Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Workflow Technique #039

Focus Magic (PC & Mac)


review note by Uwe Steinmueller


Focus Magic



We follow Focus Magic for some time and always thought that it does a good job. Our recent sharpening contest #4 brought Focus Magic again to out attention. Focus Magic has two parts:

  • Motion Blur sharpening (won't be tested here)
  • Out of Focus Sharpening (tested here)

The user interface is simple but not really intuitive and settings don't stay from the last call. But what counts is the result.

Canon 1D MarkII with 300 F/4 IS and 1.4x TC

Sharpened with EasyS Amount 420, 3D 20, opacity 100%

Focus Magic 2x used like in the contest sample

Halo Amplification

Some sharpening tools create strong halos by themselves and that can be bad for larger prints. But there is also a tendency to make already existing fail halos visible. We call this halo amplification.

In some cases we see already faint halos from the raw converter (here ACR 2.2) and all sharpening tends to amplify these halos:

300% magnification not sharpened in ACR

Focus Magic amplifies the halo

EasyS amplifies slightly less

The fact that Focus Magic pulls out a lot of detail has the price to also show some more "halo amplification". In many prints it may not show up except you really print big.

We have to say that Focus Magic does an outstanding sharpening job. Our main issue is actually that the contrast gets boosted and some areas turn white (you can find some pixels in the sample). Also you have to check in your printing whether the images may not be to sharp to look natural. Focus Magic is not really fast but we have seen way slower sharpening tools.

If optimal image detail is your goal get Focus Magic (we are an affiliate).

Highly Recommended



For Comments post in our News Group

2000-2007 Digital Outback Photo