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Author Topic: Why the DxO bashing?  (Read 89725 times)

jrista

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #120 on: February 09, 2014, 01:18:45 PM »
In the film days the reason we bought spot meters was specifically not to take one reading, but to take various reading from around the scene to get a range and average, or to take a reading from a grey card, again from the different illumination within the scene.

Thanks for the information, I'm really not experienced with spot metering as the eval metering on the 60d is very good and with a bit of experience I was always able to guess a good ec.

Unfortunately, the same metering module put on the 6d is more erratic, and that's why I have to think about other means of getting a correct exposure - which is difficult when in a hurry, that's why I'm happy about as much dynamic range as I can grab, for example the +1/3-1/2 stops added by Magic Lantern.

I have always used Canon's spot meter mode when doing landscape photography. I follow the same basic methodology that Sporgon outlined. I meter, with the cameras built-in meter, to determine the true dynamic range of the scene, by metering the brightest highlights (usually not the sun, but say clouds or sky near the sun) and the deepest shadows, then computing the difference in EV. I may also meter some midtone areas to know where they fall within that range. Knowing the actual dynamic range of the scene is helpful for landscapes, as it tells you exactly how much GND filtration you need. If the scene is 12 stops, I'll use a 1-stop GND. If it's 16 stops, I'll use a 1- and a 3-stop GND filter. If it's 20 stops, I'll use the 2, 3, and 4 stop GND filters...and will usually mix hard and soft grad in some fashion.

I've been out of landscape photography for a while now (I really need to get back into it more), but back when I did it regularly, I was actually able to fairly accurately guage the tonal range of a landscape just by looking at it (and maybe framing it by making two L-shaped corners with my hands). Being able to gauge DR just by looking at a landscape is very helpful in those situation where the lighting may only last seconds, so you can drop in the necessary filtration and get the shots, rather than have to spend many minutes metering and calculating. It doesn't have to be exact...all that really matters (at least with landscapes) is that you compress the DR to fit within the limitations of the camera (i.e. compress the histogram so it isn't riding up either edge.)

Landscapes are a bit unique in this respect, with the ability to control DR with filters. If you need more DR for other kinds of scenes, then usually the only way to get it is with more sensor DR or the use of HDR processing.

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #120 on: February 09, 2014, 01:18:45 PM »

jrista

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #121 on: February 09, 2014, 01:24:11 PM »

Unfortunately, the same metering module put on the 6d is more erratic,

+1; you're not the only person to find that; I'm finding the matrix metering (pattern) almost 'erratic' too. It's as if it's trying to be too clever in certain lighting conditions. It also seems to react to blue by underexposing but I believe it doesn't have colour metering.

Certainly the matrix on the 5D behaved differently to the mkii which behaved differently to the 6D. I would recommend trying average metering mode - where there is nothing in the metering icon box. This is actually centre weighted, and should be more predictable but not 'intelligent'.

Keep in mind that Canon's iFCL metering is highlight-weighted. The 6D, and for that matter the 7D (the first camera to get iFCL) will change the metered exposure as highlights change. Even if the highlights are only point highlights (say specular sparkle off a car or off water) that will affect metering. The camera is trying to preserve those highlights. For some people, that's a godsend. For others, it results in what they call erratic behavior.

For me, since I rarely shoot at anything below ISO 800, the changes in highlight tonality don't really matter much...I'm almost always lifting darker midtones a couple stops anyway, and at ISO 800+ there really isn't any banding noise to be a problem. If you shoot at lower ISO settings, then you might want to increase EC a bit, because specular highlights are bound to be blown regardless, and they really don't matter all that much.

The 5D II behaved differently because it had a monochrome metering sensor that was not highlight weighted. The 7D was the first with iFCL, which stands for Focus, Color, Luminance metering. Technically speaking, anything with iFCL (which includes the 7D, 6D, 5D III, and some of the newer Rebels) are actually a LOT more intelligent than the 5D II meter. Once you learn why the meter behaves the way it does, it should help you to work with it, rather than against it.

