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Old May 4th, 2004, 12:10 AM   #1
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Sharpen Control

Can anyone tell me about the "sharpen" feature of the camera? If I leave the feature set all the way up, will this degrade the picture at all etc?? I noticed awhile back that my in focus shot looked a little fuzzy...not real sharp...than i found the sharpen adjustment on the camera. I initially had this set to dead center, but have bumped the setting up a few notches to see if this makes a difference. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!!!
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Old May 11th, 2004, 07:04 AM   #2
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I've done a test for someone else on this forum a while ago to
see what the difference in sharpness does to a picture. It had
quite the effect in my opinion.

Click here to see the test
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Old May 12th, 2004, 10:36 PM   #3
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Rob, do you usually shoot with the sharpness cranked up all the way?
Have you noticed any drawbacks from doing so?
Have you done more tests at different settings?
Just wondering. I'm shooting my 1st wedding and don't ask me why but I'm a bit skeptical to shoot with the sharpness cranked up all the way.
However, your tests would indicate that it is wise to turn the sharpness all the way up.
I'm often told how soft the XL1S is. I recently started experimenting with the sharpnes levels and like I said before, I'm scurd to potted al the way up.
I didn't see any noise on your shots.
Your comments are appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 11:12 PM   #4
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The "sharpness" adjustment on the XL1S (and other cameras) is basically an edge-enhancement feature. It is somewhat similar to anti-aliasing filters found on image editing applications, although it cannot produce as stark of results as those filters.

Like the AE control, application of sharpness is really a matter of taste and appropriateness. The XL1S' standard image has a reputation, to some degree deserved, for being just a bit soft. Many people find that this produces a touch less of a video-ish image. In contrast, the XL1S' little brother, the GL2, produces a much crisper standard image.

Personally, I set the XL1S' sharpness up a notch and the GL2's down a notch. But, again, that's really a matter of taste.

Regarding noise, unlike gain, sharpness will not produce true noise grain. Cranked high, however, sharpness may make an image "appear" noisy by enhancing the edges of small details that would otherwise be less apparent. Rob's "tight shots" of the intersection of his wood bookcase with the wall illustrates a magnified view of this to a degree. Note how much more prominent the wall texture and wood grain are in the max sharp image. If the max sharp image was pulled to a medium shot the wall, being obliquely lit, would "appear" noisier than normal.

When making a sharpness adjustment decision you really need to be looking at the image from the camera in a production monitor if possible. The viewfinder, and even a small lcd, just will not provide the best reference for this particular adjustment.

One last suggestion. I don't recommend using sharpness as a crutch for poor focus. That is, sharpening a softly focused image will not bring it into focus. High sharpness settings will eventually make high luma contrast areas "ring" or "buzz". This can make soft images look...well...a bit weird as the slightly fuzzy edges start to grow peach fuzz (pardon my metaphors).

Just my $0.10 on the subject.
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Old May 15th, 2004, 07:38 AM   #5
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Ken has some excellent points. You CANNOT view sharpness in
the viewfinder. I didn't see much change at all when changing
the setting. I don't have a broadcast monitor so I looked at the
footage on a good TFT screen on my DELL laptop to see the
difference!!

I've never changed the sharpness setting from the default when
actually shooting something. The only time I've changed this is
for this test.

The XL1S is also a bit more soft in frame mode (semi progressive)
than it is in interlaced.

Perhaps you can do some test shots during the next wedding
when you are waiting or something. Don't forget to set em back
to your default when you are done testing in this case. Also keep
in mind that this is a preset value and you must therefore
ACTIVATE the preset first!
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Old May 15th, 2004, 09:09 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies guys.
I did some tests myself and noticed some noise at 3 notches up from normal shooting indoors with an omni light set at flood.
Perhaps the sweet spot is one notch above normal like Ken said.
I didn't forget to set it back to normal Rob.
Regards.
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Old May 17th, 2004, 02:53 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the great input guys. I agree that the XL1s shoots a bit soft!! As far as shooting the camera myself, I have tried it with one notch up and it seems to make a difference. It is very noticable after setting the white balance with a warm card as well. Sorry it took me so long to reply all, I have been on vacation. Thanks again for the input, and let me know how any other tests come out!! Thanks again!!!!
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Old June 5th, 2004, 12:31 PM   #8
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Bernard/Robert,
Here is my suggestion...as you will be using it for a wedding that lends itself for a "softer look". I have found the default setting for sharpness works fine and like others have suggested, get the focus as BEST as you can with the stock viewfinder. The majority of my work is weddings and I like the look of the XL1s over the other current crop of cameras...especially for skin tone reproduction. I even go a step further and do a final post production process of frame serving out of Vegas to Virtual Dub using Donald Graft's smooth filter to take out skin imperfections (also does a superb job of removing noise caused by cranking the gain in low light situations typical of weddings/reception...even up to +12db!)
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Old June 5th, 2004, 02:54 PM   #9
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Wow Mark, thanks for the info. Can you tell me more about Donald Graft's smooth filter and how it removes noise caused by cranking up the gain. I've been looking for something like this for a while.
Does this filter have any drawbacks?
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Old June 5th, 2004, 03:35 PM   #10
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Bernard, I wish I was more technical savvy at explaining how it works...so here is Donald's URL: http://neuron2.net/

goto "mine" link and look for the smart smoother link. What originally caught my eye was his verbiage "This filter performs structure-preserving smoothing (blurring). It is ideal for removing video noise as well as MPG/JPG blocking artifacts. The really exceptional feature is that far from blurring image structure (edges, corners, etc.), it actually sharpens them somewhat!"

As long as you dont get to crazy/extreme with the settings, you should be amazed at the look of the video after processing...
Mark
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Old June 7th, 2004, 05:27 PM   #11
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Thanks for the site Mark.
I'll check it out right now!
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