Neat sharpening observation, E-5 vs D700

Started Jan 2, 2011 | Discussions thread
peripheralfocus Veteran Member • Posts: 4,380
I have not found the same things

John King wrote:

I find that if I use the sharpening and exposure techniques that seem to work fine for our CanSonyNikon brethren there, my images are pretty much unusable.

  • 'Expose to the right' doesn't work for me with any of my three bodies (E-1/510/30). I get blown highlights and noisy shadows, even with my E-30 and E-1. However when the four channels of the histogram approximate a normal distribution curve, my results are excellent (Luminance, R-G-B).

  • The common sharpening methods as recommended by the Kelby books and others don't seem appropriate either. The so-called "de-fogging" pre-sharpening of 200~500% at 0.5 pixel radius just destroys the contrast and 'pop' of my images. Seems to work for other brand users, but not for any of my Olympus bodies.

Anyone else find this to be the case?

John, I can't dispute your findings with your cameras, but just for the benefit of anyone who is trying to learn and might read this thread, my own experiences are different.

My E-1 (and the 5 or 6 other Olympus DSLRs I've reviewed or tested for magazines) have benefitted from "expose to the right" in exactly the way that the theory suggests they should. And my E-1, which has a moderately strong AA filter, gives me fairly soft out-of-camera raw images that definitely benefit from an initial capture sharpening like the one you describe reading about in a Kelby book (my Photoshop Unsharp Mask settings for the E-1 are about Amount = 250, Radius = 0.3 or 0.4). This has no effect on the contrast of my E-1 images -- it simply improves (by an admittedly quite small margin) fine detail rendition in the final output.

I have not used an E-5, but I have reviewed several DSLRs that do not have AA filters at all (2 Kodaks and 2 Sigmas), and they do indeed require much less sharpening in post, and I would not do an initial capture sharpen pass with those cameras. It would not surprise me at all if the E-5, with its apparently weak AA filter, behaves at least somewhat similarly, as the OP seems to have discovered.

For the record, after reviewing more than 20 DSLRs from every manufacturer that has ever made them except Contax, I have found very few reliably brand-correlated differences in image characteristics, with the exception of color matrixing. One can make some very loosely accurate generalizations about default JPEG color mapping from brand to brand, I think, but even then, things change (sometimes a great deal) over time, and from model to model, within and across brands. In raw, the color matrixing depends almost entirely on the raw converter, so brand generalizations go out the window at that point.

This is not to say that all digital cameras produce the same images -- that's definitely not true. But you can't predict the differences very well by knowing the brand of the camera. You need to know the specific model.

Obviously, you should continue doing what works for you -- you don't need me to tell you that. That's what everyone should do -- experiment and figure out what gives you the results you want and a workflow that you enjoy (or can tolerate). But I just wanted to get an alternate experience, from an Olympus owner, on the record.

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Leo
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