Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?

Started Feb 10, 2013 | Discussions
sgoldswo
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Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
Feb 10, 2013

I ask because I'm consistently disappointed with results using the DR enhancement feature. Grainy, flat and impossible to enhance in post would seem to be the order of the day. I can fully appreciate why that is, given what the camera does to boost DR, but I do wonder if it's worth it if you'll be PP'ing anyway.

Now I occasionally have had decent results at DR400, but looking at them they are largely shots of subjects that didn't really justify DR400 in the first place. These days, if the sun is in frame, I might set the camera to DR200 manually, otherwise I'll just leave the camera set to DR100 and adjust the image in post.

This isn't a x-trans vs bayer debate either - this seems to be identical between the X-Pro1 and X100 (and frankly the same was true of my old Sony NEX-7).

PS I understand the utility for those who shoot jpeg (as I used to).

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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

I very rarely use this "feature".  I find the results of it very substandard and find that ACR does a much much better job on X100 RAW files.

Fujifilm used to be about amazing dynamic range.  The return to APS-C CMOS sensors showed that Fujifilm ceded this property to Sony.

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TThorne
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

I use it from time to time depending on the scene. I really like Rico's write up about expanding DR. It helped me understand better how it actually works and thus, what I might expect under different circumstances.

That being said, a lot of times I am in M mode due to lack of minimum shutter speed in auto iso, so I am restricted to DR100 anyway, and that works fine for me when shooting raw and doing pp.

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dengx
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to TThorne, Feb 10, 2013

TThorne wrote:

That being said, a lot of times I am in M mode due to lack of minimum shutter speed in auto iso, so I am restricted to DR100 anyway, and that works fine for me when shooting raw and doing pp.

You are not restricted to DR100 when in M mode.

Regards

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Trevor G
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

sgoldswo wrote:

I ask because I'm consistently disappointed with results using the DR enhancement feature.

Perhaps you don't know when it is best to use it.

Here is an example from DPR's test image repository for the X-Pro 1.  This is DR400 and processed in Silkypx:



There are a number of ways which this image, processed from RAW, is better than the matching OOC JPEG, such as the cloud detail, the better foliage and grass detail, better sharpness and so on.

Grainy, flat and impossible to enhance in post would seem to be the order of the day. I can fully appreciate why that is, given what the camera does to boost DR, but I do wonder if it's worth it if you'll be PP'ing anyway.

I didn't think the image above looked grainy or flat.

It would be better if you viewed it as a means to boost highlight headroom, which ultimately, as long as you process RAW, will also result in increased dynamic range.

DR100 (no enhancement) should give you around +0.7EV before clipping, but it could be more. I don't have an X-Pro or E camera to do the testing on, so I am making an educated guess. The review information is currently missing its graphical content.

DR200 (only available with ISO400 or higher) should give you around +1.7EV before clipping, while DR400 (only available with ISO800 or higher) should give around +2.7EV before clipping in RAW.

Now I occasionally have had decent results at DR400, but looking at them they are largely shots of subjects that didn't really justify DR400 in the first place. These days, if the sun is in frame, I might set the camera to DR200 manually, otherwise I'll just leave the camera set to DR100 and adjust the image in post.

The DR enhancements, which rely on ISO amplification techniques to give the etra highlght headroom, are only meant to be used on high contrast scenes, that is where you would normally get some image content exposing above 0EV.

If you use it on a dull day, for instance, you will probably find that your image exposes even lower on the histogram than if using DR100.  I repeat, it is ONLY meant for high contrast scenes.

Hopefully I can wait out for the X20 because I am really keen to test out these under-reported aspects of X-Trans and, indeed, most sensors.  I have done extensive work regarding highlight headroom on EXR-sensor DR, such as on the X10.

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sgoldswo
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to rattymouse, Feb 10, 2013

rattymouse wrote:

I very rarely use this "feature". I find the results of it very substandard and find that ACR does a much much better job on X100 RAW files.

Fujifilm used to be about amazing dynamic range. The return to APS-C CMOS sensors showed that Fujifilm ceded this property to Sony.

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But isn't it based on the same technology as Sony uses for its sensors (the x100 definitely is)? The results from the NEX-7 look equally bad if you turn on the equivalent setting (DRO optimiser).

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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

sgoldswo wrote:

rattymouse wrote:

I very rarely use this "feature". I find the results of it very substandard and find that ACR does a much much better job on X100 RAW files.

