Free Shipping on ALL Products
camera reviewsbest cameraslens reviewsphotography tipscamera forumvideo toursphotography bookssupport me
It is currently Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:12 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:30 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9805
Location: UK
Hi folks,

Having recently acquired Topaz Labs' InFocus Photoshop plug-in I thought I'd do a side by side comparison with Photoshop's native "Smart Sharpen" filter. Photoshop offers a number of tools to sharpen images, as does Adobe Camera RAW, but Smart Sharpen has been my usual tool so, on a personal level, it made sense to use it as my benchmark when judging how well InFocus performed.

Update: Rather than just confine this thread to my own weapons of choice I've also provided a link to my starter image at the end of this post so feel free to download it and see how far you can push your own sharpening tools (without introducing too many artefacts) and share your best efforts.

As a starting point I took a 300 x 300 pixel crop from an image which contained the detail I wanted but which I knew wasn't pin sharp. The RAW file was developed in Adobe Camera Raw where I removed chromatic aberration and tweaked the exposure and colour balance but turned the default sharpening off. The resulting image, labelled "Original" is pretty soft. I sharpened the image separately, trying to use the most aggressive settings I could before those settings created what I personally considered to be unacceptable edge artefacts, using both Smart Sharpen (settings: Amount 56%, Radius 1.3px, Remove Lens Blur, More Accurate) and InFocus (settings: Blur Type - Out of Focus, Blur radius 0.80, Suppress artefacts 0.20, Micro-contrast 0.23, Sharpen 0.21, Sharpness radius 0.80). As an aside, the 56% Smart Sharpen setting is way more than I'd usually use but the crop was able to withstand it, something that wouldn't be true if anything in the frame had been sharp to start with! I've also included DeNoised versions (another Topaz Labs plug-in), using the same light RAW setting for the two images, as both tools create unwanted noise in the sky in particular. Here are the results as 100% crops presented as an animation to allow direct comparisons:

    Image

The effect is subtle but I prefer the output of InFocus which does a good job with the twigs against the sky but which also seems to bring out more detail in the background landscape and the flowers. To better see what's happening at the pixel level here are the 2x blow ups (nearest neighbour "interpolation") of the individual frames. Obviously at that scale things get quite ugly but I offer them solely so you can decide whether my choices would have been your choices in terms of what is or is not acceptable in the way of artefacts.


    Image

    Image Image

    Image Image

My normal workflow would be to allow ACR to perform default sharpening during RAW conversion, something that is pretty mandatory for anything that comes from a Bayer sensor fronted by an anti-aliasing filter, so I'll add a disclaimer that the "Original" image above should in no way be used to judge either the quality of the camera or the lens which was set to a fairly extreme 7mm focal length - 14mm equivalent FoV on a full-framer!

If you'd like to try your own settings (or tools) and share the results in this thread then you can download an unlabelled JPEG version of the original 300 x 300 pixel crop by clicking on this link.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Last edited by Bob Andersson on Sat May 19, 2012 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
Thread title changed


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 5:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8022
Location: UK
Image

Not sure it needs much processing. Left: original. Right: PSE sharpen 100%, 0.5 pixel radius, gaussian, more refined. I didn't denoise as the way my fav tool works doesn't work well on tiny crops. If I wanted a little more pop I'd do an unsharp but again that tends to be more determined by the bigger picture than pixel peeping.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 10:06 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9805
Location: UK
Hi popo,

Thanks for taking part. I found it a little difficult to compare your finished result with my own so here they are together:

    Image
    Image

It's still difficult to compare easily so here's an animated 2x blow up comparing your own result with the "InFocus + DeNoise" result:

    Image

Obviously viewing at 2x is purely for "pixel peeping purposes" (say that as rapidly as you can three times!) and I also very much take on the point that maxing out the sharpening isn't always appropriate, even for landscapes. As the purpose of the exercise is to see how far sharpening can be pushed without introducing "visually disturbing artefacts" at 100% scale I think (hope) I can be forgiven for saying that InFocus is the clear winner compared to PSE, even with the caveat that what is or is not a "visually disturbing artefact" is pretty subjective! Again, thanks for sharing. 8)

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 12:14 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8022
Location: UK
Have to admit I'm not a fan of the animated images, at least not where there's more than two as I've forgotten what the 1st one looks like by the time the 3rd pops up.

Having said that, the new animation at 200% does show your version with more "pop". Maybe I'll have another go later with a spot of unsharp too...

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2012 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.
/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs

Webdesign by Alphabase IT
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group