Higher dynamic range. Mfgs (except Fuji) ignoring it. Why?

Discussion in 'Fuji' started by RichA, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. RichA

    RichA Guest

    Pixels are still the same, square. Fuji has tried to deal with the
    issue. But Canon, Nikon, etc, don't seem to care as much about it as
    they do pixel counts. Why is this the case? It would be nice to be
    able to shoot a sunlit scene with shadowed areas knowing it won't take
    heavy manipulation to make the image as good as it can be. Or, upon
    bringing up the illumination in the shadowed areas, not having them
    noisy or devoid of good colour and tonality.
    P.S. Those HDR compilation shots people do just look unnatural.
    RichA, Oct 14, 2006
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  2. RichA

    Scott W Guest

    If you are shooting with a DSLR at ISO 100 and shooting raw this is
    rarely a problem.

    Having said that I am a bit disappointed that they don't use more then
    12 bit A/D converters.

    Scott W, Oct 14, 2006
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  3. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    It's germane to note that Fuji seem stuck at 6 Mpix in the extended
    dynamic range sensors. For them to get to a decent 8 or a very decent
    10 Mpix would require 16 - 20 Msensors ... tough act even if the high
    dyn sensors are smaller compared to the normal sensor.

    On the other hand many, many photographers do wonderful work with the
    current middle + 2 stops... eg: same as slide film. Plus the benefit of
    a stop or two more shaddow detail than slide film.

    Fuji's approach is great, but eliminating one problem has put them in
    last spot in the Mpix race ... which seems to be petering out at around
    10 - 12 Mpix for the high-end prosumer bodies.

    I want to experiment with Sony's HDR mode. I've seen some examples
    posted, but by a relatively inexperienced photographer. The A100 just
    is not the right body for me. Hopefully they'll do a Maxxum 7D or
    Maxxum 9 class machine. Then I'll buy one.
    Alan Browne, Oct 14, 2006
  4. RichA

    bmoag Guest

    I don't think manufacturers are ignoring the dynamic range limits of digital
    sensors so much as their have not been any breakthroughs in materials and
    design techniques. It will happen long before there is cure for cancer, rest
    It would appear that the moderate increase in dynamic range that the Fuji
    sensors provide is offset by other issues with the sensor and with Fuji
    dSLRs. Certainly Fuji dSLRs have only a limited market share which would
    suggest that for practical purposes photographers do not see great value to
    Fuji's claim of greater dynamic range.
    While some printed materials state that current digital imaging sensors have
    only one tenth of an f-stop latitude for over-exposure many photographers
    claim up to 11 f-stops (they claim it anyway) in their finished images.
    Anyone someone adept at shooting raw realizes that using the transparency
    film formula of exposing for the highlights allows detail from moderately
    underexposed areas to be brought up with acceptable noise levels. Whether
    this is "excessive" manipulation is a matter of personal attitude. Outside
    of controlled studio conditions all images require some manipulation to
    achieve an optimal print.
    If you do comparison shooting with ISO 200 color negative film and current
    dSLRs (same subject/lighting/lens and high quality scans with a dedicated
    film scanner) you may find, as I was surprised to find, that the often
    ballyhooed claim of massive dynamic range for color negative film just
    isn't, like many things in life, what it is supposed to be. It wasn't until
    I did that exercise that I truly realized that film had reached the end of
    its run as the imaging medium of choice.
    bmoag, Oct 14, 2006
  5. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    It's not a claim it's a ~2 stop (mid + 4) reality that comes at a price:
    reduced ability to increase pixel count. Increasing to 8 Mpix would be
    near meaningless in the resolution sense and 10 Mpix would require 20 M
    sensors (half "normal" / half highlight).
    This "manipulation" is a technical step akin to using the zone system to
    the limit of the technology in B&W.

    11 stops in a finished image? Really? And where are they
    showing/printing this?
    That's somewhat true of neg-color film, but the common comparison (valid
    or not) is v. color slide film where, for the highlight end, digital and
    slide are remarkably similar, but digital digs down deeper.

    Neg color film still has at least one more stop to the higlights to
    offer, but in exposing that high the shaddows tend to be muddy looking.

    Alan Browne, Oct 14, 2006
  6. RichA

    Scott W Guest

    This is what a number of people are finding, that in fact a DSLR has
    more not less range then color print film. Roger Clark did a very good
    set of exparments dealing with this. Whereas a number of people has
    questioned Roger's experments none has done their own that show a
    different result.

    And here is a very good article that among other things talks about the
    pain of trying to get a lot of range out of color film.

    Scott W, Oct 14, 2006
  7. RichA

    Bill Lloyd Guest

    If you shoot RAW you get 7 stops easily; if you push it a bit and use
    NR software you can get 9 stops. This is significantly more dynamic
    range than slide film, and a good stop or so more than B&W or negative

    That said, HDR shots do not *have* to look wonky. In fact, it's really
    an element of people not knowing how to properly adjust contrast
    (curves) in the highlight and shadow areas of an image -- they need
    different contrast curves.

    The unfortunate thing is that doing this with Photoshop is tricky, and
    requires some knowledge and practice. What you see with the HDR
    software is efforts for "the common person" and the end results are not
    good. I have seen work by people who are good with Photoshop (Marc
    Muench) and the results were fantastic, and looked nothing like HDR
    image. He just takes one shot, runs it through ACR twice (once exposed
    for shadow, once for highlights), combines, and works with the curves.

