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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Mon 12-Apr-10 12:58 PM
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"Sharpening"


Tacoma, US
          

Seems like I am sharpening every shot I take with a D300s or D3s using the standard Picture Control, which has sharpening set to 3.

I can use USM or Hi-Pass to sharpen, and I also seem to get good results by just adjusting sharpening in the Standard Picture Control within Capture NX2 to 5 or 6.

So is there any reason I shouldn't adjust the Picture Control in the camera to 5 or 6 and avoid this step in Capture NX?

Also, what use is the AUTO setting for sharpening in the Picture Controls?

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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hrbaan
12th Apr 2010
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sidewinder Silver Member
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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Mon 12-Apr-10 03:38 PM
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#1. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 0


Kockengen, NL
          

If the sharpening setting in Picture Control gives you good results, then there's no real necessity to change your approach. One of the advantages of doing the sharpening (e.g. USM) in the edit steps is that you can make finer adjustments to it and, more importantly, make it apply only to parts of the photo. This can be helpful if you want to prevent e.g. blotchyness in a sky of a high ISO shot, but still have other details crisp and sharp.

I don't know the algorithm used for the auto setting so I can't really comment on it.

Note: personally I apply the USM sharpening as detailed by Jason Odell in his "Photographers's Guide to Capture NX2". This provides a great starting point for the so called "capture sharpening" and, provided the shot itself was sharp and correctly focussed, I find I seldom have to apply additional "creative" sharpening to my shots.

Cheers,


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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sidewinder Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jan 2010Mon 12-Apr-10 04:03 PM
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#2. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 1


US
          

Hayo,

Have you seen this thread:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/capturenx/discuss/72157605826884646/

The Capture NX product manager at Nikon, Michael Rubin, disagrees with Jason's approach of not using "in camera sharpening".

I have tried both approaches and generally get better results using the "Picture Control" sharpening.

Scott

The important thing is never to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. -Thomas Paine

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Mon 12-Apr-10 05:24 PM
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#3. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 2


Tacoma, US
          

Scott:

What setting do you use for in-camera Picture Control sharpening on your D300s?

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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sidewinder Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jan 2010Mon 12-Apr-10 09:37 PM
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#8. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 3
Mon 12-Apr-10 09:39 PM by sidewinder

US
          

>What setting do you use for in-camera Picture Control sharpening on your D300s?

Mick,

Usually "3" or "4". Sometimes "5" but not too often. I usually do a some unsharp mask sharpening too. I do not like the results I get using unsharp mask sharpening alone.

Scott

The important thing is never to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. -Thomas Paine

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Mon 12-Apr-10 06:01 PM
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#4. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 2


Kockengen, NL
          

Scott,

Now this is an interesting read! Funny I haven't heard mention of this in any of the Image Doctor's podcasts. Pretty earth shattering news and totally contrary to what everyone is advocating, including Adobe!

It does make sense to me though; by using a sharpening algorithm on the raw sensor data before it has been even been processed to pixel data you should potentially be better equipped to counter the blurring effect of the optical low pass filter. Heck this could be another reason to be using Nikon Capture instead of e.g. ACR; I'm quite sure they are not able to apply sharpening to the raw data this way.

As a side note, my own observations already made me USM sharpen much much earlier in the process (so not as the last step): the retouch brush as found in NX 2 work so much better when you use it after you sharpened for instance!

All in all, I thank you for sharing the link and I will definitely incorporate the new method in my workflow!

Any knowledge you can share on the Picture control sharpening settings you use for the various subjects?


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Mon 12-Apr-10 06:35 PM
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#5. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 4


Kockengen, NL
          

To add to this, I performed a very limited test on two D3 files and while the difference is very small, I have to vote for the version where I used the picture control sharpening, this seemed to produce a slightly sharper image without introducing additional sharpening artefacts (in fact there seemed to be slightly less artefacts).

The test I conducted was with two shots of buildings, developed using the "Landscape" PC setting. Both developed twice, once with PC sharpening set to zero and applying the USM as suggested by Jason (i.e., 40/5/2 for the D3) and one with it set to the default PC sharpening for "Landscape" (4), and the USM step removed.

