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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 28 Dec 2016 (Wednesday) 13:16
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sharpness sweet spot

 
Bassat
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Jan 01, 2017 17:44 |  #16

The exact definition of sharpness, contrast, and/or resolution may be irrelevant. Much like porno, I will recognize them when I see them. :)




  
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Jan 01, 2017 18:35 |  #17

:-P:-P:-P


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Jan 01, 2017 19:18 |  #18

Bassat wrote in post #18230111 (external link)
The exact definition of sharpness, contrast, and/or resolution may be irrelevant. Much like porno, I will recognize them when I see them. :)

Yeah, comes from lots of experience.... ;-)a


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Hogloff
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Jan 01, 2017 20:38 |  #19
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I really don't worry about the sweet spot for a lens. I use whatever aperture I need to make my composition work. Sometimes that's wide open at 1.4 and sometimes that is at f16. Get good lenses and then just focus on your image without worrying about the technicalities.




  
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Jan 01, 2017 21:46 |  #20

I've seen situations where the pursuit of sharpness was detrimental to the overall image. Sharp can be good, but it's not the only characteristic that determines the quality of an image. That said, I know my lenses well enough to know where they're sharpest if I need it. As Photoguy said, it's typically 2-3 stops down from full open. Shoot with a lens enough and you'll soon find it's sweet spot. :)


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Jan 02, 2017 01:16 |  #21

I myself would occasionally shoot wide open, but not that often. As to the larger f-stop numbers, I'll normally avoid the diffraction issue by stopping at f/16.


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Jan 04, 2017 11:08 |  #22

Thank you for all the responses. I just want to be sure its clear that I do understand that this is just one of many considerations that have to be balanced to get a fine image. At this point, I think its safe to say that I've reached a solid intermediate level with a pretty decent understanding of most of the principle concepts involved. Of course, there's always room for improvement, and the goal I've set this year is to really deepen my technical expertise from the shoot side of the equation (post-processing will likely be next year's deep dive). It seemed logical to me to start with sharpness, focus, and DOF - which leads to this discussion. I should also mention that the more esoteric items (such as composition) are things that I always work on regardless of the year's focus area as one needs both the technical and the artistic.

All that said, I'm now wondering if anyone has recommendations for places where I can get good technical knowledge for the various elements that go into shooting.

Thanks




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Jan 04, 2017 11:52 |  #23

.

craigat wrote in post #18232892 (external link)
I'm now wondering if anyone has recommendations for places where I can get good technical knowledge for the various elements that go into shooting.

Ummmm..............POT​N.

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Wilt
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Wilt. (5 edits in all)
     
Jan 04, 2017 11:56 |  #24

Photography is always about a bunch of compromises. Based upon the shooting circumstances, WHICH of the factors to compromise the most will vary.


  • Your highest detail resolution aperture might not permit you to use a sufficiently high shutter speed, so you capture camera shake.
  • Your highest resolution aperture with sufficiently high shutter speed might force the use of a higher ISO which compromises your low light freedom from noise.
  • Your highest resolution aperture might force you to capture a Depth of Field which does not work for the shot you want!
  • Your highest resolution aperture with sufficiently low ISO which does not compromise your low light freedom from noise might force you to use a shutter speed which does not freeze subject motion sufficiently.


Digital photography, I believe, has put entirely too much focus on the technical superiority of shots in the average shooter's mind, to the detriment of the quality of the compostion or to the accuracy of exposure...I see all too many grey snow and grey paper photos, not WHITE the way it really is, posted as examples on POTN about some other complaint like focus accuracy!

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Jan 04, 2017 15:16 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #25

Wilt,

I totally agree that the technical is often emphasized over the artistic to the point that it becomes a problem. That said, technical expertise is still required - Ansel Adams created amazing images, but he wouldn't be known today if he didn't have sufficient technical expertise to make the print come to life (and even invent some of the technical processes by which the prints were created). Of course the reverse is also true, we're Adams a brilliant technician who knew nothing of composition, we again wouldn't know who he was. The only real way forward is to continually strive to improve in both areas and to work hard at bridging them into one seamless whole.

My discussions here tend to focus on the more technical areas because that's where I tend to have the most difficulty. I was originally an artist by trade (classical musician), so my mind is always working on the aesthetics, and that is something I tend to pickup on more naturally. I also know where to look to figure out what and how to do and, most importantly, I recognize that the effort there will always be miles to go no matter how far I travel. The technical however, is an area where mastery can be gained (note I didn't say absolute mastery) with careful study and practice at a quicker rate. To me, at least, it's the low hanging fruit of photography, and the place where, at this point in my development, I will get the most gain from the effort.

