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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎03-11-2014

Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?

(for the "Do-a-search" police, I've been searching for a tad over 90 minutes..and a simple URL pointing to a definitive answer will be appreciated as much as a detailed treatise.)

 

Preamble- serious, but amateur, T3i moving to T6s (maybe 7d next year), and all lenses less than $500 - mostly jpg, but will shoot RAW + L occasionally. 

 

For JPG shooting:Is In-Camera sharpness 0-to-7 the same as the sharpening in post? If you're going to PP anyway, does in-Camera sharpening provide a benefit that cannot be obtained in post?  Is there any disadvantage to using in-camera sharpening? 

 

Thanks for your time! 

 

Dave    

 

 

PJ
(Grampy)



"Photography is a money-sucking black hole, and I'm approaching the event horizon"
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,328
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?

I rely heavily on jpg's but you have more control over the RAW image because you edit in much fines steps. When I shoot a weekend event I may have over 3000 images to work with (for the on line album) & for 99.9% of those I'll use the jpg (unless the lighting was horrible) but if any will be published the RAW is where the photo will be drawn from.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,603
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?

If you are shooting JPEG (or don't want to do post-processing) I think you are better off having the camera do as much as possible since the camera is working on the RAW file. Once the JPEG has been created in-camera a lot of data has been thrown away; thats why JPEGs are so much smaller than RAW files.

 

If you have a Mac and use iPhoto (or the new Photos) the software will import a RAW file and you can edit it in-computer. I can't provide any input on a Windows-based equivalent.

 

My wife has a T4i and I have her camera set up to record in RAW. She has no clue what a RAW file or a JPEG file is. She opens the images in iPhoto and does her adjusting. iPhoto doesn't recognize the adjustments made by the Canon Picture Styles. (I am not sure any software does other than Canon software.)

 

 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X, Rebel T5i, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LRCC Classic
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Posts: 842
Registered: ‎03-06-2013

Re: Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?

If you shoot RAw you can change sharpening level afterward. If you shoot JPG, it is baked into the file. However, over-sharpening is just as bad as a blurry one. So even with JPG, I think you should dial the sharpess down, and sharpen it in PP and you'll have more control. In camera sharpening is bad regardless because it is universal. But in PP, you can choose which part of the photo to sharpen Jpg or sharp.

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Weekend Travelers Blog | Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,803
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?

In both cases (in-camera JPEG sharpenving vs. Photoshop) you are applying the sharpening to the image after-the-fact.  More desirable would be to manage to achieve better focus (and it's not just "missing" focus because lenses have a whole set of reasons for why they may or may not appear "sharp" and focus is just one of them... there's also contrast, detail resolving power, chromatic aberation, diffraction limits, and various types of distortion.)

 

One might argue that one software algorithm for sharpening may be better than another.  Sharpening has an undesriable side-effect of increasign "noise".  I like software that allows me to selectly choose which areas of an image I choose to sharpen (perhaps for a portrait you choose just do eyes, eyebrows, but I don't do the whole image).  You can't do "selective" application of sharpening in-camera so... one might argue that doing it an editor/adjustment program has some advantages.

 

But there are limits to what you can do.

 

The following article is a bit indirect... because rather than arguing about how to sharpen after-the-fact it really discusses how lenses work and how an image that was focused as best as possible might not actually appear "sharp" and what happens when you try to apply sharpening to the image via software:  

 

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2009/06/have-you-seen-my-acutance

 

Of particular interest in the article, he shows a series of black bars... and there are 5 sets of them.  The first set of black bars is perfectly focused... set #2 is the same bars but just gently off focus.  Set #3 is the same again, but more off focus.  And here's where it gets interesting... set #4 is REALLY set #2... but with sharpening applied.  And set #5 is REALLY set #3 but with sharpening applied.  And you'll notice that the sharpening actually seems to work for this first really bold set of bars (although you can see the bars widen at the end...almost like serifs.

