I feel like my images are too sharp

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by nick_ventura, May 21, 2015.

  1. I love the look of film and have always traded off between the analog medium and digital. I mainly shoot with a 5d3 and 50 1.4 but I feel like my images are almost just too sharp and too digitized. I know it sounds stupid but I feel like my images are losing the dreamy feeling I've been working towards. Is there anything I can do to add more of a dreamy look or just to soften the images overall without editing? Thanks.
    Case in point(look towards the white wash on the lower half):
  2. Is this an incamera jpeg or did you edit it to look this way shooting Raw?
    The only thing I see that I'ld consider as too sharp is the foreground waves which appear to be too contrasty in relation to the gradual loss of contrast toward background. It's too abrupt.
    Back off the contrast/sharpness settings incamera for jpegs or pick another Picture Style or back off the black point slider editing in Raw. I think the sharpness looks fine overall.
  3. SCL


    You could try shooting at a wider aperture, before you hit the sweet spot of the lens.
  4. Perhaps too much depth of field. Shoot at a wider aperture.
  5. In Addition to what other have posted for you, you can tweak your digital photos in your software editing like LR.
    Also there is another company that has software maybe a plug in, that give you a specific look film/Slide example Fuji Velvia, Kodachrome etc
    however I forget that companies name.... Best
    link for LR how to..
  6. Nick, I tell you what I will do. I will trade you one of my EOS1N's for your 5DIII and throw in some film. If not the 1N, how about the 1RS, or the 1V?
    PS: I think that is a great shot! Congrats
  7. If you'd rather do this in-camera, try a diffusion filter like Tiffen's Glimmerglass and other cinematography filters. These can reduce fine detail and contrast without excessive softening.
    Older lenses may help as well. Simpler lenses often had less sophisticated multicoating and less internal baffling, so while they could still resolve fine detail pretty well there was more internal flare which reduced contrast and contributed to less apparent "sharpness". Check into some T-mount lenses from Vivitar, Soligor and many others that were popular in the late 1960s-'70s. I've used an old Lentar 135/3.5 T-mount preset on several different camera systems for this effect, especially with portraits. Nice bokeh too, from the simple optical formula and circular iris.
    There are some easy digital tricks as well. In Lightroom you can reduce clarity (around -20 to -30, more than that starts to add halos). Adjust the tone sliders to reduce contrast. Adding a bit of film grain effect can also subtly reduce contrast. Adding a bit of luminance noise reduction can take the edge off glittering highlights and aliasing jaggies. Split toning can add a bit of color to washed out highlights and give the impression of slightly reduced contrast. DxO FilmPack and other film emulation software may help as well.
    I'll attach a sample with some fairly subtle tweaks in Lightroom. More could be done from a raw file. Since it's from a JPEG there will be some posterizing in the sky. And it's easier to adjust apparent sharpness with the raw file, since sharpening is baked in with JPEGs. My pixel level editing software also has tools to reduce JPEG bubble artifacts and aliasing, but I didn't use it for this sample.
  8. Usually not the complaints one hears. There are softer lenses. Lower your f stop. Try a sheer stocking material pulled tight over the lens. If you want to trade, I have a nice 40D and throw in a vintage 18-55 Digital Rebel XT kit lens.
  9. After looking at your example, I can understand why you think it's too sharp, but only when I'm looking at it unenlarged on my computer's screen. Once I've zoomed in, I can line up that splash in the foreground that seems too brittle at its unenlarged size with the surfer in the background, and the sharpness then seems to be about right. So I wouldn't really change anything. I'd just make sure that I'd either crop it to emphasize this, or print out a large enough enlargement so this brittle sharpness is no longer so apparent. So, no worries.
    So you say you prefer the softness of film? Here's one for you: This is a dupe of a kodachrome 64 slide I shot over 30 years ago. Canon A-1 with a cheapo Korean made 80-200 zoom. That old zoom was surprisingly sharp. I did do some sharpening in post, but not much. Maybe not quite as sharp as your digital shot, but not that far off, you ask me.
    Here's a link to the full-sized image (which I did reduce for the web): http://michaelmcbroom.com/images/santabarbara_sunset_1b.jpg
  10. For a quick experiment, wasn't the traditional advice either to stretch some tights over the front of the lens or to smear vaseline on the filter? Not that I'm claiming these are scientific. I imagine T.P. might be talking about DxO's FilmPack (I use their OptixPro, but I've never used the film pack). For adding softness, I'd usually be happy to do so in digital post-processing - it's sharpening that tends to bring out noise and quantization.
  11. I concur with Lex' suggestion for older lenses - well, it works for me :) Your particular photo.... a lensbaby would have been a nice thing to try, and it sure would have resolved any illussion of sharpness.
    At the same time, I am more and more convinced that the way "sharpness renders" on the two recording media is simply different. And while you can simulate one with the other, at some point it is a bit making a cow out of a horse. If you need a cow, just get a cow instead. The 'different' look of digital is very useful and right for many circumstances, so it's not 'either/or', but 'and/and' as far as I am concerned.
  12. Shoot in RAW and lower Contrast, Microcontrast and Sharpness in RAW conversion.
    DxO's FilmPack has further options, including adding softness and grain. If you need more, then you'll want to explore post processing in way more depth.
  13. I just downloaded the full size image and the darkest shadows in the foreground waves have a black point around 4,4,4RGB.
    Unless that's an oil slick you've captured, the black point induced contrast level in those foreground waves makes them not fit within the scene's overall tonality considering the high amount of available light which is something I've come to expect from incamera jpegs at least with my own camera and several P&S's in the past.
  14. I would first try the simplest technique. Lower your depth of field and make sure your focal point is where you want it. What was you f-stop on the pic? Or you can crop :)
  15. I think your best bet is postproceessing... but there are lenses which give a 'soft' look which is more appealing than just being out of focus. Canon's 135/2.8 Soft Focus lens is the only native EF-mount one as far as I know. There are those alternative/classic lenses which are less sharp wide open but manage to give a pleasing softness. For example I find my Contax Zeiss 35-70 zoom is not that sharp at its max aperture of f/3.5, but manages to be unsharp in a glossy, liquid kind of way that preserves contrast. Most Canon lenses shot wide open are either soft in an unaesthetic way (eg the 50/1.4) or just so good that they are sharp even wide open (pretty much every EF lens released in the past ten years).
  16. I agree with the vintage lenses - today's lenses are very well corrected and are too analytical for some pictures. You will lose autofocus, but can get the dreamy look. There are many options, even fast lenses and the prices are still good (although they are commanding quite a bit more than when I started, but bargains still exist). You can adapt Pentax screw mount, Pentax K mount, Olympus OM film, Exakta/Topcon, Nikon (even non-AI), Pentacon 6, etc. to Canon (many adapters have AF confirm chips that will highlight and beep what is in focus).

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