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Author Topic: Lloyd Chambers compares D3x - 5DKII shadow performance  (Read 23415 times)
NikosR
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« on: January 23, 2009, 08:43:10 AM »
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Interesting essay:

http://www.diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/Push...acks/index.html
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Nikos
digitaldog
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 09:09:18 AM »
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Interesting. My one question would be, did he test the actual ISO for ETTR such that we'd have apples to apples comparisons for noise? IOW, if the "correct" exposure assumed for the Canon was actually down, more noise. Could it be that in addition to the strong possibility the Nikon is producing a cleaner capture that its suggested ISO and exposure is more accurate and affecting shadow noise?
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Andrew Rodney
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NikosR
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2009, 09:18:23 AM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
Interesting. My one question would be, did he test the actual ISO for ETTR such that we'd have apples to apples comparisons for noise? IOW, if the "correct" exposure assumed for the Canon was actually down, more noise. Could it be that in addition to the strong possibility the Nikon is producing a cleaner capture that its suggested ISO and exposure is more accurate and affecting shadow noise?

That's a good question. He says he will provide full test specs in the pay-read part of his site  

Another, less good, question would be whether performing the shadow lift in the raw converter would have lessened the gap between the 2 cameras.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 09:21:43 AM by NikosR » Logged

Nikos
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2009, 11:21:41 AM »
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Against a bunch of cameras (but I don't have access to a 5D mkII or anything else high-end and released in the last year), I'm seeing this by eye on tricky landscape subjects - the D3x is just amazingly clean at low ISO, and pulls detail out of the shadows extremely well. It really DOES look like a H3DII/31 (or other low-end MF back) file. Note Phase One's "who's afraid of the D3x" (my title, not theirs) promotion where they throw in up to FIVE lenses with purchase of any of their lower-end systems. They wouldn't be throwing in five lenses (and notably, not offering any promotion on the P65+, which has image quality in a different league) if they weren't scared...

                                                      -Dan
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Leping
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2009, 01:55:46 PM »
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I paid for Lloyd Chamber's DAP, and I can report that in his "Pushing the Blacks" review he carefully shot all the comparison cameras at the same exposure value (shuttle speed and aperture), and with the same lens and lighting.

Actually anybody has little scientific training should have learned the very same comparing these DxO measurement curves (go to the far right and click the "Full SNR" tab, and put the both on logarithmic scales):

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image...abase/Nikon/D3X
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image.../EOS-5D-Mark-II

What the curves in these two charts tell us?  The D3x is the first DSLR that produces nearly the linear response of an ideal system.  It extends the 3dB/EV slop from the mid-tones well into the shadows region, unlike all the others that bend over to 6dB/EV, because of "dirty" readout pathes.

If you don't want to read the numbers out of the curves, here are my readings rounded up to the nearest half dBs (underscores added here to help -- the server remove the white spaces to make this kinds of text table impossible even with a fixed width font):

DxO Measured SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) in dBs:

Gray   Camera  +---------------  ISO  ----------------+
Level  Model    | _100   _200   _400   _800  1600  3200  6400 |
-----  -----  | ----  ----  ----  ----  ----  ----  ---- |
0.1%   _D3x__  |  14.5  11.0   _6.5  _2.0    ----     ----     ---- |
0.1%   _5DII_   |  _7.0   _6.5  _5.5  _3.5    ----     ----     ---- |
0.1%   _D700_  |  _N/A   10.5  _9.0  _6.5   _1.5    ----     ---- |

1.0%   _D3x__  |  26.5  23.0  20.0  16.5  12.5   _9.0  _4.0 |
1.0%   _5DII_   |  24.5  23.0  21.0  18.0  15.0  11.0  _7.0 |
1.0%   _D700_  |  _N/A  26.5  23.5  21.0  17.0  12.5  _7.5 |


Since I am busy at this moment, let me simply say at twice the pixel area the D700 is expected to have 3dB SNR advantage across the full board, which start to be the case at 1% gray level but not below, and quote what I said this morning in another forum:
 
"The new D3x price is not a bubble. And the dealers are not going to file bankruptcy because their D3x inventory are just sitting on the shelf and gathering dust. Actually, the major US online houses, B&H, Adorama, and J&R, are all out of them at this moment.

