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Messages - jrista

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Landscape / Deep Sky Astrophotography (Gear Discussion)
« on: December 04, 2013, 11:45:08 PM »
There is already a stars above thread, but that one seems to be about wide field astrophotography. I've been taking a bunch of photos of the comets flying through the sky lately. Only ones I was able to get a decent shot of was Lovejoy R1 (see the Comets thread).

I discovered an intriguing new technique for stacking very short deep sky frames in photoshop, one which nearly eliminates noise without affecting detail. I've been trying to stack short (i.e. 1-2 second) frames of the Orion nebula for a while, never with satisfactory results...always still too much noise. This new technique resulted in my first fairly decent photo:

  • Body: Canon EOS 7D
  • Lens: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8
  • Exposure: 1s f/2.8 ISO 1600
  • Frames: 30

I stacked the frames in the following way:

  • Import as Layers to Photoshop fron LR
  • Align all layers (did it manually, auto-align freaked out for some reason)
  • Select first 5 layers, Layers->Smart Objects->Create
  • Set stacking mode to mean, Layers->Smart Objects->Stack Mode->Mean
  • Repeat 3-4 for each group of 5
  • Rasterize each smart object
  • Set opacity mode to (from bottom most light frame): 100%, 83%, 66%, 50%, 33%, 16%
  • Set blending mode to Screen for all light frames
  • Add Levels adjustment layer and correct black point, white point, and gray point to bring out most detail
  • Tweak color, levels, curves, etc. to taste

EOS Bodies / Re: 5DIV, 7DII and future of upgrades
« on: December 04, 2013, 07:10:16 PM »
...re-reading some columns by Nikonista Thom Hogan...and seeing that Fuji is announcing another new, free firmware upgrade for the X-Pro-1, got me thinking about the future of DSLR upgrades.

I recall Canon's commitment when it released the original F1 that they would not release a new model for at least a decade. Their purpose was to demonstrate to professional photographers that they were committed to their pro-level SLR and that photographers could purchase the camera knowing it would be fully supported.

For most of the past decade, gear enthusiasts have been spoiled by the remarkable and near continuous improvements in DSLRs. But, those improvements are increasingly coming at the margins. Higher megapixels, increased dynamic range, high and low ISO improvements, while nice, are generally needed only under very specific conditions for very specific purposes.

Any honest assessment would acknowledge that for 90-95% of subjects and conditions, the cheapest entry-level Canon and Nikon will produce results that under real world conditions will be indistinguishable from the flagship models.

Fuji has followed a path with their X-Pro-1 of releasing firmware updates to keep the camera current and boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. (To be fair, Canon did much the same thing when it released it's major firmware upgrade of the 7D – extending the practical life of the camera and effectively giving customers a free "7D.20" version of the original.)

So, having said all that, I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the upgrade cycle for the 5DIII to 5DIV will equal or exceed the cycle between the 7D and 7DII and that we are entering an era in which upgrades will be fewer and further between.

At the same time, I am going to suggest/hope that Canon and Nikon will offer more significant firmware upgrades during the interim. 

This will certainly require some adjustments to their business model, but in a sense they are simply going back to the model that both companies followed successfully for decades. That's one reason why I believe Nikon and Canon are better positioned for long-term success than companies like Sony, which got into the digital camera market during the boom era and do not have the institutional memory or experience to easily adopt to longer development cycles and more modest sales growth.

I see Canon as particularly well-positioned for this change. They have aggressively developed products for new markets, especially the booming cinema market where growth is fed by the seemingly unquenchable thirst of the internet for new video content. Their recent emphasis on security cameras also shows they are prepared to move into another fast growing emerging market. I am less convinced that Nikon is equally well-positioned, but then I don't follow them as closely as I do Canon.

So what's the point?

In part to feed off the idea of "10 years from now" and in part to get people out of the rut of trading insults over dynamic range and other esoteric subjects that do not sell cameras and do not matter to the vast majority of photographers.

