Preferable to sharpen in camera or in Photoshop?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Burt, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. Burt

    Burt Guest

    I am using an olympus c4000z, photoshop, and Ultrasharpen. Would it be
    preferable to turn sharpening off in the camera and do the work with
    Ultrasharpen in Photoshop, or to do the sharpening in the camera
    Burt, Dec 27, 2004
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  2. Burt

    Jeremy Guest

    My understanding is that you would probably get better sharpening in your
    editing software, rather than letting the camera do some sharpening (and you
    doing subsequent sharpening in yourpost-shoot editing).
    Jeremy, Dec 27, 2004
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  3. According to my humble opinion, you shall always do sharpening as the
    last modification of the picture. Sharpening is a destructive operation
    and it is best to have at least one original without sharpening.

    Now - it all depends of course. If it is just pictures from a
    party and you never plan to do any modification. Then, it is
    OK to apply in camera sharpening and even using a lower resolution.

    Roland Karlsson, Dec 27, 2004
  4. Burt

    C J Campbell Guest

    Have you noticed any difference either way?
    C J Campbell, Dec 27, 2004
  5. Burt

    Clyde Guest

    For what are you saving the unsharpened original? If it needs
    sharpening, sharpen it. If it's done right, it's done right. I suppose
    that if you don't do it right, saving an original unsharpened would be
    good until you can get a tool to do it right.

    Clyde, Dec 27, 2004
  6. For what are you saving the unsharpened original? If it needs

    Don't you expect to be better at this next year than you are this year?
    Gene Palmiter, Dec 27, 2004
  7. Gene, what would be a good reason for anyone to keep the original, not
    altered photo, if you are satisfied with the sharpening?
    Darin Kaloyanov, Dec 27, 2004
  8. I always save the original from the camera. All
    changes are more or less destructive.

    Sharpening is a special case. It shall be done last.
    So --- if you want to make some alterations to the
    image - you must be able to redo the sharpening step.

    BTW - I do not think that there is anything called
    doing something right. There are only different
    ways of doing it with different results.

    Roland Karlsson, Dec 27, 2004
  9. Burt

    Jeremy Guest

    One reason in favor of not using in-camera sharpening is that we often
    sharpen as the last step in the editing process--which will result in
    sharpening being applied twice.

    If the intention is to print the image directly as it comes out of the
    camera (i.e., with NO editing) then in-camera sharpening would be in order.
    Jeremy, Dec 27, 2004
  10. Burt

    Jeremy Guest

    You are right on that point. I would suggest only one thing more: by saving
    the file in its least-edited state--as your "digital negative"--you keep
    open your option to reedit it down the road, as your editing skills and/or
    your editing software capabilities improve.

    If you intend to edit the shot, it makes little sense to select in-camera
    sharpening. If the camera is being used by a consumer, who intends to print
    the image essentially as it was recorded on the memory card, then sharpening
    would be appropriate.

    In the final analysis, it is a question of how much of a perfectionist you
    Jeremy, Dec 27, 2004
  11. Burt

    paul Guest

    This is correct. You never know, maybe you'd have the need to
    interpolate the original to poster size some day in which case the
    sharpening shouldn't be done until it's enlarged. You might not need
    this but I did once.
    paul, Dec 27, 2004
  12. I just got a new Epson 2200 and I am going through my archives for photos
    that will look good large (12x16).
    In many cases my best photos have been heavily edited...lots of layers. That
    is natural as those are the ones worthy of the extra effort. After editing
    there might be several layers. By your way of thinking I would then sharpen
    them and save the sharpened file. That would loose the layers. In my
    workflow I save my layers and sharpen a copy. Sharpening is an art...the
    degree of sharpening depends on the image, the printer, the size of print,
    ect. I then print or upload or publish. Each use requires it's own degree of

    Now, I have a new printer. I don't have to re-edit the photos...but if I
    choose to I have the layers to remind me of what I felt necessary at the
    time. But, I don't have to start from scratch...because I saved my layers.
    Sharpening destroys the layers.
    Gene Palmiter, Dec 27, 2004
  13. another point...what makes you think you will be satisfied next year with
    what satisfied you last year...don't you expect to improve?
    Gene Palmiter, Dec 27, 2004
  14. Burt

    Don Lathrop Guest

    I disagree. You don't have to be a perfectionist
    to want a copy of the sensor output for further
    processing later. If the image is sharpened in
    camera, it has been irreversibly altered. Subsequent
    changes to size (in particular), contrast, color,
    brightness, white balance, etcetera will thus
    be made on a sharpened image, causing artifacts
    and distortion.

    One of the advantages of digital photography is
    the creation of a workflow of which exposure
    is only the start. Manipulation of the image during
    post-processing, then resizing and treatment for
    a number of output media (various print or display
    types) are a part of that work flow. Starting with
    an image that has already been sharpened degrades
    that work flow.

    Now, if your workflow today is simply to take the
    camera output to the drugstore for a print or
    to send copies as is to your family via email, then
    there is no problem using camera-sharpened files.

    But suppose a year from now you have learned
    some Photoshop technique and now work on
    your images for print in various sizes to inkjet,
    dye sub, photo print and display on Web, LCD
    and CRT monitors. If you want to go back over
    your older images and work on them, you'll only
    have pre-sharpened ones to deal with. You'll kick
    yourself, since sharpening parameters at the end of
    the workflow can make an enormous difference in
    the way an image looks.

    There is a huge difference between sharpening
    an image of a forest full of green leaves in low
    diffuse light, sharpening an image of a brightly-
    lit tropical horizon over a noon-time ocean beach,
    and sharpening the image of the face of a child.

    How edges are handled, and the amount of
    sharpening to apply, are decisions that thousands
    of words have been devoted to -- and it comes
    down to preference in the end. That preference,
    and that skill, is taken away when you simply
    let the camera apply a universal routine.

    It's not a matter of being a perfectionist, it's a
    matter of using available tools -- or not. You might
    say the same thing of a cook. One who makes a
    spinach soufflé from scratch isn't a "perfectionist"
    compared to one who buys the frozen Stouffer's
    offering in a red box, and some might prefer the
    Stouffer's. But the scratch cook exercises many
    options and makes many decisions during the
    course of her preparation, while the consumer
    of the Stouffer's soufflé cannot make any decisions
    at all, but must consume what is given to her.
    Don Lathrop, Dec 27, 2004
  15. Burt

    nick c Guest

    Though the question be a simple one, the answer is rather difficult to
    correctly provide.

    There are times when in-camera sharpening is permissible. Such as when
    going directly from camera to printer. Then too, in-camera sharpening is
    not the same in all makes and models of cameras.

    One of my digital cameras is the Olympus C-5050 and I don't need to set
    that camera to a sharpen mode. The photo is sharp without increasing the

    There are times when it would be best to process sharpen in the
    computer. When it's done in the computer, I have a method of using the
    Unsharp filter which may be different from the way others may use Unsharp.

    For dang sure, when using the computer I never work on an original. The
    original is always saved along with the finished sharpened sized photo.

    nick c, Dec 28, 2004
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