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Messages - jrista

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EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 10:51:54 PM »
I'm still bummed that Canon has STILL not demonstrated they are getting competitive again on the sensor front...re-purposing the 70D sensor in the 7D II just smells really sloppy and cheap....

The 70D sensor is competitive. So what would you like them to do?

Resolution? Better be north of 40 MP to see a real difference, and that's only for those of us who regularly make large prints of finely detailed subject matter (i.e. landscapes shot from a tripod at optimum apertures). Not even Sony can pull that off in APS-C right now and retain high ISO/DR.

Total DR? The 70D is 1/3 stop behind Exmor.

Shadow latitude (noise)? You yourself showed how ridiculously small the difference is when NR is intelligently applied. When I first saw a Canon v Exmor pushed shadow test I thought the tester was purposely lying because I had never seen noise that bad...because I never turn off default NR when pushing shadows hard. In fact I apply more! I routinely push shadows 2-3 stops even with the old, noisy, 7D sensor. The thing I run into pushing shadows is not noise, but a tonality/fine detail/microcontrast wall, and you hit the same wall on Sony.

High ISO? In the DPReview and IR studio comparisons the 70D looks pretty much the same as the D7100 (for example). I would shoot either to 6400 if need be.

Color? Canon seems to have nailed that one. Other people complain and profile their sensors to try and match Canon color.

The next major jumps are going to involve 16-bit designs, multilayer sensors, or some other technology twist. We are well into diminishing returns given the state of sensor fabrication right now.

The only thing "wrong" with Canon's sensors is they score poorly over at DxO relative to Exmor. So do Hasselblad medium format sensors! Only Hasselblad fans are sophisticated enough to know DxO is a joke. I doubt any of their users are silly enough to jump on a forum and say "If Hasselblad doesn't do something about these sensors I'm buying a D810!"

I hope Canon makes a major jump in the 7D2 sensor by applying NR in camera even to RAWs and therefore gaming DxO to get a higher score  ;D

Well, your just plain wrong about the DR. Your using IR's "total DR" number, which is irrelevant, as it doesn't take into account noise. This doesn't even refer to DXO's numbers (which are all based on the Print DR number that I loath)....across the board, whoever's measured DR on Canon sensors, from the noise floor to the FWC, regardless of whether they get 9.5 stops and 12 stops, or 11 stops and 13.2 stops, or 12 stops and 14.4 stops, it doesn't really matter. Even IR's results where they don't completely ignore noise even jive, and IR ALSO gets approximately a two-stop difference between Canon sensors and Exmors.

You are correct that some careful NR can close the gap. Thing is, if you actually look at my sample images I recently posted, there is still a gap. And, it was extra work to do the NR on the 5D III image. The real kicker is the gap is growing. Other manufacturers are not sitting still. Today, were still capped at 14 stops. I don't think we'll be stuck with 14-bit ADC units for long...technology is moving far too fast for that. There are already some sensors in the astrophotography world that get anywhere from 97-150dB worth of dynamic range. That is 16.2 to 25 stops of dynamic range! Those astro cameras use...yup, Sony, Aptina, etc. sensors.

It isn't just about DR either.  As others have stated, 4k video recording is starting to become a more common feature among competitors, and the quality of that video is higher than you can get with a Canon. DIGIC 6 may change that, but at the moment, the video processing in competitors like the A7s or GH4 is superior, and the video quality is supreme.

I've also been getting more and more into astrophotography equipment. I've purchased some equipment lately that uses sensors from Sony and Aptina. I'll be getting a high end CCD camera that uses a Kodak (now TrueSense Imaging, since Kodak went bankrupt) sensor. Every single sensor I'm encountering these days, even slightly older CCD sensors (which are pretty much just a matrix of CCDs with shift registers or global readout, but otherwise none of the additional processing that CMOS sensors have) that have been paired with newer supporting circuitry, is better than Canon's sensors.

Some of these things are RADICALLY superior to what Canon has to offer. I have a QHY5L-II camera which uses an Aptina CMOS sensor. This thing has 74% Q.E. thanks to high grade silicon, it has exceptionally low dark current, and it has extremely low read noise. This sensor sees deeper into the universe than I thought possible. (And, annoyingly enough, Sony STILL has a better sensor than this one! Their new ICX line, the 674, 694, and 814, all have even lower dark current and 77% Q.E.!! :P Freakin Sony...wherever there is a damn good sensor, they seem to have a better one...)

