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#356482 - 23/11/2012 20:33 Photography (again): sensors resolution
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
One more photographic thread for you smile

A dear friend of mine, in my opinion excellent photographer, claims that even today he would not buy a FF camera with a higher resolution sensor than 18-20 Mpx, since he believes image quality, in terms of noise caused by the smaller and closer pixel sensors, would be lower.
Of course, he says he personally does not need the other obvious benefits deriving from a high Mpx sensor (large prints, cropping, etc.).

Based on what I read around, his view seems a bit outdated. What is you take, considering the most recent camera bodies and sensors? I realize this may be a fairly complex topic, but that is precisely why I posted here. smile
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#356483 - 23/11/2012 20:46 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Taym]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5746
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
If he was talking about compact cameras then I'd agree with him. The manufacturers stuff in extra pixels will seemingly little* regard for increased noise. They want to have a bigger megapixel number.

With DSLRs it is different though. The manufacturers tend to add extra pixels, while at the same time improving other parts of the sensor/processing to compensate for the smaller size sensors. So each step increase in pixel density typically comes with the same** or lower noise that the predecessor.

The sensors in today's 18 megapixel APS-C DSLRs have less noise at 800 ISO than my 9 year old 6 megapixel APS-C DSLR has at 200 ISO.

* that isn't to say that they aren't also making improvements in noise along the way though, the small sensors have over time got less noisy generally as well

** though even with DSLRs there is the occasional exception of sensors in a range getting noiser, but that isn't typical
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#356484 - 23/11/2012 21:31 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: andy]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
He was specifically speaking of DSLR.

He owns two Canon 5D MarkIIs, and he was particularly interested in the 6D to replace one of his 5Ds specifically because they kept it at 20Mpx.

When I have the chance, I'll ask him more about this. He usually is a knowledgeable guy, certainly not prone to "fanboysm", and usually speaks with some solid tech/scientific research at support of his arguments, but we did not have the chance to talk more.

I did search the topic, and I found the same you're mentioning, Andy, in "historical" terms.

But, comparing current cameras, more or less belonging to the same generation, I found my friend's point even less convincing.

If we consider the 5D Mark II and the D800, it seems to me that Canon went for the very high ISO with lower noise, while Nikon for the Very High Mpx of similar quality, but at lower ISO. This alone seems to suggest that the whole noise issue cannot be effectively simplified to the "resolution" alone. Which is obvious, maybe, but I guess what I am saying is that other factors such as the NR algorithms and the design of the sensor itself are factors that play a more important role than resolution (if we look at a specific generation of sensors/img processors/bodies).

Am I making sense?
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#356488 - 24/11/2012 07:42 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Taym]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
I have Mk II's and a Mk III and the noise performance on the Mk III is much much better than on the Mk II. So I am not so sure I would listen to your friend. Hire one out yourself and make your own mind up smile

Cheers

Cris

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#356492 - 24/11/2012 16:31 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Cris]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
I may actually do that smile but already now I really don't see either how that could be given the samples available everywhere showing the opposite of what he was saying.

In any case, just to be clear, I am just intellectually curious about this, I am not saying that the hypothetical differences in noise, whether it is there or not, would play any relevant role in one's ability to take a good picture.
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#356528 - 26/11/2012 15:39 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Taym]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3714
For what it's worth, my 2004-era Nikon D70 and my 2008-era Nikon D700 have roughly identical pixel sizes (with the D700 having twice the sensor size). The difference in quality (pixel noise, etc.) is night and day. The D70 at ISO 800 is worse than the D700 at ISO 3200. My six month old Fuji X-Pro 1, with 2.5x the pixels of the D70, crammed into the same space, has comparable quality to the D700, maybe slightly better even.

Moral of the story: pixel pitch, across cameras built around the same time, may well say something useful about image quality. Pixel pitch across multiple years doesn't tell you anything. And, of course, it's an entirely separate issue of keeping your camera steady and using quality glass to make sure that all those pixels have something useful in them.

(DPreview used to nicely tell you the pixel pitch of each camera next to the megapixel number, but this seems to be gone now. Quite a shame.)

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#356537 - 26/11/2012 20:13 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: DWallach]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Pixel pitch across multiple years doesn't tell you anything

And we all agree on this of course. Technology does evolve, constantly.

Quote:
pixel pitch, across cameras built around the same time, may well say something useful about image quality.