MLfan3

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #122 on: February 09, 2014, 01:26:43 PM »
actually DXO marks is a great site and they do all right.
for that we should respect them.
however , the way they rank all sensors is plain silly.
they put too much weight on base ISO DR, so some people do not like their site(not all of us can or do use a tripod all the time).
 that all said , most of their sensor measurements are correct maybe except lowlight sports part of their scoring.
 
I have both the 6D and the D800E(the A7R too) and even resampling the D800E files to 12mp , it is still not as clean as the 6D file.
But they obviously rate the D800E better for lowlight sports(I do not know what they mean by sports, though).
other than that most of their sensor quality assessments are correct , and I have to respect their hard work.

when you go to DXOmark site , just shun their over all ratings, just read detailed graphs and numbers in measurement section.
I personally read lowlight score , color depth and DR, and to me color depth and lowlight scores are much more important than DR score.

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #123 on: February 09, 2014, 01:30:09 PM »
When a thread goes nuts, call out the squirrels :)

This has been a very "interesting" discussion which I have learned a lot.  The only thing I can add is yet another squirrel. :)   

This gal likes to hang out with me when I'm working from home.  She comes down a tree outside of my office window and stares at me for hours.  I guess she's looking for a hand out.
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Sporgon

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #124 on: February 09, 2014, 01:36:24 PM »
Jon, thanks for that info on the 6D. It explains a lot ! No doubt it's in the instruction manual  :-[

Isn't CR wonderful  ;D


jrista

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #125 on: February 09, 2014, 01:57:06 PM »
actually DXO marks is a great site and they do all right.
for that we should respect them.
however , the way they rank all sensors is plain silly.
they put too much weight on base ISO DR, so some people do not like their site(not all of us can or do use a tripod all the time).
 that all said , most of their sensor measurements are correct maybe except lowlight sports part of their scoring.
 
I have both the 6D and the D800E(the A7R too) and even resampling the D800E files to 12mp , it is still not as clean as the 6D file.
But they obviously rate the D800E better for lowlight sports(I do not know what they mean by sports, though).
other than that most of their sensor quality assessments are correct , and I have to respect their hard work.

That is exactly the problem with DXO though. They have some measurements, but their scores are actually primarily based on weighted extrapolations derived from measures, not the measures themselves. The low-light sports "rating" is based on a mathematic extrapolation, not actual measurements of the D800's noise.

What you've said about resampled D800E files, and how they are still noisier than the 6D, is something I've stated for a while (I've poked around with some D800 files, and experienced the same thing relative to 5D III files.) I even mentioned as much in an earlier post of mine in this thread. It's one thing to use mathematics to extrapolate how much noise might exist in a downsampled image, and another thing to actually measure the noise in the downsampled image. DXO only extrapolates, they don't measure, so their results aren't real world, they are purely theoretical.

There is always a gap between theory and reality, though...we all know that.

jrista

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #126 on: February 09, 2014, 02:16:56 PM »
Jon, thanks for that info on the 6D. It explains a lot ! No doubt it's in the instruction manual  :-[

Isn't CR wonderful  ;D

This might be helpful:

http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/exposure_settings/iFCL_metering.do

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #126 on: February 09, 2014, 02:16:56 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #127 on: February 09, 2014, 03:05:36 PM »
I have always used Canon's spot meter mode when doing landscape photography.

For landscape I use Magic Lantern's auto-ettr module, unlike Canon it meters in raw (via a switch to lv) and then *exactly* sets the most ettr metering, save some configurable specular highlight clipping you're ok with.

Once you learn why the meter behaves the way it does, it should help you to work with it, rather than against it.

In this case, I have to persist that this method worked very well with the 60d, but often fails with the 6d... moving the frame just a bit often results in a very different exposure, and no way the overall highlights changed.... I simply do not remember this happening with the crop camera.