I've been reading every bit of sensor news that comes out lately. The sensor market keeps finding new niches. The latest one is the automative rear view sensor market. There are already some incredible innovations for that. Interestingly enough, the whole "Magic Lantern Dual ISO" thing? Other companies are now actually patenting designs for sensors that use a "dual-gain" technique for high speed, high dynamic range video supported directly in the hardware (for when your rear view is directly illuminated by the sun or something like that.) My QHY sensor? That sucker has 120dB worth of dynamic range. That is TWENTY FREAKIN STOPS!! The thing has a 20-bit readout mode to fully support that many stops as well.

A year ago, I wouldn't have said Canon was that far behind. I DID say Canon was not that far behind. But in the last year or so, things have really changed. Companies aren't just innovating and filing for patents. They are putting the technology those patents describe to use, very quickly. Canon's sensor technology is like a fossil compared to the technology that is just coming out now, and will be like fossilized bone fragments when the next generation of technology hits within the next year.

So, the 70D? It doesn't sell because of it's sensor. It sells because of the other features. The 7D II will sell for the same reason...it's other features. Those other features, though...they aren't going to keep holding Canon up forever. At some point, Canon's sensor technology, if they don't do something about it within the next DSLR release or two, is going to be so radically behind the competition...and not just Sony, but every other sensor manufacturer out there...that it will be hard for anyone to ignore the difference. What happens when Sony drops a LITERAL 16-stop sensor on the market? What happens when they figure out how to extract 120dB (20 stops) worth of DR from Exmor III? What happens if Aptina decides to enter the larger form factor market, bringing all of their high dynamic range technology to those sensors as well? Omnivision and Si Onyx are out there with cameras that use black silicon that seem to have achieved nearly 100% Q.E. They can shoot high speed video in nothing but starlight and a thin crescent moon.

When you take in the whole "Big Picture" of the current CMOS Image Sensor market, Canon is a dinosaur. They may not be fossilized yet, but given all the technology I have now for astrophotography, and given all the technology that is invented or implemented in a product every single MONTH, it won't be long before Canon's sensor technology is completely and utterly irrelevant. (Assuming they continue to do absolutely nothing with it.) Layered sensors will only keep Canon afloat for so long if they don't get control of their noise problems. To get control of their noise problems, they are going to have to stop manufacturing ADCs they way they have been manufacturing ADCs for over a decade now...that either means doing something radically new with DIGIC, or better, do what everyone else is doing...move them onto the sensor. To move the ADCs onto the sensor, without having problems with thermal signatures or anything like that, they are going to need to have a die shrink, use smaller transistors just to get it all to fit without costing them too much wafer space, and preferably, use a more modern transistor design that supports lower power usage.

I do not believe Canon can produce a low noise layered sensor on a 500nm process. They would lose so much in terms of fill factor...SO much die space would have to be dedicated to pixel activate and readout logic, the photodiodes would end up extremely tiny.

Oh, and BTW, Hasselblad? They DID do something about their sensors. All of the medium format players did. They all use Sony 50mp Medium Format Exmor sensors, and they all have the same low ISO DR and high ISO noise quality (which is admittedly not any better than Canon's, but now MFD cameras are pushing ISO 6400, when most stopped at around ISO 800 at most before...some never even had selectable ISO, and just had ISO 80 or ISO 100) that every other Exmor sensor has. However, they also still have the total sensor area advantage (which is the sole reason they still performed well before despite not having more DR...when downsampled (i.e. Print DR), all those extra pixels packed into additional sensor area were a huge bonus...they counteracted, on a normalized basis, the weaknesses of their older sensors....the same weaknesses that Canon sensors STILL HAVE!) 

EOS Bodies / Re: Update on the EOS 7D Mark II Spec List
« on: August 23, 2014, 10:21:16 PM »
There is a third possibility...

To do 4K right requires 4 times the computing power as 2K video. That makes a lot of heat and drains batteries fast... and there is a real possibility that the problems with dissipating the heat make it impractical in a DSLR body unless you add in heatsinks, and that is a negative to all those using it for stills. Obviously, a 1D-C has the thermal mass, battery capacity, and radiative surface to handle this, but does a smaller body?

