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Subject: "In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?" Previous topic | Next topic
chuckji Registered since 25th Jan 2011Thu 17-Mar-11 04:16 PM
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"In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"


South Lyon, US
          

Hi everyone,

I recently read Thom Hogan's Sharpening 101 and was wondering if I should add sharpening in-camera or in post.

I'm shooting RAW+JPG, and to be honest, I'm still learning how to use the editing features in View/Capture NX.

So, I'm asking what you do.
1. Use in-camera sharpening? If so what setting? And do you change the setting for various conditions?

2. Sharpen in post processing?

3. Both 1 and 2?

4. Something else?

If this topic has already been discussed, sorry for bringing it up again. If you can provide a link to the discussion I'd appreciate it - I searched but didn't really find what I was looking for.

Thanks,

Chuck

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dm1dave Administrator
19th Mar 2011
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chuckji
19th Mar 2011
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KnightPhoto Gold Member
22nd Mar 2011
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amolsan
31st Mar 2011
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luckyphoto Silver Member
31st Mar 2011
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kuzzy Silver Member
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01st Apr 2011
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luckyphoto Silver Member
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amolsan
03rd Apr 2011
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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Sat 19-Mar-11 12:57 AM
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#1. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 0
Sat 19-Mar-11 12:58 AM by dm1dave

Lowden, US
          

Hi Chuck,

Although that article has a lot of great info it is from 2003. Thom probably needs to make a few updates.

A direct answer to your question is that I do both. I use the in-camera sharpening and I also preform sharpening in post processing.

You need to understand that there are several types of sharpening (types not methods) that can be applied to an image.

Primarily there are three types of sharpening to consider.

1.Capture Sharpening
2.Selective Sharpening
3.Output Sharpening

First is always Capture Sharpening. It is always necessary and should be near the beginning of the work flow. This is the only Sharpening that can be done using the cameras picture controls.
The purpose of Capture Sharpening is to counter the effect of the cameras anti-aliasing filter. The anti-aliasing filter is to ensure that the image does not have a moiré pattern. To do this the AA filter slightly blurs the image.

Capture sharpening should be a mild application of sharpening. You are not trying to get the image as sharp as it can be with Capture Sharpening.

I almost always use in-camera sharpening (usually the default setting in the standard picture control) for the capture step. The only exception is if an image has a lot of noise. Then I turn off the in-camera sharpening (in Capture NX) and start with some noise reduction followed by Unsharp Mask. This tends to make it easier to keep the noise under control.

Note: If you shoot RAW the in-camera sharpening can only be used when you are using Capture NX or View NX to process the image. Other programs will not apply in-camera sharpening to the image.

Next is Selective Sharpening or Creative sharpening.

Selective sharpening is when you mask an area to make one part of the image sharper without affecting the entire image. An example may be to sharpen the eyes of your subject wile keep the skin softer to hide pores or blemishes.

The necessity of this sharpening step depends on the subject and intended use of the image as well as the photographer creative needs.

Always last is Output Sharpening. (Almost always necessary)

Output Sharpening should always be the very last step in your workflow. It is usually done globally (over the entire image) and it must be done after the image has been sized for final output. The degree of output sharpening varies with the size of the final image and the method of output. An image resizes to 1000 pixels for uploading to the web will require different sharpening then an image that is intended for an 12” x 18” inkjet print.

Since you use View & Capture NX you should spend some time over in the Nikon & Nikonians Imaging Software forum. There are usually plenty of discussions about sharpening over there and some very knowledgeable people who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

I hope this helps.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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chuckji Registered since 25th Jan 2011Sat 19-Mar-11 07:24 PM
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#2. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 1


South Lyon, US
          

Thanks for the very informative reply, Dave.

I have a lot of studying to do.

I must say, this is probably THE most informative and helpful forum I ever used! Everyone openly shares their knowledge and are very willing to help those less-in-the-know to learn. I really appreciate that.

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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Tue 22-Mar-11 12:10 AM
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#3. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 2


Alberta, CA
          

Good to hear about your positive experience here at Nikonians, I echo them completely!

For the record I use in-camera sharpening of 6 or 7 in all my cameras even though I am a RAW only shooter. I need to ascertain while I am shooting that good things are happening from a sharpening point of view and have become accustomed to the process of checking for this on the camera LCD.

Then most often in post I remove the in-camera sharpening and proceed how Dave has mentioned above. Especially the selective sharpening approach for individual deserving images can be very very powerful. I am an exclusive Nikon post processor (View and Capture NX2 and Color Efex Pro 3). Plus if I choose to batch process an event, I may live with the in-camera sharpening applied in post as the default and only selectively process a few very deserving images, especially if I am time constrained. You can always go back later and enhance an image when time permits - I like the interplay between my in-camera settings and my post-processing software.

