Does anyone know how much post processing goes on at DPreview?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Alien Jones, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. Alien Jones

    Alien Jones Guest

    I'm curious about the images dpreview put up as examples. Their quality
    seems to be a lot better than you get from any of the cameras they "test".
    I've yet to see a Canon generated image that doesn't need sharpening to
    make it look sharp yet all dpreview's images are very sharp.

    I'm curious too about the shadow vs brightness detail or dynamic range. The
    only thing in common thier D60 examples have with my wife's D60 is the over
    saturation of colour most Nikon CCD cameras produce.

    I'd really like to know how likely their workflow. They don't seem to make
    any note of it.
     
    Alien Jones, Sep 26, 2008
    #1
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  2. Alien Jones

    Me Guest

    I know that it would be terrific to think that there's a conspiracy
    theory at DPReview...
    But, did you ever consider the possibility that the problem is you?
     
    Me, Sep 26, 2008
    #2
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  3. Alien Jones

    D-MAC Guest

    What problem?
    If DPreview edit there images, they are hardly indicative of what a
    purchaser of a camera might expect to obtain if they take photos and
    then plug their cameras into a kiosk for prints.

    The very least dpreview could do is explain that their images are not
    from the camera but the computer of a very experienced photo editor.
    This itself would provide credibility to their reviews.

    The whole concept of a review is for people to make a judgement based
    on what the reviewer has to say and show as results from the camera.
    There should not be thousands of dollars worth of computers and
    software between what the camera produces and what DPreview display as
    examples from those cameras.

    It would be nice for a change to be able to ask a simple question here
    without the chipmunks chiming in with their rendition RTFM.
     
    D-MAC, Sep 26, 2008
    #3
  4. Many DSLRs come with a variety of modes of jpeg production each of
    which often has a variety of adjustments the user can make to them,
    two typical adjustments being the amount of sharpening and the amount
    of colour saturation. Because they usually have a wider dynamic range
    in their images than a P&S camera they usually produce softer lower
    contrast images because that preserves more adjustability in the
    image. It's a trivial matter to change the adjustable parameters to
    produce the typically punchier images a P&S camera produces.

    It's also a trivial matter to make the same changes in an image editor
    in a computer. You don't need thousands of pounds worth of software or
    great expertise. These are very simple adjustments which can very
    easily be made with widely available free software. In some cases
    these editors are provided with a single keypress which can produce
    the standard punchy P&S look.

    The images which Dpreview uses in its DSLR resolution tests of cameras
    (rather than lenses) are produced by using standard lenses of very
    high quality because they want to find out what the camera is
    ultimately capable of, not all it can manage to do when hobbled with
    one or another cheap lens. They specify these lenses in the
    test. These lenses will produce much sharper images than the cheap kit
    zoom lens often sold as a package deal with a DSLR.

    The whole point of a DSLR is that it has a much greater range of
    adaptability and adjustment than a P&S camera, because quite apart
    from being able to change lenses, you can change its operating
    parameters, its jpeg compression parameters, and so on, over a much
    wider range than is possible with a P&S camera.

    If you want the sharpest punchiest images just by pressing the shutter
    button straight out of the box without reading the manual and
    adjusting anything then quite apart from the considerable extra cost
    the results from many DSLRs will disappoint.
     
    Chris Malcolm, Sep 26, 2008
    #4
  5. Alien Jones

    Ray Fischer Guest

    The usually explain what settings they use to get the pictures. They
    also make sure that the image is focussed and they use a good-quality
    tripod.

    You'd be surprised at how much difference doing that can make.
    Oh? Did you do a ccontrolled test? Or is this purely subjective?
     
    Ray Fischer, Sep 27, 2008
    #5
  6. Alien Jones

    Alien Jones Guest

    (Ray Fischer) wrote in

    I guess, I'd guess.

    I was actually hoping for some definitave information. It looks like no one
    knows or if they do are not saying.
     
    Alien Jones, Sep 28, 2008
    #6
  7. Alien Jones

    RichA Guest

    It's plain to anyone who has used the lower end Nikons at all. I've
    used the D40, 50, 60 and they are all like that. What's a low-end
    Nikon without "Velvia" green?
     
    RichA, Sep 28, 2008
    #7
  8. Alien Jones

    Alien Jones Guest

    So how come the DPreview test shots are so subdued in comparison?
     
