6D - Messing with Sharpness

Started Dec 13, 2012 | Discussions thread
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6D - Messing with Sharpness
Dec 13, 2012

I was quite curious to see how sharp (or not) the 6D is so I put together a few comparisons.  These aren't meant to be formal tests, just me trying out some different ideas to see how the images would come out.

I have to admit that I'm not the greatest sharpener, plus I've been using DPP which I'm  not familiar with.   So I'm guessing with more practice and/or a different RAW program the sharpness could be further improved.

Be sure to view the "original size" - the smaller versions defeat the purpose.

Comparison 1 and 2

The first two are very similar.  I set up a few stuffed animals and shot the same scene through a range of ISOs.  The camera was on a tripod with mirror lockup and a 2 sec delay in order to minimize shake.  Initial focus was done with Live View.   F-Stop fixed at 7.1 using the Canon 24-105. The only thing that changed was the shutter speed and the ISO - keeping the exposure the same.

Comparing Sharpness at Different ISOs #1

Then the RAW images were processed in DPP and sharpened with the three settings in the Unsharpen Mask.   At lower ISOs the Strength was pushed up while the Fineness and Threshold were pushed down - to my eye that seemed to produce the best balance of sharpness.  At the mid to higher ISOs the settings were all over the place.

What you see is a crop of the 100% view on the area of focus.   For the first, the focus point was at the base of the eye.   The second the focus as on the "C".

Comparing Sharpness at Different ISOs #2

You can also see how the noise starts coming in through the ISO levels.   At the mid to higher ISOs I toned down the sharpening because the noise gets really ugly when pushing the sharpening too much.

"Real World" Comparison

This next one is quite different.   It is all from a single shot I took this weekend of some sculpture on the side of a building.  The camera was set to capture both RAW and Large JPG.   Basic settings: ISO 100, 1/250, 5.6, 105mm.

With this one I was comparing what could be done with a RAW (with sharpening) and a JPG out of the camera (with no additional sharpening) that is downsized until it looked sharp.   These are all crops at 100% magnification.

RAW vs Downsized JPG

You can see that the RAW is a little over sharpened, but overall it cleaned up pretty nicely.   The out of camera JPGs look rather blurry at 100% (original size).   They start to look good at about 60% of original size, 50% is a little better.

You could of course sharpen the JPGs which would improve the situation, but I did experiment with that and also wasn't thrilled with the results.  But since the RAW file turned out pretty good I'm not worried about JPG sharpness (or lack thereof).   Plus, the JPGs are actually very usable on places like the web - a 50% downsize is still a large file.

Overall I'm fairly happy with the sharpness of the camera so far - I'm just waiting on more processing software to support RAW so I can work on my sharpening skills.

Canon EOS 6D
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