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How to take advantage of sharp lens for less experienced photographer

One of my favourite photography site, says that lens sharpness is not all important.  I'm completely agree with Ken Rockwell, what a great article that he has written there.  Pros knows how to use any good modern lenses to make a super sharp images with correct composition, while less experienced ones usually made mistakes in composition and can't optimise their lenses to get the sharpest result. 

This article I'm writing here is intended for less experienced photographer who often make mistake on composition and does not know how to optimise their lenses.  That is why they will need sharp lenses to compensate for their skill.

Warning: This article is not intended for pros, but for less experienced photographer, like me.

Sharpness is not an issue, remember what Ken has said.  He is a master in photography and his photographs are great.  The one of the most important aspect in photography composition.  When a less experienced photographer finds an interesting point, he or she needs time to compose the image, and most of the time the composition just not right.  Moreover due to slowliness in composing, he/she might loose the picture or the beautiful moments.

The way to use super sharp lens for less experienced photographer is by capturing the image wholly, like my example below, and then crop it in Photoshop or Corel.  It is quick and easy to photograph this way, since you just point the focus to the interest point, and click the shutter to capture.  Many of my image is cropped so people will see the image at 1:1 ratio on screen. 

Please see this image on the original image on the left and cropped image on the right.  The original image from the camera is 3888 x 2592 pixels.  I've proportionally resize the original image to fit the internet.  The image on the right is from original image cropped all the way 1280 x 800 and resized with the same ratio to the image on the left.  So you can see how tiny portion of the original image is viewed at 1280 x 800 at 100%.  Luckily the combination of EOS 400 D and 18-55 EF-S lens is sharp enough to be cropped at this size.  However, when I use screen with more resolution, I'll loose sharpness.  Perhaps higher megapixels and better lens will help in this case.  You can see the image on the right at 1280 x 800 here.

Another problem with this technique is usually the less experienced photographers don't know the lens's limit, so they will force use their lens!  Like what I've done using standard EF-S 18-55 to photograph a droplet of water.  A real pro would have used a prime 85 mm or 105 mm macro lens to get super sharp and excellent picture.  Using standard 18-55 lens to do macro results in a big image 10 MP image with a small point of interest - a drop of water and leaf's edge - which is the focusing point. 

Once again a better and sharper lens helps, super sharp lens will make the drop of water sharp when viewed at 100%.  This will increase the chance that less experienced photographer will produce well composed image that looks sharp.  This is my tips for less experienced photographer in using sharper lenses to get well composed image.  While pros usually knows how to make most of their lenses to get supers sharp images.

At the end of the day, less experienced photographer should increase their skill and make cropping the correct way.  This is just an emergency fix and by using this trick you will loose resolution which means the image can't be print big!


You can use camera's macro mode to take a sharp picture.  Usually camera's macro mode (flower picture on the PASM dial) will give the sharpest picture compared to other modes.  Why?  Because the camera knows the lens's sharpest aperture that match the camera's sensor.  Moreover it will use it and set the sharpness on picture style correctly!