I haven't yet tried with other subject matter, but this first test sure seems to indicate we're on to something here

Cheers,


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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sidewinder Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jan 2010Mon 12-Apr-10 10:06 PM
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#9. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

>Now this is an interesting read! Funny I haven't heard mention of this in any of the Image Doctor's podcasts. Pretty earth
>shattering news and totally contrary to what everyone is advocating, including Adobe!

Hayo,

Yes, when I read that I was surprised based on everything I had been hearing from other sources. I tried using Picture Control sharpening and saw immediate improvement.

Scott

The important thing is never to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. -Thomas Paine

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Mon 12-Apr-10 06:59 PM
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#6. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 0


Kockengen, NL
          

Mick,

As I was previously under the assumption that sharpening should be done as an edit step, I hadn't yet commented on your PC sharpening settings. So here it is now

It seems that setting it to 4 corresponds roughly (see above test results) to the setting Jason suggested (at least for the D3), which is a nice compromise between sharpness and not producing halos. Four is the setting that is suggested by the Landscape and Vivid picture controls (Portrait, Neutral, and the 3 DX2 modes all have 2, while Standard and Monochrome both have 3). This coincides with what is generally said: portraits should have less sharpening (except in certain areas). I'll need to play with this and see what I really like for sharpening settings in various occasions. For instance I use Neutral for interior shots (I need accurate colours for my clients) but definitely want them to look as sharp as possible, so I'll probably end up using 4 here instead of the default of 2.

Note: If I set sharpening to 6 in PC, I run a higher risk of getting visible halos in areas of relatively high contrast, so I actually consider this setting to be a bit to high for general use (notice though, that my camera does have it set to 6 in order for me to better judge sharpness in the field, I always override this in NX2 though, so this is no problem).

Oh well, time for yet another rethinking of my raw flow. Boy am I happy with RAW and the way it is dealt with in Capture NX: because of e.g., the editing steps I can easily apply new and improved approaches to my files without having to redo most of the (complex) edits and retouching I had performed

Cheers,


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Mon 12-Apr-10 08:47 PM
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#7. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 6


Tacoma, US
          

Thanks for the data, Hayo. I'll do some testing myself later today on my D3s and D300s. I'm curious to see how one responds and then the other to changes in teh sharpenign settings.

Yes, Capture NX is truly great for Nikon RAW images. I hardly ever use PS anymore, only for Genuine Fractals enlargements. I'm using Noiseware standalone for industrial strength noise reduction when Capture NX can't give acceptable results, and PhotoMechanic (one of your favorites) for all image amangements. Throw in Helicon Focus for Macro focus bracketing, and Photomatix for HDR, and I'm good to go!

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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DrJay32 Gold Member Awarded for his multiple written contributions for the Resources and eZine Nikonian since 12th Mar 2003Wed 14-Apr-10 08:22 PM
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#10. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 0


Colorado Springs, US
          

I'll tell you why.

1) No threshold control
2) No ability to apply selective sharpening

The thought that the in-camera sharpening is working on your "raw" data is tantalizing-- but false. Yes, the in-camera sharpening occurs during the RAW conversion phase, but it occurs AFTER the image is demosaiced. Frankly, there is nothing special about Picture Control Sharpening. I wish there were. I wish that Nikon could state that Picture Control Sharpening accounts for camera body, ISO, and image detail. But it doesn't. It's just a version of USM that has a threshold value of zero.

Let me clear up a few misconceptions that I've been bombarded with this week.

Misconception #1: I do NOT use a workflow without capture sharpening. FALSE. I ALWAYS capture sharpen, using the USM too.

Misconception #2: You cannot get better results with USM. FALSE. In fact, you can routinely get FAR BETTER results with USM than you can with PC sharpening because you can control amount, radius, and threshold. With PC sharpening, you can ONLY control amount. Moreover, USM can be applied selectively, PC sharpening is global only.

Need proof? Take an image that has a clear blue sky in it (especially one at ISO 400 or more). Crank PC sharpening up to 7. What do you see at 100%? Grain in the sky. Now try it with PC off (0) and USM set to 405/7/5. The grain isn't there but the image is still sharp.

Now, one thing I've learned of late is that the Radius setting in NX2 is pixels/10. I used to think it was pixels/5, but it is clear to me that 10% is equal to 1 pixel radius.

So, a setting of 40/7/4 might just be what you're looking for. The best part of USM is that you can customize it to suit your image. If you have a high-detail landscape, then dial the radius down and increase the amount slider. If you have a high-iso image or a portrait, increase the radius and lower the amount to avoid sharpening noise.