It may, but does it? That was my original question, actually.
For example, do we know if Nikon D800 and Canon 5D MkIII are very different in terms of noise due to the dramatically higher pixel density of the Nikon, and do we know if Nikon has to apply stronger NR to achieve the same quality as Canon?
By looking at DP review tests, even comparing Nikon image crops so to compare to same global resolution of Canon Images, it would seem that Nikon's mg quality is not at all worse at lower ISOs, and it is at higher ISOs (and one would guess that it would worsen significantly at those ISO values that the camera does not allow, just for that reason).
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#356547 - 27/11/2012 13:08 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Taym]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3714
The only apples-to-apples comparisons you'll ever get are when the two sensors you're curious about came off the same fab line and were engineered at the same time. You can't say anything useful, based purely on sensor resolution, about the latest Canon vs. Nikon.

For what it's worth, the Nikon D800 has a consistent pixel pitch with many of the current-generation cropped-sensor cameras (which clock in anywhere from 12-20 megapixels). As I mentioned above, my Fuji X-Pro 1 modestly outperforms my D700. As such, it's reasonable to expect the D800 to work well, and the DPReview test images support this. Furthermore, unless you're doing wall-sized prints, you're going to be shrinking the D800's output down, which will cover a multitude of sins.

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#356558 - 28/11/2012 00:22 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: DWallach]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
Originally Posted By: DWallach
You can't say anything useful, based purely on sensor resolution, about the latest Canon vs. Nikon.


I was not referring specifically to Canon and Nikon (I used them as an example of sensors with very different resolutions), but in any case, it seems here as well nobody seems to have, or know about, any data whatsoever available to support my friend's claim (which in short is just: still today resolution itself is a dominant factor in determining noise and therefore img quality, to the point that one who does not need a very large image, will be best with a lower resolution sensor).

Interesting.
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#356561 - 28/11/2012 04:20 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Taym]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5746
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Well stated like that your friends claim is actually true. If one of today's sensors was available at the same size with half the pixels, it would undoubtedly have less noise per pixel. But since no such sensors are available it is not that useful a claim...

And it isn't the same claim to say that sensors back in the day when they had half the pixels they do now were less noisy than today's sensors.
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#356566 - 28/11/2012 15:49 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: andy]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3714
Here's some fun math.

On the D700, the base ISO is 200 and I wouldn't go past 3200. That's four stops. Another way of looking at it is that the D700 gives you 12 good bits per pixel. (The actual sensor gives you 14 bits per pixel, but the bottom two bits are crap.) The D800 gives you roughly the same, 12 good bits per pixel, but you've got 3x the pixels. If you downsample a D800 to the same resolution as the D700, then you're averaging those three pixels together, giving you somewhere between 1-2 bits of additional useful signal per reduced pixel.

Now, imagine a hypothetical D700+, fabbed with current generation technology, but still 12 megapixels. The bazillion dollar question is whether the D700+ could have more than 14 useful bits per pixel. If you could give me (dreaming now) 16 beautiful bits per pixel, then that would yield HDR goodness in every shot. Or, assuming a base ISO of 100, you'd be able to shoot without any noise whatsoever at ISO 25600. (Some cameras claim to work at this speed today. They don't do it well.)

Lastly, here's your tradeoff. Are you more likely to want 12 megapixels with 16 beautiful bits per pixel, or would you prefer 36 megapixels with 12 beautiful bits per pixel? The former gives you glorious HDR. The latter gives you outrageous high resolution, if your lens supports it, and can be downsampled to give you 14 beautiful bits per pixel at resolutions you actually care about.

My guess is that somebody inside Nikon thought long and hard about these tradeoffs, and had hard numbers for both options, and decided that more pixels was preferable.

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#356567 - 28/11/2012 17:19 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: DWallach]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3153
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Lastly, here's your tradeoff. Are you more likely to want 12 megapixels with 16 beautiful bits per pixel, or would you prefer 36 megapixels with 12 beautiful bits per pixel? The former gives you glorious HDR. The latter gives you outrageous high resolution, if your lens supports it, and can be downsampled to give you 14 beautiful bits per pixel at resolutions you actually care about.

Actually, I need both. I've primarily been shooting live theatre productions. Due to the stage lighting, I get an extremely wide dynamic range. When there's anything shiny (think sweaty actor's skin), or white on stage, the shadows disappear. Sometimes, that's good. Sometimes, it's not. HDR for the win. Except that when we print photos for lobby display, we're pushing the limits on resolution, particularly with low-light shots that are much noisier. And then there's the trick of finding photos that still hold up when printed on a 7' banner. Resolution for the win.

