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View Poll Results: Would you rather have upgraded Dynamic Range, or Upgraded Resolution?
Same Resolution, Better Dynamic Range 4095.24%
Same Dynamic Range, Better Resolution 24.76%
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03-05-2014, 09:57 AM   #16
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Also, as I noted in another thread-- with a few exceptions, sharpness/resolution isn't the end-all and be-all of what makes a good photograph. A good example is everyone's favorite print of mine-- even from fellow photographer friends-- that was shot by guessing at exposure with an ancient Nikon, and what many regard as Nikon's worst ever MF zoom lens, which also had fungus build up in the middle elements. Definitely not what I'd consider sharp in comparison to pixel-peeping vs modern lenses, but it's sharp enough to look stunning (8x10 and 11x14 prints cropped out from 12" and 14" high projections on my enlarger). Offhand I think it was FP4 in D76 1:1, with a tripod, and enlarged with very good optics.

For me, and if you haven't seen what I could do with it check it out, 6MP provides enough resolution for great looking images, that print very sharply to 8x12 and are hard to discern from larger pixel sensors at that size, and at 12x18 look fantastic at an arm's length or more, which is where those large prints will be viewed. Depending on subject matter, a 12x18 from 6 MP sensor will be quite sharp enough viewed up close, too. 16 MP gives stellar 12x18s at close inspection, same thing with a 12 MP image. They'll give prints that will be incredibly sharp looking at arms distance to 24x36. What more do we want?

If you mostly display on web, you only need about 2 MP to be more than full screen for most displays. When I shot products, I shot at my 1.5 MP setting, and everyone was happy with that.
Cropping room is a factor, but I prefer to get it right in camera, and now with more than the 2 lenses I started with, that's totally doable.

I personally think, with larger photosites, that if someone wanted to refine a lower resolution sensor, they'd have a winner-- especially for things like photojournalism and sports. To mirror what someone said above, better DR at higher ISO. Maybe shoot for a sensor in the native 1000 ISO range, but shoot for the dynamic range of the K-5. With a smaller sensor in modern professional bodies, you could probably pump out 6-10MP images at 6-8 FPS until the card was full.

For stuff like the Southwest, though, I really use all of the dynamic range that I have on hand, frequently using grads, too. With my B&W work, this is easy because I can shoot with a compensating effect in mind, and get massive amounts of DR. Besides computer based editing sucking, the lack of DR is what got me to jump ship on digital almost completely.

03-05-2014, 10:09 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
personally think, with larger photosites, that if someone wanted to refine a lower resolution sensor, they'd have a winner-- especially for things like photojournalism and sports. To mirror what someone said above, better DR at higher ISO. Maybe shoot for a sensor in the native 1000 ISO range, but shoot for the dynamic range of the K-5. With a smaller sensor in modern professional bodies, you could probably pump out 6-10MP images at 6-8 FPS until the card was full.
Like the Nikon D4s. It's only 16 mp on an FF but the high ISO would be to die for...

QuoteQuote:
With a specially designed 16.2MP FX-format CMOS image sensor engineered to collect more light and render higher image quality plus the power of EXPEED 4, you can shoot sharp photos from ISO 100 all the way up to 25,600. The ISO range can be extended to a mind-boggling ISO 409,600
03-05-2014, 10:13 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Like the Nikon D4s. It's only 16 mp on an FF but the high ISO would be to die for...
Yeah, I wish Pentax had something like that. Sadly, it's DR isn't up to snuff compared to the K-5 at base ISO. Higher ISO performance looks pretty intriguing, but I still want more dynamic range!
03-05-2014, 11:44 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
Yeah, I wish Pentax had something like that. Sadly, it's DR isn't up to snuff compared to the K-5 at base ISO. Higher ISO performance looks pretty intriguing, but I still want more dynamic range!
I've heard so many trash K-5 (and k-3s ) for their high ISO performance, as when the D800 came out with it's high resolution, they can now put their money where their mouth is. If High ISO performance is where it's at for you, buy this camera. I do find it amusing that Nikon had to do this on a sensor specifically designed for low light. I guess those pentax engineers weren't so stupid after all. Now that we get an actual low light camera customer designed, how many of those "low light performance " freaks are going to buy one? I'm guessing we're going to hear a lot more , we want Pentax to have better low light performance... well folks look at what it costs to have truly better low light performance, not a stop or two. Do you still want it?

We want more resolution fixed by the D800 and K-3
We want better low light performance. Fixed by the D4s
We want faster AF , low light focusing and smaller and more focus points fixed by the K-3.

It makes you wonder, what the whiners will want next. Now that they see what real low light performance costs, is there anyone willing to pay for that technology in a 7 Mp APS-c body? Everyone wants something, nobody wants to pay the price. Everybody wants to believe one stop makes a difference and that getting one stop more will change their life. Life is about dreamers imagining that what doesn't exist exists, and when it does exist, finding out it isn't worth what you pay for it.

Unless of course you're a pro who needs the technology. Then of course it's worth every cent you pay for it. So many people seem to imply they are in some way in that category.


