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Author Topic: DXOmark ranks DB image quality well below DSLR!  (Read 55098 times)

David Grover / Phase One

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DXOmark ranks DB image quality well below DSLR!
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2009, 04:41:39 pm »

Quote from: GLuijk
Sadly they will probably not understand a word about what you're talking about.


Sure! you are talking about... postprocessing   that's easily done in Photoshop, or even in the RAW developer with the Brightness control, which unlike the Exposure control allows to lift the shadows without blowing the highlights.

BR

Charming.

Anyway, there are differences in the DSP functions regarding higher ISO settings on the camera, but then again, I probably don't know what I am talking about.

 

Best,


David


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David Grover
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David Grover / Phase One

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« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2009, 04:43:58 pm »

On a separate note..

Regardless of how A to B is reached, if the result is a useable image of expected quality, who really cares?
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David Grover
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Guillermo Luijk

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« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2009, 04:47:41 pm »

Quote from: David Grover / Hasselblad
Charming.

Anyway, there are differences in the DSP functions regarding higher ISO settings on the camera, but then again, I probably don't know what I am talking about.
Amazingly valuable and detailed information about your product you are providing here. You can take a rest now.


Panopeeper

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« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2009, 05:10:55 pm »

Quote from: David Grover / Hasselblad
Regardless of how A to B is reached, if the result is a useable image of expected quality, who really cares?
My first reaction was this is the argument of a used car salesman. However, my experience shows, that not only many but perhaps the majority of the owners don't have much idea about the characteristics of their cameras in general. The owners of MFDBs are not excepted, or if they are, then rather on the ignorant side. No problem, it's their money. Thus the position "don't care for details as long as you are happy" is justified.

I remember to have read in some car related magazine, that the Rolls Royce specifications do not mention the power output, nor the top speed of their cars; asked for that data, the answer was enough - and from the perspective of their customers, they were right.

Beside the total confusion about the role of ISO and about proper exposure, the second most common misconception is that about the raw data bit depth, particularly regarding the imaginary 16bit depth of Phase One backs.
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Gabor

R_Medvid

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« Reply #44 on: April 26, 2009, 05:13:32 pm »

Quote from: Panopeeper
.... the imaginary 16bit depth of Phase One backs....

 Could you elaborate on this please?
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Nick-T

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« Reply #45 on: April 26, 2009, 05:25:17 pm »

Quote from: David Grover / Hasselblad
On a separate note..

Regardless of how A to B is reached, if the result is a useable image of expected quality, who really cares?


Well there's clearly a group of prolific posters here who one might call imaging scientists or something. These people are fascinated by the inner workings of digital imaging and good luck to them.
None of these people as far as I can see make a living taking photos. The people at DXo don't make a living from taking photos.

I make a living from taking photos and my digital backs out perform my DSLRs and my clients can tell the difference, end of story.

Frankly I care a great deal more about my clients than I do graphs..

NickT
« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 07:18:52 pm by Nick-T »
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Bill Caulfeild-Browne

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« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2009, 05:40:13 pm »

Quote from: BernardLanguillier
True, on the other hand if you do the same computation between a 39MP back and a D3x, you will realize that a the same DPI, the linear size of the print you can achieve is only 1.25 times larger, meaning that you can go from an A4 print (29.7 cm long) to one that is 37cm long.

It can of course be argued that the 39MP AAfilter less back has higher pixel quality, which is true to some extend.

Now, these 39MP back are old technology, and it would be interesting to see what companies like Kodak and Dalsa could do with 39MP if they tried today, but it seems that they have been stucked in the MP race like everybody else and will not develop any new sensor with that kind of resolution.

Cheers,
Bernard

Actually, the linear size is only 20% bigger, unless the Nikon version of the Sony sensor is different. My a900 is 6048 pixels wide; the P45+ is 7216 wide. (Height, on the other hand, is 34% greater.)

Having said that, I have on several occasions shot the same image with both sensors, adjusting zoom lenses to ensure the images are the same size linearly, and my eyes on-screen and more importantly in print, tell me the MFDB image is clearly superior in detail and tonality.

