After my previous post about Piccure+ and Topaz Detail I had a few question by email asking how well Piccure+ worked with my EM5 and Olympus 12-40mm lens. I hope the following answers this question.
Firstly the camera should be irrelevant as the software is intended to correct lens aberration and optical defects. Secondly the Olympus 12-40 is a pro spec lens and is already very sharp and performs exceptionally well. On this basis I wouldn’t expect the software to make much difference. Here is a section of the starting image viewed at 100% magnification without any sharpening (converted from RAW in Lightroom).
The the starting image has been processed for noise reduction in Nik dfine and has been sharpened using Nik Sharpener Pro – RAW Presharpener.
The resulting image is clean and sharp. Now let’s take a look at a section of the image when run through Piccure+ using a sharpness setting of 14 (the software goes to 100).
I actually now find this too sharp and almost unnatural. I suspect I would have been better using a lower sharpness setting. My quick and dirty alternative is to reduce the opacity of the Piccure+ layer I created in Photoshop which produces the following.
This I am very impressed with. What I compare the starting image with this, the starting image looks almost as if it has a haze on it that Piccure+ removed. Very impressive.
And if you have a passion to play around with sliders rather than adopt the simple workflow of piccure+, here is the result I managed with Topaz Detail.
The only point with Topaz is that it seemed to accentuate noise where piccure+ didn’t seem to do anything to residual noise.
3 thoughts on “Piccure+ Update”
Very, very nice! I also am finding that if I remove noise first, before using Piccure+, I get better results. Piccure+ does have noise removal, but when I remove it by other means, I am getting better results.
The default setting for Piccure+ is 27 (on a scale going to 100) and depending on the starting image, that may be OK. You were using 14, which seems about right to be starting with a really good lens. I also find that doing this on 8-bit JPG images, it will only tolerate about a 3. It likes 16-bit images much better to work with.
I also am seeing that it does not aggravate any existing noise. Since it does not go about the task changing contrast on edges, the effect on noise is very minimal.
Under the Advanced Menu setting, Piccure+ has a setting to go to Quality+. This does tend to slow down the conversion, but the results can be incredible. Piccure+ solves the sharpening problem by calculating what a perfect lens would be and to actually move pixels to fit where they are supposed to be. The results are stunning. A picture can be quite soft from the use of a less than perfect lens, and end result is sharp and showing detail that you couldn’t even tell was there. This works well with the use of Teleconverters too, which are notorious for softening the image. This is overcome as well.
It has Chromatic Aberration correction too, but I am still looking for a better way to correct. Since CA correction SW tends to desaturate the offending CA, it tends to leave grey halos where it has been removed. And of course, CA is more of a problem on the older lenses, the ones that most benefit from Piccure+.
I would like to see a crop of the lower left corner of the picture. All lenses, even the really good, are less sharp at the extreme edges. It would be really interesting to compare the final shots you have at the corner. The lower left appears to be the same distance so it should be in focus.
I am going to post a link here in a moment but I want to warn anyone reading this who doesn’t shoot Micro 43 to not follow the link. I will not be responsible for people selling their equipment as a result of seeing the corner performance of a good Micro 43 lens.
The first image here is the uncorrected (but sharpened) left hand corner of the image viewed at 100% magnification.
View uncorrected image sample
The next link is to view the corrected image
View corrected image sample