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11/04/2004 01:36:47 PM · #1
Anyone have good suggestions for affordable sharpening tools that blow away the USM and High Pass methods?

I just ran out of my free trial on FocusMagic. I was not impressed for regular sharpening, but it blew my mind what it did for a photo which was taken at too slow a shutter speed and had motion blur! I seem to have a lot of those lately, because I am forced to shoot some of my kids events at dusk, and thus slow shutter speeds.

If people are interested, I'll post a before-and-after extract. But first, I am wondering whether anyone has used this and has their own opinions? I got to thinking about the reviews I read on other sharpening tools on luminous landscape, and I don't want to buy two or three different tools. I want one that does it all, and does it well (for under $50!)
11/04/2004 01:51:14 PM · #2
Fred Miranda's Intellisharpen
11/04/2004 02:07:16 PM · #3
Please post the before and after Neil. And tell us more about your experience using FocusMagic.

There is one called nikSharpener. I haven't used it but have read that Unsharp Mask does a better job but that nikSharpener is more "automatic". It's priced for pros so maybe it's not the "good suggestion" you were asking for. There's a Home edition for $80.
nikSharpener
11/04/2004 02:16:38 PM · #4
This is an PS Action that works awesome---and free!
11/04/2004 02:25:02 PM · #5
Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

This is an PS Action that works awesome---and free!

does this work as a filter in photoshop?
11/04/2004 02:48:07 PM · #6
It is an Action
11/04/2004 03:20:23 PM · #7
Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

This is an PS Action that works awesome---and free!


where's the link to dload the action?
11/04/2004 03:34:15 PM · #8
Here are two full resolution extracts (parts of) from the 6mp Canon image:

Before: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/118408.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/118408.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' and After: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/118407.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/118407.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I know it doesn't look like a pic worth sharpening (that's not the point of my test).

Message edited by author 2004-11-04 15:36:03.
11/04/2004 03:53:24 PM · #9
I see a definite improvement in the clearity from the before to the after. Would say it makes pics that were throwaways useable?

Wouldn't any PS Action be just an automated use of the tools already present in PS?

11/04/2004 03:58:53 PM · #10
Originally posted by coolhar:

Wouldn't any PS Action be just an automated use of the tools already present in PS?

Yes. I always heard you should use a light oil when sharpening tools ...
11/04/2004 09:08:25 PM · #11
I tried two other sharpener's on this for fun--knowing that this is motion blur and they are not intended for that, but I wanted to see what they would do.

DISCLAIMER: I played with the demo versions of these, but someone more familiar with them might have done a better job. (Though in fairness, I was also using the demo of FocusMagic!)

Nik Sharpner: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/118463.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/118463.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
PhotoWiz's FocalBlade: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/118464.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/118464.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Neither worked very well on this image.
11/04/2004 09:24:49 PM · #12
not to sound dismissive or anything, but I don't think the purpose of a sharpening tool is to recover an out of focus image. I mean, pretty much all the sharpening tool does is increase the contrast in the edges in the image, but if the edges aren't in focus, all it can do is create artifacts. It just seems silly to me to pay for anything outside of standard USM tools. No tool is going to add focus where there was none to begin with, and if it does succeed minimally the picture won't be useable as a print of any significant size. Save your money folks! :-)
11/04/2004 09:35:33 PM · #13
Originally posted by Rooster:

Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

This is an PS Action that works awesome---and free!


where's the link to dload the action?


It is right at the top of the page (pretty small type)
11/04/2004 09:36:31 PM · #14
Originally posted by coolhar:

I see a definite improvement in the clearity from the before to the after. Would say it makes pics that were throwaways useable?

Wouldn't any PS Action be just an automated use of the tools already present in PS?

It is only tools in PS, but uses them in an order and layers and channels. You can do it yourself to learn it, just set PS to steps, instead. It is lengthy and complicated.


Message edited by author 2004-11-04 21:36:54.
11/04/2004 09:48:25 PM · #15
Originally posted by hanlomba:

not to sound dismissive or anything, but I don't think the purpose of a sharpening tool is to recover an out of focus image. I mean, pretty much all the sharpening tool does is increase the contrast in the edges in the image, but if the edges aren't in focus, all it can do is create artifacts. It just seems silly to me to pay for anything outside of standard USM tools. No tool is going to add focus where there was none to begin with, and if it does succeed minimally the picture won't be useable as a print of any significant size. Save your money folks! :-)


Yes, I agree that's true, but sometimes due to circumstances an image you want DOES have motion blur, or is out of focus. And there are tools claiming to fix this, one of which is FocusMagic.

The latest two samples were using an "ordinary" sharpening tool. However, my original message and samples used a tool that claims to do exactly what I said--sharpen out of focus and motion blurred images. My question was basically whether anyone had tried this tool, found it useful, or a different tool for this purpose.

Personally, I do think it made the image "usable". I have other images I've taken at dusk this week of teams in crew boats and I would love to try to recover some of those as well. But I wanted other people's input before I spent the $45!
11/04/2004 09:49:23 PM · #16
Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

Originally posted by coolhar:

I see a definite improvement in the clearity from the before to the after. Would say it makes pics that were throwaways useable?

Wouldn't any PS Action be just an automated use of the tools already present in PS?

It is only tools in PS, but uses them in an order and layers and channels. You can do it yourself to learn it, just set PS to steps, instead. It is lengthy and complicated.


I didn't see it on this site this trip, but I've seen that before, and as I recall, this doesn't work with PS Elements.
11/08/2004 11:45:58 PM · #17
i have tried Focus Magic and I think it is worth your $45.

