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iA + Sharpening

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by mick / Lumix, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. mick / Lumix

    mick / Lumix Guest

    Oct 3, 2010
    With A S or P modes the user can select the level of sharpening but there is no choice when using iA mode.

    I load all photos on to a MacBook Pro and increase the sharpening with the built in iphoto editor. If the same level of sharpening is applied by the computer then the iA photos look the same as say my A mode photos taken at + 2 sharpen.

    What I am saying is that I am no worse off, in terms of sharpness, using iA mode. All that is just to set the scene.

    My question is : why would anyone set or not set + 2 sharpen, and what is the general view regarding sharpening ? I am a fully paid up member of the JPEG Only Club.
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    iA mode disables most all the JPG tuning controls - limited film modes, only AWB (and no fine tuning of it) - to limit your chances of screwing something up ... of course, it also limits your ability to get truly exceptional images.

    I think most people are running + sharpening, but you have to watch out for it accentuating noise.

    I am becoming a HUGE fan of the 4 custom modes on my GF1 so you can pre-program these settings for the shots you take. For example, you could make a + NR and - Sharp profile for low light pictures or where you want it to be a bit soft (ie portraits)
  3. Sharpening


    There are whole books written on sharpening, so getting deep into this is difficult in an email thead and because I don't pretend to understand it completely. :rolleyes: 

    If you really feel the need to sharpen your images, I would suggest you start shooting in RAW + JPG, which I think you can still do in iA. I don't use most of the automatic features of the camera, so I am as unfamiliar with them as you are with the post-process sharpening.

    You can also sharpen a JPG image, post-process. Lot's of people frown on this and from a purist point of view, they are correct. However, you can get great results modifying a good JPG image and no one will ever notice the very, very slight loss of image "information".

    If you have access to Photoshop, any version will work, go to the filters - unsharp mask. Try setting your sliders at about 100 strength, 0.8 or 1.0 pixel width, 25 threshold and 40 masking. For me, this seems to work well. If your shot is a tad noisy, increase the luminance and color noise settings to about 25. You can see all this happening in a preview pane, so you will know when you've overdone it.

    Let me know if it works for you.
  4. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    "Sharpening" is just too broad a term, and there are many ways to do it.

    1. Many programs enhance the "detail" globally. That is, trying to boost detail in flat regions like the sky where detail may not exist. This method results in an increase in "noise". This would be the closest to in camera sharpening.

    2. A more advanced method, like Nik's software approach is to only enhance the edges of each object. This minimizes the visual possibility of increasing the noise. Often it's less noticeable, but you should always follow the rule of thumb that "less is more". Sharpening, like spices, should enhance and not dominate. There are two types of sharpening - for display on a PC or for a printed photo. Print sharpening tend to be much more subtle.

    3. A more generic approach is to use a high pass filter in Photoshop. It allows you to set the type of detail you want to enhance.

    4. I prefer selective sharpening. For example sharpen the persons hair and eyes to make them pop in the photo.
  5. mick / Lumix

    mick / Lumix Guest

    Oct 3, 2010
    Thanks for answers. Until now I have always used + 2 in camera, usually in A or P mode. At the moment I am taking a lot of photos in iA mode (there is a reason !) where there is no choice. What I was really interested in is a "head count" of how many use the obvious + sharpen against those who have reason not to sharpen in camera, and why.
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    It wouldn't surprise me if the iA mode had some + sharpening dialed in...
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