Especially with you being a jpg+RAW shooter I would dial in in-camera sharpening - don't forget to set it on each Picture Control that you habitually may use (e.g. Portrait, Landscape, Standard, Neutral, Vivid, etc.)

Best regards, SteveK

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amolsan Registered since 14th Mar 2011Thu 31-Mar-11 09:15 AM
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#4. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 3


IN
          

Just One question Stevek?

Will keeping the in camera sharpening ( In Std.) on Auto be as effective as keeping it on 6 or 7 ?

I mostly do JPEG and also do PP using Aparture.

Amol

  

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luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Thu 31-Mar-11 04:34 PM
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#5. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 4


Port Charlotte, US
          

Hi Amol,

Kind of a re-hash of what Dave and SteveK said -

In your case the in-camera sharpening will be applied to the JPEGs. I shoot RAW + JPEG. While Aperture doesn't apply the in-camera sharpen settings to my RAW images, I can look at the sharpened JPEGs as a reference point to sharpen my RAW files.

Nikon seemed to go a little conservative on the default in-camera sharpening setting so like Steve, I keep my setting around 6 to7.

In Aperture you can mostly ignore "Sharpen" and use the "Edge Sharpen" tool. The "Sharpen" tool was left in so you could bring in photos from Aperture 2 and update them to be compatible with the newer Aperture 3 Edge and Brush sharpening tools. I wish Aperture 3 had an Unsharpen Mask, but alas, not at this time.

Dave and SteveK - Great job on the explanations. I always learn something new.

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

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kuzzy Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Dec 2005Fri 01-Apr-11 02:52 AM
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#6. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 5


Milford, US
          

For what it is worth I pretty much follow the same workflow as everyone else here. Shoot with in-camera set to 6 or 7, I do not remember what I settled on. If I am going to PP a Raw file I take out the in-camera and start from scratch.

Marc
There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.-Ansel Adams

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kentak Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2010Fri 01-Apr-11 04:41 AM
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#7. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 5


US
          

Hey, Larry,

I'm still learning Aperture 3 and had a question you might be able to answer. The first adjustment block is called RAW Fine Tuning. When I use the sharpening slider, I usually see very little change at all, even going to the extremes. Yet, when I use the Sharpening and Edge Sharpening blocks, the adjustments are very noticeable and effective. What, if anything, is that first block (RAW fine tuning) sharpening actually doing?

Thanks.

Kent

  

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luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Fri 01-Apr-11 01:25 PM
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#8. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 7


Port Charlotte, US
          

Dave answered that in the first part of his explanation.

"The purpose of Capture Sharpening is to counter the effect of the cameras anti-aliasing filter. The anti-aliasing filter is to ensure that the image does not have a moiré pattern. To do this the AA filter slightly blurs the image.

Capture sharpening should be a mild application of sharpening. You are not trying to get the image as sharp as it can be with Capture Sharpening."

Since Aperture 3 does not apply the in-camera (capture) sharpening settings, it provides the RAW Fine Tuning sharpen tool. That's why the effects are more subtle than the other Edge Sharpen tool.

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Fri 01-Apr-11 01:28 PM
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#9. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 8
Fri 01-Apr-11 01:28 PM by Bob Chadwick

Norcross, US
          

Doesn't in-camera sharpening only apply to the JPG file with all RAW sharpening need to be done in post processing?

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luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Fri 01-Apr-11 02:15 PM
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#10. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 9


Port Charlotte, US
          

Correct.

Only View NX2 and Capture NX2 will read and apply the in-camera setting for RAW (NEF) images. With the Nikon applications, the in-camera values are used on the RAW files when imported. Other applications such as Aperture and Photoshop don't apply the settings and in some cases the in-camera settings are stripped off during import and not available.

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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kentak Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2010Fri 01-Apr-11 02:21 PM
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#11. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 8


US
          

Okay...

Are you saying the sharpening slider in RAW Fine Tuning is to simulate capture sharpening?

If I'm editing a RAW file, can I ignore that adjustment and go to the two other sharpening tools--Sharpening and Edge Sharpening? I can't say I ever was able to get satisfactory sharpening without a little tweaking of those two anyway. In other words, is there any advantage to doing the RAW FT prior to doing the others?

Kent

  

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luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Fri 01-Apr-11 02:38 PM
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#12. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 11


Port Charlotte, US
          

The RAW fine tune sharpening in Aperture is to compensate for the blurring of the image caused by the demosaicing in the camera. It's a subtle sharpening and not meant to be the final stage of sharpening of the image.

The final IQ of bypassing this step is something I don't have the expertise or experience to comment on. It's above my pay grade!

