Kurt Munger sounds off on A900/A77/A65 image comparisons

Started Sep 7, 2011 | Discussions thread
Nordstjernen
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In reply to fanboy6, Nov 14, 2011

There is no standard for testing cameras, and there is no method that gives the full and correct answer. Putting the camera at the same position and then adjusting the focal lengt to compensate for sensor size is relevant for keeping the perspective and crop, while using the same long telephoto lens is relevant when comparing fine detail and reach with your longest lens, i.e. for wildlife/birds in flight photography. With the method you are describing, different perspective is an obvious challenge that effectively exclude corner samples.

What about exposure? Same settings or according to the light metering system? Or spot metering on an 18 % grey target? And what about lightning? Daylight or studio light? Continious light or flashes?

Next - and more challenging - how to compare the files? What about post processing? JPG files straight from the cameras? With default or custom settings? And how should RAW be treated? Same or different raw converters? Default settings or custom settings? What about shadow/midtone/quarter tone tonal curves and color? What about contrast? And what about noise and noise reduction? An example: The A77 shows some noise when examined at 100 % but also excellent fine detail. Just add a bit noise reduction and the files look much cleaner and they might print jsut as sharp. But is noise reduction needed or wanted when noise is not disturbing on the prints? Etc.

What about the monitor used to judge the results? Just look at a sample on two different monitors, and this might make you come up with a different conclution. Or is large format prints the only acceptable standard for comparing image quality? Then what ink and paper, and what about paper profiles?

Of cause there is nothing like a neutral test! Also, when comparing fully processed and printed files, image quality tends to be smoothed out between 12 Mp + cameras, even between aps-c and FF cameras! Even 4/3 does very well!

From this I think different tests will work pretty well, even when comparing apples to bananas or potaotes. If the differences are so small that you need to discuss the methology for carefully done tests, then the differences will NOT matter for real life photography! Why? Because the photographer's image processing skills will be more important for the end result than the camera!

Then we have not even discussed the most important factor ... image content!

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