October 01, 2014, 04:33:24 AM

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Messages - jrista

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1
I do believe better gear could have made my earlier shots better. I started with a 450D and kit lens, then got the 100mm macro, then the 16-35 and 100-400. The 16-35 enabled better landscapes. The 100-400 enabled bird photography. I spent a lot of time trying, learning, and experiencing the limitations of my gear (like 3.2fps and basic AF.)

I always feel as though I'm experiencing one limitation of my gear or another. When I got the 7D, it was the most liberating camera purchase I'd ever made at the time. It made the 100-400 lens work. :P If I'd started with the 7D, I do believe I'd be farther along in my photography than I am today, as I'd have been able to spend more time learning about the nuances of bird photography, rather than the nuances about how to get around the limitations of my 450D.

You probably always learn, and can probably always progress, regardless of the equipment in hand. However, I strongly believe that when your not learning how to get around hardware limitations, your learning how to actually do the kinds of photography your interested in. Moving from the 100-400mm lens to the 600mm f/4 lens was another liberating experience. I haven't felt the limitations of my gear nearly as much since the 7D and 600mm. Even adding the 5D III to my kit has not nearly had as much of an impact on my work as those other two additions. It's opened options for astrophotography, and allowed me to use already-existing skills to get close to birds and get better IQ in the process, and allowed me to fully utilize the capabilities of the 600mm lens. But it just hasn't had as much of an impact overall...as it really didn't eliminate any key limitations that I have.

Most of my limitations now, are just myself and my skill level (with the exception of astrophotography...still have LOOOTS of hardware limitations there.) Every time I go out to photograph birds and wildlife now, it's me learning how to photograph birds and wildlife...and much less about learning how to use my camera, or work around my camera.

2
I can see this being a good product for Canon. I don't think its crass, certainly not like a Hello Kitty item would have been. It's white. Well, white with a little offwhite. I can see a lot of women being interested in this, and even beyond that, I can see it being "stylish" (there are a couple places in Colorado packed with high-end restaurants and clubs, and it;s pretty common to see guys in all-white suits and things like that). In particular, though, women are becoming the dominant buyers of a lot of items like this, and it'll probably end up being a lucrative thing for Canon.

(Although, I think it could become even more lucrative if hey would offer more variety...a black case, maybe a couple other colors. I could easily see people matching their Rebels to their phones and tablets.)

3
Anyhow, good news is the competition is good for all of us and hopefully these companies wil continue building tools that we can enjoy. Here is a good article about the D750 written by Thom Hogan:

http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/d750-too-little-too-late.html

I though Hogan's article was good, and pointed out some of the flaws I see in Nikon's product naming and marketing strategy. It's schizophrenic, haphazard...sometimes just weird. But, I think Tom missed one thing: Many D750 buyers will simply be D700 owners looking for an upgrade. He couldn't seem to find a position for the D750...I think a key part of it's position is the logical upgrade for D700 owners.

4
The reviewer made note of how the high DR at High ISO is so huge. So did the D750 get a high ISO DR boost over the D3S?

From what has been tossed around over the past month High DR is a low ISO thing, I have seen many test examples that show DR dropping hard at higher ISO. D3S & D800 included...

Check out the A7s...it has good low ISO DR (over twelve stops), but it also has excellent high ISO DR (it tops the 1D X, meets or beats it at every ISO, with as much as a 2-stop lead at ISO 51200). The D810 also does extremely well at high ISO, getting very close to 5D III performance with smaller pixels.

I don't know how well the D750 does, but I suspect it will perform similarly.

5
Until I can look through a Nikon viewfinder and change ISO settings with my right index while also adjusting any other setting I need, I'm sticking with Canon.

Haven't you heard?  With a Nikon camera, you don't need to change ISO – just set ISO 100 and you're done.  In post you can push it to ISO 3200, with a SoNikon sensor that's easy-peasy and the IQ is still better than Canon.  Or so I've read somewhere or other...   ::)

You make fun of it...but it's possible. Because there is practically no read noise, digitally lifting ISO 100 to ISO 1600 or 3200 is effectively the same thing as actually using those ISOs (with the added benefit of having massively more dynamic range).

When you lift ISO in post, doesn't it chop down the DR?

Dynamic range is the space within which you perform the lift. It changes the contrast, but the dynamic range is your working space within which you change the contrast of your images. You pretty much have what you have when it comes to DR as far as editing latitude of any given file goes. If you are working with an OOC RAW, then your limited by what the RAW started with. If your working with an HDR, your limited by the results of your HDR blend.

6
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Nikon's 2.300$ D750 said to best 5DIII
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:37:09 PM »
Until I can look through a Nikon viewfinder and change ISO settings with my right index while also adjusting any other setting I need, I'm sticking with Canon.

