PS7 and Elements 5.0 Sharpening Nikon NEF Files

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Don F, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. Don F

    Don F Guest

    I had been using PS7 and recently switched to Elements 5.0. I also have
    updated the Adobe raw converters as they became available. I am now up to
    camera raw 3.7.
    I also use Nikon Capture 4.4 and Nikon Capture NX and I only shoot in NEF
    raw format.
    I am low on the Photoshop learning curve so I tried Elements 5.0 and found
    it was good enough for my processing. The only big problem is that the
    Elements 5.0 sharpening process far inferior to Nikon Capture both in
    sharpness and color shift. I assumed I was doing something wrong so I read
    tutorials on sharpness and tried various settings in Elements 5.0 (noise
    reduction off ...etc.).
    I found that the sharpening in PS7 and Elements 5.0 looked identical. I
    have tried for weeks to get the same sharpening results from the Photoshop
    editors that I get from the Nikon Capture processors.
    I want to simplify my work flow and not have to pre-process in one editor,
    save to tif, and finish in another.
    Has anyone experienced my problem with NEF file sharpening in Photoshop?
    Don F
    Don F, Jun 6, 2007
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  2. Don F

    Paul Furman Guest

    The adobe raw converter's sharpening is pretty mild with no control over
    radius so I don't bother with that, I sharpen in photoshop only when
    I've decided a display size. Capture is supposed to be best for raw
    conversion but it's a crappy program from a workflow/user's/performance
    standpoint so I don't use it any more. If you have the patience, I
    suppose it would be better. I don't know if elements can do this but the
    best way to sharpen is on a duplicate layer, then set that layer's mode
    to luminance only so it doesn't mess with colors. Capture might do it
    that way.
    Paul Furman, Jun 6, 2007
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  3. Well, there's the Bruce Fraser flow/theory that the ultimate in
    sharpening is done in at least two steps, the first of which is capture
    sharpening, a low amount applied on first import, and then regional
    sharpening if required, and finally print sharpening once the size is
    John McWilliams, Jun 6, 2007
  4. Don F

    gowanoh Guest

    Software sharpening is actually one of the least understood and most complex
    issues in digital processing. Some of the instructions about how to use
    sharpening filters are misleading or just plain wrong.
    If you print from Elements, and you should, you should apply sharpening just
    before printing and do not apply it in NX (a great alternative way of
    working compared to other converters).
    NX uses an unsharp mask technique for sharpening that is probably identical
    to the Adobe unsharp mask filter.
    The Smart Sharpen filter is similar but more sophisticated and causes less
    sharpening artifacts. Use it.
    In the final analysis sharpening is more of an aesthetic than a technical
    decision so you have to experiment to find basic settings that produce
    prints you like.
    As a starting point:
    Set your desktop to 50% enlargement.
    Using Smart Sharpen turn off more accurate and turn on lens blur and
    preview. Set the preview panel in the filter to 50% also.
    The preview function approximates on the desktop what the sharpening effect
    will be in the print. It is only an approximation for as you know the
    characterstics of a print are physically very different than anything you
    can see on the monitor. Again only experimentation and experience will show
    you what amount of sharpening works for you. The more detailed view in the
    filter box can be turned off and on simply by holding down the left mouse
    button over the image preview or releasing. This is a very helpful tool when
    adjusting sharpening because you can see the unsharpened version in the
    filter box and the approximately sharpened version on the desktop.
    Use a radius of one as a starting point. Going much below negates sharpening
    and going much above two generally overdistorts. Experiement.
    A minimal setting for sharpening is 70-100 for most uses. This is not
    absolute. Some images will benefit from going above two hundred.
    The final use of the image determines how much sharpening to apply and you
    have to experiment to see what works for you. Images that will only be
    viewed on a monitor may need no sharpening at all for that purpose.
    gowanoh, Jun 6, 2007
  5. Don F

    Paul Furman Guest

    Hmm, yes, maybe I should go ahead & use the RAW converter sharpening,
    thanks for mentioning that. It may be better, working with the raw data,
    more bits & all that. I used to apply max sharpening in the raw
    conversion since it's so mild, it would never be overdone. But others
    say NAVER sharpen till the final size is chosen...
    Paul Furman, Jun 7, 2007
  6. Don F

    Don F Guest

    Thanks for all your responses. You all seem to know more about sharpening
    than I do.
    What I do know is that after all the experimenting I have done, the Nikon
    Capture NX sharpening process gives me a better sharpened image and better
    color image than from either PS 7 or Elements 5. I can believe that
    Elements 5.0 is not as good as Capture, but, I believe, PS 7 should be just
    as good.
    Better color, I know, is mostly subjective but what I see is what appears
    to be closer to the real colors I remember with nice saturation. The
    saturation in Elements 5.0 seems to be overdone.
    I noticed that the histogram (in Capture NX) shows an slight increase of
    luminosity of all colors but the luminosity increase becomes more pronounced
    in the shadow area of the landscape type test image I use for testing.
    I also never sharpen until the last step but I read that the Capture NX
    sharpening algorithm will adjust sharpening when sizing is performed after
    sharpening. I guess this means less sharpening required for a smaller size
    image and more sharpening for a larger size image.
    I probably will stick with Nikon Capture NX and use Elements or PS 7 for
    any further editing that needs to be done.
    I should read more about the Bruce Frazier methods that I have heard
    mentioned many times.
    Thanks again,
    Don F
    Don F, Jun 7, 2007
  7. Good review. However, I find that setting my image window to 25% and the
    Preview in smart sharpen to 100% works best for me, and I have heard
    Deke McClelland say that the printed version will look more like the 25%
    version than any other.
    John McWilliams, Jun 7, 2007
  8. Don F

    RG Guest

    A couple of thoughts:

    The reason you have found that sharpening using the raw converter in PS7 and
    PSE5 is identical is because they both use the same plug-in. The raw
    converter for both programs is a plug-in, which allows for the updating of
    the raw converter to be done separately and at different intervals than the
    program itself. PSE5 strips out some of the functionality of the raw
    converter, but the underlying engine of the converter plug-in is the same,
    whether it is used in PS7 or PSE5.

    The most current version of the raw plug-in is version 4.1. Version 4.1
    adds significant improvement to the sharpening tools (and the results) over
    version 3.7. Version 4.1 is compatible with PSE5, but not compatible with
    RG, Jun 7, 2007
  9. Don F

    Don F Guest

    Don F, Jun 8, 2007
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