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Author Topic: High ISO shooting  (Read 30244 times)
Ray
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« Reply #100 on: October 26, 2009, 05:07:17 PM »
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Quote from: BJL
And that is all that matters: I have a 200mm, f/3.5 lens. Do I have to repeat that I am not arguing the superiority of my gear over yours!

I see! I've misunderstood you. From the following statement, I thought you were recommending I switch to a smaller format such as the 4/3rds. To quote you from one of your previous posts:

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Can't get close enough? Then you need a smaller format! (Fortunately, cropping counts as a smaller format, so long as your photosites are small enough to sustain the crop.)

Cropping is of course always an option whatever the lens and whatever the format. One does it automatically. That's so obvious I never realised that was the solution you were recommending.

Switching to a smaller format, such as the Olympus E-30, would make sense only if there were a Zuiko 100-400/F4 lens available of about the same weight as the Canon 100-400/F5.6, but better quality of course.
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douglasf13
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« Reply #101 on: November 02, 2009, 11:07:13 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
Well then I'm not sure where your disagreement with my original statement lies. What I said was that Canon took steps to improve overall high ISO performance, and that there was an negative impact on color response at low ISO. I didn't specifically say there was no impact to the color response at high ISO, although I do think that the impact is pretty much lost in other aspects of the high ISO performance, which is why you get a net gain in image quality at high ISO.

You can parse words however you want, I'm just glad Nikon made the design decisions they did with the D3x, rather than the design decisions Canon seems to be making on their newer cameras.


  The Sony A900 is even closer to MFDB in color than the D3x.  The D3x falls somewhere in between the A900 and the 5Dii in this regard.   This requires the A900 to gain up more at high ISO, which creates its high ISO "issues."
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #102 on: November 03, 2009, 10:00:19 AM »
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Quote from: douglasf13
The Sony A900 is even closer to MFDB in color than the D3x.  The D3x falls somewhere in between the A900 and the 5Dii in this regard.   This requires the A900 to gain up more at high ISO, which creates its high ISO "issues."
That's not what the DxOMark tests say.
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douglasf13
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« Reply #103 on: November 03, 2009, 10:36:42 AM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
That's not what the DxOMark tests say.


  I'm talking about color response, not tonal range.  Go back to DxO Mark and click on the color response tabs for both cameras.  This tab isn't available in camera compare mode, so you have to look at the camera reviews separately.  You'll see that, at over 87 in daylight, the A900 has the highest sensitivity metamerism index of any camera reviewed (ability to reproduce accurate colors.)  According to Iliah Borg, who owns both cameras, the A900 has higher resolution in the greens as a result of its color separation.  Apparently, Sony is using a much less "transparent" CFA than Canon, and Nikon falls somewhere in between the two.  Obviously, this all results in trade offs, and, since the A900's CFA is less transparent, it requires more amplification for a given ISO, resulting in more noise outside of its native sensitivity.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 10:39:40 AM by douglasf13 » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #104 on: November 03, 2009, 06:08:08 PM »
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Quote from: douglasf13
I'm talking about color response, not tonal range.  Go back to DxO Mark and click on the color response tabs for both cameras.  This tab isn't available in camera compare mode, so you have to look at the camera reviews separately.  You'll see that, at over 87 in daylight, the A900 has the highest sensitivity metamerism index of any camera reviewed (ability to reproduce accurate colors.)  According to Iliah Borg, who owns both cameras, the A900 has higher resolution in the greens as a result of its color separation.  Apparently, Sony is using a much less "transparent" CFA than Canon, and Nikon falls somewhere in between the two.  Obviously, this all results in trade offs, and, since the A900's CFA is less transparent, it requires more amplification for a given ISO, resulting in more noise outside of its native sensitivity.


Interesting! On the face of it, it would seem that the D3X trumps the A900 in all departments that DXO measure. However, there's this curious specification called 'Sensitivity Metamerism Index' which is not included amongst the other headings of color sensitivity and color bit-depth, in the camera comparison modes.

It does indeed seem that the A900 has the capacity to produce more accurate colors than the D3X. Why doesn't DXO give this specification more prominence?