As you can guess, I do work on the aesthetic as well (otherwise, why bother shooting) and my snow is white :)




  
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Wilt
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Wilt. (2 edits in all)
     
Jan 04, 2017 16:20 as a reply to  @ craigat's post |  #26

There are two aspects about 'technical'...accuracy of exposure vs. pointless abstraction of the technical. Accuracy is 'get it right', but the pointless abstraction is shooting 'only at the sweet spot' aperture or discussions of grain dimension or pixel-to-pixel center distance. Yes, Ansel wanted sharp photos, but he also wanted sufficient DOF for the scene he wanted to capture. And depending upon circumstance, DOF might override ultimate sharpness in one case, and ultimate sharpness might override DOF in another. That is the compromise we make, yet the center of attention for Ansel always has been 'Get the desired Photo in mind!, first and foremost.


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Post edited over 2 years ago by ksbal. (2 edits in all)
     
Jan 04, 2017 16:53 as a reply to  @ craigat's post |  #27

I think a better question is: "is the lens I have sharp enough for the situations I'll use it in?"

Are you satisfied with the sharpness of the photos taken with your current lenses?

Personally, I don't give a rip if the corners are soft at f3.2 on my 70-200L as I use it for portraits, where on my 17-40 I do want more corner sharpness and will stop it down and not want the bokeh anyways. I want the least distortion in the corners for Astro photography.. so that is a different lens set all together.

When I want tack sharp then I pull out my 100L. Sharpness is phenomenal, and I know I have to watch diffraction, but then hyper focal comes into play to get the best. Do I want bokeh or do I want large dof? depends on what I am doing.

Consumer grade lenses are designed at f5.6 - f8, for best sharpness, generally. Pro quality lenses are typically sharper and better at wider f stops. There is no rule of thumb, and all the charts in the world really don't tell you near enough about your own particular lens in your hands.

Proper post processing tools give you even more sharpness, and will fix lens distortions.

If you want some more info, LensRentals.com has a blog that is outstanding, and talks about a wide range of things, such as AF tolerance, current lens varience, mtf charts and everythings else you could want, along with some history of photography thrown in.

trying to 'find the sweet spot' of a lens isn't really what most of us have in mind... what we want is the right lens, for the image in our head.. and then price determines the amount of quality we can buy or settle for. :-D


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tonylong
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Jan 04, 2017 23:38 |  #28

craigat wrote in post #18233238 (external link)
Wilt,

I totally agree that the technical is often emphasized over the artistic to the point that it becomes a problem. That said, technical expertise is still required - Ansel Adams created amazing images, but he wouldn't be known today if he didn't have sufficient technical expertise to make the print come to life (and even invent some of the technical processes by which the prints were created). Of course the reverse is also true, we're Adams a brilliant technician who knew nothing of composition, we again wouldn't know who he was. The only real way forward is to continually strive to improve in both areas and to work hard at bridging them into one seamless whole.

My discussions here tend to focus on the more technical areas because that's where I tend to have the most difficulty. I was originally an artist by trade (classical musician), so my mind is always working on the aesthetics, and that is something I tend to pickup on more naturally. I also know where to look to figure out what and how to do and, most importantly, I recognize that the effort there will always be miles to go no matter how far I travel. The technical however, is an area where mastery can be gained (note I didn't say absolute mastery) with careful study and practice at a quicker rate. To me, at least, it's the low hanging fruit of photography, and the place where, at this point in my development, I will get the most gain from the effort.

As you can guess, I do work on the aesthetic as well (otherwise, why bother shooting) and my snow is white :)

Hey, this dang post brings something up to me, and that is that I have spent a lot of my life playing music!!! I started out learning guitar, then I moved into Blues harmonica, and then, well you name it, sax, violin/fiddle, keyboard/piano/organ, all that jazz! And yeah, it all matters, both hitting the right notes (and really hitting them) and doing it in such a way that really gets across your "vision"!!!


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Wilt
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Jan 05, 2017 00:55 |  #29

tonylong wrote in post #18233716 (external link)
Hey, this dang post brings something up to me, and that is that I have spent a lot of my life playing music!!! I started out learning guitar, then I moved into Blues harmonica, and then, well you name it, sax, violin/fiddle, keyboard/piano/organ, all that jazz! And yeah, it all matters, both hitting the right notes (and really hitting them) and doing it in such a way that really gets across your "vision"!!!

Did you care that your instruments were within 0.1% of perfect pitch, or simply that they played in harmony with the other instruments?


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tonylong
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Jan 05, 2017 01:17 |  #30

Wilt wrote in post #18233751 (external link)
Did you care that your instruments were within 0.1% of perfect pitch, or simply that they played in harmony with the other instruments?

Heh! If you've delved into music, first you have to learn "perfect pitch", I figure that takes maybe 1 1/2 years on a given instrument, then, hey, get together and "jam"!!!


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sharpness sweet spot
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