Sharpening

While working with the Nikon D5100, I came up with some sharpening parameters in Photoshop Adobe Camera Raw that I liked. I've been working on this and trying something similar for other cameras. The idea is to get some nice crisp sharpening without increasing the luminance noise significantly.

Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7
No Sharpening
Sharpened in Photoshop ACR

Fuji X100
No Sharpening
Sharpened in Photoshop ACR

Panasonic GH2 + 7-14mm
No Sharpening
Sharpened in Photoshop ACR

Nikon D5100 + 18-55mm
No Sharpening
Sharpened in Photoshop ACR

Heres the Adobe Raw Settings I was using in the main. Depending on the file I would change these slightly, but most are very close to this.

Sharpening is quite difficult to guage. The commonly held view is that you sharpen depending on size and use. However, sending off files to stock libraries its impossible to know this. Many libraries ask for unsharpened files, but I've always sent them sharpened. 

Firstly, for any other camera except a Leica, all files do need sharpening. Secondly the assumption that the client will always sharpen the files is wrong. Many don't, and now in the days of Microstock, images are being bought and used that never go through a repro house and by people who know nothing about sharpening anyway.

A good rule is to sharpen at full size, even with this if files are reproduced smaller, particularly in published print, they will always need to be sharpened further, though often this doesn't get done.

I'm pleased with what I've come up with, and it makes the files look crisper on the screen. Since the majority of my images have to go through a selection process at a picture library anyway, it makes them look good on a monitor. In all cases, for every camera, these converted and sharpened raw files look better than the camera jpg. Crisper, clearer and more attractive. They are not oversharpened, indeed with this level of sharpening they look about the same as an unsharpened Leica M9 file. See below.