View NX2 sharpening
I have been trying out the D800 for landscape and architectural photos and still use my D700 for general and concert photos.
When processing the D800 NEF files in NX2 I have noticed that the sharpening slider must be run up to "10" to get fully sharp images. This was discovered when evaluating a picture of the inside of our old movie theater that is being rebuilt and looking at the layered roof trusses at the far end using the 1x magnification feature. This was surprising as going past "6" will usually make the D700 files start to have obvious artifacts.
I have just updated to the "new" download of NX2, but have not tried it out, yet.
A 300 KB JPEG (largest allowed by site) is attached: D800, 14-24mm F2.8 G lens; 14mm, ISO 200, 1/10 second, F22; cable release, mirror up, big Bogen tripod.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
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#1. "RE: View NX2 sharpening" | In response to Reply # 0ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sun 17-Mar-13 08:57 AM | edited Sun 17-Mar-13 09:02 AM by ericbowles
I use View NX2 and Capture NX2 for editing. I have a D800E among others. My camera settings usually include the Standard Picture Control setting.
Sharpening is additive. Your Picture Control usually includes a bit of capture sharpening. Even the Neutral setting has a small amount of sharpening. View NX2 Sharpening is an application of Unsharp Mask.
I find the View NX2 Sharpening to be appropriate for web posting and similarly downsized small prints. With downsizing a large file, the noise and artifacts of sharpening are minimized.
For normal use I find View NX2 to be a bit coarse in the way sharpening is applied. It uses the same amount of sharpening regardless of camera - so a given level looks a little better on the D800 files than the D700 because the files are downsized more when going to a common size output.
The View NX2 setting for sharpening is shown in Capture NX2. The setting of 6 is an Intensity of 25 and a Radius of 15 with a 0 setting for Threshold. The View NX2 Sharpening setting of 10 increases the Intensity to 50 and the Radius to 20 with a Threshold of 0. My normal settings are more like 62/4/5 so there is a big difference.
When I view the setting of 6 at 100% I see a good deal of pixelation and easily visible halos. At a setting of 10 the pixelation and halos are much stronger.
If you are using a lot of noise reduction, or have a soft image, you may be able to get away with strong sharpening, but generally a setting of 10 in View is far too much.
To evaluate sharpening, try looking at the image at 50%. If you are seeing halos or significant noise, you probably have too high a setting.
If you are sharing an image on Facebook or the web, the D800 images need to be downsized. As a result, you might be able to get away with high levels of sharpening since downsizing will mitigate artifacts and noise. The View NX2 Convert command lets you convert an image from NEF to JPEG. I find an image that looks fine at full size needs some sharpening after I resize it to 1000 pixels on the long side and a quality setting of 45% for web posting. I usually skip that step using View, but in Capture I apply an extra step of Unsharp Mask with a setting of 24/3/5 after resizing. That's enough to make the image look nice and sharp for web posting.
One more thought. At an aperture setting of f/22 you are introducing diffraction. I understand an image like the one posted needs depth of field, and that can and should take precedence over modest softening from diffraction. The impact of diffraction may mean you need more sharpening. The D800 shows diffraction at about one stop more open than the D700, so at f/22 you are seeing some softness in order to achieve the desired DOF.
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#2. "RE: View NX2 sharpening" | In response to Reply # 1
#3. "RE: View NX2 sharpening" | In response to Reply # 1Mon 18-Mar-13 12:36 PM
Yes, it was set to "2" (in Neutral I believe), only because I missed it when setting up the new camera. I did go back and change this to "0" as I had done on the D700 long ago: SOP when processsing files with NX2, Capture NX2, Lightroom, etc. where "sharpening" is the final step in retouching?
Another related question comes up: I take it that long exposure noise reduction and high ISO noise reduction better done in the camera?
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#4. "RE: View NX2 sharpening" | In response to Reply # 3walkerr Nikonian since 05th May 2002Mon 18-Mar-13 12:42 PM
>Another related question comes up: I take it that long
>exposure noise reduction and high ISO noise reduction better
>done in the camera?
Long exposure reduction definitely needs to be done in-camera. High ISO reduction as well as sharpening are best done in post-processing, preferably in a program other than ViewNX2, which is very limited in its capabilities.
BTW, I concur with Eric's comments above on sharpening.
#5. "RE: View NX2 sharpening" | In response to Reply # 3Mon 18-Mar-13 01:29 PM
I just saw Bob's reply in my E-mail, not yours Eric.
I am not up on the technology of "sharpening," however, looking at the file on the Samsung 22" monitor at .5 (or 1) I can detect no halos. Sharpening (going from 6 to 10) just sems to make everything - including the grain in the shadows - sharper.
Going beyond "1" to "2" is useless as the conversion cannot add any more detail and the pixels are obvious in the monitor - or the AMD Athlon II, quad core is taking forever to convert it.
There is more detail in the monitor image than can be reproduced by my Epson R1900 (maxed out with their RPM setting and allegedly 5K+ dpi) on a 13"x19" print.
For F.B. I use what looks good on my monitor - no obvious softening of the image - 1302x880 with "high" quality - about 200KB JPEGs.
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