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Compare photos - Is lack of sharpness because of camera or lens?

Brad
Enthusiast

Since I've had my 6d (about 2 years) I've said the photos were not that sharp. On a recent trip, comparing photos from my 6d with 24-105L, and my friend's 5D mk3 with 24-70L 2.8 it was once again really obvious.

 

My question is, are my photos less sharp than his because his camera is better? Or is it that the 24-70 2.8 is that much sharper of a lens? Or is it maybe that my camera or lens has something out of adjustment? I've experimented with every setting I can think of on my camera and it doesn't help.

 

 

It seems to me that the IQ of both cameras should be pretty similar, and from what I read the 2 lenses don't have any appreciable difference in sharpness, so I am just not sure why my photos are consistently less sharp and "real" looking than his.

 

My shot with the 6d and 24-105L

IMG_5976.JPG

 

His shot with the 5d mk 3 and 24-70L 2.8

1U4A4922-crop.jpg

 

I really notice the difference on the deails of the fabric of my black jacket.

 

His photos are taken in L fine size jpg and mine are M fine jpg (sharpness set to max.) Yes the file sizes are different but I wouldn't expect that to affect the IQ. Another note, (I had to crop his photo in photoshop to get under the 5mb file upload size and that seems to have reduced its IQ a bit.)

Thanks for any ideas anyone might have!

41 REPLIES 41

Brad,

A quick check of DxOMark shows exactly what I have been trying to say.  They list the combination of your 6D with the 24-105mm f4 has the ability to put 14 precieved mega-pixels on the photo.  While your friends 5D Mk III and his 24-70mm f2.8 can put 18 P-Mpix on target.

Actually not a fan of DxOMark but in this instance it does show there is going to be a significant difference in this one spec. Just for kicks, I typed in the 24-70mm f4 IS and it also does 14 P-Mpix.  Verifying my own finding, it isn't really different than what you already have except for the IS.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

I'm beyond being "not a fan of DxOMark".  I'll come right out and state directly that I don't believe they are competent.    My issue with them is that they reach conclusions contrary to other tests and they don't show any data... they show "scores".  Precisely how they come up with these "scores" seems to be a carefully guarded secret.  

 

I can't do anything with a "score", but I sure can analyze data if only the data were made available.  And that's when I compare them to practically everybody else... who will actually show representative sample issues and describe their testing methods... which often seem to get results rather contrary to what DxO gets.

 

Conclusion:  DxO is not a reputable source of test results.

 

I'm an extremely science-minded person.  As a genralization... if you're not willing to disclose your ACTUAL data... it usually means you have something to hide.

 

Meanwhile back to the camera and the issue of "sharpness".

 

Please read this:  http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2008/12/this-lens-is-soft-and-other-myths

Next read this:  http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2009/06/have-you-seen-my-acutance

 

And finally... whenever you're trying to make a judgement about how "sharp" a lens might me, you'll need to recognize that a LOT of factors (many of which can be blamed on us... the photographers) can impact the accuracy of a test.  So the goal is to isolate the common causes of error from the test scenario.   

 

I can carefully focus a camera in one-shot mode, lock focus, but then change the way I'm leaning as I'm trying to compose the shot... and just that little bit of movement will now have moved my focus accuracy off by an inch or two.  That's the sort of "blame the photographer, not the gear" issue that I'm describing when I say you need to isolate those possibilities from the test.

 

To that end, use a test target and put the camera on a tripod.  I happen to have a comercial test target but you can easily download a test target and print one out.  Here's a favorite that I like to link:  http://regex.info/blog/photo-tech/focus-chart

 

A bit of carefully performed testing can help you deterine if your camera really has an issue and/or could benefit from some adjustment.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

"I'm beyond being "not a fan of DxOMark".  I'll come right out and state directly that I don't believe they are competent."

 

I totally agree. 100% but in this case it does demonstarte there is a real physical difference between the two lenses. Not simply the just the two different cameras.  Plus all the other differing conditions that are non-comparable in this discussion.

And, again you are absolutely correct, in saying a single spec a camera does not make, or lens for that matter.

 

All I am trying to get across is he is not likely to ever see the same performance from a 6D with the 24-105mm f4 vs a 5D Mk III with the 24-70mm f2.8.  However, that is not to say the results that can be had are not truly very good.  Better than most.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"I'm beyond being "not a fan of DxOMark".  I'll come right out and state directly that I don't believe they are competent."

 

I totally agree. 100% but in this case...


You agree 100%, but in this case... 

 

Heh.  In otherwords, you'll use DxOMark when it supports your case, but otherwise you disagree with their ratings? 

 

Your 6D to 5d3 comparison is equally biased.  Sure it's a better camera, and should be if you pay 60% more.  But for the case in question here there should be essentially no difference between the two cameras.

Brad
Enthusiast

RE: "The 6D has a lesser AF system, it has two Creative modes, it has one memory card slot and a few other smaller differences. Other than that they have essentially the same shutter, sensor, color control, resolution plus ISO range."

 

The reason I bought the 6d instead of the 5dm3 was because the IQ should, in theory, be the same given they use the same processor. The faster FPS and faster AF and more AF points of the 5dm3 didn't really matter to me and I can't think of a situation in shooting with the camera for the past 2 years where I missed those features. Also the lower weight was a factor--I do a lot of fairly tough hikes (such as to the bottom of the grand canyon, top of yosemite falls, etc.) with my camera and the reduced weight of the 6d is a plus. The wifi feature is pretty cool too (although a bit of a PITA to use) so you can quickly upload a few vacation photos to facebook, etc. every once in a while, directly from the camera which is much easier than downloading to your computer and then uploading. In short, the 6d was the perfect camera for me.

