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Author Topic: Landscapes and soft or lacking focus  (Read 3639 times)

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« on: June 30, 2017, 11:27 »
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Are there any posts on how to avoid soft or lacking focus on large landscape photos?  I have a lot of photos with multi ridge lines and I just can't seem to exceed the reviewers standards.


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ShadySue

« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2017, 11:29 »
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Are you upsizing?
If not, what camera/lens are you using?

« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2017, 12:21 »
+1
This is how you get photos that are sharp throughout the frame:

Use a lens that's sharp throughout the frame.  ;)

Stop that lens down to where it performs best. This is usually around 2 stops down from wide open. You can look this up for most lenses.

If you are relatively close to what you're photographing or if there is great distance between important subjects you will need to resort to combining several photos, each with a different focus point - a.k.a. focus stacking.

That is how really, really sharp photos of cityscapes are made. To get even bigger resolution and sharpness you can also combine several photos vertically and horizontally.

Also, using a medium format camera or a DSLR with 40+ megapixels can help if your lens is up for the task.

---

A cheaper DSLR with the kit lens is not going to give you perfect landscape/cityscape shots.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 12:24 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2017, 12:54 »
0
This is how you get photos that are sharp throughout the frame:

Use a lens that's sharp throughout the frame.  ;)

Stop that lens down to where it performs best. This is usually around 2 stops down from wide open. You can look this up for most lenses.

If you are relatively close to what you're photographing or if there is great distance between important subjects you will need to resort to combining several photos, each with a different focus point - a.k.a. focus stacking.

That is how really, really sharp photos of cityscapes are made. To get even bigger resolution and sharpness you can also combine several photos vertically and horizontally.

Also, using a medium format camera or a DSLR with 40+ megapixels can help if your lens is up for the task.

---

A cheaper DSLR with the kit lens is not going to give you perfect landscape/cityscape shots.

You forgot the most important: use a tripod, and switch the image stabilization off!(and use a remote control maybe)

« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2017, 13:21 »
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You forgot the most important: use a tripod, and switch the image stabilization off!(and use a remote control maybe)

I would've thought that was obvious.  ;) Hard to do focus stacking without a tripod.

A remote control is good but often not necessary since you can just use the shutter delay function on most cameras.

« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 14:05 »
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This is how you get photos that are sharp throughout the frame:

Use a lens that's sharp throughout the frame.  ;)

Stop that lens down to where it performs best. This is usually around 2 stops down from wide open. You can look this up for most lenses.

If you are relatively close to what you're photographing or if there is great distance between important subjects you will need to resort to combining several photos, each with a different focus point - a.k.a. focus stacking.



That is how really, really sharp photos of cityscapes are made. To get even bigger resolution and sharpness you can also combine several photos vertically and horizontally.

Also, using a medium format camera or a DSLR with 40+ megapixels can help if your lens is up for the task.

---

A cheaper DSLR with the kit lens is not going to give you perfect landscape/cityscape shots.

I think that's overkill.  The key things are a steady camera, a decent (probably wide-angle) lens and understanding how to use hyperfocal distance.  People shot superb landscapes before focus stacking was invented.

However, if you want fancy techniques, you can stitch together a sequence of shots taken with a telephoto lens. That greatly increases the resolution but you need to ensure that the closest object in the images is a long way off to avoid parallax problems.  I've made 100MP landscapes out of a dozen shots takenhandheld with a 200mm lens on a Canon 5D Mk2.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 14:13 by BaldricksTrousers »

ShadySue

« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 14:07 »
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The only files I ever had rejected for SLD were a couple I upsized way back in the day, and I seldom use a tripod, other than shooting birds from a hide or still life.

I'm not a landscape specialist, but I have some landscapes on Alamy, not shot with front to back sharpness, there must be more to that to the OP's rejections.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 16:05 by ShadySue »

« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 14:54 »
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Also, using a medium format camera or a DSLR with 40+ megapixels can help if your lens is up for the task.