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#356569 - 28/11/2012 19:48 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: canuckInOR]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3714
I would (na´vely) assume that your 7' banners can use photos that you've carefully posed with more control over the lighting. Under such circumstances, you can turn the lights up or bring in big strobes. You can also bring in a large format camera, giving you far more resolution than any digital camera could ever hope to provide.

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#356572 - 28/11/2012 22:48 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: DWallach]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3153
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: DWallach
I would (na´vely) assume that your 7' banners can use photos that you've carefully posed with more control over the lighting. Under such circumstances, you can turn the lights up or bring in big strobes. You can also bring in a large format camera, giving you far more resolution than any digital camera could ever hope to provide.

Since the 7' banners are an advertisement for the theatre, we want to use photos from actual shows. We don't have a special photo-shoot just to get a shot for the banner, so what I shoot during the live dress rehearsals over the course of the year(s) is what we have to work with. Obviously, changing or augmenting the stage lighting is a no-go, as it can totally destroy the very essence of what you're trying to capture. Although some stage photographers will do posed (or semi-posed) photos of key moments, I dislike doing that. I find the actors have much better in-the-moment emotional responses during an unhindered performance than when doing a static pose, or even when repeating a portion of a scene for the umpteenth time. Especially when working with non-professional actors. I like the end results better, when shooting this way, and sometimes the most dramatic shots end up being from scenes (or portions of a scene) I would not necessarily have chosen for a posed photo.

It's much like wedding photography during the ceremony and reception -- what you get is what you get, and there are no do-overs. There's no interrupting the priest with an "I'm sorry, can you re-do the 'you may now kiss the bride' part?" I do, at least, get to shoot multiple dress rehearsals for a show.

edit -- tl;dr: my approach to stage photography is a photojournalism style

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#356573 - 29/11/2012 01:07 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: andy]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
Originally Posted By: andy
Well stated like that your friends claim is actually true. If one of today's sensors was available at the same size with half the pixels, it would undoubtedly have less noise per pixel. But since no such sensors are available it is not that useful a claim...

Yes, sorry if I wasn't clear in my original post. Also, I just re-read my posts in the beginning of the thread and I referred to 5DMKII vs D800, when I intended 5DMKIII vs D800.
In other words, my friend wasn't making historical comparisons (nor he was comparing current sensors to hypothetical versions of the same sensors with lower resolution, but I see what you're saying).
He was comparing current sensors. He was saying that, he would prefer the 6D to the 5D Mark III or, by the same token, the D800, because 6D lower-resolution sensor would produce better images due to less noise.
I was puzzled by this statement having read on-line reviews that seemed to disprove this, at least in such general terms. While this seems to be true at much higher ISO, it's clearly not true at lower ISO, and I am not sure how true it is between 5DIII and 6D (I suspect not true at all). In short, there is much more than just resolution to determine a sensor's noise, so it makes little sense to consider resolution alone.

Originally Posted By: DWallach

Here's some fun math.
[...]
If you downsample a D800 to the same resolution as the D700, then you're averaging those three pixels together, giving you somewhere between 1-2 bits of additional useful signal per reduced pixel.

Now, imagine[...]

Lastly, here's your tradeoff. Are you more likely to want 12 megapixels with 16 beautiful bits per pixel, or would you prefer 36 megapixels with 12 beautiful bits per pixel? The former gives you glorious HDR. The latter gives you outrageous high resolution, if your lens supports it, and can be downsampled to give you 14 beautiful bits per pixel at resolutions you actually care about.

My guess is that somebody inside Nikon thought long and hard about these tradeoffs, and had hard numbers for both options, and decided that more pixels was preferable.


Very interesting. While instead Canon decided that 16 beautiful bits per pixel, to stick to your example, would be preferable. Hence, Nikon D800 and Canon 5DIII . Do I understand correctly what you're saying?


Edited by Taym (29/11/2012 01:10)
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#356579 - 29/11/2012 05:19 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: canuckInOR]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
[quote=DWallach]I get an extremely wide dynamic range.


That sounds more like poor lighting and makeup to me, and is the reason why I would do a setup performance if I were doing something that would end up on a banner that big. The actors can still act the same, but you need full control of the lighting to get the best results, using HDR is just a bit of a bodge really and by setting the lighting for the camera rather than the audience for a one off performance not for public eyes would give you far better results.

I''l say this first before I say what I am about to say as I don't know your photography at all, so I am not talking about you here. I hear it all the time here in the UK "I shoot weddings in a photo-journalist style" when what they really should be saying is "I have no idea how to light stuff so I just snap what is there". Of course there is an art to using available light, but it far more rewarding when you yourself have crafted the whole image.

