DSLR v Consumer Image quality

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by oink, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. oink

    Scott W Guest

    You talk about down loading F828 samples and 20D samples, I have posted
    the two photos from each and challenge people to download and print
    them as 8 x 10s, and then show the two prints to people as see what
    they say. To date I have not heard of anyone taking me up on this
    challange.

    There is no question that the 20D photo is clearer and has less noise,
    the question is can people tell the difference looking at an 8 x 10
    print.

    It seems that people here just want to look at the photos and say which
    one they like with out making the print.

    I am more then happy to hear what you think of the two prints, but I
    also what to hear what other poeple say about them, people who you have
    not told anything about the prints. And no giving the people who are
    looking a magnifiing glass and no pointing out what they should be
    looking for, just let them look.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Feb 26, 2005
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  2. oink

    bob Guest

    My several year old Nikon Coolpix 5000 can produce a good a4 (8x10 ish)
    print, so there's your answer.

    The only times it won't make a good print are:

    1) when it doesn't turn on fast enough and I miss the shot.

    2) when it doesn't take the photo when I press the shutter and I miss
    the shot.

    3) when the light is particularly challenging and I miss the shot
    navigating the menus trying to set up the camera.

    So in comparing the image quality of a dSLR vs. a consumer p&s, if the
    missed shots are taken into consideration, then the quality of the dSLR
    would be infinitely better in that respect.

    Bob
     
    bob, Feb 26, 2005
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  3. oink

    Scott W Guest

    Bob, you and I are in total agreement on this, I have after all
    purchased a 20D for many of the reasons you have given. My point was
    and still is that you have to make a print if you are going to tell how
    good a photo will look when printed, seems pretty simple but there are
    poeple who feel that they only need look at the screen. To an extent
    they are right, if I look at a very clean photo from the 20D I can tell
    it will make a good print, but they have the other half wrong, if I
    look at a photo from my F828 on the screen it is sometime hard to
    believe that it will produce a good A4 print, but it does.

    Is a DSLR worth it? for me it was, can you make good A4 prints without
    it, you bet. And if we are going to be snobs about it I could argue
    that the 10D is too low in resolution and too noisy and that you really
    need a 20D to make really good A4 prints. But then someone would tell
    me you need a 1Ds and someone else would tell them they need a 1Ds Mark
    II.

    Soctt
     
    Scott W, Feb 27, 2005
  4. oink

    Scott W Guest

    I did look at the image the OP was referring to, from Steve's
    Digicams the test photos from the FZ20 and I did print one out at A4
    and I will say that I thought the print look a bit on the soft side,
    with low contrast in the black parts of the street signs. I would
    suspect that many people would not be able to tell the difference. So
    would the D70 be worth it to the OP?, probably not if the only thing he
    was looking for was print quality for a A4 print. And in his post he
    did say "Considering only image quality, up to A4".

    What I would recommend to the OP is that he make some 8 x 10 prints
    from a verity of cameras and judge from those which he thinks is
    better.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Feb 27, 2005
  5. On Sat, 26 Feb 2005 15:29:33 +0900, "David J. Littleboy"

    (Lot snipped)

    (More snipped)
    I find myself reading all these posts with great interest - since I
    can relate to both positions, to a degree.

    As an art student many years ago, I discovered I was no artist - but
    it helped me appreciate good art. Similarly, as a music student
    subsequently, I again discovered I was no musician - but it gave me a
    lifetime appreciation of good music. At least what I consider good!

    As a trained scientist and engineer, retired from industry since 1985,
    I developed an instinct to examine the details very critically.

    SO - my reactions to my own photographic efforts are first to get the
    best detail attainable with my limited equipment, regardless of its
    sophistication or quality level. Then having done that, I reexamine
    my work to see what appeals to me from the artistic sense. When I get
    one that appeals, and if it equally appeals to my audience, that's
    good enough for me. I'm sure with higher quality equipment I would
    try for the higher level of detail, but don't lose sleep over what I
    can't achieve with what I own. Example: I would dearly love the very
    fine detail an 8 X 10 LF film image would provide, but accept the fact
    there is no reasonably priced digital unit that can yield it.