No, quite the opposite...
A larger sensor reduces DOF (all other things being equal), so if your ultimate goal is everything in focus in the frame, a smaller sensor like in a compact camera might even be better.
Obviously that introduces other problems with overall image quality, and - as this is in the alamy forum - they don't really want images from compact cameras.
But going to medium format itself does nothing to increase overall sharpness.

I'd side with BaldricksTrousers, learning about hyperfocal distance is the way to go.

« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2017, 14:55 »
+1
The OP didn't answer what camera he was using. The only time I got rejections was when I had a defective camera and didn't know it until the rejections started coming in. That camera went back and I got a new one and never had a problem again.

« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 15:01 »
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You forgot the most important: use a tripod, and switch the image stabilization off!(and use a remote control maybe)

I would've thought that was obvious.  ;) Hard to do focus stacking without a tripod.

A remote control is good but often not necessary since you can just use the shutter delay function on most cameras.

I make it very often, with macro of bugs and flowers sometime I get it sometime not :)

The delay is okay.
To the delay I prefer the "mirror up" function. On Nikon it shots automatically after 30 seconds
But when you have to shot in a precise moment it is not adapted (and the delay too).
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 15:18 by Chichikov »

« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 22:21 »
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understanding how to use hyperfocal distance

Yes, that.

And stacking if you have something very close to the camera as well as bits at infinity in the same image.

« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2017, 01:59 »
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understanding how to use hyperfocal distance

Yes, that.

And stacking if you have something very close to the camera as well as bits at infinity in the same image.

I wouldn't normally want to have distant objects in focus if I've got a subject of interest very close to the lens.

Of course, another alternative is to use tilt on a t/s lens. That was a common approach with large format on film in the old days. Wide-angle T-S lenses tend to be a bit expensive, though.

ShadySue

« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2017, 03:51 »
+1
You're all overthinking this.

Alamy does not reject SoLD just because a file isn't front to back sharp, even on landscapes.
SoLD must mean there's some sort of technical issue across the file. We need more details about the camera and lens, and probably some full size (watermarked) examples.

« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2017, 04:38 »
0

Also, using a medium format camera or a DSLR with 40+ megapixels can help if your lens is up for the task.

No, quite the opposite...
A larger sensor reduces DOF (all other things being equal), so if your ultimate goal is everything in focus in the frame, a smaller sensor like in a compact camera might even be better.
Obviously that introduces other problems with overall image quality, and - as this is in the alamy forum - they don't really want images from compact cameras.
But going to medium format itself does nothing to increase overall sharpness.

I'd side with BaldricksTrousers, learning about hyperfocal distance is the way to go.

It's not about depth of field. It's about resolution. I suppose landscape photographers like 40 mp full-frame cameras because they have too much hard drive space to spare...

With a good lens (of course stopped down for a deep depth of field) and a 40 mp camera, yes, a delivered image of 16 mp or so will look much sharper than one taken on a 16 mp m43. And that's not even getting into print...

Just like a good 4k video looks (and is) MUCH sharper than even a perfect HD video.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 04:53 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2017, 04:46 »
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I wouldn't normally want to have distant objects in focus if I've got a subject of interest very close to the lens.

Of course, another alternative is to use tilt on a t/s lens. That was a common approach with large format on film in the old days. Wide-angle T-S lenses tend to be a bit expensive, though.

Yes, that's an alternative.

What you normally would want might not be what someone else wants.  ;)

Anyway, the biggest use for it is with cityscapes where you are RELATIVELY close (not 10 feet) but you want the image to be tack sharp from the first skyscraper to the last.

There is always just ONE spot with perfect sharpness, so it's just all about how much deviation you are willing to accept, or what's visible. To me, skyscraper details such as windows should all be tack sharp for a stellar image.

« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2017, 04:56 »
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No, quite the opposite...
A larger sensor reduces DOF (all other things being equal), so if your ultimate goal is everything in focus in the frame, a smaller sensor like in a compact camera might even be better.