Bill
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EricWHiss

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« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2009, 05:47:54 pm »

There's like a mile of gap between my 5D and my older P20 (non plus) and that's even when I use the brilliant Leica R lenses on my canon.  There's several stops of usable DR more on my p20 than the 5D.  If the 5D 2 got 1 stop more DR than the 5D classic then it still wouldn't match up to my 5 year old P20.     I am a big doubter that the 5D2 or D3X are going to replace even 2 or 3 generation older MFDB's for studio use.    I think Michael wrote in the first DXO/MFDB thread why the DSLR numbers come out so favorable for DR - something about in camera noise reduction while MFDB's rely on on RAW processing software.   The DXO numbers for at least DR are not useful for comparing DSLR to MFDB.  

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Carsten W

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« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2009, 06:20:01 pm »

Quote from: EricWHiss
There's like a mile of gap between my 5D and my older P20 (non plus) and that's even when I use the brilliant Leica R lenses on my canon.  There's several stops of usable DR more on my p20 than the 5D.  If the 5D 2 got 1 stop more DR than the 5D classic then it still wouldn't match up to my 5 year old P20.     I am a big doubter that the 5D2 or D3X are going to replace even 2 or 3 generation older MFDB's for studio use.    I think Michael wrote in the first DXO/MFDB thread why the DSLR numbers come out so favorable for DR - something about in camera noise reduction while MFDB's rely on on RAW processing software.   The DXO numbers for at least DR are not useful for comparing DSLR to MFDB.

It is interesting to note that the people who claim that MFDBs are "better" generally talk about what they see, and what their customers see, i.e. a clear visual superiority for the MFDBs. The people who claim that the difference is very small are generally talking about statistics, plots, measured noise, and so on. There are a small number of people who go against the stream and claim that they can see no difference, or measure no difference.

This leads me to wonder about two things:

1) Could they both be true? In other words, could it be that the MFDBs give visually noticeably more appealing results, while there is little measurable difference? That would mean that what we measure doesn't translate directly to what we feel about the results. This would lead me to think that if we want to measure how good something is, we need to come up with new tests and new ways of measuring. Especially the DR results make me think this. One hears repeatedly how much cleaner the shadows are with MFDBs, but this somehow doesn't translate into better DR results, counter-intuitively, I suppose because what we like and what we can measure don't match.

2) Could it be that the 35mm-FF camera manufacturers know about the lack of significant measurable differences, and are actively pushing this angle by "cooking" the results to obtain the best possible *measured* result? They must surely know that very few people will ever see top-notch MFDB results, and that cooking the results to minimize the measurable differences helps them sell more cameras. This is somewhat analogous to graphics card manufacturers writing drivers which are specifically optimised for certain gaming performance benchmarks, while performing no better than other cards in actual play...
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Carsten W

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« Reply #49 on: April 26, 2009, 06:21:33 pm »

Quote from: billcb
Actually, the linear size is only 20% bigger, unless the Nikon version of the Sony sensor is different. My a900 is 6048 pixels wide; the P45+ is 7216 wide. (Height, on the other hand, is 34% greater.)

Having said that, I have on several occasions shot the same image with both sensors, adjusting zoom lenses to ensure the images are the same size linearly, and my eyes on-screen and more importantly in print, tell me the MFDB image is clearly superior in detail and tonality.

I am curious about this comment (genuinely curious, not looking to poke holes in it). I presume you are comparing the P45+ and the A900, not some other cameras. Could you explain in a bit more detail what the differences are that you see, and that you feel while working? Do you use the same software for both?

I would love a P45+, but my budget today barely stretches to an A900, which is why I am interested.
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Graeme Nattress

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« Reply #50 on: April 26, 2009, 06:34:17 pm »

Talking fake and not fake ISO is pejorative. We should be talking analogue gain and digital gain.

The benefit of analogue gain is you get analogue noise instead of digital noise. For each stop you gain up, you loose a stop in the highlights though.

Digital gain can be configured as a straight gain, working just like analogue gain, but digitally. Or you can configure the gain on a curve to preserve highlights instead of loosing them.

Different sensors / post processing will behave differently. Some will look better with analogue gain and some with digital gain.

Some cameras will use one or the other, and others a combination of the two.

Graeme
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photolinia

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« Reply #51 on: April 26, 2009, 06:35:34 pm »

Mort,

Thanks for throwing in some gasoline... this is basically what I've been trying to get to for the past several weeks.

I'm looking to upgrade my 12MP Nikon system to something with better resolution and detail.  
The D3X would be a logical choice, but I am somewhat put off by the obnoxious price tag.  I've had a chance to test P45+ and the H3DII-39 and absolutely
loved the detail I got with those backs.  I liked the handling of the H3D a bit more (plus the P45+ I used had a major AF problem)
and the fact that I can find a used H3DII-39 kit with an 80mm lens for not too much more than a D3X made me look into H3D very seriously.

