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sk0gr

Problem: lack of definition, how to sharpen?

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Hi, I had an image fail due to lack of definition and got punished by 4 weeks not being able to upload, while this in my opinion silly "awaiting QC" was shown, so I did not even know the reason why it failed. A so completely nuts policy if you ask me.

 

Anyways, I would appreciate input on how to sharpen, I put the unsharpened version that failed below. Or is it so lacking definition beyond possibility to fix?

Advice much appreciated.

 

11998755133_4d28196439_o.jpg

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The image just isn't pin-sharp and sharpening won't fix it. You need to look to your technique.

Alamy advises against sharpening anyway- I've never used it- and it shouldn't be used to fix an unsharp image.

 

We all have to conform to Alamy's QC policy. It is not 'silly'. Normally you would have to fail several times in a row to be put in the slow queue- I've had the odd QC fail but never two or more consecutive fails and have never been 'punished' by a long wait.

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Sharpening definitely isn't a good idea, but you could try downsizing the image to 3600 pixels (24 MB, Alamy's minimum file size) on the long side and see if it improves the sharpness. Downsizing (using "Bicubic Shaper" in PS) can make a big difference with some images.

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As John says, you could try downsizing it, but it looks a little bit beyond help to me. Probably better to scrap that one and move on.

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Thanks. I am not worried about this one image in particular, more about if I can use the only (one of the few) MFT tele available (the 100-300). This is without any sharpening and the best that I get out of this lens. There are small detail, just no good local contrast, so I am looking for a way to fix it somehow.

 

And yes, the policy is ridiculous. They could just say why at least. I never had much trouble, but it is some years since I was uploading and need to find a new workflow, which is impossible when having to wait 4 weeks in case something went wrong.

Edited by sk0gr

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Thanks. I am not worried about this one image in particular, more about if I can use the only (one of the few) MFT tele available (the 100-300). This is without any sharpening and the best that I get out of this lens. There are small detail, just no good local contrast, so I am looking for a way to fix it somehow.

 

And yes, the policy is ridiculous. They could just say why at least. I never had much trouble, but it is some years since I was uploading and need to find a new workflow, which is impossible when having to wait 4 weeks in case something went wrong.

I find that I sometimes have to downsize images taken at full extension (200mm+), especially of distant subjects. Most long zooms start getting mushy at the far end IME.

 

And, at the risk of being bashed, I'll agree with you. QC should at least send a brief e-mail letting us know which image or images are in question, so that we don't have to waste time trying to second-guess them during the waiting period (whatever it might be) and hence make better use of the downtime. That would be the most productive thing to do IMO.

 

There, I've gone and said it again (not that it will do any good). 

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I find that coniferous trees often do not look properly sharp when viewed at 100%. I think it is something to do with the way they reflect light although I don't have any science with which to back this idea up. Sometimes it can be very slight wind blow but, even when it is quite still and an appropriate shutter speed is used, conifers can look a bit fuzzy. Downsizing can help - sharpening is not permitted by Alamy although saying this risks opening that old can of worms again.

Edited by MDM

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I like the color and how it shifts through the depth of the pic. I would keep the pic, but not for the stock.

Due to how we are paid, I find the best way when processing for A. if pic needs some more to be worked on...  = DELETE! :(

Not that I suggest. Its only one of steps in my own workflow.

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Dottore Philippe (pronounce with an overblown New York Italian accent), pray tell: what is the ideal MP amount for stock shooting. (Don't waltz me around here; just a number please.) 

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I've started downsizing most of my images which have been taken on a Sony RX100. On exporting them from Lightroom I set the longest side to 3600 pixels. I think it improves the technical quality of the images, and reduces the chances of me getting a QC failure. How many customers need a larger size image anyway?

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. . .  and got punished by 4 weeks not being able to upload . . .
 
. . . so I did not even know the reason why it failed. A so completely nuts policy if you ask me.

 

 

How did they stop you from uploading?

 

And it might be just me, but that image is soft . . .and it's not just the foliage . . . the trunks and branches are soft. I would not upload an image with that degree of softness.

 

As I've asked before, which aspect of the policy is nuts? It's a fairly commonplace quality control procedure to ditch a batch if one component is faulty, and the reasons a batch will potentially be failed are well spelled out.

 

dd

Edited by dustydingo

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He means that anything he had uploaded whilst in the 'sin bin' would have been failed as well.

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Dottore Philippe (pronounce with an overblown New York Italian accent), pray tell: what is the ideal MP amount for stock shooting. (Don't waltz me around here; just a number please.) 

 

No idea if there's an ideal MP amount for stock shooting. I guess the bigger the better, from a commercial point of view. But I do believe there are limits concerning judging images at pixel level.

Wouldn't it be fairer if QC judges all images at the same size - lets say 12 mp? (in other words, QC should temporarily do the downsizing of large images prior to checking the quality). Now it's comparing apples, not with oranges, but with melons. When dealing with different resolution sensors you have to downscale the larger sensor to make a meaningful comparison.

It only frustrates photographers. What if cameras produce 60 MP images? Will QC still be judging at pixel level?