    Alien Jones, Sep 28, 2008
    #8
  9. Alien Jones

    RichA Guest

    Good question.
     
    RichA, Sep 28, 2008
    #9
  10. Alien Jones

    jmeehan Guest

    It a conspiracy!!!!!! The get millions of dollars per test from
    Canon.
     
    jmeehan, Sep 28, 2008
    #10
  11. Alien Jones

    jmeehan Guest

    Thanks for a well thought out response. I am sorry to say it
    will be ignored or rejected by so many who prefer a conspiracy theory
    over real life.
     
    jmeehan, Sep 28, 2008
    #11
  12. Alien Jones

    Ray Fischer Guest

    The settings of your web browser would be my guess.
     
    Ray Fischer, Sep 28, 2008
    #12
  13. Alien Jones

    Alien Jones Guest

    wrote in
    I wasn't looking for conjecture. I am looking for facts.
    My wife's camera cost a few hundred bucks but the lenses she used are from
    my D3 wedding studio cameras and cost many times more than the her camera.

    I also have a 40D Canon with some "L" glass and equally good Sigma glass.

    My question was not about how I can get pictures of the quality DPreview
    display. I'm a working Professional and I regularly do but I use a workflow
    consisting of a couple of thousand dollars worth of software and a Pro
    grade monitor costing an arm and a leg too. (Samsung XL20)

    What I'm trying to discover is why stock standard Canon and Nikon cameras
    using the best glass available, canot produce the picture quality DPreview
    claim to be representative examples of the cameras they test straight out
    of the camera.

    Having said that, I can't help wonder if it is deceptive to show an array
    of photos that have been processed to a relatively high and consistant
    standard of colour/contrast/shadow detail/gama levels and not tell would-be
    buyers that they will need to use software enhancement to get the same
    results?

    No conspiricy, no conjecture, just a relevant question that needs to be
    answered if DPreview are to retain credibility in the market place.
     
    Alien Jones, Oct 3, 2008
    #13
  14. Alien Jones

    Peter Wicks Guest

    Give an example. What do you see that you can't emulate? I see things
    differently with dpreview, I often wonder how such crap images got to
    used to represent a new camera. Some of it's ok, much of it is pathetic
    considering they always use top quality lenses. They seem incapable of
    managing DOF, it always is exaggerated to the extent that the image is
    something the average non-photographer would discard. I know that if I
    handed over a portrait with only one third of the subject's face in
    focus that I probably wouldn't get paid. The dpreviewers wouldn't know
    bokeh from a hole in the ground.
     
    Peter Wicks, Oct 3, 2008
    #14
  15. Alien Jones

    Alien Jones Guest

    I don't see anything I can't emulate Peter. I see examples that the
    cameras in question simply cannot produce. Those examples are products
    of post shoot manipulation, not representitive examples of what a buyer
    of one of those cameras can expect to obtain if they plug their camera
    into a kiosk and make prints... 70% of digital camera owners do this.

    As for the photographic quality... As far as I know, no one at DPreview
    is a professional photographer so I class their examples as happy
    snaps... Ones looking way too good for the description.

    As for portraits...
    My mentor way back in 1962 told me that the eye is the point of focus.
    All else can benefit from not being in focus. It helps hide skin
    blemishes. Any aperture wider than F5.8 - 100mm FL or longer (MF camera)
    is going to produce a side on portrait with some of it out of focus.
    Focus on the close eye for clear skin and the far eye for marked skin...
    It still hold true today.
     
    Alien Jones, Oct 3, 2008
    #15
  16. Alien Jones

    Ray Fischer Guest

    They use tripods and make sure that the subject is correctly focused.
     
    Ray Fischer, Oct 4, 2008
    #16
  17. Alien Jones

    Alien Jones Guest

    I'd be very interested in their reply Gerald. I asked the same question
    earlier this year and got a reply extolling the virtues of presenting
    images they processed to a standard they had developed after years of
    testing.

    I partly agree that to keep faith with camera makers they cannot be seen to
    rubbish any products beyond touching on the good, bad and maybe ugly. The
    real truth about all sorts of publishers is they don't produce a "review"
    for their readers but to attract advertisers and they most certainly (as
    has recently been shown in France when Canon withdrew all their advertising
    from a major magazine) cannot afford to dump on a camera when they get
    significant funding and pre-release information from a maker.

