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Old Oct 6, 2002, 6:31 PM   #1
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Default Canon Image Sharpness

I have both a Canon Pro 90 and an EOS D-60 so I suppose this question could apply to both. Let's take the D-60 since that's now my #1 rig.

Re the Quality Selection menu (page 50 of the Instruction Manual) , I'd like to know the suggested applications for:
RAW (3072 x 2048)
Large/Fine (3072 x 2048)
Large/Normal (3072 x 2048)
Medium/Fine (2048 x 1360)
Medium/Normal (2048 x 1360)
Small/Fine (1536 x 1024)
Small/Normal (1536 x 1024)

I do mainly nature and landscape work...including macro applications. As a published freelance writer, I sometimes try to illustrate my articles.

On today's shoot at the local botanical garden, I used the usual tripod and Canon Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 setup. On my SanDisk 120MB card I get 172 images, so I'm using the Medium/Normal setting (0.7MD image size). I try to minimize wind effect with the macros (using the Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8 lens). But I'm dissatisfied with the image sharpness on my computer monitor.

Wind aside, would moving up the Quality Selection ladder improve sharpness...and how far should I go, given the foregoing? How does the low/high compression ratio factor in here?

Sorry to be wordy here but any meaningful assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.

M i k e
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Old Oct 16, 2002, 2:33 AM   #2
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Hi Mike,
Normally, I would say shoot in the large fine mode unless you know for certain that you will be doing a good deal of post processing - then use the RAW mode because you can convert to 16 bit tiff and get more from levels and chroma adjustments in PhotoShop. It's not necessary to store the photos in 16 bit format - in fact you will want to switch to 8 bit before sharpening, etc. - but it's possible to do more with levels, hue and saturation adjustments while in 16 bit mode then switch to 8 bit for sharpening, etc.

As far as sharpness goes - I doubt that you would notice a great deal of difference by going to a prime "L" lens, but you will get better results if you shoot the 100mm macro at F8 or above. The primary problem with landscape shots seems to revolve around depth of field. It's really difficult to get great depth of field with an open aperture, and by stopping down you can usually achieve sufficient DOF to facilitate post processing.

I find that better results are obtained by shooting with minimal sharpening in camera, then using a combination of software tools for the best effect. One thing about D60/D30 photos is that they tolerate a tremendous amount of sharpening well. I've found that using a PhotoShop plug-in (I use Ultra Sharpen Pro) will do a better job than just applying unsharp mask. PhotoShop's Unsharp Mask goes willy nilly about sharpening and simply increases relative contrast across the board. The "smart" sharpening algorithms like Ultra Sharpen Pro differentially sharpen areas of detail and background.

It would be a little easier to help you decide, were you to post one or two samples full size. This way we could examine the image and make recommendations. If possible post an unaltered original with EXIF header to make it easier to see exactly what the settings were.

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Oct 16, 2002, 10:51 AM   #3
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Sorry to digress guys, but where can one get a hold of Ultra Shjarpen Pro ???
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Old Oct 16, 2002, 12:58 PM   #4
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Try here:

Lin

http://www.ultrasharpen.com/
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Old Oct 17, 2002, 1:53 PM   #5
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Thanks Lin. I downloaded "Lite" and gave it a test run up against unsharp mask settings of 100/1.5/3. It looks pretty favourable. Is the Pro version really a lot better
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Old Oct 18, 2002, 6:54 PM   #6
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I have been using this program for over a year now and like it I like the ability to sharpen each colour individually or let the program do everything automatically
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