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Adjust Sharpness & Contrast?
When would you change the default jpeg settings for Sharpness and Contrast?.

Is it commonly done one time for a given camera because you consider it incorrectly specified by the manufacturer? Or do you set Sharpness and Contrast differently sometimes, depending on what you're shooting? If it's the latter, what settings would you recommend for what type of shot (e.g. up the Sharpness for landscape shots, reduce Contrast for portraits, etc?)..

DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comments (23)

Yes......and no....

I adjust to the preset settings only to better see the JPEGs on the crappy LCD...once in DPP I adjust the RAW image to the best possible settings.....

Comment #1

Audiobomber wrote:.

When would you change the default jpeg settings for Sharpness andContrast?.

Is it commonly done one time for a given camera because you considerit incorrectly specified by the manufacturer?.

I think that this would be the common approach. I think that many (most?)serious photographers would try to minimise the processing done in the camera and optimise things in post processing. Of course, the best way to do this is to shoot Raw.Chris R..

Comment #2

I guess I should have anticipated the responses. I'm not intending to shoot Raw, I'm a complete amateur in learning mode. I'm having enough trouble without taking on post processing right now. Aside from that, I don't like the idea of spending time making adjustments after the fact. I just want to download and crop. I want to learn how to get the right exposure, not work on correcting/optimizing in the computer.DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comment #3

It does depend on what the camera is doing. Pentax default settings do much less sharpening than other makes and so, get the criticism for soft JPEG's. On my DS, it needed Natural Tone, +1 Sharpness and -1 Contrast, since boosting sharpness actually boosted contrast..

Withe the K100D, try Natural Tone and +1 Sharpness, or Bright Tone and -1 Saturation...

Comment #4

I have the k100D Super. I took a lot of photos at a bird sanctuary yesterday and I was a little disapointed with my settings (Natural, +1 Sharpness). The colours were a little drab. I'll try Bright, -1 Contrast again. That's what I was using before the last change.DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comment #5

I have a DS and have also shot the K100D models. I found that the color was accurate in Natural tone. If you want to hype it a bit, try Bright Tone or add some additional Saturation afterwards in PhotoShop..

Is it possible your computer monitor is a bit off?..

Comment #6

K1000Photographer wrote:.

I have a DS and have also shot the K100D models. I found that thecolor was accurate in Natural tone. If you want to hype it a bit, tryBright Tone or add some additional Saturation afterwards in PhotoShop..

Is it possible your computer monitor is a bit off?.

I use a high resolution laptop with a 15" screen. I'm pretty sure the colours are good..

I'm not saying the shots I took yesterday aren't accurate. It may be more that I want them boosted a bit for birds, like they are in my Canon 720. I intend to cycle between Bright and Natural dependiing on what I'm shooting. I'm just confused about Sharpness and Contrast. I think what you said earlier is right, they probably also boost sharpness in the Bright setting..

What's a DS?.

DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comment #7

I'm not saying the shots I took yesterday aren't accurate. It may bemore that I want them boosted a bit for birds, like they are in myCanon 720. I intend to cycle between Bright and Natural dependiing onwhat I'm shooting. I'm just confused about Sharpness and Contrast. Ithink what you said earlier is right, they probably also boostsharpness in the Bright setting..

I've found on my K100d that I need to vary the settings according to the conditions. One a bright sunlit day, having contrast medium / high can be too much, so I turn it down on the camera... on a dull grey day contrast benefits from being higher. But it's really no problem to adjust this with a simple slider control in any image processor, even the most simple will do that for you, and if you have the image loaded up to crop and straighten etc. it takes only another second or two to tweak the contrast and saturation settings. Having got the camera and taken the photos you might as well spend a very little extra time to get them looking as good as possible IMO....

Sharpness is quite different. Un-mucked-about files out of DSLRs look quiet soft and nearly always benefit from a little sharpening. There are many ways to sharpen an image, but the best is the 'unsharp mask' control which gives the illusion of greater sharpness by increasing contrast at edges or boundaries in the picture (just google 'unsharp mask' to find out more than you ever wanted to know). The standard advice is to do this as the final step. If you find that your prints are acceptably sharp at the size you normally look at them, leave the sharpness setting in your camera alone..