Suddenly everything came together, and everything makes sense now. The DxO measurements, and Lloyd's professionally done tests published last night. When shadown details are pushed up by few stops ("Pushing the Blacks" is Lloyd's title), the amazingly clean D3x low ISO shadow noise beats at least that of one medium format (MF) digital back, the $15,000 Mamiya DL28. The D3s noise at ISO 400 is superior to the 5D Mark II at ISO 100, or 50, and if you pay for Lloyd's DAP to view the whole study (I did), you can make an argument that as a matter of fact the D3's noise at ISO 800 is still better than the 5DII at ISO 100, in deep shadows.

All these confirms the DxO numbers are real, the 13 stops dynamic range (almost 14 stops when scaled down). Even at 18% gray and above and high ISO values the other models (D3 and the Canons) start to catch up, it is in the darker shadows where the D3x really shine, shining alone, in a league of its own in the DSLR world, and become very close to the theoritical limits governed by the rules of physics (which means there will be not much room for possible improvements).

Enjoy the reading for now (and dig into the DAP if you can for more amazing details), while I am writing a long detailed scientific analysis (with a lot of math, unfortunately, to justify what I am saying) titled "When the Numbers Meet Eye" and try to get it published in a better and more rational online place.

http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/PushingT...ndex.html"
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 07:14:49 PM by LEPING » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 02:51:40 PM »
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Hi,

I would say that Mr. Chambers observation on the very good DR of the D3x is consistent with the DxO-mark.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Dan Wells
Against a bunch of cameras (but I don't have access to a 5D mkII or anything else high-end and released in the last year), I'm seeing this by eye on tricky landscape subjects - the D3x is just amazingly clean at low ISO, and pulls detail out of the shadows extremely well. It really DOES look like a H3DII/31 (or other low-end MF back) file. Note Phase One's "who's afraid of the D3x" (my title, not theirs) promotion where they throw in up to FIVE lenses with purchase of any of their lower-end systems. They wouldn't be throwing in five lenses (and notably, not offering any promotion on the P65+, which has image quality in a different league) if they weren't scared...

                                                      -Dan
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2009, 03:08:11 PM »
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Hi,

Please put a link to your article also on this place. Although I agree that this forum is not always rational, it is still one of the best fora about photography IMHO.

I'm quite impressed with Nikon's achievement, especially as it's probably based on the same basic sensor design as used in the Sony Alpha. As an observation the Sony Alpha 900 seems also be pretty good on DR in the low ISO range, even if it is not even close to Nikon D3x.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: LEPING
Enjoy the reading for now (and dig into the DAP if you can for more amazing details), while I am writing a long detailed scientific analysis (with a lot of math, unfortunately, to justify what I am saying) titled "When the Numbers Meets Eye" and try to get it published in a better and more rational online place.

http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/PushingT...ndex.html"
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Leping
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2009, 03:15:38 PM »
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I am not very sure that the P45+ back, still retails for $30000 without the extended service package, is considered "lower-end".  One thing I read is that P45+ (Kodak sensor) easily handles long (one hour and longer) exposures in the low light, while the P65+ (Delsa "full full frame" sensor) can only do a few minutes before things are buried in the noise.

If you add up the B&H price (and the rumored prices for the new lenses such as the new 45mm and the new 150mm) for the five more expensive new lens choices (get your 80mm else where) from the pool, plus the free new Phase One camera body, the total value is at or slightly exceeds $20000.  This leaves under $10000 for the back itself (while the truth is you still need to have $30000 in your deep pocket).

Quote from: Dan Wells
Against a bunch of cameras (but I don't have access to a 5D mkII or anything else high-end and released in the last year), I'm seeing this by eye on tricky landscape subjects - the D3x is just amazingly clean at low ISO, and pulls detail out of the shadows extremely well. It really DOES look like a H3DII/31 (or other low-end MF back) file. Note Phase One's "who's afraid of the D3x" (my title, not theirs) promotion where they throw in up to FIVE lenses with purchase of any of their lower-end systems. They wouldn't be throwing in five lenses (and notably, not offering any promotion on the P65+, which has image quality in a different league) if they weren't scared...

                                                      -Dan
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 03:19:48 PM by LEPING » Logged

NikosR
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2009, 03:45:23 PM »
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LEPING,

As far as I can tell, since I'm also a DAP subscriber, Lloyd has not yet put up the noise comparison you're referring to on DAP. He promises it will be there soon. How the heck did you read it?

