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Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: CatOne on January 05, 2008, 10:56:58 am

Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: CatOne on January 05, 2008, 10:56:58 am
Nice review, Michael.  Sounds like a fun experiment that I'd love to do as well, if I could afford it  
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Steven Draper on January 05, 2008, 11:59:47 am
Sounds like MR likes the Nikon then.

I like the idea of the 24 -1200 VR used to photograph his nephew!!! Oh your going to tell me it was a typo, damn that would be a perfect lens for some of my work!!!!!  
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: michael on January 05, 2008, 01:35:43 pm
I wish it hadn't been a typo as well.

Interestingly, many in the Nikon community badmouth this lens, but it really isn't bad at all. It seems that early samples when the lens first appeared had problems, and so the common wisdom online is that it is a poor optic. It isn't, not for its focal range and price.

Michael
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 05, 2008, 02:10:55 pm
Michael

Thatīs an interesting concept: "at this focal length and price," because I always have this feeling that, somehow, optical engineering is arranged so as to stop short at one point or another, just to create a range of prices, rather than for any other good reason.

I find it hard to believe that in such mechanised production lines, with such apparently flexible QC values, that they wouldnīt be just as well going the whole hog and trying to produce a single, very best design for whatever focal length. Only then, when the best has been aimed at, the final QC stage of such a production would be split between the best and also-rans of that production run, the best going at a premium price with the lesser at lower prices. A new departure, perhaps, but at least with higher QC guaranteed, those willing to pay more would get what their money was supposed to be doing in the first place.

This feeling is not entirely unrelated to Nikonīs 300mm range of yore, where you had to mess about between the 2.8, the 4.5 and the later A/F 4. What a pantomime that was!

Rob C

PS   My bunker isnīt quite finished yet...
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 05, 2008, 02:18:39 pm
Hi Michael. As a long time Nikon user, and fan of this site, it's nice to see this kind of coverage. So thankyou for taking this on.

Regarding live histograms, I've read that the D3 (and maybe the D300) do indeed have it, tho activating it is obscure to say the least. Here is a link that supposedly describes how to activate it:

     http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=25971663 (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=25971663)

I haven't tried it myself yet (in fact, I haven't messed with live view at all yet), so I can't vouch for the validity of this, so take it for what it's worth.

regards,
Mort.

P.S. After perusing the manual, there does seem to be some verbage addressing this. It's on p 101, with some caveats on p 99. Apparently (if I'm reading this correctly), live histograms are only available in tripod mode, with active D-lighting and bracketing disabled, and no flash attached.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jackmacd on January 05, 2008, 03:01:26 pm
Thanks for the work. I am happy Nikon has finally given Canon competition. That will hopefully make Canon improve. Maybe mirror lock up.
I too chose Canon in the 90's for it's lenses. As you noted, Canon has tilt-shift that I needed, Nikon didn't. Now with post production, tilt-shift is not an absolute requirement. With such high resolutions, absolute sharpness is more of a requirement. I  use wide angles a great deal. Having a full sensor camera was a huge improvement six years ago. Now my Canon issue is not the body, but the lack of great wide-angles.
I used to be able to easily defend my choice in Canon. Going forward, I cannot. Interestingly, I got tired of sticking a huge camera from either Nikon or Canon in someone's face, and while waiting for the Canon D1sIII bought an M8. Then I discovered the sharper Leica wide angles on the M8 gave me better landscapes than the Canon. Had Canon improved their wide lenses, I might still be using the Canon for more than just sports or bird telephoto.
Finally, it will be interesting to see how many you upset with this comparison. For me, I thought your comparison of the handling of the two cameras was very welcome. I believe you have made your site much more valuable to the readers with your investment in the second system. You may help both firms improve their cameras in the future. Good show.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: NikosR on January 05, 2008, 03:10:13 pm
Michael,

Thanks for your insight.

One reason the D3 is offering selectable 14/12 bit depth might be the increased file sizes produced in 14bits. Remember one of the main target markets for the D3 is PJ's where the trade-off would not always be towards IQ (especially if talking about hard to see differences).
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Nemo on January 05, 2008, 06:53:09 pm
I liked Michael's article a lot. Very good.

Thanks to Michael for this analysis and for sharing with us his experience, and congratulations!


Quote
What this means is that a full frame sensor with, say, 12MP, will always have lower noise and thus inherently higher image quality than a full frame sensor with 21MP.

However, I cannot agree on that point. Noise isn't the only variable explaining perceived image quality. The question is more complex. Let me explain a bit.

1. "Preceived" Image Quality depends on many factors in a non-linear way: real detail, contrast (micro and macro), dynamic range, tonal variability, noise, light and subject properties, etc. and even a random variable.

2. Lenses have a lot to say about real detail finally captured. Given a size for the sensor, more pixels means a higher sampling frequency (better signal reproduction, as transmitted by the lens) and higher "reading" contrast (the sensors also have MTF functions). However, on the other hand, more megapixels means a bigger picture, this is, a bigger matrix that contains visual information. But the real amount of this visual information doesn't grow as fast as the image size (efficiency problem). Compare, for instance, the Canon 1Ds Mark II and the Canon 1Ds Mark III. The image size is much bigger (22 vs 17, 14 bits vs 12 bits), but the real detail differences aren't as big as that. This is due to decreasing contrast at higher frequencies in signal transmission by any lens. Summing up, more megapixels means more real detail, but there are disminishing returns.

3. Even if real detail and contrast improves with the number of pixels, there are other variables at play, dynamic range and tonal resolution or signal/noise ratio among others.

4. Therefore, it is true that a 12 MP camera can be better than a 22 MP camera in several points (dynamic range, tonal variability, signal-to-noise ratio) and not so inferior in others (real detail).

5. But... Better image quality can be easily perceived when all of these variables move together in the same direction. For instance, 22 megapixels from medium format versus 22 megapixels from 35mm format (at low ISOs). The MF image would be better in all respects. Or 12MP from 35mm versus 12Mp from APS-C at the same ISO value. Etc.

When several of these variables move in one direction and others in the opposite, the final result (image quality perceived) depends on other parameters not previously formalized (the subject, the output format and size, viewing conditions, etc.). Michael considers this when he talks about print size and resolution of a 12MP image, for instance.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: michael on January 05, 2008, 09:06:09 pm
Your points are well made and serve to illuminate the complexity of the IQ equation. It isn't just any one factor that comes into play, but indeed all of them in combination.

Michael
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ian Menuru on January 05, 2008, 09:21:40 pm
Quote
... I'd love to do as well, if I could afford it 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165192\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It's all about priorities really. Possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars for his watches, cameras, and lenses but still has shag carpet long enough to lose an SD card in.      

Ian

PS: Great balanced essay Michael.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jcote on January 05, 2008, 09:23:03 pm
Michael,

I think your Nikon Canon article is very well done. I am a Nikon owner who gets to shoot the high end Canon bodies because one of my customers/employers is a very large Canon user. I have always liked both systems and have made pictures I like with both.

I would like to bring up one aspect of the new Nikon D3 body which is not up to the functionality of the older D2 body (except for the film in it, I thought the D2 was the perfect camera body).

The little piece I don't like about the D3 is the image playback. With the D2 body, you could scroll different information screens over the top of a single full frame image on the LCD. For instance, if you were shooting an outdoor fashion assignment with an art director following you around, you could look at an image with highlight blinkers scrolled on or the histogram over the image, but if the art director wanted a peek, you could scroll everything off so that all he/she saw was the image at full frame display.

With the D3 you have the option in menus to turn the blinkers and so other display functions on or off when a full frame image is displayed on the LCD, but you have to go back into the menus to turn this functionality off. To me this is a pain in the butt and not a help to my kind of shooting.

A person who did not have the pleasure of shooting much with a D2 would probably not be put off by the new system. However, I hope this "upgrade" to the system can be set back to the way it was in some kind of firmware update. Most of the D2 users I talk to who have upgraded to the D3 think this new "improved" image playback functionality must have been designed by engineers and not photographers.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 05, 2008, 10:47:57 pm
Interesting article as always Michael. Usuability is indeed what pros are interested in and you're right, when pros gather together, pixel peeping is not a conversational topic.
I'm so glad Nikon are finally giving Canon some serious competition. When I bought my first DSLR, there was only one option if you wanted FF, fast wideangles and good high ISO images. Now if I was buying, I'd actually have a choice, at least at the 12MP range. So let's hope Nikon bring out a camera to rival the 1DsIII as well. Competition is a good thing and Nikon have been trailing for some time now.

Though this line...
"Economics being what it is, few photographers own both systems at the same time. A couple of bodies and a selection of pro-grade lenses runs between $10-$20,000, and once a decision and investment has been made few bother to switch" ...shows how far removed you are from the average professsional photograper finance wise, if you can so easily add a Nikon system to your photographic colectionwhen you already have so much high end gear!!
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: michael on January 06, 2008, 04:20:00 am
Quote
"Economics being what it is, few photographers own both systems at the same time. A couple of bodies and a selection of pro-grade lenses runs between $10-$20,000, and once a decision and investment has been made few bother to switch" ...shows how far removed you are from the average professsional photograper finance wise, if you can so easily add a Nikon system to your photographic colectionwhen you already have so much high end gear!!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165338\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have to say that I'm surprised at the apparent naivety of this comment.

Writing about equipment is part of how I make my living, along with lecturing, leading field workshops, consulting with companies in the industry, and of course publishing this site, videos, books, and tutorial downloads, all of which incur expenses along with the revenues. For me this is not a hobby, it's part of my likelihood.

That means that equipment that I buy is just that, a business expense. I could and sometimes do take "loaners", but these are sort term, and I need to be able to report on and teach about my long-term experience with various pieces of gear. I never accept "gifts", for all the obvious reasons.

Would you criticize a mechanic for buying a specialized set of tools so that he could do certain jobs? Likely not. Then why use a double standard?

My total cost for two Nikon bodies and six lenses was about $10,000. Frankly for any professional in almost any field this is, if not a trivial cost, then at least a low one compared to its revenue generation potential. Take into account the cost of money, and amortize over three years, and the expenditure is not even worth discussing so long as it generates moderate revenue, which I anticipate that this system will in terms of my ability to reach a new audience, teach new skills, publish new related articles on the web and in magazines, and maybe even do some photography with them that might not have otherwise been possible with the other tools that I own.

I think it's  you who might want to examine how far removed you are from professional financial realities.

With all due respect,

Michael
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: billh on January 06, 2008, 09:43:41 am
Hi Michael,

I also used Nikons and Leica Ms as a newspaper photographer in the late 60s/70s, and made the switch to digital and Canon when I bought a 1Ds. I particularly like the image quality of the 1Ds2 and 50 f1.2, 85 f1.2, Leica 180 f2.0 and 300 f2.8IS lenses, but for the past 15 or so years I have done a lot of dog action photography, and I have wished for better AF tracking systems. Since hope springs eternal - even in older guys - I rented a D300, and was amazed to find a camera that would track these creatures almost perfectly. After trying and seeing the spectacular high ISO images from a D3, I ordered one. I find the D3 tracking AF of what Canon refers to as erratic subjects, is in a different league from the Canons. With my 1D2 and 1Ds2 I have to manage to keep a single AF point on a face that is rapidly moving all over the viewfinder. Even when I manage this feat, the plane of focus is frequently behind the face. The difference with the new Nikons is that I use what they call Dynamic AF with 51 points selected, and start (if possible) with the red AF point on the dogs face. From then on, regardless where the face is in the viewfinder, it remains in focus. For me, this difference in system performance is of even greater significance than the high ISO quality. My plan was to use the 1Ds2 and M8 for everything except action (and very low light), but the more I use the D3, the more I like this camera. Hopefully Nikon will release some new fast primes.....

I am very curious to hear your take on the 200-400. Except for weight, it seems an ideal replacement for the 70-200 and 300mm lenses. Hopefully you will try a 1.4x on it too....?

These are a representative few of the many thousands of in focus images I have taken with the D3 since it arrived on December 21. Most are with older, slow non-af-s lenses (80-200 f2.8 and 300 f4.0)

http://homepage.mac.com/billh96007/Trial-W...toAlbum265.html (http://homepage.mac.com/billh96007/Trial-Web/PhotoAlbum265.html)

I am delighted to see you delve into the Nikon world. I want a longer lens for birds, and had planned to buy one for the 1Ds2 or perhaps 1Ds3, but now I am going to wait and see what Nikon announces at the upcoming photo shows. Knowing you are interested too and will explore interesting new offerings makes the waiting easier!

Bill
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Russell Price on January 06, 2008, 11:32:22 am
Michael is in the position to be able to afford and to test this gear.  I'm glad that he is able to write about the equipment without influence from the manufacturers.

Although, Nikon did miss the boat with full-frame by a couple of years, they seem to be on track and I had a chance to shoot the D3 and was blown-away by the quality of the files and the camera.

Although, comparing it to a 21MP Canon kinda seems silly to me.  It should be compared to the 1D Mark III not the 1DsIII.

I don't take sides, I take pictures.  Give me the best tool for the job.  I made the move over to Canon a few years ago.  I don't regret it.  Nikon caught up and I hope they continue to succeed.

I just hope Leica can improve upon the M8.  Maybe Nikon or Zeiss will come out with a digital rangefinder since the M mount is now out of patent.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 06, 2008, 11:53:58 am
billh

I never realised that those dogs were so fierce; more like fighting bears!

Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: seany on January 06, 2008, 03:56:41 pm
Quote
My total cost for two Nikon bodies and six lenses was about $10,000. Frankly for any professional in almost any field this is, if not a trivial cost, then at least a low one compared to its revenue generation potential. Take into account the cost of money, and amortize over three years, and the expenditure is not even worth discussing so long as it generates moderate revenue, which I anticipate that this system will in terms of my ability to reach a new audience, teach new skills, publish new related articles on the web and in magazines, and maybe even do some photography with them that might not have otherwise been possible with the other tools that I own.

I think it's  you who might want to examine how far removed you are from professional financial realities.

With all due respect,

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165376\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well said Michael as one who retired from being a wage slave as soon as the opportunity presented I've always admired your style and independence of mind, whats the point of wealth if one doe's not fully avail of the freedom it confers to indulge ones passions.
I enjoyed your very detailed and practical review and comparison of the Nikon and Canon systems and look forward to further comments as you proceed on this voyage of discovery.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mark F on January 06, 2008, 04:52:53 pm
Hi Michael,

Thanks for your customary informative and intelligently written article. As someone who is finally about to make the switch from film (Canon 1v) to digital, the introduction of the new Nikons makes this the best and worst of times.  Who said that having choices is good?      

If I were starting from scratch, the D3 would likely be the way I would go, but since I already have an investment in Canon L lenses this would be an expensive change. Putting cost aside, at the end of the day it seems to me that I wouldn't go wrong with either the D3 or the 1Ds3.  Still, I'll be interested to see your posted photos over the next year or two to see which system you wind up using more.

Mark F.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: billh on January 07, 2008, 09:21:55 am
Quote
billh

I never realised that those dogs were so fierce; more like fighting bears!

Rob C
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=165441\")

Hi Rob,

This is a case where appearances can be deceiving. These two are just pups. The girl had her first BD on Dec. 27, and the boy won’t be one until the end of January. You get a sense of the puppy in them in this pic,

[a href=\"http://homepage.mac.com/billh96007/.Pictures/D3AFtest2/Cody,ISO6400,2449.jpg]http://homepage.mac.com/billh96007/.Pictur...SO6400,2449.jpg[/url]

The girl pup is a real type A personality and is given to grabbing her little brother (same dad, different mothers) by the collar and rolling him over and pinning him. He gets loose and “complains” loudly, but they are best friends and never do battle. Since my objective was to test the AF, the pics are all of them wound up in action, so their intensity comes through in the photos. They come from the Bouvier working lines in France, and what so attracts me to them is their intelligence, athleticism and enthusiasm for life. They really do have a soft, gentle sweet side too.

Bill
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: fike on January 07, 2008, 10:25:09 am
I always enjoy hearing Michael move past the pixel peeping and on to other important issues like usability in the field.  

I frequently tell non-photographer friends who want to spend $600 on a DSLR that it just doesn't matter too much which one they pick.  At that price, the differences are minor.  Pick one of the major brands that has the features and usability they like.  Much usability, from a photographers point of view, is sacrificed in this price-range, and they all have similar liabilities.  

When you move up the food chain a bit, the decisions becomes more complex because you learn to value specific features, properties, and capabilities more.  Michael's reviews always bring these elements to the fore.

Nikon, Canon....on the surface, it doesn't matter much....what are you looking for?

It is for this reason that I can't read DPReview forums because of the constant bickering over a gnats @ss of image quality difference.  

I was disappointed by this statement:

Quote
The cliche online is that there's nothing wrong with an older digital camera since it still takes pictures the same as it did the day it was new, and just because something better comes along is no reason for it to become obsolete. Ya right! Tell it to the judge. No pro is going to show up on a shoot with gear that's two generations behind the competition, and few except the most skint amateurs are happy to sit on the sidelines while better tools become available.

 This statement is just an extension of the non-photographer's statement "That is a great picture, what kind of camera did you use."
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Steven Draper on January 07, 2008, 12:14:33 pm
I agree with Fike. I've lost interest in the other site too for the same reasons.

In the film days my little NikonF301 would, with the same lens and film, produce very close to the same capture data as the F3 would, provided of course I was inside the F301's operational envelope.

I guess it would be true that the F301 and F6 with same lens and film would be close within the F301's envelope too as the camera was largely - in a very crude sense - a device to keep the film dark and connect a lens to the front and offer an interface in which to make creative decisions regarding speed, aperture, ISO.

Digital cameras are unfortunately very different as the way the sensor collects the light data is an area of technology that is moving forward at incredible pace. Therefore each new advance renders previous generations of digital cameras less able to do what the latest technology offers. Brilliant for Nikon & Canon who now know that folks will feel compelled to upgrade more frequently than in the past!

Also it means A D40 user cannot get the same result as a D3 user given the same lens and taking a picture on both that it within the D40 envelope anymore.

In 50 years time I predict that it is very unlikely that many people - there will always be a few! - that will be searching e-bay for early digital cameras, still working computers of the period and the suitable software, and going out and making pictures in the same way that many still enjoy running film through old classic film cameras today.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: richs on January 07, 2008, 01:29:39 pm
Another good usability over pixel peeping review is Bjorn Rorslett's one.

http://www.naturfotograf.com/D3/D3_rev00.html (http://www.naturfotograf.com/D3/D3_rev00.html)

Regards,

Richard
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 07, 2008, 01:55:16 pm
Quote
I always enjoy hearing Michael move past the pixel peeping and on to other important issues like usability in the field. 

I frequently tell non-photographer friends who want to spend $600 on a DSLR that it just doesn't matter too much which one they pick.  At that price, the differences are minor.  Pick one of the major brands that has the features and usability they like.  Much usability, from a photographers point of view, is sacrificed in this price-range, and they all have similar liabilities. 

When you move up the food chain a bit, the decisions becomes more complex because you learn to value specific features, properties, and capabilities more.  Michael's reviews always bring these elements to the fore.

Nikon, Canon....on the surface, it doesn't matter much....what are you looking for?

It is for this reason that I can't read DPReview forums because of the constant bickering over a gnats @ss of image quality difference.   

I was disappointed by this statement:
 This statement is just an extension of the non-photographer's statement "That is a great picture, what kind of camera did you use."
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165628\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

"I was disappointed by this statement...."

Errm - no, actually.

You canīt have been reading the other thread, close to this one, on the Leica M8. In the pro world it does matter very much the sort of equipment that you use.

Basically, you are in the business of taking money from your clientīs bank account and putting it into yours. In order to do this, you generally need a client with more money than you have. And that client must be reassured that he isnīt being taken for a ride, that you are the right guy with whom he should be spending his money. And that feeling is very well helped along by the showing of the trimmings of success.

Succes is what the client wants for himself and it is your success in your field that is attracting him to you, not your pleasing voice, your lovely eyes nor the sweet smile you can summon at the merest challenge; there may be exceptions, but we neeed not go there.

So yes, flash the cameras, the cars and the cards: it all says good things about you in the busines sense. Your wife might know better, but she usually isnīt your client, thank God.

Itīs the same with your competitors: you donīt want them to feel that they are doing better than you are, worst of all, you would hate their sympathy. So hit them in the eyes as well: good news is the only news you need to pass along the line. It never did anyone any harm for the competition to feel it wasnīt worth their trouble in going to see your clients. A little weakness will open the floodgates.

False? Unpleasant? Who ever pretended it could be any different? If you want honesty and photographic good times without obligations,  go be an amateur and please only yourself; but do understand that the two - pro and am - are worlds apart, hardly the same species even.

Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: fike on January 07, 2008, 02:44:09 pm
Quote
"I was disappointed by this statement...."

Errm - no, actually.

You canīt have been reading the other thread, close to this one, on the Leica M8. In the pro world it does matter very much the sort of equipment that you use.

Basically, you are in the business of taking money from your clientīs bank account and putting it into yours. In order to do this, you generally need a client with more money than you have. And that client must be reassured that he isnīt being taken for a ride, that you are the right guy with whom he should be spending his money. And that feeling is very well helped along by the showing of the trimmings of success.

Succes is what the client wants for himself and it is your success in your field that is attracting him to you, not your pleasing voice, your lovely eyes nor the sweet smile you can summon at the merest challenge; there may be exceptions, but we neeed not go there.

So yes, flash the cameras, the cars and the cards: it all says good things about you in the busines sense. Your wife might know better, but she usually isnīt your client, thank God.

Itīs the same with your competitors: you donīt want them to feel that they are doing better than you are, worst of all, you would hate their sympathy. So hit them in the eyes as well: good news is the only news you need to pass along the line. It never did anyone any harm for the competition to feel it wasnīt worth their trouble in going to see your clients. A little weakness will open the floodgates.

False? Unpleasant? Who ever pretended it could be any different? If you want honesty and photographic good times without obligations,  go be an amateur and please only yourself; but do understand that the two - pro and am - are worlds apart, hardly the same species even.

Rob C
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165677\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Wow, a lot of anger in that response.  I am admittedly ignorant of the world you describe, and I am probably happier for it.  While I wouldn't be surprised by those attitudes in fashion, high-end event photography, or commercial product work, I am surprised that you feel it is the prevalent attitude in Fine Art Landscape Photography, which is the subject of the Luminous Landscape website.  

My landscape photo customers rarely see my camera.  99.9% of all our customers couldn't tell the difference between a print made with a 20D or a D3.  99.9% of our customers couldn't tell the difference between a print made with loving precision using a R2400 or an R11880. Certainly the opposite is true and many cr@ppy prints are made with great equipment every day.

I was disappointed because people who know better than to equate equipment with artistic quality (which includes the forum members and all of the excellent contributors to this site) would be the last ones who I would expect to propagate the myth that the gear makes the artist.

Put another way, if I went to one of Michael's expeditions or seminars, would I be considered inferior if I showed up with a two year old camera? A 300D?  We have all been to places where that sort of elitism has excluded people.  I never previously got that vibe from Michael or the contributors to this site.  

