settings work for you so when you are going to shoot several hundred pictures at some kind of event you can dial in those settings and save yourself a great deal of time later. On the other hand, it is worth having your camera set to shoot RAW (or RAW+JPEG) when sitting in your camera bag so when you grab it to get that picture of Big Foot getting aboard a flying saucer you can adjust later for the best image.
BillDrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 2007, 7:56 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
fofa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 547
Default

peripatetic Thanks a little help.

Well BillDrew's Cardinal and Corpsy's really make my point, and I think the answer is there. If you look at the cardinal, it is "sharp" in the body, but the tail and head is 'soft".
Corpsy's sign, is another one. I know if I was standing there looking at it, it would look closer (or exactly) like the sharpened photo. Yet the unsharpened one is what I am used to seeing from digicams. And it is not just the sign, look at the rust and bolts right behind it.
maybe it is the Bayer pattern that causes this, wish I could afford a Foveon sensor camera :idea:.

Oh well, maybe I need to rethink this whole thing.

fofa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 2007, 8:54 PM   #14
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

fofa wrote:
Quote:
peripatetic Thanks a little help.

Well BillDrew's Cardinal and Corpsy's really make my point, and I think the answer is there. If you look at the cardinal, it is "sharp" in the body, but the tail and head is 'soft".
Corpsy's sign, is another one. I know if I was standing there looking at it, it would look closer (or exactly) like the sharpened photo. Yet the unsharpened one is what I am used to seeing from digicams. And it is not just the sign, look at the rust and bolts right behind it.
maybe it is the Bayer pattern that causes this, wish I could afford a Foveon sensor camera :idea:.

Oh well, maybe I need to rethink this whole thing.
Good comparison info on the Foevon & other sensors here:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/techcorner/aug_2007.html

  Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 2007, 9:44 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Corpsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 879
Default

Fofa, I guess I don't really understand what it is you're looking for. The full resolution version of the image I posted would make a perfectly sharp, 300 dpi print at 6.6"x10", or a decent 150 dpi print at 13" x 20".

Is it that you don't think this would be adequete for your own purposes? Are you intending on doing large scale prints (poster size and above) of highly detailed scenes for which you would normally use a medium format film camera?

Or is it more that you are concerned about the fact that you need to have sharpened images for them to look their best, but sharpening carries it's own set of drawbacks and you're trying to find some kind of middle ground where you get sharp images without the problems associated with applying artificial sharpening?

Perhaps you need to look at cameras that allow you to shoot RAW+JPG, so you can set the JPG to have a moderate level of sharpening and would be ready to print, but you'd also have the RAW that you could tweak to your heart's content if the JPG doesn't turn out as well as you'd hoped. I know the Pentax K10D does this, and I think you could do this with the Nikon D40, Canon XT and Canon XTI, though I don't know for certain.
Corpsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 22, 2007, 1:33 AM   #16
Senior Member
 
VTphotog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Extreme Northeastern Vermont, USA
Posts: 4,234
Default

fofa wrote:
Quote:
Corpsy's sign, is another one. I know if I was standing there looking at it, it would look closer (or exactly) like the sharpened photo. Yet the unsharpened one is what I am used to seeing from digicams. And it is not just the sign, look at the rust and bolts right behind it.

You would have to be looking at it thru binoculars, then. The sign is a bit too far, unless you have borrowed an eagle's peepers. The first picture he posted of the full size image shows it to be from a bit of distance.

To understand what is going on with RAW files, and various interpolation algorithms, try looking at some of the information and links here:http://members.optusnet.com.au/pszym...r/graphics.htm

I used this RAW software with my Minolta, and found that, once I had sorted out the settings, it provided better results than any of the others I had tried. Clumsy to use though.

You also have to understand that sharpness, which is a result of contrast, is not the same as detail. The two are actually opposite ends of a scale. Camera makers use sharp, high contrast settings in consumer cameras, be cause they are mostly used for taking snapshots of kids/pets and vacation pictures. Not likely to be printed in large formats. Viewed on a computer screen or digital picture frame. However, these pictures suffer considerably when printed at 8x10 or larger.

DSLR cameras tend to be used by people who want to make larger size prints, so the settings emphasize detail and more realistic tonal range. ( OK, if you spend most of your time at burger huts, where bright, primary colors are the rage, that may look more realistic than a natural landscape)

brian
VTphotog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 22, 2007, 2:59 AM   #17
Super Moderator
 
peripatetic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3,599
Default

fofa,

I still believe that you don't understand.

The basic point is this. If you are looking for good images with no effort you should get a P&S.

If you are looking for a tool which has the potential to take much better quality images then you should get a DSLR; the trade-off is that the tool demands much more knowledge from its operator.

It's hard to really mess up with a P&S, the camera does all the work. It's very easy to mess up with a DSLR until you understand what you are doing.

