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Hi All,

I'm currently working on an article about how to take sharper images. So far, I've covered the use of a tripod, switching to manual focus when the light drops, controlling shutter speed, bumping up ISO as a last resort and being aware of environmental factors such as wind when doing macro shots.

Any other practical ideas that I can add?

Warm New Years wishes,

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Generally you've covered it. If the user uses a good heavy tripod, or even a lighter one, they'll be successful in getting a good crisp image. One thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference between "sharpness" and "crispness". A photograph can be well focused and absolutely not crisp in the final image due to a too shallow depth of field and subject movement while the shutter is open.

I use a three pound backpacking tripod with my 4x5 and get consistently razor sharp photographs, however wind will ruin that completely.
Hi Nathan,

Thanks so much for your reply. I've never thought about the difference in sharpness and crispness the way you explained it. I'd like to add that to my article if you don't mind. I also agree on the use of a tripod... I hate carrying it around, but I've lost too many great shots over the years due to blurry images! I've also just added some comments on investing in lenses with image stabilization, although I realize it's not an affordable option for everyone.

I don't mind if you add it to the article. Perhaps if I'm ever in Australia we can burn some film. I'm making friends all over the world with this site.
Sounds like a great idea :) Australia has beautiful scenery, but I have to say I'm partial to Africa too. I was born in South Africa and very happy when shooting wildlife.
I don't see locking the mirror up, in your list. This does not apply to the point and shoot cameras since most of them have no mirror but it helps the SLR users. With a long lens on a light tripod, you can see the vibration caused by the mirror going up.

Most lenses with stabilization advise turning the feature off when using a tripod, in their manuals.

If you don't have a tripod handy, you can turn on stabilization, or brace the camera as best you can, then turn on the drive to shoot a number of photos at once. By remaining still and holding the shutter release firmly down, one, or some of the shots in the middle will be pretty sharp.

This was taken, hand held, f/5, 1/5 sec, ISO 200, 85 mm focal length using Canon's 28-300 IS L lens and taking a burst of photos. Some of the others in the group were pretty "artistic", but this one is clear.

Taking a burst of photos is also useful when shooting a group, it increases the chances that a shot will have everyone with their eyes open.
Great advice! I'll make sure to add that to the list. Thanks so much. That reminds me of using a remote control too if possible. Great image, by the way!
Use mirror up if on a tripod and your camera supports this mode.
Use the self timer.
Use f/2.8 lenses or better
Use RAW settings to get the best out of the picture.
Use a bean bag
Use a monopod
Never shoot in high winds but removing the hood can help
Use a filter
Now how to use the software that you have
Do not over sharpen

I could go on and on but it comes down to a few things, common sense, know your camera inside out and be patient.
Great list. Thanks Fred. :)
I'm going to disagree with the f/2.8 or better. The reason is that there are some lenses that are f/2.8 and not sharp, yet there is a couple of canon L series lenses that are f/4 that are extremely sharp. There are also f/2.8 that really do not start performing great until they hit f/4-f/6. Don't get caught up too much in the numbers.
Point taken. I'll update the article too. Thanks. :)
How about camera holding technique? They used to teach us how to hold a camera with 2 hands, bracing it right above our center of gravity, but with small, light cameras and LCDs I see people waving them around with one hand at arms length.
That is exactly right. Hold the camera like you would a rifle. Camera rests in left hand with the fingers on what used to be the focus ring, now the zoom ring, eyepiece against your dominant eye, right hand holds the right side of the camera with the index finger on the shutter release, elbows in tight, take a deep breath, exhale, release shutter. Same exact principles apply. Small, light cameras are much more of a problem since mass and weight equals stability.

Better yet, use a tripod and remote release.


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