I buy new equipment because it allows me to do something new creatively or to grow as an artist, not to impress people.  If there was a purple-plastic digicam that did the trick, I would be there in a heartbeat.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Nemo on January 07, 2008, 03:17:26 pm
I would like to make two additional points about this report.

1. The Nikon camera has the base ISO value at 200, and Canon cameras start at ISO 100. This is a whole stop of difference. Between the base ISO and any other ISO value there are fewer "jumps" if the former is higher. It makes sense for a (fast) reportage camera, but it would be a relative disadvantage for a studio camera. All these cameras try to be versatile, but Canon's 1Ds series are designed with studio photography in mind. This difference in the base ISO explain the better signal/noise ratio, to some extent. The size of the "pixels", the design of the microlenses, the electronics for noise handling (hardware) and the software programming are other variables at play. In any case, I think the Canon 5D (more than two years old) is a similar performer at a much lower price, considering the weaker body and the lower ISO base value. This is a lesson for Canon: reportage cameras cannot be designed like studio cameras. The Nikon D3 is a very powerful and versatile reportage camera (social events, journalism, sports, travel...), very well designed for a particular kind of use. Leica designed the M8 in this way as well.

2. The anti-alias filter is a nightmare when you increase the sampling frequency (number of "pixels" for a given sensor size) beyond some point. Consider this: the 1Ds Mark III has 30% more pixels than the 1Ds Mark II. This is a 15% linear increase in sampling frequency. But I think the real gain in detail resolved is much lower, due to a couple of factors: a) this additional sampling frequency (sensor "resolution") is dedicated to resolve signal from the lens with lower contrast (finer details); b ) the anti-alias filter blurres this finer detail ! The result is much bigger files (in part this is due to the deeper bits tonal separation) and not so much additional detail resolved! From a cost-benefit analysis, does it make sense? Many photographers think it doesn't at those prices, if you already have the 1Ds Mark II. I cannot understand why Canon didn't take out this filter. Moiré could appear in some situations, but professionals shoot in RAW mode, and it is very easy to selectively correct this problem by software. This is a lesson for Nikon: if you make a studio camera with 24 MP, make a good cost-benefit balance for the potential users, and take out the AA filter! Leica will present a digital R10 camera at Photokina 2008 with this criteria in mind.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 07, 2008, 05:12:47 pm
Quote
I was disappointed by this statement:

 This statement is just an extension of the non-photographer's statement "That is a great picture, what kind of camera did you use."
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Well, photography is a very competitive area. We are in a period where there are still significant enhancements from one generation to the next.

In this context, it would not be wise to use tools that are behing those used by your competition, and your competition will typically be shooting with a D3.

Besides, as Rob said, the way a photography looks is important as well exactly because of the "That is a great picture, what kind of camera did you use" comment that many customers will make.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 07, 2008, 05:15:37 pm
But you're reducing the pixel size down to that of the 20D, where the OLPF works fine. You may think moire is removable in post, but I disagree. You can to an extent, blur out of existence chroma moire, but not luma moire.

Removing an OLPF also makes demosaicing doubly hard and artifact prone.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: David Sutton on January 07, 2008, 05:24:07 pm
Quote
Wow, a lot of anger in that response.  I am admittedly ignorant of the world you describe, and I am probably happier for it.  While I wouldn't be surprised by those attitudes in fashion, high-end event photography, or commercial product work, I am surprised that you feel it is the prevalent attitude in Fine Art Landscape Photography, which is the subject of the Luminous Landscape website. 

My landscape photo customers rarely see my camera.  99.9% of all our customers couldn't tell the difference between a print made with a 20D or a D3.  99.9% of our customers couldn't tell the difference between a print made with loving precision using a R2400 or an R11880. Certainly the opposite is true and many cr@ppy prints are made with great equipment every day.

I was disappointed because people who know better than to equate equipment with artistic quality (which includes the forum members and all of the excellent contributors to this site) would be the last ones who I would expect to propagate the myth that the gear makes the artist.

Put another way, if I went to one of Michael's expeditions or seminars, would I be considered inferior if I showed up with a two year old camera? A 300D?  We have all been to places where that sort of elitism has excluded people.  I never previously got that vibe from Michael or the contributors to this site. 

I buy new equipment because it allows me to do something new creatively or to grow as an artist, not to impress people.  If there was a purple-plastic digicam that did the trick, I would be there in a heartbeat.
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As an overly enthusiastic amateur I can't really comment, but I can say as a professional musician when I turn up to play at a wedding I have a nice car, new suit, obviously professional sound gear etc etc. I don't think this is a shallow thing, but rather showing respect to my clients and their guests: I know I can do the job but it is important to be seen to do it. So if I need equipment I spend whatever it takes and my accountants do amazing things with the figures. The creativity happens away from prying eyes when I can compose in peace, and amongst my musician acquaintances it is the quality of the work that matters, and no-one mentions gear much, the assumption being that whatever you own must be doing the right job for you. Cheers, David
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: fike on January 07, 2008, 05:48:22 pm
Quote
As an overly enthusiastic amateur I can't really comment, but I can say as a professional musician when I turn up to play at a wedding I have a nice car, new suit, obviously professional sound gear etc etc. I don't think this is a shallow thing, but rather showing respect to my clients and their guests: I know I can do the job but it is important to be seen to do it. So if I need equipment I spend whatever it takes and my accountants do amazing things with the figures. The creativity happens away from prying eyes when I can compose in peace, and amongst my musician acquaintances it is the quality of the work that matters, and no-one mentions gear much, the assumption being that whatever you own must be doing the right job for you. Cheers, David
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I sense I am fighting a losing battle on this one (in my own mind and on the forums).  Presenting a professional and competent appearance is not what I am debating.  I agree whole heartedly that there is a price doing business and that means getting the right equipment to do the job.  No argument!

What frustrates me is the perception that a photographer needs to go out and always have the latest and greatest to be taken seriously.  Canon and Nikon love that attitude. So, I show up in a well tailored two-year-old suit.  So my car is a clean and well kept four-year-old SUV.  So my camera is 18 months old.  

Generally speaking most generational jumps from one camera to the next are incremental.  20D to 30D was very minor.  30D to 40D was more substantial, but somewhat incremental.  Am I a happier, better photographer if I upgrade?  I doubt it. will I make more sales?  I doubt it.  

Michael certainly has a legitimate reason to upgrade frequently. As an educator and reviewer it helps him to do his job and to make a living.  What I don't like to see is the idea that I (or any other budding pro) would be perceived as inferior if I chose to wait a couple years between upgrades.  

Consuming less (mercury laden electronics) should be considered a virtue, not a liability.  I photograph the landscape.  I love nature.  I have seen the wasteland that is a country like Taiwan where so many of our products were made 5 years ago.  The rapid-fire development and throw-away cycle of everything we buy needs to end.  

WOW!  I have gotten pretty far afield here.  

I will say it again, "I agree whole heartedly that there is a price doing business and that means getting the right equipment to do the job.  No argument! " But, does it all need to be brand-spanking new?
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: dilip on January 07, 2008, 05:59:43 pm
Quote
I will say it again, "I agree whole heartedly that there is a price doing business and that means getting the right equipment to do the job.  No argument! " But, does it all need to be brand-spanking new?
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Does it all have to be brand spanking new?  I think that the general consensus is that it depends on your audience.  If you shoot landscapes and sell prints, then no one needs to see the equipment and no, you don't need the top end gear.

If you're teaching, consulting, or shooting in front of the person who pays the bills the camera might matter.  I was at a wedding recently, and a friend commented that the photographer was probably sub-par due to the fact that my amateur (but well heeled friend) had a newer body.  My reaction was to point out that he was likely more skilled, and had some really nice glass.  With reactions like my friend's it's completely understandable that professionals feel that they have to stay on the curve.

In the end, it all comes down to who is paying the bills.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 07, 2008, 06:03:22 pm
Quote
I have to say that I'm surprised at the apparent naivety of this comment.

Writing about equipment is part of how I make my living, along with lecturing, leading field workshops, consulting with companies in the industry, and of course publishing this site, videos, books, and tutorial downloads, all of which incur expenses along with the revenues. For me this is not a hobby, it's part of my likelihood.

That means that equipment that I buy is just that, a business expense. I could and sometimes do take "loaners", but these are sort term, and I need to be able to report on and teach about my long-term experience with various pieces of gear. I never accept "gifts", for all the obvious reasons.

Would you criticize a mechanic for buying a specialized set of tools so that he could do certain jobs? Likely not. Then why use a double standard?

My total cost for two Nikon bodies and six lenses was about $10,000. Frankly for any professional in almost any field this is, if not a trivial cost, then at least a low one compared to its revenue generation potential. Take into account the cost of money, and amortize over three years, and the expenditure is not even worth discussing so long as it generates moderate revenue, which I anticipate that this system will in terms of my ability to reach a new audience, teach new skills, publish new related articles on the web and in magazines, and maybe even do some photography with them that might not have otherwise been possible with the other tools that I own.

I think it's  you who might want to examine how far removed you are from professional financial realities.

With all due respect,

Michael
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I think you have completely miscontrued what I wrote. I simply observerved how different you are from pro photographers financially and I certainly am not criticising you for buying the kit as I am fully aware that your setup is not like that of a professional photographer, and your financal reasoning is quite different , so buying a duplicate system for you makes good business sense. Unlike for a working pro photgrapher who as you mention it would not be an option.
Though, surely in the interests of a balanced view, you should have bought a Nikon system a lot sooner as well as Pentax/Sony/Olympus systems too!  

 BTW buying a D3 body here in the UK would cost me US$6800 dollars alone, ouch!      Not to mention the fact that in the UK,  computers and software etc can be double the price it is in the US, yet photographers certainly do not earn double or anywhere near it of our US counterparts. I shall be visiting New York sometime soon to go shoping for that very reason!
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 07, 2008, 09:56:24 pm
Quote
In any case, I think the Canon 5D (more than two years old) is a similar performer at a much lower price, considering the weaker body and the lower ISO base value. This is a lesson for Canon: reportage cameras cannot be designed like studio cameras. The Nikon D3 is a very powerful and versatile reportage camera (social events, journalism, sports, travel...), very well designed for a particular kind of use.

The 5D is not in the same class of noise performance as the 1Dsmk3 or the D3, each of which has about double the photon collection of the 5D with the same exposure, and 1/2 stop less read noise across the board at all ISOs at the pixel level (and a lot more pixels on the 1Dsmk3 to make the "image" read noise even lower).

Quote
2. The anti-alias filter is a nightmare when you increase the sampling frequency (number of "pixels" for a given sensor size) beyond some point. Consider this: the 1Ds Mark III has 30% more pixels than the 1Ds Mark II. This is a 15% linear increase in sampling frequency. But I think the real gain in detail resolved is much lower, due to a couple of factors: a) this additional sampling frequency (sensor "resolution") is dedicated to resolve signal from the lens with lower contrast (finer details); b ) the anti-alias filter blurres this finer detail ! The result is much bigger files (in part this is due to the deeper bits tonal separation) and not so much additional detail resolved! From a cost-benefit analysis, does it make sense?
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No, it doesn't, but not in the way you suggest.  It doesn't make sense because it isn't true.  AA filters get scaled in their design so that the radius of their influence is proportional to the pixel pitch.  If this ideal is maintained, then the maximum linear resolution of the image (as determined by the sensor, say, as if, it were recording a fine laser beam instead of normal optics) is proportional to the square root of the pixel count.  I seriously doubt that Canon would use an AA filter in the 1Dsmk3 that had a wider spread than the mk2, not only in pixels, but in microns as well.

The real issues in viewing resolution on the mk3 are probably due to looking at the pixels themselves, which, with the same lens *should* usually be a little softer, due to the limits of the lens, and this doesn't necessarily go away when you view or print the images from both at the same size, if the downsizing methods used are not true resampling.  Even $600 photoshop uses a quick and dirty method of downsizing images that maintains individual original pixel limitations, in terms of noise and resolution.  Who knows what it does when it goes to print, too.  It may use methods that maintain individual pixel characteristics, too, when it sends the print driver the data in its native color pixel resolution.

And let's face it, Canon's wide lenses are not stellar performers, especially in the corners and wide open, so if you're going for minimum DOF with them, your "in-focus" areas aren't always going to be as sharp as you want.  AA filters only "ruin" a very narrow range of optical MTFs; the range that is otherwise just a little sharp, but not completely sharp.  The really sharp parts should have the AA filter, and the soft areas, due to optical limits or being OOF are hardly affected by the AA filter at all.

It really makes me sad to see all the current backlash against AA filters.  I personally can't fathom why anyone would want to look at or capture an aliased image; they look totally unnatural to me, like an image viewed through fractured glass that just happens to break in simple grid pattern.  The sharpness is clearly false, with high-contrast edges in discreet, non-analog, "snap-to-grid" positions.

The ultimate solution to issues like this is higher pixel density; once you get to a certain pixel density, you're going to outresolve the lenses anyway so no AA filter is needed.  Noise energy will also be concentrated at frequencies beyond the resolution of the lens, and noise can therefore be discarded in processing without losing subject detail.  The issues, of course, with higher pixel density are slower camera operation and computer processing time, and storage space, so growth in those areas are necessary, to make super-high-resolution practical.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 07, 2008, 10:10:26 pm
John, I agree. There seems to be a current fad for people to want to remove OLPFs. I personally find this strange. Of course, the request comes from people who don't engineer / design cameras and sensors, or the software that reconstructs the Bayer pattern to RGB afterwards. They come form people who want "more resolution", because more has to be better, right? Just remove the OLPF and you'll get 10% extra free resolution! If only it were so simple.... If it was as simple as that, your Canon and Nikon would come without an OLPF, but they don't. There's a simple reason: it makes the camera work "properly" and if you let aliasing into a system, you can't get it out again without destroying the image.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: David Mantripp on January 08, 2008, 02:36:29 am
Quote
I sense I am fighting a losing battle on this one (in my own mind and on the forums).  Presenting a professional and competent appearance is not what I am debating.  I agree whole heartedly that there is a price doing business and that means getting the right equipment to do the job.  No argument!

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For what it's worth (not a lot) I totally agree with you. I also agree with the point that there is a vast gulf between people who take photos to sell them to other people, and people who take photos for their intrinsic value, regardless of whether others will like them or not.  And of course there are people who take photos in order to justify buying expensive gear.

Outside of the still narrow focus of the web, there are, remarkably, still a good number of people doing good, revenue generating work for major publishers using film or "old" digital gear. A pro travel / landscape photographer I know - who is doing pretty well - currently uses a pair of EOS-1n (film) cameras which she has been using for about 10 years...

By the way, I have been on one of Michael's workshops, and there was certainly no gear snobbery or condescending of any kind from Michael or any of his team.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Nemo on January 08, 2008, 05:03:31 am
Quote
The 5D is not in the same class of noise performance as the 1Dsmk3 or the D3, each of which has about double the photon collection of the 5D with the same exposure, and 1/2 stop less read noise across the board at all ISOs at the pixel level (and a lot more pixels on the 1Dsmk3 to make the "image" read noise even lower).

The "pixel" size (in fact, spacing) of the 5D is similar to that of the D3, and much bigger than those of the 1Ds Mark III. Photo collection and read noise strongly depend on "pixel" size (thermal or reset noise depend on other factors, for instance).

It is an older design, as I have said, but in practical terms is a similar performer in terms of noise than the 1Ds Mark III, not worse.


Quote
I seriously doubt that Canon would use an AA filter in the 1Dsmk3 that had a wider spread than the mk2, not only in pixels, but in microns as well.

I doubt it too.

Quote
The real issues in viewing resolution on the mk3 are probably due to looking at the pixels themselves, which, with the same lens *should* usually be a little softer, due to the limits of the lens.

This is what I have explained. Additional or newly resolved detail (finer detail) has lower contrast. This "lower quality" additional detail is the gain. On the other hand, you can cleanly resolve more high contrast detail when you increase the sampling frequency (Nyquist Theorem).

Quote
AA filters only "ruin" a very narrow range of optical MTFs; the range that is otherwise just a little sharp, but not completely sharp. 

It is like pushing the MTF graph down. Of course, the "sharp" areas keep visible, and the "unsharp" curves or parts of the curves (low contrast zones) become invisible. How this affect real subjects, is another matter, but it has obvious effects on image sharpness (you can see it easily).

Quote
It really makes me sad to see all the current backlash against AA filters.  I personally can't fathom why anyone would want to look at or capture an aliased image; they look totally unnatural to me, like an image viewed through fractured glass that just happens to break in simple grid pattern.  The sharpness is clearly false, with high-contrast edges in discreet, non-analog, "snap-to-grid" positions.

I don't agree on the look of images coming from cameras without AA filters. Aliasing effects can occur even if you have an AA filter. I rarely see aliasing artifacts in my camera (without AA filter), and the real detail resolved "per pixel" is visibly superior to other cameras with AA-"protected" sensors.

Quote
The ultimate solution to issues like this is higher pixel density; once you get to a certain pixel density, you're going to outresolve the lenses anyway so no AA filter is needed.

That is not exactly true. This "certain" pixel density is the double of the higher frequency of the signal coming from the lens (a signal with very low contrast, anyway). Then, if the lens transmit 150 lp/mm at a sufficient level of contrast, the sensor would need at least... 300 lp/mm of sampling frequency (Nyquist Theorem)!

Higher pixel density reduces the problem, but is not and cannot be a complete solution to the potential aliasing problems. Higher sampling frecquency allows for a cleaner reproduction of high contrast signal, or signal related to a relevant range of detail (say 40 lp/mm in 35mm format, for instance, which you can resolve cleanly with 80 lp/mm of sampling frequency, etc.) and reproduction of new (lower contrast) detail. I see those gains very limited in the Mark III (compared to the Mark II).

Quote
Noise energy will also be concentrated at frequencies beyond the resolution of the lens, and noise can therefore be discarded in processing without losing subject detail.

I don't understand the meaning of this statement ("noise energy" and such).
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: sojournerphoto on January 08, 2008, 05:09:46 am
Quote
Even $600 photoshop uses a quick and dirty method of downsizing images that maintains individual original pixel limitations, in terms of noise and resolution.  Who knows what it does when it goes to print, too.  It may use methods that maintain individual pixel characteristics, too, when it sends the print driver the data in its native color pixel resolution.

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John

can you elaborate on this please. I presume that for downsampling the optimum approach would use some form of averaging to reduce noise in the data - pretty simple at first glance for a linear halving of pixel count say - but you imply that this approach is not used as part of the photoshop downsizing algorithm?

Thanks

Mike
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 08, 2008, 09:15:11 am
Quote
John

can you elaborate on this please. I presume that for downsampling the optimum approach would use some form of averaging to reduce noise in the data - pretty simple at first glance for a linear halving of pixel count say - but you imply that this approach is not used as part of the photoshop downsizing algorithm?
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When you explicitly downsize something, you are given a choice of methods, but when you are viewing something onscreen at anything but 100%, an inferior method is used.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 08, 2008, 10:04:26 am
But Photoshop uses bicubic for downsampling, which is hardly an optimum downsampling filter.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 08, 2008, 10:08:01 am
Quote
That is not exactly true. This "certain" pixel density is the double of the higher frequency of the signal coming from the lens (a signal with very low contrast, anyway). Then, if the lens transmit 150 lp/mm at a sufficient level of contrast, the sensor would need at least... 300 lp/mm of sampling frequency (Nyquist Theorem)!
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You need the number of samples to be at least double the frequency, so your above calculation is off by a factor of two as you've quoted 300lp/mm rather than 300 samples per mm.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Nemo on January 08, 2008, 10:58:37 am
Quote
You need the number of samples to be at least double the frequency, so your above calculation is off by a factor of two as you've quoted 300lp/mm rather than 300 samples per mm.

Graeme
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The signal frequency is in line pairs as well.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Hank on January 08, 2008, 02:37:49 pm
Way back up there to the origins of this thread........

Thanks for the review Michael.  I've frequently said that emergence of a full-frame sensor would not be enough to make me dump my D2X bodies, and that's still true.  But your comments and highlights of other features do in fact make the D3 attractive.  

I may not go so far as destroying a body in the way Toyota depicts owners destroying their vehicles so they can buy a new one, but I frankly won't mourn the passing of a D2X in order to help justify picking up a D3.  It's just that Nikon builds them so darned well, I may be waiting longer than I'd like!
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 08, 2008, 02:44:23 pm
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The signal frequency is in line pairs as well.
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The signal should be a frequency, and lp/mm is appropriate. The samples should be in samples/mm.

If you think in audio terms, to get 22khz (or 22,000 cycles / second), the sample rate is 44.1kss (kilo samples per second). You need twice as many samples as hz, or twice as many samples as line pairs.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 08, 2008, 03:19:39 pm
Quote
Wow, a lot of anger in that response.  I am admittedly ignorant of the world you describe, and I am probably happier for it.  While I wouldn't be surprised by those attitudes in fashion, high-end event photography, or commercial product work, I am surprised that you feel it is the prevalent attitude in Fine Art Landscape Photography, which is the subject of the Luminous Landscape website. 

My landscape photo customers rarely see my camera.  99.9% of all our customers couldn't tell the difference between a print made with a 20D or a D3.  99.9% of our customers couldn't tell the difference between a print made with loving precision using a R2400 or an R11880. Certainly the opposite is true and many cr@ppy prints are made with great equipment every day.

I was disappointed because people who know better than to equate equipment with artistic quality (which includes the forum members and all of the excellent contributors to this site) would be the last ones who I would expect to propagate the myth that the gear makes the artist.

Put another way, if I went to one of Michael's expeditions or seminars, would I be considered inferior if I showed up with a two year old camera? A 300D?  We have all been to places where that sort of elitism has excluded people.  I never previously got that vibe from Michael or the contributors to this site. 

I buy new equipment because it allows me to do something new creatively or to grow as an artist, not to impress people.  If there was a purple-plastic digicam that did the trick, I would be there in a heartbeat.
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Fike

Yes, of course, some anger; it is somewhat annoying to hear people speak with  conviction of things they know little about.

You might or might not choose to spend a lot on equipment, and thatīs just you and your personal relationship with your money. But you should try not to extrapolate your own rationale in that way. Like Mr Simon said: one manīs ceiling is another manīs floor.

Further, I donīt think you will find it cast in stone that the LuLa has stated that īFine art Landscapeīis in any way the exclusive subject of the site; in fact, I do believe that Michael has addressed this in the past. I do not believe that I wrote anywhere that I was making reference to "the prevalent attitude in Fine Art Landscape Photography" -  I wrote of the commercial world of which I do have a long understanding and all too personal experiences. So, I feel quite justified in making the case for the importance of appearances in business, which I do think you accepted.

By the same token, Iīd be surprised if the same ethic, if for different motivation, were not to exist within amateur ranks too.

To tell you the truth, there is something about the self-applied title of the genre, Fine Art Landscape Photography, that comes over as unbearably pretentious to some professional photographers, as if its practitioners were unable to say they just liked photographing landscape, that it wasnīt quite enough, there had to be this implied elevation to a higher level ; added value, as the taxman might say.