Another issue I think I'm about to pin down to the metering is that the camera underexposes in low iso & makes me use 1/3-2/3 ec all the time to harvest the full dynamic range, but on high iso this leads to clipping. My speculation: Canon's metering seems to be so "intelligent" to save some dynamic range as an error margin in low iso and stops doing that when the dr is scarce.

+1; you're not the only person to find that; I'm finding the matrix metering (pattern) almost 'erratic' too. It's as if it's trying to be too clever in certain lighting conditions. [...] I would recommend trying average metering mode - where there is nothing in the metering icon box. This is actually centre weighted, and should be more predictable but not 'intelligent'.

I might very well start to do that ... at least as a test. Until now, I'm very lazy and don't use exposure lock but the quickest method on the 6d: Af with the center point, recompose, shoot. With center-weighted metering I'd have to press a back button all the time after af'ing which is a tiresome delay that can lose me shots. And of course it doesn't work at all when trying (6d: emphasize "try") to track something off-center.

LSV

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #128 on: February 09, 2014, 03:28:02 PM »
I think, at this point, I and probably others, would like to hear from the Original Poster.  We've heard passionate answers with supporting claims and counter arguments.  Is the OP satisfied with the answers and with which explanations does he agree?  I learned a lot and big thanks to CR members for the education.

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #129 on: February 09, 2014, 03:48:35 PM »
actually DXO marks is a great site and they do all right.
for that we should respect them.
however , the way they rank all sensors is plain silly.
they put too much weight on base ISO DR, so some people do not like their site(not all of us can or do use a tripod all the time).
 that all said , most of their sensor measurements are correct maybe except lowlight sports part of their scoring.
 
I have both the 6D and the D800E(the A7R too) and even resampling the D800E files to 12mp , it is still not as clean as the 6D file.
But they obviously rate the D800E better for lowlight sports(I do not know what they mean by sports, though).
other than that most of their sensor quality assessments are correct , and I have to respect their hard work.

That is exactly the problem with DXO though. They have some measurements, but their scores are actually primarily based on weighted extrapolations derived from measures, not the measures themselves. The low-light sports "rating" is based on a mathematic extrapolation, not actual measurements of the D800's noise.

What you've said about resampled D800E files, and how they are still noisier than the 6D, is something I've stated for a while (I've poked around with some D800 files, and experienced the same thing relative to 5D III files.) I even mentioned as much in an earlier post of mine in this thread. It's one thing to use mathematics to extrapolate how much noise might exist in a downsampled image, and another thing to actually measure the noise in the downsampled image. DXO only extrapolates, they don't measure, so their results aren't real world, they are purely theoretical.

There is always a gap between theory and reality, though...we all know that.

Well if you check their low light criteria (which I think very few actually do) and their graphs you will see that it is actually the color depth that limits the low light rating for Canon cameras, not noise.

Then one can debate how relevant their low light criteria is, are there anyone in reality who don't think the 1DX don't deliver good image quality at ISO 3200 because of less than 18bit "color depth"? Personally I think dynamic range and noise in the shadows is the biggest issue at high ISO, and the the 1DX satisfies DXO low light DR criteria almost up to 10000 measured ISO (ISO 12800 in camera).

privatebydesign

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #130 on: February 09, 2014, 05:53:05 PM »
Here is a pretty crappy image shot with a completely outdated tech Canon sensor, that many posters here will adamantly tell you is impossible to do. Now I know it is no award winner, but I also know it would get me out of the sh-t if it was an important moment. I just thought it might be interesting to post an actual photographic example of the appallingly bad Canon tech.

Anybody care to guess how many stops under exposed the image was? It was at a wedding reception and the on camera flash that I was bouncing hadn't recharged in time, so did not fire.

OK, it's pushed fairly hard, hugely downsampled so hard to tell what body it came from.
But, whatever body it did come from exhibits horizontal and vertical banding almost evenly at the conditions of that shot and it's showing up as magenta crosshatch on her neck and some other areas.  So it could be any brand of camera at this point.

