This short page concerns the use of the popular Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens combined with a Nikon mirrorless camera and post-production using DXO PhotoLab 6, Topaz Sharpen AI, and Photoshop. I find these to be a useful combination in Raw file post-production. As I was reaching over my garden, a tripod was impractical but the Nikon 28-300 VR works quite well. My camera, the Z 50, was set to Center Weighted metering, Single AF focusing, and Wide-area AF (S). I think these flowers are something of a challenge and I prefer the Z 85mm S prime for such a task but the 28-300 offers plenty of room for experimentation. I don’t concern myself here with the time of day or angle of the sunlight, the task is to deal with what we have spontaneously, else we turn play into work!
Nikon Z 50 & Nikon 28-300mm, 250mm, 1/320s, f/14, ISO 200.
Nikon Z 50 & Nikon 28-300mm, 122mm, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 200.
Or does a tad brighter work for you?
Nikon Z 50 & Nikon 28-300mm, 150mm, 1/160s, f/14, ISO 200.
Nikon Z 50 & Nikon 28-300mm, 250mm, 1/125s, f/25, ISO 400. By f/25, aperture diffraction (light softening as it passes through a small opening) becomes noticeable but can be remedied with some dedicated attention in sharpening.
Closer still with a tad more sharpening added. Sharpening is a confidential decision just between the flower and the photographer!
Nikon Z 50 & Nikon 28-300mm, 150mm, 1/250s, f/14, ISO 200.
Nikon Z 50 & Nikon 28-300mm, 125mm, 1/80s, f/16, ISO 200.
Here I used Photoshop’s Burn and Sharpen tools locally. I use Photoshop’s Curves tool’s ‘eyedroppers” to set white and black points near the end of my workflow as these tools can be used to leverage quite a few options for white and black tones.
Nikon Z 50 & Nikon 28-300mm, 122mm, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200. Too sharp? Your call!
Topaz Sharpen AI is a remarkable post-production tool that can be used as a standalone program or as a Filter plugin in Photoshop. Adjusting settings for Noise and Blur can produce a more visually pleasing image.
Topaz Sharpen AI in action. Batch processing is effortless and masking is exceptional on AUTO but can be refined using brushes. The size and feathering of brushes is easily controlled.
In the future, AI will dominate firmware and software. Imagine a digital camera sixty years from now, the camera’s firmware applies more or less photosites to different areas of an image to maximize detail and sharpness while minimizing file size. Noise at higher ISO will incrementally become less of an issue but never go away entirely. As our equipment becomes more sophisticated, we push the workable limits.