One other thing, just for kicks.

Which one of these images is better?




-Jason

Jason P. Odell
Colorado Nikonian
Author, The Photographer's Guide series of eBooks
Capture NX, Capture NX 2, and now Nik Silver Efex Pro


www.luminescentphoto.com

Read my blog

Listen to The Image Doctors

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Wed 14-Apr-10 08:42 PM
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#11. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 10


Tacoma, US
          

On the other hand, if PC sharpening will work most of the time and eliminate a step in post (the "get it right in the camera" theory), then for those instance where it doesn't work or where selective sharpening is desired, you can always back the PC sharpening back down to a lower value in Capture NX and apply whatever sharpening is desired.

Looking at some test shots (with a blue sky) on my D300s, it seems that a value of 5 or 6 will work without introducing more noise than is achieved using a setting of 3, but with a significantly sharper image.

I need to play with the D3s some to see what happens.

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Thu 15-Apr-10 01:18 PM
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#14. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 11
Thu 15-Apr-10 06:04 PM by hrbaan

Kockengen, NL
          

>On the other hand, if PC sharpening will work most of the
>time and eliminate a step in post (the "get it right in
>the camera" theory), then for those instance where it
>doesn't work or where selective sharpening is desired, you can
>always back the PC sharpening back down to a lower value in
>Capture NX and apply whatever sharpening is desired.

Well, my workflow is probably different from your but as all my images go through a batch for the specific scene (actually following most of Jason's advice in his e-book), for me having sharpening inside or outside of the edit steps doesn't add to the problem.
Even if I had it inside, I would have to change it; my in-camera sharpening is set to 6 which produces (slight) halos on my D3, but which is fine for preview at the back of the camera. Above I tried 4 which gave me (again slightly) better results than the USM sharpening I have been using so far. However, after discussing this privately with Jason, he made some suggestions for USM settings which improved the sharpness even beyond that.

So though in my short test I seemed to favour the in-camera sharpening step, I now have to conclude in favour of the USM step. Some remarks/reasons:

  • In-camera sharpening does not seem to really work on any other data than USM would, nor is it tailored to the specific camera and shooting condition. So there is no benefit of this approach at all.

  • USM is much more flexible
    • You can specify the parameters more freely (e.g., specify an intensity, radius, threshold)
    • You can adjust the settings towards the specific situation of the shot (camera model, iso, etc.)
    • You can use a mask and/or soften the effect by changing the opacity (and even blending mode).

    • You can apply sharpening at any point in the edit process, not only at the beginning or end
    • With the right settings, the results will be much better than with any in-camera setting.



  • >Looking at some test shots (with a blue sky) on my D300s, it
    >seems that a value of 5 or 6 will work without introducing
    >more noise than is achieved using a setting of 3, but with a
    >significantly sharper image.
    >
    >I need to play with the D3s some to see what happens.

    On my D3 I get halos at settings of 6 (some even at 5) so I wouldn't use that high a setting there (haven't looked at shots of my D200 and D70, so can't comment there)

    Cheers,
    Hayo Baan – Photography
    e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
    Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

      

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sidewinder Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jan 2010Thu 15-Apr-10 05:09 PM
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#16. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 14


US
          

>However, after discussing this privately with Jason, he made some suggestions for USM settings which improved the sharpness
>even beyond that.

Do you care to share this information?

Scott

The important thing is never to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. -Thomas Paine

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Thu 15-Apr-10 06:36 PM
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#17. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 16


Kockengen, NL
          

Yes, of course.

I had been using the originally suggested sharpening of 40/5/2 for my D3 images. Based on Jason's new finding that the radius % in NX relates differently to the Photoshop numbers, he suggested using a radius of 8 to 10. This produced halos in my test image though, so he then suggested to use e.g. 30 for the amount and/or 4 for the threshold. Using 30/8/4 indeed produced a pretty nice result (better than before, and also better than the "in-camera" sharpening set to 4).

The thing is, I'm not convinced this actually is the best sharpening possible (note that Jason's suggested sharpening is always a starting point anyway) so I am currently trying some other combinations as well. 40/8/4 seems to work well too for instance, but so do others…

To further add to this, I'm also trying out the application of pretty extreme sharpening (50/20/0), but using a mask. This is what Guy Gowan actually does. When I tried this on the test image (some building structure at a blue sky with white clouds) where I use a minus control point to mask-out the blue sky, it did produce a very good result too. The mask removes all the potential bright halos in the sky (dark halos imo are much less of a problem) and therefore the masks allows to increase sharpening quite a lot.