What's a DS?.

A previous Pentax DSLR (forerunner of the K100D).

Best wishes.

Mike..

Comment #8

Mike703 wrote:.

I've found on my K100d that I need to vary the settings according tothe conditions. One a bright sunlit day, having contrast medium /high can be too much, so I turn it down on the camera... on a dullgrey day contrast benefits from being higher..

Thanks, that's the kind of thing I was wondering about..

But it's really noproblem to adjust this with a simple slider control in any imageprocessor, even the most simple will do that for you, and if you havethe image loaded up to crop and straighten etc. it takes only anothersecond or two to tweak the contrast and saturation settings..

Yes, I do tweak, but I'd like to understand at the camera level and know how to optimize there..

Sharpness is quite different. Un-mucked-about files out of DSLRslook quiet soft and nearly always benefit from a little sharpening..

But should I do it in the camera?.

There are many ways to sharpen an image, but the best is the 'unsharpmask' control which gives the illusion of greater sharpness byincreasing contrast at edges or boundaries in the picture (justgoogle 'unsharp mask' to find out more than you ever wanted to know).The standard advice is to do this as the final step. If you findthat your prints are acceptably sharp at the size you normally lookat them, leave the sharpness setting in your camera alone..

I intend to get some instruction in post-processing, but it's not my immediate goal. My first goal is to learn the camera and the available settings..

DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comment #9

Sharpness is the amount of contrast at high contrast edges. Contrast is the overall difference from light to dark. If it is too low, the photo looks washed out. Too high and things get overly dark or light with no enough difference in between. Saturation controls the amount of total color..

Your point and shoot does boost all three of these. I do know that most Pentax DSLR's can stand a bump up in Sharpness since they tend to keep this low. You can switch between Bright and Normal Tone. That should do what you need..

My Pentax *istDS came out about 5 years ago. I figured out the best settings and have pretty much left them alone. I do change the WB, ISO, and go between AFC and AFS. I usually stick with Av on A, F, FA and DA lenses, and M on my older M and K glass. So far, it is a fabulous camera. AF speed is slow in low light compared to others but have yet to find an APS DSLR from the competition that can come close once the ISO hits 400 on up..

BTW - What lenses are you using?..

Comment #10

K1000Photographer wrote:.

Sharpness is the amount of contrast at high contrast edges. Contrastis the overall difference from light to dark. If it is too low, thephoto looks washed out. Too high and things get overly dark or lightwith no enough difference in between. Saturation controls the amountof total color..

Good explanation, thanks..

BTW - What lenses are you using?.

18-55 kit lens, Tamron 70-300mm, FA*50mm 1.4.

Most of my trouble seems to be with the Tamron, which tends to look a little washed out, especially compared to the 50mm. I'm waiting for reviews of the new Pentax 60-250 and 55-300 and may grab one..

DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comment #11

18-55 kit lens, Tamron 70-300mm, FA*50mm 1.4.

Most of my trouble seems to be with the Tamron, which tends to look alittle washed out, especially compared to the 50mm. I'm waiting forreviews of the new Pentax 60-250 and 55-300 and may grab one..

That's not surprising. A relatively cheap zoom like the Tamron is never going to have the optical quality of a good fixed lens like the 50mm f/1.4 which is optimised for that focal length... compared to a good prime, the zoom will be less sharp and have lower contrast, especially at the extremes (long end, widest aperture). So the difference you are seeing is nothing to do with the camera settings..

You can see comparative lens reviews at.

Http://www.photozone.de.

... with cheap zooms, boosting contrast and sharpness in post-processing are a fact of life. Since sharpness / contrast will vary with focal length and aperture, no one camera setting will get it right all the time unfortunately.....

Best wishes.

Mike..

Comment #12

Mike703 wrote:.