In a bit of a leap I'd say its from an old digic 2, possibly digic 3 body, maybe a 20D or an early Rebel?

From the histogram, the red and green channels are showing a lot of quantization stretch, so you've pulled this from pretty low down and from likely moderate ISO.
maybe 800 to 1600, depending on the body.

With some of your PS talent you could still make a passable print out of this, ultimate IQ rarely required for portraits.

Exif is scrubbed except for "Ducky" and "Photoshop 3.08" ...

Heh!  what kind of surprise are you tryin' t' pull here, bub?
let's see you try that with a digic 4 camera ;)

What, no guess at the number of stops underexposed it is?

Anyway, it was five stops under exposed and all the heavy lifting was easily done in Lightroom. As with most of my illustrative images it was the 1Ds MkIII, along with iso 200, 1/40 sec @ f3.2 with the 100mm Macro IS.

It is funny, to most of us this is clearly a throw away error, but as my interest was peaked and I am doing some printing, I just printed a crop of the worst areas at a full print size of 16" X 24", it is totally usable. I did do a little more processing to it, but nothing major or time consuming, a simple Gaussian blur layer with a mask and a more appropriate curves layer, I also did a magenta HSL adjustment. I know that if the image was important I could do a lot more work to it, and use all kinds of plugins and extras, to get that final few percentage points out of it, but the truth is even with bog stock basic Lightroom you can effectively work images five stops under exposed if absolutely necessary.

Now I, and the Canon combatants here, have never said that Nikon/Sony sensors don't have more DR, we have also (to my recollection) never said we wouldn't like more. However correct use of the camera specifically regarding exposure, and more critically, competent post processing, can mitigate even problem images much more than any of the DR/Sony/Nikon fellowship would have you believe. To say stuff like Canon sensors have "around 10 stops of usable DR", or "8.7 stops", or "I have had real issues with slightly below midtone banding", just displays your complete lack of post processing ability.

Here is my reworked print file with adjustments as stated above, all of this is easily done in Lightroom, you can even do the Gaussian blur layer by using reverse clarity on a brush.

And below that the original without adjustments just exported to jpeg.

P.S. The "Ducky" and "Photoshop 3.08" did not come from me.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 07:59:23 PM by privatebydesign »
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #131 on: February 09, 2014, 09:07:35 PM »
Anyway, it was five stops under exposed and..just displays your complete lack of post processing ability.
5... That's pretty good, and you certainly know how to make good use of Photoshop to clean it up.

I'd have no hesitation about pushing files from your 1ds3, a camera with a rep as one of the better low ISO performers made, or even my faithful old 40d. (anyone ever hear me complain about my 40D?)

But there are only 2 bodies I've experienced that are horridly noisy; the 7D, and the 5D2 that I had.

I'd like to see what you can do to try a stripey 7D file under the same conditions, and see how much work you'd have to put in, and what kind of results could be obtained.

Even doing this as a proof does not exempt the fact that some bodies have a lot of FPN and are not suitable for any push-processing in post, certainly not if you have to do a lot of that.  Unfortunately for me, I had both of those bandy bodies and stupidly kept them when I should have just returned them.  They did have some other redeeming features, and still provided plenty of usable shots, but frustrated the &%^$*$@#! out of me when I had to push low ISO files.

And yes, I'm no Photoshop guru, but neither should I have to be.  Far quicker and better for future-proofing to just choose better tools that don't require me to fix such things in post.

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #132 on: February 09, 2014, 09:39:32 PM »
And yes, I'm no Photoshop guru, but neither should I have to be.  Far quicker and better for future-proofing to just choose better tools that don't require me to fix such things in post.

