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Author Topic: Dynamic Range vs the truth  (Read 18207 times)

Steve Dmark2

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Dynamic Range vs the truth
« on: December 15, 2017, 01:42:44 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I've just came across another internet test/comparison of new DSLRs where a camera was rated higher than the other one only because of the ability to boost shadows and highlights later in post processing.

I'm getting the feeling that most people spend thousands of $,€... regularly to get the "best" gear just because they see great looking pictures all over the internet and they want to compete with that.

Sure, with a camera for example like a D850 etc. you could take a picture at a rainy day without any contrast and boost it up to a great looking picture which produce as many likes as possible.

And learning how to do massive post processing is not difficult at all. Tons of tutorials are available online.

In my opinion, the real skills behind photography, patience, searching and exploring for the best composition in any condition with capturing a stunning scene just like it is, with any kind of gear (e.g. EOS 1300 with a 18-55mm STM) are key to a really good picture.


Cheers Stefan


P.S. Is there anybody else who is also annoyed be the HDR hype going on momentarily?
Pl. Give me your throughts.
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Dynamic Range vs the truth
« on: December 15, 2017, 01:42:44 PM »

NancyP

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 02:50:40 PM »
The camera sensor is a counter of photons, not an interpreter of photons.

When we use our eyes to look at a high contrast (high dynamic range) scene, we look at the various components of the scene and assemble a mental composite that has greater dynamic range than the range that can be captured with a single exposure of any camera sensor.

All combining of multiple captures with different exposures (HDR, manual blending via Photoshop, etc) should involve the same interpretation process that our brain uses in dealing with a high DR scene perceived directly with our eyes. Does that shadow contain important information? Does that highlight contain important information?

Agreed, the most crucial piece of the photographer's kit is a judicious eye. Add graduated neutral density filters or post-processing as desired, and keep using the judicious eye during the post-processing. Remember "dodging", "burning", multicontrast paper, choice of surface texture of paper, etc - all the choices in darkroom printing?

unfocused

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 03:45:49 PM »
This is a debate as old as photography.

In the 19th and early 20th century, photographers tried to lay claim to photography as a art by imitating paintings -- the pictorialists. Then Paul Strand came on the scene and "straight" photography was finally accepted as art -- culminating in the f64 school, which came to dominate the view of what art photography should like like.

For many years the f64 school, especially Ansel Adams, dominated and pretty much drove out all other viewpoints in the United States. (In Europe it was never that clear cut with people like Man Ray pushing the boundaries).

It really wasn't until the 60s and 70s when Jerry Uelsmann came on the scene and proved beyond any doubt that manipulated photographs were as legitimately art as any "straight" photos, that American photography began to accept a broader definition of photography as art.

(Apologies for the gross oversimplification of the history of photography, but I'm trying to keep the post reasonably short)

It seems like today we have a fascination with HDR kitsch among pseudo-artists. I think most serious photographers have rejected the overdone HDR look, but it still has a lot of popular appeal. Of course, what's popular is not necessarily what is good. I look at the overdone HDR as being in the same vein as Thomas Kinkade paintings – popular with the masses but not taken seriously by anyone.

Of course, there are a lot of photographers who have become incredibly successful commercially using HDR. But, I don't know of any who are considered serious artists.

Ultimately, I think you have to follow your own vision. Few of us are likely to be making great, timeless art, so we might as well focus on what we enjoy, try to push ourselves to do the best we can and be satisfied with that. 

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 03:49:43 PM »
This tends to be a hardware forum where photographers who love fine tools like to discuss capabilities and to understand them and what they mean.  We are also blessed with those who upload and share their fine photographs with us.

DR is basically another way to measure sensor noise.  Less noise is a good thing, but not the only thing.  And, of course, having good hardware is unrelated to the art of capturing good photographs, except that a good photograph taken with good hardware may have better sharpness and contrast.  However, its also true that a photographer who knows his hardware capabilities may get better results with a inexpensive camera than another with top of the line equipment.

Mikehit

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2017, 03:55:33 PM »


I'm getting the feeling that most people spend thousands of $,€... regularly to get the "best" gear just because they see great looking pictures all over the internet and they want to compete with that.


I don't think it is a case of 'competing', more that people think the camera is limiting their ability and they want to take the same sort of photographs and imagine the camera is the key. It isn't - it is about understanding your gear, working within its limits and, most importantly, having vision.

Magnum photographer who uses Olympus point and shoots
http://www.robgalbraith.com/multi_page8c1c.html?cid=7-6468-7844

Photographing the London Olympics with an iphone
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/jul/27/london-olympics-2012-smartphone

AlanF

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2017, 07:07:50 PM »


I'm getting the feeling that most people spend thousands of $,€... regularly to get the "best" gear just because they see great looking pictures all over the internet and they want to compete with that.


I don't think it is a case of 'competing', more that people think the camera is limiting their ability and they want to take the same sort of photographs and imagine the camera is the key. It isn't - it is about understanding your gear, working within its limits and, most importantly, having vision.

