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01-25-2008, 09:46 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ontario
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K20D sensor characteristics

OK so first impressions of the K20D have shown good high iso performance. But I'm curious about the sensor characteristics, how we will want to expose our shots to get the best IQ from this beast of many pixels.

Will it be similar to the 6mp CCD curves, or the 10mp? With 6mp (in the KM 7D and I assume the K100D of the same sensor) , it was often the case that you would shoot to preserve the highlights, underexposing slightly and bringing up the shadow detail in post. Best dynamic range (and noise levels) were achieved at ISO 200. With the 10mp cameras, the mantra "shoot to the right of the histogram" came into play, and we started shooting with a bias toward overexposure. Highlights were recovered in post, and ideal dynamic range and noise characteristics on these cameras was at ISO100.

As an available light shooter, I never liked the 10mp imaging characteristics...bumping up ISO meant I had to bump up exposure compensation, thus losing some of the shutter speed gained wit the increased ISO. Plus, due a noisier sensor, I always hesitate to do increase ISO in the first place. It hasn't helped my shots, and many photos have suffered because my brain is just wired to shoot to preserve highlights. My low light results were constantly better shooting with my Minolta 7D, despite the fact that the K10D was capable of producing similar results between iso 400-1600. My own fault, but there it is.

I wonder if the K20D performs best as ISO 100 or 200? I also wonder if we will be shooting to preserve highlights or shadows...to the right, or the left of the histogram. Or perhaps we can (GASP!!) shoot for proper exposure, and the dynamic range will preserve both shadows and highlights.

We're dealing with a completely new CMOS here, from a company with their own ideas about noise, exposure, and imaging as a whole. It will be fascinating to see not just the result from the camera, but to get intimate with the sensor, and really see what makes it shine

Cheers,
D

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