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09-30-2008, 05:16 AM   #1
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Fine Sharpness in Custom Image on K200D

I wonder if anyone can help me?

I came across the Fine Sharpness option in Custom Image on my K200D, but can't find a reference to it in the forum and there appears to be nothing in the user manual either.

When in P/SV/TV/AV/M or B you can fiddle with the Sharpness by using the <- and -> buttons. You can then use the e-Dial to activate Fine Sharpness.

I tried this out with Fine Sharpness Off and On (leaving the Sharpness setting at the default in Bright Mode) as well as a Raw image using:
  • an old Paterson test target aiming at the bar scale in lines/mm
  • source/"film plane" distance of about 25cm with my 18-55mm Mk II lens
BTW, these were fairly crudely set up - I need to do it with a tripod and controlled lighting conditions rather than handheld.... I might try that and post the images later this week.

However, subjectively, in Photoshop CS3, the Raw and Fine Sharpness images looked almost the same (apart from colour balance as expected), whilst the Standard sharpness image looked less defined on the edges and dots looked muddy.

Given this (and the rather crude test), is it worth using the Fine Sharpness mode when shooting Raw+JPEG? Has anyone got any other information on this?

09-30-2008, 10:56 PM   #2
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Fine sharpness makes lines thinner thus increasing sharpness. Use it when you need to bring out detail in hair etc.

Rusty
10-01-2008, 12:40 AM   #3
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I have it set on in my program line.
Seems to handle foliage better as well.
10-01-2008, 06:16 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

I tried it out with my tripod and the Paterson test strip tonight. Only problem was I left it on auto ISO - so it chose 400. Oops...

Anyhow, the upshot was that viewing at 200% for an image captured at 1.5m and 55mm (on my 18-55mm Mk II) at f5.6:
  • the RAW image resolved down to 66lpmm, and on the hatches down to 60 lpmm with little noise. Edges were soft but discernable (top image). This could have been an issue with my Photoshop RAW processing however (thats a learning curve too!)
  • the fine sharpness JPG was resolved down to 66lpmm and on the hatches down to 54lpmm with a lot of noise. Edges were clear but noisy (bottom image)
  • the normal sharpness JPG was resolved down to 60lpmm and on the hatches down to 54lpmm with a lot of noise, but less than fine sharpness. Edges were less clear but lower noise than with fine sharpness. (middle image)
I'll try it in proper light at 100ISO next - that has to wait until the weekend.

I suspect from this and Garth's suggestion of better foliage edges that it useful for defining edge in blurred backgrounds.

This is not a fair test though - given the higher ISO. Me thinks some more testing is required.

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Last edited by MoiVous; 10-01-2008 at 06:18 AM. Reason: Image order corrected
10-01-2008, 07:39 AM   #5
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Yes, try again at ISO100. Almost all my outdoor shots are ISO100 with fast, full-frame glass.
Oh. I have a K20D.
10-08-2008, 11:50 AM   #6
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Dpreview has a brief explanation of the fine sharpen option as it applies to the k20d: Pentax K20D Review: 15. Features: Digital Photography Review

It's interesting that dpreview did not mention this in their review of the k200d, so I can't be sure that k200d is doing the same thing. In fact, they were rather critical of k200d's oversharpening of pictures, whereas they said that in regular sharpening mode on the k20d, one could never get the pictures sharp enough.

A clearer explanation from Pentax would really help.

My own observation (I have a k200d) is that fine sharpening causes too much artifacting of noisier regions in a picture. To be clear, yes, sharpening noise is always a bad idea , but even average dynamically lit scenes have their share of low light noise and fine sharpening brings out the worst in those areas. I find regular sharpening mode to be much more forgiving, and therefore more useful in outdoor shooting.

This a very interesting topic, so I would love to hear what others have found...
10-08-2008, 03:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for that - I checked out the DPreview article and it describes the K200D function pretty well. I suspect that the K200D inherited this from its more advanced sibling.

Still haven't got around to the daylight 100ISO test of the Patterson test strip.......

In the meantime, I've switched to RAW all the time - as many have suggested in other posts. Then I let PhotoShop Camera Raw handle most of it (using CS3).

Does anyone have any suggestions on how much the default setting need to be tweaked?
At present I just alter the white balance if I think its out, and occassionally tweak the brightness/contrast.
10-08-2008, 04:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DougRight Quote

My own observation (I have a k200d) is that fine sharpening causes too much artifacting of noisier regions in a picture. To be clear, yes, sharpening noise is always a bad idea , but even average dynamically lit scenes have their share of low light noise and fine sharpening brings out the worst in those areas. I find regular sharpening mode to be much more forgiving, and therefore more useful in outdoor shooting.
Ditto. when I got my new K20D and discovered the fine sharpness thingie, I did some tests to discover, as others here have stated, that sharpness increases a bit but also shadow noise increases A LOT!. I finally left fine sharpness off, regular sharpness in the middle (default) and every once in a while, apply an unsharpen mask to pictures in Corel Photopaint (same as Photoshop).

Upon closer inspection of pictures shot with and without the fine sharpenning mode on my K20D, I discovered that the sharpening thing is done by means of increasing contrast between adjacent pixels that are already contrasty. Sort of the same thing as an unsharp mask, but the difference is that the in camera fine sharpening also increases apparent noise.

Robert B.

10-09-2008, 09:38 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rburgoss Quote
Ditto. when I got my new K20D and discovered the fine sharpness thingie, I did some tests to discover, as others here have stated, that sharpness increases a bit but also shadow noise increases A LOT!.

Robert B.
Right on. I also noticed that fine sharpening introduces too much noise in blue skies.
08-03-2009, 11:21 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by DougRight Quote
Right on. I also noticed that fine sharpening introduces too much noise in blue skies.
thanks. i was wondering why my pictures with "blue skies" were riddled with noise.

i guess you learn something new everyday!

Last edited by opiedog; 08-03-2009 at 11:27 AM.
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