Sharpening problems

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR' started by Jerry Snider, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. Jerry Snider

    Jerry Snider

    390
    May 8, 2005
    At the risk of my difficulties being attributed to "user error" I simply HAVE to post this rather lengthy commentary in order to obtain some helpful suggestions.
    Purchased a D2X 2 weeks ago, and have used digital SLR for a little over a year now. Have used Nikon film cameras since the early 1960's up through the F5. Have now taken ca. 700 or so pics with the D2X, 95% of them off a tripod (Gitzo 1348; Arca Swiss Ball head). EVERY photo I have taken has a "soft" look to it. Use lens from Nikon 80-200 2.8 ED, 17-35 AF-S, 28-70 AF-S, 200 2.8 Macro, among others. The results are identical. I CAN improve the appearance to usable status in post processing by using USM Amount of 160 and Radius of 2.3!! Indeed, have gotten good comments on these forums with the post processing results. This seems to me to be unsatisfactory to have to sharpen to this extent. A number of posts using this camera can be found on the macro forum. I am quite frustrated and have hesitated to post this since the usual response is "user error". I am not bashing Nikon, but I do feel that I have real concerns here. No satisfaction (not even a response) from the camera store (no names mentioned at this point). If the moderators feel this message is out of line, please delete at your discretion, and I apologize for my lack of taste.
    My best,
    Jerry Snider
     
  2. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    Do you see any sharp objects anywhere in the image?

    Have you tried any tests, like manual focusing on subjects and setting aperture to f/11?
     
  3. Jerry Snider

    Jerry Snider

    390
    May 8, 2005
    Yes I have, and the overall effect is "soft". Have compared identical shots with the D70 and the D2X, same settings, same lenses. The results of the D2X is as if a small amount of Gaussian Blur has been applied. Have even resorted to the focusing test charts. While there is a region on these photos that appears sharper than others, even the sharp area has a "soft" look.
    Jerry Snider
     
  4. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    I would say send some shots from both cameras to Nikon, let them look. Publishing some of them here with EXIF intact might help, but asD70 shots are OK, I doubt it. My sharpening is 200/0.7/6 usually.
     
  5. What sharpness setting are you using? What format are you capturing? RAW?
     
  6. Jerry Snider

    Jerry Snider

    390
    May 8, 2005
    Sharpness setting: normal. ALL photos shot in NEF.
     
  7. cwilt

    cwilt

    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    What RAW processor are you using?
     
  8. Jerry Snider

    Jerry Snider

    390
    May 8, 2005
    Nikon Capture, Bibble, Adobe. NC and Bibble seem to give me similar results, Adobe less so. With a bit of work I seem to get all of them to look pretty much identical. Only recently changed to Bibble due to large files of the D2X, but have run several D2X files through NC as well for comparison.
    Have used Photoshop for major workflow since its inception, and for the past several years have input slides/negatives scanned with Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 ED (since its inception). Although by no means an expert, I feel that I have a most reasonable grasp of Photoshop.
    I will state that I love the D2X--far less post processing involved, better colors, auto white balance is quite good and needs, depending upon the conditions, only minor tweaking. Exposures are fantastic, the SB 800 is even more amazing on this camera than on the D70, especially for macro work. If it wasn't for the "softness" thing I would be walking on clouds with this camera.

    Jerry Snider
     
  9. jfenton

    jfenton

    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Jerry

    What are you using for a sharpening workflow during processing and post procesing???????

    Also...what kinds of shutter speeds are you shooting at? The X is extremely unforgiving of any motion (camera shake) at all and it will manifest itself as soft images.
     
  10. Jerry Snider

    Jerry Snider

    390
    May 8, 2005
    Jim,
    As I've stated, 95% of my photos are taken using a tripod (Gitzo 1348) and a sturdy ball head. I have shot pics from 1 sec up to 1/500 sec. For the long exposures (usually macro) I typically use flash. Lenses involve Nikon 80-200 2.8 ED, 17-35 AF-S, 28-70 AF-S, 200 macro, 105 macro. Have not attempted to use any of my lower level Nikon lenses. Granted, the only prime lenses used thus far are the macros.
    Used normal sharpness incamera (but also have used sharpening off), if using NC for converting RAW images I have used Ron Resnick's recommendations for NC sharpening and have also used no NC sharpening. Into Photoshop (a copy, of course) and size (if necessary), remove color cast (if necessary), apply appropriate curve, adjust hue/saturation, sharpen using USM (typically Amount 160-200, radius ends up almost always near 2.3, Threshold 0), save as TIFF.
    Perhaps I am misunderstanding your question?
    My best,
    Jerry Snider
     
