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Author Topic: Merely Pretty?  (Read 4093 times)
kikashi
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« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2013, 05:59:06 PM »
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Right.. "sharpening" in my mind merely compensates for the AA filter. 

I think that's just wrong. Think about the compromises involved in converting the analogue real world to pixels. Jeff's Real World Sharpening has a good discussion of the need for capture sharpening, I recall, and AA filters, while no doubt relevant, are far from the whole story.

Jeremy
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2013, 07:16:39 PM »
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Hi Steve, Looks as if this whole thing is getting out of hand. Conversion to jpeg introduces small artifacts that sometimes make a picture that's very sharp look over-sharpened.

If you can't see enhanced detail in a D800 picture, either the student who shot the picture used a sub-optimal technique or a sub-optimal lens, or you're looking at a picture that's been degraded in some way after the shot was made. On the face of it, with 36.3 megapixels the D800 simply produces more detail, but in addition to that you gain at least an additional stop of dynamic range, and the ability of the camera to reproduce color is phenomenal. On the other hand, the camera is pretty fussy about the lenses you use with it. A crappy lens on the D800 is going to show its flaws immediately. If your students are using glass that's less than top-of-the-line you probably won't see a difference.

I'm converting to jpeg in Photoshop CS6. But it doesn't really matter what you use for the conversion. The conversion algorithm developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group is the same no matter what software you hook on to it.

Yes, if something appears over-sharpened it's over-sharpened. But as I said, on my monitor it's not over-sharpened. Maybe on yours it is. As they used to say in Vietnam, "Sorry about that."


1.  I don't understand, but if discussion about the photographic merits of your image (which I was complementing albeit with less than my full endorsement) means things have gotten out of hand then close the thread.  Or if it's just me, say so and I'll move on.  To me, we've just hit on an area of interest I enjoy far more than the usual prattle. 

2.  Agreed.

3.  I don't think it's sound to suggest the D800(E) has "enhanced detail" beyond the inherent capabilities of a like 36mp DSLR assuming there was one.   The D800 is a fine instrument, but in the hundreds of images I've taken myself with some of the best glass available at the time, I see only a 36mp DSLR performing as you'd expect a 36mp DSLR to perform.

4.  Compared to what other 36mp DSLR?  I understand you think the D800  is a good camera, but it's no more or less good as a 36mp camera than a 24mp camera would be if there were no other 24mp DSLR's with which to compare.

5.  A crappy lens remains a crappy lens provided all other constants remain equal.  We don't teach only 36mp DSLR's need good lenses, we only need teach it's possible for a sensor to exceed the capabilities of a lens at any resolution and how to determine if it is.

6.  Certainly you'll want to re-examine this statement and why one of the chief differences  DPR and other major reviewers have looked at over the years has indeed been the quality of rendered jpegs.

7.  I said from the beginning I do not think your image is "over-sharpened", but I do think your image exhibits traits in-common with those whose details have been enhanced further than I'd care for them to be.  Which admittedly is a matter of opinion.
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« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2013, 07:18:05 PM »
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I think that's just wrong. Think about the compromises involved in converting the analogue real world to pixels. Jeff's Real World Sharpening has a good discussion of the need for capture sharpening, I recall, and AA filters, while no doubt relevant, are far from the whole story.

Jeremy

It's certainly possible, but in the absence of an example(s) not something we can say for sure.
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WalterEG
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« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2013, 01:30:26 AM »
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We don't teach only 36mp DSLR's need good lenses, we only need teach it's possible for a sensor to exceed the capabilities of a lens at any resolution and how to determine if it is.

Steve,

How encouraging to hear matters of Nyquist theory being alluded to.  Thanks for your reasoned and detailed responses.  For once some rewarding discussion.

Cheers,

Walter
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« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2013, 09:13:19 AM »
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1.  I don't understand, but if discussion about the photographic merits of your image (which I was complementing albeit with less than my full endorsement) means things have gotten out of hand then close the thread.  Or if it's just me, say so and I'll move on.  To me, we've just hit on an area of interest I enjoy far more than the usual prattle.