Whilst it can be true you get better reactions when people are largely unaware they are being photographed I think the benefits of lighting things properly out weigh that.

There is also an added benefit, if things are lit properly it doesn't matter what camera you use, it will always look good smile

Cheers

Cris

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#356584 - 29/11/2012 12:54 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Taym]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3714
Originally Posted By: Taym
Very interesting. While instead Canon decided that 16 beautiful bits per pixel, to stick to your example, would be preferable. Hence, Nikon D800 and Canon 5DIII . Do I understand correctly what you're saying?

Kinda, sorta, maybe. Since we're talking about the 5DIII, it's actually 22 megapixels. Nikon offers the D600, with a 24 megapixel sensor (allegedly from Sony) and the D800 with a 36 megapixel sensor (allegedly home grown).

If you use the DPReview Compare-o-Tron-2000, go for the raw mode comparison at ISO 12800 and bring up the 5DIII, D600, and D800. This is enough for you to have a good look at the noise. I tend to like looking at the Fujitsu batteries in the lower-left corner.



You can also have a look at their measured numbers.



What you see is that the D800 has slightly worse noise but big buckets of extra resolution. If you scaled it down, you'd probably be in very good shape. The D600 is very close to the 5DIII in resolution, and the D600 slightly beats the 5DIII in noise. I tossed in the much pricier Nikon D4, which is a great example of "16 beautiful bits per pixel" (the sensor is 16 megapixels -- the smallest in the bunch here). Again, if you shrank down the D800, you'd probably come out about the same as the D4; somebody must have tried this experiment, but I'm not really sure. On the flip side, the D800 raw file is 53MB while the D4 raw file is 34MB. If you don't want the super-high-resolution, the D4 would seem to have an advantage.

Lastly, for what it's worth, DxOMark seems to think that the D800 is the best sensor they've ever measured.

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#356586 - 29/11/2012 18:00 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Cris]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3153
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Cris
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
I get an extremely wide dynamic range.
That sounds more like poor lighting and makeup to me

Sometimes it absolutely is. I'm shooting for community theatre, not professional theatre (though, around here, there's sometimes seems to be very little difference). Sometimes, however, it's not. For example, your hero may be sitting in a bright pool of light, while secondary characters are skulking around in the dim background. You want those characters in your shot, because it would change the tenor of the scene if they weren't there, yet if you expose for the hero (1/125s, f2.8, ISO 1600), they're virtually black, and if you expose to get reasonable detail of the characters in the shadows (1/60s, f2.8, ISO 1600), your hero ends blown out. If I had a bit more dynamic range, that's not as significant of an issue, just like it's not an issue for our eyes.

Originally Posted By: Cris
and is the reason why I would do a setup performance if I were doing something that would end up on a banner that big.
In an ideal world, yes, you'd know in advance what might be ending up on a banner, and do some hero shots. I don't, however, have that luxury. I'm basically given two or three nights to shoot a show during tech rehearsals (the week before it opens), during which I'm required to be as unobtrusive as possible (I may, or may not be allowed on stage). I hand over a CD/DVD of images, and some time in the future, someone designs promotional brochures, including a banner, and says "I love this shot, and want to use it on the banner -- how big will it print?" At that point, I can't re-stage that shot. It may have been taken last week, it may have been taken two years ago. The actors may not be available, sets are likely destroyed, costumes and props have been returned, etc.

Quote:
The actors can still act the same, but you need full control of the lighting to get the best results, using HDR is just a bit of a bodge really and by setting the lighting for the camera rather than the audience for a one off performance not for public eyes would give you far better results.
Except that you've changed the scene -- that's a big no-no in theatre photography. That's one of the challenges of doing theatre photography that I really love -- I don't have any control over the lighting. I don't get to walk in and say "I'm going to put a strobe light here, and a back-fill light here, and..." I'd have a very irate lighting designer on my hands, because my lighting for a photograph changes the atmosphere of the scene, and the image I capture is no longer true to the performance, even though it might be "better," and would, consequently, be deemed unusable.

Originally Posted By: Cris
I'll say this first before I say what I am about to say as I don't know your photography at all, so I am not talking about you here. I hear it all the time here in the UK "I shoot weddings in a photo-journalist style" when what they really should be saying is "I have no idea how to light stuff so I just snap what is there". Of course there is an art to using available light, but it far more rewarding when you yourself have crafted the whole image.