I shoot about 50% in a studio and 50% on location.  I think in a studio MFDB wins by a mile, but on location it can be tricky.  
Basically, I'm at a cross road between a D3X and a used MFDB, and it sounds like given the choice you would go for a D3X...

Obviously, I also have many more lens options with a Nikon.  With an H3D I would probably be stuck with one or two for a while...

Nick,
Other than file size and resolution, what other aspects of MF photos do your clients prefer?  I think the clients do not always know best
and often know very little, but of course they pay, so they get to choose...

-ilya
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feppe

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« Reply #52 on: April 26, 2009, 06:45:22 pm »

Quote from: carstenw
It is interesting to note that the people who claim that MFDBs are "better" generally talk about what they see, and what their customers see, i.e. a clear visual superiority for the MFDBs. The people who claim that the difference is very small are generally talking about statistics, plots, measured noise, and so on. There are a small number of people who go against the stream and claim that they can see no difference, or measure no difference.

I believe it has a lot to do with preconceived notions, and seeing what one wants to see. I posit that in a double-blind test the differences would not be nearly as obvious as many claim.

There was a lot of discussion quite a while on this forum that MFDB shots are obvious from DSLR ones even at screen resolution which I found preposterous. I ran a test , in which 122 of LL members participated in, and they were not able to tell the difference (not better than chance). I'd be thrilled to have someone run the same test with prints or larger files.

Panopeeper

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« Reply #53 on: April 26, 2009, 06:55:59 pm »

Quote from: Graeme Nattress
Talking fake and not fake ISO is pejorative. We should be talking analogue gain and digital gain
This is BS. "Digital gain" in the current context is an oxymoron.
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Gabor

Nick-T

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« Reply #54 on: April 26, 2009, 07:08:35 pm »

Quote from: photolinia
Nick,
Other than file size and resolution, what other aspects of MF photos do your clients prefer?  I think the clients do not always know best
and often know very little, but of course they pay, so they get to choose...

-ilya

You are right, some clients know very little, for them the difference might be perceptual, the look of the camera itself. Many others though, have been burned by DSLR shooters providing poor quality files. Granted some of the blame may well be laid at the foot of the un-skilled photographer but I get calls complimenting the quality of my files. I had a senior creative ring me the other day to compliment me on an image of some dog biscuits, so I don't think my artistic abilities had much to do with it  
In my experience the MFDB files look good "out of the box". By that I mean that as they pop up on screen (tethered shooting) they look how I want them to look, and I can (bar say a bit of dust busting in Photoshop) deliver files direct from the capture software. Whenever I shoot DSLR I find myself working a lot harder to get a decent result which still falls short of the quality I get from the backs.

HTH
Nick-T
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Panopeeper

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« Reply #55 on: April 26, 2009, 07:09:57 pm »

Quote from: Nick-T
These people are fascinated by the inner workings of digital imaging and good luck to them. None of these people as far as I can see make a living taking photos...

I make a living from taking photos and my digital backs out perform my DSLRs and my clients can tell the story.
The greatness of the MFDBs is in my eyes, that they outperform the DSLRs even if their users don't know how to use it optimally.
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EricWHiss

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« Reply #56 on: April 26, 2009, 07:18:43 pm »

Carsten,
A while back I measured the DR of my Leica DMR against the then 1D3 and found the DMR had 1.5 stops more "useable" DR than the Canon using a software package called imatest and a stoufer transmission step wedge.  I still have the DMR and shoot it side by side with the P20.  It's obvious from the shots that the P20 has about the same advantage over the DMR that it had over the canon.  It's also true that not all MFDB have the same DR.  Some have 1 stop more than others. Just check the chip manufacturers data.   The p20 has a SNR of 73db while the DMR chip had only 68db.

Anyhow the fact that the technical definition of DR is not a useful measurement for photographers has also been beaten around quite a bit.  In my Imatest data the Canon actually had more DR than the leica according to the technical definition of DR (don't have the data handy but about 12stops to 11.5) , but using the threshold advised by the Imatest program for photographers it was a completely different story with the DMR having about 1.5 stops advantage (in this case about 10 stops to 8.5).  

Usable DR is a lot less than what you come up if you measure just the DR as technically defined and there are big differences in how these numbers shift by camera.  


