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Messages - V8Beast

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Calculating Dynamic Range
« on: March 12, 2012, 10:51:16 PM »
The approach of taking a blown out frame and a completely dark frame is valid for calculating DR, but there are inherent assumptions in that calculation (equivalent response between the frames, etc.).  The calculated DR is almost always going to be greater than the 'usable DR' (i.e. what you can actually see in an image), since the bottom end of the calculated range is set by the noise floor, and regions only slightly brighter than that might not separate from the noise. 

The alternate method you suggest I'd call measuring DR, as opposed to calculating it.  IMO, measuring is the better way to test DR - that gives you an actual test of the usable DR.

Practically, it's pretty easy - you just need a step wedge (like the Stouffer T2115 or T4110, they cost about $10) and a bright, homogeneous backlight.  For example, below is a crop from the setup I use.  The T2115 is on the left, on the right is a chrome-on-glass USAF 1951-type resolution target (which I use for microscope imaging resolution testing).  You set the exposure so the transparent top part of the wedge is just at the clipping point, and see how many stops you can distinguish down to the other end (each step on the scale is 0.5 stops for the T2115).

Great info! Have you used the step wedges on your 7D and 5DII, and if so, how do their measured DR compare to their calculated DR?

EOS Bodies / Re: 5D MK lll arriving a little early ?
« on: March 12, 2012, 10:46:12 PM »
Sounds good to me. The sooner I can get my grubby hands on it the better  :)

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 12, 2012, 10:38:35 PM »
Apologies in advance if you think I should take this conversation elsewhere.

I find the tech talk somewhat interesting, but admit that I don't fully understand it. Maybe I'm too dumb or too lazy to learn. I prefer the old school method of looking at a image, and judging the quality of the technology behind it accordingly.

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 12, 2012, 10:34:06 PM »
Second, we obviously don't disagree (and, btw, I was not claiming you actually don't use your gear or your software correctly.) The point I've been trying to make, which I believe you have made for me better than I could myself...is low-level differences that require poking around a raw file with open-source editors so you can see special masked off data that is only supposed to be used by code...just doesn't matter.

I never thought we were in disagreement. We just had different ways of illustrating our points. It's nice to have a civil discussion on a topic that's become so incendiary these days. As soon as the 5DIII and D800 hit the streets, hopefully people will be too busy shooting to split hairs about such trivial issues :)

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 12, 2012, 08:16:25 PM »
Certainly, I don't disagree. However, if your spending that much time tweaking every single photo one at a time, your not using modern post-processing tools effectively. Lightroom, for example, supports per-camera import profiles that can automatically apply default processing to every file you import.

I hardly spend a lot of time in post. On average, it's less than 20 seconds per image. As an old film guy, I put in enormous effort to get things right in camera. I fully understand the benefits of an efficient post production work flow, but this technique is less effective in some situations. Most of what I shoot is in natural light, which is complemented with off-camera flash, reflectors, etc. The quality of the light varies dramatically based on the time of day, weather conditions, etc. As such, it's not practical to apply a generic profile in Lightroom across a broad set of images.

The light in this image...

...is different from the light in this one...

...and this one...

...and this one...

...and this one....

...and this one...

I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Just because to change your approach to utilize the capabilities of a camera better does not mean you have to spend an extra, inordinate amount of time in post "compensating" for the "deficiencies" of your gear.

It's not always about deficiencies in gear. There are certain situations in which you can't possibly expect your camera to capture the image you're picturing in your head. You just need to understand the limitations of your equipment and adjust your technique accordingly.

For instance, you can't expect any camera on earth to properly expose the range of shadows and highlights in this image...

...but to get this shot to look how I envisioned it in my head, the final image was assembled with close to a dozen different exposures, fill light, reflectors, etc. If you can configure Lightroom to read my mind and assemble this image for me with some nifty presets, I'm game. Again, this has nothing to do with a deficiency of the equipment used, but more DR would have certainly reduced my time in post production

If you have DR limitations, light the scene properly, or slap on a GND

I'm not saying you're guilty of this, but just because you want to more DR doesn't mean you aren't already implementing such techniques. I sure hope anyone that wants to have a career spanning longer than two weeks would already be familiar with such basic techniques :)

Even if they were...I'd blame the photographer, not the camera.  ::)

No one's blaming the gear. IMHO, the photographer always deserves the blame. Even in situations where the equipment is clearly at fault, it's the photographer's responsibility to know these issues or risks and bring the right tools to the job.

EOS Bodies / Re: 1DX or 5D Mark III at this year's SXSW?
« on: March 12, 2012, 07:14:51 PM »
I don't have a badge, so it sounds like it will cost me $595? Yikes. I'm an Austinite, but I'll have to pass.

EOS Bodies / Re: 1DX or 5D Mark III at this year's SXSW?
« on: March 12, 2012, 06:12:39 PM »
Thanks for the heads up. I had no idea Canon was going to be in attendance. How much does it cost to get into the trade show?

Exactly... everything is still up in the air and no real world samples have been provided... So many unknowns... So many assumptions and testing of unreleased photographs... The 5d2 was flamed for being soft, too much NR, low DR when it was first announced... Since then we know that the 5d2 more capable and higher quality than initially mentioned.