Whilst it can be true you get better reactions when people are largely unaware they are being photographed I think the benefits of lighting things properly out weigh that.
Absolutely agreed on the first part (when my wife and I were getting married, and looking for a photographer, we noticed that a lot of "photo-journalistic" style photographers were crap), but I disagree on the second. That style (of shooting with available light) was critical for us, because our wedding is about emotions. People's reactions were our top priority -- it's more important for us to remember the joy in grandma's face and laugh, than how beautiful an empty dress looks when hung in front of a window (to pick out one of your recent blog images that I really like). I don't give two hoots of a rat's patootie if the photographer is more rewarded by being able to craft the image entirely themselves, that's not what they're there for. That's not to say that we would accept crap when it came to images where people's reactions weren't in consideration -- the "glamour" or still-life type shots, if you will -- but those types of images were of secondary importance for us. In the end, we hired the (former?) head of the photography of a large-ish local newspaper, and were quite happy with the results. We got the emotive shots we wanted, and we got a few good glamour shots (though nothing, I think that quite matches your style, but I haven't looked at them for a while).

Similarly, when I'm shooting a show for the theatre, I'm not there to craft an image with total creative control, myself. The director has complete creative control over staging (nothing worse than having an incredibly tense and dramatic moment with the significant players at opposite sides of the stage), the lighting designer has complete creative control over lighting, and both have been locked before I ever enter the scene (haha). My creative control as photographer extends to framing and the controls I have on my camera (aside from flash, which is verboten). I'm even limited in where I can stand (I spent much of last night balanced on top of the armrests of the chairs in the 2nd row). My job is to figure out how to get the best picture I can, and do it before the opportunity disappears. My primary function is to get photos that can be used in lobby displays, and to document the show. Getting photos usable for advertising purposes is secondary, though, for most purposes (banner being the exception), ends up coming from the the set of photos used in the lobby display.

Quote:
There is also an added benefit, if things are lit properly it doesn't matter what camera you use, it will always look good smile
True, but a) if you were too concerned about the lighting, you may have missed the moment altogether, and b) just because the photo looks good, doesn't make it suitable for a wind range of uses.

The key for me, when shooting for the theatre, is flexibility, since I can't plan for everything in advance.

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#356588 - 29/11/2012 18:44 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Cris]
tanstaafl.
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Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5356
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: Cris
I hear it all the time here in the UK "I shoot weddings in a photo-journalist style" when what they really should be saying is "I have no idea how to light stuff so I just snap what is there".
You could easily be talking about me.

At one time in my life I fancied myself to be a semi-professional photographer. I had a full color darkroom back in the days when that was virtually unheard of in a home setup - there were no digital cameras back then! I was the official track photographer at the local race track. I even did a couple of photo shoots for a (no, the) local modeling agency. People familiar with my work at the race track had me photograph their weddings. I figured I was pretty hot stuff.

Then... I attended a wedding as a guest, not a photographer, and I watched a real pro at work. This guy was magic. He was always just where he needed to be to get the shot he wanted, he seemed to be everywhere at once and yet never intrusive or in the way. He saw (and made!) photo opportunities that I never would have thought of. He had an assistant whose job was to always know which camera the photographer needed at that moment (it's a lot quicker to grab a different camera than to swap out lenses) and to keep fresh batteries in all the cameras and strobes. Over a three hour period that covered the wedding and the reception, he took more than 2,000 pictures. He was working hard, the sweat just rolling off of him, and he never relaxed for a moment.

Oh, he did some set pieces with proper lighting between the wedding and the reception, but for the most part it was "journalist style" and he certainly captured the spirit of the wedding.

I never had the audacity to photograph another wedding after that, and still am embarrassed about the absolutely pitiful job (reckoned with 20-20 hindsight) that I did on the ones I shot. That night was a real education for me.

tanstaafl.
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#356589 - 29/11/2012 18:52 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: canuckInOR]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3714
As an aside, the fastest film I ever shot was T-Max 3200 (discontinued!), which I'd then push a stop further using proper Kodak T-Max developer. For my purposes at the time (high school yearbook photographer), we never, ever printed larger than 8x10 (typically 5x7), so it just didn't matter at all. I actually made some 11x14's for myself, and so long as you're not sticking your nose into the picture, they look fine.

Today, any of the cameras we're talking about give you radically better speed and noise and resolution than any film emulsion could ever do, particularly at high speeds like we're talking about.