Anyhow let's say that current line-up of cameras   D3, 5d2, A900 plus the MFDB are all pretty awesome.   I could see a reason to have several cameras.  
Eric






 



Quote from: carstenw
It is interesting to note that the people who claim that MFDBs are "better" generally talk about what they see, and what their customers see, i.e. a clear visual superiority for the MFDBs. The people who claim that the difference is very small are generally talking about statistics, plots, measured noise, and so on. There are a small number of people who go against the stream and claim that they can see no difference, or measure no difference.

This leads me to wonder about two things:

1) Could they both be true? In other words, could it be that the MFDBs give visually noticeably more appealing results, while there is little measurable difference? That would mean that what we measure doesn't translate directly to what we feel about the results. This would lead me to think that if we want to measure how good something is, we need to come up with new tests and new ways of measuring. Especially the DR results make me think this. One hears repeatedly how much cleaner the shadows are with MFDBs, but this somehow doesn't translate into better DR results, counter-intuitively, I suppose because what we like and what we can measure don't match.

2) Could it be that the 35mm-FF camera manufacturers know about the lack of significant measurable differences, and are actively pushing this angle by "cooking" the results to obtain the best possible *measured* result? They must surely know that very few people will ever see top-notch MFDB results, and that cooking the results to minimize the measurable differences helps them sell more cameras. This is somewhat analogous to graphics card manufacturers writing drivers which are specifically optimised for certain gaming performance benchmarks, while performing no better than other cards in actual play...
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PeterA

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« Reply #57 on: April 26, 2009, 07:19:00 pm »

I use different technology for different purposes. With MFD I get more megapixels and no AA filter. This trandslates to larger print sizes with a lot of detail. I also get the optionality to use a MFD back on a technical camera like my Alpa. This gives me access to wide angle lenses from Schneider and Rodenstock - which have no peer in 35mm land. I also get to sync @ up to 1/800th using my Fujiblad lenses - this is very useful - no?

For many shots though - there is no need for the hassle and technical precision required. I am not surprised that working pros have discovered that for many situations there are no great advantages between CaNikon and a MFD back. In many situations a 35mm system delivers strong advantages and practical functionalities that MFD backs and systems do not.

These tests -say nothing about how person uses a digital back in ways that a 35mm camera system cant be used. They just say a lot about the irrelevant ways where the Venn diagrams overlap in terms of functionality - and convenently ignore the major practical benefits of a MFD back.

To put it in another way - the size of a magazine spread hasnt changed and 35mm chips can more than adequately handle what is required for this sized shot. So what? The practical size of a panorama is now measured in meters when using a MFD back. 35mm stuff doesn't play this game well.

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Bill Caulfeild-Browne

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« Reply #58 on: April 26, 2009, 07:19:02 pm »

Quote from: carstenw
I am curious about this comment (genuinely curious, not looking to poke holes in it). I presume you are comparing the P45+ and the A900, not some other cameras. Could you explain in a bit more detail what the differences are that you see, and that you feel while working? Do you use the same software for both?

I would love a P45+, but my budget today barely stretches to an A900, which is why I am interested.

I wish I could show you prints on-line!

I used the Sony with the Zeiss 24-70 at approx. 50 mm, and the Mamiya AFD III with the 75-150 zoom at approx 75 mm - getting a subject to fill the frame horizontally, but not vertically. I printed the resulting images to 24 inches horizontally. (Using an iPF6100 on Epson Premium Luster or whatever they call it these days.)

The P45+ images resemble 4 by 5 in. images in detail, micro-contrast and gradation. There is a smoothness that's hard to describe but can be seen quite easily. The a900 files are very very good, but they "look digital" and just don't hold the detail as well.

If the RAW files from each camera were not so huge, I'd post them so you could decide for yourself. I do STRESS however, that at smaller sizes like A3, you'd be very hard pressed to tell the difference. I only see teal value in MFDB if you're going to print big. For all other work, especially wildlife, DSLRs are way superior.

Bill
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Panopeeper

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« Reply #59 on: April 26, 2009, 07:20:13 pm »

Quote from: R_Medvid
Could you elaborate on this please?
The Phase Ones create nominally 16bit raw data. In fact, the pixel values are 16bit wide, i.e. they go up to 65535. However, about two bits of that are not only useless, they are actually detrimental; if the raw processing requires so much pushing, that the low-order two bits become apparent in the result, then the photographer becomes unhappy with the camera (back).
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