    Olin McDaniel
     
    Olin K. McDaniel, Feb 27, 2005
  6. oink

    Owamanga Guest

    Florida. We don't have much in the way of dead trees.
    Well we've drifted too far.
    Introducing MF and LF contact prints, I am sure there is *some* truth
    in that. The paper's interment resolution comes into play, but for an
    8x10 viewed at arms length, today's digital wet prints are *good
    enough*. Much better than they need be.
    Okay, spend your life printing contact prints. I for one, would laugh
    at someone who's largest 35mm was less than 2" hanging on the wall -
    and the argument he used was 'quality'. Give me a break.
    Really, and so you are claiming that film grain is missing from LF and
    MF, that's quit amazing that they can make grainless MF and LF film
    but can't cut it into 35mm strips. Dude, get some reality. Look at
    what you are saying.
    Stand back and take in the big picture is what I say.
    Read any of my other posts on other topics, and you'll know that isn't
    true.
    Given you and I both have a maximum of 24hrs in each day, if you
    choose to spend it all worrying about grain, pixels, and print
    technology that's your choice. Me, I worry instead about exposure,
    framing, emotion, color, timing, balance, depth of field, focus, the
    subject - you know normal photography stuff.
    But you are concentrating that knowledge on a far too narrow piece of
    the field - the resolution, and things that can only be seen on the
    screen and not in the print. It's just weird.
    Believe me, you don't need to. :)
    I don't have any around to do this now, but I've seen how people
    handle a portfolio (of 8x10s) before, compared to a family album of
    4x6s. The family albums (albeit heavier) get put on a lap, shoulders
    hunched and they go through touching each picture.

    An 8x10 folder gets opened and often held at arms length, shoulders
    straight and for some reason, the urge to touch the picture is gone.
    Close to it yes.

    1" for a contact print - well, get out your loupe, and prove me wrong
    :)
    A step up from trusting usenet :p
    Okay, in the asian meaning of the term, yes we are all students.
    Grasshopper.
    I think you miss understood me. I don't need to *see* an example.

    Describe to me the type of problem that can only be seen once you
    enlarge the image at 200% on your screen. Is it focus, jpeg artifacts,
    noise, the girl's got an ugly follicle, what? And then tell me how
    what you see affects your technique.
    Well, we drift to investigate/illustrate details but it's often a good
    idea to come back to the original question again and see if we can't
    provide a refined 'categoric' statement.

    Right now, after lots of posts on this subject, I don't think the vast
    majority of people should waste time studying every shot at 200% on
    their screens, using some phantom quality problem as a reason to cull
    the shot, and instead they should put a lot more emphasis on what the
    print looks like. I extend this to the *only* good way of comparing
    two digital cameras is to take a print from both at the largest size
    you think you need and compare them - because from an image quality
    perspective, most other things don't matter.
    With that kit, you are under the 500ppi threshold. Pixels will be
    dumped when you print a 4x6, proof that you will be able to see things
    at 200% zoom that will not make it to the paper.
    You specifically said Dmax. Shadow is the land of Dmax. Dmax: The
    darkest area of an image that a device can reproduce and still have
    detail. Dmax is darkest, Dmin is brightest, Dmax-Dmin = Dynamic range.
    Yes, but together with Dmax, this usually means 'in the shadows'.
    ....no matter, sliders and levels will expose any part of the dynamic
    range and expand it to your monitor's capability. Artificially
    widening it so you can see what's going on.
     
    Owamanga, Feb 27, 2005
  7. oink

    Owamanga Guest

    Nobody said "image quality doesn't matter" - or did they? I certainly
    didn't.

    Lets do it this way: This is how I prioritize taking a photo:

    1) Subject.
    2) Lighting.
    3) Composition & Focus.
    4) Timing.
    5) Exposure.
    6) Accumulation of 1-5: Emotion.
    7) Grain / Pixels / Noise or other bullshit that can only be seen at
    200% magnification.

    You guys (bob & littleboy) seem to put 7 above the other six. *That's*
    where we disagree. If you cull a photo based on what you saw at 7,
    then it obviously was more important than the other 6.

    I think it makes you a techo-nerd, not an artist.

    That's not how I take, print or cull photos.

    Unless I hear from bob, descriptions of the faults that only show at
    200% but don't show in the 8x10s, and how they are of any importance
    to him as a 'student' or to the viewer, I'll maintain my list in this
    order.
     
    Owamanga, Feb 27, 2005
  8. oink

    bob Guest

    That's a misunderstanding, at least as far as my point of view is concerned.

    My list:
    1) composition (includes lighting).
    2) subject & timing
    3) exposure and focus
    4) grain/pixels/noise.

    I didn't think we were discussing whether 4 (on my list) was as
    important as the other factors, I thougth we were just discussing
    whether it was important enough to bother considering at all.

    Bob
     
    bob, Feb 27, 2005
  9. oink

    bob Guest

    You have pine trees though, and they have plenty of fine lines.

    I'd agree that from that distance they are good enough, but not by much.

