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Author Topic: Small Format Professionalism — Ctein On Image Quality  (Read 3492 times)
Telecaster
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« on: January 29, 2014, 04:08:07 PM »
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The emperor has no clothes but his subjects refuse to see:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2014/01/small-format-professionalism.html

-Dave-
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Johnny_Johnson
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2014, 05:40:39 PM »
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I believe Ctein may be the Emperor in this case.

Later,
Johnny
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Justinr
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 03:56:49 AM »
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I don't think anybody disputes the fact that good images may be taken on consumer kit, but what is undeniable is that the more professionally orientated cameras will deliver the goods far more reliably and over a much wider range of subjects and situations. A snowy landscape is not particularly difficult for most cameras, they'll have been programmed to cope, along with sunsets and sunny smiles, but how about on a dull and rather chill winters day with a varied subject matter including reflective jackets?

The D3 got this, I doubt that the K5 would have coped so well and as for a mobile......


« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 03:58:33 AM by Justinr » Logged

Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 03:59:38 AM »
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Put a compact on a tripod and it will work wonders ...
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D Fosse
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 07:57:27 AM »
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Quote
the more professionally orientated cameras will deliver the goods far more reliably and over a much wider range of subjects and situations.

That's the whole point. Compacts do well in "standard" situations, but take them out of their comfort zone and the whole thing collapses.

As it happens I just finished up this one. No strobes, all ambient light. A little touchup in Lightroom and it's ready to go.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 08:04:02 AM by D Fosse » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 08:07:28 AM »
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As with all these arguments and claims, you have to understand the job in hand.

You also have to know whether the work is being conducted on an amateur or professional basis. What's acceptable and makes one person happy may spell disaster and a lost contract - if not the fear of being sued for professional negligence - in the case of another.

Does anyone really think all these pros spend so much on their gear if they don't really have to do so?

Methinks optimism is a doubtful measure of reality.

Rob C
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 08:08:46 AM »
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That's the whole point. Compacts do well in "standard" situations, but take them out of their comfort zone and the whole thing collapses.

As it happens I just finished up this one. No strobes, all ambient light. A little touchup in Lightroom and it's ready to go.

I think that's quite at the point.
I remember photographing a Jazz gig with my Powershot G11 ....
"Falling apart" describes very well what happened to these images.
Definitely out of the comfort zone of the camera.
On the other hand when I once was on the island Rugia on the Baltic Sea in Winter with it and
had a tripod with me - it worked wonders - much much better than I had expected.
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John Nollendorfs
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2014, 09:54:16 AM »
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As is often said, "The best camera is the one you have with you at the time".  Grin
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2014, 12:07:34 PM »
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Thing is that argument, and the reason why I do not believe it to be correct, is as old as 35mm film.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2014, 12:31:55 PM »
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Or the child?

Best regards
Erik


I believe Ctein may be the Emperor in this case.

Later,
Johnny
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bill t.
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2014, 12:48:26 PM »
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No point to arguing about image quality, since it can be precisely measured by quantitative means.

Here is an example of an image quality meter.
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BJL
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2014, 01:21:47 PM »
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Thing is that argument, and the reason why I do not believe it to be correct, is as old as 35mm film.

Are you saying that the medium and large format partisans were right that 35mm format film cameras were not suitable for professional usage?

It seems clear to me that there was and is a range:
a) 35mm format was/is fine for a significant range professional work (35mm gear was probably used for the great majority of professional work, counting journalism and such)
b) some uses instead need some at least version of medium format film, because 35mm is inadequate, and
c) for some tasks, 5"x4" is the minimum adequate film format.
And it rarely made sense for a professional to do type (a) jobs with MF or LF gear, even if they also owned it.

Likewise in digital, but with a significant down-shifting in the format needed to get a given level of quality. In most but not all respects, sensor of about 1" format sensors and up are now matching or exceeding what 35mm color transparency film has ever given in resolution, detail, dynamic range and acceptable quality in low light/high shutter speed situations.

I expect the response that the difference between film and electronic sensors is irrelevant to format size needs, "because, SHALLOW DOF! BOKEH!!". But in a great many cases, the need for a larger format was and is not about any need to have less of the scene in focus.
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Justinr
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2014, 02:13:54 PM »
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.
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John Nollendorfs
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2014, 03:18:17 PM »
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This whole discussion should really more about what camera suits the particular job and what quality standards are necessary. In the early days of digital cameras, photojournalists were just pleased as punch, with a 1 megapixel "hacked" Nikon that cost $30,000, because it allowed them to get the shot and get it distributed so quickly. Today, that camera wouldn't stand a chance.

When the first 11 MP full frame Canon came out, it was heralded as the the medium format "slayer". The medium format. 50 to 80 MP cameras still tended to be prized for their ultimate picture quality, but that did start to get diminished with the advent of the 36MP Nikon D800. While the die hards still are proud of their $30k cameras, the D800 has become the "go to camera" for it's flexibility (especially in higher ISO's) and image quality. And not to be forgotten, the much lower price. It's only now that we see the first CMOS larger medium format chips, capable of shooting at quality higher ISO's coming around. Obviously, the D800 had a huge impact on the MF arena.

But the other thing that Ctein brought up, that hasn't been mentioned in this thread, is the higher quality pixels of all the new sensors in the last few years. This is what really has fueled the smaller format debate. Just like finer grained and higher ISO Tri-X fueled the transition to 35mm from 2 1/4  and 4x5 film.