... with cheap zooms, boosting contrast and sharpness inpost-processing are a fact of life. Since sharpness / contrast willvary with focal length and aperture, no one camera setting will getit right all the time unfortunately.....

I see, so that's why I wouldn't boost the camera settings, because the Tamron will look different at 70mm than at 300mm, or f5.6 vs f16. That makes sense..

DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comment #13

You WILL have to get used to sharpening AFTER THE FACT...especially with less than pro lenses...here's a $100 zoom results....

Here's a full frame shot RAW[img].

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Here's a 100% crop with no sharpening[img].

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Here's that shot with Unsharpen Mask (300/.3/0 IIRC) a bit more than needed, but done so to show clearly the difference[img].

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #14

To setup for jpeg with new camera-.

There are 4 functions that may be adjusted. the color mode(or whatever it is called) saturation contrast and sharpening. I assume you are using a calibrated monitor. simply select a scene immediately outside your house. hopefully it has lights darks and colors. all settings in the camera are at zero or default.

Go on to each of the other adjustment settings. the object is to get the monitor scene as close a possible to the real scene outside. do not be concerned if the finished monitor scene has enough color for your tastes; the amount of color can be adjusted in pp. you are going for accuracy between the 2 scenes. the real and the one on your monitor; when done the 2 scenes should look identical or as close as possible.

The adjustment process could take several hours. but once done leave the settings alone. at this point you know that the camera will accurately make the best most accurate pics possible of the scene. after I set my dslr up 3+ yrs ago about, I have not ever moved the settings..

If I needed/wanted more color or whatever that is what pp is for. I also try very hard to do my composing in the camera and not crop heavily in the pc. my thinking is why buy a 10mp camera and crop away 40%. you are then no better that a 6mp that is not cropped. besides which the cropped 10mp is noisier..

I would not adjust the contrast to get more DR. to me you just have to get used to the idea that digital has DR limitations. I shoot slides for 32yrs; the DR in digital and slides is about equal. I never had a problem. While DR limits exposure, lighting should/can be adjusted to compensate. if you want more headroom in your camera for taking jpegs, use adobeRGB color gamut.



Note-sharpening is best done in the pc with better software than the camera has. it is unfortunately one of the things that digital users have to live with, and that is sharpening...

Comment #15

I wrote the following posts some time ago, they may be of interest..

No matter which dslr you buy..

Heavily consider the following. there are NEW DSLR owners' writing in all over these forums on this subject.when changeing from a p&s to a dslr, there is a huge difference..

When you take p&s out of the box add a memory card and a fully charged battery you can now shoot and take very good pics..

BUT, you cannot do this with dslr. the camera HAS TO BE SETUP first. you have to adjust the contrast/saturation/sharpness/shooting modes(color style or whatever it is called) to your likes. if you don't it is quite likely you will disappointed with results. your p&s will likely outshoot the dslr..

To setup-you have shoot a test shot make ONE adjustment reshoot check pc screen readjust, until you are satisfied. and you do this with each of the adjustment types. then you have all the custom adjustments in the menu to check and if wanted change..

When done you can put the camera into AUTO or PROGRAM and get reasonably nice shots. I would advise at first staying with jpeg. as you learn about the camera and photography you can then go to the other shooting modes and try RAW if you wish..

Dslrs are made to see the shot through the optical viewfinder not through the lcd. this is true of almost all dslrs including the k10d. there was a thread.

Not to log ago about who would want a dslr with a preview lcd, al,most noone wanted one.dslrs and color..

If you mean heavy saturated colors then no dslr is going to do that. they are not made to give strongly saturated colors. they are made to give ACCURATE COLORS. not heavy saturated colors..

This is not the same thing at all. too many people who come from a p&s are very disappointed in th dslr colors, because they are not bright and saturated. this is because they are and have been using a p&s which has been giving them saturated and incorrect clors for so long that they think it is the right look. nothing could be further from the truth. the p&s colors are wrong, wrong. the camera manufactures know that the public buys high megapixel and heavy saturated colors and is what they make and sell to the public..