Does the Panasonic GH4 not do 4K right?  It certainly doesn't have a large thermal mass or space for big heat sinks inside.

It does not, however it has a considerably more advanced, lower power sensor. Canon is still using huge transistors, and they are not even the more advanced kind of high efficiency multi-gate transistors we're capable of manufacturing today. Canon is really, really, REALLY far behind on sensor tech, and even behind just on general CMOS fabrication.

Yeah, I think a sensor fabricated with an older process using huge transistors IS going to create a lot of heat when operated at a higher speed. So I think Don's comment has a lot of merit.

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 02:05:00 PM »
In a follow up thread, CR stated they think the iTR metering and tacking system of the 1D X will be included in the 7D II. That, combined with a 65pt AF system and 10fps, and I think this really is a mini 1DX.

I'm still bummed that Canon has STILL not demonstrated they are getting competitive again on the sensor front...re-purposing the 70D sensor in the 7D II just smells really sloppy and cheap....the 7D II was the PERFECT camera to release a new sensor in, and I think this is the worst move, from a perceptual standpoint, given the competition out in the market, that they could have made. I don't think the 7D II is going to be a big "low ISO usage" camera, given it's specs...but I do think Canon should have demonstrated that they are still capable of competing on the sensor IQ front.

Maybe with the 5D IV, or if Canon introduces another line of cameras to replace the 1Ds line when they release a "big megapixel" camera...maybe then they will finally release a sensor fabricated on 180nm, with on-die ADC, better low ISO DR, maybe even multi-layered, etc. Still...it'll suck, if the 7D II really doesn't hit with a better sensor, to have to wait ANOTHER couple years to see if Canon is going to do something on the sensor front. :(

EOS Bodies / Re: Update on the EOS 7D Mark II Spec List
« on: August 23, 2014, 02:01:19 PM »
•The camera has iTR (metering sensor-assisted servo tracking) just like the EOS-1D X
•The camera should be compatible with f/8 lenses at the center, and maybe more points.

All right!!!  ;D

Alrighty. Those are some good specs. I'll be really happy if Canon pushes the nicer metering system of the 1D X down the line. It's about time we all got access to that full RGB high res metering and tracking system.

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 01:56:29 PM »
You misunderstand, we are saying the opposite.  I was arguing with people who are against including Wifi in cameras for some reason.

Oh. Well in that case, I agree...that's strange. :P

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 01:48:34 PM »
... I just don't understand posters here being against it.

Ahh, ok.  I don't get that, either.

They are against it because they know it wouldn't cost Canon anything, they want the feature, most people are cheap, therefor..."Why the hell didn't Canon include WiFi?!?" That isn't hard to understand. Especially when the feature counts on competitors products keep increasing, at a faster rate than on Canon cameras. Especially when, outside of the AF system, the 7D II is looking like a relatively small upgrade from the 70D & 7D...which is rather pitiful after such a LOOOONG wait for it.

It really isn't that hard to understand. :P It's a basic facet of the human psyche...we want what we aren't getting, and we want it even more when the other guy has it.

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 02:46:34 AM »
Funny you mention Ansel Adams since I'd bet a lot of money that he'd be.... not on your side here.
Nonsense - his trademark look involved strong contrast, black blacks: he could easily have dug into the shadows more than he did, and very intentionally chose not to.

He spent of time in the lab trying to improve what he could get out of film and did all sorts of dodging and burning and loved trying to push the tech of the day forward as much as he could.

True, however that does not change the fact that in practice, his images had VERY high contrast, and his blacks were often very deep and blocked. That was his style, his signature. If Ansel had today's technology, he wouldn't be using tons of DR...he'd be using strongly-shouldered tone curves to stretch the midtones and compress the highlights and shadows.

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 02:39:48 AM »
OK, We can expect a 1700$ for this, no more!

And why the hell, they have wait 5 full years to produce just this upgrade?

It's a good upgrade in all but the sensor department. A 65pt all-cross-type AF sensor and 10fps in an APS-C is a first. As far as an action/wildlife APS-C body, it is specced well enough. Most shooters will be using it at high ISO, so the low ISO DR doesn't really matter for this particular camera.

