My (new) default Lightroom Sharpening and NR settings.

UPDATED: 4th December 2016

NOTE: I am redoing a fair chunk of this article completely as I’ve discovered something interesting. 




I have discovered there’s two types of sharpening that can work with Fuji and it depends on WHAT you are sharpening.

The key is in the details (slider)

Note: The 100% crops below are taken from this test image I used to do testing:

Full test image (below are 100% crops)

Full test image (below are 100% crops)


The key to sharpening Fuji files is really the details slider. For man made things it seems the following settings are good.




(I suggest right clicking and opening in new tab to see these full size)

RAW is on the left, Jpeg on the right

RAW processed using my “Smooth” settings is on the left, Jpeg on the right



Reducing the details slider to ZERO can help with certain shots.  And so I’d recommend these settings if you find yourself getting a lot of “worm” artifacts.


This does NOT work wall the time.  ESPECIALLY for foliage and things like grass.

Therefore I came up with different settings for that.  Therefore I have TWO settings now that I can use depending on WHAT I’m sharpening:



This will give you more fine details, but it comes at the expense of a little noise.

This will give you more fine details in some cases (especially foliage), but it comes at the expense of a little noise.

This setting will give you the best overall sharpening.  It’s NOT the sharpest for all things but it’s a good start. Overall I think this gives the best settings.  I think this is good for shallow DOF portraits as it makes for better out of focus elements.



Will smooth out made made things like signs/watches etc. but won't look good with fine details such as grass/leaves in the distance.

This CAN pull out more details in certain situations and has less overall noise, but comes at the expense of a sometimes paint effect and sometimes ugly bokeh

For certain things this setting will bring out more sharpness. It works particularly well on things like logos.  This setting should be rarely used IMHO.  It can work for certain things, but generally the setting above is better. THIS SETTING WILL MAKE BOKEH UGLY AT TIMES.

"Smooth" setting on the left "Landscape/General" on the right

“Smooth” setting on the left “Landscape/General” on the right

If you look at this comparison, the “Smooth” one brings out more details than the general use one.  This sort of image is exactly what the “Smooth” setting is good for.  Man made objects with clearly defined edges and not too much confusing detail.


About Masking and Noise Reduction

Masking and NR can also be adjusted as needed (tip: hold down “alt” when moving the masking slider to easily see the effect it has), but I find starting with Masking and NR turned off is a good start.  I adjust the sharpening first before adding any NR.  NR will add to any “paint” like effect you might be getting, so perhaps it can be turned off if you’re getting that effect.

A good exercise is to compare in camera jpegs to the RAW files.  You’ll be surprised how much more details you can get out of RAW files if you’re careful.




I have read that you can push the details slider in lightroom to 100.  I’d not do that personally, I did that before and I found it terribly hard to control worm artifacts.  HOWEVER, if you set it at 80, then it’s a good balance.  You don’t have to push the sharpening slider hard at all, 20 or below is usually OK.

Sorry I edited it again, but I don’t want you guys to miss out on new information as I discover it.