Magnum photographer who uses Olympus point and shoots
http://www.robgalbraith.com/multi_page8c1c.html?cid=7-6468-7844

Photographing the London Olympics with an iphone
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/jul/27/london-olympics-2012-smartphone

Not a single bird photograph in those links. When I first started bird photography I was ill-equipped with a crappy Canon 100-400mm and 7D and never got sharp shots. Now I have decent gear, I am indeed limited by my skills and not my gear. Your gear does have to be good enough and then it is up to you. But, some gear is inadequate.
5D IV, 5DS R, 400mm DO II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, EF 1.8 STM,  EF 24-105, 100-400 II, EF-S 15-85, Sigma 150-600mm C, EOS-M5 15-45, f/2 22, 11-22, Samyang 8mm f/2.8 fisheye: sold 7D II, EOS-M, Powershot G3 X,  Sigma 10-20, EF 300/2.8 II, 70-200/4 IS.

Maiaibing

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2017, 08:21:31 AM »
Hello Everyone,

I've just came across another internet test/comparison of new DSLRs where a camera was rated higher than the other one only because of the ability to boost shadows and highlights later in post processing.

I'm getting the feeling that most people spend thousands of $,€... regularly to get the "best" gear just because they see great looking pictures all over the internet and they want to compete with that.

Sure, with a camera for example like a D850 etc. you could take a picture at a rainy day without any contrast and boost it up to a great looking picture which produce as many likes as possible.

And learning how to do massive post processing is not difficult at all. Tons of tutorials are available online.

In my opinion, the real skills behind photography, patience, searching and exploring for the best composition in any condition with capturing a stunning scene just like it is, with any kind of gear (e.g. EOS 1300 with a 18-55mm STM) are key to a really good picture.


Cheers Stefan


P.S. Is there anybody else who is also annoyed be the HDR hype going on momentarily?
Pl. Give me your throughts.
What's it to you?

Not hugely concerned about DR myself. I often press both the blacks and whites in my PP. However more DR is of course better - simple fact. And for some people the difference will be critical.

But why do you question or challenge people's photographic ambitions and motives?

I cringe every time people say x MPIX is "enough" or even "too much". I want as many as possible. More is just better for me. It makes my processing easier. It makes my final results better. 120 MPIX? - I cannot wait... The arrival of the 5DS/R is the best thing that ever happened to my photography on the camera body side.

If people are happy having the newest, meanest, highest speced most expensive gear possible and they take totally crappy cat pic's that I truly hate - so what? As long as its their money and they are happy shooters - all the better for them.

We all have different priorities.

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2017, 08:21:31 AM »

scottkinfw

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2017, 08:50:54 AM »
Hello Everyone,

I've just came across another internet test/comparison of new DSLRs where a camera was rated higher than the other one only because of the ability to boost shadows and highlights later in post processing.

I'm getting the feeling that most people spend thousands of $,€... regularly to get the "best" gear just because they see great looking pictures all over the internet and they want to compete with that.

Sure, with a camera for example like a D850 etc. you could take a picture at a rainy day without any contrast and boost it up to a great looking picture which produce as many likes as possible.

And learning how to do massive post processing is not difficult at all. Tons of tutorials are available online.

In my opinion, the real skills behind photography, patience, searching and exploring for the best composition in any condition with capturing a stunning scene just like it is, with any kind of gear (e.g. EOS 1300 with a 18-55mm STM) are key to a really good picture.


Cheers Stefan


P.S. Is there anybody else who is also annoyed be the HDR hype going on momentarily?
Pl. Give me your throughts.
What's it to you?

Not hugely concerned about DR myself. I often press both the blacks and whites in my PP. However more DR is of course better - simple fact. And for some people the difference will be critical.

But why do you question or challenge people's photographic ambitions and motives?

I cringe every time people say x MPIX is "enough" or even "too much". I want as many as possible. More is just better for me. It makes my processing easier. It makes my final results better. 120 MPIX? - I cannot wait... The arrival of the 5DS/R is the best thing that ever happened to my photography on the camera body side.

If people are happy having the newest, meanest, highest speced most expensive gear possible and they take totally crappy cat pic's that I truly hate - so what? As long as its their money and they are happy shooters - all the better for them.

We all have different priorities.

I agree with your final statement.

The DR debate has raged on this and many other sites.  Personally, I am not so sure that DR is really among the top 3 most important things in MODERN digital photography and post.

My guess is that a few will find it essential, but for most,  DR won't be critical.  I think that for most, a bit more or less DR won't make a difference while for a few like yourself, DR, Max MPX will be beneficial.  IMHO, I think that although there is a difference in sensors, for the most part, DR specs are used to market and motivate people to upgrade.

