I print from NX2 to an Epson 3880. I print directly from NEF/RAW ProPhoto files.
Is it recommended to first change image DPI (or PPI, whatever it's called) from 300 to 360? If so, resample on or off?
Lastly, I use relatively strong sharpening in-camera (default Picture Controls + 1 or 2) and do add USM in the standard edit phase. Would you still recommend adding "High Pass" output sharpening for the final print?
I do not bother to change the dpi or ppi setting, nor do I do extra sharpening for output. What I see on screen, using 50 -100% magnification (50% for D800e & d7100, 100% for D3 or 4) magnification seems to be a good guide.
I generally plan my image size for 300 dpi. If I am doing significant enlarging, I work on the jpg or tif in Perfect Resize. Otherwise, CNX does fine on resizing and I do have it resample, but sharpen afterward not before resizing.
Thanks Mick. Given my sharpening in-camera and my sharpening during the standard edit phase, any output sharpening is probably mostly splitting hairs. I know some folks also swear by changing PPI settings to 360 or 720 to match Epson's ideal, but again, the differences are probably so negligible as to not be noticed unless you're looking through a 10x Loupe.
Hi Dan, it has always (that I have been told) to save at 300DPI for printing but having read most of Thom Hogan's book on NX2 that when printing to use 288dpi or 360 dpi as they multiply up directly to 1440 which I believe is the maximum resolution that most printers work at. As for 'Resampling' I have mine all set to resample. I don't have any sharpening set 'In-Camera' I do all mine post production, with NX2 I click New Step and use Focus High Pass (Panel on right) set at radius of 1, the image goes grey but make sure your image is at 100%, then click 'Opacity' and take the slider down to around 85%, then open a New Step, click Focus again but this time click Unshrp Mask and set the Intensity slider to about 10 or less. I might tweak the 'Threshold' but that is about it and I find that that gives me great pictures for printing.
Everyone has a slightly different workflow. While I use Capture NX2 for editing, I like the interface for printing better with CS6.
Your sharpening is pretty strong, and could easily create artifacts in image files. I find the in-camera sharpening a bit coarse, so I use a Standard picture control with no added sharpening or contrast. In post processing I use Tonal Contrast at a 35-45% opacity as one of my sharpening techniques, so my High Pass and UnSharp Mask sharpening are about 75% of what I used without Tonal Contrast. My sharpening is largely applied selectively - and not applied at all to skies, backgrounds, etc. noise or pixelation can be noticed.
While not critical, if you are trying to wring out every advantage, sizing to your specific print output with a 360 PPI setting best matches the printer and eliminates or reduces the need for interpolation. At 300 PPI, the printer will interpolated the image as needed for final output. The printer is quite good at this function, and on moderate sized prints it probably would be very hard to see a difference. On large prints, the printer needs to upsize the image if the native dimensions at 360 PPI are less than the output size, so managing this yourself can be better.
I always resample. I think it is necessary if interpolation of image size is required.
I consider High Pass sharpening as edge sharpening to refine edges. A low radius applies enhancement with a thin edge, and a higher radius applies a thicker edge. If you use a little high pass sharpening to print, it should be applied with a small radius - probably 2-4 - so that you can just see it. For me, it's not an automatic step - it is just applied to those edges that make a difference - eyes, water reflections, maybe hair, treelines on ridges, and similar textures.
Thank you Eric. Maybe I should consider toning down the in-camera sharpen and amping up the sharpening during the edit phase as you suggest. Printing is sort of new to me, so I have to reconcile the differences between what looks good on screen versus print.
Question (and I did ask Ernesto this as well) - but is there any advantage to checking 16-Bit Output within the Epson print driver when printing directly from NEF files (on Capture NX2)? I think this may be a Mac thing (not sure), but it's probably the only setting I'm not sure about.
"Maybe I should consider toning down the in-camera sharpen and amping up the sharpening during the edit phase as you suggest. Printing is sort of new to me, so I have to reconcile the differences between what looks good on screen versus print."
I also use CNX2 for all my PP. I follow Jason Odell's capture sharpening recommendations:
Disable in camera sharpening in CNX2.
In Camera Settings > Picture Control set the Picture Control to a particular setting instead of "Unchanged". I usually set it the same as the in camera setting. This is necessary to enable the next step.
Click the Advanced down arrow and set Sharpening to zero. Doing it this way allows you to keep the in camera sharpening for JPGs and playback the way you want it if you don't PP an image.
Use USM to do your capture sharpening. The in camera sharpening does not allow independent control of intensity radius and threshold so you get much better control this way. View the image at 100% to fine tune the USM parameters.
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