Firstly thanks very much for trying to explain complex visual concepts to the photographically challenged like myself. If I understand you correctly you're saying you take your photos without sharpening done by the camera.
Not a problem explaining anything to you (or anyone)!
take my pictures without using the cameras feature (option). This way, I control the amount that the final image is sharpened. Now, with that said, I do it for a living, and get paid to monkey with pictures all day long, so I have the time to play with each individual picture I take. For my little point and shoot camera that I have at home, I have that set to "low" sharpening of an image when it takes it. This way I can just email it some place, or if needed, I can apply a sharpening filter to it later if needed (using a low sharpening filter helps the images a tiny bit, but still leaves room for me to make adjustments).
The images you view on the computer screen look best without USM applied and images you print look best with USM applied.
When using PS, this is true. However, if an image is very soft (as in slighlty out of focus), it may help it look better on screen if it's hit with USM. I'm not really familiar with PSP, but with PS you can adjust the options within the USM filter making it weaker or stronger before applying it to your filter. I'll include 2 pix at the end of this, one with USM and one w/o USM. I think that you'll see the difference.
Would that imply that your camera takes images that appear acceptably sharp without further 'sharpening'? Again the impression I got from other sites was if you turned off the cameras' sharpening the images would be noticably 'soft' or out of focus - enough for many people to "complain to the manufacturer". But then again I believe many photographers like a soft focus look to their images is this a personal preference on your part?
Yes and no. I've seen some cameras overdo it on the sharpening, and seen others not do enough. I've also seen cameras that took beautiful shots that looked marvelous without using the camera's sharpening option. What some of these people are complaining about could possibly be because the bought an off-name brand of camera that was really cheap. While digital photography is pretty much like shared technology (meaning that most camera's are pretty much the same, no one has any truly "unique" properties that set it above the competition), it stands true that you get what you pay for. If you buy a 1mp camera for $50, you can expect crappy photos. I think that the most of this is how the camera deals with interpolation, and how the program that they use can deal with interpolation. Photoshop can deal with interpolation good. Windows paint (the standard one).......not so good. Having the sharpening option on in the camera is ok, and (unless it's set to "high" or "max") shouldn't do any damage to your photo.
I should point out I don't own a digital camera but I'm seriously considering getting something having seen the amazing effects PaintShop/Photoshop are capable of. But there are mysteries/considerations to digital photography that I'm only slowly becoming aware of such as this onboard sharpening process.
If you have any other questions, let me know and I'll try to help! If you would like some advice when you buy a digital camera, let me know and I'll share some "things to look for" and some "things to look out for".
This image has no unsharp mask applied to it.
This image does have USM applied to it.
Look at the antenna on the hummer in both pictures. See the difference? Also, look at the UAV in the top left, the grass and the outlines in general. See how the edges aren't quite "right"? They're not straight, and look slightly pixelated. Now, if I printed both images, the one with
USM would look better. But, IMHO, I think that the one without
USM looks better on a monitor. Keep in mind that I've adjusted the USM in the lower picture so that it makes the grass and trees stand out more, but see what it did to the "finer" details (like the blemish you mentioned earlier).
Hope this helps!
Edited by stevealmighty, 06 April 2006 - 07:05 AM.