Then you need to do some reading.

A large sensor does not reduce DOF. It allows you to be closer to what you're photographing and THAT reduces the DOF. Focal length, aperture and DISTANCE is what gives a certain depth of field. The sensor size lets you keep more or less in the frame at a certain distance.

So "all other things being equal" is very wrong. The most important thing, DISTANCE, is not the same if you want to match what's in the frame between a full-frame and a smaller sensor...

At the same distance, with the same lens and aperture, the depth of field is the same on a full-frame camera and a camera with a smaller sensor. You just see more of the world in the full-frame image.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 05:01 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2017, 05:25 »
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I wouldn't normally want to have distant objects in focus if I've got a subject of interest very close to the lens.

Of course, another alternative is to use tilt on a t/s lens. That was a common approach with large format on film in the old days. Wide-angle T-S lenses tend to be a bit expensive, though.

Yes, that's an alternative.

What you normally would want might not be what someone else wants.  ;)

Anyway, the biggest use for it is with cityscapes where you are RELATIVELY close (not 10 feet) but you want the image to be tack sharp from the first skyscraper to the last.

There is always just ONE spot with perfect sharpness, so it's just all about how much deviation you are willing to accept, or what's visible. To me, skyscraper details such as windows should all be tack sharp for a stellar image.

Well  take this one:
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/doha-qatar-february-17-2016-highrise-615071813
I got the palms and the buildings at a focal length of 34mm on f7.1 on a Canon 6D (17-40L f4 lens), with no problems, handheld at 1/200s.
Perhaps the OP shutter speed was too short for handheld or he was shooting at f22 or above and getting diffraction.

« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2017, 05:46 »
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Well  take this one:
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/doha-qatar-february-17-2016-highrise-615071813
I got the palms and the buildings at a focal length of 34mm on f7.1 on a Canon 6D (17-40L f4 lens), with no problems, handheld at 1/200s.
Perhaps the OP shutter speed was too short for handheld or he was shooting at f22 or above and getting diffraction.

Yes, but "good snapshot for microstock" and "tack sharp windows on all windows on every skyscraper acceptable for print" is not quite the same thing...

I think we're deviating from the main concern of the thread here. I'm talking about achieving ultimate overall sharpness here. Something you would hang on your wall 6 feet wide.

Not saying it's impossible to get handheld snapshots that are sharp enough and get accepted.

« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2017, 16:31 »
+1
I wouldn't normally want to have distant objects in focus if I've got a subject of interest very close to the lens.

Of course, another alternative is to use tilt on a t/s lens. That was a common approach with large format on film in the old days. Wide-angle T-S lenses tend to be a bit expensive, though.

You'd never pay off a T/S lens with microstock landscape photos.

« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2017, 16:50 »
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I wouldn't normally want to have distant objects in focus if I've got a subject of interest very close to the lens.

Of course, another alternative is to use tilt on a t/s lens. That was a common approach with large format on film in the old days. Wide-angle T-S lenses tend to be a bit expensive, though.

You'd never pay off a T/S lens with microstock landscape photos.

Probably not, but its not impossible - I've got a travel/scenic picture that's earned more than $1,000 on microstock. You only need a couple like that to pay for such a lens.
I did get a T-S lens (for $300, before Hartblei sold their superrotator design to Zeiss who multiplied the price) and I wouldn't recommend it for general photography, I don't use it much.

« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2017, 18:22 »
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The OP didn't answer what camera he was using. The only time I got rejections was when I had a defective camera and didn't know it until the rejections started coming in. That camera went back and I got a new one and never had a problem again.

Ditto but with my lens.  Once the camera was repaired, few issues with sharpness.

« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2017, 13:54 »
+1
The OP didn't answer what camera he was using. The only time I got rejections was when I had a defective camera and didn't know it until the rejections started coming in. That camera went back and I got a new one and never had a problem again.

You didn't notice that something was wrong with your images? So you just shoot and upload and don't inspect them for yourself? Holly cow


 

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