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

I only downsize for Alamy (not anywhere else) because of their peculiar (IMO) wish to see all images tack-sharp sharp at 100%. Personally, I don't think that there is much wrong with the OP's coniferous tree image. It would probably look fine at normal print sizes. If he/she wants to submit it somewhere else, there shouldn't be a problem. Having said that, Alamy calls the shots, so I'm happy to keep downsizing when necessary if it pleases QC.

 

BTW, Philippe, I like your idea of judging all images at 12 MP (assuming they are at least that size). Makes good sense to me.

Edited by John Mitchell
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Dottore Philippe (pronounce with an overblown New York Italian accent), pray tell: what is the ideal MP amount for stock shooting. (Don't waltz me around here; just a number please.) 

 

No idea if there's an ideal MP amount for stock shooting. I guess the bigger the better, from a commercial point of view. But I do believe there are limits concerning judging images at pixel level.

Wouldn't it be fairer if QC judges all images at the same size - lets say 12 mp? (in other words, QC should temporarily do the downsizing of large images prior to checking the quality). Now it's comparing apples, not with oranges, but with melons. When dealing with different resolution sensors you have to downscale the larger sensor to make a meaningful comparison.

It only frustrates photographers. What if cameras produce 60 MP images? Will QC still be judging at pixel level?

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

I don't know about 60MP but a properly focused shot with a D800 and a decent lens should look sharp at 100% on a decent screen. The same shot will look supersharp when viewed at 12MP or by viewing at a lower magnification which is essentially the same thing for this purpose. I submit my images at 36MP or crops thereof without downsizing when using a 50mm. I sometimes downsize a bit when using my 24 Nikkor as it is not quite as sharp at the edges and I fear that some of these shots may not pass QC - but they are still sharp at 36MP at 100% over most of the image - this assumes care in focusing of course. I had one QC fail shortly after getting the D800 but that was due to assuming I could use the barrel markings for hyperfocal focusing - not the case with the D800 when using a viewing distance of 100%.

Edited by MDM
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Same here, I would let the OP's image pass (whether it's taken with a 24 MP or a 12 MP camera). You can be strict, but you can also exaggerate (and I even found the word "overexaggerate" in my translation dictionary ;))

 

For crying out loud, are we dealing in "pictures" or "pixels"?

 

Cheers,

Philippe

Personally, I think we're all falling prey to obsessive pixel-peeking these days, at the expense of content and even reason. You can quote me on these words of wisdom BTW. B)

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I don't know about 60MP but a properly focused shot with a D800 and a decent lens should look sharp at 100% on a decent screen. The same shot will look supersharp when viewed at 12MP or by viewing at a lower magnification which is essentially the same thing for this purpose.

 

 

In school, that would 10/10. Congratulations :) But please, could we also pass with 9/10 or even 8/10?

If you're taking pictures on the beach on a stormy day, with the wind buffeting around your ears, you'll might end with a 8/10 shot. Should that be thrown away? It would also mean we can't take any more long distance shots on a hot day in the Provence (air trembling due to the heat). Just want to say, there are plenty of situations where one simply cannot reach the dreaded 10/10.

Just my 2 cents ;)

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

Yes the system isn't perfect and it's very annoying when images fail that one would expect to have passed. But it is the Alamy model (technically perfect, content irrelevant is the idea as we know). It certainly concentrates the mind. After my early D800 image failed, I got a month in the sinbin despite not having failed for more than two and a half years before that. I was quite annoyed at the time as I thought the image should have passed. But  I did some serious field testing and came to some very interesting realistations that I was not seeing in the camera mags or elsewhere in relation to the D800 and depth of field. I really learned what the lens-camera combos could do in relation to depth of field and I have adapted my camera technique accordingly. Now I am absolutely confident that focus and DOF will not be a problem with the relatively restricted kit I use. So my little spanking from Alamy did have a positive outcome. And I do shoot in some pretty unpleasant conditions (at times). 

Edited by MDM
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Same here, I would let the OP's image pass (whether it's taken with a 24 MP or a 12 MP camera). You can be strict, but you can also exaggerate (and I even found the word "overexaggerate" in my translation dictionary ;))

 

For crying out loud, are we dealing in "pictures" or "pixels"?

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

Sorry Phillipe, have to disagree . . . the op's pic is soft. And that's no exagerration :-)

 

dd

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I don't know about 60MP but a properly focused shot with a D800 and a decent lens should look sharp at 100% on a decent screen. The same shot will look supersharp when viewed at 12MP or by viewing at a lower magnification which is essentially the same thing for this purpose.

 

 

In school, that would 10/10. Congratulations :) But please, could we also pass with 9/10 or even 8/10?

If you're taking pictures on the beach on a stormy day, with the wind buffeting around your ears, you'll might end with a 8/10 shot. Should that be thrown away? It would also mean we can't take any more long distance shots on a hot day in the Provence (air trembling due to the heat). Just want to say, there are plenty of situations where one simply cannot reach the dreaded 10/10.