Ahhhh, so you often set manual exposure for a flash shot and the flash fails to fire, or for various other reasons you frequently underexpose by 4-5 stops?  PBD's shot was clearly a rare exception. If that's not the case for you, I'd suggest the tools aren't the problem, but rather the tool user.
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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #132 on: February 09, 2014, 09:39:32 PM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #133 on: February 09, 2014, 10:19:22 PM »
Anyway, it was five stops under exposed and..just displays your complete lack of post processing ability.
5... That's pretty good, and you certainly know how to make good use of Photoshop to clean it up.

I'd have no hesitation about pushing files from your 1ds3, a camera with a rep as one of the better low ISO performers made, or even my faithful old 40d. (anyone ever hear me complain about my 40D?)

But there are only 2 bodies I've experienced that are horridly noisy; the 7D, and the 5D2 that I had.

I'd like to see what you can do to try a stripey 7D file under the same conditions, and see how much work you'd have to put in, and what kind of results could be obtained.

Even doing this as a proof does not exempt the fact that some bodies have a lot of FPN and are not suitable for any push-processing in post, certainly not if you have to do a lot of that.  Unfortunately for me, I had both of those bandy bodies and stupidly kept them when I should have just returned them.  They did have some other redeeming features, and still provided plenty of usable shots, but frustrated the &%^$*$@#! out of me when I had to push low ISO files.

And yes, I'm no Photoshop guru, but neither should I have to be.  Far quicker and better for future-proofing to just choose better tools that don't require me to fix such things in post.

I did nothing in Photoshop that I couldn't do in Lightroom to that file. Indeed the heavy lifting was done in Lightroom, a vastly simpler and cheaper product. But don't forget, that processing was only "needed" because of a flash misfire, not an intrinsic sensor limitation or fault.

The 1Ds MkIII and 5D MkII are a hairs breadth away from each other regarding shadow noise and FPN, maybe half a stop, at absolute most a full stop, that still leaves four stops of lift capability in 5D MkII files. Send me some RAW files, 7D and/or 5D MkII, I don't care, I'll even do another video on what I did to them. The 1Ds MkIII has such a good rep because people who owned them invested the time to maximise their output, we don't flit from camera to camera chasing a magic bullet, there isn't one. In the immortal words of Arno Rafael Minkkinen, "Stay on the f*cking bus." If you want the best for your photography you have to learn it all, starting with exposure! But that includes post processing, yes you do have to learn it. Sure if other cameras have a metric that is much better for a personal style, be that DR, frames per second, size, whatever, then it makes sense to get it, but that does not mean that cameras with slightly less DR, fps, are bigger, etc are not very capable tools in others hands. Yes, the Sony sensor has more DR than the Canon one, but it is not a huge difference and it shouldn't be a serious limiting factor to image making. Yes we all want "more", DR, fps, smaller, lighter better AF etc, but the way you guys harp on about it you make it sound like it is impossible to get a good image with a Canon sensor, when that is very far from the truth.

I understand you struggle with the 7D and 5D MkII, but you need to realise that is because you don't expose with them properly or process them properly the vast majority of the time you have "issues", you can't give the opinions you give without people counterbalancing your opinions with those facts.

Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

jrista

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #134 on: February 09, 2014, 11:05:46 PM »
Anyway, it was five stops under exposed and..just displays your complete lack of post processing ability.
5... That's pretty good, and you certainly know how to make good use of Photoshop to clean it up.

I'd have no hesitation about pushing files from your 1ds3, a camera with a rep as one of the better low ISO performers made, or even my faithful old 40d. (anyone ever hear me complain about my 40D?)

But there are only 2 bodies I've experienced that are horridly noisy; the 7D, and the 5D2 that I had.

I'd like to see what you can do to try a stripey 7D file under the same conditions, and see how much work you'd have to put in, and what kind of results could be obtained.

Even doing this as a proof does not exempt the fact that some bodies have a lot of FPN and are not suitable for any push-processing in post, certainly not if you have to do a lot of that.  Unfortunately for me, I had both of those bandy bodies and stupidly kept them when I should have just returned them.  They did have some other redeeming features, and still provided plenty of usable shots, but frustrated the &%^$*$@#! out of me when I had to push low ISO files.

