Lightroom Sharpening for Small Sensor Cameras

Sharpening your images is essential to show them at their best. This is especially true if you photograph using RAW format. Lightroom is one of the most popular, if not the most popular RAW converter. If you’re using Lightroom you may already know how to use the sharpening tools. But do you know how to use them with small sensor cameras?

Small Sensor Cameras

You are probably aware that different makes and model of camera have different sensor sizes. But are you aware that smaller sensor limitations? Typically, a RAW file from a micro 43 camera will contain more noise than a full frame camera. This is sensor noise and is always present, even when using your camera at its base ISO, but may not be visible. Unless you take special care when sharpening you can easily sharpen the sensor noise causing it to become visible. This is to be avoided.

Lightroom Sharpening Tools

Lightroom provides three sharpening tools:

  1. Output sharpening found under the Print module. This is applied when you produce a print or generate an output image.
  2. Selective or creative sharpening. Here you apply additional sharpening to selected areas of your image. This is done using the Sharpness slider in the selective adjustment tools such as the Brush and Gradient Filter.
  3. Capture or RAW sharpening. These tools are found in the in the Detail panel in the Develop module. It’s critical you get this sharpening right or you could cause problems that can’t be corrected later.

Now Watch the Video

In this short video you can see how the Lightroom Sharpening tools work. The video explains the different sharpening sliders in the Detail panel and how to avoid common problems associated with small sensor cameras.

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