    So this is with one RAW shot -- the dynamic range is there -- with a
    1Ds Mark II.
    Bill Lloyd, Oct 15, 2006
  8. RichA

    Greg \_\ Guest

    Grad filters work & so does using flash. Get use to it.
    Greg \_\, Oct 15, 2006
  9. Because DR mostly benefits shadows (because highlights are photon shot
    noise limited), and not all properly exposed ('to the right') shots
    require it, and because most prints are too small to benefit a lot.
    Also, (Mega)Pixel counts sell better.
    The Dynamic range involved in such scenes, possibly exceeds all
    potential capture capabilities required and also exceeds the potential
    of the output media (print/display).
    Which has a lot to do with the people doing it (and the software
    choices they make).
    Bart van der Wolf, Oct 15, 2006
  10. RichA

    Ben Brugman Guest

    A solution to HDR could be a semi transparent mirror,
    reflecting 1/8 or 1/16 to a second sensor. Both sensors
    can be the same, this will improve the dynamic range with
    about 3 ro 4 stops. Offcourse the sensors have to be
    aligned critically.

    I would not know about the practical difficulties of this
    scheme, but 3 sensors are used for video. 2 would
    be possible for digital still camera's.

    (Actually the mirror should reflect 1/9 and pass through 8/9 or
    1/17 and pass through 16/17 to get exactly 3 or 4 stops
    of difference between the two sensors).

    Ben Brugman, Oct 15, 2006
  11. Dynamic range is solely about the number of photons collected
    compared to the readout noise in the system.
    Example: the Canon 1D Mark II has a full well of about 80,000
    electrons, with a read noise of only 3.9 electrons, for a dynamic
    range of 80,000 / 3.9 = 20500 or 14.3 stops (actual camera
    is limited by the 12-bit A/D). If read noise were reduced
    to 1 electron, the dynamic range would be an astonishing
    80,000. Canon has put their effort in lowering the noise,
    which has other benefits too. Most other camera manufacturers
    have not achieved such low noise levels.

    If Canon split the sensor like Fuji did to
    give a smaller "less sensitive" pixel beside each larger
    pixel, they would not get as many photons in the larger
    pixel, reducing the dynamic range. It is not clear if
    such a strategy works very well. It should in theory, but
    calibration of the different pixels is difficult, and
    the benefits are small compared to the problems introduced.

    More on dynamic range:

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Oct 15, 2006
  12. RichA

    Andrew Haley Guest

    Real cameras have lenses as well as sensors, and lenses have flare.
    If an area of the sensor somewhere is fully saturated at 80k
    electrons, is it really possible for another area of a sensor to be
    totally dark? How much dynamic range can be created in a single
    image, anyway?

    Andrew Haley, Oct 15, 2006
  13. RichA

    RichA Guest

    Sony (at a show) told me more DSLRs, higher end are coming.
    RichA, Oct 15, 2006
  14. RichA

    RichA Guest

    Actually, it's not. When you expose for a scene to capture shadow
    detail in an HDR shot, the bright areas bloom, and you can't stop it.
    Edges become diffuse looking and that gives the shot the weirdness it
    displays. There may be a way to deal with it in software.

    The idea that colour negative film has more latitude has to do with a
    latitude "cap" it imposes that keeps brighter areas from burning out
    upon overexposure (they just hit a density maximum but don't seem to go
    blank) as they do with digital shots. For shadow detail, (such as it is
    with it's increased noise and flatness) digital is superior.
    RichA, Oct 15, 2006
  15. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    Glad to hear it. I hope they do right. They've been short to date.
    Alan Browne, Oct 15, 2006
  16. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    Grad filters work for simple scenes (horizons being the easiest
    examples), but not for deep shaddow scenes with light filtering through
    where the depth and volume of coverage is too great for flash to fill
    Alan Browne, Oct 15, 2006
  17. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    Hi Roger,

    Have you actually done any work with the Fuji sensor to get a look at
    its dynamics? I've seen no mention of problems being introduced by it.

    It certainly has limited the pixel growth potential of the camera for
    the reasons you mention above.

    Alan Browne, Oct 15, 2006
  18. Alan,
    No I have not worked with a Fuji. Some of the test data I've
    seen show a disconnect in intensity between the two on-chip
    pixel types, and there is a different slope to the characteristic
    curve: it has a kink in it. How much this translates into
    image detail and tonality I do not know, except when you put such
    effects into images with the Photoshop curves tool it
    doesn't look natural.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Oct 15, 2006
  19. Yes it is possible. Sunrises/sunsets are good examples.
    The sun gets completely blown and saturates the
    sensor, but other parts of the image are extremely dark.
    For example, see:

    Digital Camera Raw Converter Shadow Detail and Image
    Editor Limitations: Factors in Getting Shadow Detail in Images

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Oct 15, 2006
  20. RichA

    RichA Guest

    True, but "better" is better than nothing. Being about to have one
    more or even half a stop more on the top end would be good. Sony's
    new system in their A100 may have some benefit, but not much has been
    written about it yet.
    But like dust cleaning, wouldn't it be so much better if this
    convoluted nonsense to obtain images wasn't required and the DR
    capability was "in-camera" to begin with?
    RichA, Oct 15, 2006
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