“Hello friends! This was an attempted Facebook Live event that didn’t go live there due to technical issues, so I recorded it and am sharing it here instead. I edit 3 images and go through some new filters in Luminar 2018 while sharing some tips for getting the most out of them. Check it out and enjoy!”
Magnum photographer Henri-Cartier-Bresson once famously stated that “sharpness is a bourgeois concept” and thousands of would-be photographers have taken what was intended as a jocular retort to heart as if it were gospel from the greatest man ever to hold a camera. Nothing could be further from the truth.
From Vanity Fair magazine’s Shooting Past 80 article on photographers 80 years of age and older:
“He had his little Leica,” Newton remembers, “and he simply would point and shoot.” Since Cartier-Bresson’s hand isn’t as steady as it used to be, some of the pictures were a bit fuzzy. “Sharpness,” he told Newton, “is a bourgeois concept.” Newton sits back and laughs: “I thought that was just divine.”
So one of the most-quoted photographer statements ever was born as a joke between two veteran photographers, Helmut Newton and Henri Cartier-Bresson, and then has been used ever since as the justification for poorly-made snapshots, as holy writ.
Thomas Fitzgerald, a Dublin-based fine art photographer with a technical and graphic design background, concurs in a timely article about sharpness, Sharpness is Not Overrated and Why I Care About Image Quality.
Every now and then someone trots out some article or blog post about how “sharpness is overrated” and how you shouldn’t care about getting sharp images, and how having technically accurate pictures somehow makes you gear obsessed and a bad photographer.
I have been giving sharpness, JPEG image size and quality, and cameras with and without optical low pass filters (OLPF) some thought lately, in the light of new cameras being released without them.
I love each of the hybrid APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras I have here, whether they are primarily for video or for stills photography, but I don’t want to discard any of them because they are not producing results as sharp as the most recently released cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5.
I often use several cameras in the course of my projects and need their results to work together well. That need is becoming even more urgent now that I am uploading full-sized 100% quality JPEGs to my Flickr account and will be doing so for other such accounts and websites soon.
What to do? Then I remembered piccure+ from having used a trial version a while ago, when all this was less of a problem and I was still trying to understand how to achieve optimum sharpness in a number of raw processors and image editors.
If you find yourself in the same position as I am in now, then give piccure+ a go.
- Eric Kim – Why Sharpness is a Bourgeoise Concept in Street Photography
- Iconic Photos – Vanity Fair Portfolio – the Shooting Past 80 article as published in Vanity Fair.
- Newsweek – Opposites Attract
- The Inspired Eye – 10 great photography quotes from Henri Cartier Bresson
- Thomas Fitzgerald Photography – Sharpness is Not Overrated and Why I Care About Image Quality
- Mary Ellen Mark – Shooting Past 80, text of the article from Vanity Fair.
Picktorial 3.0 by Picktorial Innovations LTD is the latest incarnation of a powerful image editor with an apparently simple, elegant interface, made for macOS. Picktorial contains an impressive array of features and presets, and is currently on offer at an introductory price of USD 39.99, down from its usual price of USD 69.99.
With the vacuum created by Apple abandoning Aperture, the photography image organising and editing software especially popular with professional photographers, publishers and agencies, as well as a certain amount of disgruntlement with Adobe, a number of smaller independent software creators have seen their opportunity and I welcome the choice that has appeared in recent times.
I have installed a trial version of Picktorial 3.0 on my production iMac, but our recent problem with lack of Internet and phone has meant that I am well behind on all my work. I will be putting Picktorial to the test as soon as I can, but in the meantime I can highly recommend Thomas Fitzgerald’s introductory article on it at his website below.
ON1 Photo Raw 2017, the standalone non-destructive raw processor and image editor cum mega plug-in suite for your favourite image editor, has been updated to version 2017.0.2 with improvements for Fujifilm camera users, raw file support for a range of new cameras as well as performance updates and bug fixes.
From the ON1 blog post:
- Added support for Compressed Lossless Fujifilm RAW photos.
- Improved processing quality for Fujifilm Trans sensors.
- Improved highlight recovery.
- New raw file support for cameras including Olympus SH-2, E-M5 MKII, E-M1 MKII, Pentax K5 II, Nikon D5600, Panasonic DMC FZ2000, Panasonic DMC G2, Panasonic DMC G5, Panasonic DMC TZ80, Leica M10, Leica TL, Canon EOS 500D, Panasonic DMC LX15.
- Over 20 improvements to performance in Browse which is an area ON1 will continue improving.
- Several more performance updates and bug fixes are also included in this release.
ON1, Inc. also recently announced is ON1 Photo Kit: Raw 2017 Essentials including ebooks, workflow training videos and presets, all invaluable aids to getting the best out of your images and out of the huge range of tools that comprise ON1 Photo Raw 2017.
This last year, 2016-2017, has seen some exciting developments in stills photography software and hardware, and I look forward to seeing how ON1 Photo Raw 2017 develops over the coming months.
Although this current updater does not support raw files from Fujifilm’s X100F – currently being trialled here for review soon – I am confident that support for this amazing new version of the classic X100 will be coming shortly as well as for Fujifilm’s other imminent new camera releases such as the X-T20 and the GFX 50S.
ON1 Photo Kit: Raw Essentials has now been released and is available at a discount price of US$49.99 for a limited time only.
- ON1, Inc. – ON1 Photo 2017.0.2 — New Update Available
- ON1, Inc. – Partner Spotlight: RAW 2017 Essentials – Free Sample Pack
- ON1, Inc. – Tech Talk – Fujifilm X-Trans
Dublin-based photographer and photographic post-processing expert Thomas Fitzgerald recently published the results of processing one Fujifilm X-Pro2 X-Trans raw image with seven different raw convertors or image editors with raw conversion capability.