Anyway, itīs all academic and not really worth either of us getting over-pressured about it - just opinions, and we will both go on with our own set ideas as will the rest of the world.

Cheers - Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Nemo on January 08, 2008, 03:23:35 pm
Quote
The signal should be a frequency, and lp/mm is appropriate. The samples should be in samples/mm.

If you think in audio terms, to get 22khz (or 22,000 cycles / second), the sample rate is 44.1kss (kilo samples per second). You need twice as many samples as hz, or twice as many samples as line pairs.

Graeme
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Then, 300 "samples" is ok. The lp/mm consistent unit gives an intuitive idea of how many "pixels" you must to put into a millimeter for meeting the requirements of the Nyquist Theorem. For instance, 100 lp/mm leads to 5 micron spaced pixels, quite small for actual reflex cameras (10MP FourThirds Olympus cameras, however, reach that number)... and we are talking of at least 300 lp/mm for a correct reproduction of 150 lp/mm (as transmitted by the lens). This is three times the maximum pixel density in actual reflex cameras. That is the idea.

Thanks for the correction Graeme.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 08, 2008, 03:29:40 pm
Quote
Way back up there to the origins of this thread........

Thanks for the review Michael.  I've frequently said that emergence of a full-frame sensor would not be enough to make me dump my D2X bodies, and that's still true.  But your comments and highlights of other features do in fact make the D3 attractive. 

I may not go so far as destroying a body in the way Toyota depicts owners destroying their vehicles so they can buy a new one, but I frankly won't mourn the passing of a D2X in order to help justify picking up a D3.  It's just that Nikon builds them so darned well, I may be waiting longer than I'd like!
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Hank -

Please forgive the hijacking that follows, but as I consider you my man in the country, some more clarification of US folklore, please!

Chevrolet. Years ago, it used a blue, slanted cross in its logo. Today, it has a golden slanted cross. Do you remember when this change happened, why it happened or whether it has something to do with GM buying the Daewoo brand?

This matters to me, because I find, as I age, that things I took for granted as being the way I thought them to be, have lately begun to break the security of that fond feeling. Maybe you can shed a light on the car thing, at least!

Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Quentin on January 08, 2008, 04:21:51 pm
An unfortunate side effect of the exciting progress made with digital cameras is that they might just have become consumer goods like cars, to be changed as a matter of routine, not cherished in to old age as film cameras might have been.  The Nikon's look great, but how about the D4 or D5?   Will the Canon 1Ds VI have 50mp?  Its enough to make you yearn for film.

So I'll buy new kit of course when it offers a real advantage, but I don't feel any peer pressure to ensure I have the latest from Japan adorning my kneck any more than I'll ever buy a new car to impress the neighbors.  Its just not what floats my boat.  I have no interest in what the Jones' are doing, much less trying to keep up with them.

Quentin
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Hank on January 08, 2008, 04:23:20 pm
Nothing was aimed at you or anyone else Rob.  Rather I wanted to sidestep the frey and respond directly to Michael.  Sorry for the interruption.  It's what I was trying to avoid.

Edit-

I just saw Quentin's post.  My sincere hope is that just as I'm ready to replace our D2X bodies, the D4 will be on the scene.  With such a jump from the D2 to the D3, I can only hope for a similar jump from the D3 to the D4!
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 08, 2008, 05:57:51 pm
Quote
But Photoshop uses bicubic for downsampling, which is hardly an optimum downsampling filter.
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You can change PS' default interpolation method in Preferences (and it ships as bicubic, IIRC), but this is not used for image display in Photoshop.  Photoshop uses some bizarre hybrid of nearest neighbor and some kind of averaging.  You see the averaging in some  ratios, and in some you don't, and it looks like pure NN.

Make a single-pixel checkerboard image in photoshop, and run it through different percentages in Navigator.  You will see a bunch of things that look totally unlike the original, as you would imagine it resampled.

If you don't have an easy way to make a checkerboard, just make a new canvas, and open filter factory and enter:
R: (x+y)%2?0:255
G: (x+y)%2?0:255
B: (x+y)%2?0:255

It is really, really bad.  This decision was probably made back when computer had 33 MHz CPUs, and 2 Megabytes of RAM, and no one has given it a thought since.  There is no excuse for such nasty resizing in a state-of-the-art image processor.

And again, my point is that this kind of viewing increases image-level noise, and gives an unfair advantage to images with less, but bigger pixels, because the noise of individual pixels is exaggerated.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 08, 2008, 06:21:27 pm
Quote
The signal should be a frequency, and lp/mm is appropriate. The samples should be in samples/mm.

If you think in audio terms, to get 22khz (or 22,000 cycles / second), the sample rate is 44.1kss (kilo samples per second). You need twice as many samples as hz, or twice as many samples as line pairs.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165934\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

More is still better, though.  I think the "nyquist" theory is a bit too optimistic.  I think you really need to sample at 4x to 5x the highest frequency.

Say you sample a sine wave with a frequency of 20KHz at 40Ksps, and the sample period is centered on the parts of the sine wave where it crossing the zero point?  What do you get?  Nothing.  In the real world, there is usually some frequency modulation, so you get changing phase relationships, and therefore amplitude modulation.  These occur at other ratios to the theoretical maximum sampled frequency, too.  A slow sine wave sweep drops in volume at several points in the sweep, as you approach the nyquist.  Ratios like 3/5, 4/5, 2/3 the nyquist, etc.

Back to imaging, I know it is a subtle thing, but I think over-sampling more than conventional sampling technique requires leaves a lot more room for quality resampling of the data.  Unfortunately, as you include more samples, you also have to increase the total data, or compromise it to some degree with compression.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 08, 2008, 06:47:17 pm
Quote
With such a jump from the D2 to the D3, I can only hope for a similar jump from the D3 to the D4!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165957\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, that's a pretty big jump.  The D3 is a lot closer to the physical limits of sensors than any previous Nikon.  I doubt you will ever see a jump that big again unless one of the following occurs:

1) A way of guiding light by color into cells instead of wasting it on color filters is
    invented.

2) A way of collecting more photons than current well depths allow is invented (lower
    low ISOs; won't improve higher ones, though).

3) A way of reading out the sensor and just counting photons, adding no read noise, is
    invented (deep shadows would be liberated).
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: sojournerphoto on January 08, 2008, 06:52:11 pm
Quote
More is still better, though.  I think the "nyquist" theory is a bit too optimistic.  I think you really need to sample at 4x to 5x the highest frequency.

Say you sample a sine wave with a frequency of 20KHz at 40Ksps, and the sample period is centered on the parts of the sine wave where it crossing the zero point?  What do you get?  Nothing.  In the real world, there is usually some frequency modulation, so you get changing phase relationships, and therefore amplitude modulation.  These occur at other ratios to the theoretical maximum sampled frequency, too.  A slow sine wave sweep drops in volume at several points in the sweep, as you approach the nyquist.  Ratios like 3/5, 4/5, 2/3 the nyquist, etc.

Back to imaging, I know it is a subtle thing, but I think over-sampling more than conventional sampling technique requires leaves a lot more room for quality resampling of the data.  Unfortunately, as you include more samples, you also have to increase the total data, or compromise it to some degree with compression.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165986\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

John

I'm not sure Nyquist theory is optimistic as simply too generalised in use. Your example is one I've considered on many occasions and, like you, reached a view that oversampling is necessary to ensure good data up to the limiting frequency (I believe SACD samples at 96kHz for a ~20kHz bandwidth). Using a Bayer array makes the situation worse as there is less data in each channel of course.

However, positively, fortunately most real audio or visual events that are sampled do not globally fall into the 'difficult' regions for sampling - i.e. most music is not fixed 20kHz sine waves (not that I could hear them anyway in my middle age!) and most images are not of fixed or even slowly sweeping frequency data.  Also, I believe it's the case that the way sight works means that we are mostly much less discerning as to the quality of images than sound. For evidence of what is acceptable consider what happens when you freeze a TV picture - either 625 line or HD! - although I accept that moving pictures are differnt than still images.

Overall I am amazed at how good the images from my 5D look:) Who would have thought that so few image elements and so little data could create such a nice impression! On the other hand I have a 30 by 15 inch black and white print of some deer and trees on the desk next to me and I would be glad of a bit more resolution to clean up the foliage... the only thing is that I'm not convinced that the extra 30% gained from 21Mp is really enough. (he says now!)

Mike
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: sojournerphoto on January 08, 2008, 07:03:42 pm
Quote
So I'll buy new kit of course when it offers a real advantage, but I don't feel any peer pressure to ensure I have the latest from Japan adorning my kneck

Quentin
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165956\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm picturing the latest Wista 45DX4 it better still the T810 Mk2:)
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 09, 2008, 12:51:54 am
Quote
Basically, you are in the business of taking money from your clientīs bank account and putting it into yours. In order to do this, you generally need a client with more money than you have. And that client must be reassured that he isnīt being taken for a ride, that you are the right guy with whom he should be spending his money. And that feeling is very well helped along by the showing of the trimmings of success................

If you want honesty and photographic good times without obligations,  go be an amateur and please only yourself; but do understand that the two - pro and am - are worlds apart, hardly the same species even.

Rob C
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165677\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Rob,
That's sounds like a rather cynical point of view. You remind me of a professional photographer I once met who was working in a hardware shop in Australia, presumably because he didn't make enough money as a photographer, but I recall it might also have been because it was his own hardware shop.

We naturally got talking about photography and I remember being somewhat amazed when this guy claimed that he never did any shooting unless a client paid him to produce photos.

As you say, the professional and the amateur can be worlds apart. Some professionals won't lift their camera unless someone pays them to. Isn't that a bit sad?
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Jeffrey Friedl on January 09, 2008, 09:53:49 am
A very enjoyable read, thank you.

About the 12-bit vs. 14-bit NEFs, as one commenter has noted, it could be about file size, but it's more likely related to backwards compatibility. Updating a raw converter for a new Nikon model normally involves just adding a color profile for the new camera, and perhaps a few other camera-related settings, but the move from 12-bit to 14-bit requires a bigger programming change that might take longer than someone wants to wait. Thus, using the older format provides a quicker path to getting stuff done.

It's likely for this same reason that the lossy NEF compression is included along side the new lossless NEF compression.

About using DX lenses on the D3, you might consider turning off the auto-masking, and doing the crop yourself later on. I tried a 17-55/2.8 on a D3 this way, and found that for all but the most extreme wide angles, the sensor had full image coverage. I was limited to viewing the image on the back of the camera, so I don't know whether there was reasonable quality toward the edges, but it seems to me that it's better to keep the extra information until you know you don't need it, just in case. At least, for some shooting situations.

One thing I don't care for about the D3 is that all the AF points are clustered in the DX area. I understand why they did this, but I prefer a wider range.... it seemed cramped.

The Auto ISO is indeed nice, but many find the maximum of 1/250th for the lower threshold to be useless. Sports shooters, for example. I can't conceive of a reason that Nikon wouldn't add a few more rows to the AutoISO menu to allow for greater shutter-speed floors. Like the inability to use MUP and timer together, it just boggles the mind, especially when viewed in relief of so many brilliant design decisions.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeffrey Friedl   http://regex.info/blog/ (http://regex.info/blog/)     Kyoto Japan
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 09, 2008, 11:30:00 am
Ray

Cynical or not, I think the point is that a professional HAS to make the business pay its own way and also the keep of the photographer, his wife, his children and, perhaps, even an ex-wife or two; the richer the photog, perhaps the more of the latter.

Your buddy in the hardware store canīt have been much of a pro photographer, because had he been so, he wouldnīt have had the time to devote to anything else. Possibly, he was an "advanced" amateur?

However, his claim that he doesnīt get out of bed unless somebody wants to pay him would certainly fit some busy pros: do you really think that it stays fun doing photography when you have also to do it for real? For survival? My take on this, having had both experiences, the full-time pro and now the retired one, is that I do it now, in retired mode, because if I did NOT do it, then there would be one huge void looking for something to fill it. Life and age bring their own tribulations - believe me - you are damn lucky if you escape that; you need something to lift you out of the grind, which is NOT about financial survival but IS about staying sane in a world you see going to hell in a rickshaw.

I got into this business because of love for it; I stuck with the good and the bad,  concatenated and taking their turns to come and play for no obvious cause; I paid my dues and collected the reward, but somewhere along the line it became clear that what had started as love had become its own monster with appetite greater than my own. Now, as I said, I take the devil for walkies every so often.

Ciao - Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 09, 2008, 11:33:46 am
Quote
Nothing was aimed at you or anyone else Rob.  Rather I wanted to sidestep the frey and respond directly to Michael.  Sorry for the interruption.  It's what I was trying to avoid.

Edit-

I just saw Quentin's post.  My sincere hope is that just as I'm ready to replace our D2X bodies, the D4 will be on the scene.  With such a jump from the D2 to the D3, I can only hope for a similar jump from the D3 to the D4!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165957\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hank

I think you misunderstood me: there was NO hidden agenda in my last post about Chevvy - it really was all about the marque and nothing deeper had crossed my mind. I really am interested to know about the change from blue to golden logos.

Ciao - Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Paul Kay on January 09, 2008, 03:19:34 pm
Wow, is there a lot to read through here!

Interesting article.

My own take is slightly different as I have no bias to either manufacturer (although I now use Canons I miss the ergonomics of my Nikons - another personal point) but I'll post it anyway.

When I switched from Nikon to Canon when the 1DS was released (I am still using 1Dss) I bought Canon's 24/1.4 (and now have 2 for obscure reasons - but essentially because one is used underwater mostly) and would be lost without it. To tempt me back to Nikon (the D3 sounds like it has an appropriate spec for my work) they'd have to bring out a similar lens because I wouldn't want to lose it! The 28/1.4 sounds good but isn't wide enough, and is as pointed out very expensive.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 10, 2008, 08:52:26 am
Quote
Ray

Cynical or not, I think the point is that a professional HAS to make the business pay its own way and also the keep of the photographer, his wife, his children and, perhaps, even an ex-wife or two; the richer the photog, perhaps the more of the latter.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166138\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Indeed! I think it's a difficult profession and even more difficult for the photographer who tries to run the business himself. A business is a business, photographic or otherwise, and one needs a partner with some business acumen to run it. I would never attempt to be a one-man band.

I sometimes think maybe I should get my own website and advertise a few photos for sale. Who Knows! Someone might like a few. Then I have second thoughts. Do I really want the responsibility of producing prints on demand, filling out GST (VAT) forms, being available to reply to emails, queries, complaints etc?

I don't think so. However, if some nice, attractive, well-connected and competent young lady would like to apply for the job of handling the non-picture-taking aspects for me, be an agent, oranizer and accountant, I'd certainly reconsider   .
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 10, 2008, 09:22:58 am
Quote
Interestingly, it's been my experience that when professional photographers, writers, reviewers, and photographic educators get together they rarely discuss equipment's image quality, but rather prefer chatting and bitching about features and functionality. Food for thought.

As pros know all to well, great image quality, while important, does not trump handling deficiencies. Sure, if you're shooting snaps of your cat on the living room couch, or on your summer vacation, poor camera design may not be too big an issue. But if you shoot 100,000+ frames a year and live with a camera in your hand 10 hours a day, every poor design aspect becomes like a thorn and can be hard to ignore.

If the above statement from Michael's review is true, I wonder why it's true? I'm having trouble reconciling the following statement..As pros know all to well, great image quality, while important, does not trump handling deficiencies.

If great image quality does not trump handling deficiencies, why would anyone bother with large format cameras? Don't tell me an 8x10 field camera, a Mamiya RB67 or even a Mamiya ZD handles as well as any reasonably well designed 35mm camera. The point has been made more than once in this forum's MFDB section that those who spend $40,000 on a P45 do so because they are concerned primarily with absolute image quality; the maximum quality they can get.

However, I can understand that having got the image quality one desires or can afford, then the field of dicussion can be narrowed down to ergonomic issues and additional features which are useful, such as the auto ISO feature of the D3. I can't understand why Canon has not long since introduced this feature, as well as ISO bracketing, considering they have, till now, been the leader in low noise at high ISO.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 10, 2008, 09:36:36 am
Quote
Say you sample a sine wave with a frequency of 20KHz at 40Ksps, and the sample period is centered on the parts of the sine wave where it crossing the zero point?  What do you get?  Nothing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165986\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Correct, in your example you get nothing because you violated sampling theorem. It states "less than", not "less than or equal to" and in your case, it's "equal to". As long as it's band limited, ie a pure sine wave at a frequency less than half the sample rate, the reconstruction filter (which we don't really have in image processing - it was the gaussian spot on the CRT, but that's gone now...) will reproduce that sine wave, correctly. I used to think as you do that the sine wave could not be reproduced, but then I learned more and more until I finally got it, playing with digital audio samples and waves I'd created, watching the results of the reconstruction filter on an analogue oscilloscope so I could see what was going on.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Quentin on January 10, 2008, 10:58:25 am
Quote
If the above statement from Michael's review is true, I wonder why it's true? I'm having trouble reconciling the following statement..As pros know all to well, great image quality, while important, does not trump handling deficiencies.

If great image quality does not trump handling deficiencies, why would anyone bother with large format cameras? Don't tell me an 8x10 field camera, a Mamiya RB67 or even a Mamiya ZD handles as well as any reasonably well designed 35mm camera. The point has been made more than once in this forum's MFDB section that those who spend $40,000 on a P45 do so because they are concerned primarily with absolute image quality; the maximum quality they can get.

However, I can understand that having got the image quality one desires or can afford, then the field of dicussion can be narrowed down to ergonomic issues and additional features which are useful, such as the auto ISO feature of the D3. I can't understand why Canon has not long since introduced this feature, as well as ISO bracketing, considering they have, till now, been the leader in low noise at high ISO.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166312\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I guess you could say its partly true, when appled to cameras in the same technical ballpark.  An 8x10 camera handles so differently from a 35mm camera there can be no basis for a real comparison; the whole concept of "handling" becomes somewhat redundant.

I think Canon had become complacent.  Nikon have bided their time and produced a knockout product.

Quentin
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 10, 2008, 11:08:54 am
Quote
Indeed! I think it's a difficult profession and even more difficult for the photographer who tries to run the business himself. A business is a business, photographic or otherwise, and one needs a partner with some business acumen to run it. I would never attempt to be a one-man band.

I sometimes think maybe I should get my own website and advertise a few photos for sale. Who Knows! Someone might like a few. Then I have second thoughts. Do I really want the responsibility of producing prints on demand, filling out GST (VAT) forms, being available to reply to emails, queries, complaints etc?

I don't think so. However, if some nice, attractive, well-connected and competent young lady would like to apply for the job of handling the non-picture-taking aspects for me, be an agent, oranizer and accountant, I'd certainly reconsider   .
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166308\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ray, would a nice, attractive, well-connected and competent young transvestite do instead? Iīm sure you could find one quite easily...

That was said in jest, but in all seriousness, perhaps it would be a touch of bloody sales magic: think of some of the mega art buyers and convince me Iīm wrong!

Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 12, 2008, 02:20:24 am
Quote
I guess you could say its partly true, when appled to cameras in the same technical ballpark.  An 8x10 camera handles so differently from a 35mm camera there can be no basis for a real comparison; the whole concept of "handling" becomes somewhat redundant.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166328\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Quentin,
If the cameras are in the same technical ballpark, then image quality is likely to be very similar, therefore I can understand that image quality is not so much of an issue and conversation would revolve more around the different features, handling and ergonomics etc. One can't have much of a conversation about differences that don't exist.

But I think that Michael's statement, 'great image quality.... does not trump handling deficiences' just seems wrong to me as a general rule. There are some instances where it doesn't, as in the cases where a professional photographer might use 35mm format or the Olympus 4/3rds format instead of an MFDB, or in the old days of film, 6x7cm format instead of 4x5".

In fact, as I recall there used to be quite a bit of debate amongst professional photographers as to whether the extra image quality of 4x5" film compared with 6x7cm film was worth the additional handling difficulties of 4x5. For some it was; a clear case of image quality trumping handling deficienceies. For some it wasn't; a clear case of handling efficiency trumping image quality.

I imagine there will now be similar concerns amongst professionals who are currently using a ZD or P21 and wondering if they should upgrade to a P45 or get a Canon 1Ds3 for it's easier handling and additional features. I could be wrong, but I doubt that those who decide to upgrade to a P45+ will do so primarily because of ergonomic, handling and other additional features.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 12, 2008, 04:52:46 am
I have to agree with Ray and also Micheal, even though they do, in part, seem to take opposite positions; also, the thing to remember about photographers and equipment in the context of press work (as well as much other, come to think of it) is that format was often IMPOSED on them by editors who really didnīt know squat about cameras. Of course nobody with experience of both, and of sound mind,  would choose to go 4x5 (in those fields) if a Rollei was available, even as heīd eschew the PF60 in favour of the electronic lightning bolt.

In one of his books David Bailey mentions having an early Vogue assignment in New York where heīd been told to use 4x5; interestingly, and to his credit, he shot on 35mm and then made 4x5 dupes with which to dupe the editorial department. It worked, which goes to how how much editors really know...

So perhaps the truth is that each photographer instinctively knows what suits him best for which job and bases his judgement on that, regardless of purely technical considerations or mantras such as big being better. Letīs face it - most pros do own more than one format. Or should that be in the days of film most pros owned more than one format?

Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jorgedelfino on January 12, 2008, 10:24:58 am
Interesting article, last week all my canon equipment was stolen (1Ds2 and 40D bodies, 17-40, 24-105, 70-200 f2,8, 50 1,4, etc, etc)...    I'm considering nikon now as a future sistem replacement.
Like MR, I was I nikon user till the mid 90's
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 14, 2008, 06:22:50 pm
Quote
Michael,

Thanks for your insight.

One reason the D3 is offering selectable 14/12 bit depth might be the increased file sizes produced in 14bits. Remember one of the main target markets for the D3 is PJ's where the trade-off would not always be towards IQ (especially if talking about hard to see differences).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165254\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The 12-bit versions may be read out a bit faster into the ADC, as they have more banding noise than the 14-bit versions, even when the 14-bit versions are quantized to 12 bits, in the D300 paired images I looked at.

I really think that people sit around in these big corporations and decide how to time things like the introduction of 14 bits; they wait until some other improvement comes along, and then marry the 14-bit depth with it in a camera release, so that everyone attributes the improvements to the extra bits, so that next time they can use more bits to make people feel that a big IQ advantage comes along with it.

Ideally, I think the camera should offer two different speeds of readout, but the option for bit depth in the slower speed should be a separate option, too, as the signal content of the extra 2 bits is infinitessimal in current cameras, with their analog noise levels.  There seems to be a current technology wall on read noise levels; the best performers at ISO 100, like the Canon 1D*mk3 series, the Nikon D3, the Fuji S* cameras, the Phase P30, and probably others, all have almost *exactly* the same read noise, relative to maximum signal, at their lowest full-DR ISO (100 usually), about 0.035%.