Hi Steve, Things have gotten out of hand because normally I refuse to screw around with discussions about equipment and post-processing. To me the photograph is what matters: first the content, then the presentation. Content has absolutely nothing to do with equipment. Presentation begins to get into the equipment realm, but not necessarily very far. Cartier-Bresson made some of the finest photographs in the history of the art without worrying about post-processing. On the other hand, Gene Smith's fabulous work was photographic history's prime demonstration of Ansel's "The negative is the score, the print is the performance," statement,  even more so than the work of the author of the phrase.

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3.  I don't think it's sound to suggest the D800(E) has "enhanced detail" beyond the inherent capabilities of a like 36mp DSLR assuming there was (sic) one.  The D800 is a fine instrument, but in the hundreds of images I've taken myself with some of the best glass available at the time, I see only a 36mp DSLR performing as you'd expect a 36mp DSLR to perform.

Of course there isn't one, so any speculation in that direction is misdirected. And how do you determine how you'd expect a 36mp DSLR to perform when this is the only one out there so far? Ah yes, "the best glass available at the time. . ." There's the rub. I've been shooting pictures with the best glass available since 1953, and "the best glass available" keeps changing, always with improvements. So I don't understand what "the best glass available" has to do with a 36mp DSLR.

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4.  Compared to what other 36mp DSLR?  I understand you think the D800  is a good camera, but it's no more or less good as a 36mp camera than a 24mp camera would be if there were no other 24mp DSLR's with which to compare.

?

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7.  I said from the beginning I do not think your image is "over-sharpened", but I do think your image exhibits traits in-common with those whose details have been enhanced further than I'd care for them to be.  Which admittedly is a matter of opinion.

I just uploaded the original raw file to one of my webs. It's right out of the camera, but I've converted it from NEF to DNG since I'm not sure who has equipment to handle Nikon files. I know Steve has, since he's made that clear. I've done minimum post-processing to this file. Of course it's not sharpened at all, but in ACR I've changed exposure -.9, contrast +15, whites +7, blacks -6, and I've added clarity +24. This is minimal post-processing, and you'll be able to undo it with a single click. The clarity may be what makes you think details have been "enhanced," but a clarity boost of 24 in a landscape isn't much. Download it and take a look. What you'll see is very close to what you're seeing in this thread. Oh, by the way, I shot that with the new Nikkor 70-200mm f/4, which is a lens that can take advantage of the D800.

The file's at http://www.fineartsnaps.com/downloads/MerelyPretty.zip. It's a 44.26 megabyte file, so you might want to start the download and then go have lunch. I'll leave the file up until the end of the coming week for anybody who's curious and has the gear to play with it.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 02:16:20 PM by RSL » Logged

degrub
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« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2013, 12:34:32 PM »
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Russ,

Speaking as a beginner, what keeps me coming back to this image is the contrast between the Spanish moss and the lush growth of ferns and palm. My eye is drawn straight in  to the red plant and then explores the green palm and the moss. Something akin to the mystery of a decaying southern plantation and the exuberance of new life that is covering it. The timelessness of the moss and the now.

Maybe additional highlighting of the evidence of the "hand of man"  in the plank footbridge ?

It is probably just my screen calibration, but i got more of the above effect in ACR4.6 by shifting the tint -25 (more green), exposure -.9, and highlight +12.
Frank
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 12:38:41 PM by degrub » Logged
Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2013, 01:15:46 PM »
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Russ...for me the "Je ne sais quoi" of this image is the very nice flow of light back and forth through through the image. The two roadblocks to that flow and therefore the unfettered enjoyment of that light take place in the indicated bright (clipped) triangle upper left and static almost monochrome bottom in competition against that flow. The processing doesn't bother me as it has some, because it seemed to have an intent, ie: I could see this as a left plate in a 48-50 page book of thoughts inspired by the area(thoughts/essays facing on the right.) If you were to carry the intent consistently through it would make for a pleasant small book. But ... I would want to carefully address those areas that somehow just don't sync with the rest of the image,(and then have all other left plate images similarly processed for a nice flow through the book/ your increased contrast, blacks, whites, clarity adj's)( I think it is that contrast combined with the clarity that is moving the impression to bookplates for me)  In the attached I have a full negative clarity where you can easily see the trouble spots for me. .. just for me, and only because I am seeing the image as having a specific intent in its processing purpose, an interesting, almost 1930's bookplate effect which could work well.

