dSLRs absolutely require digital darkrooms

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by bmoag, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. bmoag

    bmoag Guest

    I do not think you can get better than snapshot quality images out of the
    D70 without a lot of post-exposure work. Apart from adding more pixels in
    the next generation sensor or eventual improvements in exposure latitude I
    am not sure how this will change in the near future. I was kind of surprised
    and put off by my initial experience with the D70 but I am growing to
    appreciate the engineering and aesthetic considerations that made Nikon set
    the camera up the way they did.

    If you compare D70 jpegs (the snapshot setting) to identical D70 raw images
    (I just happened to spend the last hour doing this) the differences are
    striking. I can get nice looking pictures from either jpeg or raw but I
    cannot find a way to make them look identical. The images I get from raw
    files have better color fidelity and tonal range. When you compare jpegs and
    raw images you may realize that not only do you, and not the camera, want to
    control sharpening but different techniques for sharpening are better for
    different types of images.

    It was never like this with film, even scanned film, because the essence of
    the image was already determined by the characteristics of the emulsion. Raw
    digital images are far more mutable than scanned film images.

    If you want to get the highest quality images out of a dSLR you have to
    realize, as the engineers designing the camera realize, that outside of raw
    images the algorithms that are used to process any other format involve
    arbitrary decisions about color, contrast etc. that are always going to be a
    compromise and may never be the best choices for any particular image. Even
    if the camera makes good choices they are not YOUR choices and once jpegged
    the flexibility of the data becomes much more limited.
    bmoag, Jan 15, 2005
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  2. bmoag

    sid derra Guest

    ummm - have you done any research on raw/jpeg differences before? you
    described pretty much some of the essential differences- and obviously raw
    will give you the most bang for the buck of your d70. i am still not sure
    how the subject and "I do not think you can get better than snapshot quality
    images out of the D70 without a lot of post-exposure work" still fit into
    this topic though.

    sid derra, Jan 15, 2005
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  3. bmoag

    Will D. Guest

    You used bangshooter mode for a benchmark? And then you are getting
    detailed about the results. Sure you can choose your own algorithms if
    you use the raw data. But why? You didn't assert your own control in
    the taking, why bother with the post processing?

    You say you like the Nikon's default taking algorithms; is that
    regardless of scene? You think the Nikon can't be fooled? I doubt that
    very much.

    Seems to me that you're starting in midstream with your analyses.

    Or did I miss something here?

    Will D.
    Will D., Jan 15, 2005
  4. bmoag

    Roger Guest

    I have only used the D-70 in (to quote another poster) "bang shooter
    mode" on a couple of occasions.

    I really can't think of any reason to do so, unless maybe I wanted to
    shoot a whole series of rapid fire snap shots, but then that's what
    they'd be. Snapshots.

    The D-70 does a very nice job pf putting a 6 megapixel image into a
    relatively small file using lossless compression. With the camera
    settings I can come up with pretty much what I desire without
    requiring a lot of post processing. (you should try scanning for
    requiring a lot of post processing and those are huge files).

    Even at full resolution the camera is fast and doesn't take a lot of
    memory although I prefer to use I Gig CF cards.

    You can configure the camera to give what you want in the NEF mode
    which isn't exactly RAW. It takes into account the white balance as
    well as the other parameters you can set in or leave as default.

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger, Jan 15, 2005
  5. bmoag

    C J Campbell Guest

    I think I disagree with this statement.

    Now, if anybody had reason to use bang-shooter mode (what a neat phrase;
    thanks!) I would have thought it would be Roger Halstead. After all, he
    likes photographing aerobatic displays and the faster shooting mode might be
    helpful. But even he avoids it. Roger's pictures, btw, are incredible. I
    don't know how he does it.

    The thing that digital photography gives you is incredible post-processing
    control. Black & white photographers were very reluctant to switch to color
    because they did not like losing control of the finished product. Now we
    have that control back. Digital photography has begun a renaissance where
    the artist has absolute control of the finished product from beginning to

    Go back and look at some of your old film pictures and you will start
    thinking, "these are no better than snapshots." You will start wanting to
    adjust saturation here, adjust some vignetting there, maybe adjust exposure
    slightly. What has happened is that digital photography has greatly raised
    your expectations of the finished photo.

