high dynamic range in P&S ??

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by minnesotti, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. minnesotti

    minnesotti Guest

    Hi there,

    I am using Panasonic LX1 for several months already. Now I know what
    camera I want. I want a rather compact P&S with a high dynamic range.
    E.g. I would like to take the pictures of the building half of which is
    Sun-lit, and the other part is covered with shadow. I heard that Fuji
    released their SuperCCD IV SR sensor where each pixel consists of two
    photodiodes (one for low light, and another for intense light). They
    released the compact P&S utilizing this sensor such as Fujifilm FinePix
    F700/710. However, it is not sold anymore, and I could not find a
    second-hand one through ebay. Any other suggestions ? Thanks.

    ...
     
    minnesotti, Oct 26, 2006
    #1
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  2. minnesotti

    Guest

    minnesotti wrote:
    > Hi there,
    >
    > I am using Panasonic LX1 for several months already. Now I know what
    > camera I want. I want a rather compact P&S with a high dynamic range.
    > E.g. I would like to take the pictures of the building half of which is
    > Sun-lit, and the other part is covered with shadow. I heard that Fuji
    > released their SuperCCD IV SR sensor where each pixel consists of two
    > photodiodes (one for low light, and another for intense light). They
    > released the compact P&S utilizing this sensor such as Fujifilm FinePix
    > F700/710. However, it is not sold anymore, and I could not find a
    > second-hand one through ebay. Any other suggestions ? Thanks.


    I had an F700 for a while and now I have an LX1. The difference in
    dynamic range between the 2 cameras doesn't seem to be that huge in
    in-camera JPEGs, though I haven't tested this directly. There IS a
    difference when you work with RAW files, because the F700 gives you
    output from both types of sensors, but Fuji doesn't provide a good RAW
    converter, so you have to work with 3rd-party, enthusiast-written
    sortware. Another problem is that the F700's RAW files are HUUUUGE -
    around 20 or 30MB, IIRC.

    That said, the LX1 is a MUCH better camera than the F700 - better lens,
    better picture quality, better controls. The F700 is really a 3MP
    camera, interpolated to 6MP. The successor to the F700 was the F810,
    with higher resolution, but I don't think that camera is produced
    anymore, either.

    You should know that the F700 (and probably the SuperCCD chip itself)
    had big reliability problems. There was a service bulletin/recall to
    fix cameras with screwed up CCDs that produced unrecognizable purple
    and green photos. This happened to my first F700 - on the first day of
    a 4-day hiking trip - but the serial number of the camera wasn't
    covered by the recall, so I was screwed. I got a replacement F700 on
    eBay, but a few months later the shutter speed control got screwed up
    and the camera wouldn't take pictures faster than about 1/200, no
    matter what the shutter settings were. No more Fujis for me...

    -Gniewko
     
    , Oct 26, 2006
    #2
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  3. "minnesotti" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi there,
    >
    > I am using Panasonic LX1 for several months already. Now I know what
    > camera I want. I want a rather compact P&S with a high dynamic range.
    > E.g. I would like to take the pictures of the building half of which is
    > Sun-lit, and the other part is covered with shadow. I heard that Fuji
    > released their SuperCCD IV SR sensor where each pixel consists of two
    > photodiodes (one for low light, and another for intense light). They
    > released the compact P&S utilizing this sensor such as Fujifilm FinePix
    > F700/710. However, it is not sold anymore, and I could not find a
    > second-hand one through ebay. Any other suggestions ? Thanks.


    Dynamic range is determined mainly by the sensor size (physical size, not
    the number of pixels). Get the biggest sensor and shoot RAW for the best
    D.R.
     
    Charles Schuler, Oct 26, 2006
    #3
  4. minnesotti

    bmoag Guest

    Lack of dynamic range is the 800 pound gorilla lurking behind all digital
    sensor technology regardless of sensor size.
    Some published reports suggest a tolerance of no more than one tenth of an
    f-stop to overexposure.
    Hence camera makers go to all kinds of lengths to increase the apparent
    dynamic range by fundamentally using underexposure, exposing for the
    highlights and amplifying mid and low range signals.
    Using raw you can control this process to some degree yourself.
    However realize that while the eyeball is estimated to have an 11-18 fstop
    dynamic range this is really an illusion as well. Your eye shifts
    concentration rapidly to different areas, pupil diameters change, and the
    brain fuses all this information, plus filling in the gaps with what you
    expect you should be seeing based on past experience, to yield what appears
    to be a massive dynamic range field of view.
     
    bmoag, Oct 26, 2006
    #4
  5. "bmoag" <> wrote:
    >Some published reports suggest a tolerance of no more than one tenth of an
    >f-stop to overexposure.


