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Sharp images

Stephen71Stephen71 Member
edited October 2014 in home
Hi guys ,
I have over the last year taken my images for print and to my horror most of my kmages were not sharp , although on my pc they look sharp , ivegot prints from different stores and was still disapointed , its quite degrading realy when i think after all this time most of my kmages came out sharp .
Km not sure y this has done this. I was told it may be the transfer from my pc to stick then to printer instore. .
I use lightroom 4 to process my images.
Am i the only one having this problem or does every body use a diferent soft ware. .. The cameras i use is a d7000 , d600 and. Fuji x1. And yes i do hold steady for a sharp shot .
Would be great full for feed back.


  • What lens or lenses are you using? Could be the lens. But the issue, as you say, is that they appear sharp to you on your screen but not in the prints. Hmmmm….. where are you getting them printed? If it's somewhere like CVS, don't do that. Get them printed at a good lab like Miller's Lab in the midwest. Millerslab.com or Mpix.com (which is the consumer side of Miller's Lab). If you send them today or Monday you will get them back Tuesday most likely, depending on where you live. That's my first suggestion. If there is still a difference, hmmm, what size are you getting them printed at? And how big are you viewing them on your screen? You need to zoom in to 66 percent or better yet 100 percent and see if they are sharp, if they are, and your new prints from Miller's or Mpix are still soft, I am mystified.

    I do not believe there is an issue with images going soft in transit from computer to memory stick. When you send your test images to Mpix or Miller's (if you do) do it via the computer, do not send memory stick. 

  • Thanks skipper. When i zoom in on pc to 100 percent they seem unsharp. Im gob smakcked that i did nt notice this , i meN how still do i have to be. Im quite gutted to b honest. Im guna do some test shots with all three cameras.
    Its not the lens i know that for sure. May be it is me.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited October 2014
    What is your process flow using LR? There is the sharpenibg tab but also there is output sharpening on the export page. It offers different levels and for type of media - screen or print. For print there are options for matte and glossy.

    There are the 3 types of sharpening, capture creative and output. Capture is the sharpening tab that compensates for the AA filter. Creative is selective like sharpening the eyes, etc only. Output is for the media type.

    I had a hard time with LR because I did not have total control of output sharpening like PS. I did some research and discovered that the Pixel Genius group developed the output sharpening page for LR. The late great PS guru Bruce Fraser was a member of this group basically created the concept of the 3 levels of sharpening. There is a lot of stuff happening in the background we don't know about during output sharpening when during the exporting process.

    After 3 trials and several 8 by 10 print tests with a local printer I was pretty happy with the results. I typically select standard for sharpening and type of paper I or my client will print on. You can try High if you wish.

    A few other things.

    Make sure you are selecting the correct resolution for print. I attached a shot of my typical settings.

    Based reading and bits of info I picked up here and there the image on should look almost a little over-sharpened for print on our screen. I would push the sharpening in the sharpening tab a bit and then select the appropriate export settings.                                      

  • Zenon this is excelent information i am soooooo relieved its not just me,,,, The link is awsome and will re read a few more times on this and also the lR export i have played about with. So i have options. This is great. A new learning curve once again. Thanks again zenon.
  • Stephen71: 

    Sharpening is a great tool but you need to get your images as sharp as possible in first place. Sharpening them after the fact should be necessary, in my opinion, only if they are less than sharp out of the camera for some reason. My images are often plenty sharp without any sharpening and I leave them alone. When I do sharpen, I am very subtle, I go very easy on it. If I have to do more sharpening there was a problem when I took the photo.

    Since you have zoomed into 100 percent since your original post and found the images as not that sharp on your computer we are back to looking into why they are not sharp. There are many reasons for this. I'm sure you are holding the camera steady so I would not dwell on that too much. What are you photographing? What is your shutter speed? That might be the culprit, a shutter speed that is too slow. What is your aperture? Is any part of the photo sharp? And what mode are you shooting in, i.e. manual or aperture priority or automatic, for example. 

    You said you're sure it's not the lenses. But often it is the lens. If you're sure, OK. Also, sometimes a lens can be sharp on one body but not on another and your equipment might need to be calibrated. I once read a great article on this called 'This Lens Is Soft' by the owner of a lens rental business. It was all about how lenses can be sharp on one or even most bodies but then not on others, even the exact same make and model. He saw time and again customers calling to complain because the lens they rented wasn't sharp. He'd get it back and test it and it was fine. It was all about the calibration with the customers' camera bodies.

    Some cameras have in-camera sharpening settings that affect the sharpness of photos as they are being taken, not after. I don't know a lot about this. Might be worth looking into. But again, I'd get back to basics and get right from the start without assistance from sharpening technology.

    Some cameras also do something called 'back-focusing' and I think also front focusing where they focus slightly in front of or behind where you are putting your focus point. Look that up as it could contribute to your problem. Some bodies have fine auto focus tuning features in the menu of the camera settings to compensate for this if you find your equipment is back or front focusing. There are ways you can test for this that include putting your camera on a tripod, noting your aperture and focus point, and shooting something where you can see later if in fact the sharpest in-focus point of the image is where you were setting the focus point at the time of shooting. There are gadgets you can buy, like graphs or rulers, that can help determine this. You set them up, focus on, say, a zero, and when you look at the photo, see if the focus is on zero or on, say, plus one or plus two, or minus one or minus two. If so, your camera may be back or front focusing instead of where you want it to focus. You don't have to buy anything, you can also set up a row of soup cans and shoot wording on the one in the middle and see if that wording is in focus or a can in front of or behind it. But have a low aperture when you do it. If you have a high aperture everything will be in focus and it's not a good test. There are lot of info on this if you do a search. If it is back or front focusing you may have the feature I mentioned in-camera to adjust this. Not all bodies have this though. 
  • Another thing you may want to consider is using the masking slider in the sharpening tab. It does not really sharpen more but it is a mask. This mask provide edge sharpening. Any existing noise in the background will not be sharpened and it actually gives the image a nice look. Peoples skin like the cheeks, etc is not being sharpening but the eyes etc are. You can choose the amount. I'm usually at 80.

    I use LR for my mass edits but when it comes to my hobby shots I use PS because I like total control of my output sharpening. I came across this a few years ago. Also an edge sharpening method which you can over sharpen quite a bit but it allows you to feather back at the end. I found no two images are alike. I created an action that incorporates resizing the image and PS smart sharpen.
  • Hey skipperlange
    Thank you very much for input i will follow this up big time , thats great advise and will work on this and the research i am much relieved to find its not just me , im also much aware of my stance and how i hold the camera. I had also followed one of the links zenon put up and come and come across BBf. Back button focus and set my camera up for this and found this to be a very usefull tool. A big difference for a start. So thank u zenon for your input as well. I have more to learn on this matter ...
    Much apreciated for your long text to you both. Skipperlange and zenon :)
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