George Cairns shows you how to sharpen detail yet keep noise to a minimum
Use Nikon Capture NX-D to sharpen detail while keeping artefacts such as noise to a minimum
There’s a variety of factors that can make it a challenge to get your photos looking sharp. For starters, older Nikon D-SLRs have a built-in filter that gently blurs the shot to avoid producing moiré patterns in complex textures. This lowpass filter can also soften delicate details such as the text on our vintage vehicle and create a photo that lacks impact. Then, if you shoot with a wide aperture key details may become blurred due to the shallow depth of field. What looks nice and sharp on the Nikon’s LCD screen may turn out to look disappointingly soft when viewed on your PC’s bigger display.
Fortunately, Capture NX-D’s sharpening tools are designed to tease out delicate details in a soft-looking shot. These tools work by increasing the contrast around the edge of objects in the image, which gives them more impact. However, when you sharpen a shot you run the risk of exaggerating noise caused by high ISO speed settings. Sharpening may also add unwanted artefacts such as blown out highlights, clipped shadows and distracting halos.
We’ll examine ways to sharpen a shot while keeping artefacts at bay. We’ll also demonstrate how to get a balance between revealing detail while reducing the presence of ugly chrominance and luminance noise. Even if your shot is perfectly focused most photos will still benefit from a little post-production sharpening, especially if you want to produce a print with more punch.