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Messages - V8Beast

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Chuck Westfall & the 5D Mark III
« on: March 13, 2012, 11:14:50 AM »
to quote Mr. Westfall:

"A new feature called Digital Lens Optimizer processes RAW images to achieve ideal optical characteristics for all types of optical aberration or diffraction, effects of a low-pass filter in front of a CMOS sensor, etc. This function improves image quality particularly in the image periphery in addition to the image center. This function is made possible because the entire design-through-manufacture process, for camera, CMOS sensor, EF lens, and DPP, is carried out entirely at Canon. Images are processed optimally using lens information in the image files (focal length, subject distance, and aperture) and lens data specially for the Digital Lens Optimizer. (However, the size of a .CR2 file will be two to three times larger after applying the Digital Lens Optimizer.) "

This feature has received very little buzz, but I find it quite fascinating. I'm very curious how effective it will be. Maybe it's a gimmick, maybe it's a legitimately useful feature. With the shipment date of 5DIIIs imminent, we shall see very soon :)

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 13, 2012, 12:01:34 AM »
V8 Beast - since you already shoot and merge multiple exposures i am interested to hear how you think that the theoretical greater DR of the D800 is going to impact your workflow (I like how you provide specific examples illustrating your arguments)

I can see where the additional MP might benefit you and more likely to a greater extent the Nikkor 14-24 will give you some serious benfits that well outweigh the D800 benefits (I assume you are going for the E version)

I can see where there will be some marginal real world difference in a single exposure with pushed shdows but in this scenario its really subjective and up to the tolerance to noise of the individual. however as soon as you are merging multiple exposures then the theoretical DR of a single exposure goes out the window as rather than struggling pushing shadows you just take the cleaner data from the relevent exposure

I will reference this tutorial again as a way to blend exposures (I am not sure of your method)

Great point. For images that are captured on a tripod, or with the camera rigged to the car, there isn't much benefit of 1-2 extra stops of DR when you're merging multiple exposures. In shots that are hand-held, or that capture real action opposed to staged action, merging exposures isn't in option.

Here, I'm sticking my head out the top of an SUV. Even if I tried to keep the camera in the same spot and the composition identical from frame to frame in an effort to create a composite of multiple images, it's just not possible. The camera, the lead car, and the chase car move too much.

So, there's no other option but to make do with what you got, and try to expose the image in a way that will assist in maximizing DR in post production. As you can see, there's a tremendous difference in contrast between the highlights on the grille, and the shadow side of the car. You could always shoot the car front-lit, but that makes the subject flat and two-dimensional, which I hate. Although this approach with the Mustang is far more challenging, I find it far more rewarding.

The same goes for this shot, but the situation is slightly different.

Backlighting cars is tough, because they're not exactly translucent, but I love the results when it works. With the sun beating straight into the lens, there was very little detail left in the background, shadows, and midtones. This is another shot where multiple exposures can't be merged effectively, since I'm hand-holding the camera while hanging out the side of my minivan. Again, you have to make do with what you've got, and try to extend the DR as much as possible in a single exposure.

That said, I'm honestly not that concerned with the DR in the 5DIII. It's 22 mp are more than enough for the editorial work that I do, but there are instances for product or PR photography where extra resolution would come in handy. Extra pixels also give art directors to turn vertical shots in to horizontals, and horizontals into verticals.

EOS Bodies / Re: High ISO comparo: 5DIII vs. D800
« on: March 12, 2012, 11:00:27 PM »
I hope! I'm actually interested to see what people do with really high native ISO settings...the shots of Earth from the ISS with the D3X were stunning. I can only imagine what might be possible now...

Me too. I just hope it's a real-world application of high-ISO usage. Shooting at ISO 25,600 in the middle of a sunny day on a tripod at f/22 with a pitch black ND filter is bogus. OK, that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea. IMHO, high ISO test shots that are taken in dark environments where high ISO would normally be used are valid, but shooting at high ISO in bright light just for testing purposes is questionable at best.

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 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... 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 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.   

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