How Sharp is Sharp Enough?

When it comes to your photos, how sharp is sharp enough? Almost everyone wants crisp, detailed photos without blur and in good focus. In addition some sharp edges look great in the right places. But how to achieve all of this?

I’ve broken it down into three main parts for my own understanding and in order that I can work on each in detail. Here are each explained and the potential corrective actions for each:

Focus. If the area or areas you want to capture in detail are not focused upon correctly when the shot is taken, they will be blurry in the resulting photo.

  1. Use manual focus if you have to in order to get sharply focused.
  2. Use Focus Magic software on the final JPEG file to re-focus the image.

Blur. Specifically here I mainly mean motion blur. When the camera moves during an exposure, you get blur in the shot.

  1. Use your lens or camera’s stabilization function.
  2. Use a tripod. (In this case turn off your lens or camera’s stabilization.)
  3. Decrease shutter speed. Shutter speed is inversely proportional to blur.
  4. Increase ISO speed. You will have more noise, but you will not have the blur.

Sharpness or Softness. The optical quality of the lenses you use plays a part in the sharpness of a photo. Also, the aperture size used when taking the shot makes a difference. Even the temperature plays a part.

  1. Find your lens’s “sweet spot” for your camera and lens combination and shoot with those settings.
  2. Use a polarizing filter to reduce the haze and reflections. This increases the appearance of sharpness.
  3. Use DxO Optics Pro to reduce the lens softness effects in your photos.
  4. Shoot when it is the right temperature.
  5. Sharpen photos in your post-processing software.
  6. Sharpen photos when you export them from your post-processing software.
  7. Sharpen photos on your gallery web page using the correct settings.

I think everybody wants those “tack-sharp” photos (unless going for a different look entirely), and these tools and techniques listed above will certainly help achieve that.

Note: There are a lot of links in the above because I've written posts before that address each item, so don't forget to click on those links to help explain the techniques.

Thank you for reading what I wrote — I hope your enjoyed it.

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