Making It Sharp

Professional Photography TipsMaking It Sharp

Q) I have a Tamron 28-300 lens that I’ve been using with great success on my film camera. When I use it on my newer digital camera, there’s a softness to the images. Is the lens not good for my digital camera? Is there another lens as versatile as the 28-300mm that would give me tack-sharp images?

A) At the moment of capture, digital cameras don’t yield an image as sharp as film. But you can achieve results even sharper than film capture by changing the camera’s settings and/or by using image-processing software. When shooting in JPEG mode, select the parameters within your camera for a higher sharpening rate. If you photograph in RAW capture, then the sharpening needs to be done in your image-editing software.

This difference is typical for all digital cameras and doesn’t necessarily indicate a deficiency in the optics. If your Tamron lens was giving you excellent images with film, it’s capable of giving you as good, or better, digital images. Photographs like this parrot detail really show the sharpness of a lens and camera combination. This was taken with a Canon EOS 5D and 180mm macro combination at 1/45 sec. at ƒ/16. Flash fill was added.

One of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers and a leader in the field of digital imaging and photographic education, Lepp is the author of many books and the field editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine. One of Canon’s original Explorers of Light, Lepp finds inspiration in advancing technology that fuels creative innovation and expression of his life-long fascination with the natural world.