XE1 Image Softness Reconsidered

Started Dec 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
Tom Schum
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Re: XE1 Image Softness Reconsidered
In reply to John Carson, Dec 9, 2012

John Carson wrote:

Next I applied sharpening to the XE1 image. I used an unsharp mask with an amount of 90%, radius of 2.5, and threshold of 2. I also boosted saturation slightly (with the slider at 5). This is much more sharpening than I would normally consider, but the sharpening halos were only modest, roughly the same to my eyes as those on the OMD image by default.

I think it was very scientific of you to include your unsharp mask settings.

This does open up a can of worms, since I have not seen this sort of discrimination in-camera, ever.  In other words we as users have no idea how the in-camera sharpening is accomplished, regardless of camera.  In post-processing we have more control and more options, which is a good thing.  In Photoshop Elements I prefer the sharpening option to the unsharp mask option, even though there is more control possible with the unsharp mask.

When sharpening, I think any time the radius is above 1 pixel the sharpening haloes become a hazard.  When the lens is really sharp, as is any lens Fuji makes for the X-series, one can drop below this radius and explore the possibilities.  For example, I prefer to sharpen my X-E1 JPGs by 50-100% at a radius of 0.3 to 0.8 pixels.  The bigger that radius, the sooner the haloes appear and I know I've gone too far.

I've had my X-E1 only a couple days now, so all my sharpening guidelines might be changing very soon...  These things vary camera-to-camera and take some time to work out.

To eliminate the in-camera sharpening unknowns and their unpleasant effects I prefer to turn down in-camera sharpening.  Minimum is a good setting to start with.  Well worth experimenting, if you haven't already.

The problem with this is that all the out-of-camera JPGs end up soft.  So I have to post process all of them.  But it is a net gain in convenience for me because my X-E1 still does most of the work with colors, contrast, white balance, and so on, at least compared with my previous cameras.

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Tom Schum

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