Please Help Me Tweak My 7D to Improve Image Quality

Started Mar 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
Zeee Forum Pro • Posts: 18,387
Re: Thanks Zee!

steve88 wrote:

Zee Char wrote:

Sharpening is a a bit of an art form in a way. Of course it all starts with the gear and settings. Sharpening has aways fascinated me and there were some very interesting threads oh about 2007 here of various methods. Also an important factor resizing followed by sharpening for media type. Adobe's resizing algorithms were terrible but in the last several years improved immensely.

I use two approaches to sharpening - a handful of shots for my hobby side and mass editing. For mass editing I use LR. It has cut my processing time in half. It took 3 years and several fee trials to convince me to finally get it and it was all do to one thing - sharpening. After all the years of research of different methods, testing and so on I could not handle only 3 options for sharpening on the export page. Kinda like the difference between a low oil pressure light or gauge in an car. One goes on when it has dropped and the other monitors so I know what is going on. Too many years of applying my own methods. After learning more about who developed output sharpening and tests I am fine with what it does for my needs.

Hobby shots. In the last year I slowly have basically transitioned from DPP to CS6. Reason being I used DPP for mass edits but now that I'm using LR no real need. Adobe is so much better with all the recovery options and NR. I noticed you have LR and DPP but I will be talking about CS6. Maybe you have it and I missed it. If not you might consider elements which is a killer combo when used with LR. You can export from LR to CS6/Elements to have more sharpening options than LR can provide. DPP is OK but it just does capture sharpening which I will explain later. If you are pushing to 7 or whatever you do you are going too far. When I used DPP I set it at 3 in camera and never looked at it again until after converting the RAW image.

Before I go on here are two very videos. Resizing and sharpening go hand in hand.!

Next. There are 3 levels of sharpening - capture, creative and output.

Capture compensates for your cameras AA filter which reduces moire patterns but makes the image less sharp. When you open a RAW or DPP or LR/CS6 here is were you sharpen before conversion.

Creative. Here is where you can do selective sharpening. Eyes etc with brushes and all the various tools provided.

Output sharpening is the final sharpening applied to the whole image for the media type. Here is where it gets interesting. There are many methods, approaches, 3rd party plugins, etc. Using LR you are limited to Low, Standard and High. All adequate but no fun. Also LR does not allow you to use actions, etc. DPP gives you nothing.

First off you may want to look up all types of free methods out there. The best are edge sharpening methods. Look up LAB sharpening. Simple and very effective.

This is by far the best method I have ever used and my preferred method for my hobby shots. It would take too long to use this for 500 images thus LR does that job.

What I like about it is it is an edge sharpening method which you over sharpen because at the end you can feather back. I use smart sharpening via Photo Shop as my primary sharpening method and the default is 300. I have found no two images are the same. Sometimes I can leave it at 300 and sometimes I need to feather it back 80%.

Here is a tutorial I created. In the tutorial is and action which includes a resizing step you can download for free.

I ran your image through but not sure if you see a difference. Not sure about Photobucket these days.

I can definitely see a difference in the image. That's about what I could do if I ran it through DPP and LR3. What gets me is that we spend all of this money on what's supposed to be pretty high-end gear and yet we have to process the heck out of many of the images in order to get something that looks halfway decent. Why can't the image be better coming out of the camera so that post-processing doesn't require a PhD?

Anyway, you've provided me with a ton of information here so I've copied it all into Word and I'll save it as a reference for future use. Thanks again for your time...this is really helpful!

No problem. It is frustrating but part of the digital world. There is a reason for the AA filter and every sensor based on camera model is a different strength. That is why the late great Bruce Fraser, Photoshop guru and the father of the 3 stages of sharpening created that method. He was part of the Pixel Genius group that developed the output sharpening for LR.

So it is a combination of gear, technique and PP. There is one more option. If you can live with moire there are companies that will remove the AA filter from your sensor and you will get significantly sharper images.

 Zeee's gear list:Zeee's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 300mm f/4.0L IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon Extender EF 1.4x III +5 more
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