Tuesday, November 3, 2009
10 Tips For Top Sharpness
Getting your sharpest photographs today is as much about processing as it is about shooting technique. We’ll show you some pro tips for making your best pictures.
Most lenses gain in sharpness stopped down a couple of ƒ-stops from the maximum aperture, keep that sharpness through the middle range of ƒ-stops, then drop off slightly in sharpness at the minimum aperture. For more expensive lenses, this range may be pretty close to all of the ƒ-stops available for that lens. For less expensive lenses, this range may be just a few of the middle ƒ-stops.
The only way to know for sure is to do some testing. Set up your camera on a tripod facing a flat, detailed subject and photograph it with your whole range of ƒ-stops. Compare the pictures.
Use that information wisely. Don’t simply decide that you’re only going to use a few ƒ-stops. That might be fine with some scenes at a distance where depth of field isn’t critical, but when you get close, the proper depth of field can be more important than some arbitrary standard of sharpness.
A tripod can be a critical part of your sharpness technique. Still, nearly every photographer will handhold shots at one time or another. You need to be sure to hold the camera correctly for maximum sharpness. A digital SLR based on a 35mm camera style is designed to be held in one way, regardless if you’re left- or right-handed.
Grab your camera with your right hand on the right side of the camera. Turn your left hand so that it’s palm-up, then place the camera into the palm of your hand with your fingers comfortably around the lens. Bring your camera up to your eye while keeping your elbows close to your chest. This is the most stable and sharpest way to hold your camera. You’ll see lots of photographers holding the camera with the left hand palm-down and the thumb and fingers grabbing the lens. That unstable handholding technique will result in less sharp pictures.
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