Last edited by normhead; 03-05-2014 at 11:54 AM.
03-05-2014, 11:54 AM   #20
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For me, dynamic range is most important. For most photography, any modern camera or system is more than good enough. For landscapes out here, nothing digital has the dynamic range, without HDR or jumping through hoops. I don't really care about AF speed for that, nor do I care about high ISO performance, or resolution (to a point). That's just me, and I know I'd also have to pay for all the other upgrades to get it.

If the K-3 successor came out, with even more improvements, but increased DR by 3 stops, I'd be all over it. I know it's not in companies' best interest to design specialty products for limited usage, but I'm asking for one feature to be improved, which hasn't significantly been improved. Looking through a bunch of tests, a K100d can put out about 11.5 stops of DR at base ISO. In the real world, nothing seems to be more than 1-2 stops better than that. Until there's some significant improvement in that, I'll stick to my Portra and FP4 in 120 for putting massive DR down in one shot.
03-05-2014, 12:55 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
For me, dynamic range is most important. For most photography, any modern camera or system is more than good enough. For landscapes out here, nothing digital has the dynamic range, without HDR or jumping through hoops. I don't really care about AF speed for that, nor do I care about high ISO performance, or resolution (to a point). That's just me, and I know I'd also have to pay for all the other upgrades to get it.

If the K-3 successor came out, with even more improvements, but increased DR by 3 stops, I'd be all over it. I know it's not in companies' best interest to design specialty products for limited usage, but I'm asking for one feature to be improved, which hasn't significantly been improved. Looking through a bunch of tests, a K100d can put out about 11.5 stops of DR at base ISO. In the real world, nothing seems to be more than 1-2 stops better than that. Until there's some significant improvement in that, I'll stick to my Portra and FP4 in 120 for putting massive DR down in one shot.
How often do you really max out dynamic range on a digital sensor? The times when I do it are usually at high iso. Shooting at iso 80 on the K5 or iso 100 on a K3, most scenes are easily taken care of by the sensor. And I am talking high dynamic range scenes, shot right into the sun.

I don't know how much better dynamic range your Portra has than digital sensors currently. My impression was that most film hit about 10 EVs of dynamic range, while most digital sensors (at base iso) were between 12 and 14.
03-05-2014, 01:18 PM   #22
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I may have my terms or science wrong but I think a huge helper for film is reciprocity failure, you expose for the shadows and have to almost try to blow the highlights because the emulsion simply says "no thank you I'm full" after a point wheras a digital photosite stuffs itself till it pukes out nothing but white.

I added this completely unedited film pic to my album simply because I took it as a test and the results shocked me, I couldn't actually see what I was taking a picture of, the glare off the water was like looking straight into the sun and just for the fun of it I exposed for the ground at my feet and then snapped a pic towards the guy fishing (made focusing a guess). The blowouts were confined to the actual reflection of the sun in the waves itself, and the star patterns that came out of it actually look rather attractive. The cloud of bugs between me and him was actually invisible to me when I took the picture but somehow the film managed to see it.
I could probably actually boost the shadows a bit if it were rescanned since I still got it slightly underexposed.
The real kicker is this was cheap Kodak Gold 200 film developed and auto scanned by the basic lab at target. Imagine what quality film, correct exposure and a good lab would look like.
EDIT: Something else to consider is that the DR of this image was probably limited by the scanning more than the film.


Last edited by PPPPPP42; 03-05-2014 at 08:51 PM.
03-05-2014, 01:19 PM - 1 Like   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
How often do you really max out dynamic range on a digital sensor? The times when I do it are usually at high iso. Shooting at iso 80 on the K5 or iso 100 on a K3, most scenes are easily taken care of by the sensor. And I am talking high dynamic range scenes, shot right into the sun.

I don't know how much better dynamic range your Portra has than digital sensors currently. My impression was that most film hit about 10 EVs of dynamic range, while most digital sensors (at base iso) were between 12 and 14.
When printed on standard RA4 paper, yes, 10 stops is about the max for C-41. Portra 400 can actually hold nearly 20 stops of dynamic range. I think the misconception is from scanning... When I scanned more C-41 film, it took 2 passes to get the detail I wanted out of the film. Once for shadows, once for highlights. Stack the layers, mask, and dodge and burn away. There are quite a few articles out there about people using this technique and getting about 17-18 stops of usable range from Portra 400.

If you haven't used film recently, I don't blame you. Shooting digital seems to have about +/- one more stop of detail vs. Provia. Neither compare to C-41 color.

If you've never lived in S. UT, or N. AZ, you might not know what it's like to have your highlights blinking white, while your shadows helplessly sit off the scale to the left... I backpack a lot, and generally spend a lot of time outside. We probably have 325 days of full sun out here per year... last time I got really good results with either slide film or digital, was during our last monsoon season. 2-3 stops more would help a TON out here.

For B&W, ask Tuco sometime about the dynamic range he gets when he shoots his 6x7. I shoot at N-1 so I can print high contrast scenes at grade 1-1.5, and normal scenes at 3-3.5 in my darkroom. I can get at least 12 stops with detail and texture on a harsh sunny day, usually choosing to lose detail in the sky, since it's usually a boring sky out here anyway.

