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Default Sharpening in Lightroom 4


Gundog 1 624 Scotland
3 Apr 2013 12:36PM
For Raw files from both my Nikon D800 and D800E I appear to be getting great results with my default sharpening in Lightroom 4 set to:

Amount 60, Radius 0.6, Detail 40, Masking 10, Luminosity NR 10.

However, the pundits seem to be suggesting that there should be a difference between the two cameras but, frankly, I can't see any discernible difference in the results at the above default settings.

What settings to other users of either camera have as their defaults?

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JJGEE 9 6.4k 18 England
3 Apr 2013 12:48PM
I do not have the cameras mentioned but I have all those settings defaulted to zero.

I then judge each shot individually to assess what I think are the best settings.

Of course, if you have several shots taken of the same subject in sequence then you can just set one then copy the settings to the others.
mikehit e2
5 6.8k 11 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2013 12:58PM
Every review I've read says that the difference is subtle so maybe you are expecting too much ?

Matt Kloskowski is one of the LR gurus and here is his verdict:
http://www.mattk.com/2012/10/02/my-nikon-d800-vs-d800e-comparison/
cats_123 e2
10 4.0k 25 Northern Ireland
3 Apr 2013 1:33PM

Quote:Amount 60, Radius 0.6, Detail 40, Masking 10, Luminosity NR 10


thanks for those settings. I've tried a number of sharpening presets, but never been completely happy. I've always felt a touch of Luminosity helps...your settings seem to work well SmileSmile
Nick_w e2
7 3.9k 99 England
4 Apr 2013 8:17AM
Surely the NR settings will depend on what ISO your at, and sharpening on what lens you are using.
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
4 Apr 2013 9:17AM
Those settings are geared towards a high frequency photo - one with lots of fine edges. The very low radius setting in particular would indicate that. Obviously other factors come into play, but a single sharpening preset would be of limited use unless you habitually shoot the same type of subject.
iancrowson e2
4 211 129 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2013 10:11AM
Interesting info. I only have the D800.
I use ACR and CS6 not Lightroom so settings I use are not totally relevant.
I follow Scott Kelby and his team's advice with very little sharpening in ACR and output sharpening using the CS6 unsharp mask filter according to the picture content.

A different topic which most people will know about is that before posting on this site, some additional sharpening may be required after resizing and saving to jpeg.
Gundog 1 624 Scotland
4 Apr 2013 10:39AM

Quote:Those settings are geared towards a high frequency photo - one with lots of fine edges. The very low radius setting in particular would indicate that. Obviously other factors come into play, but a single sharpening preset would be of limited use unless you habitually shoot the same type of subject.


Sorry Glenn, I should have been more specific.

Yes, I use those settings as my import default for each of those cameras but then make adjustments, if required, according to the needs of the individual image.

I tend to do this in most of my photo-processing software - e.g. Lightroom, Silver Efex Pro, etc., etc. - i.e. try to find the default settings that meet the needs of most of my images, thereby reducing the frequency and amount of subsequent adjustment that is necessary.

My normal LR workflow is to import the images with those defaults, then apply the Lens Profile, and then take it from there, starting at the top of the "Develop" panel and working downwards.
Rainnpx 1 5 United States
14 Apr 2013 6:20AM
I always keep camera's auto sharpening at 0 as if I like the shot most likely I will be resizing it and that's when I start worrying about sharpening. Btw mostly using Photoshop's High Pass on a duplicate layer in the overlay blending mode which gives very good results every time vs the standard sharpen effect.
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
14 Apr 2013 1:16PM

Quote:I always keep camera's auto sharpening at 0 as if I like the shot most likely I will be resizing it and that's when I start worrying about sharpening. Btw mostly using Photoshop's High Pass on a duplicate layer in the overlay blending mode which gives very good results every time vs the standard sharpen effect.


FWIW Lightroom doesn't use any standard sharpening effect (usually meaning USM) - it uses luminance sharpening on a raw capture with linear gamma; you can use the masking slider for refining edge contrast and the clarity slider yields a high-radius/mid-tone sharpening effect whilst protecting shadows and highlights. You can fine-tune that more using the high pass filter in Photoshop, but overall the appeal of high pass sharpening has, I think, been diminished.

Lightroom accommodates a 3-pass sharpening process, for anyone that accepts the theory behind that (first defined by Bruce Fraser yonks ago).
Rainnpx 1 5 United States
17 Apr 2013 6:56PM
Interesting, thanks! But then again, why do you sharpen huge RAW images that you can't see in your monitor in full size without auto-fitting on the fly in your software that ruins it, or plan to permanently resize them anyways at which point you still have to sharpen? Unless it goes to print but that's rare..
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
19 Apr 2013 10:26AM

Quote:Interesting, thanks! But then again, why do you sharpen huge RAW images that you can't see in your monitor in full size without auto-fitting on the fly in your software that ruins it, or plan to permanently resize them anyways at which point you still have to sharpen? Unless it goes to print but that's rare..


Raw capture sharpening replaces the in-camera sharpening of a JPEG, theoretically enabling the photographer to optimise the amount of sharpening and noise reduction simultaneously according to content. It's meant to counter the softening effects of the anti-aliasing filter and demosaicing process, whilst still allowing leeway for creative sharpening, resizing and output sharpening. Not everyone subscribes to the idea, but it was first sold to the masses by Bruce Fraser in 2003 here. Lightroom is designed around that theory, whilst obviously allowing scope for all sharpening to be switched off for those that prefer things that way. Other links here and here.

So at that stage you're treating the file - doesn't matter that you can't see it all on your screen. Because the sharpening sliders in Lightroom are essentially for capture sharpening their effect is suppressed - there's a limit to how much damage you can do by comparison to treating a rendered image with the sharpening tools in Photoshop. Because all the sharpening in LR is done at luminance level you don't get shifts in colour, which are easily possible to introduce when trying high radius sharpening in Photoshop, for instance (can be countered with a color blending mode on a separate layer).

About the 'auto-fitting' that you mention - interestingly Adobe has removed 'Print Size' view in latest cloud editions of CS6 (so I hear - I don't subscribe), and seem to be cooking up a better way to preview image sharpness. Until now a lot of people have just used a 50% view to get a decent idea of how a print might turn out—which works quite well in my experience—but something more tailored might be on the horizon.

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