Image Quality - what does it mean to you?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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Elyharbour
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Image Quality - what does it mean to you?
9 months ago

At the time of writing this post, the term "image quality" is contained in 4,117 reviews on DPR and 604,178 posts. It's also one of the more contentious issues. Many of us (including me) have blandly talked about X having "better" IQ than Y, as though we all have consistent set of criteria and measurements, and then wonder we are accused of talking nonsense by other irate forum members.

Yesterday, I spend some time looking at the new DPR Test Scene tool http://www.dpreview.com/articles/2601653565/studio-test-scene and even though my Pixel-Peeper's ReHab program prohibits such activity, I just couldn't resist comparing some cameras I'd commented upon in the past. It quickly occurred to me that depending on what I was looking for in the scene, and at what resolution, and in which lighting conditions, JPEG or RAW, I was both right and wrong. Different criteria led to different conclusions.

I'm curious what people mean when they say "good", "poor", "better" IQ? Is it balance of everything, or are you really (and perhaps sub-consciously) focusing in one particular characteristic?

For me, as I'm often shooting the scene itself rather than an object within it, and don't crop very much, it's edge-to-edge clarity and pleasing colour rendition (another subjective topic).

Others (and more experienced photographers) may say resolution of fine detail, or high ISO performance, or absence of artifacts, or low distortion and CA, etc, etc.

Sure we'd all like all of these things, but which is MOST important to you? Perhaps someone a bit more knowledgeable than me would like to construct a set of survey questions?

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