I see an explanation in their 'technology' section. To quote:
Quote
The sensitivity metamerism index (SMI) is defined in the ISO Standard 17321 and describes the ability of a camera to reproduce accurate colors. Digital processing permits changing color rendering at will, but whether the camera can or cannot exactly and accurately reproduce the scene colors is intrinsic to the sensor response and independent of the raw converter.

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In practice, the SMI for DSLRs ranges between 75 and 85, and is not very discriminating. It is different for low-end cameras (such as camera phones) which typically have a SMI of about 40. For this reason, we give this measurement as an indication but did not integrate it in DxO Mark.
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BJL
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« Reply #105 on: November 04, 2009, 10:17:46 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
Why doesn't DXO give this specification more prominence?

I see an explanation in their 'technology' section. To quote:
"In practice, the SMI for DSLRs ranges between 75 and 85, and is not very discriminating. ... For this reason, we give this measurement as an indication but did not integrate it in DxO Mark."
Thanks Ray! To paraphrase:
1. Not all measurable differences are significant or important in practice.
2. One should beware of people who grasp at one lab. measurement in which their favorite scores well and promote this measurement as the most important basis for discrimination between alternatives. Pixel count, extinction resolution in lines per picture height, noise levels at high ISO, DR ... and now SMI?!
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douglasf13
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« Reply #106 on: November 04, 2009, 11:43:30 AM »
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Quote from: BJL
Thanks Ray! To paraphrase:
1. Not all measurable differences are significant or important in practice.
2. One should beware of people who grasp at one lab. measurement in which their favorite scores well and promote this measurement as the most important basis for discrimination between alternatives. Pixel count, extinction resolution in lines per picture height, noise levels at high ISO, DR ... and now SMI?!


  I am not grasping at one lab measurement.  I was simply pointing out this lesser known fact, and I agree that the DxO result should be taken with a grain of salt.  Iliah Borg can go on all day about how DxO Mark's testing procedures are less than perfect, but that is a topic that I'm not qualified to discuss.  He IS qualified to discuss the differences in color separation in cameras, and he has praised the A900's color quite a bit.   Regardless, I only know a few dual D3x and A900 users, not "I shot the A900 for a weekend with a couple of lenses," or vice versa, but actual owners of the cameras, and all of them attest to what Sony is doing with the color.  The D3x has better DR and high ISO than the A900, and is a better camera in many instances, but the color separation of the A900 doesn't have a Nikon competitor....unless you go back to the D2x.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 11:46:38 AM by douglasf13 » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #107 on: November 04, 2009, 01:10:32 PM »
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Quote from: douglasf13
... I only know a few dual D3x and A900 users, not "I shot the A900 for a weekend with a couple of lenses," or vice versa, but actual owners of the cameras, and all of them attest to what Sony is doing with the color.
Evidence from such people like sample photos or a consistent consensus could be interesting then: a lab. measurement with no quantification of how large a difference has to be in order to be perceptible under certain viewing conditions, no.

I can intuitively see that narrowing the spectral response of eh CFA's can improve color accuracy in exchange for somewhat lower sensitivity. And I would think that for a good proportion of people interested in high (24MP) resolution, accurate colors are more important that low light handling.

After all, this site is called "The Luminous Landscape", not "The Dimly Lit Sports Venue".
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #108 on: November 04, 2009, 01:42:17 PM »
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Hi,

Having the Alpha 900 but not the competitors I'm not qualified to do comparisons. As I see it the Alpha 900 works very well up to ISO 320, at least. Now, I'm using my Alpha 900 with Lightroom 2.4, the Lightroom 3 Beta shows major gains in noise reduction on ISO 3200 and ISO 6400. The old ACR/Lightroom RAW-processing engine showed a signifiacnt "blotchiness" in high ISO images from the A900. This is gone with LR3 Beta, there is some "impulse noise" but I hope that is going to be improved in the final release.

It is interesting to see why different sensors having shared technology differ. I'm not really sure that CFA issues explain the difference. Some of the difference may depend on Nikon having a 14 bit readout while Sony has 12 bits.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: BJL
Evidence from such people like sample photos or a consistent consensus could be interesting then: a lab. measurement with no quantification of how large a difference has to be in order to be perceptible under certain viewing conditions, no.

I can intuitively see that narrowing the spectral response of eh CFA's can improve color accuracy in exchange for somewhat lower sensitivity. And I would think that for a good proportion of people interested in high (24MP) resolution, accurate colors are more important that low light handling.