What sharpening I like most is hard to say and, I think, also relies on the final output medium...

Oh well, this whole discussion has definitely made me think and rethink my sharpening approach. A good thing as it does lead to improvement

Cheers,


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Thu 15-Apr-10 10:59 AM
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#12. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 10


Gainesville, US
          

Jason,

Ouch! Your sharpened images are cutting my ego. Even suffering the conversion to JPEG and subsequent file transfer, either of your pics look better than most of mine.

To answer your question, I like "b". Now please tell us which one you like and why.

Rob

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Ciderfish Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Aug 2008Thu 15-Apr-10 12:38 PM
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#13. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 10


GB
          

Jason,

A very interesting discussion. I'm always looking to get good sharpening without noise, and the 'magic bullet' of PC sharpening was seeming to be quite appealing. Sad if it is just USM applied in 'blunt' way.

On the pictures I would say 'A' is the better picture.

The reasons for my choice is that I see more noise in the sky of picture 'B' and slightly more fine detail in the tree in picture 'A'.

I would stick my neck out and say that Picture 'A' was selective sharpening, and 'B' was a global sharpening.


Kevin
A Nikonian in the West Country

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Thu 15-Apr-10 01:26 PM
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#15. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 10


Kockengen, NL
          

Image "A" gets a vote from me too; slightly better sharpness/detail and less noise in the sky.

With all the new findings of Jason and others, it seems we definitely should be further investigating the sharpening settings.

Discussing this with Jason, it is already clear that the original suggested sharpening settings as found in his e-book can be improved upon quite a bit. Now to find a new "good" set of suggestions…

Cheers (and thanks again to Jason for his speedy replies),


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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DrJay32 Gold Member Awarded for his multiple written contributions for the Resources and eZine Nikonian since 12th Mar 2003Sat 17-Apr-10 03:05 PM
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#18. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 15


Colorado Springs, US
          

Image "A" was sharpened using only USM, PC sharpening was set to 0.
Image "B" was sharpened using PC sharpening set to 4.

The biggest drawback with PC sharpening is that you can't control it's output other than strength. A high-detail landscape will look good with low radius, high amount sharpening, but you can't do that with PC sharpening. Once you get past 5 on PC, you start to see halos, and the fine details still aren't as prominent as what you can do with USM.

-Jason

Jason P. Odell
Colorado Nikonian
Author, The Photographer's Guide series of eBooks
Capture NX, Capture NX 2, and now Nik Silver Efex Pro


www.luminescentphoto.com

Read my blog

Listen to The Image Doctors

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Sat 17-Apr-10 07:47 PM
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#19. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 18


Tacoma, US
          

Interesting. Here are my results. Can you tell which used in camera PC and the other only USM sharpening?

Both taken with a D300s and 18-200 VR II at 200mm f5.6, so not the sharpest combo.


Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com





Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Sun 18-Apr-10 12:38 PM
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#23. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 19


Kockengen, NL
          

Mick,

At the provided size it is near impossible to discern any difference, it doesn't help both have been cropped differently either. Can you provide a higher resolution version with the same crop?

Cheers,


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Sun 18-Apr-10 06:56 PM
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#26. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 23
Sun 18-Apr-10 07:00 PM by mklass

Tacoma, US
          

OK. Now that I've figured out how to to it, here are three versions of the same image. The only change between them is PC vs USM sharpening, and the amount applied. All of these settings have been discussed in this thread.







Which is a better result and why?

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Sun 18-Apr-10 07:06 PM
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#27. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 26


Kockengen, NL
          

The images are still too small to view and compare them properly if you can post them full size that would be better (for one, resizing, depending on the method, produces artefacts and/or actually reduces sharpness).

Anyway from the files you've posted I'd say. A is the sharpest, then C, then B.

Cheers,


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Sun 18-Apr-10 07:19 PM
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#28. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 27


Tacoma, US
          

Hayo,

These have not been resized or resampled, only cropped in Capture NX2 to highlight the bird. The uncropped image would simply show more bushes and background.

I'll post the sharpening settings later today.