Isn't technology wonderful? ;-) 
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2014, 11:41:28 PM »
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I don't think Ctein is claiming that no difference can be told between smaller sensors and better ones, only that small can factually be good enough for many applications of pro nature.

As always, some guys will try to push the envelope of what smaller can do and go to great length to prove the world that higher quality sensors are not needed.

Then you'll have some other guys who will tell you that even a 80mp IQ280 image is a joke compared to high res panoramic stitches.  Grin

I am with Ctein, the reality IMHO is that a Sony RX100 can deal with a huge range of applications and that the files, especially when processed with DxO 9, can print wonderfully at pretty decent sizes.

Cheers,
Bernard
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2014, 12:35:06 AM »
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Hi,

What Ctein says that 4/3 is match for his Pentax 67 and OK for A2 size prints. So it is good enough.

Many of my best images were shot at 12 MP on A2 and they were good enough.

What I have seen, progressing from 6 MP APS-C to 39 MP MF was that once image quality is good enough I see little difference in prints. Going up in image size demands more pixels if "pixel peeping" on print.

Processing matters a lot, and Ctein is good at that.

Best regards
Erik


I don't think Ctein is claiming that no difference can be told between smaller sensors and better ones, only that small can factually be good enough for many applications of pro nature.

As always, some guys will try to push the envelope of what smaller can do and go to great length to prove the world that higher quality sensors are not needed.

Then you'll have some other guys who will tell you that even a 80mp IQ280 image is a joke compared to high res panoramic stitches.  Grin

I am with Ctein, the reality IMHO is that a Sony RX100 can deal with a huge range of applications and that the files, especially when processed with DxO 9, can print wonderfully at pretty decent sizes.

Cheers,
Bernard
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geesbert
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« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2014, 04:00:38 PM »
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Does anyone really think all these pros spend so much on their gear if they don't really have to do so?




They do because:

- it's fun
- it pays
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ripgriffith
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2014, 10:16:09 AM »
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When I began in photography, back in the early 1950s, the Leicas I shot with were considered amateur cameras, perhaps suitable, in the most extreme conditions, for news photography, my profession as the time, but certainly not for anything "serious".  After a couple of years in news work, for a (very) brief period, I attended the New York Institute of Photography, wherein a miniature camera was a 4x5 Speed Graphic.  Absolutely no use for even 6x6, or, God forbid, 35mm. And, as wedded as I was to 35mm, a case could (and was) made for the tonal range of the larger formats.  In those days nothing, absolutely nothing, could  compare with an 8x10 contact print in terms of detail, resolution and dynamic range  and, I dare say, that still holds true.  All else aside, no small sensor camera will begin to compare to a large sensor camera in terms of detail, absolute resolution and dynamic range.

I personally prefer the smaller cameras for their speed and agility, but I do not delude myself that the overall image quality is a patch on the modern large sensor intruments.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2014, 07:45:24 PM »
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When I began in photography, back in the early 1950s, the Leicas I shot with were considered amateur cameras, perhaps suitable, in the most extreme conditions, for news photography, my profession as the time, but certainly not for anything "serious".  After a couple of years in news work, for a (very) brief period, I attended the New York Institute of Photography, wherein a miniature camera was a 4x5 Speed Graphic.  Absolutely no use for even 6x6, or, God forbid, 35mm. And, as wedded as I was to 35mm, a case could (and was) made for the tonal range of the larger formats.  In those days nothing, absolutely nothing, could  compare with an 8x10 contact print in terms of detail, resolution and dynamic range  and, I dare say, that still holds true.  All else aside, no small sensor camera will begin to compare to a large sensor camera in terms of detail, absolute resolution and dynamic range.

I personally prefer the smaller cameras for their speed and agility, but I do not delude myself that the overall image quality is a patch on the modern large sensor intruments.

Yet, it is difficult to compare to film days because grain size and quality was the same whatever the size of the sheet of film. So a larger piece of film did automatically contain more useful information.

In the digital world the resulting image quality can be described as a combination of number of pixels and their quality.

Smaller sensors can have as many pixels as larger ones. The different in final image quality becomes a function of the "quality of the pixels". Not all pixels are equal in quality, but the smaller ones are often not that much worse than the large ones because they often use different technologies.

So the nagative impact of smaller capturing device is probably overall significantly less with digital than it was with film, especially at lower ISOs.

Cheers,
Bernard


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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2014, 12:00:49 AM »
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Hi,

I agree with both postings.

Just as a comment, Tim Parkin published an article comparing film and digital in different formats: https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2011/12/big-camera-comparison/

I have also made a small test, shooting my Hasselblad/P45+ (39 MP 1.1X crop MF) combo, the Alpha 99 (24 MP FF 135) and Sony Alpha 77 (24 MP APS-C) side by side. The images were uprezzed to the width of the P45+ frame. In this case the Alpha 99 held up quite well, but the APS-C fell apart. I repeated the shot with similar results.

Just, to say, the APS-C camera makes very good A2 size prints.



Best regards
Erik


Yet, it is difficult to compare to film days because grain size and quality was the same whatever the size of the sheet of film. So a larger piece of film did automatically contain more useful information.

In the digital world the resulting image quality can be described as a combination of number of pixels and their quality.

Smaller sensors can have as many pixels as larger ones. The different in final image quality becomes a function of the "quality of the pixels". Not all pixels are equal in quality, but the smaller ones are often not that much worse than the large ones because they often use different technologies.

So the nagative impact of smaller capturing device is probably overall significantly less with digital than it was with film, especially at lower ISOs.

Cheers,
Bernard



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