    I even have fun printing on our ancient Designjet 755, which makes
    pixels more than a milimeter across. Resolution isn't *everything*. As
    I've mentioned before, my only digital camera is a 2 year old Nikon 5000.
    At comparable sizes, that is absolutely true. Go look at some LF prints
    and then we'll compare notes. I have a print in my office. It's a crop
    out of an 11x14 print from 400 speed film. With an 8x loupe I can
    kinda-sorta see grain. I know you don't look at prints with a loupe, so
    from your point of view it's grainless.

    Imagine how it would look if it was 100 speed film. I probably couldn't
    see the grain even with my loupe.
    But for some reason you don't want to dig into the prints, using the
    virtual photoshop loupe, to see what's there?
    You're putting words in my mouth. I never said it was that important,
    just that it's relavent.
    I approach all aspects of photography with a zeal bordering on
    fanatacism, not just detail. Actually I find composition the most
    important aspect, and the one that most photographers seem to have the
    most problems with.
    Ah ha! So sometimes you do use a loupe to look at a print!!!!

    ;-)
    I mentioned one example earlier: I used the clone brush to take out a
    flourescent "for sale" sign on a dock. At lower zoom levels, the clone
    looked perfect.

    I think I agree with all of that, but I still feel like sometimes it
    helps to look very closely, especially as you are learning how a given
    printer reacts to the detail present.
    At 4x6 (the size I rarely print at) that is true.
    But I didn't tie them together.
    Areas of close tonality that pose problems in my prints tend to be
    highlight.
    It's easier to zoom in. Takes less time.

    Bob
     
    bob, Feb 27, 2005
  10. oink

    paul Guest


    This has the same effect as zooming 400%. I think we are talking about
    the same issues here. There are differences like posterization in the
    shadows or when the noise begins to overwhelm the detail that are kind
    of hard to see at 100%. It becomes this painful squinty-eyed exercise of
    judgement at 100% that gives me a headache but zooming in very very
    close makes it very apparent exactly what is going on. I can see the
    posterization banding as one shade of pixels jumps to the next clear as
    day; I can see the noise grains relative in size to the finest bits of
    detail and it's easier to judge whether the image is or is not suitable
    for a larger print or if the curves being applied are excessive causing
    posterization.

    When saving for web pages (chosing jpeg compression) or sharpening, it's
    essential to zoom in very close to see what is happening. There are
    things going on down there that effect the image quality which are
    obvious at high zoom and easily missed at larger sizes. Many times I've
    chosen the jpeg compression at 100% & didn't realize till later there
    was some awful things happening. Zooming in, it's simple to choose just
    the point where artifacts begin to interfere with detail or the sky
    begins to posterize excessively.

    How it effects my shooting is I can see if I'm underexposing or
    overexposing or focused or not.
     
    paul, Feb 27, 2005

  11. Do you mean that you have less than average eyesight or what? Images on
    web pages are nearly always viewed at 100%. And if one can't see
    artefacts at 100% than the compression is good enough. Who cares what is
    visible at 200%? The only browser I know with a zoom function is Opera,
    and while it is very useful to go to 120% or 130% at times (for those
    sites where the author loves microscopic text) the quality of the photo
    zooming can't compete with a photo-editing program anyway.
     
    Stephen Poley, Feb 27, 2005

  12. Not a fair comparison. The best viewing distance for a photo/painting is
    typically equal to the long dimension, or just a little greater. Very
    few people can view a postcard-sized print at 15 cm (6 inches). Pictures
    of 30cm and smaller will all tend to be viewed from about the same
    distance.

    But hang a 50cm and a 100cm picture on a wall, and it will be pretty
    obvious that most people use different viewing distances.
     
    Stephen Poley, Feb 27, 2005
  13. Where did you get 200%? I don't think I ever said 200%. My
    memory has it that only you and Stacey have said "200%".

    My experience is that if I see a difference at 100% on the screen not only
    will I see a difference in the prints, but people I show them to will also
    report seeing differences. For up to 300 ppi prints. I suppose your eyes or
    printer may differ.
    This isn't an art group, so the only one that's relevant here is 7. If you
    want to talk about 1 to 6, you need a different venue. Or at least a
    different thread. This thread's about image quality. Or at least that's what
    the Subject field says...
    This is a thread about image quality, so I chipped in with my experience.
    Some people don't like my opinions on image quality, so attack my art. That
    seems rather irrelevant to the question at hand.
    My experience over several generation of digital cameras and two of film
    scanners is that what I see at 100% give me a very good idea of what the
    prints are going to look like as long as the ppi is 300 or less.

