I have Nikon D800 and I feel that my images are not sharper. My friend has D4 and I like the way his images look. But he always says he reduced the sharpness in the camera.

  1. What value can I set to the sharpness of my camera (in camera settings).
  2. What are the values that I can change in camera but can recover in post.

Thank you, Tamil

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you include a link to some example images that you feel aren't sharp? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Sep 23, 2013 at 11:18
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ are you comparing these images WITH THE SAME LENS? as that is the only way to compare the sharpness of a sensor. I have a D800 and it is EXTREMELY sharp, but this is lens-dependent. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 23, 2013 at 11:52
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ When you say "not sharper", do you mean "not sharper than your friend's images" or "not sharper than what you expect"? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 23, 2013 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ i also have the same problem. my D700 looks sharper than the D800. i shoot the same lens. when i expand on the picture on the screen, the D700 pictures is sharper than the D800. i think is the A/F. i had the same problem with the D700 before i had it service. so i taking my D800 for service so they can check on the A/F. i hope that it will solve the problem.. i will keep you guys update..by the way i shoot nikon 24-70mm f2.8 \$\endgroup\$
    – user55711
    Aug 13, 2016 at 3:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you look at performing AF Fine tune on your lens? I know that my D800 has a tendency to backfocus resulting in un-sharp photos. \$\endgroup\$
    – user63525
    May 29, 2017 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


The camera body will impact auto-focus speed, but most of the sharpness is going to come from the lens rather than the camera body. Throw a sharp lens on a 5 year old DSLR and it will likely look sharper than a kit lens on a brand spanking new high end camera. The camera can only capture the image projected on the sensor. If that isn't sharp, neither will the photo that the camera captures.

Sharpness is primarily a result of the lens characteristics and proper focus. Sharpening can also be applied as an image processing step. If you shoot JPEG, then a setting in camera will adjust how it is processed on the fly. If you shoot RAW (which I highly recommend for numerous reasons) then you capture raw sensor data and can apply sharpening very precisely in post production.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for all your comments. I shoot wedding so I use 24-70 F2.8 most of the time. I shoot in aperture priority at f 2.8 and auto iso (max 3400) and shutter speed not less than 1/80 (set this under auto iso in D800). When I mean images are not sharper I mean when I open both my image and my friends image my friends image look sharper and crisper at 100% zoom. I know that 36 MP plays a role here but I am thinking of some setting that I can do in camera (which can be reverted in post if not needed). I'll upload some pictures and post the link here \$\endgroup\$
    – Tamil
    Sep 23, 2013 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tamil - the D800 and a 24-70f/2.8 should be incredibly sharp. Are you sure it isn't a technique issue? Hand held at 1/80 and ISO 3400 you are going to start getting some reduction in sharpness and possibly some blur from shutter speed. What kind of lens is your friend using? If his shutter speed is faster or his ISO lower, then it isn't really an apples to apples comparison. Ideally you want to test on the same lens, with the same settings with the same lighting on the same scene to really see the impact. Also, try and match the level of detail rather than simple sharpness. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Sep 23, 2013 at 15:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since you have more resolution, you may look less sharp when pixel peeping but actually be more sharp overall since you are resolving smaller details in your resolution. If you are only worried about the JPEG preview, simply setting the sharpness up should alter the preview produced, but that isn't going to be used when you open them up later in Lightroom (it might be if you open it in Nikon's software for RAW processing). \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Sep 23, 2013 at 15:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ May be you are right. I think i look at pixel level and feel so. My friend is also using 24-70 f2.8 lens at 2.8 but fixed ISO at 1000 and he shoots in full manual. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tamil
    Sep 23, 2013 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am still learning and may be my pictures and the way I evaluate them get better. Is there a setting that you suggest for me I mean the values in camera like sharpess, saturation etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tamil
    Sep 23, 2013 at 15:25

The higher resolution of the D800 (7,360 × 4,912) means when you view at 100% you are actually more zoomed in than the D4 (4928 × 3280). Camera shake is exaggerated and to a lesser extent limits to your len's resolution.

Try re-sampling your images to the same resolution and compare them.


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