After all, this site is called "The Luminous Landscape", not "The Dimly Lit Sports Venue".
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ejmartin
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« Reply #109 on: November 04, 2009, 01:48:57 PM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

Having the Alpha 900 but not the competitors I'm not qualified to do comparisons. As I see it the Alpha 900 works very well up to ISO 320, at least. Now, I'm using my Alpha 900 with Lightroom 2.4, the Lightroom 3 Beta shows major gains in noise reduction on ISO 3200 and ISO 6400. The old ACR/Lightroom RAW-processing engine showed a signifiacnt "blotchiness" in high ISO images from the A900. This is gone with LR3 Beta, there is some "impulse noise" but I hope that is going to be improved in the final release.

It is interesting to see why different sensors having shared technology differ. I'm not really sure that CFA issues explain the difference. Some of the difference may depend on Nikon having a 14 bit readout while Sony has 12 bits.

Best regards
Erik


The sensor may be much the same, but the support electronics will substantively differ.  It is that support electronics that accounts for the differences between the D3x and A900 at various ISO.
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emil
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« Reply #110 on: November 04, 2009, 01:59:06 PM »
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Quote from: douglasf13
I'm talking about color response, not tonal range.  Go back to DxO Mark and click on the color response tabs for both cameras.  This tab isn't available in camera compare mode, so you have to look at the camera reviews separately.  You'll see that, at over 87 in daylight, the A900 has the highest sensitivity metamerism index of any camera reviewed (ability to reproduce accurate colors.)  According to Iliah Borg, who owns both cameras, the A900 has higher resolution in the greens as a result of its color separation.  Apparently, Sony is using a much less "transparent" CFA than Canon, and Nikon falls somewhere in between the two.  Obviously, this all results in trade offs, and, since the A900's CFA is less transparent, it requires more amplification for a given ISO, resulting in more noise outside of its native sensitivity.
I've never even noticed that test to be honest, probably because I'm usually comparing models. I was referring to the color depth test. The two tests have similar names but seem to measure slightly different aspects of performance - if I'm understanding the descriptions color depth is more relevant in shadows and mid-tones, color response more so in the highlights. I haven't used an a900 and won't claim to have in-depth knowledge of its performance. All I can say is working with D3x files I find the color and tonality to be better than any other DSLR whose files I've worked with or examined in-depth. However I don't think your conclusion about CFA strength is necessarily validated by the one test and not the other.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 02:00:38 PM by JeffKohn » Logged

MarkL
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« Reply #111 on: November 04, 2009, 02:36:22 PM »
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Shoot a wedding and your opinion may change.

For people who use a tripod on every shot, or only in a studio high iso isn't of a concern but for the rest of us that shoot weddings, pj/press, sports etc. it is kind of a big deal.
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douglasf13
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« Reply #112 on: November 04, 2009, 10:35:24 PM »
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Quote from: ejmartin
The sensor may be much the same, but the support electronics will substantively differ.  It is that support electronics that accounts for the differences between the D3x and A900 at various ISO.

The D3x certainly has better support electronics than the A900, but the differences in CFAs between the two cameras also makes a difference in high ISO noise. The A900 requires more gain, because the CFA is less transparent. Iliah has talked a lot about this.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #113 on: November 05, 2009, 04:53:35 AM »
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Someone knows how they differ? For instance Nikon could add external ADCs but they seem absent from the PCB. In what way is 12-bit and 14-bit readout different on the Nikon?

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: ejmartin
The sensor may be much the same, but the support electronics will substantively differ.  It is that support electronics that accounts for the differences between the D3x and A900 at various ISO.
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douglasf13
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« Reply #114 on: November 05, 2009, 10:35:20 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Someone knows how they differ? For instance Nikon could add external ADCs but they seem absent from the PCB. In what way is 12-bit and 14-bit readout different on the Nikon?