Back to the topic at hand, since you're stuck with the lighting you've got, you need to look at all the other techniques you can bring to bear on the problem. You can rent/buy brighter lenses ($$$ + heavy weight + tight depth of field). You can use a tripod or monopod to allow for a longer exposure (but longer exposures only work when the actors aren't moving much). You can also get fancy in post-processing; Lightroom is pretty good, but supposedly you can do better with things like Noise Ninja (which has now evolved into a full-blown raw conversion program: Photo Ninja, which seems to get strong reviews). Also, I'll note that when you convert to black & white, you can get away with more because it just looks cool. A little bit here and a little bit there can add up to a big difference in the quality of your result.

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#356591 - 29/11/2012 19:27 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: canuckInOR]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
I don't give two hoots of a rat's patootie if the photographer is more rewarded by being able to craft the image entirely themselves


I think this would be a discussion better held over a pint of beer, I think you are missing my point a little bit.

Lots of my photography involves flash in some way, and not all the posed stuff. Lighting the reactions during the speeches for example, really important and I am always amazed by photographers who don't have a clue and just put up with gloomy lighting. If you know what you are doing you can add lighting to a situation AND get the natural reactions.

You don't see too much of that stuff on my site, as quite frankly it doesn't sell. People buy the setup couple shots that look so "natural".

I get what you are saying, but it sound like you are working with people who don't appreciate or understand good photography. If they did they would let you have some input at some point of the production.

Cheers

Cris

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#356592 - 29/11/2012 21:04 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: Cris]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3153
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Cris
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
I don't give two hoots of a rat's patootie if the photographer is more rewarded by being able to craft the image entirely themselves
I think this would be a discussion better held over a pint of beer

For sure. smile
Originally Posted By: Cris
I think you are missing my point a little bit.

Quite possibly.
Originally Posted By: Cris
Lots of my photography involves flash in some way, and not all the posed stuff. Lighting the reactions during the speeches for example, really important and I am always amazed by photographers who don't have a clue and just put up with gloomy lighting. If you know what you are doing you can add lighting to a situation AND get the natural reactions.
I agree with that -- shooting with a photo-journalistic style doesn't preclude use of flash, in any way. For non-theatre photography, although my taste tends to run closer to "available light", I do use flash when I think it's necessary. Sometimes I take one shot with, and one without, just so I can appreciate the difference, and adjust my notion of when is "necessary". It does help, even when I'm just using the dinky little built-in. For theatre photography, though, it's not an option for me -- it's specifically disallowed, as I'm shooting during the production (even if it is "just a rehearsal"). Flash would be disruptive, and potentially dangerous (don't need an actor falling off the stage, getting poked in the eye with a sword, or spraining in ankle due to a missed landing on a leap, because they're momentarily blinded by flash). If I were shooting Broadway or West End shows for glossy commemorative brochures, etc. then I'd expect to have an entire day set aside for photo-shoot day, and, when the stage lighting isn't adequate for a shot, have a discussion with the producer and lighting designer about a) whether it's a shot they really require, and b) how it might be improved. But the theatre I'm working with has neither the time, nor the budget for that (a show only runs three weekends), and from what I've seen on the internets, that sounds pretty typical, even for theatre's larger than ours.
Originally Posted By: Cris
I get what you are saying, but it sound like you are working with people who don't appreciate or understand good photography. If they did they would let you have some input at some point of the production.
I think they're just striving for a balance, where their primary focus isn't the advertising. The majority of the time, everything honestly works out just fine. It's just that every now and then the stars align in such a way that I go "hrm... I wish I had a higher res version of that shot" or "I wish I'd had a bit more dynamic range, so that I could boost the exposure of the shadows in this shot by 1/3 of a stop." I don't lose any sleep over it. smile

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#356593 - 29/11/2012 21:09 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: DWallach]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
Originally Posted By: DWallach

go for the raw mode comparison at ISO 12800 and bring up the 5DIII, D600, and D800. This is enough for you to have a good look at the noise.
[...]
What you see is that the D800 has slightly worse noise but big buckets of extra resolution. If you scaled it down, you'd probably be in very good shape.

Well, that is precisely what the D800 review says. Scaled down to 5DIII resolution, the D800 performs like or slightly better than the 5DIII.
On the other hand, why look at ISO 12800 only? 5DIII reaches higher ISO values, which seems to me is the feature the 5DIII is betting on.
In other words, and as you were suggesting in your previous post, Canon and Nikon either went for higher ISO or higher resolution. Graphs also seems to confirm this.

Also, I assume that D800 and D600 do not allow as high ISO as the 5DIII because noise at those ISO value would be unacceptable. Is this a wrong assumption?


