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12-09-2007, 11:29 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by codiac2600 Quote
I still don't understand why I'm hearing complaints about Jpeg quality?
I understand why everyone seems to be having this canned reaction to this thread, but again, it's not about the sharpness issue but rather about jpeg compression. It appears to me that ★★★ on the K10D gives about as much compression as ★★ on a lot of other cameras. This may actually be partly explained by the "sharpness" issue (as smoother images compress better), but the file sizes also seem pretty small with contrast and sharpness turned up.

That said, I think that in most cases it's a non-issue, because in most cases the difference in JPEG compression is very unnoticeable. Obviously this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, but I've experimented with the "high" and "normal" quality JPEGs from my Fuji F31, and although the latter are half the size, the difference is undetectable to my eye. Someone on one of the forums did some software analysis and determined that you lost about 4-5% of the (linear) resolution -- not a bad trade for 50% of the size. So my impression is that even if the ★★★ is really like ★★, ★★ is generally perfectly good.

You could shoot RAW to get the absolute best, or you could consider that in a few years, a difference of a few percent is going to be as laughably insignificant as the difference between an 800×600 image and a 840×630 one is today. And then go out and shoot pictures instead of worrying about it.

That said, I think especially in high-contrast or fine-detailed situations, you probably want to avoid ★★ and use ★★★. However, it's possible that even there the difference is so trivial it's hard to see. So I'm setting up a little test web page which will present various images converted as ★, ★★, and ★★★ and cropped for 1:1 pixel viewing, and ask viewers to decide which is which. I'll then collect the results and report back.

12-09-2007, 01:19 PM   #17
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mattdm, great idea about comparsion of the compressed pictures!

QuoteQuote:
Snowcat, do you have problems with shooting RAW? I shoot RAW only, DNG, and can still get over 200 images on a 4 Gb card. Then using PP I can get the jpeg quality I want. The only places I need jpg is for the weekly newspaper I string for and for printing cheaply. For printing I want to tweak not only the quality, but the WB, the constrast, the saturation the ...
Problems with shooting RAW? Well, just one. I am too lazy to PP too many shots. Well, lets say I am on a photo trip. A shoot like 200-300 photoes during one such day. Then I get home and choose like 50 of them, to make available to the public. Those 50 are somehow PP'ed, like sometimes cropped, sometimes rotated a bit. If they are DNGs, then to all PP I have I should add DNG-JPG conversion. And if the shots are of different subjects, under different lighting, batch conversion does nothing good. So I want to avoid this, if possible, and seriously PP 2-4 really nice shots, rather then spend hours on rather dull RAW-JPEG conversion.
And it IS possible to get excellent pics right from the camera. Olympus's DLSRs are very good at that. Pentax K10D could do better, I am sure of it, because it's better then E510 in overall image quality!
12-11-2007, 12:56 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Snowcat Quote
Problems with shooting RAW? Well, just one. I am too lazy to PP too many shots. Well, lets say I am on a photo trip. A shoot like 200-300 photoes during one such day. Then I get home and choose like 50 of them, to make available to the public. Those 50 are somehow PP'ed, like sometimes cropped, sometimes rotated a bit. If they are DNGs, then to all PP I have I should add DNG-JPG conversion. And if the shots are of different subjects, under different lighting, batch conversion does nothing good. So I want to avoid this, if possible, and seriously PP 2-4 really nice shots, rather then spend hours on rather dull RAW-JPEG conversion.
I still don't get this though. You can do the PP in raw converters the same way as you are doing PP with JPEGs right now. The extra step is almost transparent to you. The computer may take slightly longer to do the processing, but you are talking about seconds here.

Or if you don't like the raw converters interface/workflow, you can batch convert the 50 RAW to JPEG with straight conversion (only takes minutes), then use the JPEGs in your usual work flow. This way, you can always go back to the RAW if your are not happy with your first attempt.
12-11-2007, 11:57 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by codiac2600 Quote
Don't worry Pentax has listend and no that can't fix the jpeg issue with a firmware upgrade.