Many of us, however, were looking to the 7D II as a marker, an indicator of whether Canon had improved their sensor fabrication and design technology or not. The sensor sounds like a mildly improved 70D sensor, so it sounds likely they have not improved their core sensor tech. It doesn't really matter for this particular camera...however it is a concerning point for Canon's photography division at large. We STILL have the open question: When is Canon going to step up their game, improve their core sensor technology, and start competing on the same playing field as Exmor?

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 02:09:21 AM »

70D 13 Total RAW

Myths die hard, don't they.

Well, here's what the IR says about dynamic range.
  • While it's tempting to evaluate dynamic range as the maximum number of tonal steps that can be discerned at all, that measure of dynamic range has very little relevance to real-world photography. What we care about as photographers is how much detail we can pull out of the shadows before image noise becomes too objectionable.

You seem to be of the tempted type ;).

But what we care about as photographers is how much detail we can pull out of the shadows.
Not my words, btw.

Totally agree! That is probably the best definition of "Photographic DR" there is...the range between highlights and shadows that determines how much detail we can pull out of the shadows before noise becomes objectionable.

The trick is adequately defining what "objectionable" is, so that we can have an objective means of defining PDR.

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 01:50:36 AM »
This might be a stupid question, but can anyone explain to me what's the point of Dual Pixel AF when you don't have a touch screen ?

Continuous AF tracking when shooting video.

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 01:27:09 AM »
The 70D is at 13 stops. There isn't room for "significantly better" DR with a 14-bit ADC.

Except that the 7D has 11 stops of DR, not 13 stops.

Except that I was talking about the 70D. It's a good guess that The 7D markII sensor will be at least as good as the most recent APS-C sensor from Canon.

The D7100 and the Exmor sensors have 13 stops of DR.

13.3 to be precise.

Canon is still stuck at 11,

EOS M 12.4 Total RAW

70D 13 Total RAW

Myths die hard, don't they.

Your being rather misleading. This is what the article says:

The Canon 70D's RAW file scored 1.1 f-stops more in total dynamic range (13 vs 11.9 f-stops) but the score at the highest quality level increased only 0.7 f-stops from 7.61 to 8.31, which isn't much of an improvement over the JPEG and below average these days. Like all recent Canon SLRs, the higher quality scores are somewhat below average for a modern sensor. For example, the Nikon D7100 managed 10.1 f-stops at the highest quality level, almost 2 stops better.

There is a difference between their total dynamic range test, and the test at certain quality thresholds. I am not exactly certain how they do these tests or how they are calculating dynamic range, but they are pretty clear that when it comes down to QUALITY (and that's what were talking about here), the high quality test still shows that the Nikon cameras have a two stop advantage. I don't know if it is necessary to use the high quality state...they also have a Low, Medium, and Medium high state. Even at low, the 70D scored 11.7 stops, and at medium it was 10.8. Those numbers seem more in line with what other sites measure.

As I just recently posted, the out-of-camera DR doesn't need to be where the story stops...you can always spend an extra couple of minutes applying noise reduction with a tool like Topaz DeNoise 5 to recover a lot of DR lost to Canon's noisy downstream components, and thanks to the fact that Canon uses a bias offset to set black level, rather than clipping to the black level, there is a LOT of detail and DR that can be recovered. The playing field, with effective NR, from a visual standpoint, isn't super terrible. But Exmor sensors still have an advantage. I did not need to apply any NR at all to the D800 example from Fred Miranda. It would be really nice to be able to skip that step with Canon cameras, too.

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 01:17:39 AM »
I used to prefer Photography DR until I couldn't find a consistent means of computing it.

Step wedge test.

That only gets you raw data to work with. You still have to compute the actual dynamic range, engineering or photographic or whatever, FROM that image. Just saying "Oh, I shot a step wedge" doesn't tell you enough...you have to measure the noise levels in the darkest wedges (from the original RAW data itself), measure the white point (from the original RAW data itself), THEN COMPUTE dynamic range between the RMS noise level and the white point. Just shooting a step wedge and looking at the resulting image leaves you with a purely subjective interpretation of the result. Only when actually measuring the noise and actually calculating a real number for dynamic range do you end up with an objective result.

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 01:14:57 AM »
The "huge difference" you are referring to in 5D3 vs. D8x0 online tests is not DR per se (the 5D3 clips to black about the same time as the D810) but latitude: the ability to push shadows without image destroying noise.

which is also DR

Except for the part where it's not.

and mostly importantly regardless of how you feel like defining terms...

