How to instantly get sharper urbex photos

Author sophos9 - Last updated: 26.09.2009

This article will explain what aperture is an guide you on how to get sharper urbex images from your DSLR setup, sharper images make cool images.

What is an aperture?
In optics, an aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels. More specifically, the aperture of an optical system is the opening that determines the cone angle of a bundle of rays that come to a focus in the image plane. The aperture determines how collimated the admitted rays are, which is of great importance for the appearance at the image plane.

If the admitted rays also pass through a lens, highly collimated rays (narrow aperture) will result in sharpness at the image plane, while uncollimated rays (wide aperture) will result in sharpness for rays with the right focal length only. This means that a wide aperture results in an image that is sharp around what the lens is focusing on and blurred otherwise. The aperture also determines how many of the incoming rays are actually admitted and thus how much light that reaches the image plane (the narrower the aperture, the darker the image) (ref1)

Why is this important?
Diffraction and circle of confusion – there are multiple indepth articles available for these. Two things affect the sharpness of an image, focus and diffraction – we will leave focus for another day and just look into diffraction in this article. Diffractions can be explained as when light comes through a small opening, how much light spread is observed. This is important as the more diffraction, the softer the images becomes.

Moving away from geek stuff, selecting the optimum aperture will provide you with with a sharp image.

Examples:
Sigma 17-70 – aperture settings below. All images 500x crop at 55mm

F22

Sigma 17-70 sharpness at F22

Sigma 17-70 sharpness at F22

F16

Sigma 17-70 sharpness at F16

Sigma 17-70 sharpness at F16

F8

Sigma 17-70 sharpness at F8

Sigma 17-70 sharpness at F8

F4.2

Sigma 17-70 sharpness at F4.2

Sigma 17-70 sharpness at F4.2

Just on this practical test you can easily see the difference, F22 and F16 hold the sharpest results. F4.2 is pretty poor and even F8 is soft. The cost of shooting with aperture stopped down is a longer shutter speed, this is why we need a tripod when urbexing

;)

Tokina 11-16mm – aperture settings below. All images 500x crop at 11mm

F22

Tokina 11-16mm sharpness at F22

Tokina 11-16mm sharpness at F22

F16

Tokina 11-16mm sharpness at F16

Tokina 11-16mm sharpness at F16

F8

Tokina 11-16mm sharpness at F8

Tokina 11-16mm sharpness at F8

F2.8

Tokina 11-16mm sharpness at F2.8

Tokina 11-16mm sharpness at F2.8

The Tokina shows a different set of results, sharpness seems to peak around F8, even F2.8 is pretty damn good. F22 and F16 looks a touch soft however no where near as significant as the Sigma.

Conclusions
Test your lens, test it to find the optimal aperture setting that fits your normal style of urbex. The Tokina and Sigma are different types of lenses and in differing price brackets so no conclusions are being made in direct comparison. The point here is that there not all lenses are made equal.

Enjoy

sophos9

#ref1 – credits here

5 comments

#1marcOctober 9, 2010, 5:41 pm

would you have by any chance a tutorial to get sharper non-urbex photos as well please?

    #2sophos9October 9, 2010, 5:42 pm

    Same way my friend – the DOF article is the same for any subject :)

#3ErikOctober 11, 2010, 7:27 pm

Does this also work with moving objects and/or persons?

    #4sophos9October 11, 2010, 8:29 pm

    Yes, depth of field is related to the lens/camera and distance

    #5AlcapOctober 3, 2011, 12:56 pm

    No. To get a moving object sharp, you need a short shutter time. To get a short shutter time you need a low aperture OR a lot of light. Thats the opposite direction.

Add your comment

Nickname:
E-mail:
Website:
Comment:

Other articlesgo to homepage

DIY Panning Timelapse Device Build Tutorial + Test Video

DIY Panning Timelapse Device Build Tutorial + Test Video(0)

This is a video I made using my homemade panning time-lapse device from a mechanical water timer. I got the idea from something I stumbled upon online, but can’t for the life of me find the article or video. Credit goes out to whomever posted the idea …

Stitching Panoramic Photos – Photoshop

Stitching Panoramic Photos – Photoshop(2)

So you have a series of images that you want to stitch together but Photoshop keeps giving you a load of weird results? Sounds about right to me. Here I’ll be showing you how to do it, and also what all the options do, in Photoshop CS5. This tutorial i…

Light Painting & Image Stacking Tutorial – Photoshop

Light Painting & Image Stacking Tutorial – Photoshop(4)

With the nights getting longer I though it would be a good time to write up a light painting tutorial, which can produce results such as this:Wolseley 4/44 Graveyard Light Painting by jamescharlick, on FlickrThis tutorial will cover both the mechanics …

Light painting and the inverse square law

Light painting and the inverse square law(4)

I tried a new technique for lighting a very dark space recently and thought it would make a good tutorial for those who wanted to try something like it.When lighting gloomy or black environments I use a powerful LED light source with a very wide spread…

Black and White Tutorial – Adobe Lightroom

Black and White Tutorial – Adobe Lightroom(0)

Okay guys, this is my first ever tutorial My plan is to make some short useful tutorials sharing some of the many little "tricks" that I use while processing my urbex photos… This one is about how you can quickly make an outstanding B/W p…

read more

Advertisement



Locations

Radiator factory Radiator factory(0)
The Mann Cave The Mann Cave(0)
Heilstätte S. Heilstätte S.(0)
Hearn Ascendant Hearn Ascendant(0)
Villa Das / Wallfahrt Villa Das / Wallfahrt(0)
read more

Interesting?

Find Us on Facebook

Talk Urbex for iPhone

banner

Contacts and information

Talk Urbex is a community of photographers and urban explorers. We are documenting abandoned, historically important locations across the world. Talk Urbex is not responsible for any legal issues arising from either locations or digital/film imaging.

Social networks

Most popular categories

© 2012 Talkurbex.com - All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Google+