Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...

Started Feb 11, 2013 | Discussions
chillgreg
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Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
Feb 11, 2013

Apologies if this old article is a repost, but I thought it was good value to share in light of the never-ending this-vs-that IQ debates that proliferate.

Written by an industry veteran, it is an unusual ad-hoc experiment comparing the *perceived* IQ of a Canon G10 P&S to a medium format $40,000 Hasselblad H2 and Phase One P45+ digital back. Yes quite seriously!

A fun read, no matter what you do (or don't) take away from it.

Speaking personally, I think the message (especially for some people) is very clear. To use the author's own words: "most cameras are better than most photographers."

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

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Charles2
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Throw a Sigma DP2 Merrill into the mix
In reply to chillgreg, Feb 11, 2013

Throw a Sigma DP2 Merrill into the mix. Does it support the author's point because it sells for less than $1000 and does what the G10 did at even larger print sizes? Or does it contradict the author because the resolution and color of its output is amazing, proving that equipment matters?

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Sante Patate
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to chillgreg, Feb 11, 2013

I think it would be prudent to take the story about how the images came to be taken and the review to be written with a grain of salt.

Few images could be less likely to show a difference: in particular, the light is good but the dynamic range is low.  But, sure, it is not news that if you pick subjects that don't stress the capabilities of small sensors the results will be hard to tell from the results with large sensors.

That is, you have to ask the right question, and LL has asked the wrong question.  If you ask "Can you take great photographs with small sensor cameras / phone cameras?" the answer is "yes".  But if you ask "Are there great photographs you cannot take with a small sensor camera / phone camera?" the answer is also "yes".  And you use a large sensor camera / SLR because you want to take all the great photographs, not just some of them.

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hjulenissen
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to Sante Patate, Feb 11, 2013

Sante Patate wrote:

...But, sure, it is not news that if you pick subjects that don't stress the capabilities of small sensors the results will be hard to tell from the results with large sensors.

That is, you have to ask the right question, and LL has asked the wrong question. If you ask "Can you take great photographs with small sensor cameras / phone cameras?" the answer is "yes". But if you ask "Are there great photographs you cannot take with a small sensor camera / phone camera?" the answer is also "yes". And you use a large sensor camera / SLR because you want to take all the great photographs, not just some of them.

I think it is fair to say that many people out there believes that their belowed Foveon/MFDB/whatever camera ALWAYS takes more eye-popping, fantacredilicious images than lowly compact cameras.

-h

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petteralexis
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to chillgreg, Feb 11, 2013

I am totally agree with this. I like this ...

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RobbGee
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to hjulenissen, Feb 11, 2013

Hi All

Taking this just a bit further:-

hjulenissen

I think it is fair to say that many people out there believes that their belowed Foveon/MFDB/whatever camera ALWAYS takes more eye-popping, fantacredilicious images than lowly compact cameras.

-h

The BEST camera is always the one you have with you!

Best

RobbGee

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WillemB
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to petteralexis, Feb 11, 2013

So this wake-up call only partains to the IQ of a specific style of landscapes?

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Roger99
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to chillgreg, Feb 11, 2013

chillgreg wrote:

Apologies if this old article is a repost, but I thought it was good value to share in light of the never-ending this-vs-that IQ debates that proliferate.

Written by an industry veteran, it is an unusual ad-hoc experiment comparing the *perceived* IQ of a Canon G10 P&S to a medium format $40,000 Hasselblad H2 and Phase One P45+ digital back. Yes quite seriously!

A fun read, no matter what you do (or don't) take away from it.

Speaking personally, I think the message (especially for some people) is very clear. To use the author's own words: "most cameras are better than most photographers."

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

I've seen this comparison before from another source and had a problem with the prints that were viewed for comparison. Both cameras were printed at 8x10 or A4 if I recall correctly but realistically if you printed both to say, 36 inches I have no doubt the difference would be more apparent even though I have taken my G10 comfortably to this size with acceptable results. Even looking at the glass alone there is no way the G10 is going to compete unless you print small. Ever looked at the edges of the frame on the wide end of the scale with a G10? It's a little frustrating although DxO optics software cleans it up fairly well. And don't get me started on the sensor noise. Don't get me wrong. I like my little G10 and its output but it is what it is. It just isn't a 'blad but wasn't ever meant to be, was it? Of course if you never go beyond A4 then the comparison is kind of mute. A 'blad H2 would just be overkill anyway.