  11. dan_m

    dan_m Guest

    Jerry,
    Your situation sounds identical to mine. I'm sure the camera had a problem - much improved when I got it back from Nikon. I'd already tried every lens in the book before I sent it in. (Tripod, mirror up, etc) Also, the D2X is very particular about lenses. I settled on 12-24 Sigma, 17-55DX 2.8, 105 2.8 macro, 70-200 2.8, and 1.7 teleconverter - all Nikon. My 24-120VR and 80-400VR were unusable on the D2X. For some unexplained reason, the D2X seems to exaggerate camera shake. I can't explain it. Folks keep asking about sharpening technique, etc. I know a soft image when I see one; you probably do too.
    Good luck,
    Dan M.
     
  12. It is an odd camera that way. I think it is simply because the individual photosites are so small. They only have to move half as far as say the D2H to produce motion blur.

    For example I was taking shots in daylight of a hydrangea bush sitting in partial shade. Messing around with light using a light disc.

    The shots I got at 1/60 are just a hair soft. Mostly fixable with more sharpening in post.

    Shots at 1/125 and faster are perfectly sharp.

    These were all taken at f10 or smaller, Gitzo 1348 and Arca Swiss ball head.

    There was some light wind, which could have been a factor, but I don't believe so. I believe it was just the vibration caused by my pressing the shutter, etc.


    So you are seeing this with flash? At ordinary flash output, depending on the light you could be talking about 1/6400 speeds. If that is the case I would say your camera has a problem.

    Any examples? 100% crops?
     
  13. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I tend to agree. I need much shorter shutter speeds with this camera. Flash shots definitely appear sharper.
     
  14. dan_m

    dan_m Guest

    John, et all,
    I was just wondering last evening if there is any possibility that the focus mechanism on some or all D2X's might move slightly during the very short lag time between depression of shutter release and the actual exposure of the sensor.
    Any thoughts, anyone?
    Dan M.
     
  15. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I would doubt it, only because if it was slippage of focus, you'd see the same problem with flash shots.
     
  16. twig

    twig

    745
    May 23, 2005
    Hello, just wondering if one of you guys could quantify the shutter speed ratio that works. I know this is not exact science, but all my work is done hand-held. With the D70 or even d2h this seems fine for me at 1/focal length maybe 1/.75Xfocal length if I really settle myself.

    For comparable sharpness with the smaller photosites are we looking at 1/2Xfocal length to guarantee sharpness?

    Dan we are lens twins, I am gald to hear the Sigma 12-24 continues to work well on your D2x - ho does ths contrast and color appear compared to the 17-55 in your opinion (I am considering selling my 17-55 as it seems less used than my 12-24, but the Nikon lens has some intrinsic color and contrast I really like.

    Beezle, did you use mirror lock up for your shots? That may reduce shutter pressing vibrations
     
  17. cwilt

    cwilt

    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    twig,

    For handheld shots I am up to 3x the focal length or VR. Maybe I should slow down on the caffeine?
     
  18. Jerry Snider

    Jerry Snider

    390
    May 8, 2005
    Untouched pics

    Photo #1 has been converted to jpeg, otherwise untouched.
    Photo #2 is 100% crop.
    Photo #3 is post processed, sharpened to 1.6. Photo #3 may not come through due to file sizes of the three pics.
    Tripod mounted.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Jerry Snider

    Jerry Snider

    390
    May 8, 2005
    Untouched pics

    Photo #1 has been converted to jpeg, otherwise untouched.
    Photo #2 is 100% crop.
    Photo #3 is post processed, sharpened to 1.6. Photo #3 may not come through due to file sizes of the three pics.
    Tripod mounted.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pics don't seem to be coming through.

    Jerry Snider
     
  20. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I think you need "www." after the "//" and the file extension (".jpg") at the end.
     
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