I like the images from my newly acquired D800 but notice that all of my images need to be sharpened in Capture Nx2. It's about the same whether jpg or NEF. I'm using various lenses and all require sharpening to get crisp images. Is this normal for the D800? My D700 images seem sharper straight out of the camera and needs less PP than my D800. Would it help if I sharpened in camera?
#1. "RE: Image sharpening in camera?" In response to Reply # 0
Keep in mind that the sharpening in camera will only be used for jpgs and in Capture NX2. Other raw converters generally ignore everything in camera settings except for white balance.
Many people set their camera sharpening higher than the default. I personally set mine to 5.
The reason why the D800 seems softer is that you're capturing a lot more fine detail and that details will seem a bit softer. As a simple exercise, resize the D800 file to the same dimensions as the D700 and then compare the images. They'll be very similar. And you'll be comparing apples to apples.
Also the D800 is more demanding on your technique than the D700. It can make your errors, especially slight camera motion, more obvious than in the D700. It just takes some getting used to.
#3. "RE: Image sharpening in camera?" In response to Reply # 0
Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
>I like the images from my newly acquired D800 but notice that >all of my images need to be sharpened in Capture Nx2. It's >about the same whether jpg or NEF. I'm using various lenses >and all require sharpening to get crisp images. Is this >normal for the D800? My D700 images seem sharper straight out >of the camera and needs less PP than my D800. Would it help >if I sharpened in camera?
In order to compare images from two cameras, first use a tripod to shoot the same exact scene, using RAW. This will produce two RAW images with different pixels densities.
Then, to compare those two images, you have to normalize the two images to the same pixel density. This means you have to downsize the larger one to make it the same size in pixels as the smaller one before you can make any comparisons. (Never upsize the smaller one, or you will reduce its quality. Upsizing creates artificial pixels to fill in the blanks, while downsizing simply averages pixels to form less of them.)
The D800 image has 7360x4912 pixels, while the D700 image has 4256x2832 pixels.
Use your PP software to downsize your D800 images to 4256 on the long side and use the short side default. (The short side will come out to 2840 pixels). You can compare them on-screen or output the images to the highest quality jpegs you can make.
View the two images side by side, and you should see that the D800 images are just as sharp as the D700 images.
Once you realize that the D800 is just as sharp as the D700, you can now appreciate that you have added resolution that you can use only IF you hold the camera more steady than you did with the D700.
The added resolution of the D800 gives you lots more cropping ability. You can often crop a person out of a group shot and make an 8x10 print that is crystal sharp - IF - you kept the camera steady enough!
#4. "RE: Image sharpening in camera?" In response to Reply # 0
If you are always shooting RAW and using Capture NX2 for pp then you can do what you like with the in-camera sharpening because you can change it in NX2. In-camera sharpening sharpens everything, including noise and soft out-of-focus (oof) areas, causing a granular effect. So I usually remove ALL in-camera sharpening in NX2 using the "Camera Settings" options under the DEVELOP tab. Then I use a selection brush to select only the portions of the image that I want to sharpen and I use unsharp mask on them.
This helps to further isolate the main subject from the background. You also need to be aware of the softening effect of in-camera Noise Reduction and this has its own sharpness setting. So I usually disable noise reduction except at High ISO settings.
Taking the above into consideration , I like to set in-camera sharpening fairly high to get punchy looking output direct from the camera. This is great for quickly displaying the pics, converting to jpegs etc. However, for the pics that I will work up for large prints or heavy crops, I remove the in-camera sharpening and adjust the NR and WB as the first part of my NX2 workflow. this can make the image look surprisingly soft but applying "unsharp mask" to selected areas will recover it in a better way than the in-camera sharpening ever could.
You can apply selective sharpening in pp by means of a selection brush or by using a group of strategically placed and sized colour control points (providing you enable the extended choices for colour control points).
#7. "RE: Image sharpening in camera?" In response to Reply # 6 Sat 11-May-13 10:40 AM by jamesvoortman
>Hi James, I follow you ito using selection brush but don't >know how to enable extended choices for color control points >,where would I enable those? >
OOps! I have not used this method for so long I had forgotten how so looked it up. Firstly, my apologies; you cannot use a colour control point to sharpen as I wrote above....but you can use a selection control point. In fact you can use a selection control point to do anything in the "Adjust" menu and apply it to that point (or a group of points) rather than to the whole image. I prefer using a selection brush for this but there are instances where a selection control point produces superior results.
Once you have placed the selection control point and sized it, then go to the Edit List on the right hand margin of the NX2 window. the "adjust" section of the list will highlight the selection point you have just placed. you can adjust opacity, the masking method required, feathering etc..... near the bottom of the box is the "Select Adjustment" drop-down box. If you click on this you can select "Focus" and then the sharpening method of choice. I routinely use "Unsharp Mask".
Going back to the colour control points....normally when you place a colour control point and click on it, 4 sliders will appear. Normally by default, these will be for size, brightness, contrast and saturation. Immediately below the bottom slider is a small black triangle. If you click on this, additional colour control sliders will appear.
#5. "RE: Image sharpening in camera?" In response to Reply # 0
There are different sharpening strategies. Sharpening can be an art by itself. There are a number of tools that can be used and they can be used at different stages for different results.
The short answer is that you normally need to apply a little sharpening to the RAW image. The Standard picture control contains a small amount of sharpening. Applying sharpening at this stage is referred to as Capture Sharpening. And you want just enough to sharpen edges in your image. If you apply too much sharpening at this stage, it can introduce noise or artifacts. With complex editing of challenging images, you might reduce the sharpening at this stage. The Neutral picture control still has a little sharpening but it is lighter. Or you could remove all sharpening.
If you want to produce smaller JPEG files - 8x10 or smaller - you might need a little more sharpening. That's a case where you might add sharpening to the Picture Control setting or sharpen again during conversion.
This size difference is probably why your D700 images look sharper. When you downsize both to the same size, the sharpening edge of the D800 image gets reduced further than the D700 image.
The disadvantage of all this is the in-camera sharpening can be a bit coarse. It's easy to have too much sharpening or to sharpen with different settings than you would intend to use. You'll have to experiment to come up with an approach that suits your taste and your desired output.