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The one serious conviction one should hold is that nothing should be taken too seriously.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without necessarily accepting it. -Aristotle
..oh, and I see by the lack of responses that I am right yet again.

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john farrar
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to chillgreg, Feb 11, 2013

Saw it a long time ago and even then I thought it was very subjective.  It all depends on the particular subject and the medium; I mean I've had photos published that were taken on a Canon s400 but a lot more that were taken on a film or Dslr.

Yes you can help a smaller sensor camera to get near to big sensor results (the good photographer thing), but can you do in consistently and in more interesting lighting situations such that you can make your living from it?  No, I still don't think so.

It's kind of like the mirror lens argument: light to carry, hell to focus because it's f8 and the BIF is motion-blurred or long gone before the shutter gets going.  There is a reason why people use bigger cameras and heavy fast lenses.

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Osvaldo Cristo
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Given any two different camera models...
In reply to chillgreg, Feb 11, 2013

Given any two different camera models, C1 and C2, it is always possible to find a specific situation S and a comparisson criterious T, where C1 is better than C2.

Do you need a formal demonstration?

Regards,

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Opinions of men are almost as various as their faces - so many men so many minds. B. Franklin

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mgd43
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Re: Given any two different camera models...
In reply to Osvaldo Cristo, Feb 11, 2013

I think that the takeaway from this is that cameras (from the major brands) have become so good that differences in IQ are not great under many if not most conditions. IMO many photographers do concern themselves too much with what are really marginal differences in IQ that few other people would notice. However these differences are important to some photographers and that's fine. To each his/her own.

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Alex Notpro
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to chillgreg, Feb 11, 2013

The author's words don't match the sample. The Hasselblad image is clearly better. I can tell and I'm not even a professional.

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Steen Bay
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to Roger99, Feb 11, 2013

Roger99 wrote:

chillgreg wrote:

Apologies if this old article is a repost, but I thought it was good value to share in light of the never-ending this-vs-that IQ debates that proliferate.

Written by an industry veteran, it is an unusual ad-hoc experiment comparing the *perceived* IQ of a Canon G10 P&S to a medium format $40,000 Hasselblad H2 and Phase One P45+ digital back. Yes quite seriously!

A fun read, no matter what you do (or don't) take away from it.

Speaking personally, I think the message (especially for some people) is very clear. To use the author's own words: "most cameras are better than most photographers."

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

I've seen this comparison before from another source and had a problem with the prints that were viewed for comparison. Both cameras were printed at 8x10 or A4 if I recall correctly but realistically if you printed both to say, 36 inches I have no doubt the difference would be more apparent even though I have taken my G10 comfortably to this size with acceptable results. Even looking at the glass alone there is no way the G10 is going to compete unless you print small. Ever looked at the edges of the frame on the wide end of the scale with a G10? It's a little frustrating although DxO optics software cleans it up fairly well. And don't get me started on the sensor noise. Don't get me wrong. I like my little G10 and its output but it is what it is. It just isn't a 'blad but wasn't ever meant to be, was it? Of course if you never go beyond A4 then the comparison is kind of mute. A 'blad H2 would just be overkill anyway.

-- hide signature --

The one serious conviction one should hold is that nothing should be taken too seriously.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without necessarily accepting it. -Aristotle
..oh, and I see by the lack of responses that I am right yet again.

The prints were 13x19".

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Draek
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to Alex Notpro, Feb 11, 2013

That's because you know which one's which, and thus are subject to confirmation bias, *and* you're likely looking at 100% JPEGs instead of actual prints.

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Vlad S
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Please alert the media
In reply to chillgreg, Feb 11, 2013

chillgreg wrote:

Speaking personally, I think the message (especially for some people) is very clear. To use the author's own words: "most cameras are better than most photographers."

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

People who took time to learn how to use small sensor cameras have known this for more than a decade: under optimal conditions the image quality is excellent for prints, and has been since they hit 5 MP around 2001. Some advanced small sensor cameras also had fabulous lenses (Minolta Dimage 7 series is one example). DSLR owners often tried to put down small sensor cameras, but the reality is that in situations with modest DR and good light the print quality is quite comparable.

Unfortunately, often conditions are not optimal, and that's why Reichmann (was it his article?) has not switched to G10 for all of his work.