I didn't define the terms. These are standard terms which were in use in the photographic industry long before I was born.

And it's a "huge difference" which can only be seen by turning all NR completely off for the Canon sensor  ::)
yeah whatever sure

Try processing the files yourself sometime. When you intelligently use the NR sliders the difference is nothing like the drama tests. There is a difference, Exmor is better, but the difference becomes a more subtle one.

The differences are subtle to non-existent at ISO 400 and up. However, I have processed Exmor images (some of them from people on these very forums who were willing to share theirs), and there is no question that you do have considerably more editing latitude with an Exmor. A D800 allows more shadow lifting. Now, I can deband a 5D III image, and the differences drop...however, the D800 images still contain more detail and usually still have less noise in the shadows. Here is an example of a 5D III vs. a D800 from Fred Miranda's examples back when he first reviewed the 5D III and D800 (he was the first guy to clearly demonstrate with actual images the difference, and this was the first time I believed the D800's editing latitude advantage):

The 5D III looks pretty bad, but strait out of the camera, that's the real difference. That is the editing latitude difference I'm always talking about. Now, things don't have to stay that bad. The D800 doesn't need anything done to it, it's fine as it is, but with a minute or two worth of debanding and denoising with a tool like Topaz (what I used in this case), you can close the gap considerably:

The D800 obviously maintains the detail lead, and it still has less noise, but the 5D III image doesn't look like crap anymore. I could probably reduce shadow noise even further, however if I did I would start eating away at even more detail, and at this level, it isn't "chew your hand off at the wrist" annoyingly bad. It's actually quite decent in the grand scheme of things...a considerable amount of DR has been recovered (maybe a stop or so, definitely not the full 2.2 stop difference between the two cameras.)

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 22, 2014, 11:15:04 PM »
Actually, the use of Dual DIGIC 6 makes me really think that there is NO more magic cooked into the sensor, and that all the "magic" is happening after the signal is pulled OFF the sensor. It's probably roughly the same sensor that employs a slightly new DPAF design, and probably has a very weak or no AA filter, but is otherwise unchanged from the 70D. DIGIC 6, which actually came out before Sony BionzX, actually has a LOT of the same capabilities, and is the primary reason the IQ on their smaller form factor cameras is good. They really cook the signal coming off the sensor.

Since DIGIC 6 supposedly allows frame rates to 14fps and 60fps video, why would they need two of them?  Dual pixel works okay on the 70D with just one DIGIC 5+.

Not positive but doesn't the 1dx have dual digic and one is to process images the other for for AF?  Could that be what is going on for the 7d2?

Could be, but those are DIGIC 5+ chips.

The 1D X has three DIGIC chips. It has Dual DIGIC5+ that drive the sensor, 8 channels per DIGIC5+, for a total of 16 readout/ADC channels. The third DIGIC is a DIGIC 4, which is exclusively used by the AF and metering system.

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 22, 2014, 11:13:15 PM »
* DxO measures SNR which does NOT directly translate to photographic dynamic range.

DxO measures, but does not directly report, well capacity and SnR.

The method of determining DR from that is shown here:


Great. That tells me what I already know. That they are not measuring or reporting photographic DR. And that there are formulas I would have to hunt down or reconstruct in order to verify their results. (Though I suppose that would be possible to do for anyone so inclined.)

Again, DxO DR measurements are nonsense.

"Photographic DR" would likely be less than DR measured this way, for a simple reason - we don't usually tolerate image detail that's near or at the noise floor.

This is measured to the noise floor.

Photographic DR is less, usually quite considerably less (by many stops). The problem with Photographic DR is it tries to be perceptual in nature....however it is rather arbitrary. The offset by a certain SNR, but there are rarely any specific rules about how that SNR offset is chosen. I used to prefer Photography DR until I couldn't find a consistent means of computing it. I also learned, after reading sensor design patents from half a dozen companies or so, that computing DR to the literal noise floor seems to be the way most companies compute DR:

Code: [Select]
Values are usually in electrons (e-). To convert dynamic range in decibels to stops, you simply divide by six. I have found that formula to be very simple and convenient, and it is easily comparable with manufacturers numbers, since they use the same formula.

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