How much sharpness do you really need?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Odot, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. Odot

    Odot Member
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    And when?

    I always wanted supersharp images and when i got my Hexar AF and shot BW film, i felt like they were too sharp, which changed the overall look and dynamic. On the other hand, when shooting color, i totally enjoyed the look it delivered. Am i alone with this? :D Seems odd, doesnt it?
     
  2. RalphLambrecht

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    how much? How do you want to measure it? in
    MTF terms, you need 10%;otherwise, it's just a gray mush;50% is great80% is fantastic, and nobody needs more than 90%; Ye4s a picture can be too sharp.beauty models don't like to show every pore in the skin but, sharpness freaks cannot get enough.HCBsaid"sharpness is a bourgeois concept.
     
  3. jnanian

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    hi!

    sorry to ask this ( i am clueless ) but can you post images that show too much sharpness and " the right amount" ?

    john
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
  4. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber
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    any camera can take a great picture but, none can guarantee it.
     
  5. ic-racer

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    If your prints are too sharp, you are not enlarging them big enough...:smile: :smile: :smile:
     
  6. faberryman

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  7. Wallendo

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    What is sharpness and why does it matter?
    For scientific purposes, the ability to definitively identify small specific objects in a photograph may be essential, but those people aren't in the business of making pleasing photographs.
    For non-scientific purposes, is actual detail important, or are you looking for a "sense of sharpness" which likely reflects micro-contrast, not detail.
    The fact that PhotoShop has multiple filters and effects containing "sharp" in the description points out that "sharpness" is, in colloquial speech, a poorly defined term.

    If you think you B&W is too sharp, try shooting some Foma Retropan 320 soft to see if you like that look better.
     
  8. Alan Johnson

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    Sometimes I put prints in a camera club competition. I believe that if I go lower than about 5 line-pairs/mm on the print, some judges will remark on lack of sharpness.
    This is about a 10x enlargement from 50 lppm on a 35mm negative, sometimes considered a measure of good work.
     
  9. slackercrurster

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    OP...I prefer pictures to be sharp or as I call them clean. But sometimes on the street we can't get things as sharp as we like.

    This was shot wide open at 1.4. It is about the minimum I like when it comes to sharpness.

    [​IMG]

    I do documentary photography so I like to document decently sharp. But gave up on my Edward Weston / f64 period years ago. When I first started in the early 70s an Art Center College mentor of mine impressed upon me that sharpness made the photo. He took boring photos, but made sure they were very sharp. I tried that for a year or so, but then realized one thing only goes so far in making a photo. If a project is important and I can't get a sharp photo then I must use a fuzzy shot. But normally I wont do it. I don't like to sign my name to sh..

    Here is a pix from Mary Ellen Mark. A crapper for sharpness, but still great shot. She wasn't too good at candid street work, (pretty boring pix) she was very good at shooting with permission.

    mary-ellen-mark-girl-jumping-over-a-wall.jpg
     
  10. jtk

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    Sounds like you should sell that Hexar AF and replace it with an SLR.

    Hexar AF is famous (in some worlds) for a lens that may rival Summicron. It has minimal low-light capability so (for me) it's important to use fast films...yet it doesn't allow the kind of fast rating (e.g. 1600) that I consider normal. I don't use mine with slow film and I do use a couple of developers that define grain. I do find that defined grain can contribute to a look of "sharpness" and very few color films look "sharp" in that way.
     
  11. Sirius Glass

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    My lenses are sharp enough. If I want I can use a Softar filter or an Imagon lens.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
  12. Eric Rose

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    Sharpness is just another creative tool. Sometimes you want it and other times you don't. If you have limited resources it's always easier to soften an image in the darkroom or PS than it is to try and drag out sharpness that isn't there to begin with. So if I could only have one lens I would buy the sharpest one I could afford.
     
  13. Vaughn

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    Sharpness (or lack of it -- and everything inbetween) is one of the tools we have as photographers and artists. One's image should be as sharp (or unsharp) that bests communicates what one wants to the viewer.

    Sharpness is an important part of my imagery, and one of the processes I use to make prints (carbon printing) heightens the sense of sharpness. I use this sharpness to try to create volume and depth in my prints.
     
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  15. RalphLambrecht

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    there is nothing worse than a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept.
     
  16. jawarden

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    The older I get the less I care about sharpness, focus, proper exposure, etc and the more I care about just getting an image that I really like, which seems lately to be more a matter of framing and timing.
     
  17. OP
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    Odot

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    ..another case of german neid and missgunst.
     
  18. tedr1

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    In the world of audio one of the questions sometimes asked about a system of loudspeakers and amplifiers is "how loud will it go?" In automobile racing the equivalent question is "how fast will it go?" (whether in a straight line or around bends is a much more important question). And in the world of photography we have "How sharp can it be"? These questions seem to me to be over-simplifications, they reduce the complex matter to a single dimension when multiple dimensions are present. So my answer is "it depends" some pictures benefit from a lot of sharpness, for example to reveal textures, some are better for suppression of detail to allow shapes to emerge more strongly. There is no one answer for all pictures.
     
  19. MattKing

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    "Sharpness" is not what most people think it is.
    It is highly subjective, and is better described as "Perceived Sharpness".
    What we perceive to be "Sharpness" is predominantly acutance - also known as edge contrast.
    After acutance, there comes general micro and macro contrast contribute to our perception of "Sharpness".
    Finally, after those components, resolution of detail contributes to a much smaller degree to the perception of "Sharpness".
    Digital sensors record scenes in different ways than films do. The output of those sensors needs to be manipulated in order to make it usable, and that manipulation can be and often is tailored in ways that favour acutance.
    So it is not surprising that digital output looks "sharp" - it is designed to do that.
     
  20. Vaughn

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    Matt, that is what I meant by "one of the processes I use to make prints (carbon printing) heightens the sense of sharpness".

    My carbon prints (using in-camera negatives) have a raised relief -- the image is made of varying thicknesses of gelatin, with the blacks being thickest and a pure white being very thin...almost no gelatin. So when you get a white and a black together, the difference in relief creates a different type of acutance. In addition to edge contrast, one has edge relief. And of course, it also helps to have a sharp negative and contact print under a single UV light source (rather than a bank of BL tubes).
     
  21. Sirius Glass

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    One needs to have enough perceived sharpness, but not so much that there is too much sharpness such a portraits of a woman's face. If one has too much sharpness, there are softar filters and other means to reduce the sharpness.
     
  22. gorbas

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    Originaly it was Ansel Adams (American) quote
     
  23. Ko.Fe.

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    I don't print large, to me it is 11x16, but then I do it is nice if lens still provides it.
     
  24. Cholentpot

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    It's not the lens, nor the camera nor the film. It's the lighting.

    Under studio lighting I can get razor sharpness from most anything.
     
  25. Alan Edward Klein

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    Content is the most important thing. But getting the other things right will help by not distracting our eyes from the content and may make the content even better.
     
  26. Selena Jain

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    No, I don’t think sharpness is overrated. It’s not necessary to get always sharp photographs. Sometimes a softer photograph makes a big difference than sharp one. Softer lenses sometimes make photo more appealing, more dreamy and emotional aesthetic. Same things happens with blurry photos. It just depends on what kind of emotion you’re trying to evoke in an image.
    Take advantage from whatever camera you get whether your camera/lens is very soft or sharp. Photography is not always about how much sharpness, it’s about meaning in your life and your vision.
     
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