Best regards
Erik

  This is a good question that has yet to be definitively answered.  There seem to be two camps on the subject.  Either the D3x has actual 14bit processors on the chip, which would partly explain the higher price, or, the D3x does some kind of multi-sampling of the 12 bit data to reach 14 bits, which would explain the slower frame rate.
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Ray
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« Reply #115 on: November 05, 2009, 10:06:36 PM »
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Quote from: douglasf13
This is a good question that has yet to be definitively answered.  There seem to be two camps on the subject.  Either the D3x has actual 14bit processors on the chip, which would partly explain the higher price, or, the D3x does some kind of multi-sampling of the 12 bit data to reach 14 bits, which would explain the slower frame rate.

An even better question would be, "Can we please see some examples of the better color accuracy of the A900?"

I suggest that such comparisons would be meaningless because such differences in accuracy would be lost in the huge variability of RAW conversion settings.

I'm prepared to accept that there might be a useful application for scientific purposes, of the A900's greater color accuracy, if you show me the results.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #116 on: November 05, 2009, 11:04:13 PM »
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Ray,

According to DxO-mark "Sensitivity Metamerism Index ISO 17321" is

Sony Alpha 900: 87.22
Nikon 3DX: 78.68

Under illuminant D. Figures are much closer under illuminant A, but Sony still somewhat higher.

I don't really know if this makes anyone more happy. Normally the Xrite Color Checker is used for calibration, so we either use manufacturer profiles or such based on CCC. If use CCC based profiles the question may be how well can we reproduce the CCC card after calibration.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Ray
An even better question would be, "Can we please see some examples of the better color accuracy of the A900?"

I suggest that such comparisons would be meaningless because such differences in accuracy would be lost in the huge variability of RAW conversion settings.

I'm prepared to accept that there might be a useful application for scientific purposes, of the A900's greater color accuracy, if you show me the results.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #117 on: November 05, 2009, 11:23:23 PM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Ray,

According to DxO-mark "Sensitivity Metamerism Index ISO 17321" is

Sony Alpha 900: 87.22
Nikon 3DX: 78.68

Under illuminant D. Figures are much closer under illuminant A, but Sony still somewhat higher.

I don't really know if this makes anyone more happy. Normally the Xrite Color Checker is used for calibration, so we either use manufacturer profiles or such based on CCC. If use CCC based profiles the question may be how well can we reproduce the CCC card after calibration.

Oh, I see that this discussed earlier, sorry.

Best regards
Erik
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #118 on: November 05, 2009, 11:41:34 PM »
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Hi,

My take on the issue is that there are probably shooting situations where you need high ISO. Some other situations require high resolution. MFDBs seem to lack in high ISO performance but have plenty of resolution. If you are shooting sports or concerts you probably need high ISO but not necessarily high resolution, so Nikon D3/D700 make a lot of sense. Regarding architecture/landscape resolution is always nice to have but can be hard to utilize. We also need to print large to make the resolution visible, although there are some observations indicating that differences can be seen in small prints.

The ability to shoot higher ISO is always useful outside the studio. Subjects actually move. I recently shot landscape under windy conditions, even with a decent tripod (Gitzo GT3541LS) vibration may be a problem, especially if there is a play in the lens itself.

To sum up:

You need high ISO: use big pixel cameras like D3, D700 or Canon 1DIV
You need Megapixels: use D3X, Canon 5DII or Alpha 900 and crank up ISO if/when needed

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: ashley
I am probably just being old fashioned here but I don't quite understand it when I see lots of photographers always wanting the ability to work at super high ISO settings. The general message is that any camera which isn't capable of shooting completely clean noise free images at 3200 ISO is a pile of junk. For many years I shot every image on 100 ISO film and somehow always managed. The photographer I assisted worked with EPR rated at 50 ISO and pushed 1/3rd so effectively it was 40 ISO but again, somehow we always managed whether shooting 35mm, medium or large format.

Today I shoot digital like most others but the camera stays on 100 ISO and I am reluctant to work at anything higher than 200 ISO because ultimately the best quality comes from sticking to  a low ISO setting, so if I have to use a tripod or flash that's fine. Perhaps others are taking different sorts of images, but unless you spend a large chunk of your time walking around in the dark I don't see the need for this big emphasis on high ISO settings in day to day practical use.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #119 on: November 06, 2009, 12:08:06 AM »
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Interesting article on D3s high ISO image quality. Rob sees between one and 2 stops improvement over the D3 which is nothing short of amazing considering the level already reached by the D3.

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_p...d=7-10045-10329

Cheers,
Bernard
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