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Mon 19-Apr-10 01:21 AM
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#30. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 26


San Jose, US
          

I set my screen to +400 in explorer and looking at the JPEG's 1,2 and 3, here is what I saw. 1 and 3 had halo's visable around the beak. I see more noise in the grren leaves around the branch fork in 1 than in 2 or 3. 2 looks better overall to me.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

Retirement is a gift of time - Don't waste it!

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Mon 19-Apr-10 04:37 AM
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#31. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 26


Tacoma, US
          

Here's the sharpening settings on the images:

A In-Camera PC sharpening 5
B PC Sharpening 0 USM 40/5/2
C PC Sharpening 0 USM 30/10/4

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Mon 19-Apr-10 05:20 PM
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#35. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 31


Kockengen, NL
          

Interesting, but somehow also coinciding with my own findings. Now I now your images aren't resized I took another, better, look at your images and my findings re sharpening stand: A, C, B in order of decreasing sharpness. A, however, does suffer from some minor halo-ing (is that even a word?). Ultimately, C would therefore have my vote. If you change your settings slightly and have them read 40/8/4, have a look and see if you like this setting perhaps even better. At least that's what I currently seem to like on my D3 images.

Oh, and going through al this, it is clear we have only skimped on the whole sharpening thing; we're currently only discussing "capture sharpening" on the two other steps (creative and output sharpening) in the whole process we have not even begun to discuss

Cheers,


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sat 17-Apr-10 11:05 PM
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#20. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 18


Gainesville, US
          

Several of you have perceived differences between Jason's two images that I just cannot detect. I "think" that image "B" is very slightly lighter than "A" but it's so minute that I could easily be imagining that. Otherwise I can't see a difference. I've looked at them in my browser (Safari) and in several other viewers. I've saved the images to my desktop and pulled them into NX2 to view them simultaneously at varying blowups. Even at 1200% the clearly visible square pixels appear to be identical even though I expect them to be different, at least along edges.

I logged onto Jason's site to see if the images were there (thinking that I might not be accessing a "virgin" image on Nikonians) and saw a reminder to re-profile my display in his blog... which I did with no improvement in my ability to differentiate the images.

I'd appreciate any tips towards improving my viewing technique (or maybe my downloading technique). I'm beginning to suspect that I just don't "see" as well as I should. "See", of course, could mean a physical or an artistic defect, or both.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Rob

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sun 18-Apr-10 10:05 AM
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#21. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 20


St Petersburg, RU
          

I've been following this thread with interest also. And I also have trouble seeing the differences on my monitor, a laptop that has all my pp software installed. I took the laptop to the office and plugged in my 20" monitor and the differences popped out. Boy, trying to pp on this laptop is a major weakness I can see(pun intended), the contrast ratio, brightness and sharpness only when comparing side-by-side with the desk monitor. Looks like a good day to go shopping for a home monitor.....or even start building a pp specific desk system and transfer all my programs to that one since I really do not need portable pp. Better to get good results than convenient results.


Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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KenLPhotos Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Jul 2009Sun 18-Apr-10 11:32 AM
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#22. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 20


Stewartstown, US
          

I layered them together and blended them with the 'difference' option and there is a difference.


KenL

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There are many 'images of beautiful objects' but few 'beautiful images of objects'.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Sun 18-Apr-10 12:45 PM
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#25. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 22


Kockengen, NL
          

Well, yes, that shows there IS a difference, but that's not really the question. The question is which one you like better and why

Cheers,


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Sun 18-Apr-10 12:44 PM
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#24. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 20


Kockengen, NL
          

To clearly see the difference of Jason's sample photos, view them at 100% and zoom in on an area in the lower part of the sky. Don't view them side to side, but switch between them with them showing the exact same part of the image. Now you should clearly see the difference.

If you still don't discern any difference, it's either your eyes or your monitor's inability to show very small colour differences. I'm viewing this on an Eizo CG241W display, and this definitely helps in cases like this

Cheers,


Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
Web: http://www.hayobaan.nl

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sun 18-Apr-10 07:53 PM
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#29. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 24


Gainesville, US
          

Thank you for the viewing tips Hayo. My first serious look at the images was at 100% as you suggest but I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be to see the differences. I have thought that my 27" iMac display was pretty good, however, your mention of the EIZO indicated to me that I needed to put some more effort into creating the best viewing condition that I could (especially after checking the Eizo prices).