What is your prediction? Will we see fewer upgrades in the future? Will we see more substantial firmware upgrades? Given that Canon and Nikon need to continue to sell products, do you think they will become more aggressive at selling lenses, strobes and other peripherals? Will you spend less money on photography in the future, or will you just spend it differently and how?

Very interesting thoughts! :)

Personally, I'd like to see a slower cycle. Longer period of time (4 years plus) between major body releases. For example, the 1D X is a phenomenal camera, and I don't see it "needing" to be replaced for years to come. Even if Canon put a sensor with more DR into it, that would only affect lower ISO settings, which are so rarely used when photographing action...I really wouldn't see the point.

I do indeed hope to see more firmware updates. So much can be done with firmware, now that we have eminently more capable hardware. I see no reason new features, say focus peaking or even more information displayed in Canon's Transmissive LCD in their OVFs, couldn't be added through firmware. For features that require fairly significant development time, I don't see why us, as customers, shouldn't even pay a small fee for feature-enhancing firmware. I am not saying we should pay thousands of dollars just for a significant firmware update, but a few hundred for a firmware update that moves the 1D X into the future a few years from now, keeping it a competitive camera...I think there could be a business model augmentation to be found in such a paradigm somewhere...

I cannot say whether I'll spend less money on photography in the future. I think I'll spend what I feel I need to spend, which is what I've always done. Sometimes my photography expenditures are high (or even very high...such as this year, over $15,000 spent on photography so far, where as last year, I only spent a few hundred), and sometimes they may even be non-existent. When it comes to camera upgrades, I do need a compelling reason to spend my money.

Both the 1D X and 5D III are quite compelling to me. The 5D III simply because it is very good at everything, and even though it may not have all the best technology everywhere, it is still a superior product overall. I do mostly bird and wildlife photography these days, and landscape/macro photography more seldom. That is in part because I really love birds and wildlife, but also in part because I like to maximize the detail...in highlights, midtones, and shadows...of my landscapes, and simple fact of the matter is, it is probably the most demanding form of photography for dynamic range...and Canon cameras don't measure up. Sure, I can get around the problem of Canon's read noise, and I do...although it DID cost me more money, as I had to buy an expensive set of Lee filters and the Lee filter system in order to balance contrast on-site, and Topaz tools and Nik tools in order to extract the maximum amount of detail from my shadows in post. That was an investment of well over a thousand dollars, above and beyond the money I spent on my camera bodies.

Better technology gives me more control, more capabilities, and less need to spend extra money on the side to extract the kind of detail I really want from my photography. To me, the most compelling camera that I would be most interested in buying next is one with as many megapixels as Canon can reasonably pack into a sensor, and at least 13 stops of dynamic range. I would probably settle for more megapixels, and "the same old DR", if that is all Canon can come up with...but I have to be honest...I'd part with my money with more difficulty than otherwise. ;) I believe Canon is a highly innovative company...but I do think there needs to be some compelling developments in their future product releases to keep me buying. If they don't innovate compelling new technology, and especially innovate and progress enough to keep up with the competition, it will be ever more difficult for them to get me to spend my money on their products. I probably still will...I have too much invested in Canon glass not to...but it will be late, and lazy, never at release when they are getting the most revenue from their products...instead I'll wait for the best sales time can offer, and snatch up their products at a significant discount, resulting in the minimal amount of revenue for Canon. I'll be late to the game with new gear, possibly by a couple years, but that will be the only way I feel as though I'm getting my moneys worth.

In the most extreme case, I'll break down and buy the most compelling product from a competitor. Sony's A7r is intriguing, because it could make an excellent landscape camera that would work with EF mount lenses. I don't really need AF or other high performance factors for landscape photography, so the reports of the A7r's poor AF performance with adapted EF lenses wouldn't be a huge deal. The remaining problem is...it costs quite a bit, $2700? For "just" a landscape camera, even though the sensor is amazing, eh, I'd still have to wait until a particularly deep sale occurred before I could justify the purchase.