Edited by Taym (29/11/2012 21:11)
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#356595 - 29/11/2012 21:28 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: DWallach]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3153
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: DWallach
For my purposes at the time (high school yearbook photographer), we never, ever printed larger than 8x10 (typically 5x7), so it just didn't matter at all.

For a while, the lobby displays were getting printed at 11x17, which was pushing it. We're now down to 8x10, which is much more forgiving.
Quote:
Back to the topic at hand, since you're stuck with the lighting you've got, you need to look at all the other techniques you can bring to bear on the problem. You can rent/buy brighter lenses ($$$ + heavy weight + tight depth of field).

Did that. I'm now shooting with an f/2.8 lens. It helped immensely.
Quote:
You can use a tripod or monopod to allow for a longer exposure (but longer exposures only work when the actors aren't moving much).
Too unwieldly. I'm moving constantly. My monopod and tripod stay at home.
Quote:
You can also get fancy in post-processing; Lightroom is pretty good, but supposedly you can do better with things like Noise Ninja (which has now evolved into a full-blown raw conversion program: Photo Ninja, which seems to get strong reviews).
I didn't know that Noise Ninja has evolved. I'll look into Photo Ninja.

I think my next photography-related purchase will be a D800 body. I'm currently using a D80. For the most part, it's fine, but I want an FX sensor, and I want a sensor with better noise characteristics. That it has video capabilities will make it an easier sell with my wife, who wants a new video camera. With Child #2 on the way, it's a very good possibility. smile

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#356601 - 30/11/2012 01:26 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: canuckInOR]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3714
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
I'm now shooting with an f/2.8 lens. It helped immensely.


The next step, assuming you can get closer to your subjects, is something like a 50mm f/1.4. Two extra stops are a non-trivial improvement, and the lens is cheap.

Quote:
I think my next photography-related purchase will be a D800 body. I'm currently using a D80.


Needless to say, it's a world of difference, or at least that's what I thought when I upgraded from a D70 to a D700. I'll caution you that the upgrade to FX implies an upgrade in carry weight. And I don't have to caution you that kids have a habit of forcing you to haul around things besides cameras. This sort of logic led me to my Fuji X-Pro 1 and might similarly lead you to one of the various "mirrorless" cameras out there.

Originally Posted By: Taym
Well, that is precisely what the D800 review says. Scaled down to 5DIII resolution, the D800 performs like or slightly better than the 5DIII.
On the other hand, why look at ISO 12800 only? 5DIII reaches higher ISO values, which seems to me is the feature the 5DIII is betting on.
In other words, and as you were suggesting in your previous post, Canon and Nikon either went for higher ISO or higher resolution. Graphs also seems to confirm this.

Also, I assume that D800 and D600 do not allow as high ISO as the 5DIII because noise at those ISO value would be unacceptable. Is this a wrong assumption?

While all these cameras hypothetically support shooting at these immensely high ISO values, in practice, you'd never want to go so high unless you were only trying to get something barely usable when you shrink the picture down mercilessly.

Also, here's a trick to keep in mind. When you shoot raw, there's no such thing as the camera restricting the ISO. Instead, the sensor gets what it gets. If you shoot at the base ISO, then the high bit may well be one or zero. If you shoot one stop faster, then (assuming you're not blowing highlights) the high bit will always be zero. Basically, you're left-shifting the results by one bit. You want to shoot four stops faster? Left shift by four. The more you shift, the more you're digging into the low-order bits, which give you progressively less useful information.

Lastly, since I know somebody will bring it up, left-shifting the bits is much dumber than any actual raw conversion program. Instead, you want to see if there's actual signal up there and play HDR games of some sort to preserve that highlight detail that you'd otherwise be pushing to pure white. That's more or less what all the major commercial RAW converters do.


Nutshell summary: the current crop of fancy pants D-SLRs are all very good. This year, the Nikons are marginally better than the Canons, but not enough that you shouldn't get a Canon if you otherwise prefer them, perhaps because you prefer their lenses or something. In four more years, Canon may well have leapfrogged Nikon, but good glass will always be good glass.

With specific regard to the exceptionally high resolution of the D800, it's effectively giving you a choice. You want the bit-depth quality of a lower-resolution sensor? Then just downsample your image. Done. You prefer incredible high resolution, albeit with more noise in the dark bits, then you've got that choice as well -- a choice you don't get with any other camera. The only real price you pay for this flexibility is that the raw files are big and presumably are that much slower to process. Also, you may feel an unbearable need to purchase the most expenses lenses that money can buy, never mind a fancy tripod, expensive strobes, and so forth, so you can actually get the most out of that lovely sensor.