Fujifilm used to be about amazing dynamic range. The return to APS-C CMOS sensors showed that Fujifilm ceded this property to Sony.

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But isn't it based on the same technology as Sony uses for its sensors (the x100 definitely is)? The results from the NEX-7 look equally bad if you turn on the equivalent setting (DRO optimiser).

I am speaking of measurable dynamic range without gimmicks in software.

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sgoldswo
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 10, 2013

Trevor G wrote:

Perhaps you don't know when it is best to use it.

I do get when to use it and that it is a tool for high contrast scenes - I wouldn't turn it on to deal with an overcast sky and dank conditions. But I've achieved better results for high contrast scenes through underexposing and PP'ing the picture.

Here is an example from DPR's test image repository for the X-Pro 1. This is DR400 and processed in Silkypx:



I didn't think the image above looked grainy or flat.

I'm probably a tad harsh here, but viewed on screen full size it does look a tad grainy.

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Al Valentino
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

I haven't bothered yet with RAW with my XE1 since jpegs have been so good with the appropriate settings. Anyway, I find the DR feature one of the most useful features of the camera and one of several key reasons I use it. I was tired of shooting bracketed images and making HDR's of my large exposure range scenes. I find this features works and works extremely well in the right conditions. If in doubt there is Auto DR which will use 100, 200 or 400 setting depending on what I am shooting.

The first shot is one of my first tests of the DR feature and another test while hiking. In both the sun and areas shaded by the sun are all perfect. All used DR400

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nixda
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

sgoldswo wrote:

I ask because I'm consistently disappointed with results using the DR enhancement feature. Grainy, flat and impossible to enhance in post would seem to be the order of the day. I can fully appreciate why that is, given what the camera does to boost DR, but I do wonder if it's worth it if you'll be PP'ing anyway.

Now I occasionally have had decent results at DR400, but looking at them they are largely shots of subjects that didn't really justify DR400 in the first place. These days, if the sun is in frame, I might set the camera to DR200 manually, otherwise I'll just leave the camera set to DR100 and adjust the image in post.

This isn't a x-trans vs bayer debate either - this seems to be identical between the X-Pro1 and X100 (and frankly the same was true of my old Sony NEX-7).

PS I understand the utility for those who shoot jpeg (as I used to).

To be honest, I personally haven't gotten my head around the DR modes yet. The way I look at them is that they underexpose by 1 stop (DR200) or 2 stops (DR400). If I want to preserve highlights, I generally underexpose manually. Whereas the DR modes adjust ISO, manually underexposing (for proper ETTR, for example) gives me the opportunity to use shutter speed and/or aperture (depending on the desired result) without raising the ISO and thus potentially avoiding increased noise.

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Bernie Ess
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My understanding and experiences with DR modes
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

Initially I used the feature (auto DR and 200/ 400% DR) quite a lot, till I discovered that shots made with "400% dynamic range" came out terribly noisy in the mids and the darker tones, even when made in bright light and withe very short shutter speeds.

Then I learned that finally the enhanced DR is nothing different from what Nikon calls "D- lighting", Canon as a similar highlight protection mode.

What they all do is underexposing a ISO400/ 800 shot by 1 or 2 stops, and then bringing up the mids and shadows after the shot. Which leads to noise of course.

In my old S3pro/ S5pro the enhanced DR is a hardware mode with a second set of pixels dedicated to just the highlights, with 1 or 2 stops less sensitivity, and blended with the main pixel set. This leads to a wonderfully smooth highlight rolloff that is available from ISO100 to ISO 1000.

What speaks for the X-E1 is that the sensor base is the same as in the Nikon d7000/ Nex 5N/ Pentax K5, a sensor that has very clean shadows in low ISO and a very good DR. DXO measured it by 13,5-14 stops of DR at base ISO, almost the best ever measured.

However, what I don't understand is why that 400% DR  mode is only available in ISO 800. Why don't they underexpose a shot at base ISO (=200) by 2 stops and bring up the shadows afterwards? Isn't ISO 200 the cleanest mode? As soon as I will have time, I will do the experiment and compare the camera internal ISO800/ DR400% shot with one manually underexposed and then brought up in post by 2 stops.

Maybe someone with better understanding can explain why this is only available in higher ISOs?

