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how would I get these pics sharper

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I really new to this, and after viewing other photo on here, I have been bitten by the bug. I have a Panasonic DMC TZ1 I am still learning how to use. These are just three photos I picked, and was wondering how they could be made sharper. Thanks for the help.




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Hey airdriver:

Another bitten, another victim. grin.gifgrin.gif

Some things can't be made sharper. The foreground in the final image is out of focus and that can't be sharpened enough to matter.

Nice images, though.

Are you asking how you can take pictures that are sharper from the start, or how to make them sharper in post processing? All PP programs, event he most basic, have a feature that allows you to sharpen the images. I don't know what's out there for basic post-processing programs. Often, you get one for free when you buy the camera.

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Most editing programs have an "auto" levels adjust. That's all I ever really use to PP my photos as I don't have "the eye" to make any other minor adjustments.

I took one of you photos and did an auto "fix" and it brightened it up quite a bit. I used Microsoft Picture It:





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I was looking for some advice on how to make the pictures sharper while I am taking the picture. I know a computer can only fix things so much. I know the first step is getting the basics down and learning about the camera more. The last photo, I just stuck the camera on a rock and pushed the button. I just wasn't in the mood to get wet.

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airdriver: I covered some of this in the thread stickied at the top of this board called "some photography/camera basics and techniques."

So read that and read this and see if you have it figured out. It's not necessarily that easy to comprehend unless there are pictures to illustrate the various points, but I haven't produced an illustrated basic photography guide. No money in it, and there are too many good ones already out there. Like many things, this will be easy to follow if you already know it and not so easy if it's new to you. Sorry in advance.

Getting pictures sharp throughout the whole image is a function of two things, primarily, but a few other things are attached to those primary factors.

No. 1 — Aperture: This is the f-stop reading, and measure how wide open the lens aperture is. The wider the opening, the smaller the number, so f2.8 produces a much wider opening than f22. The larger the aperture opening (smaller f-stop number), the shorter your depth of focus.

No. 2 — Focal length: The more focal length you have to your lens (the mm rating), the shallower the depth of focus at a specific aperture (f-stop). In other words, a 400mm at f5.6 will produce only a few inches in focus, while a 20mm at 5.6 might produce a few feet of depth in focus. To further complicate things, the farther away from the lens the subject is, the deeper the depth of focus becomes. So that 400mm at f5.6 that produces only a few inches of DOF at six feet from the subject might produce 10 feet of DOF when 600 yards from the subject. That's just the physics of the thing.

So, if you want to take a picture where everything is sharp, your best bet is to take a wide angle lens (lower mm rating), ramp your f-stop number up as far as you can go and focus on the closest thing in the frame, experimenting to see if the whole image is sharp.

But, here come the tradeoffs. This is all photo 101, just basic stuff. When you ramp up that f-stop, you're stopping down the aperture opening to a very small size, and that means less light is reaching the sensor. The less light that reaches the sensor, the longer the shutter has to stay open to allow enough light to properly expose the image. The longer the shutter stays open, the more that movement of the subject and your hands will cause blur. So a shutter speed of 1/250 may capture a sharp image that lacks depth of focus. Or, if you stop that aperture down to get depth of focus, you might be stuck with a shutter speed of 1/15 second, which virtually guarantees blur from movement.

The solution? There are two. A tripod is one. This eliminates hand shake. Shooting still subjects is No. 2. Still subjects don't move. So if you remove the movement of your hands (using tripod) and remove the movement of your subject, you can slow your shutter speed WAY down so you can get the deepest possible depth of focus by stopping your aperture way down. Also, in these cases, use the timer feature on your camera or a remote shutter release so your finger pushing the shutter doesn't cause vibration. You need a very solid tripod for this.

To further complicate matters, the higher your iso setting (faster film/sensor setting is a higher number), the less light that needs to reach the sensor for a proper exposure. That means you'll get faster shutter speeds at smaller apertures at iso800 than you will at iso100. Sound like a perfect solution? Not quite so fast. The higher the iso, the more grainy the image appears. Higher iso ratings also yield more digital noise. Noise is caused by the heat of the pixels on the sensor when writing an image to a memory card. No different than a computer writing a file, really, only in this case, the more heat produced in that process, the more wild and randomly-colored pixels you get, and that is digital noise. So you always want the lowest iso setting you can get away with. Less grain, less noise, finer images. But that puts you right back into tripod land again, doesn't it?

Clear as mud? grin.gif

I don't know much about your camer model. If you can't manually adjust shutter speed and aperture, you aren't as able to manipulate your world, and may want to consider upgrading to a DSLR. There are quite a few good ones out there for $500 or a bit less these days.

I recommend doing an online search for basic photography books. There are many out there that do a great job explaining the timeless factors of iso, shutter speed and aperture (the principles are the same whether film or digital), as well as running through basic digital functions. That's really the best advice I can give you.

Oh, and not the least by any means is to

HAVE FUN! Because taking pictures IS fun. grin.gif

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Thanks for the advice. I have read your sticky notes many times, but still didn't get it. However, the explaination above has turned the light on. I don't think I can control the lens very well with this camera, but I am still learning how to use it. I just keep reading the manual as I progress. Thanks for the help and a really great web site.

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Happy to help. grin.gif

That's how teaching and learning is, restating the same principles in slightly different ways can help us figure it out. I can't tell you how many times someone has tried to teach me something that I didn't get, but then when they said it again a different way I got it immediately.

And, as always, the owner's manual is your best friend with a new camera. I really do suggest picking up a basic photog guide, though. Lots of great info in those.

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