So, to me, compelling innovations included in compelling upgrades. That's the most important thing Canon can do. They don't necessarily have to compete feature for feature with their competitors, but I do think they need to keep abreast of their competitors in terms of the level of their products.

Reading some of the excellent commentary here, especial Jon Rista's take on the amount of headroom that remains in ISO improvements (I don't for a second pretend to understand terms like quantum efficiency, so I have to take his word for it)

You don't necessarily have to take my word for it. Here is a little visual diagram demonstrating Q.E.:

The two diagrams are identical in every way, except the number of electrons stored in each photodiode. The amount of photons raining down on each sensor is identical. The microlenses and color filter array behave identically. The only difference is that the one on the left has 40% Q.E. and the one on the right has 60% Q.E. A photodiode works by converting incoming photons into electrons, an amount of electrical charge, which is stored and can then later be read out via a special process. Photodiodes are not 100% efficient, especially at room temperature, so instead of converting every single photon it detects into an electron, each photon that strikes the photodiode increases the probability of an electron being released.

For photodiodes that have a 40% quantum efficiency, it takes approximately 2.5 photons for that potential to become realized, and release an electron. That means, every two to three photons detected, in a roughly even distribution, one electron is released. For photodiodes that have 60% quantum efficiency, it takes approximately 1.667 photons for that potential to become realized, and release an electron. That means every one to two photons detected, in roughly even distribution, one electron is released.

In other words, it takes less time for a sensor with higher quantum efficiency to achieve the same exposure. In the same amount of time, the exposure for a sensor with higher quantum efficiency will be greater. At high ISO, a sensor with higher Q.E. will have a greater exposure...more electrons, greater charge per pixel, requiring less gain, to achieve the same result. Less gain, less noise.

It should be relatively self explanatory now to understand that once Q.E. approaches 100%, where you basically get 1 electron for every 1 photon detected, you've literally reached the limits of what physics will allow. There is no Q.E. above 100%...not literally. Someone may come up with a means of improving sensor sensitivity even more...historically, changes to photodiode area is the only thing that affects the maximum number of electrons that a photodiode can hold before leaking charge or increasing in temperature (any additional photon strikes once you reach the photodiodes capacity either result in releasing an electron, which means another electron has to be "lost" somehow (into the neighboring photodiodes, into the wiring current, etc.)...or the photon is converted into heat.) It may be possible to put multiple layers of photodiodes into a pixel...allowing electrons to be collected "three dimensionally"...in area and in depth, which might increase maximum well capacity and the potential of converting a photon, therefor increasing charge, and therefor signal strength, at higher ISO settings. So far, layered photodiodes have only accompanied sensor designs like Foveon...but there is no reason, necessarily, that we would have to employ all three colors at each pixel, we could stick to a bayer design and gain the benefits of gathering photons in area as well as depth.

Anyway...hope the diagram helps.

EOS Bodies / Re: Two New Full Frame Cameras in 2014? [CR1]
« on: December 04, 2013, 05:49:41 PM »
With regards ML I think Canon have taken a masterful and probably coincidentally pragmatic approach, all the more remarkable given the type, size and style of company they are.

ML adds a very welcome boost to 5D sales, it made the 5D MkII a cult product and that has continued with the MkIII, indie film makers, small time videographers and wedding photo/video shooters love them, but Canon have laid down their stance on encroachment of the Cine line, a much smaller and better funded market segment anyway.

ML have created a buzz and good feeling around the 5D, Canon have "let" them do it, a PR positive instead of the PR negative legal action would have generated. ML have helped sales, which I am sure Canon appreciate, but ML don't see the value, if any, in hacking the C line firmware, which Canon also love.

This has to be a very rare occurrence of everybody being happy and living in comparative harmony, wonder how long it can last!