To expand on that point, I find "test samples" a little silly as well. Take that Imaging Resource thread that was recently posted with 5DIII ISO samples. I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't take photos of napkins and crayon boxes, and olive oil bottles sitting on a table. If I did take images of napkins, crayon boxes, and olive oil bottles under identical lighting conditions, then I suppose the test would be valid. But I don't.

Ultimately, all that really matters is how your gear performs under the conditions and shooting style that you subject them to. Otherwise, everything else is an apples-to-oranges comparison.

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 12, 2012, 05:26:25 PM »
You can make the argument that better DR may make your life easier.

I don't mean to sound elitist, but this isn't something to be taken lightly. If you're taking photos for fun, I can see how spending 1 minute in post production to extend the DR of an image vs. spending 10 minutes isn't a big deal. However, if you're working on a tight deadline, need to process six dozen images to present to a client, and your livelihood depends on the quality of your images, out-of-camera files that "make your life easier" in post production isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.

Obviously, this doesn't only apply to DR, but also noise, sharpness, color reproduction, contrast, etc. It all adds up, and any time you can save in post production is time you can be spending behind the lens and making more money. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be shooting than staring into a computer screen and fiddling with a mouse  :D

If you regularly find yourself dragging up the shadows, then you might as well jump ship and head over to Nikon where the grass is greener. Or you could ETTR, utilize the sensor DR better (Canon does seem to have a bit more highlight headroom than Nikon by about 1/2 a stop based on DPR charts), and correct exposure at the click of a button in post

I would certainly hope that anyone attempting to earn a living with Canon gear utilizes a technique as simple as ETTR  :) Like you said, Canon files are incredibly good at highlight recovery, which makes ETTR a very useful tool in extending DR. My point is that over time, everyone is going to learn tricks like ETTR, or something as basic as using reflectors, fill light, multiple exposures, etc to extend DR. You're going to do that regardless of whether you shoot Canon or Nikon. Ultimately, however, a file with more latitude right "out of the box" will help you create the best image possible.

I'm not quite sure how this thread turned into a talk about DR, but DR is just one of MANY factors that determine IQ. Even if the D800 proves to have better DR than the 5DIII in the real world, I can just as easily decide that I hate it due to color reproduction, contrast, and sharpness that aren't my cup of tea. I remember the first shoot I did with the 5DC. I was blown away by the film-like image quality of the files. It was like I was shooting color slides again, and the color, contrast, and sharpness were simply stunning.  I'd never seen such incredible IQ on any digital camera before. I didn't care how its DR or ISO measured on some on chart posted by some geek on the internet. The images just had that certain look and feel to them that I cherished, and at the end of the day, that's all that mattered. IMHO, that's why you have to try these things out in the real world before determining a winner. 

Well what's happened is I'm reading all these forums about dynamic range, dynamic range, banding banding and it's messing with my mind man!  LOL

It depends. To switch systems based on rumors and sample images is silly. On the other hand, let's say you can actually try out a D800 first hand and compare it directly to the type of shooting that you do against the 5DIII. If you can distinguish enough of a difference in DR, noise, ISO, or whatever factors most greatly impact your type of photography, and determine that difference is enough to warrant switching systems, then that's another story entirely.

In this scenario, for me the D800 would have to be substantially better than the 5DIII in order to justify switching systems. If the Nikon were just marginally better for my type of shooting, there's no way I'd switch. 

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 12, 2012, 12:30:39 PM »
I would REALLY like to hear from a broad set of editors and art directors to know if that line has even a scrap of truth in it. I don't think DR or even noise are anywhere near the top things on an editors mind when they are critiquing photographs for publication.For one, no one can even gauge the dynamic range of a photo by eyeballing it, and even if they did measure it...what are they measuring? The DR capability of the camera you used to take the shot, or your fully post-processed image that has a myriad of exposure tweaks, curve adjustments, color tweaks, noise reduction, and sharpening applied?

Of course they're not sitting there measuring the DR or noise of final edited that images submitted to them. They judge an image just like anyone else based on the immediate visual, emotional, and artistic value it captures. That said, if there are overt technical deficiencies in the image, be it excessive noise, clipped highlights, or lack of shadow detail, they're going to notice. I'd say this is the photographer's fault rather than the equipment's fault in most instances, as it's the photographer's job to know his equipment and work around its limitations.   

Assuming you actually did capture a photo with 14 stops of dynamic range, does that even matter a wit for the final presentation format...in this case print?

The short answer is yes, it absolutely matters. Unfortunately, you have to accept the fact that the image you capture isn't going to reproduce in print nearly as nicely on paper as it does in it's original digital glory. Rather than say, "oh well, it's not going to reproduce anyway" and put in a half-ass effort, it means you put in even more effort to get your digital captures as good as humanly possible. 

If your photos are so noisy or have such atrocious DR that an editor dumps them, then the problem is far more likely that you aren't exposing or lighting your scene properly than the fact that the camera shows a minor amount of banding noise in the lower few bits of the 14 available.

