X10: This is how it works (EXR, DR, blooming/orbs, modes)

Started Jan 8, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Timur Born
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X10: This is how it works (EXR, DR, blooming/orbs, modes)
Jan 8, 2012

Hello everyone!

Some of what I explain here contradicts what more senior Fuji users and forum members have posted before, some repeats what others have said but puts it into context. Feel invited to discuss my analysis and explanation so that at the end we may put it all together into one big article. I have no intentions whatsoever to rain on anyone's parade, but only to understand and explain how the X10 works.

Since DPR allows only a limited number of chars per post and only to edit each post once my initial documentation will be spread over various posts, which I will post as a reply to this original one. Because the whole analysis process plus writing down is quite time consuming already I will provide image examples later, or maybe even only upon request. Everything of what I explain next can be seen in pictures. Most of the regulars may want to do their own tests anyway.

Motivation: Although I have been reading various forum posts and Kim's blog article about how EXR pixel-binning and DR 200-1600 work it all didn't seem to fit right into place. Then I noticed that on Max "Mode Chart" there was no correlation between ISO and DR modes mentioned, as if there was none. But there is! Even more, it turned out that the repeated statement that using M vs. L size corresponds to "hardware" DR vs. "software" DR is plain wrong.

Image Size: M vs. L

There are three different kind of M sized images, all of which seem to use the same spatial (aka cells/pixels) interpolation, but different temporal (exposure time) and amplitudinal (ISO) interpolation. I will explain DR modes in detail in the next post, but just so much: DR 100 seems to use the same exposure time and ISO for all sensor cells (no surprise), DR 200-400 may use either different exposure times or different ISO for part of the cells (half?). DR 800-1600 uses both different exposure times and different ISO for part of the cells.

All M sized images offer less detail than L sized images, regardless of using DR or not. This makes sense given that L sized images offer 42% more pixels both horizontally and vertically, you won't get 42% more details though. The detail offered by M size is very slightly worse than resizing an L sized image down via linear software interpolation. Noise on M size images shows the same "labyrinth" like pattern as on L size, but a lot more blurred/smeared and less contrasty.

Beside better camera speed the main benefits of DR100 (!) M size images right out of the X10 offer both less luminance and especially less chroma noise compared to L size ones, the higher the ISO the bigger the difference. Especially at high ISO the difference can be visible, because L images slightly change their color-temperature due to chroma noise (towards "cooler" in my test-shots).

DR 200-400 M images can have the same noise characteristics as DR 100 M ones, but may also be different depending on the lighting of the scenery (see next post). Using DR100 M size vs. DR 200-400 still makes sense in several situations, because the result is more predictable and the camera settings a lot easier to handle (see next post).

Fujifilm X10
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