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Author Topic: Article about Miami and noise in images  (Read 14440 times)
JamesA
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« on: April 06, 2009, 02:07:13 PM »
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The article, http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/dark-side.shtml highlighted the fact noise in small sensor, compact cameras (with interchangeable lenses) is a problem, but can be dealt with.  IMO, if we developed a bit of discipline, this is easy to overcome.  Remember how cameras came in the 1960s, 70s, 80s?  An SLR came with a 50mm f1.8 lens.  If people would dispense with the sloth-slow compact zooms and simply adopt one fast prime lens, the noise problem would be mitigated by at least 2-3 stops.  What you shot at 1600 ISO at f5.6 could now be shot at 400 ISO at f2.8.  The discipline comes from being more readily willing to adjust the distance to your target rather than letting the zoom do it.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 02:09:40 PM by JamesA » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2009, 04:16:07 PM »
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Quote from: JamesA
The discipline comes from being more readily willing to adjust the distance to your target rather than letting the zoom do it.


Carefully does it! I have had the experience of inviting animosity by suggesting the use of primes only and of doing the leg-work instead... Ironically, and really as a means of avoiding having to change lenses in the field, as it were, in the fight to avoid dust, I have gone ahead and bough myself my first zoom ever - the 2.8/24-70mm G Nikkor. Broke the bank but solves the changing problem whilst creating another: so damn heavy and bulky that I fear a tripod is the only reasonable way to go from now on in. I hate tripods. Wish there was a chance of winning with photography, but there ainīt! I had developed the habit of deciding which lens I was going to use prior to going out to shoot and thus keeping the weight down, but thatīs clearly been defenestrated along with the mythical cat.

Rob C
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David Sutton
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2009, 04:45:04 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Carefully does it! I have had the experience of inviting animosity by suggesting the use of primes only and of doing the leg-work instead... Ironically, and really as a means of avoiding having to change lenses in the field, as it were, in the fight to avoid dust, I have gone ahead and bough myself my first zoom ever - the 2.8/24-70mm G Nikkor. Broke the bank but solves the changing problem whilst creating another: so damn heavy and bulky that I fear a tripod is the only reasonable way to go from now on in. I hate tripods. Wish there was a chance of winning with photography, but there ainīt! I had developed the habit of deciding which lens I was going to use prior to going out to shoot and thus keeping the weight down, but thatīs clearly been defenestrated along with the mythical cat.

Rob C
Monopod?
David
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JamesA
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2009, 05:18:48 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Carefully does it! I have had the experience of inviting animosity by suggesting the use of primes only and of doing the leg-work instead... Ironically, and really as a means of avoiding having to change lenses in the field, as it were, in the fight to avoid dust, I have gone ahead and bough myself my first zoom ever - the 2.8/24-70mm G Nikkor. Broke the bank but solves the changing problem whilst creating another: so damn heavy and bulky that I fear a tripod is the only reasonable way to go from now on in. I hate tripods. Wish there was a chance of winning with photography, but there ainīt! I had developed the habit of deciding which lens I was going to use prior to going out to shoot and thus keeping the weight down, but thatīs clearly been defenestrated along with the mythical cat.

Rob C

With Nikon, that is an option, though I don't relish the idea of using a hulking 24-70 f2.8 on a D40/60.  In this case, the Panasonic G1 is a small camera so a fast prime really is the only option, also because they don't make a faster zoom than their kit lens.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2009, 06:04:01 PM »
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"Discipline" doesn't do any good in situations where you *can't* arbitrarily adjust your distance to the target.  In street shooting, it's usually difficult to ask your candid-shot subject, "Can you please back up and walk past that building again while I move to the other side of the street and wait for a gap in traffic?"  In much landscape shooting, for example in mountains, you may be on a road or path that would require you to grow wings or do mountain climbing to get the zoom right with your feet alone.  If you only shoot in a studio or carefully staged conditions, sure, using a prime works, but that's rarely the case for a lot of us here.

Lisa
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 06:04:21 PM by nniko » Logged

Panopeeper
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2009, 06:38:53 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Carefully does it! I have had the experience of inviting animosity by suggesting the use of primes only and of doing the leg-work instead...
Your apprehension was well-founded, although I did not plan to answer to the OP, but your post raised the level of stimulus (but do not take this personally).

I am one of those, who think that only bloody amateurs or snobs would make such a ridiculous suggestion. (Btw. do you put a glass or a lens on your camera?)

Let's get back to the initial point.

You don't want the carry around a heavy camera with heavy lenses. You want to take advantage of the small, light weight camera. Walking around and looking if perhaps there is something to be shot?

All right, put that prime on your camera and start walking in a city or in a natural area worth of photographing, except in Nevada (I apologize if there are hills in Nevada, it was only an example). Do you see an interesting looking scenery, a building, a musician in the city or whatever catches your eye? Well, then walk into the middle of the busy street, because that is the point, from where your lens gives the ideal field of view.

