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08-02-2013, 11:55 PM   #1
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Sharpness and fine sharpness settings

Has anybody done some testing with theses settings?
They can not be set differently for different ISO settings - have you found a setting that suits all ISO-settings and light levels well?


Bob

08-03-2013, 12:20 AM   #2
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I've noticed the few times I've messed with it that if you set fine sharpness it changes sharpness as well and vice versa. Doesn't make sense that they allow independent adjustment of these settings but then they both change. For example say you set fine sharpness to 1 then sharpness will also be 1. Set sharpness to 1 and fine sharpness will also be 1. Programming error? Anyone else notice this issue?
08-03-2013, 12:32 AM   #3
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I have noticed this, but it hasn't bothered me enough to investigate, since I shoot only RAW anymore.
08-03-2013, 12:36 AM   #4
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Are they always set the same, or is it only at one end of the range?

08-03-2013, 01:50 AM   #5
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Hm, I seem to remember someone saying, for some other Pentax camera, that one of those affects the photo globally, and the other affects the edges more than centre? But Im not sure. Maybe it would be easier to understand if we looked at those labels in a different language.
08-03-2013, 02:52 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Hm, I seem to remember someone saying, for some other Pentax camera, that one of those affects the photo globally, and the other affects the edges more than centre? But Im not sure. Maybe it would be easier to understand if we looked at those labels in a different language.
Hi Na Horuk,

I believe that person misconstrued the statement about the difference. IIRC, Pentax, when they added the "Fine Sharpness" option, stated something to the effect that "Sharpness" effects the image more globally, and "Fine Sharpening" concentrates more on edges (as opposed to points) within the image. This would supposedly result in added apparent crispness without as much accentuation of the noise. Personally , I've never seen much difference.

The two modes, Sharpness or Fine Sharpness, is a choice of processing paths. You're supposed to choose one or the other, then set up the camera to process by the algorithms used by either, but not both, according to preference. That's why the setting values don't change when you switch from one to the other. The one you choose sets the in-camera sharpening parameters for jpeg processing, the other is inactive.

I also believe the scales used to indicate the level of these settings are a bit misleading. With either mode, the zero setting is actually the default value finalized by what the camera's engineers saw as the best compromise between apparent crispness and noise. By going to the negative, you're just choosing to have the camera add less sharpening, even down to the lowest value of -4. IMO, there is still some edge contrast added in their jpeg engine even when set to the lowest value, but it's pretty minimal. The camera's jpeg engine uses some variation of unsharp mask to sharpen as it's effective, very fast, and needs the least processing power to accomplish the goal.

I shoot jpegs the great majority of the time, and prefer deconvolution sharpening over what's used in-camera, so I set up all of my cameras' Custom Image settings for Sharpening to -4 so the image delivered is processed minimally for this parameter. I then apply some NR in post before sharpening. I use Topaz Denoise for the NR and Topaz InFocus for sharpening.

Especially in high ISO situations, I'll usually also drop the contrast setting because this setting also effects the noise as well as shrinking the DR, which in low light and higher ISO is already limited. I then bump the contrast in post to my liking.

Scott
08-03-2013, 08:56 AM   #7
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Scott, Thanks for all your insights, I'm gonna readjust my settings and give it a try.
08-03-2013, 01:39 PM   #8
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Test shots

I made a couple of test shots:

sharpening 0 against fine sharpening 0
ISO 100 and 800
Comparison Jpeg and raw (Silky Pix Developer Studio 3 for Pentax, Corel Paintshop Pro X4)
Indoor shot with 1/8sec f2,8 @ISO 800
dark areas to make noise visible, natural fibres to show detail, strong colours
2sec selftimer, camera standing on cupboard


ISO 100
- fine sharpening gave some more detail
- sharpening gave some less noise
- Silky Pix gave more colour, but I found no setting where as much detail was resolved than in the jpegs
- PS Pro gave a detail comparable to fine sharpening, but very much noise which I could't remove with this program withou destroing the detail

=> I would slightly prefer fine sharpening JPG over sharpening JPG

ISO 800
- fine sharpening gave some more detail
- sharpening gave some less noise
- Silky Pix gave more colour (a bit artificial), but I found no setting where as much detail was resolved than in the jpegs and still it was noisier that JPG (colour blotches)

=> I would choose one of the JPGs

I have to admit that I'm no photo editing expert and have little experience with the software I used here. In Silky Pix I tried all sharpening presets and fiddled around a bit with the manual settings, so I dont think I have missed much the programm has on offer.

I'm happy with the JPEGs but would have expected a bit more from the raw converters since they have all the time, energy and processing power they want while the camera is very limited in the aspects. If someone would like to give it a try with a different raw converter, I could try to mail the DNG-file to him.

Bob

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