If you try blocking those two areas you may see a solution in processing that could work. Doing something to define flow in lower, perhaps a content aware move or fill along with subtle negative exposure above. ...or not. Love to see other's struggles as I am so often there myself.
Best regards, p.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 03:32:32 PM by Patricia Sheley » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2013, 01:53:44 PM »
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Thanks Russ for letting me play with your raw capture. Mainly doing it to learn more about sharpening and how to best apply it to certain images but I think it's worthwhile to share these learnings here.

First observation was indeed, holimoly, that's a sharp lens. Even at 36 MP and 1:1 it shows plenty of small details. Impressive piece of kit you have there.

With regard to post-processing I don't have the latest versions of photoshop or lightroom (still running my desktop on XP) to exactly mimick your settings so I tried as well as I could with Lightroom 3.
Based on some comparisons (see below) I still think your workflow applied some hefty sharpening between the raw converter and the export to jpg (probably unintentional), but I think the oversharpened look that some people "complain" about is still caused by your workflow and settings, and not by this very sharp lens/high MP sensor combination.

I have 3 image versions from LR 3 for you to look at and then a pixel peeping comparison at 600% of a specific area to observe the sharpening halo's.
They might be a little large to show full resolution here on LuLa, so if you really want to see the full effect you should probably download them on your computer.

I left the default capture sharpening in Lightroom 3 untouched (amount 25, radius 1,0, detail 25 and masking 0) and exported to the same picture size as the version you posted (961 x 1440 pixels)

I then exported 3 versions:
Merely Pretty-2: no export sharpening
Merely Pretty-3: standard export sharpening for screen
Merely Pretty-4: high export sharpening for screen

Judge for yourself, I even think the version without export sharpening looks a bit soft, which is probably caused by the downsizing without a sharpening step to follow.
I personally like the version with standard export sharpening best, but I know sharpening is more a matter of taste then science



 
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 01:58:31 PM by pegelli » Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2013, 02:07:54 PM »
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... I don't think it's sound to suggest the D800(E) has "enhanced detail" beyond the inherent capabilities of a like 36mp DSLR assuming there was one.   The D800 is a fine instrument, but in the hundreds of images I've taken myself with some of the best glass available at the time, I see only a 36mp DSLR performing as you'd expect a 36mp DSLR to perform.

4.  Compared to what other 36mp DSLR?  I understand you think the D800  is a good camera, but it's no more or less good as a 36mp camera than a 24mp camera would be if there were no other 24mp DSLR's with which to compare...

Right!

Wait... what!?

It makes as much sense as saying: Picasso is good, but not better than any other Picasso out there Wink
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« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2013, 04:33:54 PM »
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Right!

Wait... what!?

It makes as much sense as saying: Picasso is good, but not better than any other Picasso out there Wink




Slobodan, lay of the Xmas vodka! The Artist's Statement posts are elsewhere - this isn't the place to drop them.

; -)

Rob C
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« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2013, 05:18:50 PM »
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Hi Steve, Things have gotten out of hand because normally I refuse to screw around with discussions about equipment and post-processing. To me the photograph is what matters: first the content, then the presentation. Content has absolutely nothing to do with equipment. Presentation begins to get into the equipment realm, but not necessarily very far. Cartier-Bresson made some of the finest photographs in the history of the art without worrying about post-processing. On the other hand, Gene Smith's fabulous work was photographic history's prime demonstration of Ansel's "The negative is the score, the print is the performance," statement,  even more so than the work of the author of the phrase.

I understand now. 

Maybe it's possible through this discussion we'll make discoveries we wouldn't have otherwise.

Question:  Haven't most professional photographers "post processed" their work throughout history through the development process, or perhaps even just through the selection of who did their development, was it Fotomat or Thrifty Drugs Store, type of decision?  If someone had approached Ansel and whispered in his ear "company x makes this chemical that would blow your socks off.." would not he have appreciated it?  I lean towards your latter example as more practical, and I'm not sure if I'd even want to take the development process out of the equation.. doing so would only 'shift' the origin of talent.


Of course there isn't one, so any speculation in that direction is misdirected. And how do you determine how you'd expect a 36mp DSLR to perform when this is the only one out there so far? Ah yes, "the best glass available at the time. . ." There's the rub. I've been shooting pictures with the best glass available since 1953, and "the best glass available" keeps changing, always with improvements. So I don't understand what "the best glass available" has to do with a 36mp DSLR.

