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Thread: How much sharpening should I let the camera do itself?

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    Former Username : Wetpixels Dazz1's Avatar
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    How much sharpening should I let the camera do itself?

    My camera has 3 settings for sharpness of the jpeg files it produces:- Hard, Standard, Soft. I find that if I set it to the 'Hard' setting, I do not really need to apply any further sharpening to the images - they seem really nice and sharp straight out of the camera.

    I have read some advice that said to set it to 'Hard' to maintain as much information as possible. This seems to presume that the 'Soft' setting is a filtering of the original image. Other advice I have read is to set it to 'Soft', and do the sharpening yourself - to get more control over it. This seems to assume the soft image is the original and the camera applies a sharpening process to it. The middle could be true I suppose, the 'Standard' setting might be nearest the original, and the 'Hard' setting, and 'Soft' settings BOTH being a processing of the original - one each way.

    Just wondering what others would do, assuming similar settings on the camera.

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    I guess when shooting jpeg`s then I would shoot using the soft setting and then you can do some more if need be when you process on the computer. Obviously when shooting raw you do all the sharpening on the computer where you have all the control.
    Graeme
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    It will only effect the jpeg images and set the default for sharpening for RAW conversion. Personally I will always do the sharpening as the last processing step, so I switch sharpening off for RAW conversion. That is the general recommendation from the experts (eg from the RAW conversion software vendors and Photoshop).

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    Former Username : Wetpixels
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    Quote Originally Posted by old dog View Post
    I guess when shooting jpeg`s then I would shoot using the soft setting and then you can do some more if need be when you process on the computer. Obviously when shooting raw you do all the sharpening on the computer where you have all the control.
    I agree, if I had raw as an option, that's what I would do.

    As for shooting 'Soft'. You wouldn't worry that the camera might actually be smoothing/blurring the image? What concerns me is that they call the middle setting 'Standard'. I worry that the "Hard' and 'Soft' settings might be created by in camera processing, and that 'Standard' is nearest the original.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    It will only effect the jpeg images and set the default for sharpening for RAW conversion. Personally I will always do the sharpening as the last processing step, so I switch sharpening off for RAW conversion. That is the general recommendation from the experts (eg from the RAW conversion software vendors and Photoshop).
    Agreed, but since I can't access the raw image in this camera, which of the 3 settings for Sharpness (Hard, Standard, Soft) is equivalent to 'Off' for the jpeg?

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    It's that long since I shot in JPEG , I've forgotten, Not much would be my answer, Be careful with JPEG's , Remember every time you save it , You lose quality , Very quickly , Think about starting to shoot in RAW , If not maybe save the file as a TIFF if you want to work on it , Then convert it back to JPEG for printing or for the web, Also keep the original , Make a copy and work on that file
    Last edited by William; 22-05-2013 at 4:40pm.
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I would guess that it is soft, but I couldn't be sure without reading the camera manual.

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    Former Username : Wetpixels
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    I would guess that it is soft, but I couldn't be sure without reading the camera manual.
    Subtle hint there to read the manual? Actually, since I bought it used, I didn't have the manual, but I downloaded it as a reference. So - I just looked, and yes, the answer was right there all the time. Thanks for making me go read it.

    From the manual -
    Choose whether to sharpen or soften outlines.

    • HARD: Use for sharp outlines
    when photographing such
    subjects as buildings and
    text.
    • STANDARD: Standard sharpness. Best choice in
    most situations.
    • SOFT: Use for soft outlines in portraits and similar
    subjects.
    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    It's that long since I shot in JPEG , I've forgotten, Not much would be my answer, Be careful with JPEG's , Remember every time you save it , You lose quality , Very quickly , Think about starting to shoot in RAW , If not maybe save the file as a TIFF if you want to work on it , Then convert it back to JPEG for printing or for the web, Also keep the original , Make a copy and work on that file
    I can't shoot in raw unfortunately. However, my workflow is to archive the jpeg from the camera using a management program called Shotwell, then edit in Gimp and save it as .xcf This is Gimp's native format, and it retains all info, including layers and channel info from the editing process. When I have it the way I want it, I export as jpeg as a final step.
    Last edited by Dazz1; 22-05-2013 at 5:16pm.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Well, if you ask me, it would be a matter of determining which of the settings does the least - if any at all - sharpening.
    OK, less "determining" as "guessing", as I would also guess a definitive answer would not be available.
    The manual you cited confirmed my original guess of "Standard", but....
    I will check the specs on this camera.
    Am.

    OK, jpeg only, so who ???
    Last edited by ameerat42; 22-05-2013 at 5:25pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Former Username : Wetpixels
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    Well, if you ask me, it would be a matter of determining which of the settings does the least - if any at all - sharpening.
    OK, less "determining" as "guessing", as I would also guess a definitive answer would not be available.
    The manual you cited confirmed my original guess of "Standard", but....
    I will check the specs on this camera.
    Am.

    OK, jpeg only, so who ???
    It's a Fuji Finepix S2500HD

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetpixels View Post
    Just wondering what others would do, assuming similar settings on the camera.
    Set it to zero, you can always add sharpening later with software globally or locally to a COPY of the original jpeg but you will find it hard to remove from the original if set in camera.
    Andrew
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    ^ Hehe ... I just KNEW that would be I@M's response before I even opened the thread! He's right, though, as usual (did I say that out loud?).
    Waz
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetpixels View Post
    It's a Fuji Finepix S2500HD
    (I know. I looked up your post about it. )

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    As per Andrew's recommendation, but with another twist as to why you should leave sharpening to OFF in camera, or as low as possible(some cameras don't have an OFF option).

    The camera's processing power is never going to equal that of even the simplest image editing software. It's pretty much a jackhammer solution for when a feather touch needs to be applied.
    if you always open the images in a favourite software you have, be that Picasa, or Elements, or even Windows Picture Viewer!! .. always leave sharpening to the more refined PC software to do.
    this way you can also use sharpening selectively on the image if this helps the image to look nicer.

    Also try not to apply sharpening to an image that's already been sharpened .. unless you have just resized it. And if you do apply sharpening to a just resized image, make it a very light application9eg. 1/3rd of the amount used on the full sized image.

    If your only options for sharpening in the camera are soft, std and hard ... then the soft option will be the best.
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    Former Username : Wetpixels
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    Thanks everyone. Definitely will set the camera to do as little to the image as possible. After the side discussion and consulting the manual, it seems that this setting, on my camera, may well be the default 'Standard' setting, as it really implies that setting it to 'Soft' might mean it actively softens the image. Definitely won'y be using 'Hard' except for happy snaps, and maybe not even then

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Soft probably means no sharpening, but it isn't clear from the manual. Try some test shots and sharpen the soft one with an editing package. If it sharpens like the standard or hard, then it's ok

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