Please Help Me Tweak My 7D to Improve Image Quality

Started Mar 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
Richard
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,839
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Yes, both images are a little soft.
In reply to steve88, Mar 10, 2013

steve88 wrote:

Ever since I got my 7D two years ago I've never really been happy with the image quality. I don't really have a problem with it focusing properly; my problem is just that the images (at least 75% of the time or more) are overly soft in my opinion. They just don't pop at all and seem very flat. In order to get useable images I usually have to sharpen them to the max in DPP and even a little more sometimes in LR3.

Both images are soft. My guess that the first has been cropped more than the second. I found when I had a 6mp camera, it was quit sharp always, when I went to 10 I noticed that at 100 percent pixel peeping a larger percentage were soft, the when i went to the 7d, when I viewed at 100 percent an even larger percent were soft. It is like magnification, the more magnification the more easily you see the flaws.

If you read what the landscape people say is that you must use a tripod, I would also then do a mirror lockup. Those would be the sharpest images, no mirror vibration.

I have to sharpen a large portion of my sports hand held images by a lot. On those that were perfect none.

Look at your second photo, it is not a focus issue because when you look on the ground, none of the gravel is sharp in front or behind the player. IMHO this is a slight amount of motion blur.

In the second image same blur but the image is cropped down much more so the motion blur is exacerbated. This is my opinion from experience. Thing is, this is usually not problem in web images, or printsjust sharpen it up.

I would try some experiments and take notes. At the game, use a tripod instead of handheld.

Try to engage or disengage the IS if you have it to see which is better

Practice better handholding techniques.

Here are two samples. The first shot is on a monopod and the second is handheld and in DPP I've sharpened both to 4 on the RAW tab and 280 on the RGB tab.

I don't like raw sharpening. I would try not using it.

You would think that would be sufficient but it's not even close to being sharp enough. Many times I have to go to 10 on the RAW tab and 500 on the RGB tab and then do ADDITIONAL sharpening in LR3. Needless to say, that can lead to quite a mess in terms of how it finally looks.

I will sharpen when the image is jpg, then resample to size and sharpen again.

There must be something I am doing wrong (or not doing at all) so I would really appreciate any help you can provide. I have left all of the settings in their default values on my 7D. I've read a ton of threads on 7d softness and IQ and it doesn't seem like there's a universal fix. Yes, in most cases it's the fault of the photographer but in other cases people seem to solve the problem through the MFA process while others tweak the camera and that clears everything up (changing AI Servo tracking sensitivity as an example).

Changing the AF tracking sensitivity will not help you because you can see there is nothing in the first image. The second image is debatable whether AF is correct or not.

Maybe I'm asking too much for the camera to produce sharp images out of the box. But having spent as much as I did on it two years ago and using pretty decent glass, I really think I should be getting better results than this. Every single one of the images I took today (145 in total) look like the ones below in terms of their IQ and sharpness. I don't think I've ever had a day where they all looked this bad. Usually I can get at least 15%-20% that are fairly good.

Anyway, thanks in advance for any help or suggestions. Again, I know the 7D can produce some fabulous images. Hopefully, mine just needs some tweaking to get there. Unfortunately, it's out of warranty. When I had it during its first year, I thought the issue was with me so I never sent it in to Canon to get checked out. Thanks again for any help!





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