    The main exception to that is film scans: a 100% view of a 56MP image really
    isn't useful for figuring out what it's going to look like in a print. (I do
    look very closely at scanned images, though. The reason for that is that
    getting from a soft, noisy, low contrast, low saturation scan to a sharp,
    less noisy image with decent "pop" (contrast and saturation) is a process
    that can go horrendously awry if one isn't very careful. But that's a
    different discussion.)

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Feb 27, 2005
  14. OK, the F828 is truly pitiful compared to MF at A4. By comparison, the
    images are harsh and noisy, and the detail looks fake. A 4000 dpi scan of a
    sharp 645 slide printed at A4 on a quality photoprinter is a thing of
    incredibly beauty. The F828 is a joke by comparison.

    Happier?

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Feb 27, 2005
  15. Because I've already printed F828 samples.
    Well, I can. And in general, our CEO can differentiate print quality better
    than I can.
    I've made a lot of prints over the past 3 years or so. A lot. From 1MP to
    56MP (645 raw scans, which have more like 13MP than 56MP of real detail).
    I'm actually on the rather unfussy side. There are people who don't consider
    an enlargement from film, even the best film, acceptable if it's over 4x.
    4x6 from 35mm, 6x8 from 645.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Feb 27, 2005
  16. Well, I'm sorry to hear that the quality you get from your Sony F828
    apparently lags so far behind what I've seen from my own 5MP and 8MP
    cameras (which don't include the Sony brand).

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Feb 27, 2005
  17. oink

    Big Bill Guest

    OK, I gotta wonder...
    Why is Subject number 2?
    Do you really take photos to demonstrate how well you can compose
    them? Do you really look for subjects that will help you show how well
    you can compose?
    For myself, it's Subject first; that's the object of the whole
    exercize, isn't it? The other factors all take a back seat to the
    subject, for me.
     
    Big Bill, Feb 27, 2005
  18. oink

    bob Guest

    That was my point.


    Go to a museum and watch. What I see is that people have a variety of
    distances, and any given person will usually approach both prints the
    same. Probably 3/4 of all people will view both prints from around 1m,
    and most of the rest about 1/2 that. A few will approach very close. The
    close lookers nearly always respect the other patrons, waiting for a
    time when no one is looking, and not monopolizing the art.

    When you start to talk about (i.e.) 3m sizes (usually paintings) people
    will need to stand back to see them. But a lot of people will still
    approach to whatever thier "standard" viewing distance is.

    Bob
     
    bob, Feb 27, 2005
  19. oink

    bob Guest

    So you are either a realist or an impressionist then. That's fine and
    there's nothing wrong with that. I like abstract art too. Beyond
    abstraction is cubism (which isn't really about cubes) where the artist
    creates a compelling composition that pleases the eye where the subject has
    no basis at all in reality. I can like that too. Not all of it and not all
    the time mind you.

    When I'm deciding on whether or not to make a print to display, the first
    criteria that I use to reject with is composition. If the composition isn't
    good, then I don't print it. If the composition is good, then I move on and
    evaluate the other factors.

    And yes, sometimes I do shoot a picture solely because the composition is
    interesting. Intersecting roof and wall lines against the sky, for
    instance.Or up through the canopy of a tree. I like the work of Clide
    Butcher too. A lot of his stuff is "just" a tree standing in water. There's
    nothing about a tree that I haven't seen that's going to get me excited
    from a subject matter standpoint.

    Bob
     
    bob, Feb 27, 2005
  20. oink

    Scott W Guest

    So this then leaves us at an impasse, I maintain that you have to look
    at print to be sure how it is going to look like printed an you claim
    that you don't need to. You are so sure of this that you will not do
    my test, no need since you already know the answer. And remember part
    of the test was to show the prints to others, it should not take long
    to show it to say 5 other people. But no, you already know what the
    answer would be.

    Stacey sent me one of his full sized photos to print out as an 8 x 10,
    which I have done. My wife was blown away by the print, she just loved
    it. I had wondered why he would be so reluctant to sent the same photo
    to you, but now I am beginning to understand, you would simple look at
    it on the screen and explain why it was not good.

    Just for the record I want to clarify my position,
    I feel that you have to make a print to tell how a given photo will
    look as a print
    A camera like the 20D will capture more detail then a F828.
    There are many cases when the 20D will produce a better 8 x 10 print
    then the F828.
    If you are going to print much larger then 8 x 10 a 20D will always
    produce better prints then the F828
    There are many reasons, besides image quality, that a DSLR is better
    then a P&S digital
    There are many people for who a digital P&S camera is a good choice.
    For most people a digital P&S camera will produce better looking prints
    then a film P&S camera


    Scott
     
    Scott W, Feb 27, 2005
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