Tobaz Sharpen AI - not so good for macro work?

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Holger Bargen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,830
Tobaz Sharpen AI - not so good for macro work?

Dear all,

I do my post-processing with ON1 - latest generation (2020). I am quite satisfied wiht it - but I wanted to test Topaz Sharpening AI techniques to see if it can improve sharpness where shaprness is often limiting: my macro work.

I will give you three photos of a sand wasp on Daucus carota. These are large black wasps doing very fast movements - they almost vibrate while they are walking. Thus, it is hard to getsahrp macro photos of them as exposure time has to be short and you have to capture the best moment when the enitre insect is in focus.

I gave Topas as well as an old progam I already own, which is not be available anymore and which uses deconvolution techniques for sharpening instead of more sophisticated AI techniques.

I see almost no improvement by the programs at all. I used the JPG processed by ON1 from my Pentax K1 RAW file (first photo). The second one which is just a little bit larger in size (2.6 MB instead of 1.9 of the original JPG file) is processed by my old sharpening program Piccure+. The third JPG is much lagre in size (almost 8MB) and is the result of sharpening done with Topas Sharpen AI. Even thoug the photo is blown up in size I don't see any significant progress in it.

My question would be: Could there be a mistake in my way of using the program or did I already reach maximum effect with it? AI is always based of professional workflow frozen into program procedures to reach professional improvement with a simple program instead of letting professionals do the job. This approach works only if the tasks you give to the program are covered with the experience and knowldge being baked into it. Could it be that the needs for sharpening in macro work is much different from other fields of photography and that the program does not give imporvement as it was not trained for this kind of tasks?

But now the photos:

Original processed with ON1

Sharpening with Piccure+

Sharpening with Topas Sharpen AI

I just started a trial of the Topaz program but at the moment it looks like I would not invest into it. But maybe some of you guys can tell me where I did a mistake and help me to use it in a way that it gives the improvements I was hoping for.

Best regards


 Holger Bargen's gear list:Holger Bargen's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-S1 Pentax K-1 Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro +6 more
Pentax K-1
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