Old 09-06-2007, 06:48 PM   #1
DelmonteX
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Default Soft / Sharp - 40D

I got my first photo accepted using my new 40D, but not after having it rejected for being soft and after having my first submission rejected for being soft (it also had lens flare, so I didn't bother with sharpening).

So my question is this, to my eye the rejected photo was plenty sharp, certainly sharper than the high end point and shot I was using. The accepted photo looks to sharp.

Opinions please!

Here's the links.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=415840&key=0

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...200370&nseq=73
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:05 PM   #2
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Shots right out of a DSLR are soft and must always be sharpened. Well, the RAW file for sure; the JPG, it depends on how you set the in-camera sharpness setting. Generally the default is a bit soft.

Just by design/intention, that's the way it is. DSLR -> needs sharpening. It's often a surprise for someone new to DSLRs, coming from a point/shoot, who is expecting wonderful things.

Oh, but how sharp it can end up if you have a good lens!
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Shots right out of a DSLR are soft and must always be sharpened. Well, the RAW file for sure; the JPG, it depends on how you set the in-camera sharpness setting. Generally the default is a bit soft.

Just by design/intention, that's the way it is. DSLR -> needs sharpening. It's often a surprise for someone new to DSLRs, coming from a point/shoot, who is expecting wonderful things.

Oh, but how sharp it can end up if you have a good lens!
Janusz,

Thanks for the insite on the DSLR sharpness. I'm leaning toward 40D from the camera help thread that I started. Going window shopping this evening to actually touch one and see if I like it. I like what I saw in the spec sheets online.
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Steve,

Have you had your 40D long enough to know if you like it yet or not? Would you recommend it to a fellow point and shooter?

EDIT-I meant D40 for me, but how do you like the point and shoot to DSLR transition anyway?
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Shots right out of a DSLR are soft and must always be sharpened. Well, the RAW file for sure; the JPG, it depends on how you set the in-camera sharpness setting. Generally the default is a bit soft.

Just by design/intention, that's the way it is. DSLR -> needs sharpening. It's often a surprise for someone new to DSLRs, coming from a point/shoot, who is expecting wonderful things.

Oh, but how sharp it can end up if you have a good lens!

I've read your comments before about DSLR's and sharpness, so I wasn't that surprised, and that's not really the point of my question.

I quess I'm trying to train my eye a bit and was looking for opinions (other than the screener's) about the two versions of the image. I should mention that before reducing the size of the rejected image, it was sharpened a bit as well.
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EMTRailfan
Steve,

Have you had your 40D long enough to know if you like it yet or not? Would you recommend it to a fellow point and shooter?

EDIT-I meant D40 for me, but how do you like the point and shoot to DSLR transition anyway?

Well I certainly like it and bought it knowing I would not be as happy as I will be. For me it's sort of like having an awesome sports car and only being able to afford 50 MPH spares all around. I have only a 50mm 1.8 Canon lens. When I can afford to get better glass, I pretty sure I'll be very happy with the decision.

As it is I find the camera easy to use and no annoyances to speak of.
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:21 PM   #6
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rejected shot: not sharp, not close, really

accepted shot: to my eye, a bit oversharpened, image quality is not fabulous. I don't have a great monitor here, so I can't give a strong opinion, but it looks like it started off as a poor image (maybe the focus was on the foreground rocks instead of the train?) and then it was rescued through sharpening, to a minimal quality level but not an excellent quality level.
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DelmonteX
I have only a 50mm 1.8 Canon lens. When I can afford to get better glass, I pretty sure I'll be very happy with the decision.
Don't be fooled by the nifty fifty's price; it is an excellent lens. It just so happens that 50mm is an easy to manufacture focal length. And besides, it is all plastic, DO NOT DROP IT EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It breaks in two pieces. It has happened thousands of times. It's cheap in construction.
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Old 09-06-2007, 10:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Don't be fooled by the nifty fifty's price; it is an excellent lens. It just so happens that 50mm is an easy to manufacture focal length. And besides, it is all plastic, DO NOT DROP IT EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It breaks in two pieces. It has happened thousands of times. It's cheap in construction.
I've lost 2 to that way. Though I heard the epoxy used to seal the plastic one is stronger than the glue on the metal one. Who knows?

The MarkIIn takes THE SHARPEST picture's ive ever seen. I would rather be a little bit soft than have that "fake sharp." I've had to sharpen a couple of my shots to get on here and i hate looking at them, its sad. I'm assuming you are using servo to track with the train in your shots. Try thumb focus if you haven't (custom functions menu). I shot motocross for the first time the other day and thumb blew shutter out of the water. It takes some getting used to though.
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by WKUrailfan
I've lost 2 to that way. Though I heard the epoxy used to seal the plastic one is stronger than the glue on the metal one. Who knows?

