Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Pentax / Samsung dSLR, K Mount Mirrorless

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 25, 2010, 3:41 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
snostorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770
Default New Topz InFocus vs Focus Magic. . .

Hi All,

I'll probably be labeled a Topaz Labs shill, but they've come out with a great new product -- InFocus. I'm a sharp/detail freak, and a software junkie, so a new program that really helps my images is something to crow about. . . and, no, I have no connection to Topaz Labs. . .

This is a sharpening plugin for PS compatible programs. I use it with PSP X2 and X. Unlike Unsharp Mask and most other sharpening techniques, it uses a deconvolution algorithm to actually move pixels to increase sharpness rather than just increasing edge contrast to give the appearance of increase sharpness.

I've been using Focus Magic for years as this was about the only plugin that used deconvolution previously (at least that I know of), and it's really a great program. IMO, Topaz InFocus trumps FM, and after trying the trial for a couple of hours, I was convinced and just bought it --

These are 100% crops of a shot of a sparrow. The original is certainly plenty sharp. . . but. . . The image was clean, but I still used Topaz Denoise at a very light setting because I like to eliminate any noise that could be amplified by sharpening, and Denoise smooths out edges a bit. That's all for #1. #2 adds Focus Magic in focus correction mode, blur width 3, at 100% -- the program recommended blur width 4, but I chose to back it off as I often do. I undid the FM enhancement, then applied Topaz InFocus for #3. The settings are Generic mode, 2 pixel blur width, judged by eye only (I didn't use the presets). All were saved at PSP jpeg quality 3, so the differences should be in the two sharpening techniques only.

IMO, the Topaz product is the superior, by more than just a hair, and it will become my new default sharpening technique.

I'm posting some examples -- the differences are subtle, but significant for pixel peepers. If you have a browser where you can view the pics at full screen, and toggle between them with either your arrow keys or scrolling wheel, this is the best way to compare these.

IMO, this is a really significant advance in digital image PP. . .

Scott

BTW, InFocus is intro priced at $29.99 USD until 12/03/10, then it will be priced at $69.99 if you're interested. . . There's a free trial download, so you can try it before you buy it -- but also download the owner's manual -- it's important to understand how to use it.
Attached Images
   
snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 25, 2010, 4:04 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Frogfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shanghai, China
Posts: 2,774
Default

Thanks for posting those Scott.

After you mentioned it the other day I downloaded it for Aperture and ran it over a few shots I normally wouldn't keep.

It was a pain to install because no-where on the inFocus pages do they explain you need to install Fusion Express 2 first ! Once I'd figured that out by some judicious Googling it worked perfectly. My Paypal account will soon be poorer by $29.99 !
__________________
http://frogfish.smugmug.com
Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
Frogfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 25, 2010, 5:07 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

I use a number of other Topaz Lab's plug-ins, specifically Detail and DeNoise, so I knew about needing Fusion Express. I ended up getting a really good deal on the whole suite at the San Diego Photo Expo - Topaz Labs had a booth there. It did not include InFocus, so my bank account is also now lighter.

I just tried it on a couple of pictures last night. I tried it with a shot that had a horrible amount of camera shake (100 mm at 1/6 sec is well beyond my hand-holding capability) and while it improved it, that was beyond it's capability. It did very nicely handing a woman on a jet ski that was soft either from motion blur or slight miss-focus. I was impressed also, enough that I bought it. But it's not going to be a complete miracle-worker (i.e., my really bad camera shake where you could measure the displacement in millimeters, not pixels). I was even more impressed when I used InFocus, resized and then used Detail at the end for some extra crispness.

I need to read the full owners manual to figure out how to get the best from it. The quick start guide doesn't really explain all that you need to know to get optimum results. But it was enough to get started with. That means my reading the next few weeks will be the owners manual for the other plug-ins that I haven't yet figured out (Remask being high on my list of things to figure out how to work right).
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2010, 12:49 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
shoturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Frankfurt AM
Posts: 11,348
Default

I up and brought infocus yesterday. I put it through some of the worst low light shots with a point and shoot, and it really was simple to use, and did a nice job. It gives me pretty much PP image stabilization for my non stabilized lenses.
__________________
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.

