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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 14 Apr 2013 (Sunday) 01:14
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Sharpness - To much emphasis on this or justified source of unhappiness?

 
Kolor-Pikker
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Apr 17, 2013 04:02 |  #166

fotoworx wrote in post #15836078 (external link)
When I first joined POTN, I lost count of the number of Prime vs Zoom threads and all the prime aficionados claimed that primes where sharper (and thus better) than zooms.

Times and technology are changing, before the 70-200/2.8 II and 24-70/2.8 II you could still make an argument, but not so much now. And once the 200-400L is out, you really won't be able to say that primes are significantly sharper, at any focal length from 24-400mm at equivalent apertures.

The only advantage of primes today is that they go faster in aperture if that's your thing, and of course they are cheaper, since a prime-sharp zoom isn't going to cost you less than $2000.


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MNUplander
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Apr 17, 2013 08:18 |  #167

Mavgirl wrote in post #15830954 (external link)
The problem with this line of thinking is that it lumps all types of photography into one category. There's commercial type photography, which tends to be the sharp, low noise images that are generally produced to make money. Most who take up photography aspire to produce images like these. Then there is the fine art type photography, which goes beyond what most consider "straight up photography" and into experimentation with exposure, unsharp focus, cameraless work... Photography has a long history of photographers intentionally making the image look more painterly and less like a mechanical reproduction that goes back to the pictorialists of the late 1800's (they would move their cameras during the exposure, among other things). Some more recent photographers who tend to deal with unsharp images are Nan Goldin, David Levinthal, Francesca Woodman... just to name a few.

So back to the original question in the first post... if you're trying to produce clean, straight up images I don't think you can ever worry enough about sharpness. If you're going for more conceptual where less than sharp images fit what you're trying to say then that's a different story. Both approaches have their place.

Agreed, although my post did acknowledge there were times when a particular concept might be detracted by a sharp image.

And, I'll admit that my opinion is biased because I am mainly a landscape shooter (although I've been dabbling with people since my kids were born) and I like to print large. Bad technique and mediocre lenses begin to show their flaws very quickly for this type of shooting.


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CAL ­ Imagery
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Apr 17, 2013 09:02 |  #168

fotoworx wrote in post #15836499 (external link)
SO many people, so many threads.....disagree with that opinion though.

There may be a level of critical mass of "sharp enough". Zeiss is still Zeiss, but the consumer-level zooms are getting sharper and sharper.


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w0m
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Apr 17, 2013 09:23 |  #169

MNUplander wrote in post #15837188 (external link)
Agreed, although my post did acknowledge there were times when a particular concept might be detracted by a sharp image.

And, I'll admit that my opinion is biased because I am mainly a landscape shooter (although I've been dabbling with people since my kids were born) and I like to print large. Bad technique and mediocre lenses begin to show their flaws very quickly for this type of shooting.


If an image might be detracted by being too sharp ; slide the clarity slider left, and you are soft. I do this relatively often (though usually with a brush for skin or to increase smoothness of harsh bokeh).

You can be too soft; but you can't be too sharp. The only argument I could see would be 'get it right in camera no PP approach'


[6D]

  
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Kei_7
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Apr 17, 2013 10:02 |  #170

I also believe that there is a bit too much focus on extreme levels of sharpness or bust. Of course a mushy lens is a mushy lens, but the way that things are talked about (especially on the net/youtube/forums) once could be forgiven for thinking that if you didn't spend the money on whatever $2500 flavor of the month lens has the great review.

I too have been a victim to myself at times thinking that this 'good' lens will simply NOT do when the other uber lens exists. Thankfully I realize much much sooner now when I'm just being way too overly critical just for the sake of having something to worry about. Now I need to set my own limits on what I deem acceptable/not when it comes to higher iso performance. (and exactly how often do I need it)

In short, yes sharpness is/becoming overrated.

Kei


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coyoteboy
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Apr 17, 2013 13:39 |  #171

Any modern f8 lens is sharper than an L lens wide open.

That can be disproved in a heartbeat, just looks at the numbers.


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Alex_Venom
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Apr 17, 2013 14:52 |  #172

coyoteboy wrote in post #15838320 (external link)
That can be disproved in a heartbeat, just looks at the numbers.

I want to see any EF-S lens at f/8 as sharp as a 100L wide open! :p


Photography is about GEAR and not talent or practice. Practice won't make you a better photographer. Expensive equipment will. =D
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MakisM1
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Apr 17, 2013 15:00 |  #173

Alex_Venom wrote in post #15838600 (external link)
I want to see any EF-S lens at f/8 as sharp as a 100L wide open! :p

http://www.the-digital-picture.com …omp=0&FLIComp=0​&APIComp=0 (external link)


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DreDaze
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Apr 17, 2013 15:01 |  #174

Alex_Venom wrote in post #15838600 (external link)
I want to see any EF-S lens at f/8 as sharp as a 100L wide open! :p

forget f8...the 17-55IS is sharper according to photozones MTF #'s at f2.8 at all focal lengths tested, besides 55mm

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Charlie
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Apr 17, 2013 15:21 |  #175

there's a lot of personal satisfaction when pixel peeping, but I honestly try to avoid this when possible. if it looks sharp on my 23" screen, chances are, I'm keeping the photo. If I'm printing large, then I'm pixel peeping (1:1).

it's like a mind trick, you know you shouldnt pixel peep, but sometimes you do. The differences in lens sharpness is minor when it comes to prints IMO, and that's what *SHOULD* matter.

if sharpness really really matters to you, I'd shoot the biggest format possible before worrying about the right lens. Chances are, even a run of the mill average lens on a bigger format will get you better sharpness. Lens to lens variations in sharpness on the same format, are often exaggerated.