    It had better be at least that tight!

    >Hence camera makers go to all kinds of lengths to increase the apparent
    >dynamic range by fundamentally using underexposure, exposing for the
    >highlights and amplifying mid and low range signals.


    None of that will increase "apparent dynamic range". And saying
    they both underexpose and expose for the highlights is a
    misunderstanding of exposure technical details.

    It is not something that *camera makers* do anyway. It is close
    (but not quite right) for a description of the best technique
    that a photographer can use to assure exposure that makes
    maximum use of the dynamic range available from a digital
    camera, whatever its dynamic range is.

    Basically the technique is to set exposure so that the brightest
    highlight _with_ _desired_ _detail_ is at maximum. That will do
    two things. 1) clip on any highlight which is brighter, and 2)
    provide the most detail possible in the shadows (i.e., it uses
    the entire dynamic range available).

    It works for both digital and film, but is excessively difficult
    to accomplish with film and extremely easy with digital.

    >Using raw you can control this process to some degree yourself.


    Saving the raw data does allow for "amplifying mid and low range
    signals", in order to compress the dynamic range of the camera
    into whatever is available for display (paper, CRT, etc.). The
    difference between film and digital is that with film you
    destroy the raw data when the film is processed, and can never
    do it again. With digital you can re-process the same raw data
    in many different ways (just as if you re-exposed it on different
    film or used different developer).

    The effects obtained are the same, but the actual mechanisms and
    the ease of accomplishing them are very different between film
    and digital.

    >However realize that while the eyeball is estimated to have an 11-18 fstop
    >dynamic range this is really an illusion as well. Your eye shifts

    [snipped]

    I don't see any significance to discussion of how the eyeball
    adapts to scene brilliance, since that is *not* normally
    available via current display technology.

    "Underexpose and expose for the highlights" is a generic error
    in perception of exposure. It assumes an "average" scene will
    be something close to 18% gray, and that the dynamic range of
    the recording medium can record detail at all brightness levels
    above that level. Neither are necessarily true, though it
    commonly works out to be so when film is used with "generic
    scenes". Hence film photographers have used it as a rule of
    thumb that they rely on, and settle for "fudging" to adjust when
    it is not true. (Instance when it is not true are snow scenes,
    night photography, or scenes with light sources included, e.g.)

    That works with film simply because film will greatly compress
    the highlights, thus allowing significant adjustment in post
    processing to get at least some detail (and often detail in
    highlights is not significant and can be grossly distorted
    without damaging the image).

    The point is that with film and averaging, exposure can be
    targeted at the middle of the recording medium's dynamic range,
    and then either shadows or highlights can be "recovered" with
    post processing when it turns out the average is not actually
    18% gray. That is *often* necessary simply because averaging
    incident light meters are used. The only way to avoid it is to
    have well calibrated equipment and to use spot metering (which
    is neither convenient nor quick).

    A digital sensor does not compress the highlights, but it does
    have more dynamic range. And there is the huge advantage of
    immediate feedback to demonstrate the accuracy of the exposure.
    The point at which highlights are clipped (or not) can easily be
    set with one or two test exposures (which is much faster and far
    more accurate than using spot metering). Hence exposure within
    less than 1/3 an fstop is easily obtained, at *exactly* the
    point that provides maximum dynamic range. It is *not*
    "underexposure", but rather is extremely accurate *correct*
    exposure.

    The methods for analog an digital are somewhat different, but
    the desired effect is often exactly the same. It is also true
    that there are some significant differences in the actual
    results. That is true because the way that film compresses
    highlights can of course be used for effect (when accuracy of
    detail is not significant), while digital's huge amount of
    highlight detail has the opposite effect (for when great
    accuracy in the highlights is useful). The shadows suffer
    identical problems with noise, and digital has the advantage of
    more dynamic range than film.

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
     
    Floyd L. Davidson, Oct 27, 2006
    #5
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