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Author Topic: The D800  (Read 6748 times)
RSL
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« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2012, 05:09:08 PM »
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I was responding to the OP who suggested "you're never going to see it in a post".

I'm saying you can see the qualities that matter in a post.

To convince yourself I'd suggest buying, borrowing, or renting a D800 for a few days. You need to see it in action.
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bill t.
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« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2012, 05:14:04 PM »
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The 1/4 plate Daguerreotype was all we ever really needed.  You seriously had to want to take the picture.  And if photographing a person, they really had to want to be photographed.  And what's wrong with that?  A little difficulty in any process tends to blow away the chaff.  Of course, you had to like the smell of a hot mercury fumes.

Isn't this a gorgeous little chunk?  It is purity personified.

Although today some view the Holga as almost as beautiful.  It produces "distinct images with dream-like, vignetted look."  Amen to that.  The light leak flashes are another outstanding feature of the Holga.  For some, it's the camera of choice and all they need.

But if you want to sell photographs, make 'em sofa sized.  That's all you need to know about photo sales in this day and age.  I sincerely appreciate that so many of my competitors don't believe it.  That's the only excuse Russ or anybody needs for that D800.

And I really appreciate that Ansel did all that soul searching for me.  It's not really my forte.  Do the work first, think about it later.  Great photographs spring far more often from dumb good luck than from the photographer's frontal lobes.  The art is in large part simply being able to recognize when Lady Luck has winked at you, and having the wits to push the button while the light's still good.
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RSL
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« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2012, 05:55:59 PM »
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Rob, I agree. Nothing's changed. I'm going to go on making the same images I've always made. But I've always tried to work with the best tool for the job at hand. I'll still shoot street, and I'll shoot street with the E-P1 with its Leica 50mm f/1.4 equivalent lens,  unless I'm shooting at night in a place like St. Augustine, in which case I'll substitute a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 on the D3, which has the same sensor as your D700. I'll still do my grandchildren's weddings and other high-volume shoots with the D3. But I've been shooting history in the gold fields and abandoned farm houses and dying prairie towns since the middle sixties, and since I switched to digital I've always wished I had the digital equivalent of my old 4 x 5 for that kind of shoot. I came really close this last year to springing for a medium format setup, which would have meant buying at least the body with digital back and two or three lenses. Now I have the equivalent at less than a tenth the price and I don't need to buy any new lenses.

I've never been an equipment nut. Some of my best photographs came from a half-frame Olympus Pen, which I had in Vietnam in 1965, and a few more of my best shots are from a 3 megapixel Casio I bought in 2000. Unfortunately, some of that stuff won't hold up for a print larger than about 8 x 10, and then only if it's street, where resolution isn't critical. My portfolios -- the ones I take around to galleries -- are printed at 13 x 19, and fairly often I print at 17 x 22 on my Epson 3880. The recent 13 x 19s I've made for the portfolios are stunning. The 17 x 22s are even more stunning. And I know that I can take a D800 file down to the local job shop and get a 20" x 30" 100% print at 240 ppi.

Unless you're going to confine yourself to a single photographic genre it doesn't pay to limit yourself to a single tool. The D3 and D800 are too big for comfortable street work. The E-P1 isn't flexible enough for weddings and general shooting. Neither the E-P1 nor the D3 can give me the kind of resolution I'd really like to have for static subjects I shoot off a tripod with mirror up and with aperture large enough to minimize diffraction losses. So, the right tool for the right job.

And, by the way, I'm too old to chase girls, so I don't flash my cameras around.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2012, 09:12:22 PM »
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The D800 may not be perfect, but it is today - by a large margin - the best sensor out there in front of which you can mount Leica R APO lenses.

I am not sure why anyone objectively concerned by ultimate image quality would want to overlook this amazing combination.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Rob C
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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2012, 02:58:34 AM »
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The D800 may not be perfect, but it is today - by a large margin - the best sensor out there in front of which you can mount Leica R APO lenses.

I am not sure why anyone objectively concerned by ultimate image quality would want to overlook this amazing combination.Cheers,
Bernard




That's exactly the point: ultimate image quality and great photographs are not the same thing.

I don't think anybody has been knocking the camera; I do think that there is an almost messianic fervour attached to this one, though. However, as I still, honestly, don't 'get it' as being anything but an attempt to find photographic nirvana which, I imagined we all knew, resides in the mind, there's not a lot that I can think to add to my stated view.

Russ's horses for courses attitude is admirable, but I wonder if in the end it will make the slightest real difference to the product of his already good eye.

"And, by the way, I'm too old to chase girls, so I don't flash my cameras around."