As has been argued successfully previously, DR is but one part of an entire system. It would be foolish to consider only one spec of a system when making a choice.  If you are happy with your kit, great.  If you are not happy with your gear, get something that will make you happy creating images, but you would be well advised to consider all aspect of the camera, the lenses, the support, the menues, the ergonomics, and so many other things.

Scott
Cameras: 1DXII,5D III, 5D II.  Lenses    24-70 2.8L II IS, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8.   Flashes: 600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT, 580 EX II.
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

Sporgon

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2017, 09:42:15 AM »
Can't wait to try the soon-to-be-released Kodak Ektachrome.  7 stops of DR - Yummy  :D

Orangutan

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2017, 10:03:39 AM »
When I first started bird photography I was ill-equipped with a crappy Canon 100-400mm and 7D and never got sharp shots.

Alan, I currently use a 100-400 and 70D for birds.  In good light I can get results that I'm quite happy with.  It's true that focus continues to be a bit of a challenge with this kit, especially for BIF and little passerines in the brush.  Before the 70D I had a 60D, and simply could not get consistent results.  I've built my skill with these tools, and now have a good sense of what I can do to improve my keeper rate.  Of course I hope to have better gear some day, but for the foreseeable future that's likely to be no more than upgrading my 70D to a 7D3 (when/if it arrives) and my 100-400 to a MkII.  I am currently limited partly by my skill and partly by my kit, but I'm happy with what I have.

That said, my major complaint in using my 70D for birds is, in fact, DR.  Two examples: a male wood duck in anything close to full light will either blow out the highlights, or leave the shows indistinct, sometimes both.  White herons and egrets can cause similar problems if there's any non-uniform light.  Looking at my photos in post, I can see that they're generally exposed properly, so this really is a limitation of the sensor.  Will more DR solve the problem?  I don't know, but it would help.  So I just go on enjoying my older, imperfect gear for what it can do, rather than berating it for what it can't.

AlanF

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2017, 10:28:03 AM »
When I first started bird photography I was ill-equipped with a crappy Canon 100-400mm and 7D and never got sharp shots.

Alan, I currently use a 100-400 and 70D for birds.  In good light I can get results that I'm quite happy with.  It's true that focus continues to be a bit of a challenge with this kit, especially for BIF and little passerines in the brush.  Before the 70D I had a 60D, and simply could not get consistent results.  I've built my skill with these tools, and now have a good sense of what I can do to improve my keeper rate.  Of course I hope to have better gear some day, but for the foreseeable future that's likely to be no more than upgrading my 70D to a 7D3 (when/if it arrives) and my 100-400 to a MkII.  I am currently limited partly by my skill and partly by my kit, but I'm happy with what I have.

That said, my major complaint in using my 70D for birds is, in fact, DR.  Two examples: a male wood duck in anything close to full light will either blow out the highlights, or leave the shows indistinct, sometimes both.  White herons and egrets can cause similar problems if there's any non-uniform light.  Looking at my photos in post, I can see that they're generally exposed properly, so this really is a limitation of the sensor.  Will more DR solve the problem?  I don't know, but it would help.  So I just go on enjoying my older, imperfect gear for what it can do, rather than berating it for what it can't.

My copy of the 100-400 Mk1 was crappy.  Many were, unfortunately, and I was unlucky but some were good. and if you have a good one it will serve you well. Getting a good lens transformed what I could do. Egrets do reflect light too well and the details are often blown.
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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2017, 11:59:00 AM »
This tends to be a hardware forum where photographers who love fine tools like to discuss capabilities and to understand them and what they mean.  We are also blessed with those who upload and share their fine photographs with us.

DR is basically another way to measure sensor noise.  Less noise is a good thing, but not the only thing.  And, of course, having good hardware is unrelated to the art of capturing good photographs, except that a good photograph taken with good hardware may have better sharpness and contrast.  However, its also true that a photographer who knows his hardware capabilities may get better results with a inexpensive camera than another with top of the line equipment.

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scyrene

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2017, 12:15:02 PM »
Ultimately, I think you have to follow your own vision. Few of us are likely to be making great, timeless art, so we might as well focus on what we enjoy, try to push ourselves to do the best we can and be satisfied with that.

Amen.
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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2017, 12:15:02 PM »

Steve Dmark2

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2017, 06:59:31 AM »
Hey Guys,

there some great comments in here, which make me realize once more that other people have other goals and priorities ;)

I guess what I wanted to say is:

Photograpers: People that take pictures or a certain scene or object like it is with minor to no postprocessing.

Artists: People which delevop a taken picture in post processing, so it does not reflect the captures scene/object but which reflects the creativity of the artist and his picture imagined.

Cheers,

Stefan

P.S.
End of story: Get some kind of gear, learn it, enjoy using it and be satisfied with the results you get.
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AlanF

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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2017, 09:43:50 AM »

Photograpers: People that take pictures or a certain scene or object like it is with minor to no postprocessing.

I sincerely hope we have no photograpers in CR.
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Re: Dynamic Range vs the truth
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2017, 09:43:50 AM »