View Full Version : What are good sharpening methods for the R-D1
Several of you have mentioned various sharpening methods that work well on the R-D1. I wonder if you could share those here. I am looking for a good set.
This may not sound like a very sophisticated approach, but don't overlook just turning up the edge-enhance setting in the "Film" presets.
I started out with this turned to the minimum level, because I had been taught dogmatically that "sharpening is the last step in your workflow." But when I set it back to the normal level, I got substantially sharper-looking results without any real penalty that I could see.
If you shoot in raw mode, you can experiment with different edge-enhance settings during raw file conversion and see which one seems best suited to your subject and shooting conditions.
I've been experimenting with RawShooter (which supports the R-D1), and I often don't need any additional sharpening beyond what the raw converter provides. Except just a touch of USM (75-150%, .1-.4 radius, 0-4 threshold depending on subject) if I resize, of course.
I don't know how well the R-D1's in-camera sharpening for jpeg compares to other cameras since I always shoot raw.
search google for astrophotography and unsharp mask. great explanations!
check out the pdf by wei-hao wang:
With many cameras I use Photokit Sharpener and sharpen in two stages. Capture sharpening at the beginning and then output sharpening at the end of the process.
But, like jlw, I've found that the leaving "edge enhance" at the normal setting in PhotoRAW does a very good job of capture sharpening.
What is the normal setting of edge enhance? is it 0 or some other number? When it is set to zero there is nothing applied to the image.
I'm not sure if there is a "do nothing" edge enhance setting. With negative values it looks to me like the image is being blurred. At zero I think there's some subtle USM going on, and obviously more so at higher positive settings. At any rate zero is where I leave it. Like Sean says it substitutes nicely for the capture sharpening stage. For printing I use less output USM with R-D1 files than with Canon 20D files. In general 20D photos need more work (contrast, saturation if in color, USM) to get them into proper printing shape. R-D1 photos benefit from a lighter touch.
I use a plugin by Fred Miranda called Nikon CS Pro .. it's written for d100/ d1x files but works very good with R-1d files if you want to sharpen for print.
I prefer a small bit of edge-enhancement in the converter to start with... except with high iso shots ... in that case better leave it to zero or even a negative value .... you get much cleaner results! That's also where the plugin is better than USM ..... it does not sharpen the noise.
I'm afraid that I don't have much time to experiment today but I believe the edge enhance works as follows:
"0" is the default setting and applies a moderate amount of sharpening (just about right for capture sharpening, I think)
Settings below "0" apply less sharpening such that -5 should be "no sharpening"
Settings above "0", naturally, apply more sharpening
Again, sorry I don't have time today to test this. I leave the setting at zero and am happy.
I agree with David K. that it appears that settings below the middle 0 position appear to make the image softer.
That doesn't necessarily mean that the edge-enhance setting is making the image softer -- the softness could be from the camera's anti-aliasing filter, and as you turn down the enhance setting, the software is compensating less and less for it.
It seems difficult to recreate this lost edge enhancement using ordinary Photoshop filters, so I've standardized on leaving edge enhancement at the neutral position rather than turning it all the way down and trying to do all my sharpening later.
On further study I think Sean and jlw are right. An edge enhance value of -5 is the "do nothing" setting. Or as close to it as we get. The zero setting adds some snap to photos without any visible artifacting.
I converted the same photo with the Photoshop CS converter and then twice with Epson's converter. I used the -5 edge enhance setting for the first Epson conversion and the zero setting for the second. Center crops from the three are linked below...CS first, Epson -5 second, Epson zero third.
The most obvious differences are in color & contrast. The Photoshop conversion is dull & flat in comparison to the Epsons, even with a +15 saturation boost. I set contrast in Epson's converter to -3 as well while the CS converter was at the +25 default.
There we go, that's exactly the test I would have done. So that tells us that the CS conversion can be made with no sharpening whatsoever and that the -5 setting in PhotoRAW still applies some sharpening. It also suggests to me that Epson has it's sharpening quite well figured out for this particular camera; all that software experience with printers hasn't gone to waste here. I have a hunch that the folks who complain about the R-D1 files being noticeably soft are converting from RAW in CS with sharpening set to zero. After doing some initial tests, I decided to leave the edge enhance at zero in PhotoRAW and the resulting files are as sharp or sharper than what I see from 5-6MP DSLRs.
I don't know about the RD-1, but there is a great 3 page story on the workflow of Sports Illustrated on Rob Galbraith's site....
The bottom of page 3 reads:
"typical Photoshop Unsharp Mask settings for a two-step sharpening routine might be Amount: 150, Radius: 0.6, and Threshold: 0 for the first pass and Amount: 300-500, Radius: 0.6, and Threshold 0 for the second pass."
Although each camera system and shooting situation is different, a variation on these sort of guidelines will yield very good results at least in my experience with digital Canon Mark II files.
Hope that helps,
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