You can make an image from a DSLR look exactly like one from a P&S if you want to but the reverse is not true.

It is common for beginners to be obsessed with sharpness, once you learn more you will come to understand that different images need different amounts of sharpness, and the size and output type (screen or print) also affects how much sharpening is appropriate.

Even images from foveon sensors need sharpening, but you need to do it differently to get the best quality. Each sensor and camera has different characteristics.

You also need to understand that sharpness (although beginners obsess about it) is only one of many factors that make an image technically acceptable.


IMO you are worrying about something that is not important, or at least there is not enough difference between the cameras you might choosefor it to matter at all.
peripatetic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 22, 2007, 11:09 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
fofa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 547
Default

Man, I love you guys and this forum.
guess I am not 100% sure what I am after, but let me splain it differently.
I am on my fourth Digicam since I got my first one back in 99. That was when I pretty much quit using my Mamiya/Sekor 1000DTL (I bought used in 1976). It was getting to bulky to carry around, and I was not taking that many pictures because of it. My current camera is a Fuji S5200. I guess I have been a little disappointed in all my digicames because of "soft" sharpness. And I am talking about on the screen, not printing. So that brings be back to SLR's (not film any longer, I am a true digital convert). I would just like to be able to get the quality I could with 35mm Film in my Mamiya. I look at the sample photo's, and notice soft sharpness in most of them. Sure you can find a stunning one here and there, but god only knows how much PS time is in that one.
It is that comparing "sample" photos and noticing things like text is just a little fuzzy things like that. But maybe it is the difference between looking at a print and looking on screen. But I do most of my looking on screen! So even thou the cameras cost a bundle today, I am not seeing that picture quality I was expecting.
So I am planning to keep the S5200 around for those P%S things, since it is easy to carry and takes good shots in that mode. But I want something for around the house, or dedicated photo outings (where bulk is not as big a concern). Initial use is macro/close up use (the S5200 is not that great there). Then I can buy a lens or two over time as the budget allows. I just have a problem dropping 5 or 6 hundred on a camera body when the sample pictures I see on multiple sites are all "soft".

fofa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 23, 2007, 1:13 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
VTphotog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Extreme Northeastern Vermont, USA
Posts: 4,234
Default

Hey, we love you too.

The sample shots you look at on the review sites are all taken (unless stated otherwise) with kit lenses, and using the default camera settings in .jpeg mode. To achieve the performance the camera is capable of, requires better lenses, and the ability to develop a RAW image to your satisfaction. Initially, it is a learning experience which takes some time to master. 99% of what I do with a picture, is done in the RAW conversion, and most of that is automatic, using presets I have set.

This pic is a 100% crop of a photo I have hanging on my wall of two daylilies. I had to use less than full quality to save the crop, so it is not quite as sharp as the original. Trying to meet file size requirements keeps things less than perfect. The processing from the camera was done with Rawshooter, converted to .tiff for editing, upsized for 11x14', sharpened just a bit to compensate for the upsizing, and printed. Very little actual editing involved.

brian

Shutter speed: 1/500 sec
Aperture: f/11.0
Zoom (Focal length): 120mm (equiv.)
Exposure bias: -1.0 EV
Original image size:
Flash used: No
Date taken: Sunday, July 29, 2007
Time taken: 6:58 PM
Camera make: PENTAX Corporation
Camera model: PENTAX *ist D


forgot that I didn't leave the exif intact in the pic.
Attached Images
 
VTphotog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 23, 2007, 1:25 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Corpsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 879
Default

OK, now I finally understand. When you describe looking at sample photos and say that you are seeing a general softness to the images, I think what you are describing is probably your own perception of what constitutes a "sharp" photo. We all have our own preferences. Some like their images a bit on the softer side (like myself) as I tend to find excessive sharpening harsh and unnatural, while others like to pile it on as they feel it gives the image a more 3-dimensional feel. I have to assume you're closer to one of the latter.

What you're describing has nothing to do at all with the cameras that are being used. What it is is the method by which the images were resized to fit on screen. People use all sorts of methods and have their own preferences, so some images will be softer than others based on the procedures followed.

It might possibly also have to do with the resolution you have your monitor set to. Most monitors will by default be set to 1024x768, which is an OK resolution for general purposes, but it's not a very fine resolution for highly detailed imagery, particularly if your monitor is over 15". If the images I posted didn't fit or just barely fit into your screen space, you're probably using that or a lower resolution setting. In any case, you might want to try increasing it just to see if it helps.

One last thing to consider is that when you view your own photos on screen, they will be a much higher resolution than your monitor and will be resized by your viewer software in order to fit. Images viewed this way will always appear less sharp than an image shrunk down to fit in your screen with sharpening applied. You'll either need to get used to this, create resized images of all the photos you intend to view, or set your resolution high enough that you don't need artificial sharpening.
Corpsy is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:32 PM.