a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras

Started Apr 19, 2014 | Discussions thread
BobSC Veteran Member • Posts: 3,664
Re: Question for everyone about JPEG image quality

jackdan wrote:

She uses curves to increase contrast more as needed and to increase detail in highlights/shadows if needed and does some trial and error tweaks of the curve. She sharpens more with unsharp mask. Keep in mind that she doesn't print anything larger than 8 x10 and puts a lot of photos on Facebook, although she has a very nice 20 inch photo of the NYC skyline at night that was taken handheld.

Using curves to open shadow detail (same thing as using the "fill light" slider, but with more control), is a fairly advanced technique. I would doubt any camera would ever do that, although my Sony Nex 3n does a pretty good job. It has a setting for automatic dynamic range control. It also has a setting where it will shoot three consecutive frames and composite them together, using the best parts of each (It has auto HDR too, but this is something different). I haven't messed with that, but it sounds interesting.

If she is using Photoshop for all this (or PSP, or probably others), instead of using unsharp mask to sharpen, give this a try: Duplicate the image as a new layer. Apply high pass filter to the new layer. Use a radius of maybe 1. Change the layer setting to overlay, hard light, or soft light, and adjust the opacity. This has the effect of increasing local contrast, like USM, but it doesn't alter the image, so you can change the amount at any time for different size prints (or web images). Since it's a separate layer, you can also change it. In a portrait, you might want to erase the sharpening layer over a face, for instance.

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