And yes, I'm no Photoshop guru, but neither should I have to be.  Far quicker and better for future-proofing to just choose better tools that don't require me to fix such things in post.

I did nothing in Photoshop that I couldn't do in Lightroom to that file. Indeed the heavy lifting was done in Lightroom, a vastly simpler and cheaper product. But don't forget, that processing was only "needed" because of a flash misfire, not an intrinsic sensor limitation or fault.

The 1Ds MkIII and 5D MkII are a hairs breadth away from each other regarding shadow noise and FPN, maybe half a stop, at absolute most a full stop, that still leaves four stops of lift capability in 5D MkII files. Send me some RAW files, 7D and/or 5D MkII, I don't care, I'll even do another video on what I did to them. The 1Ds MkIII has such a good rep because people who owned them invested the time to maximise their output, we don't flit from camera to camera chasing a magic bullet, there isn't one. In the immortal words of Arno Rafael Minkkinen, "Stay on the f*cking bus." If you want the best for your photography you have to learn it all, starting with exposure! But that includes post processing, yes you do have to learn it. Sure if other cameras have a metric that is much better for a personal style, be that DR, frames per second, size, whatever, then it makes sense to get it, but that does not mean that cameras with slightly less DR, fps, are bigger, etc are not very capable tools in others hands. Yes, the Sony sensor has more DR than the Canon one, but it is not a huge difference and it shouldn't be a serious limiting factor to image making. Yes we all want "more", DR, fps, smaller, lighter better AF etc, but the way you guys harp on about it you make it sound like it is impossible to get a good image with a Canon sensor, when that is very far from the truth.

I understand you struggle with the 7D and 5D MkII, but you need to realise that is because you don't expose with them properly or process them properly the vast majority of the time you have "issues", you can't give the opinions you give without people counterbalancing your opinions with those facts.

To add to this, the 7D, 5D II, and 1Ds III are all part of Canon's last generation of cameras. While they were excellent cameras in their time, they no longer represent the best technology Canon has to offer. It is really a little sad that so much of the advancement that Canon really did achieve with the sensors in the 1D X and 5D III and 6D has been lost in the DR debate, but that really is the case.

PBD has done a WONDERFUL job making the best out of a bummer of a situation...a flash misfire. DESPITE banding noise in the shadows, he was able to perform a rather remarkable 5-stop recovery. That can't be dismissed out of hand, not if you wish to remain objective. It's quite a feat! His image here is an excellent counter to the banding noise ridden "examples" that you get from the DR fanbase that exhibit Canon IQ in the WORST POSSIBLE light imaginable. PBD has wonderfully demonstrated how GOOD things can be even in the worst of situations with the careful application of basic skill in a very affordable tool like Lightroom.

But here is the kicker...the 6D? The 5D III? The 1D X? They are all MUCH BETTER than the 1Ds III and 5D II! The noise at all ISOs on those cameras was a lot worse than it is on any one of the aforementioned cameras. Banding on all three has been reduced considerably, and exhibits a more natural granular appearance rather than the horrid magenta crosshatching that the prior generation exhibited. Color fidelity at higher ISOs has improved considerably, especially with the 6D. Dynamic range at higher ISO has also improved (and Magic Lantern extracts another half stop at all high ISO settings, and can apparently provide as much as 14.5 stops at ISO 100!)

If your having problems with the prior generation of Canon DSLR cameras...and your certain the problem is not yourself (you can only progress personally in skill if you are willing to admit your own faults, as only then can you correct them)...then you have to consider that you could solve your problems by moving up to the newer, current generation of Canon DSLR cameras. While they may not have been "groundbreaking" by providing two additional stops DR at ISO 100, they still made some considerable improvements in IQ, greatly mitigating or eliminating the most grievous IQ issues that the prior generation exhibited.

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Re: Why the DxO bashing?
« Reply #134 on: February 09, 2014, 11:05:46 PM »