    All that considered, they still have a duty of care not to present any
    camera as producing images that are mostly a work of post processing
    instead of the camera.
     
    Alien Jones, Oct 4, 2008
    #17
  18. I'm curious as to why you say "CMOS". Is this not a generic problem
    that equally afflicts CCD sensors?
     
    Chris Malcolm, Oct 4, 2008
    #18
  19. I'm sure they do, but aren't you talking about DSLRs? Do 70% of DSLR
    owners just plug their camera into a kiosk and make prints? If they
    do, why on earth did they buy a DSLR? A DSLR is a highly adjustable
    machine which is designed to offer the user a great deal of latitude
    in photographic conditions and processing options both in-camera and
    in-computer. I'd be surprised if for any particular DSLR with kit lens
    there didn't exist at least a few expensive (but still significantly
    cheaper than the DSLR) P&S cameras which would offer distinctly better
    image quality straight out of the box on default settings and plugged
    into a kiosk printer.

    For example, most kiosk printing folk like images with high
    sharpening, vivid colour, and high contrast, so P&S cameras tend to
    have default settings which produce that. But the internal camera JPEG
    processing which produces that kind of image loses some of the
    adjustability which a DSLR offers, e.g. some fine high resolution
    detail is obscured by sharpening artefacts, and the high contrast and
    vivid colours lose dynamic range and colour adjustability. So the
    default settings for an out-of-camera DSLR JPEG tend to be softer and
    less vivid precisely because that preserves more of the image
    adjustability that the DSLR type of camera is aimed at producing.

    Why would someone who wants to make prints by plugging into a kiosk
    buy a DSLR in the first place? It's more difficult to use, more
    expensive, bigger and heavier, and is unlikely to produce the best
    kiosk print quality on default settings straight out of the camera.

    You mention using thousands of dollars worth of software and a very
    expensive high quality monitor to do your own image editing. I'm sure
    you're aware that you can do very effective DSLR image processing
    using completely free image editors and standard monitors. Not as good
    as your expensive stuff, but more than good enough to get better
    images out of a DSLR than you could from a P&S. You don't need
    sophisticated image editing skills either. Most of the free image
    editing software these days comes with simple automatic one-button or
    one-slider options which will produce the kind of vivid sharp snappy
    images the P&S kiosk printing camera user expects.

    But the question remains why such a user would buy a DSLR in the first
    place. It's a bit like someone buying a sports car and then
    complaining about the difficulty of packing the children and a week's
    shopping into it.
    I'd be interested to see some examples of these very good DPreview
    images compared to the best you can get straight out of the
    camera. It's true I haven't a got a Nikon or a Canon, only lowly Sony
    cameras, but given the appropriate settings of in-camera JPEG
    processing I haven't found any difficulty in producing images straight
    out of camera of the quality shown in DPreview's reviews of my
    cameras, which are close to the quality of the comparable Nikon and
    Canon DSLR images that DPreview ranks beside their Sony camera images
    in their comparative reviews.

    Are you suggesting there is some very special sophisticated tarting up
    going on behind the scenes when they produce images from Canon and
    Nikon DSLRs?
     
    Chris Malcolm, Oct 4, 2008
    #19
  20. Alien Jones

    Peter Wicks Guest

    Rubbish. In most cases a *competent* photographer could equal their DSLR
    results with an upper range point & shoot. No PP needed.
    You don't really have anywhere near as much practical experience as you
    pretend to, do you?

    I asked you for specific examples, you declined to provide them. You are
    just blowing wind aren't you? I have yet to be impressed by a dpreview
    sample, manipulated or not.
    What an idiotic thing to utter. They make their living with a camera,
    that makes them professional. It doesn't make them exceptional or even
    good, but it does make them professional.
    Your mentor?

    Well, I've got news for you grasshopper, when someone who is panting and
    furiously manipulating their penis with one hand tells you something,
    chances are is just another wanker doing what they do best.

    Nonetheless, it is remarkably obvious that you learned some things from
    him. A shame that they weren't photography related.
    Have you ever considered saving up for a photography course? This is
    2008, not 1898.
    I can see why you aren't paying taxes. You have to earn before you owe
    tax. Before you can earn, you really need to learn.

    Peter
     
    Peter Wicks, Oct 5, 2008
    #20
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