Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

  • Announcements

    • Rick

      Members Only Fluid Forum View   08/08/2017

      Fluid forum view allows members only to get right to the meat of this community; the topics. You can toggle between your preferred forum view just below to the left on the main forum entrance. You will see three icons. Try them out and see what you prefer.   Fluid view allows you, if you are a signed up member, to see the newest topic posts in either all forums (select none or all) or in just your favorite forums (select the ones you want to see when you come to Fishing Minnesota). It keeps and in real time with respect to Topic posts and lets YOU SELECT YOUR FAVORITE FORUMS. It can make things fun and easy. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media. If you, as a members want more specific topics, you can even select a single forum to view. Let us take a look at fluid view in action. We will then break it down and explain how it works in more detail.   The video shows the topic list and the forum filter box. As you can see, it is easy to change the topic list by changing the selected forums. This view replaces the traditional list of categories and forums.   Of course, members only can change the view to better suit your way of browsing.   You will notice a “grid” option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for members only to choose. This screenshot also shows the removal of the forum breadcrumb in fluid view mode. Fluid view remembers your last forum selection so you don’t lose your place when you go back to the listing. The benefit of this feature is easy to see. It removes a potential barrier of entry for members only. It puts the spotlight on topics themselves, and not the hierarchical forum structure. You as a member will enjoy viewing many forums at once and switching between them without leaving the page. We hope that fluid view, the new functionality is an asset that you enjoy .
Sign in to follow this  

How do I get sharp images?

Recommended Posts

I am hoping someone can give me some help with sharpening images. I know that most digital images need some sharpening and I do that but I'm just winging it most of the time. Can someone give me/us some guidelines for sharpening.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh well, I guess I asked for it! gringringrin

Here goes.

First, sharp images begin at capture because there's only so much that software can do to sharpen a soft image before the image starts to fall apart. A lot of what follows are tips on getting sharp captures so there's less heavy lifting during post-processing. Some of these are pretty basic but some are not, and they reflect my actual experiences out in the field.

Stabilization/technique. Even a fast shutter speed is no exchange for rock-solid technique. A monopod or tripod is a valuable tool in most situations. The stronger the telephoto (focual length) the more hand/camera shake plays a role, and the more some type of stabilization is needed. An image stabilized lens can be a Godsend, but there are plenty of times even IS won't help you capture the sharpest image without some help (like a monopod.)

Zoom vs prime lenses. Most of us know that zooms are inherently a bit softer than prime (fixed focal length) lenses. The best zooms aren't much softer but usually are just a bit less sharp. To ensure a sharper image with a zoom (any lens, really, though with zooms it can be more critical), it's good to stop down from max aperture, for example from f5.6 to f8. In doing so you lose another stop of shutter speed, which is why stabilization and technique can be so important.

Focus point. Depth of focus is razor thin with subjects close to the camera, so pay particular attention to your focus point. At f5.6 or f8, DOF six feet away using a 300 or 400mm lens might be less than an inch, so if you lock focus on the wingbar of a perched bird at that distance and the bird is facing/slanted slightly away or toward you, the head/eye probably will be soft because it's missed the prime DOF range. Best to lock focus on the eye, then recompose quickly to make the capture.

Exposure. Not a primary consideration, but an important secondary one. A bird shot against a pale sky with no exposure compensation used will almost always be underexposed. While that does not inherently compromise sharpness, it does in effect because in brightening up the underexposed subject, digital noise makes its inevitable appearance, and that compromises how much sharpening you can do in post processing. The more sharpening, the more noise is accentuated. When Ken and I shot the eagles on Snowbank, we immediately, as we were putting the cameras up to our eyes, spun the dial to overexpose from one full stop to 1 1/3 stop, because we know that the meter would want to turn that pale sky a darker, mid-range gray, and that would have badly underexposed the bird's dark feathers. An even better example is a white bird against a pale sky or a white weasel on snow. If you let the meter tackle it, it'll render the scene a mid-range gray and will be underexposed, so when the image is brightened up in pp, noise appears. An exposure compensation of about +2 is usually needed in those situations to render whites white (instead of gray) without blowing them out.

If you've been careful to do all the things mentioned above, you'll have the sharpest possible image before sitting down at the computer.