Haven't you heard?  With a Nikon camera, you don't need to change ISO – just set ISO 100 and you're done.  In post you can push it to ISO 3200, with a SoNikon sensor that's easy-peasy and the IQ is still better than Canon.  Or so I've read somewhere or other...   ::)

Thats just messing with a hornets nest... LOL

That's probably his entire goal...

7
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Nikon's 2.300$ D750 said to best 5DIII
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:35:55 PM »
The color and noise of above pic is horrible.

Pushing 5 stops means chopping off 5 bits of precision so the 14-bit RAW image becomes essentially 9-bit, and after curve and gamma? Not much levels left in the mid-tone, never mind the shadows.

That's no different than shooting at a higher ISO setting. We do that all the time (with the exception that at a higher ISO, you run the risk of clipping). You didn't complain about the reviewers ultra high ISO shots...which, IMO, were as phenomenal as all his others.

8
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Nikon's 2.300$ D750 said to best 5DIII
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:32:49 PM »
Until I can look through a Nikon viewfinder and change ISO settings with my right index while also adjusting any other setting I need, I'm sticking with Canon.

Haven't you heard?  With a Nikon camera, you don't need to change ISO – just set ISO 100 and you're done.  In post you can push it to ISO 3200, with a SoNikon sensor that's easy-peasy and the IQ is still better than Canon.  Or so I've read somewhere or other...   ::)

You make fun of it...but it's possible. Because there is practically no read noise, digitally lifting ISO 100 to ISO 1600 or 3200 is effectively the same thing as actually using those ISOs (with the added benefit of having massively more dynamic range).

9
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Why haven't you left canon?
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:26:41 PM »
There is no question in my mind now that the "other side" has better IQ. When you compare on a normalized basis, overall color fidelity and noise are quite improved over Canon offerings, with the potential exception of the 1D X at high ISO (A7s should still top even that.)

There is also no question in my mind now that the "other side", at least non-Nikon, still has some drawbacks. For landscapes alone, I'd buy the A7r pretty quick if it wasn't for one key complaint: the poor implementation of bracketing that doesn't seem to work well with adapted Canon lenses. Even though I don't think I'd need it as much, there are still scenes where I am sure I'd need bracketing. Canon cameras will automatically perform all necessary exposures in timer modes, so you can leave the camera hands (and shake) free. The A7r has a "continuous bracketing" mode, but it seems to take identical exposures (at least when using Metabones with an EF lens). There is also a "single bracketing" mode, but you have to press the button for each one...and there is not a timer option. So the exposure happens while your touching the camera, which obviously screws up at least some of the exposures.

When the flaws of cameras like the A7r are resolved, I think it would be easy for Canon users looking for a fix for their DR itch to simply add a Sony FF mirrorless to their kit. The IQ is phenomenal, and a lot of the camera features are quite nice. Manual focus is actually extremely easy, and ironically...thanks to the moire and aliasing. :P (Everything "glitters" with aliasing artifacts when it's fully in focus...so even though the EVF is limited in resolution...once you get the glitter on the right thing in your scene, your focused. Even works with ultra fast lenses like the 50/1.4!)

Let's hope, that by the time Sony get those little quirks and hiccups together, Canon itself will already have a better sensor in terms of DR to quench those, who seek for it, without the need of switching systems/adding another bodies from third party.

I mean, I can dream, right? :)

I dream of the same thing. If so many Canon customers insist it doesn't matter, though, I don't see why Canon would bother. The reviews of the D750 are rather raving, too...it seems to have excellent AF and excellent IQ, and a good frame rate. Only bummer is it doesn't work with Canon lenses.

10
The A7r files were exposed at a cooler temperature...4100 something. In my comparisons, I always normalized the white balance to 5200. When you do that, the A7r gets a lot warmer, and the color channels align more like the 5D III.

11
Interestingly, I don't really see any significant difference between them, even in the +5 ones (calling the 5D3 one "falling apart" is totally ridiculous, it's a perfectly usable picture). Admittedly my eyes are old and I'm looking at the pictures with a relatively lowly monitor, but that's what I'd mostly do anyway. I guess it means the DR difference isn't a good reason to go for Sony, *for me* - your mileage may vary.
Well, you must be blind, then. :P Sorry, but the difference is night and day obvious with the +5 stop pushes.
I'm not quite blind, yet. :-) I didn't say I can't see any difference, just not a significant one. Not when viewed on screen without magnifying or deliberately pixel-peeping. And I'm pretty sure most non-photographers would agree.
Quote
The 5D III is completely and utterly unusable, period.
That would depend on the intended use, I should think. Even and indeed especially professionals should be able to adjust their standards depending on client's needs.