Tests like this are useful when considering whether to try out an unfamiliar item of software or go straight to purchase though they are seldom definitive. Processing raw files is something of a moving target and all of them are updated regularly with improvements and new features.
Likewise various raw processors’ support for Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensor raw files, another moving target given that some major raw processors do not support X-Trans raw at all yet, and one that apparently never will. So it is good to know what does, currently.
Also good to read Mr Fitzgerald’s well-qualified opinions on the state of each item of software. He rates two of them as not ready for prime time at the moment. Let’s hope their makers have improvements on the way.
The raw processors or raw-capable image editors that Mr Fitzgerald tested are:
- Adobe Lightroom
- Affinity Photo
- Apple Photos
- Capture One Pro 10
- Iridient Developer
- Macphun Luminar
- ON1 Photo Raw 2017
One surprise for Mr Fitzgerald is each product’s variations in default cropping, with further variation in edge detail. Oftentimes I will crop a raw file in a raw processor I have been using less lately to be taken by surprise at how much I have lost at the edge, causing me to rethink the image as I had visualized it before pressing the shutter button.
Thomas Fitzgerald is a writer as well as fine art photographer and has published a series of ebooks on processing Fujifilm X-Trans raw images in three raw processors and one on processing Sony A6000 files in Lightroom. I bought the three on X-Trans processing and recommend them.
Mr Fitzgerald also sells a number of Lightroom presets collections and a Photoshop texture pack. His blog is insightful and well worth reading.
- Thomas Fitzgerald Photography – One Fuji X-Pro 2 Image – 7 Different Raw Converters
Optimum image processing workflows and workspaces are still something I have to fully work out for all the raw processors and image editing applications I use, and I suspect many other photographers are in the same boat. A similar thing applies to moviemaking with workflows.
Some current raw processing and image editing software has the ability to choose built-in preset workspaces and a subset of that software allows you to create, save and share your own custom workspace files. A further subset of current applications has this ability coming soon.
Ever curious as to how other photography professionals do it, I always go on over and download custom workspace settings whenever I hear about them.
As soon as I read about the four new Capture One Pro workspaces being shared by in-house photographers at Phase One, I headed off to skim the articles about them, saved them into my Evernote Capture One training notebook, downloaded the custom settings files and placed them in my Capture One Pro workspaces folder.
I have yet to work out my own optimum Capture One Pro workspaces though I have a small set that are about halfway there, adapted from older workspace settings files I found on the Web.
Some day soon, I swear, I will shut all distractions out, boot up Capture One Pro, load up a typical session or catalog, then go to work on creating the best personal custom workspace that I can. Doing that will be a future timesaver even though it will eat up a little time while doing it.
The Capture One Pro Custom Workspace Settings:
Its not red hot news, as Phase One A/S released version 10 of its Capture One Pro raw development software a few weeks ago now, so much as some welcome added extras in the form of a number of excellent training and webinar videos by Phase One for those of us new to Capture One Pro and that are very useful for veteran users too.
This past year, 2016, has been an amazing one for raw processing and image editing software, as I have mentioned several times before now in other articles, with major updates as well as entirely new products.
We as photographers benefit from a broader choice of products and, in my humble opinion, the software makers benefit from one of them lifting the bar higher again with the rest challenging themselves to match and even surpass the current leader’s example, or diverge into a completely different direction.
I have barely had time to properly digest how Capture One Pro 10 has lifted the bar and have yet to try its new features out, but the stand-out for me is its new three-step sharpening process.
Three Step Sharpening
Full control over the sharpening process from Capture to Output. Diffraction Correction, new creative tools for Halo Control makes sharpening easier, and recipe independent output sharpening remove the need to guess amounts for final size.
While trying out and working seriously with a range of image editing and raw processing software recently, I have noticed some divergence in the way each product sharpens images. Those variations seem to depend on which camera the raw files come from, and, of course, how the user manipulates each product’s sharpening controls.
X-Trans raw files from Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 and X-T2 cameras are a case in point. Opinions vary widely amongst experienced users as to which raw processors get the best out of X-Trans files but I have also been noticing differences with raw files from other cameras.
There is clearly more to sharpening than meets the eye. From the evidence Phase One has understood that and its solution is a three-phase process with the welcome ability to see the result of that in version 10’s Output Proofing tool, before hitting the Process button.
Bravo Phase One for seeing the light, and now I hope that all the other raw processing and image editing software makers will follow that example, find their own ways of improving sharpening and even go beyond Phase One’s achievement in version 10 of Capture One Pro.
Now the question is, will Capture One Pro be supporting Fujifilm’s groundbreaking GFX 50S medium format digital camera? Not according to a Phase One representative:
“It is unlikely that we will support the Fuji GFX 50s – we have a long standing policy of not providing support to direct competitors of our core business.”
If true, even more incentive for makers of other raw processors and image editors to equal then surpass the features in Capture One Pro 10.
Right now I and other photographers of my acquaintance are relying on a range of raw processing software in order to get the best out of each camera brand’s sensors and lenses. Not all raw processors are created equal in terms of core functionality, regardless of other possible image editing functions.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if all such software’s core features rendered the best conversions possible for all raw file types from all cameras and lenses, levelling the playing field in that regard, but then strived to differentiate themselves in other ways?
One or two to get the best out of Fujifilm X-Trans raw files, others to get the best out of other brands’ raw files, another because it has a decent Digital Assent Management (DAM) function, it all adds up.
Being an independent, self-financed photographer/moviemaker having to maintain licences for a range of similar, oftentimes overlapping, software in order to get the best out of what one does is incredibly expensive. It would be good to narrow things down a little.
- Youtube.com: Phase One channel – scroll down the page to Capture One 10 Tutorials and Capture One 10 Webinars.