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Old Nov 2, 2004, 5:21 PM   #1
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Could somebody explain to me the advantages and disadvantages of adjusting the sharpening in the camera (I have this capability with my Sony V3 vs. using the unsharp mask in photoshop vs. using the sharpen(ing?) tool in photoshop. The only thing I know for sure is that it seems that it would be a whole lot easier to adjust the camera settings rather than open every picture in photoshop to use the unsharp mask or sharpen.
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Old Nov 2, 2004, 6:18 PM   #2
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Depends on your level of digital photographry...personally I prefer doing everything on the computer where I have control, rather than setting a control on the camera and have it ruin a picture.

I personally don't sharpen EVERY picture...I've only touched up maybe 5% of the pictures I've taken (keeping copies of the originals), because only they are the ones that are worth it and I want to share.

If you don't want to put the effort in have your camera sharpen your pictures, but YOU should experiment to find out what works for YOU!
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Old Nov 2, 2004, 9:05 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response. So how about photoshop's unsharpmask vs. sharpen tool. Does unsharp just give you more control as to the level of sharpening vs. sharpen doing it automatically?
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Old Nov 2, 2004, 11:45 PM   #4
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stallen wrote:
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advantages and disadvantages of adjusting the sharpening in the camera...vs. using the unsharp mask in photoshop
Sharpening is best done as the LAST operation before printing or viewing, and depends on the intended final image size and end use. Remember sharpening is an optical illusion; it doesn't actually sharpen, it just makes it *look* sharper, under certain viewing conditions.

So if you're you're sure you know the final use of the image, you could do it in camera, otherwise, do it later on a computer. Once you've done it in the camera, that's the end of the matter, and you can't go back.

Good luck!
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Old Nov 3, 2004, 2:18 AM   #5
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The unsharp mask has its history from a technique done in the darkroom...it has a lot more control as well as give a better result, but it also takes more patience to do it.
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Old Nov 3, 2004, 10:38 AM   #6
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Some pictures will look good sharpened with the "sharpen" tool, others will not. The standard "sharpen" changes the picture in one way, using an unchangeable algorithm.

unsharpen mask (USM from now on) has settings that you can change. This way you can alter the algorithm that it uses, getting exactly what you want. I have found many pictures that "sharpen" doesn't give me a good picture, but with USM I can get something that is good.

I agree with the others about using shaprening in the camera. While it would be easier to do it that way, and it can produce good results, it won't do it in every case. And once the sharpening is added it is basically impossible to remove. So what do you do if you turn up the sharpening in the camera and take some pictures... and find that 1/2 of them are over sharpened. Do you throws that 1/2 away?

If you hadn't increased the incamera sharpening, you could sharpen the 1/2 that needed more sharpening a lot and the other 1/2 you could sharpen less.

There is no "one size fits all" in photography. Some pictures look better if you do X, others look better if you do Y. So having the camera do as little as possible lets you experiment and find out what a given picture needs. This means more work on your part, but better results.

Oh, and if you used film in the past... don't be fooled, the company that you send your picture to probably increased the contrast & sharpening without asking you. Some times it worked, other times it failed. Now you get to do it and hopefully make them all work.

Eric
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Old Nov 3, 2004, 10:48 AM   #7
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It's difficult to see exactly what's happening on your camera's little LCD.

I agree with the previous postings that you should experiment. Take a photo with and without sharpening in your camera and without making any other adjustments. Then view both images on your computer to get a good idea of what the camera is doing. Then try adjusting both photos with your software. You'll get a feel for what's right for you, but I think most folks would suggest saving a "raw" file from your camera and doing any alterations to a copy. You might want to alter it differently someday or with improved software.
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