Shooting RAW in the K10D is the only way to get the true "highest" quality out of the camera, but I've printed 16X24 prints from in camera Jpegs and they are gorgeous to say the least. Everyone who is looking at these numbers and "softness" on their monitor aren't printing the pictures. Believe me when I say that looking at your monitor and printing are two different stories, not too mention cameras are meant to have the pictures printed stared at on monitors that all differ in quality, not to mention differing viewing programs give you different results. If you open a file in Windows File and Fax viewer every image will look soft from any camera becuase the program itself has a compression factor so it can load images quickly.

I still don't understand why I'm hearing complaints about Jpeg quality? What microscope are you using to compare images and why? No body views an image at 100% on the internet cause you have to scroll around and will never see the whole picture and if you're cropping that close like 10% of the entire image you should really have a longer lens or just get closer to the subject. The Canon 5D has soft jpegs, actually all full frame cameras have softer jpegs for that matter and you don't hear this many complaints about it. We could have the sharpness of the Canon 40D in jpegs, but then you get artifacts and aliasing which I'm definitely not a fan of. When I shoot the 40D I have to turn down the in jpeg or be very careful in RAW to make sure to turn of the sharpness in ACR off or i'll have artifact galore in harsh contrast areas, plus aliasing jaggies. It's a camera, it takes pictures, pictures are meant to be printed, pictures aren't meant to be debated on microscopic parts of it, pictures are meant to be seen as the whole picture.

But again, they have listened and you won't have as much trouble with the K20D, it's just unfortunate that people have been so harsh on the same topic since the first day it came out. Topics like this make new users afraid of their equipment even though there is no need to be.

From the information I have seen on the NuCore chipset in the K10D, I am quite sure that Pentax can tune many aspects of the image processing, including the jpeg conversion and sharpening.

I think the VPN issue is pretty hardwired into the masked pixels on the sensor and the way the camera does the black level offset adjustment, which is likely not tunable without hardware changes, but I think that Pentax could make the in-camera jpegs significantly different (note that I avoided the term "better") than what is produced now.

I managed to find a description of the tuning tool used to set all of the NuCore adjustable parameters, and while what I found was just sort of a presentation, one of the main points of the presentation was how much tuning you could do using the tool and the NuCore chipset. IIRC, sharpening screens were shown, as were gamma curves and jpeg processing tuning.

The thread about this at the other site has some hints that Pentax has said they will get back to the K10D after the new cameras are ready. Obviously, this remains to be seen, but I strongly suspect that much of what some fuss over concerning the Pentax K10D jpegs is simply the infamous Pentax stubborness over how they define "image quality" versus how many customers do.

BTW, I shoot RAW and do not give a hoot about the in-camera jpegs.

Ray

12-13-2007, 08:04 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ray Pulley Quote
From the information I have seen on the NuCore chipset in the K10D, I am quite sure that Pentax can tune many aspects of the image processing, including the jpeg conversion and sharpening.

I think the VPN issue is pretty hardwired into the masked pixels on the sensor and the way the camera does the black level offset adjustment, which is likely not tunable without hardware changes, but I think that Pentax could make the in-camera jpegs significantly different (note that I avoided the term "better") than what is produced now.

I managed to find a description of the tuning tool used to set all of the NuCore adjustable parameters, and while what I found was just sort of a presentation, one of the main points of the presentation was how much tuning you could do using the tool and the NuCore chipset. IIRC, sharpening screens were shown, as were gamma curves and jpeg processing tuning.
Interresting, there is just one fault with your text - The K10D does not use the NuCore chipset.
The A/D-converter is NuCore 22 bit front-end - which is part of the NuCore chipset - , but the image processor - where the image processing happens - is not from NuCore. It is a custom designed processor from Fujitsu, labeled by Pentax as PRIME.

So Pentax does not use the complete NuCore chipset, only the A/D front end.
12-13-2007, 08:41 AM   #21
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I don't know why everyone keeps mentioning 2MB JPG file sizes from the K10D.. I consistently get 7 or 8 and as high as 15 MB.. This came up on another forum so, here's an image, straight from the K10D JPG - it's 15.7 MB.. Why are you guys only getting 2MB?