12 bits is more than enough to handle the usable signal content here, but packaging it in a higher bit depth, with extra bits (despite the fact that they are almost all noise) forces converters to use more precision in processing the images, and converters do a *lot* of math on RAW data, in series.  I believe that any useful benefit of the extra bits (beyond 12) at this point in time could be had if the extra bits were just binary "1000" for 16-bit, and "10" for 14-bit.  If I made decisions at a company, knowing what I know, and being as honest as I am, I would offer users the option of reducing stored bits to significant bits only, while all the time maintaining 16-bit working precision with pads of "10" and 1000" and even "10000" for high ISOs with higher noise.  IOW, the encoding scheme in the RAW file would automatically append a binary "1" and then enough zeros to make each pixel 16 bits, after decompressing the reduced-bit data.  For example, for ISO 1600 on a camera that had no special "high ISO" circuitry, where ISO 1600 would have 15x the read noise of ISO 100, I would use only 8 bits of data in the main encoding, but the decoding process would would append "10000000" to it, making it 16-bit as it is decoded.  Extra precision would be available (overkill), but that really doesn't slow down any converter that's loading everything as 16-bit anyway, as ACR does; it aligns input data to their internal data by the LSBs, rather than the MSBs.  IOW, ACR loads a 12-bit RAW "xxxx xxxx xxxx" as "0000 xxxx xxxx xxxx" rather than "xxxx xxxx xxxx 1000".  When you have a 16-bit RAW, and the least 4 significant bits are all noise ("n"), ACR loads them as "xxxx xxxx xxxx nnnn", hence, automatically giving the extra precision to work in.  This, I believe, may be the only reason 14-bit or 16-bit RAW data may give more tones in the output (if they are not attributable to other things) with current cameras and their noise limits.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 14, 2008, 06:44:36 pm
When RAW decoding I immediately bump the data precision to 16bit or float - it does make a difference.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 14, 2008, 07:07:43 pm
At our monthly Pro Photographer meet last week, 2 of our crew had their new toys a D300 + a D3. The D3 owner also brought along A3 prints taken at 3200 + above. They were very impressive indeed. This is where Digital goes way beyond Film's capabilities.

18 months ago I was photographing an event one of my Nikon using photographer colleagues was also covering. I used a 5D at 1600 ISO and a 16-35mm f2.8 and he had a D2X, not sure of lens. I was just able to get good quality hand held shots and he had to stand further back [crop sensor limitations] and struggled to get sharp shots as he was having to use 800ISO and was lacking the f2.8 as well.  I was shooting at 160th/f3.2 he was using [I'd guess] 60th/f3.5 and it was a fast dance performance. He was very tempted to get a Canon after that for the FF, fast W/A lenses and high speed performance as he felt he was penalised by his Nikon's shortcoming with regard to low light wideangle photography.
The reason I mention this now is the D3 has meant my friend can now buy a Nikon that is excellent at high ISO and also at very high ISOs too, judging by the A3 images I looked at and they've introduced an F2.8 w/a zoom. Still no 24mm f1.4 though!
Heck if all my kit was stolen tomorrow, Nikon would now get some very serious consideration, whereas before they weren't even an option.
Let's hope this wakes Canon up. They have had it too good for too long and have become complacent IMHO.

But I still think Canon's handling is better. I've never held a Nikon that felt that comfy even before I used Canon full time and was part of the reason I chose Canon when my OM2s and OM4s got too old for serious use. And with the digital cameras a manual even for basic things, seems more of a necessity than with Canon.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 14, 2008, 09:14:59 pm
Quote
Heck if all my kit was stolen tomorrow, Nikon would now get some very serious consideration, whereas before they weren't even an option.
Let's hope this wakes Canon up. They have had it too good for too long and have become complacent IMHO.
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I don't know where people get the idea that the D3 is better than any Canon in low light.  It's better than the 5D (in both shot noise and read noise), and even the 1Dmk3 (if only for shot noise), but the 1Dsmk3 collects similar photon levels as the D3, maybe a hair less, but has a lot more pixels with about the same read noise.  The "edge" that the D3 seems to have over the 1Dsmk3 in some people's eyes, is nothing but noise reduction, IMO.

What is needed is two RAW files of the same scene from the same tripod, shot with the same lens (manual aperture, if possible, and tripod-mounted), manual shutter speed, the same on both cameras with an exposure index of 51,200 with the D3 set to that and the 1Dsmk3 set to its highest ISO (3200, IIRC), and comparing straightforward homogenous conversions in DCRAW or IRIS.  The 1Dsmk3 will have an edge, IMO.

I myself stated that the D3 was the best low-light camera at the time of its introduction, but I wasn't expecting Canon to increase quantum efficiency and reduce high-ISO read noise in the 1Dsmk3 as much as they did.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 14, 2008, 11:01:47 pm
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I don't know where people get the idea that the D3 is better than any Canon in low light.
Well, I believe one source is Michael R. himself. Reread his section on noise in the article being discussed in this thread. Also, in the quick and dirty side by side shots between the D3 and 1DsIII in a recent LL workshop, the D3 turned in lower noise (Michael posted a short article on this also). Also, Lloyd Chambers, of DigitalLloyd, has done side by side comparisons of the D3, 1DsIII, and 1DIII, and stated (with regard to noise) "the Nikon D3 stands head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever used (including the EOS 1Ds Mark III and EOS 1D Mark III)". There are many others making similar claims. They can't all be wrong.

Anyone who has looked at the superb retention of detail in D3 high ISO images would dispute your contention that Nikon is only getting there by using noise reduction. They are using noise reduction above ISO 3200 (I believe I'm recallilng the right number), but so is everyone else. Canon is a master at applying noise reduction. The main reason the D3 excells so well at low noise, however, isn't NR, it's their large photosite size. That was the tradeoff they made by staying at 12 MP. They sacrificed resolution to get low noise. Since the D3 is primarily targeted at PJs and sports shooters, that was the right tradeoff for Nikon to make. When the D3X (or whatever it's called) comes out, it will go the other way, and sacrifice noise performance to get resolution.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: NikosR on January 14, 2008, 11:46:35 pm
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The 12-bit versions may be read out a bit faster into the ADC, as they have more banding noise than the 14-bit versions, even when the 14-bit versions are quantized to 12 bits, in the D300 paired images I looked at.

Absolutely nobody has reported any speed disadvantages of using 14bit vs 12 bit on the D3. You are probably confusing the D3 with the D300. My original comment was about the D3 of which Michael was wondering why Nikon provides the 12bit option. The only difference with regards to camera useability that I see is in the file size and that's what I have said. I have seen no reports comparing the buffer depth so I don't know about that (there might or might not be a noticeable difference there).
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 15, 2008, 10:39:36 am
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I don't know where people get the idea that the D3 is better than any Canon in low light.  It's better than the 5D (in both shot noise and read noise), and even the 1Dmk3 (if only for shot noise)......
 [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167201\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Whether it is or not that is true it is irrelevent to the comment that this was in reply to. Besides the prints I saw from the at ISOs higher than my 5D can do were very, very good. And as my camera cannot even shoot at those ISOs, the Nikon is going to have a slight edge....  
 The D3 is at last a viable non Canon viable alternative to the 5D/1DsIII, whereas Nikon's top dog before wasn't, due to poorer high ISO, no fast W/A lenses and not being full frame. And that was the point I was making as  FF being more important to me than absolute resolution.
 I saw some very decent real world tests of the 5D, 1DsII and 1DsIII a short while ago and quite frankly I wouldn't have paid the extra Ģ3000 for the marginal increase on offer with the 1DsII. I'm not a studio photographer and the 1Ds is too much like a MF film camera in size and weight for my liking anyway. My idea of a nice sized camera is the OM1-4 series. Smaller and with bigger viewfinders than cameras, 30 yrs younger. I would probably go for a Hasselblad over a 1DsIII.
   
 
 

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The main reason the D3 excells so well at low noise, however, isn't NR, it's their large photosite size. That was the tradeoff they made by staying at 12 MP. They sacrificed resolution to get low noise. Since the D3 is primarily targeted at PJs and sports shooters, that was the right tradeoff for Nikon to make. When the D3X (or whatever it's called) comes out, it will go the other way, and sacrifice noise performance to get resolution.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167221\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
And this is why the 5D is so good when compared to its more expensive brethren, Nikon obviously paid attention to this lesson.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 15, 2008, 02:24:14 pm
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The D3 is at last a viable non Canon viable alternative to the 5D
Such unbiased commentary - it warms my heart :-) Lacking a viable alternative, Nikon had to settle for just gaining market share. The poor saps.

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Nikon obviously paid attention to this lesson.
I think the laws of physics are well known, even by Nikon. The good news is Nikon avoided all of the 5D inadequacies in designing the D3 :-) Maybe now Canon is the "grasshopper".

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And as my camera cannot even shoot at those ISOs, the Nikon is going to have a slight edge....
And also a "slight" edge at all of the ISOs the 5D can shoot at . The 5D was a great sensor in its day, tho it was hobbled in many other ways. Now its been trumped by the 1DIII, 1DsIII, the 40D, and the D3 (also by the D300 on all around excellence, tho not on noise, obviously). I expect great things from the 5D II, however.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 15, 2008, 02:50:17 pm
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Well, I believe one source is Michael R. himself. Reread his section on noise in the article being discussed in this thread. Also, in the quick and dirty side by side shots between the D3 and 1DsIII in a recent LL workshop, the D3 turned in lower noise (Michael posted a short article on this also). Also, Lloyd Chambers, of DigitalLloyd, has done side by side comparisons of the D3, 1DsIII, and 1DIII, and stated (with regard to noise) "the Nikon D3 stands head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever used (including the EOS 1Ds Mark III and EOS 1D Mark III)". There are many others making similar claims. They can't all be wrong.

Yes, they can.  They can all be persuaded by NR, or improper viewing techniques.

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Anyone who has looked at the superb retention of detail in D3 high ISO images would dispute your contention that Nikon is only getting there by using noise reduction.

I never said anything like that.  I said that the apparent edge of the D3 over the 1Dsmk3 is NR.  Without NR, the D3 is still the #2 low noise camera.

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They are using noise reduction above ISO 3200 (I believe I'm recallilng the right number), but so is everyone else. Canon is a master at applying noise reduction.

Huh?  Canon is the master of refusing to apply noise reduction!  They are one of the few companies that leave substantial chromatic noise in their JPEGs, and most commercial converters lean their conversions a bit towards the manufacturer's style.

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The main reason the D3 excells so well at low noise, however, isn't NR, it's their large photosite size. That was the tradeoff they made by staying at 12 MP. They sacrificed resolution to get low noise.

That's a myth.  A lot of the pixel science going around these days is a lot of hot air.  Big pixels only give less image noise when you are scaling the pixels and the sensor size at the same time, and this affects shot noise, not read noise.  Read noise tends to be more related to the technology than the geometry.  Read noise per pixel is generally remaining the same or getting lower with higher pixel densities.  The smaller each pixel is, relative to the entire image, the less detrimental its noise is.  A RAW from almost any high-MP P&S has less image read noise than any crop of the same size from a D3 or a 1Dsmk3.  Some would even have similar or even less image shot noise.  Some high-MP P&S cameras have less pixel read noise than some DSLRs.

If you are subdividing the same sensor size into various pixel densities, you only get more image noise with small pixels when the fill factor starts to drop and/or there are weak or absent microlenses, and/or the readout is too hasty and consequently noisy.

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Since the D3 is primarily targeted at PJs and sports shooters, that was the right tradeoff for Nikon to make. When the D3X (or whatever it's called) comes out, it will go the other way, and sacrifice noise performance to get resolution.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167221\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There really isn't such a trade-off, unless you are fixated on individual pixels, or think that images must be displayed at the same PPI.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 15, 2008, 02:53:22 pm
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Absolutely nobody has reported any speed disadvantages of using 14bit vs 12 bit on the D3. You are probably confusing the D3 with the D300. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167228\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm not confusing them.  I clearly stated that my observation was with the D300, just in case they were different in this respect.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 15, 2008, 03:02:25 pm
John, you have an interesting take on things. Whatever the reason, I'll still take a D3 over a 1DIII and 5D. The noise is better, and the IQ isn't sacrificed to get the low noise. Your joking about Canon not applying NR, right?

P.S. Aren't we lucky to have such great cameras (5D, 1DIII, 1DsIII, D300, D3) to choose from? Basically these little fan boy pissing contests, like the one we're having, are just us arguing about nits. Regarding the things that matter, if you can't take a good photo with any of these cameras, the problem isn't the camera. In the final analysis, you like Canon, and I like Nikon. That's a pretty boring debate. There must be better and more important things for both of us to argue over :-)

Regards,
Mort.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 16, 2008, 12:01:13 am
As one who is primarily interested in real and tangible improvements in image quality at the RAW level (when buying a new camera), I'm a bit disappointed at the comparisons so far made amongst the D3, 5D and 1Ds3.

It's just not clear to me how substantial the differences really are after other available measures have been taken to clean up the images in cases where one camera has applied a different or greater degree of in-camera noise reduction.

For example, Ken Rockwell's site shows a good comparison of D3 and 5D images at ISO 3200. I believe both images were given the same exposure, which means the D3 image would be slightly underexposed compared with the 5D shot, yet the D3 shot definitely appears cleaner, although both images are equally detailed and sharp.

One might easily jump to the conclusion, on viewing such a comparison, that the D3 has leaped ahead of Canon regarding high ISO noise, and this might well be true. However, if the reason the D3 image looks cleaner is due to in-camera reduction of chroma noise, which the 5D has not applied, then I need to see what software reduction of chroma noise can do for the 5D image.

For all I know, Noise Ninja might be able to get the 5D shot looking very close to the D3 shot. I believe removal of chroma noise does not destroy resolution to the same extent as removal of luminance noise.

The same thing applies to the D3's ultra high ISO settings. If you're comparing high ISO noise, it seems to me a cop-out to declare, "Sorry we couldn't show you the 5D (or 1Ds3) at ISO 25,600. These camera's don't do that." Have such reviewers never heard of the concept of 'push processing'?

What seems to be happening here is that marketing hype is getting mixed up with the facts. It might well be the case that the real advantages of the D3 lie not so much in any significant and fundamentally lower noise at high ISO, than the 1Ds3 and perhaps even the 5D, but with the ease and facility of getting good results at such high ISOs.

It's clearly an advantage to have good in-camera reduction of chroma noise, especially if it does a better job than software such as Noise Ninja. If time is money and especially if one is shooting in jpeg mode, then ISO settings of 6400 to 25,600 are useful.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: michael on January 16, 2008, 08:05:00 am
I'm traveling at the moment, so I'll keep this relatively brief.

I have not written about, nor published, anything about the D3's high ISO capability, though I have been shooting with one now for about 3 weeks. I simply haven't had time.

But, having said that, it doesn't mean that I haven't done a great deal of shooting at high ISO with the D3, nor formed any initial opinions. I have.

So here, completely anecdotally at this point, is what I see, and keep in mind that I also own and shoot with a 1Ds MKIII, a 5D, and have shot hundreds of thousands of frames with all of the previous Canon pro cameras as well.

The Nikon D3 is a significant step up in high ISO image quality over any other camera from any other company. My guess is that it represents a real world improvement of at least 2 stops over anything I've yet worked with or seen.

Shots up to a real ISO 3200 need hardly any post camera noise reduction, and the differences between 400, 800 and 1600 are quite small and incremental. And though some would apparently wish it were otherwise this low noise capability is definitely not done at the expense of image detail.

ISO 3200 and 6400 usually require a bit of external noise smoothing, but a bit of Luminance NR in Lightroom or Camera Raw is all it takes, and the use of something like Noise Ninja or Noiseware Pro is unnecessary overkill for these speeds.

The two high settings, 12,800 and 25,600 are not real ISOs but are nevertheless real increases in usable sensitivity and seem to track very well. 12,800 needs some more aggressive noise clean up but usable / publishable images can be produced in colour. 25,600 has a lot of colour noise and to be cleaned up means that a lot of detail will be lost. But if you change to just luminance and can live with a B&W image, the luminance noise is surprisingly low and no worse than say Tri-X pushed to 1600 in an aggressive developer.

I'd add that there is a real difference between a camera's base level ISO, one of it's higher ISO sensitivity settings, one of its pushed settings, and pushing an image with raw processor controls. Each uses different technologies to achieve its ends. But to imply that a camera like the 5D can achieve the same results as a D3 by "push processing" simply ignores the fact that this can then also be done to the D3's images. ISO 50,000 anyone?

Doing these comparisons so that ones approach and methodologies are bullet-proof and beyond criticism is a muggs game. It simply can't be done. I've tried enough times over the years to know this first hand. It's a losing proposition.

But, that doesn't mean that together with other knowledgeable and reliable observers it isn't possible to come up with some generally sound opinions. That's the case at this early stage with the Nikon D3. I know what I see, and I've now been working closely with enough other photographers (most of them well known Canon shooters) who say that they see see much the same thing, and who are therefore in general agreement that the D3 is an all-around improvement at high ISO of about 2 stops over anything else we've shot with, and maybe three stops over anything other than the best of the rest.

Sometimes bumble bees actually can fly even though the aeronautical engineers say that their wing surface area and power to weight ratio prove that they can't.

Michael
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 16, 2008, 09:48:11 am
Quote
I'd add that there is a real difference between a camera's base level ISO, one of it's higher ISO sensitivity settings, one of its pushed settings, and pushing an image with raw processor controls. Each uses different technologies to achieve its ends. But to imply that a camera like the 5D can achieve the same results as a D3 by "push processing" simply ignores the fact that this can then also be done to the D3's images. ISO 50,000 anyone?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167515\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Michael,
I don't really believe a 5D image with additional processing, software noise reduction etc, would equal the low noise of the D3 at high ISO, but rather the gap might be much less than it's currently made out to be. For example, if the D3 image has already undergone in-camera reduction of chroma noise, then not much purpose would be served by putting the image through another chroma noise reduction process, whereas the 5D image might benefit significantly from such a process without any noticeable loss of resolution.

An improvement of 2 stops over anything else you've shot with seems huge to me. If the upgrade to the 5D provides no additional pixels but a real 2 stop improvement in noise, ie. chroma noise, luminance noise and resolution at ISO 6400 on a par with the current 5D image quality at ISO 1600, I'd consider that a very worthwhile upgrade by itself.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: NikosR on January 16, 2008, 10:34:33 am
Quote
But, that doesn't mean that together with other knowledgeable and reliable observers it isn't possible to come up with some generally sound opinions. That's the case at this early stage with the Nikon D3. I know what I see, and I've now been working closely with enough other photographers (most of them well known Canon shooters) who say that they see see much the same thing, and who are therefore in general agreement that the D3 is an all-around improvement at high ISO of about 2 stops over anything else we've shot with, and maybe three stops over anything other than the best of the rest.

Sometimes bumble bees actually can fly even though the aeronautical engineers say that their wing surface area and power to weight ratio prove that they can't.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167515\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Why do I have this nasty feeling that some people will jump in asserting that what you and lots of other respected photogs are seeing is really 'the effects of NR' and demand proof in the form of raw data to be scrutinized with astrophotographer software?    

As I said before in this thread, from the point of view of the photographer and not the engineer, I couldn't care less how something is done as long as it is done well.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 16, 2008, 12:12:37 pm
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As I said before in this thread, from the point of view of the photographer and not the engineer, I couldn't care less how something is done as long as it is done well.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167557\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In that case, you would not object to this 100% crop of a 5D image taken by Ken Rockwell at ISO 3200 which appears to have a very similar degree of noise as the D3 image, after processing the 5D image with Noise Ninja.

I show here the before and after comparison. I also lightened the 5D image and increased saturation a little.

If one camera applies in-camera noise reduction and the other doesn't, then the noise advantage of the former must be seen more as one of convenience than of fundamental improvement.

Now I'm not implying that the D3 RAW image doesn't have some degree of fundamental improvement in relation to the 5D, just that such improvement is perhaps exaggerated due to in-camera noise reduction which the 5D lacks.

[attachment=4655:attachment]  [attachment=4656:attachment]
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 16, 2008, 12:38:40 pm
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Now I'm not implying that the D3 RAW image doesn't have some degree of fundamental improvement in relation to the 5D, just that such improvement is perhaps exaggerated due to in-camera noise reduction which the 5D lacks.
The assertion that the 5D does no NR on RAWs while the D3 does is questionable, at best. According to Nikon, the D3 performs NO noise reduction over the ISO range supported by the 5D.

Nikon's D3 manual states the following: With NR set to OFF, NR is only applied at sensitivities of HI 0.3 and higher (that's higher than ISO 6400). With NR set to ON, NR is only applied at sensitivities of ISO 2000 and higher. This is right out of the manual. That's on page 299, in case you want to read it for yourself.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 16, 2008, 01:33:23 pm
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It's always been my understanding that Canon does aggressive NR, so at this point, until someone provides some proof, this is all just opinion.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167589\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Well, Canon doesn't appear to have applied aggressive noise reduction on the 5D at ISO 3200, otherwise it wouldn't be possible to reduce noise so significantly merely by passing the image through Noise Ninja, a program which incidentally I'm not familiar with. I downloaded the trial version just to see what effect it would have.

Perhaps Nikon are making a distinction between luminance noise reduction (which they call NR) and chroma noise reduction which they don't describe as NR.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 16, 2008, 01:43:09 pm
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Perhaps Nikon are making a distinction between luminance noise reduction (which they call NR) and chroma noise reduction which they don't describe as NR.
Where do you get that little bit of folklore from? Who says Nikon doesn't call chroma noise reduction NR. Who says these things you keep asserting?

Maybe Nikon isn't performing any NR reduction, period, at ISOs under 2000. That's what they've put in writing, so why do you keep making claims to the contrary. I've provided written documentation to back up my claim. Now how about something from the Canon side to back up your assumptions.

I think what's going on here is that some people's cherished notions are being threatened.

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Well, Canon doesn't appear to have applied aggressive noise reduction on the 5D at ISO 3200, otherwise it wouldn't be possible to reduce noise so significantly merely by passing the image through Noise Ninja
When I apply noise ninja or LR NR to my D3 shots, I see a reduction in noise. So I don't understand the logic of this statement.

Ray, I apologize for being such a pain on this. But it's frustrating when all these statements get made without any obvious basis other than opinion. This is how urban legends get started. Someone says something, then it gets repeated, and eventually facts no longer mean anything.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 16, 2008, 02:05:07 pm
But Mort, thatīs the beauty of urband legend: the truth is always first casualty, just ask any politician.

Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 16, 2008, 08:12:19 pm
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Well, Canon doesn't appear to have applied aggressive noise reduction on the 5D at ISO 3200, otherwise it wouldn't be possible to reduce noise so significantly merely by passing the image through Noise Ninja, a program which incidentally I'm not familiar with. I downloaded the trial version just to see what effect it would have.

Perhaps Nikon are making a distinction between luminance noise reduction (which they call NR) and chroma noise reduction which they don't describe as NR.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167597\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ray,

1. Have you shot with a D3?
2. Do you feel your 5D is letting you down or doesn't provide good enough an image quality? My guess is that you will answer no. With all due respect, then why do you even bother embarking in such discussions?