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#356613 - 30/11/2012 15:26 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: DWallach]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3153
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
I'm now shooting with an f/2.8 lens. It helped immensely.
The next step, assuming you can get closer to your subjects, is something like a 50mm f/1.4. Two extra stops are a non-trivial improvement, and the lens is cheap.
For me to switch to a 50mm prime, I'd have to use two cameras, or I'd be spending all my time switching lenses. I haven't pulled the statistics from my exif data, yet, but I'm generally closer to the 70mm end of my lens. It's an FX lens, so there's the 1.5x crop factor to account for, too. (I know, I know... I shouldn't really be using this lens with a DX sensor, but we bought it knowing we'd eventually move to a body containing an FX sensor.)

Quote:
I think my next photography-related purchase will be a D800 body. I'm currently using a D80.
Needless to say, it's a world of difference, or at least that's what I thought when I upgraded from a D70 to a D700. I'll caution you that the upgrade to FX implies an upgrade in carry weight.[/quote]Yes, but I'm already carrying with a fairly large lens on it, so I don't think the extra ~1/2lb is going to be that significant. I guess we'll have to see.
Quote:
And I don't have to caution you that kids have a habit of forcing you to haul around things besides cameras. This sort of logic led me to my Fuji X-Pro 1 and might similarly lead you to one of the various "mirrorless" cameras out there.

Yeah. I've been looking at the rugged cameras. Waterproof/crushproof/diaper-bag proof. I have an Olympus model that went tits up when the seals went out (splashdown on a 2-storey waterslide), but I was never really fully satisfied with it. It was the only serious waterproof digital P&S available at the time I got it, though, so I'm happy to see Nikon and Canon enter the market.

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#356619 - 01/12/2012 14:39 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: canuckInOR]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3714
Dollar-no-object, then, how about an 85mm f/1.4? Perhaps rent one for a week to give it a shot and see whether it works for you. Two extra stops may make a world of difference for you if you can deal with the much more narrow depth of field.

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#356633 - 02/12/2012 15:38 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: canuckInOR]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5356
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
For me to switch to a 50mm prime, I'd have to use two cameras
Not necessarily.

I know that this is not a big-bucks interchangeable-lens DSLR, so most of you will dismiss it out of hand. But if you read the review and the specs, you will see that it has some pretty impressive capabilities, some of which might suit your needs very well.

1) HDR capability. It takes the "best" parts of three near-simultaneous exposures to produce a high dynamic range final image.

2) Extended zoom. How much of your noise is because you are losing 50% or more of your original image to cropping due to the fixed focal length lens you are using now? How many shots do you not even take because you were in the wrong place at the right time?

3) Speed. This Leica-built lens holds f2.8 across the entire 25-600 mm [equivalent] range. That is an incredible specification.

4) Control. You have full manual control over everything: P-S-A-M, manual focus, forced flash (not an issue in your case frown ), auto exposure bracketing in 1/3 EV steps, white balance pre-sets and/or bracketing, burst mode at 15 fps, shutter speeds to 1/4,000 second... read the specs and you'll see what I mean.

5) Cost. Less than 1/3 the cost of the lens that Dan linked to.

6) Versatility. Incomparable. Even RAW output.

But, it's not a DSLR. People won't be impressed. If you can live with that, it might pay you to take a look at it.

tanstaafl.


Edited by tanstaafl. (02/12/2012 16:01)
Edit Reason: Add RAW output
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#356634 - 02/12/2012 17:19 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: canuckInOR]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
For me to switch to a 50mm prime, I'd have to use two cameras


Urmmmm the whole point of an SLR is that you can swap to the appropriate lens as needed. I just don't get why you wouldn't swap out lenses. I swap 100s of times in a day, nothing has lens caps on or stupid UV filters, quick easy and if you buy good lenses in the first place they will stand up to the knock about no problems at all.

I do put an lens cap on my fisheye actually, but only so I can stack another lens on top of it in the bag.

If you are shooting at f1.4-f2.8 dust on the sensor just isn't a problem either.

Edit - I can highly recommend this bag, I can fit everything I need for a wedding in this... http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/retrospective-lens-changer-3-black-shoulder-bag.aspx

Cheers

Cris


Edited by Cris (02/12/2012 17:20)

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#356636 - 02/12/2012 17:51 Re: Photography (again): sensors resolution [Re: tanstaafl.]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13867
Loc: Canada
Looks like a fantastic camera!

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