Here.. Slide show
12-13-2007, 09:10 AM   #22
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I just went through a ton of mine. Most were 3-4. Some a little under 3, some a little over 4. The EXIF indicates indicates you used Picasa on it, so are you sure that wasn't a RAW conversion or that you didn't apply some sort of edit to it?
12-13-2007, 04:25 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jodokast96 Quote
I just went through a ton of mine. Most were 3-4. Some a little under 3, some a little over 4. The EXIF indicates indicates you used Picasa on it, so are you sure that wasn't a RAW conversion or that you didn't apply some sort of edit to it?
I shot that whole day in JPG.. None are RAW conversions. Not sure of the Picasa tag but, I haven't resized them or cropped them or anything.. they have been cached and viewed using Picasa however. Nothing more. That photo is from the camera. The whole series is super high in MB count. Maybe it's the colors and tone in the photos? I did shoot it with the Viv S1 105, lots of detail

12-13-2007, 05:46 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by RMabo Quote
Interresting, there is just one fault with your text - The K10D does not use the NuCore chipset.
The A/D-converter is NuCore 22 bit front-end - which is part of the NuCore chipset - , but the image processor - where the image processing happens - is not from NuCore. It is a custom designed processor from Fujitsu, labeled by Pentax as PRIME.

So Pentax does not use the complete NuCore chipset, only the A/D front end.
So, you are saying that Pentax does not use the SIP2290 in the K10D? That might be correct, I have not seen confirmation either way, but the NDX-2240 from Nucore is a whole lot more than simply an A/D converter. I would be interested in links to any more details you have on the Fujitsu.

Here's a link for the basics of the NDX2290 if you are interested:

http://www.nucoretech.com/nu3/images/80_downloads/pb_ndx2240.us.pdf

Ray
12-13-2007, 06:55 PM   #25
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That was going to be my next comment, it must be the glass, lol.
12-14-2007, 01:08 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ray Pulley Quote
the NDX-2240 from Nucore is a whole lot more than simply an A/D converter.
Ray
I wonder how the "Dynamic Range Expansion technique", and the "16 point Pre Knee Gamma Adjustment Curve" has affected the K10D dynamic range compared to Sony Sensor 10MP cameras without it.

Also, it shows there's definitely the ability to tweak the K10D as far as those Nucores go. The Prime Engine is another story. I'd also like to see what Fujitsu says about it - or which model it is compared to. If the Fujitsu version is also tweakable, I'm sure Pentax didn't customize it and make a point of removing its "customizability". (especially since even Pentax engineers, in earlier interviews, said they left a lot of adjustability in the K10D).

Last edited by mutley; 12-14-2007 at 01:48 AM.
12-14-2007, 01:32 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ray Pulley Quote
So, you are saying that Pentax does not use the SIP2290 in the K10D?
Yes, that is correct.
Pentax only uses the 22 bit A/D as a front end to their own PRIME, manufactured by Fujitsu (I have got it confirmed by Pentax that PRIME is manufactured by Fujitsu). No need for Pentax to use the SIP2290 since they have their own solution. About technical details on the PRIME, I'm sorry but I have no access to that information. I have tried but it is classified. So it is not known if and how the PRIME is upgradeable by firmware tweaks.
12-14-2007, 09:29 AM   #28
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Thanks for the information, Roland, as I have not been able to find anything even remotely official that links Fujitsu to the PRIME processor.

I must admit that I still have more than a small suspicion that what Pentax calls PRIME is nothing more than the NuCore SIP2290. The reasons for my suspicions are many:

There were many firm statements from Pentax when the K10D came out that the use of the NuCore technology allowed easily customized image tuning. There are many things that can be tweaked in the NuCore AFE, but many more things happen down the line in the digital realm, and that is where making certain adjustments would be easier. NuCore certainly designed the two chip set that way.

Pentax also made a big deal out of DDR2 memory, which is supported by the NuCore 2290.

At one point, NuCore's website listed the camera models that use the chipsets (including Nikon and Pentax) but they took that down as it seemed to be an issue with some manufacturers. That makes me wonder if the issue was that some or all of the manufacturers that were using the NuCore chips had plans to market them under their own names like Canon does (most have marketing names for the image processors now regardless of who made them).

There are also more than a few instances of NuCore sample images that have almost exactly the same charachteristics as the K10D, including VPN and dark-side sharpening.

It is also telling that the Pentax point and shoot cameras seem to have face recognition and some other features that are built-in to the NuCore SIP processors, which indicates to me that those cameras might be using the less powerful NuCore chipsets.