Totally agree here. Canon only benefits from ML's activities and their firmware. It certainly doesn't steal sales from the company, on the contrary more often than not many photographers stick with Canon for the sole reason that ML exists for it.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: December 04, 2013, 05:47:20 PM »
One of the local Brown Pelicans came by for a visit.  600 f/4 v2 w/1.4TC

Beautiful shot. Great detail and excellent lighting.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS M2 Not Coming to North America
« on: December 04, 2013, 05:44:05 PM »
I'm not saying that Canon needs to dump the 18mp sensor because of external competition. I'm saying they need to dump it because they themselves already have better technology, and there is absolutely no reason not to utilize the 20mp DPAF sensor in the EOS-M2. I don't believe it would cannibalize 70D sales at all...different class of camera.

No reason that you know of...   For example, what if the more complicated circuit printing results in a higher QC failure rate?  That might raise the production cost of the sensor to the point where it is not cost-effective to put in a camera body that may end up selling for $300.

Also, maybe to you it's just "the same old 18 MP sensor."  But to Canon, it's a "new" sensor that to date has only been used in one prior camera body – the SL1/100D.  Undoubtedly, Canon incurred development costs for Hybrid CMOS AF II, and it is quite likely that the SL1 alone is not sufficient to recoup those costs to yield a return on that investment.

I'm not saying you're wrong to suggest that Canon should put their latest and greatest technology into their products, I'm just pointing out practical reasons why they may not have done so in this case.

Sure, there are certainly practical reasons...however that doesn't mean the opposite isn't true. There could be practical reasons for them to put the 70D DPAF sensor in the EOS-M line. As I said, EOS-M in the USA is a weird bird...its market positioning and technical specifications are at odds with the market. It certainly seems to me that there is plenty of interest in a mirrorless camera from Canon. EOS-M COULD be that camera...however it is simply positioned entirely wrong for the market here. I am saying...Canon has the technology, and more than enough capability, to reposition and market the EOS-M to US buyers, such that they would be completely satisfied with and even eager to buy the thing. I also don't believe that the 70D sensor is too complicated to manufacture...especially if its designed on their tried and true fabrication process (which given the known facts about Canon's manufacturing capacity, it would have to be.)

Anyway...EOS-M isn't a compelling product in the competitive US marketplace, but it could be, and it really wouldn't take all that much effort on Canon's part to make it so. The thing that confuses me is, instead of even trying...they drop it from our market? Strange. Very strange, and disappointing.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS M2 Not Coming to North America
« on: December 04, 2013, 05:39:35 PM »
Canon HAS the technology (they just aren't utilizing it),

Do they really have it?

I'm the first one to say Canon boldly milks their products to the last cent before innovating, but afaik the exmor sensor design is patented so using a smaller cmos structure wouldn't solve everything. As for the mirrorless future Canon does not have a good evf, nobody has, so for the time being the dual pixel af is limited to amateur/quick video. They might have new DO lenses, but nobody ever saw an actual product yet, so they might not even have that. They do use their (hybrid) IS system and good usm af in lenses. So what real innovations apart from the 20mp 70d sensor do they have they don't use?

I'm not talking about an Exmor-like sensor. I just mean the 70D DPAF sensor, which was basically made in heaven for the EOS-M line. I would use an EOS-M for casual photography and video (if it had some decent lenses to go along with it). For that, I don't even need a viewfinder, the live view screen would work.

and I am truly loath to buy an A7r.

I agree about what you wrote about Sony, whenever I get a Sony store I try their new toys but it's also not for me, I don't seem to be a Sony person. Nikon, well, I had thought long about switching before I bought my more expensive lenses for Canon, but I remained on this side because of Magic Lantern (focus stacking, focus peaking, bracketing, intervalometer, ...) and because I can program my own dslr.

Other than that, it's really just illogical brand attachment because my first dslr was a Canon 620 and I loved my EOS RT, but I don't doubt Nikon would also have been a good choice - esp. when buying Tamron and Sigma lenses, currently it seems a bit strange to favor Canon cameras below the famed 1dx/5d3 af system.