 

But then... he does it again using a much finer set of black bars.  He misses focus by the same amounts in #2 and #3.  And he applies the same sharpening in #4 and #5... but while he recovers "sharpness" considerably in example #4 of the finer lines... it's a complete loss when he does the same thing in #5.  

 

If the detail is too fine and the "sharpness" is off by too much (for whatever reason) there's no recovering from it.

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎03-11-2014

Re: Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?

Thank-you all!  Great posts - and Tim's referenced article is well worth the read!

 

Since posting the question, I continued searching & reading.  It seems that image sharpness is a component that every photographer struggles with at one time or another.  And right up front, most of us believe that the better the equipment - the better the result.  It's much more advantageous to have sharpness in the acquired image. 

 

I just can't afford the "L" lenses or bodies that run several thousands.  But then again, I'm not trying to sell any images to Sports Illustrated or National Geographic.  ....but if my grandson's teammate's mom wants a few shots of Jonny playing football for $5 each.....

 

I asked Canon the question and their answer is:

The in-camera sharpening through the use of the Picture Styles is similar to what is applied by DPP.  With a JPEG image, that sharpness is directly applied and with the use of DPP, it can sharpened even further.  Using the in-camera sharpening can be helpful if you do not perform a lot of post editing to your images.

 

 

...which didn't answer my question. 

 

Since I run over 90% through PP anyway (crop, frame, watermark, etc) I think I'll switch to RAW + L.  For lots of reasons, I'm hoping the T6s (coming next week) will help in lower light indoor sports and overall AI Servo tracking.

 

While my 55-250 is my go-to lens, especially outside, I am ordering the 85mm f/1.8 for the indoor work.

 

Thanks again~!

 

Dave

PJ
(Grampy)



"Photography is a money-sucking black hole, and I'm approaching the event horizon"
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,328
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?

I haven't read this but it may be of interest to you. 

 

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=466333

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎03-11-2014

Re: Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?

Now THAT's a sharpening thread!!!    Thanks!

PJ
(Grampy)



"Photography is a money-sucking black hole, and I'm approaching the event horizon"
VIP
Posts: 10,933
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?

Re-read this; .....

"If you shoot RAw you can change sharpening level afterward. If you shoot JPG, it is baked into the file. However, over-sharpening is just as bad as a blurry one. So even with JPG, I think you should dial the sharpess down, and sharpen it in PP and you'll have more control. In camera sharpening is bad regardless because it is universal. But in PP, you can choose which part of the photo to sharpen ...."

 

It may be nit-picking but it is always better to have the camera capture as close to neutral (what it saw) as it can, in a RAW file.  Later in post, edit it in PS.  When you import to PS, or LR, it automatically applies the camera's settings if you want them!  You are than free to do whatever you need and you have the full file to work with.  Not what the camera judged was unnecessary and discarded.  Forever!

Personally I see no use for recording RAW+jpg.  With the ease of todays post editors, I see very little reason to even use jpg anymore at all.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, even less and less other stuff.
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎03-11-2014

Re: Is in-camera sharpness the same as sharpening in post?


@ ebiggs1 wrote:

Re-read this; .....

...

Personally I see no use for recording RAW+jpg.  With the ease of todays post editors, I see very little reason to even use jpg anymore at all.


Well, of course you're correct, and thank-you for your expert opinion.  However I often shoot a burst of more than 6 or 7 shots (and longer than 2 or 3 seconds) and to get more than 8 RAW I'd have to get above the $2,500 level of the 5d MKIII. (and even higher to get to more than a 2-second press) With JPG, I have yet to fill the buffer, and I can squeeze the trigger for a complete 5-second football down, or the 4-7 second run from home to first base.

 

I'm not in your world with a bag filled with many thousand dollars of gear, so I asked the question, "When shooting JPEG, is it better to sharpen in-camera, in post, or both?"  I agree that "...minimum in-camera, finish in PP" is best, and I just wanted to know what other amateur grandfathers have found when shooting JPEG with our amateur gear.

 

 

PJ
(Grampy)



"Photography is a money-sucking black hole, and I'm approaching the event horizon"
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