Thank goodness, Russ; cameras never were the aphrodisiacs: it was the lifestyle of the guys with the long hair using them.

;-)

Rob C
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2012, 03:19:20 AM »
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That's exactly the point: ultimate image quality and great photographs are not the same thing.

True, but great lenses have a look that, combined with the tones delivered by a camera like the D800, do contribute to the greatness of an image. You get a level of smoothness that has to be seen.

I am not speaking about detail/resolution here, that is arguably mostly irrelevant as long as it is good enough to get 240dpi.

I am also not saying that the attributes I mention above will make a poor image good, but it will contribute to making a good image great. I mean good as in good concept, good composition and good technique.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2012, 09:52:07 AM »
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True, but great lenses have a look that, combined with the tones delivered by a camera like the D800, do contribute to the greatness of an image. You get a level of smoothness that has to be seen.

I believe this is really the problem. As great as the DR may be, the actual tone-reproduction delivered by the D800 has failed to convince me so far. Interestingly, I feel exactly the same about the Sony RX100. For some reason, the images I have seen, fail to communicate that certain depth that ought to be entirely possible considering the specs...
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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2012, 10:34:02 AM »
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You're right, Oscar. Different lenses draw differently, and the Leica lenses I've had over the past 58 years all have drawn best of all my lenses. It would be interesting to see what a Leica lens could do on the D800. But I'll go back again to what I said earlier: There's no way a 72 ppi, jpeg compressed monitor image can begin to convey what the D800 can do. I'd point back to the shot I posted at http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=69170.msg547643#msg547643. The screen version of that shot, made with the Nikon 24-70, tells you what's in the picture, tells you about composition, etc., etc., but it can't even begin to tell you what the 16 x 19 print I put in my portfolio can convey. I don't know what images you're talking about when you say "the images I've seen," but if they're monitor images, there's no way they can communicate the depth you're looking for, and if they're prints, then I'd suspect the competence of the printer.
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« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2012, 10:59:41 AM »
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but it can't even begin to tell you what the 16 x 19 print I put in my portfolio can convey. I don't know what images you're talking about when you say "the images I've seen," but if they're monitor images, there's no way they can communicate the depth you're looking for...



I think what you, and a lot of other users, fail to recognize is that your judgement may be clouded by the resolution jump. I mean this with all due respect. Because yes, the resolution is impressive. No discussion about that. But I am talking about tone-reproduction. And that may be the single biggest flaw in the MF discussions we had of recent. People from the 35mm side upgrade to a D800, may even have skipped some camera's before that, since it didn't bring them enough new, and then, surely, one will be blown away by the difference.

But I am talking about tonal reproduction, and that can easily be judged at even post stamp sized web thumbnails. Okay, I exaggerate slightly, but it has nothing to do with the size of the image. Yes, you can print A2 or whatever, but that is resolution, not tone reproduction.

The image you refer to for example looks completely flat, even though the cloud has enough tonal differentiation (i.e, it are dark gray clouds, not white clouds). Or the transition to the inverted edges, or to the blue sky patches. The sand & rubble exhibit no depth. Now, perhaps some of it may be attributable to JPEG compression and colormanagement, but it seems a recurring observation for me.
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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2012, 03:30:38 PM »
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With due respect, Oscar, I doubt my judgment is clouded by the resolution jump. Let's face it, 36mp isn't even a 100% jump from 12mp, and I've been using 12mp cameras for many years. And yes, I know you're talking about tone reproduction. No, it can't be judged at post stamp sized web thumbs; it can't be judged on the basis of a web display at any size. Yes, the web display I referenced looks flat to me too. I'm not surprised. It's a compressed jpeg. Jpeg compression robs colors of their vibrancy and tones of their separation. The 13 x 19 print is vibrant, the subtlety of the gradations in the lower left as the distance increases is stunning, and the sand and rubble exhibit all the depth that's there.

I'm not sure, but it sounds to me as if you're making judgments on the basis of 72ppi jpeg displays on a computer monitor. You need to see if you can find some D800 prints made by a competent printer from files shot by someone who's taken all the steps necessary to maximize the results. It's very true that the camera itself can't overcome shortcomings in practice. You have to work at it to bring forth what the camera's capable of. I should add that the D800 isn't a camera you want for weddings or other high-volume shoots. The problem's not just the 50mb lossless compressed files. The main problem is that the camera will show up all the shortcomings in your technique.

