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I say that with a degree of reservation though, because: Capture One Pro is a better raw converter on the whole than Lightroom, but it’s more complex, and its DAM structure looks like it was created by crack-smoking monkeys when you compare it to the effective simplicity of Lightroom.

It’s a tale I hear hundreds of times every year when I have folk on workshops and 1to1 tuition days.

And our first ‘port of call’ with regard to all three of those items is ‘demosaicing’ and raw file conversion. So we will take it as a given, that the lens is sharp, and the operator isn’t quite so daft as they look!

Now we have a raw file, taken with a sharp lens and focused to perfection.

All images contain areas of high and low frequency detail, and these areas require different process treatments, if you want to obtain the very best results AND want to preserve the ability to print.

Cleanly defined edges between these areas allow us to use layer masks to separate these areas in an image, and obtain the selective control.

Let’s hand that file to two raw converters, Lightroom and Raw Therapee: What do we see on the Lightroom shot at 800%?

A sharpening halo, but hang on, there is NO sharpening being applied. The halo in Lightroom is not a sharpening halo, but a demosaicing artifact that LOOKS like a sharpening halo.

A lot of people imagine that there is some sort of ‘magic bullet’ method for sharpening images. Even if you shoot the same camera and lens combo at the same settings all the time, your images will exhibit an array of various properties.