Just my 2 cents ;)

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

Yes the system isn't perfect and it's very annoying when images fail that one would expect to have passed. But it is the Alamy model (technically perfect, content irrelevant is the idea as we know). It certainly concentrates the mind. After my early D800 image failed, I got a month in the sinbin despite not having failed for more than two and a half years before that. I was quite annoyed at the time as I thought the image should have passed. But  I did some serious field testing and came to some very interesting realistations that I was not seeing in the camera mags or elsewhere in relation to the D800 and depth of field. I really learned what the lens-camera combos could do in relation to depth of field and I have adapted my camera technique accordingly. Now I am absolutely confident that focus and DOF will not be a problem with the relatively restricted kit I use. So my little spanking from Alamy did have a positive outcome. And I do shoot in some pretty unpleasant conditions (at times). 

 

 

Seems to me that is exactly the outcome such quality control measures are designed to deliver, other than the primary one of weeding out inferior, BY ALAMY'S DEFINITION, images.

 

I truly think Alamy's qc is sometimes, sometimes mind you, blamed for poor techniqe/equipment etc etc. The fault, in many cases, lies elsewhere, as those of us who have been here for a very long time have often witnessed.

 

We all know Alamy's rules, and we're not going to change them by moaning . . . but what we have absolutely total control over is what we submit.

 

dd

Edited by dustydingo

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Same here, I would let the OP's image pass (whether it's taken with a 24 MP or a 12 MP camera). You can be strict, but you can also exaggerate (and I even found the word "overexaggerate" in my translation dictionary ;))

 

For crying out loud, are we dealing in "pictures" or "pixels"?

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

Sorry Phillipe, have to disagree . . . the op's pic is soft. And that's no exagerration :-)

 

dd

 

 

In such a way it's unmarketable? Alamy doesn't sell blown up tiny portions of pictures it sells whole pictures. Sorry to say, but that's really nitpicking.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

I'm with DD on this - the image is clearly soft when viewed at larger size. Alamy wants to minimise images returned because of technical imperfections and this is how the system works. Anyway nitpicking is not always a bad thing - headlice can be a pain in the a.. :)

Edited by MDM
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OK, so the image looks a bit soft at 100% (inevitable perhaps, given the subject matter). But considering how it would likely be used -- e.g. small size in a geography textbook to illustrate taiga/boreal forest -- this image is probably perfectly usable and sell-able. This might just be a case of not seeing the forest for the trees IMO.

Edited by John Mitchell
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.....

........

...........

................

Bloody hell (can I say that, here? :huh: ), I'm still scratching. Thanks a lot, MDM :blink:

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

Don't mention it :). You will probably be ok I would guess. I do tend to use very sanitised language when posting on forums. Not what you would hear from me in the flesh for sure, especially when driving or watching football.

 

At the risk of being shot for changing the subject and you may have no interest in football whatsoever, but why are there so many brilliant Belgian footballers all of a sudden? Is there a factory in Belgium turning these guys out?

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Argggggg, I have followed this thread with growing annoyance...

As a working pro I do not have the luxury of a middle man confirming that my images are fit for sale, I have to do that myself or lose clients.

> And yes, the policy is ridiculous.
It is not the job of QC to teach you, it is best that you find the fault yourself. Any resources used by Alamy to help you pass QC are not being used for selling.

> Same here, I would let the OP's image pass (whether it's taken with a 24 MP or a 12 MP camera).
> You can be strict, but you can also exaggerate
If I had taken the image it would have been binned, it is soft. It is not strict it is asking for a technical standard that Alamy can feel confident in selling.
 

> For crying out loud, are we dealing in "pictures" or "pixels"?
We are dealing with "customers" who expect the images to be technically correct, meet a professional standard. They need to trust that buying from Alamy will supply that need every time. Letting one image slide by is pointless and could damage everyones chances of sales.

> In school, that would 10/10. Congratulations :) But please, could we also pass with 9/10 or even 8/10?
What! NO!!!!!! Wrong!
Why would any of us be happy to supply an 8, be professional get it right and meet the standards required.
Would a buyer be happy to find that he had brought an "8" for his double page spread?

> there are plenty of situations where one simply cannot reach the dreaded 10/10.
There will be plenty of other images where someone has got it right.

 

Supplying what is asked by way of technical standard is being professional, if we have a failure we should not complain. I have had a couple of failures, my fault and I felt bad about it for days because I had been unprofessional.

 

I know this is a bit of a rant, but this is a business not a camera club.

 

Mark

Putting on my flame proof suit...

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Argggggg, I have followed this thread with growing annoyance...

 

...  this is a business not a camera club.

 

Mark

Putting on my flame proof suit...

 

I absolutely agree.

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I think it's an unusual case. At 100% the clip does show even very small twigs, but I find it impossible to look at the image - my eyes hurt! There's some shake or something present which is affecting the way it looks so you try to concentrate on it to see the detail but can't focus on it. Sometimes you have to step back from trying to study whether objects 2 oe 3 pixels in size are visible, and just look at the way the 100% image hits your eyes. Because that's how it will hit QC.

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I'm fine with QC benchmarks, but let's not pretend that there's any kind of 'zero tolerance' approach. There's only one way to ensure that every pic in the collection meets the technical criteria... and that's to examine every one. Alamy's collection is unedited for subject matter, and part-edited for technical competence...

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