I further dimmed my viewing room and created a makeshift monitor-hood, then re-profiled the display (again, for dimmer viewing condition - luminance needed slight reduction). I can now barely detect a difference. Next step is a pair of prescription reading glasses. I don't need much correction and can easily read a book, but you folk have raised the bar so I'll just accept the education and "see" if my photographic perception improves.

Rob

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Mon 19-Apr-10 04:58 AM
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#32. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 29


St Petersburg, RU
          

For all intents and purposes, the images are close enough as to not make ANY difference to a client viewing, however they view, from a normal viewing distance, at normal zooming, in isolation(image without a version with which to A/B)
With a better monitor Jason's two images, viewed at normal scaling there were differences in noise and artifacts, most noticeable was noise in the blue sky. But in Mick's images, viewed full scale it was harder to see anything except possibly fringing on the edges of the bud on the right side, but I was not sure. I did not download and view at 100% because a client wouldn't.
That said, if shown to 100 people the guess of which was "better" would probably the responses would no more better differentiated than random coin flips.
Maybe we are concentrating on factors that have little value in improving considering the intended use of the final image. Jason had demonstrated his point, as he does so well, but in actual use, Mick showed that it was a coin flip. It might be more discernible of a difference if printed in a large high res format, if so I would be comfortable leaning towards Jason's method just for safety.

This exercise reminds me of all the sessions of listening to the "sounds" of amplifiers, wires and mics in controlled conditions and debating which was different, and then which was better. Better might cost 100 times as much or more but left with no clear winner. In my studio I participated in these a/b comparisons far into the night for fun but viewed it as a waste of time in view of a finished record. When heard in isolation, no one on earth could pick out the difference in better than pure chance guessing between the $1.00 a foot mic cables and the $380/meter cables or mic preamp built into the console VS. the $5000 external preamp either.
Asked what records any of these "experts" still had fond memories of from years ago and they always replied records of songs that meant something to them, often on recordings done on gear any home computer with built-in sound card now would have trounced in a lab test. Old jazz classics or even Motown greats were often technically were rather limited, listened to very poor early car or console radios and with terrible speakers but the perception of high personal worth was due to the song and performance. We had far more than our share of hit records in my studio, we had good gear but never high end boutique gear the "golden ears" debated, and never found any way to correlate the technical perfection of the gear with any audience response. Its the song, not the medium or media.
I am in world class museums and galleries weekly and see the works of the masters closer than any tourist yet I've never worried what the "resolution" of the brushes or distortion of the pigment was in any of them. It does not matter to the perception of the piece. The aesthetic value comes from somewhere far removed from technology of the detail, the whole is tells a story when viewed at once and loses all value when viewed at a too-close distance.
In other words, aren't we fretting over details that are totally swamped in influence over the final perception by the viewer of a photo's communications value?
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Mon 19-Apr-10 05:39 AM
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#33. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 32
Mon 19-Apr-10 05:45 AM by mklass

Tacoma, US
          

Stan:

I couldn't agree with you more. I'm just looking to make my workflow more efficient.

For me, I think the approach of in-camera Picture Control sharpening will work most of the time. And since I'm usually shoot RAW, I still have the option to use zero PC sharpening and Hi-Pass or USM sharpening when needed.

RAW is good!

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Mon 19-Apr-10 05:00 PM
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#34. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 32
Mon 19-Apr-10 08:41 PM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

Stan,

Thanks for the reality reminder. I have learned a little more about sharpening from this thread but I think I'll throw away my makeshift monitor-hood and table the examinations while the eyestrain subsides. In the meantime I'll adjust the 11-band/channel equalizer on my JBL Hartsfields powered by bi-amped Crown DC300's with electronic X-over. I can still hear the difference (or maybe that ringing in my ears is just nostalgia).

Rob

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 20-Apr-10 02:09 AM
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#36. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 34


San Jose, US
          

I still have my Crown DC300 packad away somewhere. A great amp! I am hearing impaired (need two aids to counter the loss from my military days) and I still could hear the difference when I changed amps, but multi-channel reproduction was just going to be too costly to do via separates so I moved on to high end Integra Receivers and haven't looked back. I started out building kits and used to have Dynaco 70's set up in mono mode on 2 channels. It was a very sweet system until I moved to the Crown, which sounded even better.

