iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts

Started Apr 10, 2013 | Discussions
Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Dale108, Apr 10, 2013

Dale108 wrote:

Hi Mike:

Yes I have surprised by the IQ from the iZoom on my FZ200 but have yet to try on the LX7.

Thanks Dale - I think the iZoom may help me on some small targets with the FZ200.

If I did get an LX7, I might use it a bit more, as I am not used to "stopping" at 90mm EFL - it's all in the mind, I suppose.

Mike

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Trafford
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 10, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

Dale108 wrote:

Hi Mike:

Yes I have surprised by the IQ from the iZoom on my FZ200 but have yet to try on the LX7.

Thanks Dale - I think the iZoom may help me on some small targets with the FZ200.

If I did get an LX7, I might use it a bit more, as I am not used to "stopping" at 90mm EFL - it's all in the mind, I suppose.

Mike

I tried it out today, using bracketing with 3 efs.

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Trafford, Apr 11, 2013

Trafford wrote:

Mikedigi wrote:

Dale108 wrote:

Hi Mike:

Yes I have surprised by the IQ from the iZoom on my FZ200 but have yet to try on the LX7.

Thanks Dale - I think the iZoom may help me on some small targets with the FZ200.

If I did get an LX7, I might use it a bit more, as I am not used to "stopping" at 90mm EFL - it's all in the mind, I suppose.

Mike

I tried it out today, using bracketing with 3 efs.

That's at 48x I guess, Exif is showing 108mm = 24x, maybe that's what it does.

Thanks,

Mike

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 11, 2013

Detail Man wrote:

(Likely) the only thing that differentiates it from using 2x digital zoom is the use of "i-resolution" functionality to post-sharpen the result. You (may) find that using 2x digital zoom and your own chosen controllable sharpening processes in post-processing gives as good (or prefereable) results.

Ill try that in FastStone.

I've now run a quick hand-held "rough test" at 400 ISO and the 48x looks pretty awful.

But "rough tests" are useless (especially hand-held at 48x) and when I have a spare half hour I'll do it properly.

I also want to see that if does at intermediate random magnifications between 24x and 48x, and understand better what it's doing.

And there was I saying that I have joined the Pixel Peepers Anonymous Therapy Group.  How am I going to explain this to the Group?

Mike

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Detail Man
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

(Likely) the only thing that differentiates it from using 2x digital zoom is the use of "i-resolution" functionality to post-sharpen the result. You (may) find that using 2x digital zoom and your own chosen controllable sharpening processes in post-processing gives as good (or prefereable) results.

Ill try that in FastStone.

I've now run a quick hand-held "rough test" at 400 ISO and the 48x looks pretty awful.

There is no absolute need for you to sharpen after up-sampling. I'd just sharpen as a last step in post-processing as I normally would (or would not), depending on how the final image looks.

Also, note that there may well not be any need to up-sample at all (as the pixel-size of your post-processed final image might not need to be larger than the cropped sensor pixel size).

I recall that the LX5 produces (just) a sensor-cropped RW2 file when LX5 i-zoom is used. The LX7 probably works the same way. Roger Nordin verified that Lightroom 3.x (and no doubt 4.x as well) allows the RAW processing of a sensor-cropped RW2 image-file (no i-Resolution BS):

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/36733669

So would any other RAW Processor, as well. You get the beloved "zoomed" preview (with very likely reduced CDAF performance due to the AF system using only 25% as many photosites to AF), and out comes a sensor-cropped RAW file from the camera, with no funky up-sampling or "i-Resolution" sharpening at all. Then, you work your magic with your RAW processor of choice. Much better.

(Maybe) your present Panasonic camera of choice operates the same way (if it records RW2s) ? (Maybe) it (and the LX7) can also record a RW2 image-file when Digital Zoom is used, as well ?

But "rough tests" are useless (especially hand-held at 48x) and when I have a spare half hour I'll do it properly.

Use mechanical stabilization of some sort and shoot something with a whole lot of fine details. I have seen "i-Resolution" sharpening look pretty gross. Better to do your own sharpening later.

I also want to see that if does at intermediate random magnifications between 24x and 48x, and understand better what it's doing.