Are you at the balkony of a tall building or on the top of a hill? Well, rent a helicopter. Are you on an outcropping at the shore? Ask a seagall to make the shot if you don't have an underwater housing for your camera.

After having hurdled these obstacles, I am sure you want to make a 20x30" print of these great shots, right?
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JamesA
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2009, 06:58:51 PM »
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Quote from: nniko
"Discipline" doesn't do any good in situations where you *can't* arbitrarily adjust your distance to the target.  In street shooting, it's usually difficult to ask your candid-shot subject, "Can you please back up and walk past that building again while I move to the other side of the street and wait for a gap in traffic?"  In much landscape shooting, for example in mountains, you may be on a road or path that would require you to grow wings or do mountain climbing to get the zoom right with your feet alone.  If you only shoot in a studio or carefully staged conditions, sure, using a prime works, but that's rarely the case for a lot of us here.

Lisa

Honestly?  Better to lose some shots than make dozens of poor quality shots with a problem, be it noise or whatever.   Prior to good zooms (1950s?) how did people manage?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2009, 08:28:26 PM »
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Quote from: JamesA
Honestly?  Better to lose some shots than make dozens of poor quality shots with a problem, be it noise or whatever.   Prior to good zooms (1950s?) how did people manage?

 You're forgetting the other option: Use the zoom to frame the shot optimally from where geography/traffic constrains you to stand, instead of using an unnecessarily-wide lens and cropping unnecessarily, which is how it was done before the advent of good zoom lenses.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2009, 08:32:48 PM »
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Based on the reviews, it would seem the lens makers have taken the opportunity to produce a lot more cheap primes, rather than go for higher quality.  Certainly they're feeling the heat from all of those wonderful new modestly-priced zoom lenses.
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John Camp
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2009, 09:08:44 PM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
Based on the reviews, it would seem the lens makers have taken the opportunity to produce a lot more cheap primes, rather than go for higher quality.  Certainly they're feeling the heat from all of those wonderful new modestly-priced zoom lenses.

I have a Nikon D3 and a 24-70. I also had a Pentax K10D for a while, with three pancake lenses (primes) and one zoom. I think that kit might have weighed less, altogether, than the D3 with the 24-70. I did some street work at the Republican National Convention that required me to carry all three Nikon f2.8 zooms, a D3 and a D300. It was a workout, and got me looking for a different set-up for news photography (I'd already gotten rid of the Pentax; besides, I like zooms for news work.) I'll be very interested in what Olympus comes up with this summer, with the Micro 4/3. If they will put some primes with it, it could be a great camera...

Over on The Online Photographer, Mike Johnston asks (today) what we'd think of a high quality 3mp camera, designed for web-only use. Now *there*s a concept. If you had a *modern* full-frame 3mp camera, I wonder how high you could push a clean ISO? 50000?

JC
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stamper
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2009, 02:40:37 AM »
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What is the depth of field like at f1.8? At f5.6 you have a better chance to get a decent image?
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JamesA
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2009, 03:36:46 AM »
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Quote from: John Camp
I have a Nikon D3 and a 24-70. I also had a Pentax K10D for a while, with three pancake lenses (primes) and one zoom. I think that kit might have weighed less, altogether, than the D3 with the 24-70. I did some street work at the Republican National Convention that required me to carry all three Nikon f2.8 zooms, a D3 and a D300. It was a workout, and got me looking for a different set-up for news photography (I'd already gotten rid of the Pentax; besides, I like zooms for news work.) I'll be very interested in what Olympus comes up with this summer, with the Micro 4/3. If they will put some primes with it, it could be a great camera...

Over on The Online Photographer, Mike Johnston asks (today) what we'd think of a high quality 3mp camera, designed for web-only use. Now *there*s a concept. If you had a *modern* full-frame 3mp camera, I wonder how high you could push a clean ISO? 50000?

JC

 Some CCDs available are 35mm film size and are only have 1 megapixel.  They want the low noise of 23um pixels.  I think if they'd kept 4-5 megapixel cameras around, it might have been interesting, but the market was directed elsewhere.
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JamesA
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2009, 03:43:11 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
What is the depth of field like at f1.8? At f5.6 you have a better chance to get a decent image?

It's not hard to focus at f1.8, and if the subject is some distance away, DOF is fine, depending on what you are after.  Besides, if all we needed to produce good images was deep DOF, we'd still be shooting P&S cameras with tiny sensors.  But the constraints of night shooting mean the first priorities are to maximize shutter speed (if you subject is non-static and you aren't using a tripod) and minimize noise.  
As for image quality at different focal ratios, that's a whole other subject.
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2009, 04:23:53 AM »
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Quote from: JamesA
The discipline comes from being more readily willing to adjust the distance to your target rather than letting the zoom do it.
From a composition point of view, that's really not the same!
It does change the perspective and composition of a shot to "frame with one's feet" and therefore, if you're concerned with careful framing and composition, you need both : variable position in space, and variable angle of view.

