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Topaz InFocus Real-World Test

Every now and then a peice of software comes around with the promise of making photographers’ lives easier. When I first read about the InFocus software from Topaz Labs I thought it might be the holy grail of fixing soft shots.¬†Unfortunately, it looks like there’s no magic bullet for bad focus-yet.

With auto-everything cameras, the extreemly forgiving raw format, and other technologies, photographers really only need to know how to compose properly and the camera (and/or post-processing software) will do the rest — artisanship is something different entirely.

Ok, back to my rant – when I saw that Topaz Labs had come out with software to fix focus AFTER the shot, I was kind of stunned. So stunned, that I grabbed my camera on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year in the U.S., and the absolute worst day to be in Bay Area traffic) and drove over the hill to Half Moon Bay, CA for some out-of-focus shots.

I’m sure I could’ve made out-of-focus shots anywhere, but I’d read a review over on the Digital Photography School about this software, and the shot they tried it on was of a marina-so I decided to try and replicate their successes for myself.

The keyword is “try”. I snapped several shots of a marina scene, brought them home, and ran the software on several shots with varying “out-of-focused-ness”.

The short story is, though you can create the “appearance” of a sharp photo in some cases, no current software is a magic bullet. And no current software will be able to re-create what your cameras precision optics can do naturally.

The best fix is to get it right in the camera.

Watch the video to see my results in real-time.

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