Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Sharpness The Deadly Dozen
Defeat these threats to sharp photos and create images that get optimum sharpness from any camera and lens
I find that a lot of photographers overestimate their ability to get sharp photos with a given shutter speed. The shutter speeds I listed in the Minimum Handholding Rule section truly are a minimum. I've found that many photographers can't get the full sharpness with a lens at even these shutter speeds. Do a test and compare your shooting handheld versus the camera on a tripod. I've done this and discovered that, with moderate focal lengths (neither wide nor tele), few people can match tripod sharpness at speeds of less than 1⁄125 sec.
3 Overestimating The Power Of A Tripod.
Use a tripod and you get sharp photos, right? Yes—most of the time, but having this expectation that using your tripod automatically yields a sharp photo can take you in the wrong direction. Tripods help, but you can get poor sharpness even on a tripod when there's vibration causing camera movement during exposure. Wind is a big problem, but also just pressing the shutter too hard, or even mirror bounce, can be a problem. You need to use a fast enough shutter speed to deal with the conditions or do something to minimize camera movement. A cable release can be helpful, but I find them a pain to use, so mostly I use the two-second self-timer to reduce camera shake when I'm shooting with the camera on a tripod. Also, Live View is great because the mirror is essentially already locked in the up position.
4 Auto Exposure.
Now, this may seem odd since a lot of pros use auto-exposure, especially aperture-priority auto-exposure. Here's the problem: In aperture-priority, you can easily forget to check the shutter speed the camera is setting, so the camera ends up with a shutter speed that's too slow for sharpness, either handheld or on a tripod. The answer: Simply pay attention to shutter speed and use something that will give consistently sharp photos.
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