Last edited by shoturtle; Nov 26, 2010 at 1:46 AM.
shoturtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2010, 1:44 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Washington State
Posts: 930
Default

Funny, I just posted a thread on this over in the Oly forum. I too am most impressed with it. Like Mntgal I used it on a pic that suffered from shake as much as anything. It made it sharp but at the expense of artifacts. Still, with less bad images I have been impressed enough that I will buy it and add it to my collection of Topaz plugins I consider must haves, Detail and DeNoise being the other 2.

John
jelow1966 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2010, 9:43 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

I had one picture where I couldn't adjust the artifacts quite the way I wanted, so I resized it down a bit then ran it through DeNoise to see if it would see the artifacts as something to get rid of. It picked up what I had found distracting and then I ran it through Detail to add some extra contrast type sharpening. The results were better than if I took the same picture, resized it the same and ran Detail only.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2010, 10:15 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
fofa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 547
Default

Ok, bear with the amateur, but I see zero difference between #2 and #3, what am I looking for?
fofa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2010, 12:11 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
bilybianca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Hassleholm, Sweden
Posts: 3,435
Default

I've just downloaded the free trial, and from your review Scott I'll probably buy it before the rebate runs out. Looking forwards to your upcoming threads with tips and tricks and how-to's.

Kjell
bilybianca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2010, 6:41 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
snostorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fofa View Post
Ok, bear with the amateur, but I see zero difference between #2 and #3, what am I looking for?
Hi fofa,

You're looking for finer detail -- slightly more separation and distinction between the barbules (I think that's the correct term) of the feathers. As I said, it's subtle.

The best place to look is the lower left portion of the frame. In the original, you'll see that the lines are relatively indistinct. In #2, they are better defined, but in #3 they are even better defined. Another place to look is to the right side of the frame with the gray contour feathers. in some of the small larger dark areas, you can see additional feather barbules in #3, while they are pretty much just flat darker spaces in #2. This last is a very subtle difference.

You have to realize that you're looking at about 1/34th of the total image. In this example, I just took each of the sharpening techniques to the point where they didn't add any additional artifacts. I could have made the settings higher to exaggerate the difference, but this would be relatively meaningless as just about any sharpening technique can add the appearance of increased sharpness if adding artifacts doesn't matter.

This amounts to an effective increase of resolution (separation of fine contrast) by using Post Processing without adding any elements/qualities that weren't there in the original image -- and more importantly, without buying a better lens. Photographers have been known to pay hundreds, if not thousands of extra $$ for lenses that would give this kind of increase in resolution -- photographers can be a strange bunch. . .

On some other photo fora, there are almost endless discussions about even smaller differences in Image Quality than this -- especially when the new DSLR models come out from the mfgs. . .Some people actually sell all of their gear and switch brands over something like this -- it can get silly. . .

I'll also add that there's also potential to apply this small amount of improvement more than once, or to use higher settings if you don't mind the artifacts -- The beauty of this program is that you have a choice. The sliders have .01 gradations so you can add precisely the amount you want. Also, you can add standard contrast enhancement sharpening and/or micro-contrast in addition to the deconvolution sharpening for a more enhanced look.

I realize that this amounts to picking nits of the smallest kind -- but it's kinda the obsession of the day for some. . . like me . . .

Scott
snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 27, 2010, 1:48 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Washington State
Posts: 930
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
I had one picture where I couldn't adjust the artifacts quite the way I wanted, so I resized it down a bit then ran it through DeNoise to see if it would see the artifacts as something to get rid of. It picked up what I had found distracting and then I ran it through Detail to add some extra contrast type sharpening. The results were better than if I took the same picture, resized it the same and ran Detail only.
I hadn't thought of trying what you did, makes great sense. I usually run the photo thru Detail first as I've discovered that it can at times blur the image slightly before any effects are applied.

John
jelow1966 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:15 AM.