Secondly, if he really used the same exposure / speed for both cameras compared in the linked essay, that would not guarrantee optimal ETTR as digitaldog was quick to point out.

I have no problem believing that the D3x is the best dSLR at this point in time, nor that it competes with the low end MFDBs. I'm just wondering about how the particular test was conducted and how you know about it since it hasn't been published yet.
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Nikos
digitaldog
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2009, 03:49:46 PM »
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Quote from: NikosR
I have no problem believing that the D3x is the best dSLR at this point in time, nor that it competes with the low end MFDBs. I'm just wondering about how the particular test was conducted and how you know about it since it hasn't been published yet.

Neither do I. I'm just wondering if we know that the ideal exposure was indeed used for the captures. In my tests, ETTR can make that significant difference in noise.
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Andrew Rodney
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Leping
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2009, 07:03:05 PM »
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Hi Nikos,

I asked him with the same kind of questions, and he replied in his emails that the exposures were exactly the same, and the amount of "push" were exactly the same too.  So probably he fixed the exposures rather than searching the "optimal ETTR" for the individual cameras.

In the DxO tests we can see they have found the "true ISOs" were very close for the D3x and the 5DII, but of course the full well capacities may be significantly different so that for the same 18% gray reading the highlight headrooms can differ.  But this requires much more complicated studies, I think.  And shooting the same speed and aperture things are matched in the practical sense to me -- would you say XXX's noise behavior is better when we add 2/3 stop of exposures, in comparison to another model at the meter reading?

From reading the detailed DxO test technology descriptions I think it is the same way they derived their numbers.  If you look at my table, at 0.1% gray D3x produced an SNR of 6.5 at ISO 400 and 5DII produced 7 at ISO 100.  This is quite in line with what Lloyd reported.  At ISO 400 ideally the D700 should have achieved an SNR of 9.5 (6.5+3), but it is only 9.0 indicating the read noise is significant.  At ISO 200 the D700 is even worse (-0.5dB), representative to almost all the sensors prior to D3x.  And, since the D3x's true base ISO is near 80, one can always choose to shoot at ISO 80 without sacrifice the highlights.

He also promised the full test result contents in the DAP in a couple of more days.  If you have other questions you can ask him directly.  We are both in the SF Bay area, and I have met him twice over the years in public meetings.

Thanks,
Leping

Quote from: NikosR
LEPING,

As far as I can tell, since I'm also a DAP subscriber, Lloyd has not yet put up the noise comparison you're referring to on DAP. He promises it will be there soon. How the heck did you read it?

Secondly, if he really used the same exposure / speed for both cameras compared in the linked essay, that would not guarrantee optimal ETTR as digitaldog was quick to point out.

I have no problem believing that the D3x is the best dSLR at this point in time, nor that it competes with the low end MFDBs. I'm just wondering about how the particular test was conducted and how you know about it since it hasn't been published yet.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 07:41:44 PM by LEPING » Logged

Ray
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2009, 07:46:56 PM »
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One should also bear in mind that the DXOmark tests of ISO sensitivity place the D3X and 5D2 as having almost identical ISO sensitivities at the cameras' rating of ISO 100. There should be no ISO sensitivity trap to fall into here.

It seems clear that both Sony and Nikon in their 24mp models have concentrated on optimising performance at base ISO rather than at ultra-high ISO. We all must have images of contrasty scenes that have unacceptably noisy shadows. I certainly have, from my 5D. If the scene is really contrasty and I try to lift the shadows, I invariably see traces of banding as well as general image degradation in the deepest shadows. An extra 1&1/2 to 2 stops of DR would fix that.

However, it's interesting that the increased DR of the D3X, compared with the 5D (never mind the 5D2), gradually gets smaller as ISO increases. By ISO 800, the D3X is no better than the 5D, regarding DR. If one downsamples the both images to an 8x12' print at 300 ppi (thus sacrificing the D3X resolution advantage over the 5D), then the D3X DR is about 1/2 a stop better than the 5D at ISO 800, but no better at ISO 1600. Interesting, eh!

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Leping
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2009, 09:49:24 PM »
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Wow, Lloyd just modified his post, and added explanations to his exposure choice, including considerations to ETTR.

http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/PushingT...acks/index.html
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2009, 10:01:23 PM »
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Quote from: LEPING
Wow, Lloyd just modified his post, and added explanations to his exposure choice, including considerations to ETTR.