Some say the D3 is 2 stops better,

Regards,
Bernard
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 16, 2008, 09:44:37 pm
Quote
Where do you get that little bit of folklore from? Who says Nikon doesn't call chroma noise reduction NR. Who says these things you keep.

I wrote maybe. I'm just trying to offer an explanation. I just happen to be someone who doesn't believe everything I'm told or hear. If a thousand experts say the the Nikon D3 has a 2 stop noise advantage and not one does a proper comparison demonstrating this fact, I'm likely to think that maybe there's a little exaggeration going on.

For example, if I make a claim that stacking half a dozen 5D images in CS3E, with identical exposure, results in a 2 stop noise advantage, I'll demonstrate this by showing the stacked result in mean mode of a number of shots at ISO 3200 next to a single shot of the identical scene at ISO 800.

Likewise, if someone makes the claim that the D3 has approximately a 2 stop noise advantage at high ISO, it should be quite easy to display a comparison showing the 5D (or 1Ds3) image at ISO 1600 next to a D3 image of the identical scene shot at 1/4th the exposure.

If there's a suspicion that one of the images has had in-camera noise reduction applied, chroma or luminance, or just more in-camera noise reduction than the other, then its appropriate to run both images through a program like Noise Ninja to see if one cleans up better than the other. It would be reasonable to expect that the image that has had less in-camera noise reduction would clean up better.

There's an old Buddhist saying from the Kalama Sutta which goes something like this. "One should not automatically believe without question what one is taught, whether by tradition, hearsay, scripture, logic, inference, appearance, agreement with established opinion, the seeming competence of a teacher, or even one's own teacher."

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I think what's going on here is that some people's cherished notions are being threatened.

Maybe, but the only cherished notion of mine that's being threatened is my sense of objectivity and impartiallity.

I'm also a bit suspicious of Ken Rockwell's test, but not because it shows the 5D image as being noisier before being passed through Noise Ninja. Both shots were given the same exposure. However, it's reported that the 5D understates its ISO settings so that ISO 3200 is closer to ISO 4000. If that's the case, why has Ken Rockwell presented the underexposed image (or lesser exposed image) as appearing brighter. I had to lighten the 5D image to get the tonality looking similar.

This is why it's important to get the RAW images behind such comparisons.

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Ray, I apologize for being such a pain on this. But it's frustrating when all these statements get made without any obvious basis other than opinion.

No need to aplologise. I haven't made any statements without any obvious basis other than opinion. I went to the trouble of downloading Noise Ninja in order to demonstrate my point. Didn't you look at the images? There's chroma noise in the 5D image which can be cleaned up nicely without destroying resolution to any significant degree. The chroma noise in the D3 image has already been cleaned up nicely.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 16, 2008, 10:05:19 pm
Quote
Ray,

1. Have you shot with a D3?
2. Do you feel your 5D is letting you down or doesn't provide good enough an image quality? My guess is that you will answer no. With all due respect, then why do you even bother embarking in such discussions?

Some say the D3 is 2 stops better,

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167684\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Why do I bother, Bernard? I'm a natural skeptic. There's something that doesn't seem quite right here. I know how easy it is to misrepresent the truth with images (either wittingly or unwittingly). When I first saw comparisons between the D300 and 40D at Imaging Resources showing the D300 image as having much less noise at ISO 3200, I was very excited. Wow! I want one of those.

Then it became apparent in other images (and Ken Rockwell demonstrates this very clearly) that the low noise of the D300 is at the expense of detail destroying in-camera noise reduction, so basically I lost interest in the D300.

The D3 is in a different ballpark. However, there appears to be some chroma noise reduction taking place in-camera. If this is the case, I think a fair comparison should show what's possible with the other image after out-camera chroma noise reduction has been applied.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Sfleming on January 16, 2008, 10:20:00 pm
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When the D3X (or whatever it's called) comes out, it will go the other way, and sacrifice noise performance to get resolution.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167221\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Wanna bet?

I bet that Nikon pulls another rabbit out of the hat.

(D3 shooter)
 
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 16, 2008, 11:03:22 pm
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Wanna bet?

I bet that Nikon pulls another rabbit out of the hat.

(D3 shooter)
 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167707\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, I don't think the compromise really exists.  It is only a challenge; if you go from 12 to 18MP in the same size sensor, you can let the pixel read noise go up by a factor of (18/12)^0.5 = 1.22x and still have the same image noise, but with higher resolution.

The challenge is reading out the pixels cleanly at a target speed.  More parallelized readout may be necessary, and this can increase the cost.

The idea that capturing photons in more numerous, but smaller photosites increases photon shot noise is nonsense, at the equal-sized image level.  If you expect a 12MP crop from an 18MP sensor to capture as many photons as a 12MP sensor the same size as the 18, then you will have problems.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 17, 2008, 04:29:09 pm
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Some say the D3 is 2 stops better,
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167684\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

They might say that, but it might also be physically impossible.  They might be influenced by NR.

Personally, noise-related IQ to me is not whether you see noise clearly in an image; it's about whether or not you see detail through the noise, whether both are boldly natural, or both subdued by filtering.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Streetshooter on January 18, 2008, 01:40:05 pm
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They might say that, but it might also be physically impossible.  They might be influenced by NR.

Personally, noise-related IQ to me is not whether you see noise clearly in an image; it's about whether or not you see detail through the noise, whether both are boldly natural, or both subdued by filtering.
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Hi John,

Can I ask what camera you use ?

Cheers   Pete
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 18, 2008, 03:22:55 pm
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Some say the D3 is 2 stops better,
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Those are probably the guys who shoot in jpeg mode, Bernard   . I think the clue to the D3's low noise performance at high ISO is found in the first field report of that camera on LL by James Russell who was very impressed with the D3 but very oddly used it in only in jpeg mode.

I took my 5D to the Canon Service Centre in Bangkok for repair a couple of weeks ago. I collected it today. It so happens that the main Nikon agent in Bangkok is just a few minutes walk from the Canon Service Centre.

Apparently the D3 is so popular they didn't have one in stock, except one for demo purposes. I told them that was fine. I just wanted to compare high ISO performance with my 5D.

I arrived a bit late in the afternoon, about an hour before closing. The place was crowded and I didn't feel like setting up everything with tripod and being completely meticulous, so I just took a few dozen hand-held shots with each camera of the same dark corner in the showroom using the same focal length of 50mm but at a variety of f stops and shutter speeds ranging from f5.6 at 1/8th to f11 at 1/100th.

I autobracketed each 5D shot +/- 1/3rd stop and each D3 shot +/- 1/3rd & 2/3rds of a stop. The D3 can take a series of 5 autobracketed shots. The idea was to make sure I'd have a number of equal exposures from each camera, at ISO 3200 and above, that I could match and compare, which I'm in the process of doing.

The results are pretty much as I expected so far. With RAW images converted with the latest ACR, I see only a marginal improvement in noise in the D3 images, from ISO 3200 to 32,000. Passing both images through Noise Ninja at the same default settings narrows the gap further to pixel-peeping proportions.

Here's an example of the 5D at ISO 3200 (underexposed) compared with the D3 at ISO 12,800, both shots at 25th sec and f11. I show the ACR window for each shot then 100% crops that have been filtered using Noise Ninja.

[attachment=4709:attachment]  [attachment=4710:attachment]  [attachment=4711:attachment]

Here's another pair of 100% crops with a more agressive noise reduction applied equally to both images. I think the gap has now narrowed to virtual invisibility. I might buy that Noise Ninja program   .

[attachment=4712:attachment]

Here's the highest ISO I could match from the shots I took. F11, 1/50th, IS or VR used with both lenses. The 5D shot is 3 stops underexposed at ISO 3200 (really ISO 4000). That works out at ISO 32,000. The D3 was set at ISO 25,600 with a -0.67 EV adjustment in exposure bracketing. Both sensors have received the same amount of light at false ISO settings.

After passing both image through Noise Ninja with the same settings, this is the result.

[attachment=4713:attachment]

Unfortunately, I botched the shots slightly. I was too close with the 5D shot and have had to enlarge the D3 image on screen by 108% instead of 100% to get the image the same size. So, if you think both images look about equal, you can claim the D3 has the edge because it was taken from a very slightly greater distance.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 18, 2008, 05:24:46 pm
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Hi John,

Can I ask what camera you use ?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168001\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, you can.  In fact, you just did.

Just keep in mind that before 1Dsmk3 RAWs became available to me, I said that the D3 was clearly the best low-light DSLR available.

If you're looking for a fanboy, you won't find one here.  They don't come much more  objective than me, but if you're a fanboy yourself, then objectivity may sometimes seem like "the other side".
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 18, 2008, 10:58:07 pm
Quote
They might say that, but it might also be physically impossible.  They might be influenced by NR.

Personally, noise-related IQ to me is not whether you see noise clearly in an image; it's about whether or not you see detail through the noise, whether both are boldly natural, or both subdued by filtering.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167848\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Those who are saying that the D3 is 2 stops better are most probably not just talking about noise, they are talking about overall image quality, meaning mix of detail retention, color saturation, ability to post-process the image, look of the noise,...

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: NikosR on January 19, 2008, 12:11:56 am
Ray,

What exactly does your test try to prove? To me it shows how effective NN is at removing noise without saying much about the inherent noise and detail in the raw files (as rendered by your selection of RAW converter and RAW converter parameters).

Assuming ACR can squeeze the most from the Nikon files (something that many would dispute), at least I would have expected you offered us crops of the images pre-NR or an NR processed 5D image vs. a non processed D3 image.

PS. I would also like to know (since it does seem to have an effect on shadow noise) if the D3 images you use are 12 or 14bit.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 12:40:42 am
Quote
Those who are saying that the D3 is 2 stops better are most probably not just talking about noise, they are talking about overall image quality, meaning mix of detail retention, color saturation, ability to post-process the image, look of the noise,...

Cheers,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168091\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In other words, there's a big sales push to keep Nikon in the game and maintain the pressure on Canon.

Over all image quality cannot be measured in f stops, Bernard. Post processing capability is all there in ACR.... detail enhancement, vibrancy, color saturation, temperature and tint, sharpening etc.

It's clear to me that the D3 applies a lot of color noise reduction in-camera whereas the 5D doesn't. With no further noise reduction of the converted RAWs in post processing, the D3 image at high ISO is clearly better. There are definite advantages here for the busy professional or journalist who wants to cut down time spent in front of the computer, but for those who just want to be able to shoot without flash in low light conditions and who are prepared to spend a bit of time processing each RAW image, the D3 offers little in the way of reduced noise compared with the 5D.

Oops! My hotel internet connection keeps timimg out.

I get the impression that at really high ISOs, such as 25,600 or 32,000, the differences between the 5D and D3 shots are most noticeable. I doubt it would be possible to clean up the 5D image to the same degree as the D3 image without compromising resolution. Nevertheless, I get the impression in general that the 5D RAW images straight out of the camera have marginally greater detail shining through the noise.

Here's a comparison showing the obvious chroma noise in the 5D image, followed by a comparison with the chroma noise removed using Noise Ninja. There's negligible loss of detail in the 5D image as a result of the color-only filtering.

[attachment=4722:attachment]  [attachment=4721:attachment]

I should mention the above shots are at f11 and 1/50th which should be sufficient for sharp hand-held results with IS (or VR) at 50mm. No sharpening has been applied at any stage of the processing.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 19, 2008, 01:36:03 am
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In other words, there's a big sales push to keep Nikon in the game and maintain the pressure on Canon.
That's quite a statement. Nikon doesn't need to be "kept in the game" (actually, I find this comment quite insulting, not to mention ludicrous). They were doing quite well before the D3 was announced (actually gaining market share on Canon). I expect things will only improve further now that the D3 and D300 have appeared on the scene.

Whatever the reason for the D3's noise advantages over the competition, enough experienced pros (many of them Canon pros) have remarked on the advantages that only someone in denial could still suggest otherwise. And however the D3 achieves this (alleged NR or whatever), it does it without sacrificing acuity and saturation and dynamic range, so what difference does it make how they get there - the advantages are real and useable. Saying the 5D could do the same if only it had in-camera NR applied to RAW's (a statement you continue to make without a shred of proof), the point is that it isn't achieving the same low noise levels. Shoulda, Coulda, But Didna.

Am I being a fan boy in this discussion? You bet :-) But it takes a fan boy to recognize a fan boy, and Ray, your protestations to the contrary, your claim of unbiased objectivity is quite amusing, to say the least.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 04:03:23 am
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Am I being a fan boy in this discussion? You bet :-) But it takes a fan boy to recognize a fan boy, and Ray, your protestations to the contrary, your claim of unbiased objectivity is quite amusing, to say the least.
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Well, I'm glad you find me entertaining. There's a strong tradition on this site of promoting the benefits of RAW capture. All of us with a bit of experience are aware that RAW capture gives us the potential to get the best results.

I'm not a fan boy in any respect. If you read my posts, I've praised the capabilities of the D3 in this thread. If you shoot jpegs, the benefits are obvious and clear. But I don't shoot jpegs and I do have the time to process my RAW images in the best way I can to get the best result.

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Whatever the reason for the D3's noise advantages over the competition, enough experienced pros (many of them Canon pros) have remarked on the advantages that only someone in denial could still suggest otherwise.

Indeed there are advantage and I've remarked on them too. I'm not in denial. I'm simply presenting my findings. What else can I do? I'm giving you the images and I'm showing you the conversion method. It sounds more like you are the one in denial.

Here's another pair of images at f8 and 1/50th. The 5D was set on ISO 3200 and the D3 on ISO 6400. I don't see much difference between these images, except the 5D shot has more detail. The noise in the D3 image is finer but the image is also softer. Neither image has had noise reduction applied out of camera.

[attachment=4724:attachment]

Unfortunately, I'm slightly out with my FoVs and the D3 image has been enlarged 110% to make it the same size as the 5D image at 100%, so at least part of that greater accutance in the 5D image could be attributed to that.

Do you not believe your eyes, Mort54? Would you rather believe the opinions of experts unsupported by RAW comparisons?

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Saying the 5D could do the same if only it had in-camera NR applied to RAW's (a statement you continue to make without a shred of proof), the point is that it isn't achieving the same low noise levels. Shoulda, Coulda, But Didna.

I never said that. Why are you misquoting me? I've said that it appears the D3 is applying more in-camera noise reduction than the 5D, especially with regard to chroma noise which can, however, be removed in software without degrading resolution.

I've also said that having such in-camera noise reduction can be a time-saver. I've never expressed any wish that the 5D have such apparent in-camera noise reduction but I have said, and have also demonstrated, that such objectionable chroma noise in the 5D image can be easily removed with Noise Ninja.

What's your problem? I'm merely trying to find out the real extent of any D3 noise superiority. There is some, but it's not nearly as great at the RAW level as it's been made out to be. 2 stops in jpeg mode, maybe, but no-where near 2 stops using RAW images.

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That's quite a statement. Nikon doesn't need to be "kept in the game" (actually, I find this comment quite insulting, not to mention ludicrous). They were doing quite well before the D3 was announced (actually gaining market share on Canon). I expect things will only improve further now that the D3 and D300 have appeared on the scene.

Nonsense! All camera companies need to be kept in the game. If they are not kept in the game, they're out of the game or taken over by other companies like Minolta was. All these companies have marketing departments and do research on the customers needs and wants.

It's my experience that most DSLR owners I meet on my travels shoot in jpeg mode. I bet most journalists do too. I think Nikon are appealing to that customer base with the D3. It seems there are only a few fanatics on LL who consistently shoot in RAW mode and are prepared to spend time processing and manipulating their favourite images. Good results out of the box seem the preferred option for most.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 04:33:32 am
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Ray,

What exactly does your test try to prove? To me it shows how effective NN is at removing noise without saying much about the inherent noise and detail in the raw files (as rendered by your selection of RAW converter and RAW converter parameters).

Assuming ACR can squeeze the most from the Nikon files (something that many would dispute), at least I would have expected you offered us crops of the images pre-NR or an NR processed 5D image vs. a non processed D3 image.

PS. I would also like to know (since it does seem to have an effect on shadow noise) if the D3 images you use are 12 or 14bit.
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My tests are trying to determine if there is any fundamental noise benefit in the D3, at high ISO, which cannot be achieved by the 5D by other methods. The indications so far are, that any noise benefit is slight.

This is of some interest to me. I was excited about the low noise at high ISO in the 20D, for example, coming from D60. There, the improvement really was 2 stops, ie. a 20D ISO 1600 shot was on a par with a D60 ISO 400 shot.

Having now compared a few 5D and D3 RAW images, it is my view that the noise advantage of the D3 is nowhere near 2 stops. I've got more images to compare, that differ by a 1/3rd of a stop, 1/2 a stop and 2/3rds of a stop etc., so at this stage I'd hesitate to put a figure on the D3 noise advantage. It's probably about 1/2 to 2/3rds of a stop, but it's beginning to look as though I was not sufficiently careful with my shooting to be able to place a precise figure on it. I now believe that my 24-105 lens at 50mm is really something like 52mm (even though it's described as 50mm in Exif) and the Nikkor 24-70 lens at 50mm might really be something like 48mm.

It would be better if I could hire the camera for a day. I might just have to do that if this disbelief in my results persists.  

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Assuming ACR can squeeze the most from the Nikon files (something that many would dispute), at least I would have expected you offered us crops of the images pre-NR or an NR processed 5D image vs. a non processed D3 image.

I have done that at least a couple of times in this thread. The 5D is very responsive to color noise reduction in Noise Ninja. The D3 image is not, presumably because most of the chroma noise has already been reduced in-camera.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Nemo on January 19, 2008, 04:52:58 am
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Having now compared a few 5D and D3 RAW images, it is my view that the noise advantage of the D3 is nowhere near 2 stops. I've got more images to compare, that differ by a 1/3rd of a stop, 1/2 a stop and 2/3rds of a stop etc., so at this stage I'd hesitate to put a figure on the D3 noise advantage. It's probably about 1/2 to 2/3rds of a stop,
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Your analysis is very interesting Ray.

It isn't surprising you can see an improvement in noise performance in the D3, compared to the 5D. On one hand, there are two years of technical progress (hardware, software). On the other hand, the base level ISO of the D3 is a full stop higher. One stop of difference is predictable. Lets see if Canon updates the 5D now (keeping the resolution).
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 05:12:20 am
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It isn't surprising you can see an improvement in noise performance in the D3, compared to the 5D. On one hand, there are two years of technical progress (hardware, software). On the other hand, the base level ISO of the D3 is a full stop higher. One stop of difference is predictable. Lets see if Canon updates the 5D now (keeping the resolution).
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The really meaningful comparison is not comparing the ISO numbers but the exposures. A full stop improvement in noise means that noise in a D3 image at f8 and 1/50th should be no worse than noise in the 5D image at f8 and 1/25th.

I doubt that the improvement is quite that good.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 05:44:55 am
Well, I think these crops below indicate that the the D3 noise advantage compared with the 5D is definitely less than 1 stop. The 2 images are unsharpened, unfiltered and generally unprocessed apart from EC adjustment in ACR. Both images are slightly underexposed in relation to an ETTR at their respective ISO settings of ISO 3200 for the 5D and ISO 6400 for the D3.

[attachment=4725:attachment]

The 5D is f8 at 1/25th and the D3 f8 at 1/50th.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Streetshooter on January 19, 2008, 06:07:58 am
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The really meaningful comparison is not comparing the ISO numbers but the exposures. A full stop improvement in noise means that noise in a D3 image at f8 and 1/50th should be no worse than noise in the 5D image at f8 and 1/25th.

I doubt that the improvement is quite that good.
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Ray, what are you trying to prove ?  I think you are arguing with yourself and everybody else has left the room !  Michael has stated along with numerous other busy pros that the new D3 has the edge in high iso shooting now. They use their cameras day in and day out shooting thousands of images, so their testimonials are enough for me. Most of them are die hard Canon guys too.

There really is nothing to more that can be said.

Pete
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 06:37:50 am
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Ray, what are you trying to prove ?  I think you are arguing with yourself and everybody else has left the room !  Michael has stated along with numerous other busy pros that the new D3 has the edge in high iso shooting now. They use their cameras day in and day out shooting thousands of images, so their testimonials are enough for me. Most of them are die hard Canon guys too.

There really is nothing to more that can be said.

Pete
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I also use my camera day in and day out and shoot thousands of images. I've shot so many images on this trip my 5D's mirror fell off. I'm not trying to prove anything. I'm trying to find specific information which I've been unable to find on the internet. Everyone seems happy to go along with the mantra that the D3 has a very substantial noise advantage over the current Canon ff DSLRs. Michael has stated in this thread that it's about 2 stops better than anything else. This is not the same as saying the D3 has the edge in high ISO shooting, is it?

Finding such claims difficult to believe, I've checked it out for myself. I'm sharing the results with you. You're quite entitled to ignore the evidence before your eyes and believe any testimonials you like.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: michael on January 19, 2008, 08:20:32 am
Wait a second.

What I said (or at least meant) is that the D3's high ISO capability is at least 2 stops better than anything else, not that there is inherently anything superior about the D3 at anything else other than the top ISO settings.

And, I would add that simply cranking the exposure slider in raw processing is emphatically not the same as having either a true ISO setting or even a boosted ISO setting in the camera.

As for comparisons done by me, or by others, there's no point in arguing. We each see what we see. Owning a 1Ds MKIII, a 5D and a D3, and having done enough comparisons for now my own purposes, I stand by my assertion. The difference is clearly visible, and enough of my colleagues have now also seen these comparisons that I feel comfortable with my conclusion.

I will NOT be publishing anything on this because I have no desire to be hung, drawn and quartered in the town square. Even with lots of charts and graphs with lines and arrows on the back, I'd still be called to task, and have no patience for this, at least in this instance.

Michael
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: James R Russell on January 19, 2008, 09:06:14 am
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Wait a second.

What I said (or at least meant) is that the D3's high ISO capability is at least 2 stops better than anything else, not that there is inherently anything superior about the D3 at anything else other than the top ISO settings.

And, I would add that simply cranking the exposure slider in raw processing is emphatically not the same as having either a true ISO setting or even a boosted ISO setting in the camera.

As for comparisons done by me, or by others, there's no point in arguing. We each see what we see. Owning a 1Ds MKIII, a 5D and a D3, and having done enough comparisons for now my own purposes, I stand by my assertion. The difference is clearly visible, and enough of my colleagues have now also seen these comparisons that I feel comfortable with my conclusion.

I will NOT be publishing anything on this because I have no desire to be hung, drawn and quartered in the town square. Even with lots of charts and graphs with lines and arrows on the back, I'd still be called to task, and have no patience for this, at least in this instance.

Michael
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I've shot the D3 next to the 1ds MKII the 1dMKIIN in daylight, subdued light, window light, mixed light, stadium light, tungsten light, tungsten with flash fill, models, celebs, atheltes, real people, non real people (yes there are non real people)  not one but thousands of frames and frame per frame, regardless of processor, regardless of exposure the D3 gives me 2 added stops and at high iso the detail is more defined.