Well, don't forget that you can tack the EF adapter onto an EOS-M, and your entire collection of EF lenses will work with it. Technically, there is no reason that wouldn't work with an A7r, however from the reports I've heard, AF is excruciatingly slow if you do that (where as, I've heard AF works just as well with the EF adapter on EOS-M as with EOS-M native lenses.)

I favor Canon because when you buy into a brand, you buy into their ecosystem...and years ago I chose Canon. Doesn't really matter if it is Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, etc. You pick a brand, not necessarily a camera...unless you are the type who is willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money replicating the same lens for multiple brands (or are simply independently wealthy.)

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS M2 Not Coming to North America
« on: December 04, 2013, 03:49:51 PM »
but reusing the 18mp AGAIN really does feel like Canon is giving their customers a collective slap in the face with a little "Haha! Got you to buy one again! Nah! Nah!"

No doubt Canon is behind in sensor performance in relative terms, but you're having a top-down perspective:

Sony is currently advertising their mirrorless aps-c in Germany and the main point is that has a *large* sensor - aps-c! - and the *same* as in their "pro" aps-c dslrs. Obviously a lot of folks shooting iPhone consider a crop sensor as a step up, and in absolute terms in good light there is indeed nothing wrong with it but it's quite capable.

So I'd take the "bottom-up" perspective: There's nothing wrong with the M1/M2 sensor, but I'd personally wonder why I should buy a 70d in 2014 with about the same sensor performance for a whole lot of money more, not everyone is into bird or child tracking.

I'm not saying that Canon needs to dump the 18mp sensor because of external competition. I'm saying they need to dump it because they themselves already have better technology, and there is absolutely no reason not to utilize the 20mp DPAF sensor in the EOS-M2. I don't believe it would cannibalize 70D sales at all...different class of camera.

Not everyone may be into birds or children, true...but for the market segment where the EOS-M line fits best, a LOT of people are interested in video...and it is video where DPAF truly shines, what it was specifically designed for. Personally, I'd love to haul along an EOS-M with 20mp DPAF sensor whenever I go out shooting. I could either set it up with a little mount on top of my camera, and just let it rip, filming whatever I am shooting (kind of like a GoPro, only WAY better! :D)...or I could set it up on a second tripod, and let it record beside me.

From what I understand about Hybrid AF, the fact that it requires a two stage PD->CD AF approach means it will never track well, if at all, and if the subject moves out of focus, then you will always have the potential for that CDAF stage which is immensely obvious and annoying in video.

All I am saying is, Canon can do better. They can do better not because they have to, or because of competition...but because they already have. It seems quite clear people in the US WANT the EOS-M...it isn't that they don't, it is simply that Canon is really doing a piss-poor job making it a compelling product for this marketplace. They don't even necessarily need to spend a lot of money on it...the 20mp DPAF sensor and two or three new basic lenses would do it. They could probably get away with that for 2% of their total annual R&D budget, if even that much, and they would probably make bank... The whole EOS-M in the US is a strange ordeal, it doesn't feel like the Canon I've known for some six years plus now, and to be quite frank...it is a little frustrating.

I've never liked Sony electronics. I've had them in the past. I've known friends who live and die by Sony. But when compared to other products...I've always found better quality in Sony's competitors. Instead of a Sony TV, I went with a Samsung TV. Instead of a Sony car stereo, I went with a Pioneer. I once purchased a Sony laptop, their 18.4" 1080p HD laptop...total piece of junk that failed within a couple months, had to have a repair man out to my house (after nearly a year of trying to get support to help) to take the thing apart and replace the entire motherboard. I've found ASUS and even Lenovo ultrabooks and tablets to be far superior, more reliable products (even though they are supposedly lower rung products). So on and so forth...

