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danielstassen

Maximizing sharpness

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Hi guys,

 

I usually shoot with my Canon 450D with the 60 mm lens from canon. I am often disappointed with the lack of sharpness I get when shooting macro. Is it because of my camera, lens, aperture, light?

 

Would be really interested to read what you have to say :bye:

 

Cheers

 

Daniel

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Hi Daniel,

 

There should be nothing wrong with that setup - so I suspect it is down to the settings you are using.

 

Please post a picture and then the settings you used to take it (from the EXIF data) and I am sure folks will be able to suggest some solutions.

 

Alex

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Hi Daniel ,

Let me know if your heading my way - will be happy to have a walk through your system & workflow with you , sometimes its just the smalllest thing that makes the biggest difference.

Peter

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Hi guys,

 

I usually shoot with my Canon 450D with the 60 mm lens from canon. I am often disappointed with the lack of sharpness I get when shooting macro. Is it because of my camera, lens, aperture, light?

 

Would be really interested to read what you have to say :bye:

 

Cheers

 

Daniel

 

One thing that will make it not so sharp is if you have your shutter speed to low, hard to say for you but when I shoot with a 105MM most of the time I am using 1/200th or faster. Also a very steady hand, sound obvious but true, I usually take the shot the split second the focus locks to avoid as much hand movement as I can and then take several shots, or more, you can then pick the sharpest of them all.

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Hi Daniel,

 

There should be nothing wrong with that setup - so I suspect it is down to the settings you are using.

 

Please post a picture and then the settings you used to take it (from the EXIF data) and I am sure folks will be able to suggest some solutions.

 

Alex

 

Alex,

 

here is one of them that I shot last week end. I might be difficult but I'd like to have it sharper :bye:

 

post-21493-1237033285.jpg

 

Settings:

- f stop = 18

- shutter speed = 1/100

- Iso = 100

 

this picture was taken at around midday on a cloudless day at around 5 meters.

 

Hi Daniel ,

Let me know if your heading my way - will be happy to have a walk through your system & workflow with you , sometimes its just the smalllest thing that makes the biggest difference.

Peter

 

Cheers Peter, but now I live in Bali... Might come back to Oz in a few years though. And I will be glad to learn from your extensive experience.

 

One thing that will make it not so sharp is if you have your shutter speed to low, hard to say for you but when I shoot with a 105MM most of the time I am using 1/200th or faster. Also a very steady hand, sound obvious but true, I usually take the shot the split second the focus locks to avoid as much hand movement as I can and then take several shots, or more, you can then pick the sharpest of them all.

 

I have been reading "the underwater photographer" from Martin Edge, and he reckons that shutter speed isn't too important underwater... So is it, really ?

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What is your workflow? Are you shooting RAW or JPEG? If RAW, what is your sharpening routine in post-production?

 

Here's a pretty good article on sharpening .... http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/sharpen1/sharpen1.htm

 

Here's your pic with a bit of very quick sharpening work in PS using the unsharp mask (it would work much better on a full-sized uncompressed image and with some care):

 

post-14536-1237035438.jpg

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Settings:

- f stop = 18

- shutter speed = 1/100

- Iso = 100

If you want absolute sharpness, you're going to have to open up the aperture a bit. :vava:

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Macro shooting once you start approaching 1:1 is really best thought of as a specialized form of stop-action photography. The slightest movement is going to be amplified and very obvious when you're filling the frame with such a small part of the subject. The gear should be more than adequate for what you're doing.

 

As such, external light is especially important. If you're shooting TTL, the easiest way to approach this sort of shooting is to

 

A) shoot manual and use a fast shutter speed that will give you the exposure you want and also minimize any camera shake or subject movement

B ) be sure you're choosing a aperture that will give you the depth of field that you're looking for

C) get your lights as close to your subject as feasible - this reduces the flash time which is effectively a "virtual shutter"

 

Usually you'll be using manual focus, which is that much harder to use underwater when your entire body might be moving by even the most minute current - but tip C really helps reduce this a lot.

 

When I started to approach my macro shooting with this train of thought, a lot really started to come together for me.

 

Good luck!

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What is your workflow? Are you shooting RAW or JPEG? If RAW, what is your sharpening routine in post-production?

Here's a pretty good article on sharpening .... http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/sharpen1/sharpen1.htm

Here's your pic with a bit of very quick sharpening work in PS using the unsharp mask (it would work much better on a full-sized uncompressed image and with some care):

 

Problem solved uh? The sharpness seemed to be there all the time...

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Of course, if you don't have Photoshop, there's always the rudimentary sharpening tools in the Canon raw editing software: Digital Photo Professional and Zoom Browser that were probably supplied with your camera.

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Increase speed , this really a precious informations .

I'm training actually with the Nikon D 90 , Sigma 105 mm and kenko * 2 , on flowers ..

I just try now , and absolutely increasing speed give more sharpness to violet and daysi ..

Hope it will be the same for pigmys and sea slugs , as we start to Lembeh at the end of March . :vava:

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You can do a lot with proper sharpening. You do want to start with the sharpest image you can shoot; sorry capture.

 

You lens is probably diffraction limited at f18. Though you lose a little depth of field you will probably find you lens is sharper at f16 max.

 

Here is an article on diffraction and photography. It has a calculator you can plug your lens into.

diffraction

 

 

I usually shoot macro at 1/125th. These seems to be plenty fast enough for macro images. Mine are always sharp at that speed if I haven't screwed up in some other way.

 

I presume you are using a flat port. If so you should have no problem with your set up. As other mentioned you do want to keep the camera steady.

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I have been reading "the underwater photographer" from Martin Edge, and he reckons that shutter speed isn't too important underwater... So is it, really ?

 

I'm re-reading that myself. I think his point there is the strobe will freeze the foreground image, and the background will still capture. So you could take a macro fish at f8 (with low-power strobe) if you want to capture blue water in the background. In practice, you might see some ghosting around the image which may hinder sharpness.

 

I think the rule of thumb is to set your shutter at or above your lens. So on land a 100mm lens would want 1/100th or higher. But remember that you magnify that with a cropped sensor and flat port, so higher number may be better. I usually set 1/200 for 100mm on my full-frame 5D, whether or not I'm using the doubler, and I think I do well in the sharpness department.

 

Finally, a more expensive camera body and lens will also perform better. Not that the 450D is any slouch, but if you're comparing your images with guys with 5DmkII or 1DsmkIII or something, there is a difference in image quality. Which lens are you using?

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