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Fri 01-Apr-11 11:53 PM
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#13. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 11


Lowden, US
          

Hi Kent ,

I don’t use Aperture but it sounds like the "sharpening slider in RAW Fine Tuning" is meant to simulate the cameras Picture Control sharpening setting. This is in fact used for the Capture Sharpening step.

You can ignore that slider and preform Capture Sharpening using the more advanced tools. Just remember that you should do Capture Sharpening early and it should be a very mild application. You just want the image to be sharp enough so you can see if and where you need to apply localized sharpening or even blurring.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

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

My Nikonians Gallery | SummersPhotoGraphic.com | My Crated Gallery
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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Sat 02-Apr-11 07:53 PM
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#14. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 13


Alberta, CA
          

> Just remember that you should
>do Capture Sharpening early and it should be a very mild
>application. You just want the image to be sharp enough so you
>can see if and where you need to apply localized sharpening or
>even blurring.
>

That is interesting Dave. Would the corollary be that Output Sharpening be more aggressive?

Like you I somewhat often leave the in-camera sharpening setting as my Capture Sharpening if the image is otherwise OK. But that would imply I should maybe ramp down my in-camera level a tad. But is it difficult to judge sharpness on the LCD then?

Amol, I didn't even know there was an Auto-sharpening setting, so I can't say how it would compare to my normal default of '6'. The idea intrigues me, since Nikon tends to know a thing or two about image making

Best regards, SteveK

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Matt Payne Registered since 01st Mar 2011Sun 03-Apr-11 05:14 AM
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#15. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 14


US
          

Reading this thread forced me to go digging into my camera to find the settings since the manual had nothing in the index for sharpening.

If you go into the picture control (where you change from landscape/portrait/vivid/etc) and then hit the right toggle, it takes you to a screen where you can customize the sharpening (among other settings). Good to know...

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Gamecocks Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jul 2010Sun 03-Apr-11 11:59 AM
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#17. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 14
Sun 03-Apr-11 01:09 PM by Gamecocks

Joanna, US
          

Thom does recommend in camera - around 6. For PP, Jason Odell recommends that in PP you should set the Picture Control sharpening to "0" during the Capture Sharpening process; you could then leave your camera setting to 6 and change in PP. His recommendation for "starting points" USM for Capture is less than for Output Sharpening. Example: for D300 the Capture starts 50/5/4 while in Output he suggests 64/2/4 with opacity set to 60; then recommends using the High Pass with pixel radius @ 2 blending mode to overlay with opacity set to 50%. This would be while using Capture NX2; others may vary.

regards,

John

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Sun 03-Apr-11 04:19 PM
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#18. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 14


Lowden, US
          

“Would the corollary be that Output Sharpening be more aggressive?”

Yes output sharpening is usually more aggressive. How aggressive it is of course depends on the intended method of output. For an image that will be viewed on screen you generally what to until you just start to see a halo then back off until the halo is not visible. If you are sharpening for print it is common to over sharpen just a bit as the slight haloing will allow for some ink spread.

“Like you I somewhat often leave the in-camera sharpening setting as my Capture Sharpening if the image is otherwise OK. But that would imply I should maybe ramp down my in-camera level a tad. But is it difficult to judge sharpness on the LCD then?”

Having it set a 6 or 7 may be a bit high to leave for capture sharpening. I would probably move it down to 3 or 4 when post processing.

It is nice to bump up sharpening for judging sharpness on the LCD. I have mine (D300) set at 3. I can judge focus pretty well in the field with that setting.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

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

My Nikonians Gallery | SummersPhotoGraphic.com | My Crated Gallery
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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amolsan Registered since 14th Mar 2011Sun 03-Apr-11 09:06 AM
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#16. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 5


IN
          

Thanks Larry.
That was really useful.
in Aperture i also have 'Curve Sharpening'. Is it of any use for JPEG images?
Amol

  

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luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Sun 03-Apr-11 04:25 PM
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#19. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 16


Port Charlotte, US
          

Sorry, I'm not familiar with that in Aperture 3. Where is it found?

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

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amolsan Registered since 14th Mar 2011Sun 03-Apr-11 04:29 PM
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#20. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 19


IN
          

Larry,
I think it is the radius sharpening ,app eras along with edge sharpening.
Amol

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luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Sun 03-Apr-11 05:48 PM
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#21. "RE: In Camera Sharpening - Do you use it?"
In response to Reply # 20


Port Charlotte, US
          

I think I know what you're referring to - The Radius slider used in Noise reduction has a slider just below it called Edge Detail.

Under Noise Reduction, the higher radius values tend to soften the image. Using the Edge Detail slider you can get some of the sharp edges back in the high contrast areas. You've got to compromise between those two sliders for best IQ.

After the compromise you can sharpen to taste using the standard Edge Sharpen tool.


Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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