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Paul Mayall

Edge Sharpening Technics on full frame images

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I have been taking a closer look at how to sharpen or better still how to avoid soft edges on full frame images, up until now i cannot find a way to do this.

 

Anybody out there who know how to improve the soft edges?

 

 

Cheers,

 

Paul.

 

 

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Given the number of images you have on Alamy you are obviously an experienced photographer so you probably know all of what to do anyway but here goes.

 

Use the optimum apertures for your lens-camera combos. Test for the optimum aperture with practical subjects - e.g buildings or the like at different distances where you can see any falloff in sharpness.

 

Focus carefully - if you use hyperfocal techniques, then check the lens-camera combo in practice, don't just rely on barrel markings or tables. Edge sharpness can be more senstitive to slight changes than centre sharpness I find. Needless to say use a tripod whenever possible.

 

Use prime lenses where possible. I've never found a zoom that can match a good prime but then I've never owned a very expensive zoom. in my experience, a 50mm Nikkor on a D700 or D800 gives super sharp edge to edge images at f11 if focused properly with negligible edge fall off. Wide angle primes do start to show edge fall off.

 

There are various things you could do in Lightroom or Photoshop but sharpening is not allowed for Alamy purposes (although, whenever this topic comes up, there are various admissions of capture sharpening etc etc and it is never entirely clear what Alamy actually allows). Adding clarity locally in Lightroom may be an option as officially this is not sharpening but in reality it is under another name. Downsizing is probably the simplest way to sharpen slightly soft edges but if they are really unsharp then there is probably no real solution.

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If you use photoshop, you can use the High pass filter method. I duplicate the layer, and then go to Filter, Other, High Pass Filter. Set the values to where you see just a faint outline of the areas you want sharpened and then OK.

 

Use the layer blending mode "Soft Light" and this will apply a sharpening level to only those contrasting areas in the filter. I also use a far more complicated method using levels and blurs, but that's a quick one. 

 

Before I do anything, I make sure to remove any instance of CA from an image as this can be exacerbated greatly in post processing by enhancing edge detail.

 

Also developed a method yesterday of applying a quick dodge and burn to an image to give a toned feel. 

 

Of late I've been too scared to upload these, but it would be nice to get some clarity on the issue. 

 

No sharpening is for those I think, who just move a slider to the top in LR and dont think about it, so a general rule for everyone applies. 

 

There's more ways to do something as usual :) 

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Given the number of images you have on Alamy you are obviously an experienced photographer so you probably know all of what to do anyway but here goes

 

Thanks MDM for the recognition with such  detailed  advice and Paul for your reply!

 

I have been living in hope that somebody may have come across a way of correcting the edge and corner softness on full frame sensors perhaps via some newly developed software.

 

I am using Canon Pro gear,  perhaps Nikon and others are better in edge sharpness ( not sure ).

 

Thank you both for the advice!

 

Cheers,

 

Paul.

Edited by Paul Mayall

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Hi Paul.

 

I have never even thought of using edge sharpness with my Canon 5DII and L-lenses. Are you sure it is necessary? A tiny pre-sharpening of 1 in the RAW file (set in camera or DPP) is sufficient for me and accepted by Alamy.

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If you use photoshop, you can use the High pass filter method. I duplicate the layer, and then go to Filter, Other, High Pass Filter. Set the values to where you see just a faint outline of the areas you want sharpened and then OK.

 

Use the layer blending mode "Soft Light" and this will apply a sharpening level to only those contrasting areas in the filter. I also use a far more complicated method using levels and blurs, but that's a quick one. 

 

Before I do anything, I make sure to remove any instance of CA from an image as this can be exacerbated greatly in post processing by enhancing edge detail.

 

Also developed a method yesterday of applying a quick dodge and burn to an image to give a toned feel. 

 

Of late I've been too scared to upload these, but it would be nice to get some clarity on the issue. 

 

No sharpening is for those I think, who just move a slider to the top in LR and dont think about it, so a general rule for everyone applies. 

 

There's more ways to do something as usual :)

 

Paul, it's good to have a new, young computer savvy member on board.  :)

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I agree with MDM. It is important to know the limitations of your lenses by doing tests, though you already know that I'm sure. I tested every lens I use and know: it's sweet spot, where edge sharpness falls off, etc. With my lenses f /8 - f /13 is where the sweet spot lies.

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I have never even thought of using edge sharpness with my Canon 5DII and L-lenses. Are you sure it is necessary?

 

Probably not necessary,  sometimes i like everything to be perfect although not always possible, i normally get away with cropping a little but this is not always practical depending on  image composition.

 

This all started with me along time ago when i was viewing images from a Digital Mamiya 645 where the images were sharp from corner to corner and was then frustrated that my full frame Canon could not achieve the same.

 

In fairness i never have had images rejected for edge or corner softness,  never the less it would be good if it was possible to have a completely sharp image.

 

Paul.

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I personally avoid any form of software sharpening, either in camera, in Canon DPP, or other software - all of which are specifically mentioned by alamy as not allowed.

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I'll probably add that i'm in the "don't do it camp" Only news items that I add +3 sharpening in DPP. All my other stuff I'll mess about with. I don't even use LR. It's thee worse editor out there. No offence to those who like it, I just don't see it's worth.

 

One of the reasons I bought the L glass was purely to get better and sharper results without the need to PP. It's working so far :) 

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DK would probably suggest downsizing image to give a sharper result.

 

Allan

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I have never even thought of using edge sharpness with my Canon 5DII and L-lenses. Are you sure it is necessary?

 

Probably not necessary,  sometimes i like everything to be perfect although not always possible, i normally get away with cropping a little but this is not always practical depending on  image composition.

 

This all started with me along time ago when i was viewing images from a Digital Mamiya 645 where the images were sharp from corner to corner and was then frustrated that my full frame Canon could not achieve the same.

 

In fairness i never have had images rejected for edge or corner softness,  never the less it would be good if it was possible to have a completely sharp image.

 

Paul.

The absence of an anti-aliasing filter (which I'm sure is the case in the 645) makes a very noticeable difference to the overall sharpness - this is certainly the case with the D800E (no AA filter) in comparison to the D800, which is no mean performer itself in the sharpnenss stakes. I may be wrong but I suspect that edge sharpness probably suffers more than centre sharpness, all else being equal, when the AA filter is removed. I don't know if Canon have or are producing a D800E equivalent but if sharpness is what you are after, then that may be the way to go. I don't actually read equipment reviews except when I'm looking to buy so am out of touch with developments.

 

I use my D800E with a 50mm 1.4 Nikkor (middle of the range prime lens but small and neat which is what I want) permanently attached and I am still finding the results amazing even after using it for a year now. I've never seen any moiré either. No software sharpening is necessary or desireable.

Edited by MDM

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I'll probably add that i'm in the "don't do it camp" Only news items that I add +3 sharpening in DPP. All my other stuff I'll mess about with. I don't even use LR. It's thee worse editor out there. No offence to those who like it, I just don't see it's worth.

 

One of the reasons I bought the L glass was purely to get better and sharper results without the need to PP. It's working so far :)

I'd agree it's not a very good editor but editing is not its main job - LR is really an image management database and raw converter with some basic editing capabilities. I think it's very good at what it was intended to do and not the best at some of the additional things that have been added to it.

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With that said, and without turning it into a LR discussion :) it does a very good job of removing CA from all lenses that exhibit it. Also working with distortion and angle correction. LR wins on that front. 

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