Now this doesn't mean it's my favorite camera, only camera, or camera I chose to use for everything  because it's not, but at high iso, nothing I've seen is close.

In fact it allowed me to shoot something in studio with 1k tungstens that we just could not have done with any other camera I've owned and I can't comment on the circumstance but it is one of the few instances where the client noticed and the camera actually saved the day.

James Russell
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 19, 2008, 09:06:29 am
What we're seeing is camera / software / computer as system, rather than camera = image. And I think we're seeing two different raw philosophies - raw =  raw and raw = corrected raw.

Now, noise reduction is a very powerful and useful technique, and doubly powerful on raw data compared to RGB data, if you know what you're doing. I think with what Nikon are doing, and this is speculation as I obviously don't have a circuit diagram, is clever RAW noise reduction, especially on chroma. If Nikon have a very good technique, and looking at the images they probably do, then it certainly makes sense for them to allow you to do it in RAW which gives them a better JPEG, and keeps the files compatible, with a noise advantage, with normal raw conversion apps that lack advanced noise reduction.

In photography it's the end result that counts, but knowing how that end result is achieved can educate your shooting and help you get the best out of your images. That's the beauty of photography - it's technical and artistic, and ignore either of those aspects and your images suffer.

I think it's over-simplistic to look at the D3 and say it's image advantage is all sensor, or all image processing software on it's raw data. It's more complex than that, and that's why we get long threads like this...

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Nemo on January 19, 2008, 09:11:48 am
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The really meaningful comparison is not comparing the ISO numbers but the exposures. A full stop improvement in noise means that noise in a D3 image at f8 and 1/50th should be no worse than noise in the 5D image at f8 and 1/25th.

I doubt that the improvement is quite that good.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168118\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, I don't fully agree on this.

Cameras have different signal-to-noise ratios. Keeping the signal at the same level (identical exposure) you can compare noise. Noise depends on many variables. Read noise, thermal noise, reset noise...

It is difficult to make a meaningful comparison. Too many variables at play, so too easy to argue against any conclusion. Several comparisons under different practical circunstances is the best way to follow. Experienced photographers are an aid here. I understand Michael's comment about not publishing (at this moment) any comparison. His opinion is valuable for me. The Nikon D3 presents a serious improvement on any other camera on the market now, due to better signal handling (quantum efficiency, microlenses, on sensor filters?) and better noise reduction (hardware or software), and this is that counts. It is good news for photographers. Sony and Canon are forced now to match. The 1Ds Mark III is a different beast (higher pixel count, lower base ISO), but the sucessor of the 5D might do it, but this camera is an all-around product aimed at a different public. The 1D Mark III is Canon's professional reportage camera, and the D3 is Nikon's answer to the 1DMIII treat. Maybe we must wait for the 1D Mark IV...
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 19, 2008, 10:01:07 am
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Well, I'm glad you find me entertaining.
Hi Ray. I didn't say I found you entertaining - I said I found your assertion that you weren't being biased on this amusing. You seem like a very smart person, and it isn't my intent to demean you in any way. I'm sure I could learn a lot from you.

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There's a strong tradition on this site of promoting the benefits of RAW capture. All of us with a bit of experience are aware that RAW capture gives us the potential to get the best results.
Yes, I shoot almost totally RAW myself. I'm not sure what this has to do with any of this, however. The D3's advantages in noise aren't unique to its JPEGs. Many of those commenting on this haven't qualified their statements to being only about JPEGs.

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I'm not a fan boy in any respect. If you read my posts, I've praised the capabilities of the D3 in this thread. If you shoot jpegs, the benefits are obvious and clear.
Same comment as above.

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Do you not believe your eyes, Mort54? Would you rather believe the opinions of experts unsupported by RAW comparisons?
Of course. I don't go by the comments of others. I'm simply using the comments of others to butress my arguments. You aren't the only person doing comparisons, Ray. To suggest that only yours are valid is an interesting position to take. I've done my own comparisons and I'm content with my position based on those comparisions. All of the comments by others are simply icing on the cake.

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I never said that. Why are you misquoting me? I've said that it appears the D3 is applying more in-camera noise reduction than the 5D, especially with regard to chroma noise which can, however, be removed in software without degrading resolution.
I didn't quote you Ray, I paraphrased you :-) Your thesis (as I read it) is that the D3's magical noise properties are due largely to the fact (your assertion, not mine) that Nikon does noise reduction on their RAWs, and that Canon doesn't. I'm simply pointing out the obvious - that you have yet to support your thesis (your Noise Ninja comments don't cut it - I also see noise reduction on my D3 RAWs when I apply NN and other post processed NR techniques). I, on the other hand, did provide a reference to Nikon's D3 manual that stated that NR isn't applied to it's RAWs until ISO 2000 and higher (this isn't totally convincing, I agree, but it's more than you've offered up in support of your assertions). In any event, I'm not sure why I'm arguing this point (probably just to be annoying :-), since all I really care about are the results, regardless of how they are achieved. Maybe we're in violent agreement on this.

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....but I have said, and have also demonstrated, that such objectionable chroma noise in the 5D image can be easily removed with Noise Ninja.
Yes, you have.

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Nonsense! All camera companies need to be kept in the game. If they are not kept in the game, they're out of the game or taken over by other companies like Minolta was. All these companies have marketing departments and do research on the customers needs and wants.
Your assertion implied (to me, at least) that the hubub over D3 noise advances was mostly marketing hype. I think it goes way beyond that.

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It's my experience that most DSLR owners I meet on my travels shoot in jpeg mode. I bet most journalists do too. I think Nikon are appealing to that customer base with the D3. It seems there are only a few fanatics on LL who consistently shoot in RAW mode and are prepared to spend time processing and manipulating their favourite images. Good results out of the box seem the preferred option for most.
I fall into the RAW is better camp as well. Unless I'm shooting family snapshots in good light, I have my D3 set to shoot NEFs. So I am very familiar with examining RAW files, and evaluating RAW files, and processing RAW files. And I know noise, and the lack thereof, from long personal experience with Nikon cameras. I've seen the bad, and now I'm seeing the good. The biggest ding on Nikon bodies has been their higher noise at high ISOs, and that ding was largely deserved (tho highly overrated by the Canon community, in my opinion). But again, you seem to be the only person declaring that the D3's low noise advantages are mostly a JPEG thing. That's certainly not what I'm seeing.

Anyway, hopefully we can get on more positive ground and agree that the D3 is a huge advance for Nikon in the noise department (your comments suggest you agree with this statement), and in fact sets new standards in the noise department (however they achieve this). Is it the be all, end all. Certainly not - in fact, for what I like to shoot, the 1DsIII is certainly a better choice (my P45+ is an even better choice, but that's a whole other subject), but since I'm invested too heavily in Nikon glass, that's not going to happen. I'm patiently awaiting the D3X. Untill then, I'm happily shooting my D3 (and my P45+).

Regards,
Mort.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 19, 2008, 10:29:13 am
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Those who are saying that the D3 is 2 stops better are most probably not just talking about noise, they are talking about overall image quality, meaning mix of detail retention, color saturation, ability to post-process the image, look of the noise,...
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That sounds like a lot of superstition about what makes an image; most of the things you mention are directly related to noise.

There are so many variables available for people to ignore when making comparisons.  People are easily fooled.  Most people don't realize that small prints and monitors give an unfair advantage to images with less pixels, and they attribute that to "better image quality because of lower pixel density", which isn't true at all.  The methods that most programs use to reduce the image for viewing on the screen preserve individual pixel noise to a small or large degree, and the image with the most pixel resolution loses resolution the most, and gains the most image-level noise.  Same can happen when going to a small print.  The way printer drivers have traditionally worked is nonsense.  Intermediate binning (to 300 PPI or 360 PPI, for example) is BS, and ruins images.  It ruins them more, once again, for the higher resolution images, especially at small sizes.  We are living in an age where our capture technology resolution surpasses our display technology resolution by a huge margin.

Then there's noise reduction.  It seems that most people think that low noise means seeing low noise in the final output, with no regard for what is lost in the process, as if the very purpose of photographs was to not show obvious signs of noise.  I don't think this is wrong for the purposes of an individual photograph, but the facts should be clear about what the camera itself is actually capturing, regarding noise vs detail.  When you heavily reduce chromatic noise in PP (post-RAW, not post conversion), you can get away with more saturation, as saturation would increase the visibility of the chromatic noise.  What you usually get is a very low-frequency chromatic noise, with soft blotches covering hundreds of pixels each, something you would probably not see at all if you did no noise reduction at all, and your monitor could display your 12 or 22 million pixels all at once; much like what you get when you look at an image that looks noisy at 100% on the monitor, and then go stand 12 feet from the monitor.  Edges are retained, while 2-dimensional pixel noise dissolves away (1-dimensional or "banding noise" is a bit more persistent, but that tends to be much lower than it used to be in the newest cameras).
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 11:19:17 am
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What I said (or at least meant) is that the D3's high ISO capability is at least 2 stops better than anything else, not that there is inherently anything superior about the D3 at anything else other than the top ISO settings.

Michael,
That's what I meant by 'superior' too. The D3 is being marketed as, and being supported by many professionals as a camera with break-through low noise technology. It might be break-through for Nikon, but all indications from my comparisons of the RAW files from both cameras is, it's only a marginal improvement on the 5D in respect of low noise at high ISO in RAW mode.

However, I'm in a quandary here. I've botched the tests with regard to FoV. I'm going to put the blame on the accuracy of the naming of lens focal lengths for this. The 5D RAW when converted to 16 bit tiff is 72.8MB. The D3 RAW when converted is 69MB.

Reducing the 5D file size to 69MB should result in equal size images at the same enlargement. However, because of the mismatch of FoVs, I have to reduce the 5D file to 62MB. I'm throwing away over 10MB of 5D image information in the comparisons.

Should this more or less compensate for the mismatch? I certainly can't be sure, so I'm not sure I should continue posting comparisons demonstrating that the noise advantage of the D3 compared with the 5D is of the order of 1/4 to 1/3 of a stop and with a bit of judicious out-camera noise reduction maybe even zero.

I'll see if I can persuade Nik's (Thailand Co. Ltd) on Monday to hire out their demo D3 to me for a day, but I'm doubtful they'd agree.

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As for comparisons done by me, or by others, there's no point in arguing. We each see what we see. Owning a 1Ds MKIII, a 5D and a D3, and having done enough comparisons for now my own purposes, I stand by my assertion. The difference is clearly visible, and enough of my colleagues have now also seen these comparisons that I feel comfortable with my conclusion.

Michael, I don't think we are arguing about what we are seeing. We're not arguing about, 'this print or image on monitor has more (or less) noise that that image'. We're arguing about methodology. I would argue that choice of f stop and shutter speed is fundamental in the taking of a shot. How the camera responds to that choice is the crucial issue. ISO settings can be a smoke screen. The mere fact that the D3 actually has an ISO 25,600 setting is a wow! factor that I believe is misleading. It's main use is for jpeg shooters.

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And, I would add that simply cranking the exposure slider in raw processing is emphatically not the same as having either a true ISO setting or even a boosted ISO setting in the camera.

I agree that it's not the same as having a true ISO setting. But a boosted ISO setting? There's a limit to the amount of personal checking of statements by others one has time to make. I've accepted that ISO 3200 on the 5D is a boosted ISO which is essentially the same as ISO 1600 underexposed by one stop.

ISO 3200 on the 5D underexposed one stop is therefore equivalent to a boosted ISO 6400 (ignoring discrepancies in ISO accuracy). The fact that Canon has not provided a boosted ISO 6400 setting on the 5D should not deter users from providing their own ISO 6400 setting by simply underexposing ISO 3200 by one stop.

There's a psychological element to this. The fact that Nikon have provided an ISO 12,800 and 25,600 option is going to fool some people into believing that it's of real and fundamental benefit. My contention would be it's of real benefit only for in-camera processing of jpeg images and for the appearance of camera LCD previews which will look correctly exposed rather than very underexposed.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 11:34:29 am
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I've shot the D3 next to the 1ds MKII the 1dMKIIN in daylight, subdued light, window light, mixed light, stadium light, tungsten light, tungsten with flash fill, models, celebs, atheltes, real people, non real people (yes there are non real people)  not one but thousands of frames and frame per frame, regardless of processor, regardless of exposure the D3 gives me 2 added stops and at high iso the detail is more defined.
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Wow! There's something very odd going on here. This warrants further investigation. My tests show something in the order of 1/3rd of a stop.

One point which puzzles me. How can the D3 give you a 2 stop advantage regardless of exposure? It's all about exposure (at a given f stop) isn't it?
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 11:43:32 am
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In photography it's the end result that counts, but knowing how that end result is achieved can educate your shooting and help you get the best out of your images. That's the beauty of photography - it's technical and artistic, and ignore either of those aspects and your images suffer.
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My sentiments exactly! Well put!  
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 19, 2008, 12:02:31 pm
The way digital cameras work means that they no over-exposure capabilities as they hard clip, and dynamic range is defined by how far you can go into the shadows and still either pull out detail, or what your tolerance to noise is. This is not helped by patterns in the noise, or subjective differences in the texture of noise and the different definitions of dynamic range that individuals use.

To say a camera has a stop advantage in noise, to me, means that it has a stop more dynamic range. Dynamic range in notoriously tricky to judge, and I've found it cannot be properly measured without very controlled tests and calibrated test targets in an environment that eliminates stray light. To properly examine the full DR of these cameras that now are going to 14bit AtoD, we are at the limits of what a single backlit step wedge test can deliver, and we have to be super careful to eliminate any stray light  that would make blacks not black enough.

Then we need to define what we're comparing when cameras have different size and density sensors. That alone makes exact comparisons tricky.

What tests can do, however, is help us know the limits of the technology, what we can get away with, what we can not. With noise, what software in post is useful, which is not, what is better done in camera or in RAW data or RGB data. What can be important shooting RAW is to learn that benefits in raw processing algorithm, something I'm doing on a daily basis, can vastly alter or improve how the final image looks. It can mean we can re-visit an old image and develop it differently and get results that make it usable, when once it was not. Or we might find out that no amount of clever processing can rescue it, and if we intend to do more of that kind of shooting, we need a camera with a lower noise sensor.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 12:52:07 pm
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To say a camera has a stop advantage in noise, to me, means that it has a stop more dynamic range. Dynamic range in notoriously tricky to judge, and I've found it cannot be properly measured without very controlled tests and calibrated test targets in an environment that eliminates stray light. To properly examine the full DR of these cameras that now are going to 14bit AtoD, we are at the limits of what a single backlit step wedge test can deliver, and we have to be super careful to eliminate any stray light  that would make blacks not black enough.
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Graeme,
Isn't there a distinction to be made between devising an objective standard for DR that applies to all cameras, and comparing the DR of one camera with another in relation to a specific scene?

If we presume that the viewer is applying her own visual standard of acceptable shadow detail, then it's easy for any individual viewer to determine that image A has a higher dynamic range than image B, and probably most people with average or normal vision would agree with the comparison. I find it improbable that most people could raise a difference of opinion as to image A being more, or less, noisy than image B, assuming such viewers were familiar with the concept of visual noise and could recognise it, and assuming also we're not talking about extreme pixel-peeping scenarios.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 19, 2008, 02:42:02 pm
Well, that's still tricky as you never quite know  how the camera is mapping light to code values. Say one sensor is 1 stop more sensitive than another - then equal exposure settings could produce clipped highlights on one, and not on the other. Say that how the RAW data is developed into a JPEG either in camera, or to a TIFF in your RAW converter uses a different curve for different cameras, and maybe the cameras treat black point data differently, you could get fooled by just comparing images.

That's why a standardized target makes life easier, especially if you can access the raw data without a curve applied, then you can measure between clipping (where ever it is) and what you tolerate in the noise, where ever that might be, and declare the dynamic range as the difference between the two. As long as you're consistent in what you call clipping and what you call too noisy, it works well. Doing a log / log plot of values also helps  as then you can visually see the deviation from linearity as you head into the noise floor.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Sunesha on January 19, 2008, 03:21:36 pm
I have a friend that works as Private Dective, the big reason he bought a Nikon D3 is the silly 25,6 k ISO. That he tells me does his "spying" business a great deal. He say that as long you can be sure that you can see who it is on the photo it is a moneyshoot for his "spy" business.

He used to use a 5D because its great iso performance. But he loves to have those silly settings as that stops blur, blur is more often his enemy than noise. As most off his photos done by night in avaible light. To use a flash would probaly be unwise in his kind off work  

I think he does very interesting type off photography.

This is not my opinions, i just repeat what he told me. That he has very new abilities to make moneyshoots. Just to bring the discussion, just because you think it un-useble some other can make money off function you dont need.

For me as a more a "normal" type off photographer the D3 brings Nikon to complety new level off photography that wasnt possible just 6 months.

I always watched the Canon as they both make fullframe cameras, but my lens collection that I am very attached too and the Nikonīs approach how you control your camera has always made me stay with the Nikon brand.

Actually my personal reason to use Nikon is that controls are much easier use, that is more important for me than marginal Image quality differences which has becam

What I find interesting as digital cameras evolve is how much less image qualtity doesnt matter. As most digital SLRs has a very small difference in Image quality nowdays. I think manufactures shall make more and more smarter access to the functions off our cameras. After all I work with the tool many hours and it is interface is what makes to take the shoot. I think that biggest diffrence in "technical" quality is made in photoshop. As we have great tools to correct "technical" flaws today.

The only thing that ticks me off is that Nikon is so so stupid that mirrorlockup can be used with selftimer. That would save me to use a remote-control. I am so so stupid that often forgets my remote control at home.

I think people are to obsessed with image quality that they overlook most others functions that we deal with everytime we take a photo.

My dream camera is fast used camera with accessible smart design off the buttons. Make it almost waterproof. I think we are close to that with the current nikon cameras. I am no genius but every design news that make take shoot easier and faster can make me a better photographer.

What I like with Luminous Landscapes "reviews" is that they review how it is to use the camera rather than measure the camera.

I off course like some measure-bating. But when focus has shift from how it is use the camera from discussing image noise I stop reading the review.

A camera I cant take shoots with my gloves on easy, is a unuasble camera for me, it doesnt matter if takes the best photos in world. But if spend a day without gloves in a freezing climate I dont enjoy taking photos.

But we all have diffrence needs, thats why believe we have so many choises
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 19, 2008, 06:11:07 pm
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In other words, there's a big sales push to keep Nikon in the game and maintain the pressure on Canon.

Over all image quality cannot be measured in f stops, Bernard. Post processing capability is all there in ACR.... detail enhancement, vibrancy, color saturation, temperature and tint, sharpening etc.
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Ray,

Well, you'll probably agree with me that the reason why some cameras deliver less saturated high ISO RAW files is that there is just more entropy on those files that do not enable them to make the image look good while maintaining a high level of saturation? In other words there is less color information in the file. Pushing the saturation back in ACR results in comb like histogram, and you know what that means as well as I do... the amount of post-processing doable from then on is very limited.

I believe that this can be measured in f stops, just like the rest, but I did personnally not compare the D3 that I own with the Canons in realworld situations. All I am saying is that at least MR, and others as well who have tried both cameras claim they see a significant difference that we assessed as being 2 stops.

Now, frankly speaking, the D3 is more than good enough at high ISO for my needs, and I do intend to devote more time to this topic.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 19, 2008, 11:22:29 pm
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Ray,

Well, you'll probably agree with me that the reason why some cameras deliver less saturated high ISO RAW files is that there is just more entropy on those files that do not enable them to make the image look good while maintaining a high level of saturation? In other words there is less color information in the file.

Noise and the quality of the CFA filters are the only things that are going to affect color.  There are no saturation pixies in the cameras.

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Pushing the saturation back in ACR results in comb like histogram, and you know what that means as well as I do... the amount of post-processing doable from then on is very limited.

The more saturated "default" output is probably just a different default, internally, even though the sliders are the same.  Converters like ACR do not treat RAWs from all cameras the same.  They would lose customers if the conversions were too much different from the camera JPEGs, or the manufacturer's converter.

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I believe that this can be measured in f stops, just like the rest, but I did personnally not compare the D3 that I own with the Canons in realworld situations. All I am saying is that at least MR, and others as well who have tried both cameras claim they see a significant difference that we assessed as being 2 stops.

But they have never seen the 1Dsmk3 RAWs converted the same way as the Nikon RAWs, or visa-versa.  That is why I say that someone should take exactly the same shot (with a tripod-mounted lens, if possible), with the same lens, same Av and Tv values, and provide the RAWs so that they can be converted homogenously.  Then the naked truth about the cameras' noise will be displayed.  Then people can start asking the right questions.  If the saturation levels look very different, then that avenue can be explored, but IME, both Canon and Nikon RAWs need about the same amount of saturation boost when converted homogenously, to look natural.

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Now, frankly speaking, the D3 is more than good enough at high ISO for my needs, and I do intend to devote more time to this topic.
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The D3 is the second best low-light DSLR, assuming the 1Dsmk3 is the best.  No one is saying that its low-light performance isn't excellent.  It just isn't the Canon-Killer that it is made out to be, unless you're shooting for someone who values the lack of visible noise over anything and must hand them the CF cards right out of the camera, because Canon has always had a policy of very low noise reduction in their conversions.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2008, 11:43:50 pm
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Well, that's still tricky as you never quite know  how the camera is mapping light to code values. Say one sensor is 1 stop more sensitive than another - then equal exposure settings could produce clipped highlights on one, and not on the other. Say that how the RAW data is developed into a JPEG either in camera, or to a TIFF in your RAW converter uses a different curve for different cameras, and maybe the cameras treat black point data differently, you could get fooled by just comparing images.
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Graeme,
I don't have the tools nor the experience to analyze RAW images as others do on this site, such as John Sheehy and Panopeeper. I'm not so sure I would find doing that of much practical relevance to the taking of photographs, so I agree my comparisons here cannot be totally scientific.

The latest version of ACR with CS3E is the main tool I'm using for this comparison, which is the same tool I use to process all my images, so how these images respond to conversion with the software I use to process all my images, whatever the camera, is what's relevant for me.

In order to be as objective as possible, I set the blacks and contrast to zero in ACR and the tone curve to linear. Luminance smoothing and sharpening is also set to zero and I don't touch any of the other enhancement tools such as saturation and vibrancy etc., but I have tried adjusting the temperature and tint of the 5D image to that of the D3 image in deference to the Nikon salesman's claim that the D3 produces very accurate auto WB. There's certainly a strong difference in hues between the two images with white balance 'as shot'.

All the pairs of images I've compared are either correctly exposed (according to ACR's histogram) or underexposed. Comparing one image with clipped highlights with another which doesn't have clipped highlights would be totally unfair.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 20, 2008, 12:48:34 am
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I have a friend that works as Private Dective, the big reason he bought a Nikon D3 is the silly 25,6 k ISO. That he tells me does his "spying" business a great deal. He say that as long you can be sure that you can see who it is on the photo it is a moneyshoot for his "spy" business.