I can't believe I'm involved in a discussion about equipment. Normally I stay far away from that kind of thing, and with this post I'm at the end of my deviation from normalcy. But for anyone who's shooting landscape or wabi sabi I think it's worth pointing out that there's a new tool worthy of examination.
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opgr
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« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2012, 05:18:28 PM »
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I can't believe I'm involved in a discussion about equipment. Normally I stay far away from that kind of thing, and with this post I'm at the end of my deviation from normalcy. But for anyone who's shooting landscape or wabi sabi I think it's worth pointing out that there's a new tool worthy of examination.

We aren't discussing equipment, we are discussing tonal reproduction.

I remember very well when the original Canon 5D came out. Its reproduction was so far ahead of anything we had thus far, that both friend and fo have acclaimed its output. It was visible even on measly screensized JPGs. It didn't have particularly more resolution then what was already available, and in my personal opinion its strength was in darktone reproduction. Clearly, the D800 shows any other camera all 4 corners of the room and then some, regarding darktone reproduction so I would have expected to see more impressive results from the D800, and would have thought that the reactions regarding its output would certainly last a little longer than what we see currently.

And similarly, the specs of the Sony RX100 should bode very well for its results, but nothing particularly striking has come along. Which is odd. I find Bernard's images in that regard particularly interesting as he has shown to be well versed with Nikon cameras, and knows how to apply post-processsing, and produces some really nice landscapes at times, but as of yet, his newer images aren't even close to what he has produced in the past.

Again, I'm not trying to downplay the camera, I simply find it odd. For both cameras. Something is going on. I can't quite verbalize what I am seeing, but it is like separate color- and tonal-regions are individually compressed and/or expanded.

I am currently hinging on 2 options, and now I am going to discuss equipment so you're free to leave if you wish:

1. The new Sony sensors have less bit-depth than usual available for color, which compresses the colorreproduction, and possibly they then apply several processing techniques to equalize the colorperception, one of which could be local contrast enhancement on color, which would for example make some of the usual postprocessing significantly more difficult.

2. The colorprofiles for the camera are such that they would inhibit color compression.

I guess it's too early to tell, and certainly I don't have any hands on experience with either camera, so I suppose I should just shut up and move on.


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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2012, 09:16:42 PM »
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I find Bernard's images in that regard particularly interesting as he has shown to be well versed with Nikon cameras, and knows how to apply post-processsing, and produces some really nice landscapes at times, but as of yet, his newer images aren't even close to what he has produced in the past.

I am not sure to share your view on this, but for what it's worth, most of my recent images were converted with LR as opposed to me using mostly C1 Pro in the past.

Still, I personally find the image below to have some of the nicest tones and colors I have ever produced. And that is shot with the D800 and Leica 180 f2.8 APO and converted with LR also.



Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2012, 12:01:03 AM »
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Hi,

To my best knowledge all digital sensors are linear devices, so this talk about bit depth does not make any sense to me. A sensor collects photons, stores them as electrons, it has a full well capacity (the number of electrons it can store) and a readout noise. There are some other factors, like PRU, thermal noise.

As the sensor is linear, I would expect all sensors behave identically. Now, the sensor is monochrome, color is supplied by a CGA (Color Grid Array) in the front of the sensor. For good high ISO performance that CGA may be less orthogonal (have more overlap) that affects color rendition (or rather the amount of processing needed for color rendition) but CGA has nothing to with bit depth.

So, sorry but bit depth doesn't make any sense to me in this context.

Weather we present on screen or print tonal range is compressed. Any modern DSLR camera can reproduce a tonal range of at least 10 stops (1:1048) with some noise in the darks. Canon cameras seem to have relative narrow dynamic range, due to noisy ADC (Analog Digital converters) while Nikon, Pentax, Sony have a much less noise in the darkest shadows.

Prints may have a DR up to 2.3 (or so), but I would say that around 7 stops (1:128) would be more typical.

So:

1) You cannot show a DSLR image without tonal compression, so tonal compression is always a major parameter
2) A web image has a wider DR than a print (a good monitor has a dynamic range of at least 1:400)
3) Prints have least dynamic range

Also:

Presentation plays a major role. An image surrounded by white will have much less apparent DR (or tonal range) than an image surrendered by black.

A JPEG image with low compression is very hard to tell apart from a full range TIFF. Try to subtract a high quality JPEG image from an identical TIFF. What you will see is black.

Best regards
Erik




I think what you, and a lot of other users, fail to recognize is that your judgement may be clouded by the resolution jump. I mean this with all due respect. Because yes, the resolution is impressive. No discussion about that. But I am talking about tone-reproduction. And that may be the single biggest flaw in the MF discussions we had of recent. People from the 35mm side upgrade to a D800, may even have skipped some camera's before that, since it didn't bring them enough new, and then, surely, one will be blown away by the difference.

