New answers tagged artifacts
I have made a circular 8 bit gradient with sampled edge colour and center colour. This illustrates that it clearly is not the 8bit quantisation problem. I have also took a stare at the source, non-denoised image and I found posterisation there too! This posterisation is already there in first image, denoising only reveals it. There cannot be any ...
You applied surplus of sharpening. Sharpening means for a computer to find a lightness transition and make the dark part of it darker and the lighter part lighter. If you apply disastrous amount of sharpening (as you clearly did) you are guaranteed to get those artifacts - the ligher part will become clipped white and the darker part will become clipped ...
Cleaning the lens is important, but it looks to me like your issue is compression artifacts. Check your camera settings to see if you can increase the quality of images saved or shoot in RAW.
I would say that this is a sensor issue because sensor is read line by line. If NEF files are losslessly compressed (this may be switched off IIRC) card corruption will not cause these simple artifacts and will rather cause box artifacts or whole image corruption. The ADC converter is a bottleneck which gets all the throughput. There are not much more than ...
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