The MarkIIn takes THE SHARPEST picture's ive ever seen. I would rather be a little bit soft than have that "fake sharp." I've had to sharpen a couple of my shots to get on here and i hate looking at them, its sad. I'm assuming you are using servo to track with the train in your shots. Try thumb focus if you haven't (custom functions menu). I shot motocross for the first time the other day and thumb blew shutter out of the water. It takes some getting used to though.
Are you saying the D1mkIIn has manual focus controllable through a thumbwheel? Interesting.
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:21 AM   #10
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Are you saying the D1mkIIn has manual focus controllable through a thumbwheel? Interesting.
No, my bad. I'm talking about thumb focus (the two buttons on the back near the top) Sorry, i'm too lazy to dig out my manual and find what the button is called. And I don't have a MarkIIn, but i'll be shooting with one of the school's in a week or too.
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WKUrailfan
I would rather be a little bit soft than have that "fake sharp." I've had to sharpen a couple of my shots to get on here and i hate looking at them, its sad.
What do you mean "fake sharp?" It sounds like you are now using an SLR or will soon be. Like JRDMC said, every picture out of a dSLR needs sharpening.

I would rather look at a sharp photo than a soft, unsharpened photo...
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WKUrailfan
No, my bad. I'm talking about thumb focus (the two buttons on the back near the top) Sorry, i'm too lazy to dig out my manual and find what the button is called. And I don't have a MarkIIn, but i'll be shooting with one of the school's in a week or too.
I've never heard of this. Are you saying some bodies have a manual focus ability through a control on the body? If so, what is the point of that? The hand on the lens doesn't have much to do, might as well put in a bit of manual focus time when needed.
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:46 AM   #13
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What do you mean "fake sharp?" It sounds like you are now using an SLR or will soon be.
I think what he meant, or maybe I am inferring falsely, who knows, is the sort of bad sharpness one gets when one takes a shot with poor focus or a bit of camera motion blur, and then one tries to fix it with a bit extra sharpening. It always comes out looking less than great, sometimes good enough, but never as well as it would look had one shot well to begin with.
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:50 AM   #14
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I've never heard of this. Are you saying some bodies have a manual focus ability through a control on the body?
I've seen it discussed in the Forums here recently, but I couldn't figure out the point of it. How hard is it to push the shutter halfway down to focus? What am I missing?
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:53 AM   #15
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Oh, is this the process by which one uses the "*" key and separates the auto-focus from the auto-exposure, something like that? I've never gotten around to trying that; I've certainly seen mention of it often enough.

These days when I am particularly concerned about exposure, I preshoot the scene and review the histogram, go to manual settings, and then go autofocus or manual focus as I see fit.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:15 AM   #16
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Hey Steve

Congrats on the new 40D! Did it arrive in an Amtrak baggage car?

As for the photos - I agree with what Janusz eventually got around to saying.
The first is definately too soft. It looks like you sprayed water on the photo and some of the lines smeared - blobulated. (That's a Sniglet, it will be in the dictionary soon).

As mentioned almost all DSLR images need to be sharpened. Definately RAW (Canon's CR2), and most JPEG, though you can set the parameters or "styles" to do some of that for you for hte JPEG, in effect, let the camera to your post processing.

The second photo is oversharpened. You managed to avoid getting halos, but like you said, it's too much. Note also the increased noise in the sky which might be partially due to shooting at ISO 400.

I would suggest you send out post cards to your friends and family and let them know you will not be seen for a few weeks while you learn the intricacies of your new multi adjustable camera and some post processing tricks.

I've never used full auto on a camera - maybe it works? As you experiment with the settings you will find yourself taking better pictures but also find yourself on a new learning curve - this effects that, this changes that, ect.
With so many user adjustable settings, when used, you may find that some settings work well together while others do not.

You can control the ISO - keep it low (100) for the least amount of grain.
Realize that the 40D may set the ISO for you if you have the new auto ISO function enabled, or if you are shooting a certain "style" or parameter.

Take the time to see the effects of each "preset" parameter - I think these are called "styles" now. One might be supersaturated. One may be high contrast while another is low. Sharpening settings vary from one "stye setting" to another.

Get yourself a good lens! This can have a more direct influence on your pictures then the body. The 50mm is a good lens. The kit lens 18-55 I read is fantastic, though cheaply made, it got great reviews. Maybe you can find a used one for $60 or another used lens of quality.

Last, welcome to post processing. Some people will tell you if you set your camera correctly, there is no need. It is rare that I do not post process. Especially with the shortage of sunny days in Philly. I shoot RAW and JPEG but without any enhancement. I want a true "negative". I did however start processing my JPEG's in camera, as long as I am shooting RAW's which are uneffected by Parameters and Styles. Regardless, you will probably want to get the following down pat;

Unsharpening - Do a Google search, see you in 4 weeks.

Levels - get your blacks black and your whites white.

Curves - similar to levels but you can effect a certain range directly.

Saturation - lessen it or enhance it, or one way to go B&W.

Shadows and Highlights - if you got it, it's great for black steam engines!

Magic Lasso and wand - sometimes you only need to process part of a
picture. (You could blur the noise out of your sky).

Dodge and Burn - worked with film, works with digital.

When you are done, call me and tell me how to do it!

/Mitch
Fellow 40D guy (sealed box in front of me).
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Fellow 40D guy (sealed box in front of me).
Wow, there are a lot of 40D people around on this forum, given how short a period of time the camera has been out!
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Wow, there are a lot of 40D people around on this forum, given how short a period of time the camera has been out!
Are there?
I wasn't keeping track.

It is advertised with a due date of September 20th and I preordered the day it was announced and paid $16.00 for overnight shipping. I just got it today.
I thought I'd have had serial #000001!

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Old 09-07-2007, 02:34 AM   #19
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BTW - anyone have a grande, I will happily pay you back on Tuesday.

/Mitch
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