If you haven't downloaded the RAWs and taken a look at them, then I encourage you to. Lifting the shadows a couple stops doesn't render the 5D III image unuable, however it does exhibit banding before you even lift three stops. The "utterly unusable" image is the +5 stop 5D III image. Maybe it's not as obvious in the small JPEGs I shared in the first post...but when you see the RAW, I think you will understand.

The difference between the A7r and 5D III is night and day. Whether that matters to you or not is something I won't judge, but just from a simple empirical standpoint, the +5 stop 5D III image is....really poor.

Calling the 5Diii unusable is a joke.

That is not what I said. I said the +5 stop pushed 5D III image of my living room was entirely unusable. Again, I encourage you to download the RAWs and compare them. I'm not calling the 5D III an "unusable camera"...I never have, I never will. I am simply calling the result of a +5 stop push with a 5D III RAW image "utterly unusable." I would honestly be surprised if anyone disagreed with that assessment after playing with the RAWs themselves...however if you insist the image could be usable after seeing the RAWs for yourself....well, to each his own, I guess.

12
@in_04: You can indeed get up to 14 stops of DR with a 14-bit ADC. So, the 13.8 stops value for Exmors is very believable to me. Especially seeing what the A7r can do first hand. The primary difference between the cameras is the amount of read noise, which eats away at usable information in the lower eschelons of the signal. The only time DR numbers become less believable is when they are reported as being above the bit-depth of the ADC. Such as with DXO's scores. That is not reporting sensor DR...it is reporting image DR after downsampling. It's useful for comparison purposes, but it doesn't tell you the exact physical capabilities of the hardware.

Personally I don't believe DXO's 14.4 or 14.8 stop of DR numbers are useful as far as telling you what a camera can do, on scene, in high DR situations. Some people do. It's a matter of perspective, I guess. In general, though, I agree that the hardware of any current 14-bit camera cannot actually capture more than 14 stops of DR in a single shot.

The amount of detail, and still color fidelity, in the shadows of the A7r are quite impressive in my personal opinion. They are certainly not as good as a proper HDR, however in many ways they are good enough, and can eliminate the need to use HDR in some circumstances. I am hoping to do some experimentation today with still-life stacking to see how both cameras handle noise when multiple identical frames are stacked together (which also reduces noise, improves detail and color fidelity in the shadows, etc. The banding noise of Canon cameras could cause problems for stacking (it's worked well enough on my 7D, not sure about the 5D III), however the clean, random noise of the A7r should mean stacking works extremely well.

As for A7r file compression. I really don't like that. I have experienced some issues with that when tonemapping in LR. I get funky posterization in some places that I've never seen when doing similar kinds of edits with my Canon cameras. This happens more often with extreme color channel tweaking, such as when doing B&W photography, and pulling back just a bit more on the color channels usually eliminates the problem. Overall, though, I have not seen the kind of crazy posterization people have shown with star trails images or anything like that. And in general, I can push exposure around like mad...that never seems to exhibit any posterization.

I am not here to say the A7r as a camera is perfect. It's not. However it does bring better IQ to the table. Whether you need it or not is a matter of personal opinion, but the shadow quality of the A7r is, IMO, awesome.

13
Sorry guys, looks like my OneDrive upload stalled yesterday. I am reuploading now, same place as the original two. In the mean time, here are the histograms:



Here is a magnification of the highlight end:



As much as the A7r image may LOOK as though it is more exposed than the 5D III, it is not (especially when the white balance is corrected, the A7r WB was much cooler, I set it to the same 5200 as the 5D III image). The histogram is pushed farther to the right in the 5D III image. The 5D III image looks darker because...it has less dynamic range. More of the signal was exposed in tones that, on a relative scale, are deeper for the 5D III compared to the A7r. The exposure advantage, as far as ETTR goes, leans towards the 5D III here.

14
I've updated the original post with a set of example images from this weekend. One of the few sets that actually were not blurred by camera shake on the A7r. I don't know if I'll get another chance to use the A7r in any kind of DR-limited situation...weather moved in, it's been raining a lot, so there simply isn't any high contrast. I could do more interior shots...but we all know how that would probably go down.

15
I don't have any skeletons in this particular closet. :P I never liked the "surreal" HDR dreamcreations from the beginning...it always looked like flawed processing to me. I understand that some people love the look, and I have no intention of dissing their personal artistic tastes...but HDR has always been this love-hate thing with me.

I love it in that you can get some amazing dynamic range out of difficult scenes...but on the flip side, it can be so difficult to get everything right, and I hate the additional complexity it brings to the table. The ability to use ACR for tonemapping has GREATLY simplified a lot of that, and I think I get results that are pleasing to me a lot more these days (although admittedly I don't do much HDR, because of my past experiences with it.)

I don't have anything to show here, though, as I just...never liked this look, and never kept any results that ended up looking like this.

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