At some point we have to give each other enough respect to realize we've all read at least an aggregate of the same reviews, tests, etc, and we know how to achieve the best image at the higher resolutions and which lenses to use.  Yes, the "best" does keep changing, but very slowly and lately/usually with the advent of the latest bodies.  I'm sure we're both current.

?

I shouldn't have assumed.  Sorry.   Presently we only have a single 36mp camera type/model to evaluate.  We have no other way than history to know if it will be an "average" 36mp DSLR or even a subpar example.  But current history, patent review, and theory suggests all 36mp DSLR's will fall in the same general  "ballpark" of "excellent" with  the differences leaning more towards ergonomics and choice of programming (i.e. high vs. low ISO performance) trade-offs.  The same as if we currently had our first 24mp DSLR and the others haven't yet followed.  Or 21mp, or 16mp..  There is nothing to suggest the D800(E) is anything more than average in this regard.


I just uploaded the original raw file to one of my webs. It's right out of the camera, but I've converted it from NEF to DNG since I'm not sure who has equipment to handle Nikon files. I know Steve has, since he's made that clear. I've done minimum post-processing to this file. Of course it's not sharpened at all, but in ACR I've changed exposure -.9, contrast +15, whites +7, blacks -6, and I've added clarity +24. This is minimal post-processing, and you'll be able to undo it with a single click. The clarity may be what makes you think details have been "enhanced," but a clarity boost of 24 in a landscape isn't much. Download it and take a look. What you'll see is very close to what you're seeing in this thread. Oh, by the way, I shot that with the new Nikkor 70-200mm f/4, which is a lens that can take advantage of the D800.

The file's at http://www.fineartsnaps.com/downloads/MerelyPretty.zip. It's a 44.26 megabyte file, so you might want to start the download and then go have lunch. I'll leave the file up until the end of the coming week for anybody who's curious and has the gear to play with it.

Thank you.  If my results are any different from the others currently posted from your file I'll comment.
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cmi
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« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2013, 06:12:30 PM »
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The scene is beautiful and the light seems quite good. The problem I see at least for my intention with this image, the surroundigs make the otherwise good center seem trivial. It is not isolated.

I probably would have zoomed in and played with some foreground/background elements around the water like in the crop. Maybe a slightly different camera position to balance the elements better. If once I had established a good point I would come back another day and reshoot from tripod with some nd to get calm water.

This crop is only to convey my feeling how I would try to frame while there, it is not particularly good on itself.

Best regards

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« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2013, 04:24:20 AM »
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That is now a completely different image and without a focal point that the original had. To be honest Russ's image has now been over scrutinised way beyond what he probably expected. I have seen better images "dismissed" with ... I like it.....or..... +1. Regarding sharpening then someone can nitpick on the technicalities of the process but it is a subjective process that Russ was happy about.. I thought it was a little overdone but not to the extent that the whole process should have become a subject in itself? There will however be members who wish their posted images had gotten so much attention. Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2013, 08:10:20 AM »
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Some pretty interesting responses here. The one that made me scratch my head was the idea that this picture is "enhanced." I'm not quite sure what that word means in this context. Enhanced in what way? I suspect the answer is that those who saw "enhancement" in this picture live in areas where the light and vegetation are less dramatic. I notice that Chris, even though he decided to whack off the right side of the picture, didn't see "enhancement" in it. He's familiar with the natural "enhancement" in Florida's nature scenes. As those who downloaded the original file know, there was no enhancement. You can't "enhance" a raw file. I listed the minimal ACR changes I'd made in the post with the URL for the download, and anyone who downloaded the file was able to return the raw file to its original condition.

There were four things at work in the "enhancement:" First, 36.3 megapixels can capture more detail than 12 or 16 or whatever smaller number you might settle on. Second, the D800 has the best color capabilities I've seen on any camera. Third, the lens I used is a new generation winner that can make use of the D800's incredible capabilities. Fourth, and most important, the light was perfect (Marc Shaffer to the contrary notwithstanding)  as I drove by, stopped, lowered my driver's-side window, and made the shot.

