Who Do I Have To Blow To Get A Sharp Photo At 100%?

OK, let me rephrase that: “Why am I having so much trouble getting a PERFECTLY sharp photo taken at the maximum size my camera allows and viewed at 100%?” Smaller sizes such as 2560 x 1712 look good enough for me even actual size.

Here is a sample I took on Monday with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS19. It was about 9:14 am (I looked at the EXIF data). I used Aperture Priority, Macro Mode and zoomed in a bit.


Taken at f4.4 1/200 sec ISO 100 and HANDHELD!

Taken at f4.4 1/200 sec ISO 100 and HANDHELD!

Now to be honest this one is very good quality wise, it was starting to get windy because I spent so long looking for the right leaf, and I did not use a tripod.


You might feel I’m being obsessive about this and that I definitely do not need a new camera. This is what I’m trying to figure out.

Yes I realize it’s a budget compact and it shoots JPEGs.

Today as an experiment I set the image size to the maximum: 4320 x 2880. Don’t even ask if I have the quality set to the highest (yes).

I spent several hours taking pictures in great light with a tripod. I got mad and deleted them all but it was probably close to 100. Not as many as I usually take but I felt I had enough to test the sharpness at 100%.

They were all beautiful until I viewed them at actual size in Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. Not 1 out of probably 100 was as sharp as the leaf shot.

My question is; will a better camera help me make better pictures?

Easy Ken Rockwell, I’ve read your article on “Your Camera Doesn’t Matter” and understand completely, but dammit I want perfect photos at full size!!!

I’ve also read the reviews for advanced compacts including the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 and the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 II.

I even looked at the RX-100 and its really small, not to mention I did find issues with it as reviewed by Professional Photographer Ming Thein as well as others including the very helpful Ken Rockwell.

Just to drive myself crazier about this, I downloaded very large JPEGs taken with all the cameras I’ve been looking at as well as top of the line DSLR’s and viewed at 100% magnification.

I was not overly impressed.

I’ve decided to get a new camera with a larger sensor, and if I really hate it return it after a few weeks.

An advanced compact such as the Panasonic Lumix LX7 or even an interchangeable lens compact camera system is on my list, but I have a feeling I’m going to be disappointed in the image quality.


Essential info if you have any suggestions:

I know how to use every function and setting on my camera and can do it with my eyes closed.

I shoot at ISO 100 as often as practical and use a tripod when I feel its needed (no it’s not needed every time Scott Kelby).

I understand that if I get a couple of good photos out of every 100 that is success.

I do realize that a $200 camera is not going to be perfect, but as Ken R said: My camera doesn’t matter.

In conclusion, here is a deer shot I took earlier this year, maybe April 21st at 7:44 am.



Taken at f5.5 1/320 sec ISO 100 and HANDHELD!

Taken at f5.5 1/320 sec ISO 100 and HANDHELD!

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