…are studio flash pictures so much sharper than available light pictures? Like, always?
Whatever you do, available light may look great – but when you zoom in close, it is not perfect.
Studio is much better. Look at this picture I just took with my Canon 7D at f/11, 1/125th sec, 100 ISO, using two studio strobes driven by a pair of Pocketwizards:
Zoom in and it is spectacular. This is the original size (once you click), and utterly unaltered:
Why is this so much better?
Let me tell you some differences. I count six:
- Aperture – Studio light means f/8. Available light means f/2.8. Lenses are typically sharper and clearer at f/5.6-f/8.
- ISO – Available light means higher ISO. Lower ISO, like in a studio, means sharper pictures.
- Shutter speed – Flash is around 1/1000th second. Available light pictures, even at 1/250th second, will not be as clear.
- Tripod – In a studio you are likely to be using a tripod. This is huge, in terms of focus and motion.
- Light direction – Studio flash is directional. Available light is diffuse. So surfaces look clearer.
- Exposure – In a studio, you are likely to expose to the right – the pixels will be bright pixels. Bright pixels are sharp pixels!
So it is not so much one factor. It is the combination of all of them. In a studio you have all of them your way; in available light, many, sometimes all, are not ideal. That is why studio flash is so much crisper.
Have I left anything out, anyone?