He used to use a 5D because its great iso performance. But he loves to have those silly settings as that stops blur, blur is more often his enemy than noise. As most off his photos done by night in avaible light. To use a flash would probaly be unwise in his kind off work  

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And that's a very good reason to use a D3. This issue is different from the one I've tried to address in this thread. There are clear advantages in having a camera that boosts an underexposed image so you can see what you've captured on the LCD screen. ISO 25,600 is 3 stops faster than the 5D's setting of ISO 3200.

My contention is, if your private detective friend were to use his 5D at the same shutter speed and aperture as he uses with the D3 set on ISO 25,600, he would get only a marginally noisier image after conversion and adjustment of the RAW image. After further clean-up with Noise Ninja, the 5D might be virtually as good, or as close as matters. Just how close is what I've been trying to find out with my comparisons in this thread.

But let's be clear, if I were in your friends position, I'd be using a D3 too. It's difficult to make an accurate assessment of the image you've just captured if it appears on your camera's LCD screen 3 stops underexposed. Furthermore, if you are shooting jpegs then there would be no contest. I didn't even bother shooting in jpeg mode with the two cameras when I was in the Nikon store. I can't imagine that a 5D jpeg image, underexposed by 3 stops at ISO 3200 would be anywhere near as good as a D3 jpeg image processed in-camera at ISO 25,600.

When I see claims that the D3 has a 2 stop noise advantage over current Canon DSLRs, I can only assume that such claims apply only to shooting in jpeg mode.

I wish these experts would be clear on that point. If the claim applies to RAW images, then I'd like to see their RAW results because my comparisons suggest the difference is of the order of 1/4 to 2/3rds of a stop.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 20, 2008, 05:11:55 am
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But to imply that a camera like the 5D can achieve the same results as a D3 by "push processing" simply ignores the fact that this can then also be done to the D3's images. ISO 50,000 anyone?
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ISO 50,000? You got it! In the right hands the 5D can do ISO 50,000.    

The following shot of the Chiang Mai Mona Lisa is actually ISO 64,000 by my calculation, ie. ISO 4000 underexposed by 4 stops, counting from -0.67 EC in Camera Raw.

No noise reduction nor sharpening has been applied. Sure the 100% view in ACR is noisy, but it's freaking ISO 50,000   .

[attachment=4759:attachment]  [attachment=4760:attachment]
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 20, 2008, 08:54:43 am
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I wish these experts would be clear on that point. If the claim applies to RAW images, then I'd like to see their RAW results because my comparisons suggest the difference is of the order of 1/4 to 2/3rds of a stop.
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That sounds about right, though I would say that the 5D was more prone to 1-dimensional banding noise.

The comparison that bothers me most, though, is to the 1Dsmk3, as the mk3 collects a similar number of photons with the same exposure, and has similar pixel read noise, maybe slightly higher, but not high enough to compete with the shear number on the 1Dsmk3.  This, of course assumes the same real-world exposure at RAW saturation, but I don't know if that is true.  That's why the same shot needs to be taken with the same manual exposure, and preferably with the same lens.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 20, 2008, 07:56:10 pm
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The comparison that bothers me most, though, is to the 1Dsmk3, as the mk3 collects a similar number of photons with the same exposure, and has similar pixel read noise, maybe slightly higher, but not high enough to compete with the shear number on the 1Dsmk3.  This, of course assumes the same real-world exposure at RAW saturation, but I don't know if that is true.  That's why the same shot needs to be taken with the same manual exposure, and preferably with the same lens.
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You could always pop into a store that carries both Nikon and Canon gear and do your own tests, John   . That's what I generally do before buying a lens.

It seems to me it's always been difficult to get definite and unambiguous information on such matters. Dpreview seems to be the most thorough reviewer but sometimes their results are a little ambiguous when they rely upon jpeg images too much.

It's no accident that Michael has used the word 'biased' in the title of his review. When one actually owns some of the equipment being evaluated, it's perhaps difficult to be completely impartial. In your situation you probably have no intention of buying either the D3 or 1Ds3 so you're in an ideal poition to write an 'unbiased' review on the aspects that have been glossed over so far  .
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jeffok on January 20, 2008, 10:13:11 pm
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ISO 50,000? You got it! In the right hands the 5D can do ISO 50,000.   

The following shot of the Chiang Mai Mona Lisa is actually ISO 64,000 by my calculation, ie. ISO 4000 underexposed by 4 stops, counting from -0.67 EC in Camera Raw.

No noise reduction nor sharpening has been applied. Sure the 100% view in ACR is noisy, but it's freaking ISO 50,000   .

[attachment=4759:attachment]  [attachment=4760:attachment]
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Very interesting (the girl too). It would also be interesting to see the D3 image at ISO 50,000 (or 64,000) to compare the two. Have you done that?
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 20, 2008, 10:23:54 pm
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Very interesting (the girl too). It would also be interesting to see the D3 image at ISO 50,000 (or 64,000) to compare the two. Have you done that?
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'fraid not. I can't find any place in Bangkok that has a D3 for hire. Perhaps I should have spent more time in the shop and photographed a few sales assistants instead of a pile equipment in a dark corner.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 20, 2008, 10:40:32 pm
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Ray,

Well, you'll probably agree with me that the reason why some cameras deliver less saturated high ISO RAW files is that there is just more entropy on those files that do not enable them to make the image look good while maintaining a high level of saturation? In other words there is less color information in the file. Pushing the saturation back in ACR results in comb like histogram, and you know what that means as well as I do... the amount of post-processing doable from then on is very limited.
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Bernard,
I know the effect you are talking about. I noticed this with my first Canon DSLR, the D60. At ISO 400 and above, color suffered; reds were weak in addition to more obvious noise. When I later acquired a 20D, I was amazed that the saturation at ISO 1600 was actually better than the D60 at ISO 400.

The highest ISO (equivalent) I shot in this test with my 5D was ISO 32,000, estimated from the amount of EC correction need in ACR to push the histogram to the right. The D3 at the same exposure was slightly underexposed at ISO 25,000.

I honestly do not notice any loss in color saturation in the 5D image compared with the D3 image at the same exposure. In fact probably the reverse is true, but I'm not sure if this is due to the differences in the auto-WB rendering. In these shots, with WB 'as shot' in ACR, the 5D seems to produce richer colors but possibly not as accurate colors as the D3.

In the comparison below, I changed the temperature and tint of the 5D image to the same as the D3 'as shot'. No noise reduction, sharpening or saturation enhancement has been applied.

[attachment=4788:attachment]
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: HarperPhotos on January 21, 2008, 02:53:57 am
Hi Guys,

Here is a interesting article

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/vs-5d-180mm.htm (http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/vs-5d-180mm.htm)

Cheers

Simon
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 21, 2008, 09:25:04 am
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Such unbiased commentary - it warms my heart :-) Lacking a viable alternative,
Nothing to do with bias, just simple facts. The 5D is full frame, Nikon did not even make a FF until a couple of months ago. Not only that the 5D was better than anything Nikon had to offer in terms of ISO performance as well. At the time the 5D came out, there was no chance I would buy a Nikon as there were useless for my needs [I do a lot of low light shooting using fast wideangles], I don't care about your needs or anybody else's. The 5D did what I wanted at the time and no Nikon could. I have no Canon shares or loyaty to them, I just use whichever tool is best.
Now if starting afresh, I would finally have a choice of cameras, which is good, though I would wait to see the 5DII or what ever it's called before deciding. I am very pleased that Nikon have produced some cameras to rival Canon.  I'd hardly think that if I was so unbiased.

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The 5D was a great sensor in its day, tho it was hobbled in many other ways. Now its been trumped by the 1DIII, 1DsIII, the 40D, and the D3 (also by the D300 on all around excellence, tho not on noise, obviously). I expect great things from the 5D II, however.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167372\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
BTW only an numpty would compare 2 year old cameras against recent releases and think a non FF is the same as a FF camera!  
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 21, 2008, 10:28:05 am
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The biggest ding on Nikon bodies has been their higher noise at high ISOs, and that ding was largely deserved (tho highly overrated by the Canon community, in my opinion). [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168150\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Not overated, there was a big difference. A colleague using a D2X, when I was using a 5D struggled in the low light conditions we were shooting under, as not only I had a stop more usuable ISO, I had FF and faster lenses so I could get closer and shoot effectively 2 stops faster. 1/160th Vs 1/40th for action imagery!
 He nearly bought a 5D after seeing what I got compared to what he got. Again I'm not biased, I just use Canon [at present] and I'm certainly not a Fanboy as you admit to being.



It seems after reading some of these posts that the only way to compare camerasis to do so after post processing of RAW for 'ultimate' quality. As a RAW file is like an undeveloped film, you need to develop to a finished standard before comparing to make the comparison worthwhile/meaningful.
And if Noise Ninja or whatever NR method is used on both the NEF and CRW files and it makes the difference between the 5D and the D3 far less than the 'claimed' 2 stops difference, then Nikon have not lept ahead but merely caught up and slightly overtaken Canon. But as many people will shoot JPEGs [esp. busy photojournalists] then the claimed difference will be much more beneficial/obvious/usuable and then the D3 will be better. But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 21, 2008, 10:34:41 am
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Hi Guys,

Here is a interesting article

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/vs-5d-180mm.htm (http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/vs-5d-180mm.htm)

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168524\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It's nice to see someone use the same lens, but the RAWs should be made available.  We're still looking here through the veil of different conversions.  The D3 images are clearly treated to an aggressive chromatic noise reduction.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 21, 2008, 10:42:53 am
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Hi Guys,

Here is a interesting article

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/vs-5d-180mm.htm (http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/vs-5d-180mm.htm)

Cheers

Simon
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168524\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, it is interesting. I see Ken has started applying some noise reduction to see how that affect matters.

Ken's results seem pretty much in line with mine, except I'm drawing slightly different conclusions from the images in front of my eyes.

Take the ISO 25,600 shots for example. Ken says the D3 image is still sharp but the 5D is drowned in noise. The 5D is not drowned. It's still breathing and the curly texture of the fabric seems to be retained more vividly than in the D3 image.

What I see is severe chroma noise in the 5D image and coarse luminance noise. The D3 has finer luminance noise and less chroma noise, but this in-camera noise reduction seems to have fragmented the curly texture of the fabric resulting in an appearance of sharpness which in my opinion it's a false sharpness and is different in nature from the original subject.

To demonstrate this point, the following images show Ken's D3 ISO 200 shot in the middle of the two ISO 25,600 shots. The first image shows the two ISO 25,600 shots unfiltered and the second with them filtered using Noise Ninja with luminance NR set to a minimum and chroma set to its maximum. Sharpening at zero.

Does anyone else agree with what I'm seeing, or am I really biased   .

[attachment=4793:attachment]  [attachment=4794:attachment]
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: NikosR on January 22, 2008, 01:31:53 am
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. But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168564\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Surely, even you should be able to recognise that there are very many other points to justify the price difference apart from IQ differences. If it is justifiable for you is a personal matter, but making statements like this leave you open  to 'fanboism' accusations.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 22, 2008, 05:48:10 am
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Quote
But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better.
Surely, even you should be able to recognise that there are very many other points to justify the price difference apart from IQ differences. If it is justifiable for you is a personal matter, but making statements like this leave you open  to 'fanboism' accusations.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168722\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Only by a paranoid fanboy who does not read posts properly. I've previously said I'm glad Nikon have made a camera that finally rivals some of Canon's offerings and only an ignorant fanboy would argue that Nikon were on a par before and are still lacking compared to the 1DsIII.

As for my saying "But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better." That's simply good business sense. To justify spending the extra money in business, a purchase has to have tangible [financial] benefits. IQ would be one major criteria, also lens choice/quality. Ergonomics is also very important, but the Canons are very good on that front anyway. I've never particularly liked Nikon's ergonomics [not even with film bodies], but then I never used to like Canon's that much either until they changed to the style they currently use. Which Nikon and other manufacturers have emulated.
So what other benefits should one consider that justify a doubling of price over another camera? Surely not the 'N' word?  


It seems that there are two main types of posts here, Canon users who agree that Nikon have made a very good camera and even more defensive than usual fanboys who are attacking these posters even though they are impressed with Nikon's new product.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: NikosR on January 22, 2008, 06:06:43 am
Quote from: jjj,Jan 22 2008, 01:48 PM
Surely, even you should be able to recognise that there are very many other points to justify the price difference apart from IQ differences. If it is justifiable for you is a personal matter, but making statements like this leave you open  to 'fanboism' accusations.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168722\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Only by a paranoid fanboy who does not read posts properly. I've previously said I'm glad Nikon have made a camera that finally rivals some of Canon's offerings and only an ignorant fanboy would argue that Nikon were on a par before and are still lacking compared to the 1DsIII.

As for my saying "But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better." That's simply good business sense. To justify spending the extra money in business, a purchase has to have tangible [financial] benefits. IQ would be one major criteria, also lens choice/quality. Ergonomics is also very important, but the Canons are very good on that front anyway. I've never particularly liked Nikon's ergonomics [not even with film bodies], but then I never used to like Canon's that much either until they changed to the style they currently use. Which Nikon and other manufacturers have emulated.
So what other benefits should one consider that justify a doubling of price over another camera? Surely not the 'N' word?  
It seems that there are two main types of posts here, Canon users who agree that Nikon have made a very good camera and even more defensive than usual fanboys who are attacking these posters even though they are impressed with Nikon's new product.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168751\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
[/quote]

Although I suspect I'm wasting my time replying to you, would top-notch AF, top-notch fps, rugged build and a host of little (and some not so little) functionality features justify the difference in price for you. Well, actually, nobody really cares if that would justify the difference in price to you, since very many pros, obviously lacking your sense of value, are flocking to buy one. Jeez...
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Camp on January 22, 2008, 06:14:11 am
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That sounds like a lot of superstition about what makes an image; most of the things you mention are directly related to noise.

There are so many variables available for people to ignore when making comparisons.  People are easily fooled.  Most people don't realize that small prints and monitors give an unfair advantage to images with less pixels, and they attribute that to "better image quality because of lower pixel density", which isn't true at all. <snip>
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168158\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

John,

One problem with all of your analyses is that you seem to assume that the purpose of a camera is to gather photons, or some such, and continue to disparage people who simply look at prints and say,  "This one is better." (Sharper, cleaner, whatever.) Michael shoots thousands of frames at a time and publishes and sells his work, James Russell's livelihood, which seems reasonably expansive, is based in shooting. Most of us know Bernard's work. All of these guys take this stuff seriously, they've done a lot of work in the field, and they have very trained and critical eyes. What's this superstition business? Again, it seems like the engineers and the bumblebee story -- you are trying to prove that the bumblebee can't fly because your numbers say so, while the village idiot can see that the bumblebee is, in fact, flying. I am a lot more humble photographer than any of these guys, but I have been shooting for almost 50 years now, and the D3 astonishes me. The D2x did not, the 1Ds3 (which I've looked at and shot with a bit) did not. I have an M8 and a collection of excellent glass for it, and it does not astonish me. Whatever's going on with the D3 is a hell of a lot more than sneaky noise reduction. It's plain to the eye. It might not be in the numbers. In which case, the eye is right.

JC
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 22, 2008, 12:09:32 pm
Quote
Although I suspect I'm wasting my time replying to you, would top-notch AF, top-notch fps, rugged build and a host of little (and some not so little) functionality features justify the difference in price for you. Well, actually, nobody really cares if that would justify the difference in price to you, since very many pros, obviously lacking your sense of value, are flocking to buy one. Jeez...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168753\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I'd be surprised if they weren't. All the pros I know who use Nikon are now upgrading as finally they have a decent camera to go with their lenses! Duh!
It's not as if all the Canon users are suddenly chucking in their kit and buying Nikon. Michael can afford to buy Nikon as well as have Canon, as his business is different from  that of a pro photographer. But it's interesting that it's only now with the new cameras, he's decided to buy Nikon again.
But as I said above and if you had paid attention, you would have already read this - If I were buying all new kit, I would finally have a choice of camera to purchase and not just Canon.
Not sure why you are getting so wound up. You'd have probably burst a blood vessel if I'd actually slagged the camera off.

The other minor differences you mention are indeed minor with regard to the vast price difference and even if they aren't, it's not as if they don't apply to Canon as well. After all as more pros use Canon than Nikon,  they're hardly rubbish/poorly made cameras.

As more more FPS being a selling point, I'm kind of old fashioned in that I take a picture at the right moment rather than resorting to the machine gun photography that seems to be in vogue these days - and I'm not talking about sports photographers either. I had a camera a few years back that did 5 fps, out of curiosity I tried it and decided I could get a better shot by taking the one shot at exactly the right time instead.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 22, 2008, 12:45:05 pm
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Nothing to do with bias, just simple facts.
If all this helps you sleep at night, then more power to you  
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 22, 2008, 12:58:55 pm
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If all this helps you sleep at night, then more power to you 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168808\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Patronising and ignorant fool. I don't care what the label on my camera is.  I'll simply use what ever is best for my needs.
Nikon were useless for my needs, now they aren't.  There was no bias in the decision, just a list of abilities the Nikon did not have compared to the Canon.
Fanboys are so pathetic.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 22, 2008, 01:32:37 pm
Calm, folks, itīs only opinions, cameras and lenses, after all; not as if anyone is forcing anyone else to do anything at all.

John Camp: very well put.

Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 22, 2008, 05:09:05 pm
Quote
Patronising and ignorant fool.
You really are taking this WAAAY too seriously.

I simply stated that the whole noise difference between Canon and Nikon, tho real, was overated. By that I meant that when you actually printed the images, most of that noise difference wasn't even visible for typical print sizes. What you see at 100% on a monitor isn't the same as what you'll see in a print.

Anyway, enjoy your camera, whatever it is. Whatever deficiencies you feel it might have, or that the cameras of others might have compared to yours, isn't worth loosing sleep over.

Have a good day.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Quentin on January 22, 2008, 05:52:55 pm
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Patronising and ignorant fool. I don't care what the label on my camera is.  I'll simply use what ever is best for my needs.
Nikon were useless for my needs, now they aren't.  There was no bias in the decision, just a list of abilities the Nikon did not have compared to the Canon.
Fanboys are so pathetic.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168811\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think that maybe by using language straight out of dpreview, your reputation might just have gone futt futt futt.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 22, 2008, 06:10:29 pm
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I think that maybe by using language straight out of dpreview, your reputation might just have gone futt futt futt.
Well, in fairness to jjj, I was being a bit of a smart aleck earlier in the thread, so I'll accept my share of responsibility for some of the tone this thread has taken on (of course, a lot of others have contributed to this tone, so I don't accept full responsibility :-)
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 23, 2008, 12:45:18 am
Setting aside the issues which we can only speculate upon, such as how much of the noise will be visible in a print of a certain size; how much the results would change using a different RAW converter; what the consequences would be of different settings in different noise reduction programs etc.... Does anyone else see what I'm seeing in the Ken Rockwell images?

Namely:

(1) The 5D images (at ISO 25,600) have much more obvious chroma noise which can, however, be easily removed in Noise Ninja with no further loss of resolution.

(2) The 5D image is stuck with a much coarser type of luminance noise which is difficult to remove without destroying detail.

(3) Despite the 5D's more obvious luminance noise, the curly structure and texture of the doll's fabric is more apparent than in the D3 shot (at ISO 25,600).

(4) The D3 image looks cleaner and has an appearance of greater sharpness, but it's a false sharpness. The image has been messed up to a degree with in-camera processing.

(5) Attempting to further improve the D3 image through noise reduction programs results in obvious softening. The noise reduction has already been done in-camera.

(6) The 5D image can be improved to a greater extent using noise reduction programs, particularly with regard to chroma noise.

Taking all these factor into consideration, the actual noise advantage of the D3 for RAW shooters (compared with the 5D) seems fairly marginal to me and claims of a 2 stop advantage seem fanciful.

If Canon can come up with an upgrade to the 5D which produces the same image quality at ISO 6400 as the current model produces at ISO 1600, then they don't even have to increase the pixel count for me. I'll buy it   .
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jeffok on January 23, 2008, 12:50:07 am
Quote
Setting aside the issues which we can only speculate upon, such as how much of the noise will be visible in a print of a certain size; how much the results would change using a different RAW converter; what the consequences would be of different settings in different noise reduction programs etc.... Does anyone else see what I'm seeing in the Ken Rockwell images?

Namely:

(1) The 5D images (at ISO 25,600) have much more obvious chroma noise which can, however, be easily removed in Noise Ninja with no further loss of resolution.

(2) The 5D image is stuck with a much coarser type of luminance noise which is difficult to remove without destroying detail.

(3) Despite the 5D's more obvious luminance noise, the curly structure and texture of the doll's fabric is more apparent than in the D3 shot (at ISO 25,600).

(4) The D3 image looks cleaner and has an appearance of greater sharpness, but it's a false sharpness. The image has been messed up to a degree with in-camera processing.

(5) Attempting to further improve the D3 image through noise reduction programs results in obvious softening. The noise reduction has already been done in-camera.

(6) The 5D image can be improved to a greater extent using noise reduction programs, particularly with regard to chroma noise.

Taking all these factor into consideration, the actual noise advantage of the D3 for RAW shooters (compared with the 5D) seems fairly marginal to me and claims of a 2 stop advantage seem fanciful.

If Canon can come up with an upgrade to the 5D which produces the same image quality at ISO 6400 as the current model produces at ISO 1600, then they don't even have to increase the pixel count for me. I'll buy it   .
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=168928\")

Have you seen this fellow's review of the 1Ds III? [a href=\"http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/canon_eos_1ds_mark3_review.htm]http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/cano...ark3_review.htm[/url]
I think he makes a similar conclusion  as you do about the real difference in noise compared to the D3 and Canon 40D. Seems reasonable to me.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 23, 2008, 01:09:46 am
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Have you seen this fellow's review of the 1Ds III? http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/cano...ark3_review.htm (http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/canon_eos_1ds_mark3_review.htm)
I think he makes a similar conclusion  as you do about the real difference in noise compared to the D3 and Canon 40D. Seems reasonable to me.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168929\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Wow! I think John Sheehy might have some comments to make on that review. The 1Ds3 and 5D are about equal regarding noise at ISO 3200, even when the 1Ds3 file has been downsampled to the same size as the 5D image?
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Craig Arnold on January 23, 2008, 02:59:08 am
It does seem that the D3 is doing something slightly different (from what they or anyone else) has done before in terms of noise reduction as the data is read off the sensor and before the RAW image is written.

I'd be interested to know from the experts how much software intervention the other cameras do and what Nikon might be doing differently.

I agree with the observation (from other peoples tests - I don't have a D3) that the Canon images clean up nicely with some noise reduction and the D3 doesn't, and that after that NR on the Canon images the difference seems less than 2 stops. But really even a 1 stop improvement on the 5D is pretty impressive.

I also note with interest that the new version of DXO v5 (which I haven't tried yet because the Mac version is still under development) claims to do some interesting things in NR before demosaicing in the RAW conversion process. DXO make a lot of their money from selling software for use inside the digital processing chips of various manufacturers; is it possible that Nikon are doing something similar or have simply bought the DXO technology for use in the D3?

