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06-15-2009, 08:07 AM   #1
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Adjusting Camera Sharpness..

Yesterday I adjusted the image sharpness on my K200D from the center setting to maximum sharpness. The resulting pictures appear to be much improved in clarity.

Can anyone explain what concerns are associated with resetting the image sharpness from the "factory setting" to max sharpness? If not, why aren't all cameras set to maximum sharpness?

Many thanks

06-15-2009, 10:12 AM   #2
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On my K10 I see no difference between 0 and +3 on the sharpness but obvious difference between -3 and +3. I have not bothered to notice where the drop off is.
And surely you can imagine several instances when you are not particularly going for a scene or image that is very sharp compared with one that may be less sharp. Someone will have good reasons and perhaps even reasons why sharpness settings may be a detrirment. I know of none but perhaps something is sacrifice when sharpness is boosted.
06-15-2009, 11:47 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by cdurfor Quote
Can anyone explain what concerns are associated with resetting the image sharpness from the "factory setting" to max sharpness? If not, why aren't all cameras set to maximum sharpness?
The word "sharpness" for this parameter is a bit misleading. It would be more accurate to calling it "sharpening" - implying (correctly) that it is done by somewhat "artificially" mucking with an image to give the *appearance* of higher sharpness. There are different algorithms than can be used, and I don't know what Pentax does specifically. But the basic idea is generally to detect edges and to increase contrast around them, so instead of a soft transition from black through gray to white over the course of several pixels, you have a clear line between black and white. And the more of this you do, the more "sharpening artifacts" you will see in cases where it's just black and white. For example, if it's a light gray bordering on a dark gray, the sharpening algorithm may make the edge of the light gray object white, and the edge of the dark gray one black, creating "halos" around objects. How noticeable those halos are will depend on how large you view the image.

So usually it is best to only do any heavy-duty sharpening as the last stage in processing, after you've already decided on an exact print size and can judge what amount of sharpening appears to create the best balance between the appearance of sharpness and the existence of these halos an other artifacts. and that's why the default is to do little of this in camera.
06-15-2009, 11:50 AM   #4
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You have a lot more flexibility sharpening in post processing, and your computer certainly has more computing power than your camera, so I expect you'll get better results in PP than you will in-camera.

But if you're happy with what you're getting, no harm in that either.

06-15-2009, 01:25 PM   #5
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Many thanks for the comments and I agree that PP sharpening offers considerably more flexiblity.

But the question remains, is the method of "sharpening" applied by the K200D achieved by the same methods as Photoshop, or does the camera use a different aligorthm?
06-16-2009, 09:23 AM   #6
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Most likely they use different methods to sharpen an image. It's more convienent to use PS anyway, since you have way more control with it.
06-16-2009, 10:05 AM   #7
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I would think it would almost certainly be a different algorithim. Maybe I am stating the obvious here, but you are aware that the on camera settings only change the .jpg output and not the RAW output right? It will change the shot you see on the lcd preview screen if you are chimping, but those settings will not be applied to the photo when you open the RAW file.
06-16-2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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My understanding is that Photoshop, like many other PP programs, actually provides multiple algorithms for sharpening, and also provides fine independent control of the various parameters that go into those algorithms (eg, amount, radius & threshold), as opposed to the extremely limited settings that can be done in camera. That is, there might be only 9 different levels of sharpening in the camera (eg, -4, -3, ... +3, +4), but *thousands* if not *millions* of possible combinations of sharpening settings in PP. Whether or not the underlying algortihm is exactly the same is kind of beside the point - the camera provides only the crudest control over sharpening compare to any decent PP program.

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