Getting sharp shots straight out of your DSLR

Getting sharp shots straight out of your DSLR

The One thing I notice the most when browsing through photography sites suchs as 500px or DeviantArt is, that an incredible huge amount of images is blurry. This is mostly not the fault of your “cheap” DSLR, it’s most likely because you have failed at executing basic things. But don ‘t worry, this happened to every single photographer. Here are tips to get the sharpest images out of your camera.

You want sharp pictures? Use a tripod

There isn’t just a single “trick” to get sharp shots, it’s more a combination of different settings and tools. Probably the most vital tool is the famous tripod. If you want really sharp photographs you have to buy one, there is no way around that. Good for you that there are tons of really cheap tripods around the internet, but be prepared: the more expensive the tripod, the sharper the image (at least most of the times 😛 ).

If you are buying a more expensive one, you should know, that you most likely won’t get a tripod head. I suggest you buy a ball head for the tripod if you are serious about it, as a ball head offers more flexibility while shooting.

Don’t push the trigger, use a shutter-release cable

Shutter-release cables are a really amazing thing to play with. Did you ever ask yourself how those stunning timelapse-milkyway-movies are made? The answer is a shutter-release cable. You can change camera settings such as exposure time with this tool and take hundreds of pictures, while not having to push the trigger or standing near the DSLR. You – don’t – have to push the trigger, this is the awesome part about a remote, ensuring you won’t shake the camera while releasing the trigger.

If you don’t have a remote don’t worry. You can just use the self-timer, set it to like 2-5 seconds, push the trigger and you will get the same effect as with a remote. But you won’t be able to take bigger sequences of photographs as need for timelapse videos, if you’re into that.

Mirror lock-up

You can find this option in your DSLR menu. Mirror lock-up fixates the mirror inside your camera in a upright position, so it doesn’t get moved while activating the trigger. It may be a bit tricky to find this option in the camera menu, but it is worth it, just google it for your DSLR model.

Use the right f-stop and lowest possible ISO-value

This one varies from lens to lens. Most lenses have their sharpest f-stop two steps smaller as the biggest aperture. For example you have a lens with max. arperture f/2.8, the sharpest f-stop (two steps smaller) would be f/5.8 – f/8.

Also when you’re shooting under bad light conditions (like at night), keep your ISO-setting as low as possible. The higher you set it, the more noise will be visible, although most newer DSLRs handle higher noise values pretty well (Canon EOS 5D Mark III comes to mind).

The right lens will make the difference

Whatever you do, if you are serious about ridiculous sharp pictures, don’t buy cheap lenses. It’s not worth it. If you want sharp pictures, you have to invest in quality glasses like the Canon L-series.

Check focus for better image-quality

One last thing you should do for sharp photographs is to check, if you set the right focus-distance. An easy way to do this is to zoom in the picture and adjust the focus. Therefore you have to use the manual focus. It takes a little while to get used to it, but it’s totally worth it.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below, I would love to help you out.


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Author Description

Christian Möhrle

Photographing landscapes since 2009, trying to help out the lovely photography community with tutorials, workshops and more

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