That's just going to vary the amount of optical zoom, though ? You want to use an even 2x sensor-crop (the Bilinear up-sampling will have less artifacts in that case).

The Focal Length in the EXIF meta-data will tell you (only) the amount of optical zoom. With that data as well as the amount of Zoom Factor displayed (when it is set to maximum, anyway), you can deduce the amount of sensor-cropping taking place.

(However), at intermediate Zoom Factor displayed values, there is only 1-digit resolution, and the Zoom Factor displayed rounds-up half way between displayed digits. Thus, these things will be hard to figure out if not at maximum Zoom Factor.

And there was I saying that I have joined the Pixel Peepers Anonymous Therapy Group. How am I going to explain this to the Group?

Pixel Poopers have their own deep problems. Sometimes they degenerate mentally, wandering around mumbling "good'nuff" until that is the only thing that they can enunciate. So sad ...

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pdpics
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

This discussion of IZoom and that it works with Raw files had me intrigued.  So I made 3 test shots with my LX7 set at max optical zoom but with varying amounts of I-Zoom applied.

With no IZoom applied the Raw image was essentially the same size as the JPEG image.  As I add IZoom, the Raw image becomes progressively cropped until it is half the size of the JPEG image at 2x IZoom.

This cropping of the Raw or sensor image seem to give a side benefit in that the light metering also adjusts to the cropped area.  I have provided my processed Raw images below to illustrate the results.

Partial IZoom

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sherman_levine
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Re: It's not only a matter of equal IQ
In reply to morepix, Apr 11, 2013

morepix wrote:

Sherm,

I think I understand the point you're making here, about quality = quality. But there's another reason for using iZoom besides convincing oneself that the quality doesn't change, and that's the fact that iZoom lets you compose the photo you're going to end up with, whereas shooting without iZoom and cropping in PP is more hit-and-miss composition-wise.

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David,

Sure, you can use iZoom to effect an in-camera crop with decent quality (as long as the viewing size is no larger than the full-sensor equivalent of 100%).

Personally, I tend to crop over-aggressively in-camera, so I lose lots of feet and tails, and have as a result reverted to post-processing crops.

Sherm

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sherman_levine
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

sherman_levine wrote:

. . . . . . . If you want to test the value of iZoom, you need to evaluate it at 100% using a zoom range unavailable to normal (e.g. 48x).  Does it look good to you? Is it better than upsampling a normal image to 200% in Irfanview or a similar editor?

Thanks Sherm - OK, obviously I changed the sizes to get similar framing, which, I agree, does not evaluate them both at 100%.

Also it looks as if the Resize/Resample in FastStone will do the doubling thing, so I can try that.

As with EZ Zoom with my FZ8, FZ38, FZ200, I expect the main iZoom advantage will be the user one - both camera and I seeing and focussing on the target more easliy, especially when I am spot-focussig with twigs etc in the way.

I've asked Detail Man whether the best result is only achieved at 48x, or whether any even number will do, e.g. 26x, 28x, and so on up to 46x. I suspect that I know the answer.

Mike

Mike,

To the extent that you don't view at greater than the original 100% equivalent, sure, using it to help framing and evaluate focus makes good sense.

Sherm

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sherman_levine
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to pdpics, Apr 11, 2013

pdpics wrote:

This discussion of IZoom and that it works with Raw files had me intrigued.  So I made 3 test shots with my LX7 set at max optical zoom but with varying amounts of I-Zoom applied.

With no IZoom applied the Raw image was essentially the same size as the JPEG image.  As I add IZoom, the Raw image becomes progressively cropped until it is half the size of the JPEG image at 2x IZoom.

This cropping of the Raw or sensor image seem to give a side benefit in that the light metering also adjusts to the cropped area.  I have provided my processed Raw images below to illustrate the results.

That parallels what's seen with FZ200.  Only cautions I've found are that some Raw processors (specifically DXO) won't read the  reduced-pixel .RW2 files, and others (Silkypix) apply different default processing values for them.

Sherm

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Mikedigi
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Re: It's not only a matter of equal IQ
In reply to sherman_levine, Apr 11, 2013

sherman_levine wrote:

Personally, I tend to crop over-aggressively in-camera, so I lose lots of feet and tails, and have as a result reverted to post-processing crops.