Thanks

Bernie

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Asylum Photo
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

I guess I'm one of the few here that will gladly take a little bit of noise for some dynamic range. I keep it on Auto or set it to DR400, personally. I shoot RAW+JPEG

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Asylum Photo
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Re: My understanding and experiences with DR modes
In reply to Bernie Ess, Feb 10, 2013

Bernie Ess wrote:

Initially I used the feature (auto DR and 200/ 400% DR) quite a lot, till I discovered that shots made with "400% dynamic range" came out terribly noisy in the mids and the darker tones, even when made in bright light and withe very short shutter speeds.

Then I learned that finally the enhanced DR is nothing different from what Nikon calls "D- lighting", Canon as a similar highlight protection mode.

What they all do is underexposing a ISO400/ 800 shot by 1 or 2 stops, and then bringing up the mids and shadows after the shot. Which leads to noise of course.

In my old S3pro/ S5pro the enhanced DR is a hardware mode with a second set of pixels dedicated to just the highlights, with 1 or 2 stops less sensitivity, and blended with the main pixel set. This leads to a wonderfully smooth highlight rolloff that is available from ISO100 to ISO 1000.

What speaks for the X-E1 is that the sensor base is the same as in the Nikon d7000/ Nex 5N/ Pentax K5, a sensor that has very clean shadows in low ISO and a very good DR. DXO measured it by 13,5-14 stops of DR at base ISO, almost the best ever measured.

However, what I don't understand is why that 400% DR mode is only available in ISO 800. Why don't they underexpose a shot at base ISO (=200) by 2 stops and bring up the shadows afterwards? Isn't ISO 200 the cleanest mode? As soon as I will have time, I will do the experiment and compare the camera internal ISO800/ DR400% shot with one manually underexposed and then brought up in post by 2 stops.

Maybe someone with better understanding can explain why this is only available in higher ISOs?

Thanks

Bernie

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ISO800/DR400 *is* ISO200, with shadows/midtones brought up two stops, to make the overall image ISO800.

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Toccata47
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Not for RAW. /nt
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

jpegs are fine imho.

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Bernie Ess
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to Asylum Photo, Feb 10, 2013

I guess I'm one of the few here that will gladly take a little bit of noise for some dynamic range. I keep it on Auto or set it to DR400, personally. I shoot RAW+JPEG

I did that as well until I discovered that "a little bit of noise" was sometimes "quite a lot of noise". My conclusion so far would be to expose a bit conservative (-0,5 stops under) and correct manually, but I set Shadows and highlights to -2  (Lights) and shadows to -1 r -2. This mostly does enough for me.

Bernie

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Bernie Ess
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Re: My understanding and experiences with DR modes
In reply to Asylum Photo, Feb 10, 2013
ISO800/DR400 *is* ISO200, with shadows/midtones brought up two stops, to make the overall image ISO800.

Oh, I did not know that. The whole naming of DR expansion is a bit misleading. In the end there is nothing expanded, it is just shifting the spectrum of the available DR to the darker zones. Total DR remaining the same.

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sgoldswo
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Re: My understanding and experiences with DR modes
In reply to Asylum Photo, Feb 10, 2013

Asylum Photo wrote:

ISO800/DR400 *is* ISO200, with shadows/midtones brought up two stops, to make the overall image ISO800.

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Which I guess is my point - based on results either LR or C1 can do a better job than the camera in this regard with respect to RAW.

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Bernie Ess
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has somebody done tests already?
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013
based on results either LR or C1 can do a better job than the camera in this regard with respect to RAW.

As soon  as I have an hour or two, I will make the test, if not someone else can do it before...

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TThorne
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to dengx, Feb 10, 2013

dengx wrote:

TThorne wrote:

That being said, a lot of times I am in M mode due to lack of minimum shutter speed in auto iso, so I am restricted to DR100 anyway, and that works fine for me when shooting raw and doing pp.

You are not restricted to DR100 when in M mode.

Regards

You're right. It is auto DR mode that is restricted in M Mode. I forgot. It automatically sets me at DR100 and I tend to leave it there.

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Trevor G
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Re: Do RAW shooters use the Fuji X DR enhancement feature?
In reply to sgoldswo, Feb 10, 2013

sgoldswo wrote:

I didn't think the image above looked grainy or flat.

I'm probably a tad harsh here, but viewed on screen full size it does look a tad grainy.

It could be - I am not a Fuji apologist, but it was exposed at ISO800 to give DR400.

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