Rob, have you had a chance to look at the Dan Margolis stuff yet?

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

Retirement is a gift of time - Don't waste it!

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Tue 20-Apr-10 05:04 AM
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#37. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 36


Gainesville, US
          

I am seriously looking at Dan's stuff but it's taking some time, in part, because I'm not really up to snuff on CS4. I do not understand some of the criticism we heard about his approach and think it is due to others being uncomfortable with a "different" view. I have been wrestling with some raw images I took of some azaleas and think that his work in LAB color may help me fix the issue. Azaleas are a flowering bush of many varieties and colors. All of my azalea pics except those of one variety have come out in very natural, beautiful, colors. One with a kind of purple-magenta hue just won't come out right under my unskilled hand (it shows as being way out-of-gamut) so I'm going to try to find some time to put it under the "LAB" microscope. I'm more comfortable with NX2 but can't get the azalea right with that either.

I should have known that you would be the type to recognize the DC300. And yes, I had a Dynaco plus a cheap Eico before that and an HK Citation after. All tube kits, all suffered from overstressed power supply capacitors (the Citation went up in flames 3 times). Then a local Hi-FI dealer asked me to help him install a really expensive system with a D-150. When we finished and cranked up Chicago I knew I had to have a Crown. By the time I could save the money, I had helped an MD friend doing brain research wire up a monkey to one of the only lab amps available that would accurately amplify DC and convinced myself that the 300 was "necessary".

To set the record straight, I don't really have Hartsfields but do have the next best "vintage" thing, JBL exponential horn-loaded corner C-34 enclosures. I do have all the rest, however (took me decades to afford the stuff and it was becoming collector's items, but I did get to put together my "dream" system. Still sounds great even though hearing has fallen off from a measured 22,000 Hz to about 9,000 (but I can feel the bass).

Apologies for the light to sound digression, but I needed some mental escape from revamping my room lighting and monitor profiling. I decided to try a D55 and a D50 profile instead of the usual D65 and that looks like it has possibilities of showing a little more detail. I've gotten the desktop light level to about 70 lux and the display level to 80 cd/m². What's the opinion regarding use of 5000º K vs 6500º K profiling other than not matching a norm that others are more likely to be using?

Rob

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photphil Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Aug 2004Wed 28-Apr-10 03:09 PM
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#38. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 10


Sidney, US
          


>Now, one thing I've learned of late is that the Radius setting
>in NX2 is pixels/10. I used to think it was pixels/5, but it
>is clear to me that 10% is equal to 1 pixel radius.
>
>So, a setting of 40/7/4 might just be what you're looking for.
> The best part of USM is that you can customize it to suit
>your image. If you have a high-detail landscape, then dial
>the radius down and increase the amount slider. If you have a
>high-iso image or a portrait, increase the radius and lower
>the amount to avoid sharpening noise.

Jason,
I came across this thread and was very interested in this reference to setting USM Output Sharpening at 40/7/4. I had been using 25/3/2 (from your eBook) and wasn't sure why my images seem to be lacking. Although I use a D200, (not a D3 or D300) I tried this out on many of my shots that weren't quite "right". What a difference!
Now I want to go back and redo many of my gallery images.
Thanks for the tip.

Phil

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redpalm Registered since 18th Dec 2009Thu 29-Apr-10 03:37 AM
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#39. "RE: Sharpening"
In response to Reply # 38


Palm Beach Gardens, US
          

It's strange but I was just wrestling with this same dilemma the other day. I was finding that using the picture controls was doing a much better job with overall sharpening.

To me it depends how much noise it creates.

The threshold setting (in USM) is great when dealing with large areas of little or no contrast receive less sharpening (therefore less noise). PC doesn't have this control.

But unless I have a big area of blue sky or similar, I go for PC sharpening (using "neutral" btw). Lately I've even been starting with Neutral and pushing brightness and contrast all the way to the left, saturation at -1 and sharpening up. Then I'll go to LCS to tweak from there. I feel like it gives me the most pixels to play with. I can add tonal contrast wherever I want. But generally I only find myself doing this in high contrast situations, which I avoid like the plague.

My issues with USM and even high pass started with the effects I was seeing in the highlights. It creates very sharp transitions even at low settings sometimes.

I use PC almost every time now. If I need to mask it I just process the image twice and mask in photoshop.

  

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