But the slr/dslr is a whole different world. for the dslr accuracy of the scene in terms of view and color is a religion rpt religion. you want accurate color that is what you are going to get with dslr. but they will not be the bright saturated colors of a p&s. ytou can with adjustments in the menus up the color is dslr, but it will not look the INACCURATE CARTOON COLOR of the p&s..

If you are wishing to buy a dslr for more and brighter color, save you money the p&s is what you want..

Not too long ago a new owner of a dslr was on these forums talking about the poor color of his new dslr. it seems as if he was shooting on an overcast day. many many people replying to him told him that cloudy day shots give the most accurate color, which they do. he couldn't believe and get over that idea. he also owned a p&S previously.you might be interested in this; which I posted a while back..

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=23677257..

Comment #16

GaryDeM wrote:.

If you mean heavy saturated colors then no dslr is going to do that.they are not made to give strongly saturated colors. they are made togive ACCURATE COLORS. not heavy saturated colors.this is not the same thing at all. too many people who come from ap&s are very disappointed in th dslr colors, because they are notbright and saturated. this is because they are and have been using ap&s which has been giving them saturated and incorrect clors for solong that they think it is the right look. nothing could be furtherfrom the truth.



I can't agree with that. I realize the Canon A720 default settings are hyped up, but I can set accurate colours in the Custom colours menu. My Pentax starts out oversaturated in it's default setting, and I can add more saturation in the menu. I'm sure other DSLR's are fully capable of providing deep oversaturation too. And sometimes that's the ideal setting..

The slr/dslr is a whole different world. for the dslr accuracy ofthe scene in terms of view and color is a religion rpt religion. youwant accurate color that is what you are going to get with dslr. butthey will not be the bright saturated colors of a p&s. ytou can withadjustments in the menus up the color is dslr, but it will not lookthe INACCURATE CARTOON COLOR of the p&s..

Are you telling me that Ken Rockwell is showing accurate colours? http://www.kenrockwell.com/gallery.htm.

Accurate colours are about science, whereas photography is a combination of art and science. I won't be shooting birds with accurate colour again. I'll leave that to the Audobon Society..

If you are wishing to buy a dslr for more and brighter color, saveyou money the p&s is what you want.not too long ago a new owner of a dslr was on these forums talkingabout the poor color of his new dslr. it seems as if he was shootingon an overcast day. many many people replying to him told him thatcloudy day shots give the most accurate color, which they do. hecouldn't believe and get over that idea. he also owned a p&Spreviously..

I assume some of what you wrote is more applicable to the post you were originally responding to rather than mine. I understand saturation. What I wanted to know about was how to set the Contrast and Sharpness parameters..

DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comment #17

I see what you're getting at now Gary. I misunderstood in your other post. You're saying set the camera to neutral and do any adjusting in post processing. Thats one way to go, but I took 226 photos yesterday, and I have no interest in processing all of them. I'll do what I can in the camera.DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comment #18

BAck in the olden days, serious photographers chose our films based on the lighting conditions, and the subject matter..

Films differed from each other in sensitivity (ISO ratings), in contrast, and in saturation..

For weddings and "romantic" portraits, we'd choose a lower contrast,lower saturation film (Kodak Portra, for instance).

Today, with digital, you can turn down the contrast when shooting in high conrast situations, where there might be, for instance, white lace on white fabric, like a wedding dress, or variations on blacks, like black velvet collars on a black wool tuxedo jacket..

I turn down the contrast for most portraits of women..

On rainy or really grey days, we'd pick a higher contrast film. In stead of using lower contrst portrait film on sunny days, I'd switch to conventional snapshooter film, which was higher conrast, and take portraits in the rain..

Same deal today with digital; go out on a rainy day and try the same shots of colored things I did a test a while ago of a building with an orange awning with contrast at normal and with it boosted..

Try the same shots with saturation boosted and normal, and then mixed and matched with boosted contrast..

Flowers in the rian work well with boosted contrast and saturation..

BAK..

Comment #19

BAK wrote:.

BAck in the olden days, serious photographers chose our films basedon the lighting conditions, and the subject matter..