I could use a mirrorless companion to my DSLR. It'll never replace what my DSLR does, but in the circumstances where I need a portable camera with a high quality sensor that is capable of shooting video with smooth focus tracking...Canon HAS the technology (they just aren't utilizing it), and I am truly loath to buy an A7r. I've handled Sony DSLR cameras, and their lenses...on quite a number of occasions, as I do with Nikon cameras whenever I'm in proximity to them at Mikes Camera or another store that has them. If I really had to, I'd move to Nikon, or at least add Nikon to my kit. Sony...not so much. Their products have always felt of lesser quality than both Canon and Nikon. They feel too light and like plastic, like breakable toys. Their lenses don't have the same solid, professional, properly damped feel as a Nikon or Canon lens. Things don't seem to perform as well or as fast on a Sony camera (speaking about DSLRs here, as they are my only regular first hand experience with Sony cameras.) Problem is...Sony has the most compelling mirrorless product on the market. It certainly has a damn good sensor...but, as Nero himself often says...the sensor is rarely the single most important aspect of a camera. It's everything else I wonder about, and I don't think I'll ever be able to shake the feeling that someone else, even Canon, can do a significantly better job than Sony at building a quality mirrorless camera.

That is...if they only would...  :-\

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS M2 Not Coming to North America
« on: December 04, 2013, 03:03:35 PM »
But when some company brings the same old sh!t and call it brand new and asks for a premium, we have a problem. However apparently some people are perfectly happy about that too...

Yes, apparently enough people have been happy with that "old" 18 MP sensor to keep Canon at the top of the dSLR market for many years.

Doesn't change the fact that that old 18mp sensor needs to be replaced. Generally I think Canon is an innovative company and makes great products...but reusing the 18mp AGAIN really does feel like Canon is giving their customers a collective slap in the face with a little "Haha! Got you to buy one again! Nah! Nah!" So far, despite Canon's dominance...rather, maybe because of it...EOS-M is the LEAST innovative and compelling product Canon has released in recent years.

They can do better. They should do better. Their customers deserve better.

To be blunt, I won't be buying any EOS-M body until it has a newer sensor...at the very least, the 20mp DPAF sensor,  but I am still holding out hope they will offer something even better.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS M2 Not Coming to North America
« on: December 03, 2013, 10:39:18 PM »
Given that the original M flopped in the US, Canon may feel that the M2 is not attractive enough for the American market. I'm confident that the articulated screen and sensor from the 70D (or at least their technologies) will make it in to a premium mirrorless camera next year. Its just such an obvious step for Canon to take.

Their may be 1 more generation left in DSLRs but with EVFs offering features that OVFs can't the mirror's days are looking numbered.

The EOS M is selling very well in USA now. In fact, much better than Nikon's 1 offerings. :)

As for EVFs... until they can offer the same quick response, dynamic range and brightness as OVFs, mirrorless options are no-go for me. The fact that DSLRs outsell mirrorless cameras by 9.5:1 (8.5 in Europe), it appears that most folks agree with my assessment. :)

You're comparing today's mirror with today's EVF. I'm suggesting that the 5D Mark IV, when it arrives, will have a mirror but it will be the last in the line.  When a 5D Mark V is due circa 2018 EVFs will have been refined to the point where the drawbacks have been minimised and that 9:1 ratio will have been reversed.

Well, by 2018 the gap may have closed, but there is no way a 9:1 ratio of DSLR sales to mirrorless sales will "reverse"...to become a 1:9 ratio (9:1 in favor of mirrorless.) The DSLR has a decade plus long reign of prestige, and the SLR design in general has decades of prestige. Mirrorless won't that easily topple the respect the best camera design the world has yet seen.

Granted, things like Sony's A7r are very intriguing, and have even peaked my interest. We need to see how it sells, especially relative to DSLRs and perhaps the 5D III specifically, before we can claim that not only will it spell the literal demise of the DSLR, but a complete reversal of sales trends.

I suspect the DSLR's popularity will indeed fade, eventually. It will probably come sooner than I want, but I suspect it will take longer than one more generation before it completely disappears. Mirrorless is currently a powerful fad with a growing trend, but it has yet to really, truly, solidly PROVE itself in the extremely BROAD range of photographic endeavors the DSLR currently serves.

