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What are the best settings for sharpness, saturation and contrast

Charlie Howard (dpreview, Panasonic forum, 2 February and 1 March 2004)...

{bjames wrote}...I think the consensus of most on the forum would be to make all settings low and EV {exposure value} to -1/3. As you become more acquainted with the camera you can then fine tune and experiment with the settings.

Agreed, and that's what `Panasonic Bob' says he uses. You can increase any/all of those with post-processing, but doing them in-camera means information will be discarded. However, the JPEG compression also discards some information {prior to transferring the image to a computer for post-processing}, so there's a trade-off.

However, since some of this is a matter of taste, you may want to find a nice scene and a comfortable place to sit, then take the same picture with different combinations of the `Picture adjustments'. Look at them on the computer (the camera's LCD can't show enough detail) and maybe print at least some of them, because some of these Picture Adjustments make less difference on paper than on a computer monitor. Then, you'll know what works best for you.

These are my own personal, amateur preferences:

For scenery: Contrast: low; sometimes normal; never high Sharpness: low or normal; never high Saturation: any; depends on scene and personal preference

For animals: Contrast: normal Sharpness: normal Saturation: any; depends on personal preference

For portraits: Contrast: low Sharpness: low (especially for women and older people) Saturation: any; depends on personal preference; I often use High

One combination that looked terrible to me was High Contrast with High Sharpness (I never use it). One combination that almost always gives me good results is LOW, LOW, LOW (I use it a lot).

{Picture below `Sunset above Spring Lake' taken by Charlie Howard with FZ10}

Sunset above Spring Lake by Charlie Howard. Taken with FZ10

Christopher Kierkus (dpreview, Panasonic forum, 1 March 2004)...

Sharpness, saturation and contrast is really a matter of personal taste. I use sharpness normal, saturation high and contrast high, but some people who really hate noisy pictures prefer to set the sharpness to low.
Wayne Lipe...

Minimum contrast gives the widest possible dynamic range. You have a choice in post-processing whether you want to give up highlights or shadow detail to increase the contrast. {See also Wayne's notes in Section [*]}.

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David Fong 2009-09-04