It appears to be a fair and rigorous test.

It should be interesting to see how Michael felt about his loan D3x in Antartica.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
NikosR
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2009, 11:56:21 PM »
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Quote from: LEPING
From reading the detailed DxO test technology descriptions I think it is the same way they derived their numbers.  If you look at my table, at 0.1% gray D3x produced an SNR of 6.5 at ISO 400 and 5DII produced 7 at ISO 100.  This is quite in line with what Lloyd reported.  At ISO 400 ideally the D700 should have achieved an SNR of 9.5 (6.5+3), but it is only 9.0 indicating the read noise is significant.  At ISO 200 the D700 is even worse (-0.5dB), representative to almost all the sensors prior to D3x.  And, since the D3x's true base ISO is near 80, one can always choose to shoot at ISO 80 without sacrifice the highlights.

Leping thanks for the clarification. I believe DxO are using their derived 'true' ISOs in their charts and not their shooting ISOs. Anyhow this might be just a question of purely acedemic interest.
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Nikos
Leping
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2009, 02:16:11 AM »
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The full review is in Lloyd's DAP now:

"I’ve just published my DAP report on noise behavior of the Nikon D3x, Nikon D3, Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 1Ds Mark III.

See yesterday’s blog entry for an introduction; the full report covers four cameras in greater breadth and depth."

http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/blog.html

Thanks,
Leping

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Leping
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« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2009, 02:46:35 AM »
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This is mostly unrelated.  And I do understand not everyone uses a Mac.  But for those who do, I just found Lloyd's (totally free) comprehensive guide for optimizing Mac performance, especially running Photoshop and other photographic applications (such as the Canon DPP).

http://macperformanceguide.com/index.html
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 02:47:05 AM by LEPING » Logged

JohnKoerner
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« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2009, 11:51:38 AM »
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That was a pretty interesting piece.

If I am reading it right, the 5DMkII is hands down the best value in serious DSLR imaging (in fact, Lloyd directly says this). It completely eclipses its true competitor, the D700.

However, the test shows the D3x can get better detail in some lowlight cases.

I would hope so at 3x the price
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douglasf13
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« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2009, 01:32:07 PM »
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FWIW, I'm a subscriber to Lloyd's site, and his A900 review was a bit of a joke in some ways.  He got his A900 and lenses from a rental place, and then complained that none of his shots were in focus, but he didn't have the time to do AF adjustments, because he expects things to work right out of the box....from a rental company.  Why even take the time to do the review?  Plus, he used Sony's consumer/crappy supplied software as the RAW converter, which is one of the worst converters known to man.  Granted that's Sony's fault, but many conclusions about the A900 shouldn't be made by reading his review.  Clearly, he is a bit too entrenched in his current systems, which his latest title line confirms: "Noise performance of early 2009’s premier digital SLRs."  Apparently, the A900 is not on that list.

My only point to this rant is this.  Lloyd's tests, like many others, should be taken with a grain of salt.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 01:32:51 PM by douglasf13 » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2009, 03:16:18 PM »
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ok ,s i read through this thread now and looked at the blog (i won't subscribe....) and looked at the dxo website.....i am very happy with canon, but a 13stop DR is not something to joke around with.....but i still don't have a clue if this is actually true or not....i am not sure i understand the arguments pro or con  (and i sure as hell don't get all the technical babble....)...
why is it so hard to get this straight? we all know that most Dbacks have more DR then DSLRs, this is measurable and visable....so why not here? or is it just that some people do not WANT to see it?
the blog shows me nothing....i can get superclean shadows with my G10 from different converters, (just don't ask about the highlights....) and i generally don't judge cameras by online jpegs....i guess paying the subscription and downloading the raw files would tell me a bit more, but why are there people who did just that and still say it does not add up to an extra 2 stops?
i guess i will have to rent it for a day and do my own tests....
a camera with near DMF quality at 100 (at least in terms of DR) and almost 5DII quality at 800 sounds too good to be true....
i still cannot get over the fact that nikon did not build in a sensor cleaner....that is just nuts to me....the missing video might not be a big deal now, but the question is if canon can put it into a 2700$ body, why can't nikon fit it in for 8000$....just does not make sense....
imagine how well it would sell with a full frame HD mode with 13stops DR! this would blow anything available out of the water....at any price.....
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