Post processing. Most post-processing software out there today has very sophisticated sharpening tools. In Photoshop, unsharp mask is the most commonly used, though I employ smart sharpen often. If the subject is a bird or animal or person and I want to sharpen it, I usually lasso it and sharpen the subject alone so the background doesn't get sharper. My typical settings on either unsharp mask or smart sharpen are a radius of .7, with the percentage varying from 100 to 300 percent in most cases. It just depends, and each image is a bit different so you'll want to experiment with different radius and percentage settings. When I lasso a subject for sharpening, I generally lasso just inside the outer edge of the subject so the sharpening doesn't produce an edge halo.

For landscapes or images with lots of small detail, watch carefully when you sharpen the whole image to avoid lots of halos, which can make the image look grainy and overcontrasty.

If you have a Save for Web feature in your software, go ahead and sharpen the image so it appears just slightly oversharpened on your monitor. Saving for Web softens them just a bit in my experience. Also, LCD monitors seem to show images more sharply than the older CRTs.

This is something that demands plenty of trial and error, and when posting images online, simply ask folks to comment on whether they look oversharpened.

That's a start . . . I know every photographer may have slightly different sharpening regimens, so feel free anyone to chime in on how you do things differently.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great tutorial, Steve. I'm going to email this to my neighbor who is having some problems with getting sharp images. I know she can do it, because I've seen a few that she has shot. However, I guess her keep rate is quite low.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will just give you some basic numbers since Steve gave you such great explanation on the other factors.

I also use smart sharpen a fair amount and use Noise Ninja as well. Smart sharpen I use a 85, 1.3, Gaussian blur.

I use Scott Kelby's numbers for most of my general sharpening with unsharp mask.

General sharpening - 85, 1, 4. This is a setting that can be used more than once. This is the one I use most often.

Hard sharpen - 65, 4, 3. This is for soft images and only used once. I can often rescue a slightly soft image using this setting.

Haze contrast reduction - 20, 50, 0. Great for slightly hazy photos or where you want some "pop" to an image.

These are the sharpening settings I use 99% of the time. Experiment with some of these settings and see if any work for you.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

MM thanks, I think they are ok too but some of the stuff I see on here and elsewhere online is just amazingly sharp. I imagine a lot of it is the glass which I'm lacking in a little but anything I can do to improve what I have is welcome.

Dan, thanks for that help. I'll be filing those numbers away to use in the future. That's great info!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Posts