Originally posted by nshapiro:

Originally posted by hanlomba:

not to sound dismissive or anything, but I don't think the purpose of a sharpening tool is to recover an out of focus image. I mean, pretty much all the sharpening tool does is increase the contrast in the edges in the image, but if the edges aren't in focus, all it can do is create artifacts. It just seems silly to me to pay for anything outside of standard USM tools. No tool is going to add focus where there was none to begin with, and if it does succeed minimally the picture won't be useable as a print of any significant size. Save your money folks! :-)


Yes, I agree that's true, but sometimes due to circumstances an image you want DOES have motion blur, or is out of focus. And there are tools claiming to fix this, one of which is FocusMagic.

The latest two samples were using an "ordinary" sharpening tool. However, my original message and samples used a tool that claims to do exactly what I said--sharpen out of focus and motion blurred images. My question was basically whether anyone had tried this tool, found it useful, or a different tool for this purpose.

Personally, I do think it made the image "usable". I have other images I've taken at dusk this week of teams in crew boats and I would love to try to recover some of those as well. But I wanted other people's input before I spent the $45!
11/11/2004 11:56:13 PM · #18
What about PhotoKit Sharpener? Anyone using that? Like it? Hate it?
11/12/2004 09:05:33 AM · #19
bump :-)
11/12/2004 10:31:14 AM · #20
Originally posted by digistoune:

What about PhotoKit Sharpener? Anyone using that? Like it? Hate it?


I'm probably just being repetitive, but as I posted below, I tried the trial, and didn't achieve any stellar results. But see the reviews at Luminous landscape, they like it a lot.
11/21/2004 04:34:53 PM · #21
I went ahead and bought FocusMagic. I've been using it to clean up some photos taken at the river at crew (rowing) competitions where I have had to sometimes use a lower shutter speed than I would like, and it's not enough to capture the moving subjects (or my own shake). It's hard to find the right settings (you have to pick the angle of the blur), but it can work close to miracles in some cases. I thought I'd post a case I just did:

Before: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/123013.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/123013.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' After: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/123012.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/123012.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

This isn't at 100% because there were several things in this photo I wanted to show in the small size allowed. Look at the numbers on his hat, his mouth, the microphone, and his shirt neckline! FocusMagic really works well (though not in all cases, and as you can see, it also introduces, or focuses on some additional noise).

If you are like me, and occasionally take a bad photo for various reasons like lighting conditions and too slow a shutter speed, or action that not even IS would help, this is a great addition to your toolbox for about $40. No affiliation with the company, just a happy customer.
11/21/2004 05:08:41 PM · #22
Originally posted by nshapiro:

I went ahead and bought FocusMagic. I've been using it to clean up some photos taken at the river at crew (rowing) competitions where I have had to sometimes use a lower shutter speed than I would like, and it's not enough to capture the moving subjects (or my own shake). It's hard to find the right settings (you have to pick the angle of the blur), but it can work close to miracles in some cases. I thought I'd post a case I just did:

Before: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/123013.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/123013.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' After: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/123012.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/12253/thumb/123012.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

This isn't at 100% because there were several things in this photo I wanted to show in the small size allowed. Look at the numbers on his hat, his mouth, the microphone, and his shirt neckline! FocusMagic really works well (though not in all cases, and as you can see, it also introduces, or focuses on some additional noise).

If you are like me, and occasionally take a bad photo for various reasons like lighting conditions and too slow a shutter speed, or action that not even IS would help, this is a great addition to your toolbox for about $40. No affiliation with the company, just a happy customer.


Wow! Looks like a photo rescue to me!
11/21/2004 05:19:03 PM · #23
Originally posted by digistoune:

What about PhotoKit Sharpener? Anyone using that? Like it? Hate it?


I use Photokit sharpenner occasionally and find it very good. They use layers to apply the sharpen effect so by changing the opacity you have very fine control of the final result
11/21/2004 07:28:30 PM · #24
Originally posted by nshapiro:

Anyone have good suggestions for affordable sharpening tools that blow away the USM and High Pass methods?

I just ran out of my free trial on FocusMagic. I was not impressed for regular sharpening, but it blew my mind what it did for a photo which was taken at too slow a shutter speed and had motion blur! I seem to have a lot of those lately, because I am forced to shoot some of my kids events at dusk, and thus slow shutter speeds.

If people are interested, I'll post a before-and-after extract. But first, I am wondering whether anyone has used this and has their own opinions? I got to thinking about the reviews I read on other sharpening tools on luminous landscape, and I don't want to buy two or three different tools. I want one that does it all, and does it well (for under $50!)


I'm curious if you are using the appropriate ISO settings for the situations you are describing. While I usually manually control my ISO I have recently found it to be very helpful to sometimes use the auto ISO setting when I am indoors or outside in mixed low light and shooting subjects like kids or pets. In these situations I can just focus on either the aperture, shutter speed, or both to make sure that the depth of field and sharpness are what they should be and let the auto ISO help take care of proper exposure. I would rather have some noise as long as I get a sharp image.

As for your question. I have only used the trial version of several applications meant to fix blur and I found that Focus Magic is the best, at least, for my images.

T

Message edited by author 2004-11-21 19:30:28.
11/21/2004 11:54:42 PM · #25
timj351: I do adjust ISO up to 400 to allow me to have a sufficient speed and F-stop. However, sometimes I just misjudged the need for a high shutter speed. Most of the shots are at 200mm (300 with crop factor) and between 1/160-1/250, which in some cases apparently wasn't enough, sometimes due to their movement but also my movement when the shot was handheld.

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