Of course (quantitative) lack of light can be offset with a wider aperture, but as that's true for all sensor formats, and moreover more true for big sensors which have lots of wide fixed-focal lenses (did you many compacts with a fixed 7/1.4 lens?), it's not something that does promote the use of smaller sensors in low light.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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Arthur Clune
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2009, 04:32:38 AM »
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Quote from: JamesA
With Nikon, that is an option, though I don't relish the idea of using a hulking 24-70 f2.8 on a D40/60.  In this case, the Panasonic G1 is a small camera so a fast prime really is the only option, also because they don't make a faster zoom than their kit lens.

On a d40/60, why use the FX 24-70? I have a tamroon 17-50 2.8 and it's very nice. More to the point it's about a third the length and size of the nikon zoom. Sure, you couldn't use it as a hammer in the way you can the nikon, but your back will thank you.
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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2009, 08:40:11 AM »
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Quote from: Arthur Clune
On a d40/60, why use the FX 24-70? I have a tamroon 17-50 2.8 and it's very nice. More to the point it's about a third the length and size of the nikon zoom. Sure, you couldn't use it as a hammer in the way you can the nikon, but your back will thank you.


To answer your question, the use of the 24-70 on my own cropped-format D200 is a matter of choosing it because it equates with around 35-105 on FF which is what I would have wanted for the majority of people shots, even if I really like long-lens pictures more; had it been the wider angle I wanted Iīd have gone for the wider 2.8 zoom.

Writing this, in the manner that I have, reminds me how difficult it has become to find simple, readily understood terminology for formats today. FF; then, cropped-format: could be any of many; 2.8 and 24-70: how slack to ignore both f and mm in this context, but there we go - itīs catching! Yet it is understood - I think. But still not a good way to fly.

Rob C
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Wally
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2009, 02:15:01 PM »
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fwiw,

Most serious street shooters shoot with a prime lens and usually just use one focal length anywhere from 28-50mm. That requires you to get right up and into the action. If you do that after a while you will begin to see things from the perspective of your focal length and will develop an eye for what is in that bubble. You will actually capture much better photographs because you will be more focused on what will work rather than what you could shoot with a 10X zoom.

When walking down a street where do you look? Do you look 4 blocks down since you can reach it with your 300mm zoom? Or do you look up and try to see what is going on 5 stories up. How much are missing because you are looking down the street rather than what is right next to you?
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schrodingerscat
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2009, 10:14:13 PM »
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Quote from: Wally
fwiw,

Most serious street shooters shoot with a prime lens and usually just use one focal length anywhere from 28-50mm. That requires you to get right up and into the action. If you do that after a while you will begin to see things from the perspective of your focal length and will develop an eye for what is in that bubble. You will actually capture much better photographs because you will be more focused on what will work rather than what you could shoot with a 10X zoom.

Before digital I used M series Leicas and 90% of the time with a 35mm 1.4 mounted on it, mostly doing street and back country landscapes. I never like flash, so everything was available light and mostly HP5 pushed to 800. Loved the look and focal length.  Sure, it takes a bit more effort and thought, but after awhile it becomes second nature. Hyperfocal distance eliminates any supposed advantage of auto focus.  And yeah, I did spend a lot of time in the middle of the street. Still do. Unfortunately it would take the M8.2 and 24mm1.4 to do it digitally, and I just can't justify the expense.

I'm now in the process of picking up a 5D II and then the Zeiss 35/2 when it becomes available in the Canon mount. It's about as close as I can get to my previous setup for a reasonable price. Still a bit of a hulk compared to the rangefinder, but hopefully it will prove to be convenient enough to start carrying a camera with me at all times again.

I'm currently using a 30D with the 16-35 L II. A real love/hate relationship.

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John Camp
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2009, 10:37:01 PM »
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Quote from: schrodingerscat
I'm now in the process of picking up a 5D II and then the Zeiss 35/2 when it becomes available in the Canon mount. It's about as close as I can get to my previous setup for a reasonable price. Still a bit of a hulk compared to the rangefinder, but hopefully it will prove to be convenient enough to start carrying a camera with me at all times again.

I'd wait a bit, for that Micro 4/3 from Olympus, to see what they do with it. They make terrific lenses when they want to, and this could be a very Leica-like camera. The big question mark at this point is how fast the lenses will be, or if they will just come across with a couple of crappy P&S-style "super-zooms" with the first twist. If they do that, though, they'll be missing their market: there's a positive hunger out there for a compact cameras with a relatively large sensor and good glass.

JC
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JamesA
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2009, 12:08:43 AM »
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Quote from: Arthur Clune
On a d40/60, why use the FX 24-70? I have a tamroon 17-50 2.8 and it's very nice. More to the point it's about a third the length and size of the nikon zoom. Sure, you couldn't use it as a hammer in the way you can the nikon, but your back will thank you.

That's one alternative, but f2.8 zooms all weigh a fair bit.  Way more than the kit zoom and more than most primes.
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