    • Smurfy's just stirrin' the pot, those union guys must have lotsa free time.......    Say Delmar, yer Cub foods has corn for TEN CENTS AN EAR in their ad this week....
    • I buy from his buddy's truck.   What more does he want?   Sometimes I buy at walmart instead.  Life goes on, Brah  obla dee obla dah
    • WTF are you talking about?  You are already judging me so bring it on.  Tell me about your training.  Cite studies that show the deficiencies of treadmills.   Cite studies that show how Chiropractic cures diabetes and cancer...   Come on, you want to engage in a battle of wits?  Don't come half equipped.   Heat? How about I repost the bizarre chiropractic stuff?  Or have you disavowed it of late?    
    • I read about someone else fishing them like that, so gave it a try.  I use a smaller paddle tail sometimes or this last weekend I was using a SK Rodent. I've kinda switched to Dbombs and Pit bosses for t-rigs, so I figured I would use up some of those Rodents. They worked good on the Chatterbait for action, but tore up kinda fast.   This technique works best I think in dirtier water for me. I would definately have a t-rig ready too. Been catching a lot on them too!
    • You sure are into this huggin' and kissy stuff. Are you one of those touchy-feely "Oh I'm so happy" free spirit type guys?!        
    • Well, I didn't have any results anywhere close to that... we had a good time at the cabin we stayed at (got home Saturday), but fishing was very tough... if we end up going up there again next year I'll be in touch...
    • Do I need to answer to you? Absolutely not, especially when you are going to try to put together some physics logic behind why treadmills are good, completely neglecting to describe how muscles function with a protagonist and antagonist relationship.  Meaning when your quads are suppose to relax and your hamstrings are suppose to engage and vice versa.  When that doesn't happen over and over again due to the belt doing the hamstrings work, then you are developing an inefficient movement pattern (compensation) and you can expect pain, arthritis, injury, replacement, etc. (Familiar, I know the arthritis bit is) You are training yourself not to work like you were created to work.  Although for you Del, I completely understand if you think you are smarter then how we as a species got to be who we are today.  Or at least you can find something to copy and paste from somebody else whom feels the way you do, who also got dooped into buying a treadmill or pays a monthly fee to walk on a treadmill.  If you want to start judging me, I can judge you Del and this can be very fun for me but then all the snowflakes on here would melt because I brought some heat.  Your old timer buddies would come and save you, delete half my postings that expose you know absolutely nothing about this topic, you all can cry about how I am so mean and hate filled, and then not troll me for a few months until you are updated with one of my postings and then crawl right back into an argument where I make you look stupid all over.  Up to you buddy.   Dave, I got 32 seconds into that video, couldnt stand the guy and stopped it.
    • I'm no expert on this stuff but I'm guessing this is what Dr. Juice is alluding to in his own condescending way.....    
    • I am still waiting for something exciting on the Wild front...nothing yet that is for sure...just hoping the same old guys have some gas left in the tank at the end of the year and the "young kids" have finally graduated and can bring it to another's all about the playoffs...getting in is easy...actually making any sort of run is the is where the rubber meets the road. Cullen making a "family" decision vs a "hockey" decision was lucky for Chuck that is for sure and Cullen is not going to bring us to another level...but will be an OK role player and 3rd or 4th liner..probably will fill the jersey of a young guy we have unfortunately..but it is what it is.
    • Which questions?  The one about your education?   Must have been a long time ago since I don't recall it.  I do remember you being a big big huge fan of Chiropractic.   Perhaps you could refresh my memory, it shouldn't take long to post your CV   And I guess you must have missed physics class as well, since in physics calculations of forces are the same no matter the frame of reference, yet you continue to suggest there is a difference between a frame referenced to a person's center of mass, and one referenced to the earth.   I did see this article from a newspaper.... The author must have at least as much qualification as you do What Muscles Are Worked Out When Using a Treadmill? The treadmill is a versatile exercise machine that lets users walk, jog and run on flat or uphill surfaces. In addition to providing an effective cardiovascular workout, treadmills also help strengthen the muscles of the legs and butt. Depending on the incline, you can work the front or the rear of your legs more intensely; however, every treadmill workout strengthens both.   The Quadriceps People who walk and jog on the treadmill with regularity gain endurance and strength in the quadriceps muscles. The quadriceps are named for the four large muscles on the front of the thighs; they are the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius. These muscles help the body jump and squat in addition to walking and running. As a result, treadmill exercise applies to more than just working out; it also improves the ease with which you go about activities of daily living. The Hamstrings Like the quadriceps, "hamstrings" is also a collective name for a muscle group. The hamstrings, comprising the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus and the semimembranosus, lie between the buttocks and the back of the knee on the rear thigh. The muscles of the hamstrings are used for power walking and running in addition to squatting and jumping, and -- in general -- the more you exercise on the treadmill, the greater your hamstrings' endurance gains will become. However, according to the University of Wisconsin, roughly a quarter of collegiate athletes who sprint injure their hamstrings. As a result, warm up on the treadmill slowly, and increase running speeds gradually. The Calves The calf muscles of the rear lower leg, comprising the gastrocnemius and the soleus, also work hard during treadmill exercise. According to a study from the Laboratory of Medical Physics in The Netherlands, most of the work performed by the calf muscles occurs as you push off from your toes while walking, running and jumping. You can increase the workload on your calves -- and your hamstrings -- by increasing the incline on the treadmill. The Glutes The glutes make up the muscles of the rear end and, like the leg muscles, help you walk, jump and run. "Fitness" magazine reports that people who set their treadmills to a steep incline increase the workload on their glutes significantly, which increases strength, improves endurance and burns fat and calories. Although the treadmill helps you gain leg strength, the machine is primarily known for its cardiovascular health benefits. As a result, if you exercise regularly on a treadmill you can expect health gains on the inside of your body as well as the outside.    
  • Our Sponsors