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01-25-2015, 08:22 AM   #1
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My new Q7, JPG sharpening settings comparative test

I just bought a Q7 with another 02 lens.
Since I mainly shoot JPGs I made a series of test photos to decide on the settings I would like to use.
I made several comparisons with varying success and some unexpected results. To keep things clear I will post results on upcoming questions in different threads.

First I compared the sharpening options S and FS from -1 over 0 to +1:
ISO 100, Q7, 01 Prime, Lens corrections off, SR off, tripod, NR Auto, dynamic range extensions off, f: 2,8, carefully manual focus.

FS seems to induce more and blotchy noise and I wasn't able to find advantages. With setting S the visual impression (on me, very subjective) was best with the +1 setting. Sharp and not much negative effect on noise. I might re-check this later with higher ISO settings.

Have you made similar tests and what are your favourite settings?

01-25-2015, 08:53 AM   #2
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I just bought a used Q, the original Q, and believe I have tried every conceivable setting. I find shooting Raw produces a considerably better picture than jpg. The results are much sharper but the noise is more pronounced. I will definitely take the Q with me almost everywhere I go because of the size and weight. I just hope I don't come across the shot of a lifetime and I have only the Q with me. It doesn't even come close to the IQ obtained from my K5. My personal opinion, it is like comparing an Kodak Instamatic to a quality 35mm. Please don't take this the wrong way, I do love the little camera. I am waiting patiently for the adapters to arrive so I can try my K and 110 lenses on the little fellow.
01-25-2015, 09:52 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Altglas Quote
I just bought a Q7 with another 02 lens.
Since I mainly shoot JPGs I made a series of test photos to decide on the settings I would like to use...

Have you made similar tests and what are your favourite settings?
I know you mean well and I strongly endorse exploring the limits of one's gear, but in all honesty, you are leaving a ton on the table by restricting your Q7's captures to JPG. To get the most out of your Q-system, you really need to explore ways to harness the power of its RAW (DNG) output.

There are many good image development packages to choose from and enjoy (most are getting better and easier to use, too). My current preference is LR 5.7 + a few NIK plugins. With an efficient workflow, you should be able to produce a dazzling image in less than five minutes. If that's out of reach for you at the moment, try the Q's quick and easy built-in DNG --> JPG development tools. The built-in's downside is that it's a battery power hog, so be prepared to have a few extra freshly charged ones ready when needed. Whether you take the in-camera route, or not, always try to get a DNG version of the scene. At least, you'll have the DNG file available and ready to fine tune when you decide it's time to up your game.

Anyway, my 2 cents... enjoy!

Cheers... M

Last edited by Michaelina2; 01-25-2015 at 12:19 PM.
01-25-2015, 04:53 PM   #4
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I agree, the Q series isn't the "best" in image quality and shooting RAW really helps in bringing out the best the camera is capable of......hope you enjoy your Q as much as we all do on these forums!

01-26-2015, 12:02 AM   #5
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I've played around a bit with different raw converters but still prefer a good JPG staight out of cam. My impression was that with properly exposed images taken under normal lighting conditions I don't gain much by using RAW format, but I have to cope with a lagging camera and higher data volume.
I've got only a cheap notebook computer. With this screen it is difficult to assess white balance and exposure so I can't really use the main advantage of RAW processing.
That was the reason for me to test the JPEG settings of the Q7.
Where I found the RAW+ setting useful was when using the Qs built in color filters. From the RAW I could develop e.g. a colour version of an image taken in bold b/w mode. I'm not shure if colour filters where already available in RAW+ format with the original Q.
01-26-2015, 09:36 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Hi Altglas,

Back to the OP of this thread. . . I shoot jpegs almost exclusively, but the why is another subject. . .

I set up all of my cameras for jpeg output. Takes a little time and experimentation when I first get a camera, but I only really have to do this once. On all of my cameras (currently a K-5, K-5 IIs, K-3, 2 Q's, and a newly obtained Sony A7s) I've found that what works best for me when it comes to in-camera sharpening is to minimalize it to control noise artifacts and local contrast enhancement, then reduce noise and then sharpen in post, adding another round of NR if necessary to clean up the background. This workflow varies with the intended output, but remains essentially the same, except for degree in the respective plugins.

I use PSPPX7 for PP, but mostly so I can use Topaz DeNoise and InFocus for NR and sharpening as plugins. I've set in-camera sharpening to -3 for all cameras and in-camera high ISO NR to "off", or as close as I can get (with the Q it's Low).

The thing I don't like about in-camera sharpening is the exaggeration of the edges. Pentax seems to bias this towards the dark side of the contrast edge, probably to reduce the more obvious light halos that are so evident in many pics I see on the web. This bias can cause a dark outline in areas where they should not be, and for me, this is just as bad. Sharpening with InFocus can be done with deconvolution, increase in microcontrast, and with unsharp mask in any combination of the three. I use the first two almost exclusively, sometimes either/or, or in combination. I use DeNoise first, even if the image is relatively clean, because any noise artifacts will be enhanced with any sharpening method, and DeNoise does a much better job than any in-camera sharpening is capable of. It reduces noise with a minimum of smearing, and it actually restores edge integrity where noise has made it jagged. Both plugins need to be used as sparingly as possible, and it takes a bit of experimentation to really get a feeling about how to use them,but once I find a good setting for a particular camera/ISO, I save a preset and work from there.

I push all of my cameras a lot further than most are willing to as far as ISO is concerned. I'll go to 3200 on the Q, 10,000 on the K-3 or K-5s, and @ 100,000 for the A7s (but this is at the extreme, so if I want fine detail, the limit is set a stop or two lower respectively)

This methodology is not for everyone, but it works for me.

Scott
01-26-2015, 12:07 PM   #7
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Hi Scott,

your approach again is completely different! As long as you can control the exposure you've got a responsive camera as well as a good sharpness/noise product. I will give it a try with the software I have!
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