In-camera sharpening DOES matter!

Crossing the Arctic Circle again today on our way south, the town of Sandnessjoen and the Seven Sisters mountains just south of it are amazing. But the day started with a distant glow on the horizon as we crossed the Circle…

Dawn glow
EOS 7D, ISO 1600, 24-105mm @ 75mm (A2_024653)

Arctic Circle Monument
EOS 7D, ISO 3200, 24-105mm @ 105mm (A2_024645)
One thing I realised today: some of my camera settings have been wrong! Not for my stills work, but when reviewing my video files from this voyage I’ve just noticed a problem. I’ll explain: when shooting RAW stills, the cameras’ sharpening and contrast controls have no effect on the RAW data, but they do affect JPEG files. As a result they also affect the LCD review image and the histograms that are generated from it. For some years now I’ve had my cameras set to optimise both of these (e.g. the contrast setting can affect how soon the “blinkies” appear on the review images).
But now I’m also shooting a lot of video with these cameras I need to choose settings that also work for video, as this goes through the same processing. The recent video clips have been a bit too sharpened and “crunchy” for my taste. Mind you, they’re 1080p clips which will get edited down to SD video on DVD so they’re not ruined. But I’ve now changed the settings for future recordings…

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