D70 on-camera sharpening vs. Photoshop sharpening

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by john, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. john

    john Guest

    Hi folks,

    I've had the D70 for a little while now, and I'm starting to explore more of
    the features. One of these is the "Sharper" setting in the "Optimize Image"

    Before I launch into a mini-research project (ie. trial-and-error), is there
    any obvious reason why I would or wouldn't use this feature, as opposed to
    the shooting with the default settings and then using the "Sharpen" feature
    in Photoshop Elements?

    john, Jul 19, 2004
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  2. john

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: "john"
    Many experienced users prefer waiting to sharpen late in the flow because you
    need different amounts of sharpening depending on the output file size. That
    is, if you are resizing down for the web you want to do final sharpening after
    resizing, of if you have to resize up for printing large you would typically
    want to wait until you have the final size.

    If you are happy with the file size (ie pixel dimensions) it doesn't matter
    much, except of course if you've oversharpened in-camera you can't undo it.

    Since the unsharpened files right out of the camera are often a bit soft it's
    becoming more popular to sharpen A LITTLE in-camera and do a final more
    aggessive sharpening at the end of the flow. For example a RAW converter I use
    has defaults of Amt = 34 and Threshold = 3 with a weak radius (undefined),
    which is very light sharpening for large files so you don't get any artifacts.

    So there is no *one right way* to do it, except you want to avoid
    over-sharpening in-camera since you can't reverse it.

    Bill Hilton, Jul 19, 2004
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  3. First, you probably shouldn't use Sharpen in Elements. Photoshop's
    Sharpen filter has a fixed effect, and it's not ideal for most
    circumstances. It's generally too extreme. You should be using Unsharp
    Mask instead. Unsharp Mask has 3 settings that control its operation,
    and it takes a bit of time to learn to use well, but with much more
    control you can get much better results.

    Having said that, you shouldn't use in-camera sharpening because

    1) sharpening is usually best done *after* all other processing, not

    2) Unsharp Mask is better than any fixed sharpening scheme.

    Dave Martindale, Jul 19, 2004
  4. john

    B.A.S. Guest

    Not true on a D70 if you shoot NEF. You can remove the sharpening later
    if desired in Nikon Capture (and probably in PS too? I don't have a
    modern version of PS and haven't tried its NEF capabilities yet).

    I shoot NEF + JPG, with medium sharpening in-camera. For quick and dirty
    viewing and test (4x6) prints with no postprocessing, I use the JPG's.
    It's nice having them 'pre-sharpened' for evaluation.

    For keeper images, and especially those I will be making large prints
    from, I go into Nikon Capture with the NEF image file, remove the
    sharpening, and edit and tweak as appropriate. Then I sharpen as my last
    step, with Unsharp Mask.

    Just my 2 cents,


    P.S. This workflow may change if and when I ever get around to buying PS CS.
    B.A.S., Jul 19, 2004
  5. john

    JPS Guest

    In message <cdfhr9$n05$>,
    How about equalizers working in the frequency domain?

    Kai's Power Tools has one in an old version, but the highest frequency
    is 1 pixel and the bands are all powers of two; not very flexible.
    JPS, Jul 20, 2004
  6. john

    nikki Guest

    Other than the suggestion that Elements has a fixed sharpening and
    that don't sound good, definitelty do your own testing. It's so easy
    and fast to do a digital test, there is no reason not to. You will
    learn something new, even if it's only how to do a test properly.
    nikki, Jul 20, 2004
  7. john

    eawckyegcy Guest

    I've tried it and I can tell much of a difference between
    unsharp-first vs. unsharp last. First order approximation is that
    image operations are linear, so order isn't much important. What am I
    Curiously, when I added a sharpen function to my image stacking
    program (I wanted to work directly against the linear floating point
    data post-stack), I found that the simple laplacian sharpen did a much
    better job than a classic gaussian unsharp mask, at least for pictures
    of the Moon and the like. Maybe I missed the magic parameters...
    eawckyegcy, Jul 20, 2004
  8. e.g. Sharpening before noise suppression will enhance noise.
    Sharpening before downsizing will increase aliasing. Sharpening before
    upsizing will increase blockiness.
    e.g. A simple Laplacian kernel sharpening will sharpen noise, an USM
    threshold allows to avoid some of that. A simple sharpening has a
    fixed support, USM has variable support.

    Bart van der Wolf, Jul 20, 2004
  9. john

    andrew29 Guest

    I mostly agree, but there is one thing to be said for sharpening
    before JPEG encoding: it doesn't accentuate JPEG artefacts, which
    later sharpening does.

    andrew29, Jul 23, 2004
  10. In that case, the NEF isn't really sharpened in-camera.
    Sharpening is lossy and it is also a one-way street.
    You can't «undo» sharpening with software.

    What probably happens is this: The D70 do nothing to the NEF
    in-camera, but pass your in-camera sharpening /setting/ (along with
    the pristine sensor readings) on to Nikon Capture - where it is
    applied by default. NC then saves a copy of the original data
    (i.e. before sharpening), so the "remove sharpening" feature is really
    just going back to use the pristine copy of original data.

    Nice feature tho'
    Gisle Hannemyr, Jul 28, 2004
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