 

And yes it's true that I think the 6d in general takes great photos and I'm generally pretty happy with them. The issue is that mysterious quality that I have seen in hundreds of my friend's photos that I like better than mine in comparison. Maybe that's just a quality of his 24-70 2.8, which I will test and find out. I will also try and do the microadjustments on my 24-105.

 

 

I actually just ran across this post after reading the links  TCampbell posted.

"I’m frequently asked “Canon 24-105 f/4L IS, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, or Canon 24-70 f/4 IS ?”

There isn’t a right answer; they’re all great. The advantages of the Canon 24-105 f/4L IS are smaller size, greater range, image stabilization, and lower cost. The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 has less distortion and wider apertures. The 24-70 f/4 IS has less distortion and the very nice macro feature.

My choice is the 24-70 f/2.8 for portraits and architectural shooting and the 24-105 for walking around or taking on vacation, but that’s just me. If the macro feature is useful to you, the 24-70 f/4 IS may be a better choice. "

https://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon/lenses/telephoto/canon-24-105mm-f4l-is

 

 

Brad,

You have listed all the features that drew you to the 6D.  Everybodies needs are different and aren't we glad there are so many choices?  However, no mater how Mr Campbel and I generally feel abour DxOMark, it shows the 24-70mm f2.8 is going to bring more P-Mpix to the party than your lens.  Regardless of which camera it is bolted to.  It may just be the difference that will push you into the, I think my images are great, too, colum.  I sincerly hope so.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


@Brad wrote:

The reason I bought the 6d instead of the 5dm3 was because the IQ should, in theory, be the same given they use the same processor. The faster FPS and faster AF and more AF points of the 5dm3 didn't really matter to me and I can't think of a situation in shooting with the camera for the past 2 years where I missed those features. Also the lower weight was a factor--I do a lot of fairly tough hikes (such as to the bottom of the grand canyon, top of yosemite falls, etc.) with my camera and the reduced weight of the 6d is a plus. The wifi feature is pretty cool too (although a bit of a PITA to use) so you can quickly upload a few vacation photos to facebook, etc. every once in a while, directly from the camera which is much easier than downloading to your computer and then uploading. In short, the 6d was the perfect camera for me.


It sounds to me like you did your research and made an informed decision.  I did the same, for many of the same reasons you did, and I'm happy with my decision.   eBiggs has some personal vendetta against the 6D, so take his advice with a grain of salt.   The IQ I get out of my 6D is spectacular, as good as anything else I see, and I rarely need an advanced AF system.   Paying more for a 5d3 would have had very, very little impact on my photography.   I'm glad Canon, heh, filled the gap.  Never understood why offering more options seems to irk some people.

 

The IQ is more or less the same.  In some rare instances, high ISO long exposure astro for example, it actually out performs the 5d3.  A very specific case, and the only reason that I bring it up is because people tend to speak in absolutely about one camera being better than another, and it rarely is.  There's no reason why, for a simple shot like that, your 6D can't do everything the 5d3 is doing.  The obvious difference is the lens, but still I suspect that the jpg shooting mode had even more of an impact.   Try using the same shooting mode as your friend, if they have it, or better yet go out and both of you shoot RAW.  Then use the same convertion on both and see the results.  I'd be curious to see the comparison, both with using the same 24-70, but also with the 24-105.  I don't think the difference will be that signficant.


@Skirball wrote:

It sounds to me like you did your research and made an informed decision.  I did the same, for many of the same reasons you did, and I'm happy with my decision.   eBiggs has some personal vendetta against the 6D, so take his advice with a grain of salt.   The IQ I get out of my 6D is spectacular, as good as anything else I see, and I rarely need an advanced AF system.   Paying more for a 5d3 would have had very, very little impact on my photography.   I'm glad Canon, heh, filled the gap.  Never understood why offering more options seems to irk some people.

 

The IQ is more or less the same.  In some rare instances, high ISO long exposure astro for example, it actually out performs the 5d3.  A very specific case, and the only reason that I bring it up is because people tend to speak in absolutely about one camera being better than another, and it rarely is.  There's no reason why, for a simple shot like that, your 6D can't do everything the 5d3 is doing.  The obvious difference is the lens, but still I suspect that the jpg shooting mode had even more of an impact.   Try using the same shooting mode as your friend, if they have it, or better yet go out and both of you shoot RAW.  Then use the same convertion on both and see the results.  I'd be curious to see the comparison, both with using the same 24-70, but also with the 24-105.  I don't think the difference will be that signficant.


Glad to hear that your 6d photos turn out great. As I said, my photos are pretty great too in general, so I'm starting to believe that it's more about the lens choice. I'll test out a few different lenses and see if they give me the image quality I'm looking for. Also as I said in my previous post, I will start shooting in large fine jpeg and see if that helps at all.

Brad
Enthusiast

By the way...someone sent me a private message, I asume regarding this thread. The icon is there with the "1 Unread" message but I click on it and nothing happens. I have tried on 2 differnt computers with 3 different web browsers (firefox, chrome, and internet explorer) and it doesn't work with any of them so I assume this is a glitch in the canon site. Hopefully someday I will be able to read your message! I just wanted to let the person know that here so they don't think I'm ignoring them. Thanks again.

Not surprising.  This web site has several "glitches" in it.  Smiley Frustrated

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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