Films differed from each other in sensitivity (ISO ratings), incontrast, and in saturation..

I was around in the olden days, but just shooting family photos with Kodachrome, ISO 100 for outdoors and 400 for low light. The most clever I got was shooting landscape shots with Fuji because of the bright greens..

Today, with digital, you can turn down the contrast when shooting inhigh conrast situations, where there might be, for instance, whitelace on white fabric, like a wedding dress, or variations on blacks,like black velvet collars on a black wool tuxedo jacket..

Interesting, I wouldn't have thought of that. I think I'm starting to understand contrast. Reduced contrast would compress the histogram along the X-axis, while reduced saturation would be compression along the Y-axis. Is that correct?.

I turn down the contrast for most portraits of women..

JThanks, I suspected that might be a good rule of thumb..

Same deal today with digital; go out on a rainy day and try the sameshots of colored things I did a test a while ago of a buildingwith an orange awning with contrast at normal and with it boosted..

I do intend to do some tests but I was trying to shortcut by asking here first..

Try the same shots with saturation boosted and normal, and then mixedand matched with boosted contrast..

That's when it gets confusing. Changing saturation does this, changing contrast does that, but what about changing them together? Visually they are related, and quite possibly contrast changes with saturation settings too. When I started this thread I wanted to know if I should set and forget sharpness and contrast or vary them depending on the subject. It seems there are differing opinions. What you're saying makes sense to me, vary the contrast with the subject. What about sharpness, same thing, or set it and forget it?DanCanonA720ISPentaxK100dSuper..

Comment #20

I suppose you like the 50 a lot more than the kit lens. I never liked mine that much and it was a happy day the Sigma 17-70 arrived..

I saw some real nice results from the Pentax 55-300. I need a tele zoom for daytime use and may get one. If you want something really special, the 50-135 looks to be about as good as it gets with a zoom...

Comment #21

I am talking abouit stting up the camera so that it records accurately rpt accurately..

Later in pp you can make any adjustments that you wish, but you have to know that you are starting from an accurate point..

My normal workflow(i shoot jpegs all the time), is to download to the pc. open in windows fax and picture viewer delete the very obvious duds. then open the pics in pe6. crop if needed(i much prefer to crop in the camera using composition of the scene), hit the following in order: noise ninja and focus magic(they may or may not be used, depending on iso and situation), then auto level, auto contrast, and auto sharpening(if I used focus magic earlier then I do not sharpen at all. if you do you are double sharpening and get artifacts). use save as and save as a tiff16bit.

Any work if desired is done from the tiff..

Normally the auto level and auto contrast button have little or no effect, which means that I have hit the exposure very close.also, the whole procedure with all steps can be done in aboutn 30sec or less..

Unlike film slides, which I used to shoot, some pp in digital is necessary. very unfortunately. I am the type of person that gets no enjoyment from sitting in front of a computer and pping. this is absolutely no fun for me. so I do the least I can that does the job. all digital needs some kind of sharpening in the pc, which nis why I do not get excited over how good the camera sharpening is done.



As for k rockwell. to me he knows his technical stuff. though why runs his camera at full saturation for colors I will never know. I has got to be the look he wants. for me, I want the image as close as I can get it to then original scene. if it has little color then that means the scene had little color, and I am not going to put more in.

It does not bother one bit to have someone say a pic I made has no color or pop, as long as that is what the scene had as well..

For all pp I assume that you are using a calibrated monitor. if you are not then you have no idea of what you are really getting in terms of colors...

Comment #22

I've my camera's settings on a continuum from low contrast (when shooting in bright SoFLA sunshine) to high (on those gray days), from neutral saturation to added...and sharpness from neurtal to max....

If you decide to use Unsharpen Mask, note that the higher the top # (amount: 300 to 500 in the range of 100 to 500) and lower 2nd (radiius: .1 to .3 in a range that exceeds 1.00) is better for sharp lines (trees)...lower the top (100-300) and raise the 2nd (.2 to .4) for images with few sharp lines (portraits).....

Comment #23

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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