Should digital photos need to be "sharpened" in post process?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Grandpa Ron, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2018
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    177
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I am not trying to stir up a hornets nest but at a recent photo club meeting, one of the member was showing pictures from his trip out west. In the ensuing conversations about post processing, an off-hand the comment was made, that digital photos almost always need to be sharpened in post process.

    I have noticed a lack of sharpness in some of my photos but I attributed it the auto focus selecting the wrong subject and/or the aperture priority always seems to select the smallest f values, with the least amount of depth of field.

    I do not know if it makes a difference in sharpness, but most of the camera club folks prefer to work in the JPG format rather than RAW.

    I was curious if there was some merit to this off-hand comment?


     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    11,194
    Likes Received:
    5,249
    Location:
    Alabama
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I'd say it's the opposite. With a good lens and light, the in focus area can be to sharp. In post I do apply a small amount of sharpening but then use a mask to limit it, to clean up the edges.
     
  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    17,953
    Likes Received:
    4,617
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I think a small amount of sharpening helps most shots. I usually sharpen the very last thing, after everything else is done.
     
  4. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,948
    Likes Received:
    601
    Location:
    Southwest US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    It depends on a host of factors.
    If high end lenses on a camera engineered for those lenses then I would say they have a focus calibration issue.
    In my experience it can be some other factors as well, but in almost all cases I have seen, no.

    The comment may have been sincere, but ill-informed.
     
  5. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Messages:
    17,622
    Likes Received:
    11,528
    Location:
    Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I never sharpen in my Fujifilm X series cameras. The only time I think about it is if I missed focus and it doesn't help to sharpen a missed focus image. I shoot in raw and convert the image to jpeg in camera most of the time. I almost always de sharpen by -2 .

    Other times, like a soccer game where I have 100 or more images, I shoot in raw and download into computer for batch edit and export jpegs.

    Your going to get a lot of people that just shoot jpeg, to each their own. My experience is that the raw file is much easier to edit because there is a a lot more information to work with. I never liked sharpening with Fujifilm, looks weird to me. Nikon seems to take it on better but I don't do it with them either. I hate editing.

    Personally, I like to get it right in the camera (raw) and tweak if needed in camera, and convert to jpeg in camera. Then I am not sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time. The only time I don't do this is when I am taking a lot of images at one time, like a kids soccer game.

    One of my favorite things about Fujifilm X series cameras, in camera raw conversions. Most X series users don't do what I do, most shoot in raw + jpeg and edit on computer. A lot just shoot jpeg, I don't get it but to each his own.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
  6. NGH

    NGH TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2019
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Is this something to do with the size of the pixels now on the latest sensors versus the 'circle of confusion'?
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    45,323
    Likes Received:
    17,277
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Typically you need sharpening added post capture, to counteract the softening effect of the anti-aliasing filter array that most digital cameras use. And then you need to sharpen for end-use use, either web display or for printing. So yes, almost all digital images need some degree of sharpening if they were shot in raw or with sharpening set to off. If however you shoot in jpeg mode and have in- camera sharpening set to medium to high then typically you will not have to sharpen in post-processing, but sharpening has already been applied in-camera.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Informative Informative x 5
    • Like Like x 1
  8. RVT1K

    RVT1K No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2019
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    383
    Location:
    Near Albany, NY
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I don't remember where I saw it but I recall something about all digital images "requiring" some sharpening.

    I was exposed to the unsharp mask when I took my first digital photography class and I always add some sharpening to the shots that I choose to keep.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Messages:
    8,181
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    Location:
    US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I don't see why if you have a decent lens. I see a good bit 'out there' of what to me looks oversharpened. I agree it's better to shoot Raw if/when there's a need to edit, although I don't usually do much post processing.

    If anything I may need to sharpen a scan of a print from film because the scanned copy may not be as sharp as the original.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    24,797
    Likes Received:
    4,521
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    A few thoughts:

    1) If you shoot in RAW mode have a look at the default editing settings and you'll notice that, by default, the RAW processor is sharpening your photos every time. Try turning it off.
    Once you pick your jaw up you realise that, yes, your photos DO need sharpening every single time. As noted above one part of this is the AA filter, which is why some camera manufacturers made cameras without the filter for even more sharpness (of course you're then open to more chances of aberrations appearing as a result of how digital sensors work).

    2) When you resize a photo to display on the web or in print or anywhere you have to either throw data away (resizing smaller) or add data (enlarging). Both those process will often require sharpening (sometimes not much) in order to overcome the softening from the adjustment to the data. Some resizing software will apply a basic amount of sharpening as part of its resizing code, though even then you might well need a little more on top.
    another common editing step that reduces sharpness is noise removal.

    3) Sharpening isn't evil and is only refining what you've already captured. A soft shot can't be made sharp through editing with the sharpening tools. You can improve things, but never to perfection so a sharp, correct in camera, shot is always good.

    4) Oversharpening is a risk and can happen; its a valid concern but one to simply temper the sharpening values rather than throw the whole concept out the window.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. stapo49

    stapo49 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Messages:
    1,491
    Likes Received:
    1,152
    While we are on the subject of sharpening how do folks on this forum judge what is sharp and what is over sharpened?

    Is it just a matter of experience with post processing and judging the correct level by eye or does anyone apply a "formula" that works for them?
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    12,735
    Likes Received:
    5,308
    Location:
    NoVA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit


    I always do. Always.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

amazon