EOS Bodies / Re: Two New Full Frame Cameras in 2014? [CR1]
« on: December 03, 2013, 10:33:18 PM »
wait there is no such forum coz DR in sensors holds no value for those who really know how to work DR with proper lighting and diffusion.

and there he goes again

and you wonder where the DR crowd gets the mad, simply mad idea, that the fanboys ever say such things about more DR is useless or is only needed by incompetents

BTW, please come to my next shoot and make sure to bring enough lights to light up a few square miles and enough helpers to do it all instantly at the snap of a finger and oh make sure they do it in a way that looks natural and that none of their equipment shows up in the shot. And make sure you are always there at a snap, whenever needed.
Send me return air tickets plus all expenses paid and I'll show you how I do it with my Canon sensor to get the same results.

even in the cases where the scene is too complex for split ND filters and stuff is moving too much for multiple shots to be combined?

Usually, in such cases, you would likely be at a (much) higher ISO setting than 100 or 200, which GREATLY negates the value of having that extra DR. Beyond ISO 800, there is no meaningful difference, either way...things become physically limited. Even in broad daylight, I rarely photograph birds at ISO as low as 800, and rarely shoot wildlife below ISO 400. That is maybe a fraction of a stop better DR in the best case, but generally speaking I can't recall needing to lift such photos by that much anyway.

There may be some circumstances where you are lucky enough to need more DR and have motion slow enough where you could get away with ISO 100. In those (very rare) situations, sure, more DR would be awesome.

EOS Bodies / Re: Two New Full Frame Cameras in 2014? [CR1]
« on: December 03, 2013, 05:04:05 PM »
I would also point out that these days, we have some pretty good tools, like Topaz DeNoise 5, which can recover lost dynamic range.

In credit of my 6d I have to say I didn't see any banding yet, ever, and shadow recovery with LR pv2012 is very good. But ettl it's still kind of a workaround, because when manually exposing (and not for example using auto-ettr of Magic Lantern) you still are operating on the edge of the camera's ability and have to spot meter all the time or guess what underexposure is necessary to prevent as many blown highlights as possible - no software recover these, the data simply isn't there.

Certainly. I have always felt that Canon cameras underexpose a bit much to preserve highlights. I always seem to have HUGE headroom in my RAW files. I photograph the moon a lot, and I can make it a nearly pure white disc in live view, and still not clip the highlights. The cameras meter tries to make it a medium toned gray disc, which is always significantly darker than the moon looks naturally.

I understand that preserving highlights is critical for certain kinds of photography, such as weddings and events, but you would think that they wouldn't try to preserve so much highlight headroom unless you enable HTP or something like that.

You can't recover all of the lost detail, but you can recover almost a stop, which puts Canon photos right back into the game with sensors that have more native DR.

Unless photogs with Nikon/Sony sensors also know Topaz which is a definite possibility :-p

I'm not sure what Topaz has to offer an Exmor user. They already have practically zero noise...what exactly would they denoise? (BTW, debanding and DR recovery only really apply at low ISO...at higher ISO, it doesn't matter what brand you have...its all the same in the end.)

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS M2 Not Coming to North America
« on: December 03, 2013, 04:59:47 PM »
For one thing, in the USA there is no way that an end to launched at $800 could compete with the current M priced $500 cheaper.  There seem to be quite a few of those in retail channels right now.

Much like the Rebel/xxxD line, this update is very incremental.  I don't think Canon believes many people will upgrade from one model year to the next at this consumer level of camera.  These annual refreshes seem intended more to keep the product fresh, as in not outdated, on the consumer market.  That motivation may be even more true in Asia.

I suspect (hope?) that when a version of the M with the 70D's sensor is released, Canon USA will bring that one to market.

With Sony now offering FF mirrorless, I don't really think Canon can compete in the US market without something comparable...and something with a particular edge (like DPAF, or even QPAF.) I don't care much for the Sony brand, but they are certainly putting up a lot of competition. The piddly little old EOS-M2, priced at $800, doesn't stand a chance in the US. Maybe they will release the FF EOS-MX in 2015...with a 54mp sensor...

