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In-camera sharpening of Raw files

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KingBee
KingBee e2 Member 8329 forum postsKingBee vcard Scotland2 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 10:04 AM

I read somewhere recently that the 'professional' approach to sharpening is to employ a workflow that applies sharpening at three different levels during the enhancement process - "at the time of capture (my italics), during enhacement and when preparing for output". The author goes on to say that "for Raw shooters adopting this apporach means adding a little global sharpening in-camera or at the time of conversion".

It is the 'in-camera sharpening' bit that intrigues me, since I had always assumed that when shooting Raw all in-camera parameters should be set to neutral / zero. Surely any in-camera adjustments will not be lossless, thus detracting from the 'purity' of the Raw image?

Any thoughts, anyone?

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8 May 2012 - 10:04 AM

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Gaucho
Gaucho e2 Member 122211 forum postsGaucho vcard United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 10:13 AM

I never sharpen in camera but do some light sharpening in Lightroom at conversion. I think, as you say, having everything set to neutral in camera is the way to go.

Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139392 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 11:19 AM

I only sharpen in PS after the photo has been resized and, if need be, cropped. Sharpening set to zero in-camera and at the RAW conversion stage.

Generally most will sharpen a bit more for a print than for web use.

digicammad
digicammad  1121988 forum posts United Kingdom37 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 11:22 AM

As far as I am aware it isn't so much at time of capture as immediately upon opening the raw file in your editing software and is very light touch.

The second stage is 'creative' and applied with a brush to any bits you feel need that extra something. As CB says, the final stage is dependent upon your output medium.

Hope this helps.

Ian

JohnParminter
8 May 2012 - 11:26 AM

I never do any post processing sharpening to my images.

I shoot in RAW and set the in-camera sharpening to max +9 in the Picture Controls on my D300.

I convert the RAW file to TIFF using all of the in-camera parameters that have been set. I use Capture NX2 for this and I don't think other convertors allow this feature.

For my taste, style and workflow the image sharpening is ideal as set in camera and therefore I have no need to do any in the TIFF processing stage.

This will not be the majority of folk's workflows though.

JP

KingBee
KingBee e2 Member 8329 forum postsKingBee vcard Scotland2 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 11:48 AM

Interesting range of views - for which many thanks thus far - and I am particularly intrigued by John P's thoughts which certainly appear to support the in-camera sharpening theory, however much in the minority (even by his own admission) he may be. FWIW, I never convert to TIFF, always to PSD, so each to their own, I guess.

cats_123
cats_123 e2 Member 104005 forum postscats_123 vcard Northern Ireland24 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 11:58 AM

Haven't tried in-camera sharpening but have been trialling LR4, importing RAW files where it seems to apply some light sharpening (+25). Being new to Lightroom, is this something that you can alter? (e.g. set sharpening to zero). I ask this because I upload `occasional' shots to Alamy, which requires no sharpening of images.

darranl
darranl  5318 forum posts England
8 May 2012 - 11:59 AM

One thing to remember about Lightroom is that is follows the "during enhacement and when preparing for output" approach so the detail tab is during enhancement - on exporting or printing there is a second output specific sharpening step.

Gaucho
Gaucho e2 Member 122211 forum postsGaucho vcard United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 12:01 PM

If you use a preset you can set it anyway you like Smile

cats_123
cats_123 e2 Member 104005 forum postscats_123 vcard Northern Ireland24 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 12:19 PM


Quote: One thing to remember about Lightroom is that is follows the "during enhacement and when preparing for output" approach so the detail tab is during enhancement - on exporting or printing there is a second output specific sharpening step.

thanks..hadn't noticed that facility..had just been exporting without any enhancements (except in the `Develop' stage). Smile


Quote: If you use a preset you can set it anyway you like Smile

Have now found that too Smile

psiman
psiman  10551 forum posts Wales
8 May 2012 - 12:26 PM

I believe capture sharpening for RAW files is a relatively light amount of initial sharpening applied during post processing that is intended to compensate for the softness caused by most camera's anti-aliasing filters rather than any sharpening applied in camera. I used to do it as the first step in Photoshop using Nik Software's Sharpener Pro but when I upgraded to CS5 I started using the new sharpening capabilities in ACR 6.X which with work give a better result. A couple of pointers if you're using ACR (I suspect this also applies to LR4 but I haven't downloaded that yet):

1. You need to select in the presets whether the sharpening is actually being applied to the converted image rather than just the preview (the default setting)
2. There are presets and tutorials available from the likes of Martin Evening and Jeff Schewe to help take some of the guess work out of which settings to use.

Simon

Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139392 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 12:33 PM


Quote: importing RAW files where it seems to apply some light sharpening (+25)

I used to do this but have now turned sharpening off altogether in the converter. I have found it's better to make sharpening decisions right at the end. I always save my TIFFs completely unsharpened, so that if I go back to them to (for example) make a version of a different size I can apply the appropriate amount - and type - of sharpening.

Also, some magazines demand completely unsharpened TIFFs and some agencies want only minimally sharpened JPEGs.

Dave_Canon
8 May 2012 - 12:35 PM

If the Camera sharpened the images the data would no longer be Raw. I am not aware that any DSLR sharpens Raw files but only JPEG's. However, if you set sharpening in the camera, manufacturers software (e.g. Canon's DPP) may preset those values in its Raw converter which you can still change.

Dave

Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139392 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
8 May 2012 - 12:39 PM

So far as I know RAW images are "tagged" with info. Presumably any sharpening is a tag which can be undone?

LesJD
LesJD  2145 forum posts Wales
8 May 2012 - 12:52 PM

A
Quote: So far as I know RAW images are "tagged" with info. Presumably any sharpening is a tag which can be undone?

I shoot raw only with a Canon and set the sharpening at 3 just to verify that the shot is actually sharp.If I use DPP I tend to leave it where it is much of the time and sharpen selectively at the output stage.
If the shot is of a woman or child I usually convert the file with zero sharpening and sharpen just the eyes and hair so that the skin remains untouched.

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