I may go bald scratching my head over Steve's weird idea that somehow we need to compare the D800 to a mythical 36 mpx camera that may appear in the future. I never suggested that the D800 is better than something that may come along down the road, but Steve seems hung up on this mystery. Frankly, Steve, I don't understand what such a futile consideration has to do with respect to the picture I posted. By the way, I doubt there'll be another 36 mpx camera in the future. The next jump probably will be to 48 mpx, which will double the resolution of my 12 mpx D3. Oh, and your question: "Haven't most professional photographers post-processed their work throughout history. . ?" completely ignored the most influential photographer of the twentieth century: HCB, who, as I pointed out, didn't bother with post-processing. Yes, Ansel and Gene Smith were into post-processing in a big way. And, yes, most photographers did their own darkroom work. But most of them did their own darkroom work because there wasn't an alternative.

Several folks have posted cropped versions of the picture, and that's fine if that's what turns you on, but I framed the picture the way I wanted it, and as I said earlier, I didn't post this picture for comments on technicalities. I got something out of it that went beyond its prettiness and I wondered if it was just me, or if there was something there for others.
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2013, 08:58:38 AM »
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Well, Russ..........Nicely stated!
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« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2013, 11:33:01 AM »
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I got something out of it that went beyond its prettiness and I wondered if it was just me, or if there was something there for others.

Well the backs of my hands hurt, and it is not just the temperatures well into dark that I've been enjoying lately. I saw your request, "Merely Pretty?" and took it to be a question...my error ... I watched the discussion for awhile and wondered really what had triggered the direction it took, but also returned to wonder for myself just where the element which held appeal for me actually was located. I found it's appeal, answered that question and went a bit further to define how I saw that appeal, and what held it back for me...I carefully considered my reply to your question and perhaps will need to hold my thoughts ... you have my apology for the offense you took to a heartfelt response on my part...
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« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2013, 01:37:34 PM »
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You can't "enhance" a raw file. I listed the minimal ACR changes I'd made in the post with the URL for the download, and anyone who downloaded the file was able to return the raw file to its original condition.

Which I did and showed that somehow your workflow added a lot more output sharpening than you were aware of. I'm surprized you keep claiming the oversharpened look is caused by the sensor/lens combination which in my mind is not the case. The original you posted got a lot of sharpening, saying too much is a matter of taste but to say it is only capture sharpened doesn't jive with my observations and conversions of your raw file.
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« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2013, 02:23:49 PM »
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Russ, that's why Without Prejudice was created. Not why woman was created, of course, and not meant as some far-fetched reference to a seminal Brigitte Bardot epic of long, long ago. (I remember parts of it well.) Funny; as I age, my memory gets sharper about some decades and passes others totally by; for instance, I can hardly remember a thing about the 70s. I think they were ugly.

A form of differential focussing; through a Nikon A2 filter, no doubt.

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« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2013, 03:23:49 PM »
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Well the backs of my hands hurt, and it is not just the temperatures well into dark that I've been enjoying lately. I saw your request, "Merely Pretty?" and took it to be a question...my error ... I watched the discussion for awhile and wondered really what had triggered the direction it took, but also returned to wonder for myself just where the element which held appeal for me actually was located. I found it's appeal, answered that question and went a bit further to define how I saw that appeal, and what held it back for me...I carefully considered my reply to your question and perhaps will need to hold my thoughts ... you have my apology for the offense you took to a heartfelt response on my part...

Patricia, I wasn't offended at all. I'm always interested to look at alternatives to my way of seeing, but from my own point of view, when I frame a picture, that's almost always it. Sometimes I goof on alignment and have to straighten the result, and sometimes I can't get in position to get what I want and have to crop to get there. But by the time I post something, you can be sure it's what I visualized when I raised the camera. The only out-and-out change I can remember making was after Slobodan swapped direction 180 degrees on a picture, and I agreed that the left-to-right alignment of the irrigation rig in the picture was better than the right-to-left alignment that was there in reality. So Slobodan was right, and I'm always ready to look at alternatives even though I very rarely agree.
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« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2013, 03:41:56 PM »
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Which I did and showed that somehow your workflow added a lot more output sharpening than you were aware of. I'm surprized you keep claiming the oversharpened look is caused by the sensor/lens combination which in my mind is not the case. The original you posted got a lot of sharpening, saying too much is a matter of taste but to say it is only capture sharpened doesn't jive with my observations and conversions of your raw file.

Hi Pieter, I went back through the steps I took for the first post, and I have to confess that I might have grabbed the Nik output sharpener instead of the raw presharpener. If so it's not the first time I've done that. I still can't see that the thing is over-sharpened, though.
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