Would it kill them to let us see it?

It may not yet have been processed to such a degree that it could be made public. Remember, ISON just transited the sun a couple days ago, and it only reached peak visibility on the 26th of November. Given that these guys are on the ISS, I figure it could be a while before they get the chance to do proper processing and put it up online.

EOS Bodies / Re: Two New Full Frame Cameras in 2014? [CR1]
« on: December 03, 2013, 03:46:53 PM »
Adams was happy to work within the limitations of his systems DR, that certainly had less than the Sony/Nikon sensor, he was all about realising his artistic vision regardless of where in the range of tones the primary subject was, he blew highlights and blocked shadows when he wanted. His point was to expose the key tones correctly and let the rest fall where it may.

AFAIK, he also spent hours in the lab trying dodging and burning and trying to mess around with the chemical baths and so on to get more and more and more out of what he had to deal with, trying to get the most out of what existed and to further improve it.

That isn't all that different from what we do today. Even with a D800, you are still going to dodge and burn in photoshop or lightroom...those are LOCAL DR adjustments, not global, and if you really want to extract perfection from your work, they are two of the most critical tools for doing so.

I would also point out that these days, we have some pretty good tools, like Topaz DeNoise 5, which can recover lost dynamic range. Canon's worst problem, for example, isn't that they have noise in the shadows...it's the kind of noise they have in the shadows: banding. DeNoise 5 has some pretty amazing debanding and black point adjustment, which can clean up that nasty banding in the shadows, and fix the black point to recover DR. You can't recover all of the lost detail, but you can recover almost a stop, which puts Canon photos right back into the game with sensors that have more native DR.

As you said, you work with what you have, and you use the tools and techniques available to you to get the most out of your source materials.

EOS Bodies / Re: Two New Full Frame Cameras in 2014? [CR1]
« on: December 03, 2013, 03:42:52 PM »
I'm relatively new, so I don't know about the forum dynamics/politics/etc., but in my short time as a member I've seen a lot of negativity on this board.   :(  Not sure what to make of it, exactly, but it's discouraging.

As for the topic.  I'm reluctant to believe that the 5DIII will get upgraded to a 5DIV next year.  I see 2015 being the year for that.  Especially as Magic Lantern is getting more and more attention and Canon can milk an existing product that appeals to budget-minded aspiring film-makers.  As I understand it, right now the 5DIII is the top-dog for Magic Lantern given that they're hesitant to touch the 1Dx after getting threatened with legal action (which IMO Canon would have a difficulty following through with if you are familiar with the cases Sega Enterprises v. Accolade Inc., 977 F.2d 1510 (9th Cir. 1992) and Sony Computer Entertainment v. Connectix Corp., 203 F.3d 596 (9th Cir. 2000) - even though these cases are both from the 9th circuit).

However, more full-frame cameras is otherwise great news to me.  I think it will result in more lenses designed with full-frame users in mind.  I might be wrong there, but that's how I view it.

Thank you for those judgement reference. Although I have very little knowledge in American laws and jurisprudence, I am very curious of the precedent that could apply to a possible legal action between Canon and ML, since American court would probably be the correct forum in this case (although I know nothing about American international private law). Still, I have one silly question, as a non-american and non-under-common-law person, what is the 9th circuit? Are those first instance court? Thanks for your help.
P.S: Sorry if I made mistakes, I studied law in a different country and a different language!  ;)

From what I hear it's more that they have decided that they don't think it would be right to try to turn a 1DX into a 1DC and that they are also afraid of playing with the 1DX in general because they don't want Canon to try to lock out the next firmware for all cameras and also the 1 series bodies are expensive and they are not getting paid to do this work and a few 1DX test bodies costs a heck of a lot of money. Also, until very recently they didn't even have a clue how to work with dual digic bodies either.

Aye, these are the reasons I think ML guys gave themselves, particularly the last one, that buying several 1D X bodies is just unrealistically costly.

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