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macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
Vancouver, BC
I wouldn't suggest always relying on "Edge Sharpen" as they imply in step 7. Sharpening is a good last step, but in my experience, the type of sharpening really depends on the subject. Here's roughly how I choose what sharpening to apply:

If it's a low ISO landscape shot or the whole frame is in focus then I'll use the "Sharpen" command. Usually with intensity = 0.9 and radius = 1.25. This will sharpen images nicely without introducing artifacts. However, since it's applying sharpening somewhat indiscriminately, it will also bring out noise, so it's important to only use it on low ISO shots. In my comparisons with Canon's DPP RAW converter, this sharpening adjustment works identically to Canon's default sharpening.

If it's a high ISO image that requires noise reduction, and needs some sharpening, then I'll use a bit of Edge Sharpening. The good thing about Edge Sharpen is that it only applies sharpening to fairly well defined contrasty edges which means it won't exaggerate noise. The bad thing is that even at default (conservative) settings, it introduces artifacts by boosting the local contrast too much. You lose colour on the edges as it turns them white to create added contrast. In the attachment, note how the light green areas of the palm leaves are turned white and how the dead ends of the leaves have a bit of a white edge on them after this adjustment. I really don't like this tool for this reason and if I do use it, it's very sparingly and adjusted (using the loupe) to taste. BTW, from what I know, this adjustment is similar to unsharp mask in other programs.

Finally, if it's a portrait, I'll typically sharpen only select parts of the image like the eyes with the Sharpen Brush.

No matter what your preferred tool, the loupe or zoom is invaluable for evaluating the effectiveness of sharpening.


  • Aperture Sharpening Adjustments.png
    Aperture Sharpening Adjustments.png
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