If Pentax did choose to go their own way on the image processor, that's too bad as from what I have read and seen, as the NuCore is easily tweakable from almost every area you can imagine using a very simple tool supplied by NuCore.

Having a custom solution may mean that it is more work to make significant changes to image quality in the digital realm, and may also go a long way towards explaining why Pentax has not issued any image-related tweaks to the K10D since it was released. It may also explain why the K10D was delayed initially, as there is certainly more risk and much more time involved in developing your own custom image processor than simply designing around one that already exists.

From my experience in several places of employment where I manufactured electronics goods using FPGA's and other programmable devices (including my current employer), it can be very time consuming to get new code written and tested, especially if the changes are significant. It certainly would be far simpler to be making adjustments to the output by running a Windows program and pulling down a menu that has all of the sharpness adjustments and tweaks on it, for example. This is exactly how the NuCore image tuning tools work.

Well, if nothing else, given the Pentax history of doing things their own way for better or for worse, designing a custom image processor instead of buying one would not really surprise me.

However, if the new K20D or whatever it will be called, has wireless LAN built in, that will be one more piece of evidence that what Pentax calls PRIME might really be a NuCORE processor.

Ray
12-14-2007, 09:38 AM   #29
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Roland, here is a quote from the area on the NuCore site where the camera listings used to be:

NuCORE Technology’s Image Processors are used in many Digital Camcorders, Digital Still Cameras, Hybrid Cameras, and a variety of Industrial products. Our customers are encouraged to create their own branding strategy to best enhance their specific market objectives and product positioning. Therefore, NuCORE has decided to remove specific references to NuCORE-based products to avoid potential market confusion.

It looks like NuCore did not even make their own chips, so I would not be at all surprised if Pentax simply licenses them and has Fujitsu make them:

NuCORE Supplies Image Processing Chip to Kyocera
WRL031124-07


NuCORE Technology began supplying image processor chips to Kyocera for its digital still cameras, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun reported October 27, 2003. NuCORE's chip enables high-speed sequential photo capturing. In addition to Kyocera, over five Japanese firms have plans to adopt NuCORE's image processor chip including camcorder application. The chip, named CleanCapture, contains an analog signal processor, NDX1260, and a digital signal processor, SiP1270. The new chip does not require DRAM for caching data and can capture three frames per second continuously. The CleanCapture is adopted in Kyocera's Finecam S5R and SL300R digital still cameras.

NuCORE's chips are produced by TSMC, a Taiwan-based foundry, at several hundred thousands units per quarter.


Ray

Last edited by Ray Pulley; 12-14-2007 at 09:44 AM.
12-14-2007, 10:05 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ray Pulley Quote
Thanks for the information, Roland, as I have not been able to find anything even remotely official that links Fujitsu to the PRIME processor.

I must admit that I still have more than a small suspicion that what Pentax calls PRIME is nothing more than the NuCore SIP2290. The reasons for my suspicions are many:
Again, it is true that the A/D front end is NuCore. So Pentax do uses NuCore, just not the complete NuCore chipset. The K10D's internals was heavily discussed when it was released over a year ago, and last autumn I had links to evidence for the Pentax - Fujitsu connection, but I no longer have them saved. I'm not even using the same computer as I did a year ago, I left Windows and changed to Mac last year. It is of course frustrating that discussions tends to repeat themselves, I must remember to save all my links and postings for the possibility that an old theme pops up again after a year or two...

Yes, Pentax makes a great deal about DDR2 memory that they have sourced from Samsung.
Just because the NuCore image processor uses DDR2 does not automatically mean that Pentax uses that image processor. DDR2 is the new memory standard.
I have no idea of what the Pentax p&s from Pentax are using. Many of those are not even made by Pentax. They are working together with a Taiwanese brand to design and manufacture the low end Optio's (and they are essentially the same, just the brand name differs) so the low-end Optios are OEM's and not Pentax own. I don't know about the high-end Optio's.
So you mean that all camera's using Face detection are using NuCore chipsets? Then the Panasonic L10 uses NuCore chipsets...
I have not seen evidence of wireless LAN for the K10D replacement model. But isn't it possible for other makers of image processors to do wireless LAN, or have NuCore copyrighted wireless LAN so it is not possible for others to use this feature without using NuCore chipsets?
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