    The other thing is that digital photography is allowing you to risk taking
    terrible pictures, knowing that you can correct their errors later --
    cropping out unwanted material, fixing backlighting, etc., maybe even
    adjusting the composition. So, yeah, you are willing to take bad pictures
    that you were not willing to take before, because you know you can turn them
    into good pictures later. That is not the camera's fault that the original
    picture is bad; it is just that digital has changed the way you think about
    a picture.
    C J Campbell, Jan 15, 2005
  6. Here's how you should think of it:

    Non-RAW is equivalent to a Polaroid camera. Once you hit the shutter
    you have zero control. Everything from that point is automated and you
    have to live with the results.

    RAW is equivalent to film processing. Exposing the film is only the
    first step in a process. The next step is processing the film and the

    I have to agree somewhat with you, I thought a DSLR would have
    processing firmware that's superior to a point-and-shoot camera. As
    far as I can judge, that isn't the case.

    The conclusion I have reached is that is you invest in a DSLR you also
    must invest in learning how to use a digital darkroom properly.

    My 2 cents worth/Anker
    Anker Berg-Sonne, Jan 15, 2005
  7. bmoag

    Bob Guest

    I get lots of excellent images from my D70 without processing them... I had to
    process other cameras much more.
    Depends on the film... I have plenty of crap film images!!
    Don't forget - if you want the highest quality out of film you absolutely need a

    Unless you like drugstore prints...
    Bob, Jan 16, 2005
  8. bmoag

    Roger Guest

    Alright, now you've done it. I'm probably going to receive a bill for
    publicity, but in return you're going to get a bill for my new

    But seriously, when the NEFs are on an average of the mid 5 megabyte
    range (they do vary from close to 5 to just over 6 with the vast
    majority being in the mid 5s) I see little need for shooting in a
    lesser mode.

    In the D-70 as well as the Canons you have control over white balance,
    sharpening, contrast, saturation...It may not be quite as simple to
    get at as in a P&S, but once you learn the menus they are relatively
    easy to navigate.

    I have nothing against using JPGs, but when using a camera and lens
    combination that cost near $1500 USD (My F4S body cost more than that)
    I can't see a reason for economizing on memory when it cost me less
    than $100 per Gig. I think it's still around the $100 USD mark for 1
    gig and about $170 for 2 Gig.

    I've mentioned before I do use jpg mode at the highest quality in my
    E-20N, but that is mainly because the thing is so darn slow. It takes
    10 seconds to write an image from the buffer to memory. The D-70 can
    empty a full buffer in 3 seconds or less.

    So, I could double the number of photos from around 190 to near 400 by
    going to jpg and losing some quality (not much)or I can do the same
    for another $100 and keep the full quality.

    400 is a lot of images, but I have come close to that at AirVenture
    (the big fly-in at Oshkosh Wisconsin every summer with which CJ is
    well familiar<G>)

    As a comparison, in 35mm it costs me over $100 for a single 100 foot
    roll of ASA 400 E6, and the last ASA 100 of E6 ran near $65. I get
    roughly 20, 36 exposure rolls out of that including leaders. It costs
    me about $2 a roll to develop the stuff not counting time, or mounts.
    That's $7 USD a roll or 20 cents per shot. Double, or triple that if
    you are purchasing by the roll and using a commercial lab.

    Now the CF cost basically $100 for 200 shots or 50 cents each for the
    one day, two days makes that 25 cents and three days makes that 17
    cents and at 5 days I'm down to 10 cents per shot. Sure I have to
    store those on something long term, but CDs are almost free and in
    some instances are. Figure 25 cents each. That's 50 cents to store a
    days worth of shooting. DVDs are now about $1 USD and that'd be good
    for over 4 days shooting. At these prices make two. Its good

    No, I haven't printed many, but I hadn't with the film either.

    But again the advantages of full resolution, lossless storage gives
    you more power when it does come to post processing. You can enlarge
    cropped areas without artifacts from the compression. It gives the
    ability to make big prints.

    As to quality, I shot 6,883 images in 2004 (not counting a few rolls
    of film). I have gone through 1000s of feet of 35 mm film over the
    years. If you shoot that many a few are bound to turn out good
    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger, Jan 16, 2005
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