Vlad

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micronean
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Re: Given any two different camera models...
In reply to mgd43, Feb 11, 2013

mgd43 wrote:

I think that the takeaway from this is that cameras (from the major brands) have become so good that differences in IQ are not great under many if not most conditions. IMO many photographers do concern themselves too much with what are really marginal differences in IQ that few other people would notice. However these differences are important to some photographers and that's fine. To each his/her own.

it has to do a bit with how our brain processes visual information. I remember my introductory psychology class in university where the teacher said that our brains will actually "fill the gaps" if our visual information is incomplete and create a fully understandable picture.

This is why we perceive that the pictures are comparable, but in reality, if we use a computer, we'd learn that the pictures between the g10 and hasselblad are completely different.

On this forum, though, this kind of concept is not tolerated. DPR is mostly made up of fake "photo engineers" that presumably know everything about cameras and can "eyeball" imperfections on a photo from 2 miles away. Then again, tell an audiophile that his $15,000 stereo sounds the same as one that costs $200 and you'll be ostracized as a heretic from their forums too.

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gwlaw99
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to chillgreg, Feb 11, 2013

The main problem for me with the comparison, notwithstanding the viewing limitations of a small compressed jpeg, is that the image is taken in very good light, without the need for a shallow depth of field, without the need for a very fast shutter speed, etc...  Small sensor cameras can make very good images in the right conditions, but they are not flexible enough tools for many other conditions.

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sigala1
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Re: Probably the most profound wake-up call on IQ you/I will ever read...
In reply to gwlaw99, Feb 11, 2013

gwlaw99 wrote:

The main problem for me with the comparison, notwithstanding the viewing limitations of a small compressed jpeg, is that the image is taken in very good light, without the need for a shallow depth of field, without the need for a very fast shutter speed, etc... Small sensor cameras can make very good images in the right conditions, but they are not flexible enough tools for many other conditions.

Shallow DOF is something you DON'T want for landscape photography. And that comparison was done at a landscape photography website.

Also, you don't need fast shutter speeds for landscape.

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sigala1
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Re: Please alert the media
In reply to Vlad S, Feb 11, 2013

Vlad S wrote:

chillgreg wrote:

Speaking personally, I think the message (especially for some people) is very clear. To use the author's own words: "most cameras are better than most photographers."

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

People who took time to learn how to use small sensor cameras have known this for more than a decade: under optimal conditions the image quality is excellent for prints, and has been since they hit 5 MP around 2001. Some advanced small sensor cameras also had fabulous lenses (Minolta Dimage 7 series is one example). DSLR owners often tried to put down small sensor cameras, but the reality is that in situations with modest DR and good light the print quality is quite comparable.

Unfortunately, often conditions are not optimal, and that's why Reichmann (was it his article?) has not switched to G10 for all of his work.

Vlad

Reichmann likes using the most expensive gear, and he's also rich so he can afford to buy anything he wants.

But I agree about the DR... if the scene has too much DR, then you can improve things by using a high-DR sensor.

The G10 had an unusually good lens... it's not clear that the latest Canon compacts have such a good lens.

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MisterPootieCat
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Re: Please alert the media
In reply to sigala1, Feb 11, 2013

sigala1 wrote:

Vlad S wrote:

chillgreg wrote:

Speaking personally, I think the message (especially for some people) is very clear. To use the author's own words: "most cameras are better than most photographers."

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

People who took time to learn how to use small sensor cameras have known this for more than a decade: under optimal conditions the image quality is excellent for prints, and has been since they hit 5 MP around 2001. Some advanced small sensor cameras also had fabulous lenses (Minolta Dimage 7 series is one example). DSLR owners often tried to put down small sensor cameras, but the reality is that in situations with modest DR and good light the print quality is quite comparable.

Unfortunately, often conditions are not optimal, and that's why Reichmann (was it his article?) has not switched to G10 for all of his work.

Vlad

Reichmann likes using the most expensive gear, and he's also rich so he can afford to buy anything he wants.

But I agree about the DR... if the scene has too much DR, then you can improve things by using a high-DR sensor.

The G10 had an unusually good lens... it's not clear that the latest Canon compacts have such a good lens.

I'm finding the G15 lens is more than good enough for me. JPEG straight from the camera:



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