I would suggest that the obvious downside to the in-camera NR is that if it does reduce detail when it reduces noise that of course the user doesn't get to choose what he prefers. Less work in post, but ya gets what ya gets.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 23, 2008, 08:46:51 am
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Wow! I think John Sheehy might have some comments to make on that review. The 1Ds3 and 5D are about equal regarding noise at ISO 3200, even when the 1Ds3 file has been downsampled to the same size as the 5D image?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168933\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I haven't looked at the article yet, but I do have this:

(http://www.pbase.com/jps_photo/image/92026024/original.jpg)

This is the 1Dsmk3 at ISO 51000, downsampled to 77%, 100% crop, manual conversion from RAW, with a little sharpening.  No NR, whatsoever.  To simulate NR, squint when you look at it.

How does this compare to a 100% crop from the 5D or D3 at ISO 51,000?
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 23, 2008, 09:09:22 am
There is a distinct advantage to apply chroma noise reduction on RAW un-demosaiced data, compared to applying it to post-demosaic RGB data. If that's the difference we're seeing here, I'd not be surprised one little bit. Once you demosaic, and especially after colour space conversion, you co-mingle the RGB data in such a way that interferes with noise reduction targeted at the exact bits of raw data that are causing issues.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: sojournerphoto on January 23, 2008, 09:25:50 am
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There is a distinct advantage to apply chroma noise reduction on RAW un-demosaiced data, compared to applying it to post-demosaic RGB data. If that's the difference we're seeing here, I'd not be surprised one little bit. Once you demosaic, and especially after colour space conversion, you co-mingle the RGB data in such a way that interferes with noise reduction targeted at the exact bits of raw data that are causing issues.

Graeme
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168978\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Graham, what sort of algorithm is used to apply chroma nr to raw data? is this another smoothing/low p[ass type function or something else all together?


just interested

Cheers

Mike
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Graeme Nattress on January 23, 2008, 09:31:23 am
I'm not at liberty to divulge that kind  of information. Sorry. I can just tell you that it works very well indeed, but I can't get into specifics of  exactly how it works. I do a lot of R&D in this area.

Graeme
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: sojournerphoto on January 23, 2008, 09:54:00 am
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I'm not at liberty to divulge that kind  of information. Sorry. I can just tell you that it works very well indeed, but I can't get into specifics of  exactly how it works. I do a lot of R&D in this area.

Graeme
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168986\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


That sounds liek the old 'if I told you I'd have to kill you!', but actually I believe you. I must admit that I do find this type of image processing stuff interesting.

Mike
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 23, 2008, 10:17:39 am
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How does this compare to a 100% crop from the 5D or D3 at ISO 51,000?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168974\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

How can we say, John? We haven't got the 5D image to compare   .
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 23, 2008, 10:53:55 am
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I think that maybe by using language straight out of dpreview, your reputation might just have gone futt futt futt.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168863\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I have no longer have much patience for people who cannot read posts and post a lot of nonsense whilst also misrepresenting what I say. So if someone doesn't want to get called an idiot or whatever, then they shouldn't behave like one. Though to give kudos to mort54, he has admitted to being a bit of a smart alec and provoking the response, so at least I respect him for saying that.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 23, 2008, 11:14:51 am
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I agree with the observation (from other peoples tests - I don't have a D3) that the Canon images clean up nicely with some noise reduction and the D3 doesn't, and that after that NR on the Canon images the difference seems less than 2 stops. But really even a 1 stop improvement on the 5D is pretty impressive.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168942\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Peripatetic,
My test images indicate the D3 is definitely not as much as a 1 stop improvement on the 5D in terms of noise at high ISO. What I think is happening here is that many photographers, both amateurs and professionals, are getting bamboozled by the unprecedented high ISO numbers.

An exposure at ISO 6400 is not necessarily one stop less than an exposure at ISO 3200. The ISO numbers are only an indirect and approximate indication of what the actual exposure might be.

For example, a D3 shot at F11 and 1/30th is one stop less than a 5D shot at F8 and 1/30th. I can show you two such shots and several 100% crops. I think you'll agree the D3 shot is clearly noisier.

I mentioned earlier that i thought the D3 noise advantage over the 5D is of the order of 1/4 to 2/3rds of a stop. Having now examined more images from both cameras, I believe it is actually less. More like 1/4 to 1/3 of a stop.

The final image compares the 5D at F8 and 1/50th with the D3 at F11 and 1/30. That's 1/3rd of a stop difference. I still think the 5D has a slight edge here, but there's no point in arguing whether it's really 1/4 stop or 1/3rd. Let's just say it's definitely less than one stop and apparently less than 1/2 a stop.

[attachment=4820:attachment]  [attachment=4821:attachment]  [attachment=4822:attachment]

[attachment=4823:attachment]  [attachment=4824:attachment]  [attachment=4826:attachment]

I should mention that none of the above images have been resampled. The 5D image is slightly larger because the file size is larger (72.8MB as opposed to 69MB for the D3). There is also a slight discrepancy in focal length due to inaccuracies of the zoom labelling, but only slight. This should not affect noise results to any noticeable extent.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 23, 2008, 05:41:43 pm
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How can we say, John? We haven't got the 5D image to compare   .
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168997\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It would be nice if someone shot the exact same scene with the same lens and Av and TV values with all three cameras, but no one who isa ble to do so seems interested in doing so, and providing the RAWs.

In general, though, how does this compare to a 100% crop at ISO 51000 on the other cameras?

This image reminds me; when I do these manual conversions with no fancy demosaicing, the texture always looks much better to me than the mess you see in most converters at 100%; they seem bent on bringing out high-contrast detail at the pixel level, and for the most part, it just looks like artifacts; things like pieces of broken straw baskets with the straw painted randomly.  All the more reason, IMO, to move to higher pixel densities, and oversample the lenses in the red and blue CFA channels.  Say goodbye to demosaicing - a necessary evil of low-res cameras.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Mort54 on January 23, 2008, 06:03:42 pm
Quote
I have no longer have much patience for people who cannot read posts and post a lot of nonsense whilst also misrepresenting what I say.
Not to reopen old wounds, but I hope you aren't suggesting I misrepresented what you said, because I never did. I did make some comments that were intended as good natured needling (my "smart aleck" remarks), but I never misrepresented you. Also, I have to say that even tho you may have felt provoked by some of my comments, you strike me as someone who is looking to be provoked, or at least someone with a chip on his shoulder. Several of your posts seemed very combative right from the get-go, and you made several needling remarks of your own, which is why I responded to you the way I did. I really have nothing further to say on the matter. Hopefully this forum won't degenerate into the rude free-for-all we see on DPReview and other sites.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 23, 2008, 06:08:26 pm
Quote
Graham, what sort of algorithm is used to apply chroma nr to raw data? is this another smoothing/low p[ass type function or something else all together?
just interested
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168982\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

One simple method is a CFA-aware filter.  The filter knows that the RAW data is actually 3 or 4 interleaved, color-filtered greyscale images, while it is still in a mosaic form, and performs a median filter or high-pass subtraction or whatever on the color channels by themselves.  Then, lacking wild excursions of the original noise, the subject has a more consistent color from pixel to pixel.  A more advanced algorithm might detect edges, and avoid softening them.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: sojournerphoto on January 23, 2008, 07:38:16 pm
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One simple method is a CFA-aware filter.  The filter knows that the RAW data is actually 3 or 4 interleaved, color-filtered greyscale images, while it is still in a mosaic form, and performs a median filter or high-pass subtraction or whatever on the color channels by themselves.  Then, lacking wild excursions of the original noise, the subject has a more consistent color from pixel to pixel.  A more advanced algorithm might detect edges, and avoid softening them.
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Thanks John

based on an immediate response, it seems that such an approach has the potential in some circumstances to remove signal as well as noise? Presumably the more advanced algorithms would be able to better differentiate, but anything close to the sampling limit will be vulnerable?

On another note, responding to your post on much higher resolution sensors, I tried and rejected photo acute as I found the 'additional' detail just looked like artifacts to me. I suspect the answer is more resolution that would allow a proper sampling of all the lens can project - diffraction abberations and all. Plus with enough resolution the spcial resampling necessary to address lens defects a la DXo would be less destructive.

Mike
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 23, 2008, 09:58:35 pm
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It would be nice if someone shot the exact same scene with the same lens and Av and TV values with all three cameras, but no one who isa ble to do so seems interested in doing so, and providing the RAWs.

This reminds me of the days when Canon's first FF DSLR, the 1Ds was released. Prior to that, arguments about the advantages and disadvantages of the cropped format had been frequent, yet those who then owned both cameras, a 1Ds and D60 or 10D, were strangely reluctant to shoot the same scene with the same lens to demonstrate either the resolution advantage of 6MP compared with the 4.2MP of the 1Ds image after cropping, or the superiority of 4.2M 1Ds pixels because they were bigger and perhaps therefore better.

One can only assume that the psychological element of discovering that under certain circumstances (with a telephoto lens that wasn't quite long enough) the el cheapo 6MP camera might produce better results, was just too much to bear.


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In general, though, how does this compare to a 100% crop at ISO 51000 on the other cameras?

Well, earlier in the thread I showed a 5D ISO 64,000 crop, the Chiang Mai Mona Lisa, which looks pretty good to me, considering it's ISO 64,000   . However, I didn't use a specialised converter like DCRAW to drag every last spec of detail from the image.

The problem I have with your 1Ds3 crop above is that it seems to have some seriously blown highlights which might sort of disqualify it from the really high ISO stakes.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: John Sheehy on January 23, 2008, 10:28:53 pm
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The problem I have with your 1Ds3 crop above is that it seems to have some seriously blown highlights which might sort of disqualify it from the really high ISO stakes.
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Please explain.  The fact that there are much brighter parts in the full image have no effect on whether or not this is an exposure index of 51000.  The full range of tones is available there for ISO 51000.  This is a simple conversion; no extra highlights rolled in.  It clips harshly.

I don't have access to these cameras discussed, so I can only take what I can find RAW on the internet.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 23, 2008, 11:55:53 pm
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Please explain.  The fact that there are much brighter parts in the full image have no effect on whether or not this is an exposure index of 51000.  The full range of tones is available there for ISO 51000.  This is a simple conversion; no extra highlights rolled in.  It clips harshly.

I don't have access to these cameras discussed, so I can only take what I can find RAW on the internet.
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John,
All my estimates of ultra high ISO are based on the degree of +EC adjustment I need to make in ACR to simulate a correct ETTR at the camera's maximum ISO setting, with all other controls at zero, including highlight recovery.

The presence of bright highlights seems to confuse the issue when using this method. It's so easy to exaggerate the ISO figure by deliberately blowing highlights which are really larger than specral and perhaps should contain detail.

That's why I like to show a screen capture of the ACR window showing clearly the histogram and EC adjustments.

However, if you are using tools which analyze the RAW data at the pixel level in a more precise manner, then perhaps you don't have to rely upon such crude methods   .
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: jjj on January 24, 2008, 10:01:48 am
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Not to reopen old wounds, but I hope you aren't suggesting I misrepresented what you said, because I never did. I did make some comments that were intended as good natured needling (my "smart aleck" remarks), but I never misrepresented you. Also, I have to say that even tho you may have felt provoked by some of my comments, you strike me as someone who is looking to be provoked, or at least someone with a chip on his shoulder. Several of your posts seemed very combative right from the get-go, and you made several needling remarks of your own, which is why I responded to you the way I did. I really have nothing further to say on the matter. Hopefully this forum won't degenerate into the rude free-for-all we see on DPReview and other sites.
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Hmm, I started off by being very positive about the D3 and Nikon, so hardly combatative from the get go. You seem oversensitive and yes you did misrepresent what I said. Obviously you cannot see that you did that. So you seem to be the one provoking and even admitted to it. So if you want to avoid 'DP Review style' rudeness [I rarely look there so I'll have to take your word for it], stop being a smart alec and read posts more carefully in future. Most online bickering occurs after someone fails to read a previous post/posts carefully and in context.
And if you think my description of Nikon cameras' failings for my needs , not someone else's, is needling, then you really need to chill out. Nikon have only just launched a FF camera, so if you wanted a FF camera you had to buy Canon. Hardly a difficult issue to grasp. Yet you accused me of bias for choosing a Canon 5D for that very reason. I wouldn't buy a 1dIII for the same reason, in fact I'd buy a D3 in preference, if that was the only choice.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 26, 2008, 10:06:06 am
Of course there could be an explanation for my test results showing a mere 1/3rd stop high ISO noise advantage of the D3 over the 5D. It's well known that Canon lenses have QC variability. I think this also applies to camera bodies. Whether to a greater or lesser extent I don't know.

However, I rejected my first 5D on the grounds it had to much banding in the shadows. The replacement was better. Perhaps I have an unusually good 5D. Perhaps the D3 demo model, the only D3 in the store that I was able to test, was below par. Who knows!

Experiments like this should be repeated.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Quentin on January 26, 2008, 12:45:42 pm
I know Ray does not trust tests, but every test I have read in UK reviews - every single one -  has been staggered by the high ISO performance of the D3 compared with previous generation dslrs of any brand.  

Quentin
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: DarkPenguin on January 26, 2008, 02:41:36 pm
That is true.  Wasn't Ray's point that the ISO on one doesn't equal the ISO on the other.  I know that when I compare the 20D to the 400D the ISO are not equal.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Rob C on January 26, 2008, 03:58:25 pm
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That is true.  Wasn't Ray's point that the ISO on one doesn't equal the ISO on the other.  I know that when I compare the 20D to the 400D the ISO are not equal.
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No, I think Rayīs point was that he has grown weary of the tennis match! ( ;-) )

Rob C
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: DarkPenguin on January 26, 2008, 04:18:57 pm
That doesn't parse right.  I have to assume I meant "That is true.  But wasn't Ray's" yada yada.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 26, 2008, 10:30:44 pm
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I know Ray does not trust tests, but every test I have read in UK reviews - every single one -  has been staggered by the high ISO performance of the D3 compared with previous generation dslrs of any brand. 

Quentin
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Quentin,
I bet those reviews you refer to didn't show any 100% RAW crop comparisons.

The reason I went to the trouble of doing this test is that all the reviews I came across on the net simply didn't fully explore any comparisons. The attitude seemed to be, " We can't show you the 5D (1Ds3 whatever) at ISO 64,000 or 25,600 because these cameras don't do that.".... Well, really! What can one say.

Ken Rockwell's review was the only one which showed a comparison between the 5D and the D3 of the same subject at the same shutter speed and aperture. I was surprised to find that his noisier 5D shot cleaned up so easily in Noise Ninja and looked virtually as good as the D3 shot. I see Ken has now done further tests at simulated ISO's.

The other issue for me was to find out what I might expect in the 5D upgrade. If Nikon could provide as much as a 2 stop noise advantage at high ISO, then Canon would quite likely match that. If they could, then I wouldn't even be concerned if the pixel count remained the same.

It now seems clear to me that we can probably expect around a 1/2 stop noise improvement in the 5D upgrade, which might make it pixel-peeping better than the D3 regarding high ISO noise, but no big deal.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 26, 2008, 10:50:48 pm
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That is true.  Wasn't Ray's point that the ISO on one doesn't equal the ISO on the other.  I know that when I compare the 20D to the 400D the ISO are not equal.
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There is a slight difference in ISO accuracy between the 2 cameras, around 1/3rd of a stop, which is one reason why it's important to do comparisons at the same shutter speed and aperture. But that's really only a small part of the problem.

I'd say the major problem is that reviewers simply don't take the time to compare RAW images. I wouldn't be surprised if many of them don't even take any shots in RAW mode. It's my experience than most photographers in general (if one includes the amateurs) shoot jpeg. Anyone who's in the habit of shooting in jpeg mode would quite likely get the impression the D3 is about 2 stops better regarding noise at high ISO.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Quentin on January 27, 2008, 05:42:14 am
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Quentin,
I bet those reviews you refer to didn't show any 100% RAW crop comparisons.

The reason I went to the trouble of doing this test is that all the reviews I came across on the net simply didn't fully explore any comparisons. The attitude seemed to be, " We can't show you the 5D (1Ds3 whatever) at ISO 64,000 or 25,600 because these cameras don't do that.".... Well, really! What can one say.

Ken Rockwell's review was the only one which showed a comparison between the 5D and the D3 of the same subject at the same shutter speed and aperture. I was surprised to find that his noisier 5D shot cleaned up so easily in Noise Ninja and looked virtually as good as the D3 shot. I see Ken has now done further tests at simulated ISO's.

The other issue for me was to find out what I might expect in the 5D upgrade. If Nikon could provide as much as a 2 stop noise advantage at high ISO, then Canon would quite likely match that. If they could, then I wouldn't even be concerned if the pixel count remained the same.

It now seems clear to me that we can probably expect around a 1/2 stop noise improvement in the 5D upgrade, which might make it pixel-peeping better than the D3 regarding high ISO noise, but no big deal.
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Ray

1.  Several showed crops from the D3, one a double page spread shot at some ridiculously high ISO which it claimed would have been impossible before the D3

2. Nikon already had a 2 stop advantage; its Canon that has been left behind on this occasion.  I realize that's not your reality, but it is just about everyone else's.

Quentin

To be entirely open here, I have to say I dislike Canon dslr's and I don't now and likely never will own one of them (I do though have the excellent G9).   Nothing would make me happier than to seen Canon's backside kicked     So am I impartial?  Not a chance.

Here is a other thought.  Suppose for the moment you were right and the D3 high ISO advantage was nominal. While I don't for one moment believe that is the case, if it was, then its a brilliant marketing coup for Nikon; they now have the backing of just about all major independent reviewers and journals who have tested it.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Streetshooter on January 27, 2008, 06:14:11 am
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Ray
Here is a other thought.  Suppose for the moment you were right and the D3 high ISO advantage was nominal. While I don't for one moment believe that is the case, if it was, then its a brilliant marketing coup for Nikon; they now have the backing of just about all major independent reviewers and journals who have tested it.
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Well, according to Ray, they don't know what they're talking about !

Pete
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: michael on January 27, 2008, 08:22:34 am
Ray, hate to say it, but though you seem to otherwise be a reasonable sort of fellow, on this subject you're simply wrong. This comment is based on my intensive experience comparing the D3 and the 5D and 1Ds MKIII, and that of quite a few other photographers who have done detailed side-by-side comparisons of the D3 at high ISO against Canon's best.

You may decide that we are all wrong (and this includes probably half a dozen reputable magazine and web reviewers as well, many of whom I know to be level headed and knowledgeable people) but then again maybe, just maybe, it's you that isn't seeing things for what they are.

You can push process Canon files till the cows come home, and you can claim that the D3 smoothes detail, but neither of these changes the fact that knowledgeable observers seem to be in agreement that there is at least a two stop advantage to the D3, and that it's real, quantifiable, verifiable and there for anyone with an experienced eye to see for themselves.

But, you are of course free to believe whatever you wish. It seems pointless though to continue to argue otherwise here since all that we have from you is your opinion on the matter, while the other side of the argument has experienced observers on three continents claiming otherwise.

Michael

Ps: I would add that "cleaning up a 5D image in Noise Ninja" to make it competitive is a red herring, simply because one can then do the same thing to a D3 and still have the two stop advantage.

As for quoting ken Rockwell on the matter, well, what can I say? I should simply leave it at that.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 27, 2008, 09:18:57 am
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Ray, hate to say it, but though you seem to otherwise be a reasonable sort of fellow, on this subject you're simply wrong. This comment is based on my intensive experience comparing the D3 and the 5D and 1Ds MKIII, and that of quite a few other photographers who have done detailed side-by-side comparisons of the D3 at high ISO against Canon's best.

I am a reasonable fellow, Michael, but what can I do? I take a number of RAW shots with both cameras covering a range of F stops and shutter speeds, 5D set on ISO 3200 and D3 set on various ISOs from ISO 3200 to 25,600. I have dozens of RAW files that I can compare at the same exposure, 1/3rd stop difference, 2/3rds stop difference, 1 stop, 2 stops and so on.

I would have liked to have done more tests. I tried to hire the demo D3 for a day but the shop wouldn't let it go. I did make a few errors in not precisely matching FoV. The D3 shots are also tilted up slightly because the single focussing square in the viewfinder was not actually in the centre. (I didn't realise one could change the position of that square on the D3.)

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I would add that "cleaning up a 5D image in Noise Ninja" to make it competitive is a red herring, simply because one can then do the same thing to a D3 and still have the two stop advantage.

I've not found that to be the case. The 5D image is improved by reducing chroma noise (keeping luminance NR at zero) and without noticeable loss of resolution. The chroma noise in the D3 image seems to have already been removed in-camera. Attempting further noise reduction with the D3 image tends to reduce resolution.

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As for quoting ken Rockwell on the matter, well, what can I say? I should simply leave it at that.

It was because Ken Rockwell's tests comparing the D3 with the 5D were the only comparisons I could find on the net that I decided to do some tests myself.

If people who own both a D3 and 5D don't show their test results, what can I do? In the final analysis, I have to trust my own eyes. As you know, I've spent years on this forum debating such issues as noise and resolution. I think I can recognise noise when I see it.

If you or anyone reading this post who owns both a D3 and 5D care to demonstrate the 2 stops noise improvement you claim, using RAW images, and comparing 100% crops of exposures that really differ by two stops rather than ISO settings that differ by 2 stops, I'd be very interested.
Title: A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
Post by: Ray on January 27, 2008, 04:20:00 pm
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1.  Several showed crops from the D3, one a double page spread shot at some ridiculously high ISO which it claimed would have been impossible before the D3

Quentin,
But did they show shots of the 5D or 1Ds3 downsampled to the D3 size for the purpose of comparison. And if they did show such crops, did they take them at the same exposure and simulate the high ISO of the D3 by underexposing?

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2. Nikon already had a 2 stop advantage; its Canon that has been left behind on this occasion.  I realize that's not your reality, but it is just about everyone else's.

Everyone? Could this be another bit of hyperbole   .

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Here is a other thought.  Suppose for the moment you were right and the D3 high ISO advantage was nominal. While I don't for one moment believe that is the case, if it was, then its a brilliant marketing coup for Nikon; they now have the backing of just about all major independent reviewers and journals who have tested it.

I'm sure you realise that there are relatively few reviewers that take the time and trouble to do thorough, detailed and comprehensive reviews. Most reviewers take the conclusions from the experienced few and dress up the results to make it appear they have done the work themselves.

I'm not into conspiracy theories, but I do think there's something odd going on here.

Below are a couple of jpeg images which show the 5D shot, at one stop more exposure than the D3 shot, still looks better, although both are about equally noisy, the implication being that even in jpeg mode the D3 in terms of general image quality has less than a one stop advantage.

For these shots I used tripods, but the 5D tripod was a bit lower. However the FoVs are very close. On the D3 I had the Nikon 50/1.8 prime and on the 5D the 24-105 zoom set at 50mm.

The 5D shot looks sharper and more detailed to me, and generally better. How does it look to you?

[attachment=4929:attachment]  [attachment=4930:attachment]  [attachment=4931:attachment]