You should be able to get sharpness comparable to what you see on http://pictures.lytro.com; if you're not, perhaps we haven't done a good enough job exposing you to training materials and explanations.
With the ILLUM, a very firm understanding of the relationship between depth of focus and sharpness/resolution is fundamental to maximizing the sharpness and resolution the LYTRO ILLUM has to offer. This will enable you to get peak 4MB max resolution output.
There are three training videos you should watch carefully. These training videos will explain (among other things) where the "sharp zones" are and how to use the ILLUM's depth assist tools to make sure what you care about is within those zones. When you look at the Depth Histogram, the lightest blue and lightest orange bands are our maximum resolution points (+4 and -4), and the gray bar in the middle -- depth point 0 -- is the low resolution point. The gray areas outside are outside the refocusable range.
All 3 of these videos will take you less than 20 minutes to watch total:
- Exploring Depth of Field - Introduction to depth of field concepts
- Composting for Depth of Field - A key concept here is understanding that your max sharpness points are -4 and +4 depth scores, and that the 0 depth value is our worst sharpness area (within the refocusable range). Making sure what you're shooting is at +4 or -4, and anything you care about is not at 0, will maximize the chance that you'll get good results. Conversely, If you're not sure where your subject is in the depth value, you may get poor results and not understand why or what's going on.
- Connecting Depth to Living Pictures - This further goes into how the camera measures depth and how to decide what depths to use for best results.
Finally, after you have maximized the sharpness the ILLUM can provide via implementing the above concepts, you can also accomplish postproduction sharpening in either Lytro Desktop 4 via the Adjust Panel, or via 3rd party image editing tools such as Photoshop which we have a short training video as well: Externally Editing Living Pictures