To accommodate various workflows, Capture One’s Sharpening tool in the Details tool tab is very flexible and can be used for a wide range of capture-sharpening or creative sharpening techniques prior to additional localized creative sharpening and output sharpening. As a part of the default settings applied to image variants, Capture One adds sharpening according to the camera model used. This step is intended to counteract the inherent softness of digital capture, including anti-aliasing, diffraction, and the subsequent interpolation or demosaicing process in Capture One.
Like the optional Diffraction Correction (deconvolution sharpening) and Sharpness Falloff available in the Lens Correction tool, the default sharpening settings can be considered an optional component within the first of a typical three-stage sharpening workflow. Capture sharpening of some form is required for every image, so if you don’t use deconvolution sharpening or the sharpness falloff tool, Capture One’s Sharpening tool should be used instead. It can be set to the default or fine-tuned manually using the sliders (and saved as a preset or as a new default setting) prior to further sharpening.
The second stage of the sharpening workflow known as creative sharpening depends on the image content and intended use. When you want to apply global sharpening, for example, to rescue a soft or slightly misfocused image, use the Sharpening tool in the Details tool tab (this effectively overrides the default capture sharpening settings). Applying sharpening usually increases the visibility of noise, so you will likely have to adjust the noise reduction settings while sharpening the image. Fortunately, it does not matter in which order you make the adjustments as Capture One will apply all the settings in the optimal order when processing the images for export. When you want to apply sharpening selectively to areas in an image, for example, to the eyes in a portrait, use the Sharpening tool in the Local Adjustments tool tab.
This multi-stage sharpening workflow allows image variants to exist close to an output-ready state with the third and final stage, Output Sharpening, only being required when printing or sharing images. The settings for output sharpening can be customized (and saved as a part of a recipe or preset), taking into account any influence on the final image by the intended output device. Consider the implications to your workflow if just one stage of sharpening is used - you will have to adjust the image variant each time you want to change the output device.