If you look around, T-grain emulsions at N-3 give 17-18 stops of usable dynamic range. I recently saw a shot of an unlit barn interior, with a window and snow outside. There was detail in the shadows in the barn, as well as in the snow outside. Metered difference was about 17 stops between the two, and both retained detail.

EDIT:

Also, have you ever been canyoneering? One of my favorite sports, and favorite activities to photography. For images that capture the full scale of it, I've never had a digital sensor work for it. I've been places where the sun literally never shines in the bottom of the canyon-- 200' canyon walls, sometimes down to shoulder width. when it gets a bit wider-- enough to have mixed light-- you will not believe how deep those shadows are.

---------- Post added 03-05-14 at 01:29 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
I may have my terms or science wrong but I think a huge helper for film is reciprocity failure, you expose for the shadows and have to almost try to blow the highlights because the emulsion simply says "no thank you I'm full" after a point wheras a digital photosite stuffs itself till it pukes out nothing but white.
I think you're referring to the shoulder of the film, actually, but I may be wrong. Where the shoulder hits on film, it compresses values above that, as the film 'fills up'

The films that work best for extreme DR are the T-Grain ones. They have a more upswept curve to them, so they don't compress the highlights for you. If you drastically pull the film, you can bring those highlights into printable range, getting some pretty serious dynamic range.

03-05-2014, 02:35 PM   #24
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Interesting discussion in this thread--some of which I understand.
03-05-2014, 02:51 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
When printed on standard RA4 paper, yes, 10 stops is about the max for C-41. Portra 400 can actually hold nearly 20 stops of dynamic range. I think the misconception is from scanning... When I scanned more C-41 film, it took 2 passes to get the detail I wanted out of the film. Once for shadows, once for highlights. Stack the layers, mask, and dodge and burn away. There are quite a few articles out there about people using this technique and getting about 17-18 stops of usable range from Portra 400.

If you haven't used film recently, I don't blame you. Shooting digital seems to have about +/- one more stop of detail vs. Provia. Neither compare to C-41 color.

If you've never lived in S. UT, or N. AZ, you might not know what it's like to have your highlights blinking white, while your shadows helplessly sit off the scale to the left... I backpack a lot, and generally spend a lot of time outside. We probably have 325 days of full sun out here per year... last time I got really good results with either slide film or digital, was during our last monsoon season. 2-3 stops more would help a TON out here.

For B&W, ask Tuco sometime about the dynamic range he gets when he shoots his 6x7. I shoot at N-1 so I can print high contrast scenes at grade 1-1.5, and normal scenes at 3-3.5 in my darkroom. I can get at least 12 stops with detail and texture on a harsh sunny day, usually choosing to lose detail in the sky, since it's usually a boring sky out here anyway.

If you look around, T-grain emulsions at N-3 give 17-18 stops of usable dynamic range. I recently saw a shot of an unlit barn interior, with a window and snow outside. There was detail in the shadows in the barn, as well as in the snow outside. Metered difference was about 17 stops between the two, and both retained detail.

EDIT:

Also, have you ever been canyoneering? One of my favorite sports, and favorite activities to photography. For images that capture the full scale of it, I've never had a digital sensor work for it. I've been places where the sun literally never shines in the bottom of the canyon-- 200' canyon walls, sometimes down to shoulder width. when it gets a bit wider-- enough to have mixed light-- you will not believe how deep those shadows are.

---------- Post added 03-05-14 at 01:29 PM ----------



I think you're referring to the shoulder of the film, actually, but I may be wrong. Where the shoulder hits on film, it compresses values above that, as the film 'fills up'

The films that work best for extreme DR are the T-Grain ones. They have a more upswept curve to them, so they don't compress the highlights for you. If you drastically pull the film, you can bring those highlights into printable range, getting some pretty serious dynamic range.
I don't live in the west, although I have done some shooting out there, but I definitely avoid the middle of the day with regard to shooting, as I have found it not terribly productive. But that's here in the midwest, where the best light and color are early in the morning or late in the evenings.
03-05-2014, 02:58 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I don't live in the west, although I have done some shooting out there, but I definitely avoid the middle of the day with regard to shooting, as I have found it not terribly productive. But that's here in the midwest, where the best light and color are early in the morning or late in the evenings.
Early and late light here are nice and warm, but I've found make things almost more difficult, as you're limited to the direction you can shoot.

If every aspect of cameras are improved to make shooting in otherwise difficult situations doable, shouldn't DR be increased to allow shooting during the day out here?
03-05-2014, 03:10 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
Early and late light here are nice and warm, but I've found make things almost more difficult, as you're limited to the direction you can shoot.

If every aspect of cameras are improved to make shooting in otherwise difficult situations doable, shouldn't DR be increased to allow shooting during the day out here?
Sure. I have no problem with improving the dynamic range. Maybe I just remember how easy it was to max out a K7 or K20, but I just don't struggle with it on more recent cameras.
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