Did I ever imply that this is the case? If you can't expose an image properly, you're not going to work professionally. Case closed.

As for IQ...well, even the crummy samples Canon has offered demonstrate that the 5D III will take photos with stunning IQ when they are exposed properly (and that really is the goal).

5DII? Please. I've taken images with my 20D and 1DsIII that are indistinguishable from each other. With enough extra effort in the field and post production, you can get stunning results from lesser gear. That doesn't change the fact that spending hours of additional time in post production isn't cost effective. 

There are SO many other things that make a photograph, and many more that make it art. Whether your camera is a stop or two less capable than the competitions is not going to cost you your job with that fancy magazine.

I think we're actually in agreement. My point was that regardless of how an image is used in print, the impact the digital files makes on an editor or art director on a fancy monitor is very important. A stop or two of DR or noise isn't going to be the difference between paying your bills or going broke, but to say it doesn't matter because it won't show up in print is ridiculous. The more latitude you have in your files, the greater the potential to save you time in the field and deliver a better product after the post production process.

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 11, 2012, 10:55:15 PM »
I believe the IQ of the two will be very simillar such that it will impossible to tell the difference on a 20" x 16" print

Anyone who expects high IQ at more than iso 800 is going to beunlucky because that is about the point where the DR takes a nose dive. There may be little noise but it will be flat as a pancake - so all the wonderful talk about high iso means low DR and a horrible picture

That's a good point. Fortunately, the images that I take for editorial clients that are printed the largest are almost always at low ISO, which is why my main concern when comparing the two bodies in question is DR.

Editorial work is funny, because on one hand, there are only a couple of two-page spreads that are printed per story, and most the other images end up being printed rather small. On the other hand, editors and art directors critique each of your images based on what they see on a nice 27-inch Apple Cinema display, so ISO performance, DR performance, and overall IQ are critical in all your shots regardless of  how big or small they are printed. Considering they determine who to hire and who not to hire based on how well your images stand out on a big fancy monitor, you can't put anything less than 110 percent into each shot regardless of how it will be used in print.   

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 11, 2012, 08:06:58 PM »
you could just use both, I used both Nikon and canon for ages then just got sick of different batteries , doubling up on alot of gear so sold off all my nikon gear mainly because I was so heavily invested in canon too and the 5Dmk2s give great IQ also the whole D800 being continually delayed annoyed the hell out of me . I'll be interested to hear your take when you get them both though, I am sure both will be great

I've considered this option as well, but I don't make enough moolah with my gear to warrant having two systems, and redundancy in lenses and accessories between them. I was hoping there would be a big enough difference between the 5DIII and D800 that I could just outright cancel one of my pre-orders, but I think I'm going to have to try them both out side-by-side. If that happens and the 5DIII comes out on top, I'll post my impressions here. If the D800 comes out on top, I'll have to PM or e-mail  you my impressions or else I'll get flamed into oblivion  ;D

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 11, 2012, 08:03:13 PM »
does anyone seriously think the 5D III is actually going to be incapable of capturing the exact same photos as the D800 at more than acceptable quality?

That's a great point, and the obvious answer is of course not. Nine times out of 10, the limiting factor with either body is going to be the skill of the photographer.

Even so, I'm looking at this more as a long-term investment. I'm already invested in the Canon system, but the competition has been making incredible strides the last 3-4 years. Back when I started shooting digital in the early '00s, if you showed up with Nikon gear at a gig, all the Canon-toting photogs laughed their asses off at you. Nikon was that bad, and lost a TON of market share from loyal Nikon photogs switching over the Canon. No working pro in their right mind shot with anything other than Canon, and the day that Nikon would catch up, let alone surpass Canon, was inconceivable. The catchphrase "Digital revolutionized photography, Canon revolutionized digital" was 100% fact and 0% marketing BS.

These days, for a Canon shooter, the marginal improvements the company has made in its crop and full-frame models the last 1-2 generations might make you think that you're backing the wrong horse.  Don't get me wrong. Canon still makes a great product, and I think it still has a better overall system than Nikon. The question is whether Nikon is going to continue pulling away, or if Canon is going to reclaim its digital supremacy.

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 11, 2012, 06:44:39 PM »
The main issue to me is that the mark 3 is takes better pictures than the mark 2. I find the low ISO pictures are fine. If you comparing the high ISO 25600 shots to the mark 2 they are much better and the noise is more pleasant. The d800 25600 noise looks bad from what I have seen. Look at the final picture on this site:


The noise has a lot of random color in it like the mark 2 at high ISO. I think it will be nice to have more wiggle room at high ISO myself.

Up to ISO 6400, the 5DIII and D800 perform very closely. I was expecting The 5DIII to have a clear advantage based on the early jpeg samples, but in looking at the raw files, the D800 certainly doesn't embarrass itself. The 5DIII  clearly pulls ahead by 12,800 and 25,600. The D800 looks terrible at 25,600, but I can't think of many situations where I'd need to shoot above ISO 12,800. That's why the D800's supposed advantage in DR is of particular interest to me. I say supposed, because I need to see more images from both bodies before drawing a final conclusion.   

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