But I am talking about tonal reproduction, and that can easily be judged at even post stamp sized web thumbnails. Okay, I exaggerate slightly, but it has nothing to do with the size of the image. Yes, you can print A2 or whatever, but that is resolution, not tone reproduction.

The image you refer to for example looks completely flat, even though the cloud has enough tonal differentiation (i.e, it are dark gray clouds, not white clouds). Or the transition to the inverted edges, or to the blue sky patches. The sand & rubble exhibit no depth. Now, perhaps some of it may be attributable to JPEG compression and colormanagement, but it seems a recurring observation for me.

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« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2012, 12:20:38 AM »
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I am not sure to share your view on this, but for what it's worth, most of my recent images were converted with LR as opposed to me using mostly C1 Pro in the past.

Still, I personally find the image below to have some of the nicest tones and colors I have ever produced.

You're not expecting me to take that image seriously, do you? And if you do, could you show us a C1 rendition of the same file? Could you possibly make part of it available without any form of compression?
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« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2012, 12:51:38 AM »
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To my best knowledge all digital sensors are linear devices, so this talk about bit depth does not make any sense to me.

Sensors are NOT linear. No electronics are linear. The capture electronics just utilize the most linear part of the switching behavior of the sensor. But I don't want this to be about electronics. If it doesn't make sense, then that should exactly prompt you to look more closely at the results. With all of your electronics and equipment knowledge, do you find the results from the D800 that you have seen so far to be on par with your expectations?

I can clearly see the oddities, and I want other people to tell me that they notice it as well. I have been looking at digital pixels for the better half of my life, and I am pretty sure I can translate/filter oddities seen in screensized images. Look at the color inversions and banding happening in Bernard's image above. That is not just attributable to a possible double JPEG compression because of upload to flckr, it is something else. Something like too little bitdepth available for the saturation definition of the primaries. Then converting to sRGB which will fixate the color errors, then image compression which might emphasize that again.
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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2012, 01:36:55 AM »
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You're not expecting me to take that image seriously, do you? And if you do, could you show us a C1 rendition of the same file? Could you possibly make part of it available without any form of compression?

This happens to be my favorite among the thousands of frames I have captured this year...

I would have to re-compute the pano from C1 renditions,... sorry, I'll be frank with you... convincing you is not worth the time.  Wink

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2012, 01:44:21 AM »
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Sensors are NOT linear. No electronics are linear. The capture electronics just utilize the most linear part of the switching behavior of the sensor.
I agree that the world is almost never simple. I.e. "linear" things are almost never "linear" if studied with sufficient precision. But my experience and impression from others is that digital image sensors can for most purposes be considered as "linear" up until a hard clipping-point, if noise phenomena are modelled separately.

Do you have any references or examples that image sensors are non-linear in such a way as to cause problems?

-h
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« Reply #37 on: August 14, 2012, 01:51:27 AM »
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A JPEG image with low compression is very hard to tell apart from a full range TIFF. Try to subtract a high quality JPEG image from an identical TIFF. What you will see is black.
Indeed. What is occasionally described as poor jpeg image quality is likely:
1. That the image is compressed too much (obvious artifacts)
2. That the colorspace is altered (sRGB most commonly used)

The image compression itself is fairly transparent at high bitrates.

-h
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« Reply #38 on: August 14, 2012, 02:36:13 AM »
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Do you have any references or examples that image sensors are non-linear in such a way as to cause problems?

I don't understand this request, because I don't claim that, plus it is hardly relevant to the point at hand.

Image sensors have a distinct linear or almost linear part in their entire response behavior, which is what is utilized to produce linear RAW data. Measuring RAW files and concluding they are linear tells us precious little about the actual behavior of the sensor. I suspect that Canon's highlight expansion is an example of utilizing the non-linear behavior on the saturation side to expand dynamic range at the expense of color consistency. There have been experiments all over this forum with RAW digger where people want to find the clipping point of their sensor, but find it hard to do because the data clumps up on the saturation side, but doesn't seem to clip. It could well be that the new Sony chips utilize a similar strategy on the darkside.






 

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« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2012, 02:52:33 AM »
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To my best knowledge all digital sensors are linear devices, so this talk about bit depth does not make any sense to me.
...
Sensors are NOT linear. No electronics are linear.
...
Do you have any references or examples that image sensors are non-linear in such a way as to cause problems?
I don't understand this request, because I don't claim that, plus it is hardly relevant to the point at hand.
So what is it that you are saying? That image sensors are non-linear, but that it does not cause any problems?

-h
(I have tried to merge a clear and fair line of quotes. Please let me know if you disagree)
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