50 1.8 vs 50L
85 1.8 vs 85L

not that much difference. The differences are subtle in sharpness, and probably very hard to spot.

I am more likely to spot color and bokeh differences than sharpness.


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Osiriz
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Apr 17, 2013 15:23 |  #176

Sharpness is not overrated at all. I've taken several "amazing" shots that could have been a lot more amazing if the camera / lens had not slightly front focused or back focused.

It is painful to see good photo that is not as sharp as it could have been.




  
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CountryBoy
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Apr 17, 2013 15:28 |  #177

Osiriz wrote in post #15838715 (external link)
Sharpness is not overrated at all. I've taken several "amazing" shots that could have been a lot more amazing if the camera / lens had not slightly front focused or back focused.

It is painful to see good photo that is not as sharp as it could have been.

But that's not really a sharpness problem , is it ? That's either a lens or user problem .....


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w0m
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Apr 17, 2013 15:32 |  #178

Charlie wrote in post #15838712 (external link)
there's a lot of personal satisfaction when pixel peeping, but I honestly try to avoid this when possible. if it looks sharp on my 23" screen, chances are, I'm keeping the photo. If I'm printing large, then I'm pixel peeping (1:1).

it's like a mind trick, you know you shouldnt pixel peep, but sometimes you do. The differences in lens sharpness is minor when it comes to prints IMO, and that's what *SHOULD* matter.

if sharpness really really matters to you, I'd shoot the biggest format possible before worrying about the right lens. Chances are, even a run of the mill average lens on a bigger format will get you better sharpness. Lens to lens variations in sharpness on the same format, are often exaggerated.

50 1.8 vs 50L
85 1.8 vs 85L

not that much difference. The differences are subtle in sharpness, and probably very hard to spot.

I am more likely to spot color and bokeh differences than sharpness.

I upgraded from 50 f/1.8 to 50L; but I was happy with the sharpness of the f/1.8; but not the AF/build quality (I felt my f/1.8 was almost unusable). sharpness isn't the end all be all; but it definitely matters.

CountryBoy wrote in post #15838732 (external link)
But that's not really a sharpness problem , is it ? That's either a lens or user problem .....

It's a statement that; for whatever reason; the photo would have been much improved if it was sharper. Be it user error or gear problem; both of which could have potentially been fixed if user had either bought a better lens; or had better technique, or prayed to a tiki god that he could hold still in the low light without raising ISO *too* high, or had off camera strobes pointing the right direction, or in general if he had been more focused on 'sharpness' at some point between gear purchase and shutter slap.


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CountryBoy
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Apr 17, 2013 15:46 |  #179

w0m wrote in post #15838752 (external link)
It's a statement that; for whatever reason; the photo would have been much improved if it was sharper. Be it user error or gear problem; both of which could have potentially been fixed if user had either bought a better lens; or had better technique, or prayed to a tiki god that he could hold still in the low light without raising ISO *too* high, or had off camera strobes pointing the right direction, or in general if he had been more focused on 'sharpness' at some point between gear purchase and shutter slap.

Even the best of lens can have focusing problems , we've seen that over and over here on the forum ..I have many sports shorts that would have been great if they would have been focused right .. No fault of the lens , it was still sharp as heck on what it focused on ..;) But like I said focusing problems has nothing to do with the sharpness of the lens . My lens that took a nasty hard fall was still sharp as heck , but just not what I aimed out .....


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w0m
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Apr 17, 2013 15:49 |  #180

CountryBoy wrote in post #15838803 (external link)
Even the best of lens can have focusing problems , we've seen that over and over here on the forum ..I have many sports shorts that would have been great if they would have been focused right .. No fault of the lens , it was still sharp as heck on what it focused on ..;) But like I said focusing problems has nothing to do with the sharpness of the lens . My lens that took a nasty hard fall was still sharp as heck , but just not what I aimed out .....

Ha; true enough. I liked the sharpness of my 50 f/1.8 wide open; but I just couldn't get it to focus where I wanted it to fast/consistent enough for me so I sold it in lew of a better built model. My facebook cover photo was taken with said 50 @ f/1.8 in fact.

By percentage, I probably get 10x more keepers with my new 50 than my old (Mostly people/animal shots); so would that be an argument that 'sharpness' doesn't matter? I would say it's that the f/1.8 itself is over the 'sharp enough' line for me in perfect scenario; but all the other factors of the lens allow me to get sharp shots that were soft with my old lens (Better AF mostly, though I moved from 600D to 6D also between). Does that mean 'sharpness' is overrated insofar as it doesn't matter if you can't get the subject in focus? I would say so; but AF doesn't matter much if everything is soft; you're limited to your weakest point. (Some more correctable than others, such as CA)


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Sharpness - To much emphasis on this or justified source of unhappiness?
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