I used to think I was the Demon In-Camera Cropper until I lost the tail of a beautifully maintained Stearman biplane in flight. After that, I left a bit of space round things, and Cropping is one of the PP functions that I quite like, and can do better in PP. Having cropped, I delete the original.

Mike

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Mikedigi
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FZ200: Pixel size of RAW files with iZoom On, etc.
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

Shooting RAW + Fine Jpeg (by mistake!), the pixel sizes of the RAW files are as follows:

Normal zoom 24x:  4016 x 3016

iZoom 37x:           2596 x 1952

iZoom 48x:           2016 x 1516

Meanwhile I have noticed that if I set Quality to Raw + Fine JPEG, iDynamic is greyed out and cannot be switched on in P or A mode. More weird logic.

Mike

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sherman_levine
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Re: FZ200: Pixel size of RAW files with iZoom On, etc.
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

Shooting RAW + Fine Jpeg (by mistake!), the pixel sizes of the RAW files are as follows:

Normal zoom 24x:  4016 x 3016

iZoom 37x:           2596 x 1952

iZoom 48x:           2016 x 1516

Meanwhile I have noticed that if I set Quality to Raw + Fine JPEG, iDynamic is greyed out and cannot be switched on in P or A mode. More weird logic.

Mike

Right. iZoom saves the cropped sensor in the .RW2 ( but re-expands to 4000x3000 in the JPG).

iDynamic function includes ISO modification, and I suspect that particular diddle is incompatible with the Raw output.

You'll also find that EZ is still active - but the zoom is always limited to 24x. When you save as JPG+Raw, EZ takes the full sensor and remaps the output to the selected pixel count without any cropping

Sherm

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Ronomy
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 11, 2013

Pixel Pooper!  That's what I have become...its a horrible disease!  LOL

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Mikedigi
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Re-shoot with better set-up - 100 ISO
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

Longer distance, more demanding targets.

1]  At 11%:   Left: normal zoom 24x;  Centre: iZoom 48%; Right: iZoom 37%:

Then in FastStone I  upsized the 24x image x2 to 8000 px wide and the 37x image x1.297 to 5189 px wide and compared them as follows in FastSone saving them with FastStone Capture:

2]  At 100%:  left 24x, centre 48x, right 37x.

3]  At 100%:

4]  At 100%:

5]  At 100%:

6]  At 20%:

So it seems to me that the 48x iZoom "as is" and the 37x iZoom upsiized x 1.297 compare well with the 24x normal zoom upsized x 2.

Mike

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Mikedigi
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My re-shoot included 400 ISO . . .
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

. . . which is about as high as I am likely go in ISO with iZoom.

400 ISO, same upsizing procedure.

Left: Normal 24x upsized to 8000px wide.

Centre: iZoom 48x as is.

Right: iZoom 37x upsized to 5189px wide.

1]  At 11%:

2]  At 100%:

3]  At 100%:

4]  At 100%:

5]  At 60%:

6]  At 20%:

These are probably a bit better than I expected for 400 ISO.

Mike

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Sactojim
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Re: iZoom, FZ60 with pics
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

I have the FZ60 and have been pleasantly surprised with the quality that iZoom can deliver! When one needs a close up shot of considerable distance, iZoom can get it done! The technology put into these cameras never ceases to amaze me. iZoom images below:

Northern Harrier cropped and hand held 48x

48x

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ60 with pics
In reply to Sactojim, Apr 11, 2013

Sactojim wrote:

I have the FZ60 and have been pleasantly surprised with the quality that iZoom can deliver! When one needs a close up shot of considerable distance, iZoom can get it done! The technology put into these cameras never ceases to amaze me.

Good work Jim, I've been a bit of an FZ junkie for a while now.  It's good to see that your value-for-money camera does a great job.

Mike

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Mikedigi
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Re: My re-shoot included 400 ISO . . .
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

I wrote:

. . . which is about as high as I am likely go in ISO with iZoom.

400 ISO, same upsizing procedure.

Just noticed I had a "fingers" problem with my Pic no. 1 in my 400 ISO shots - the 3 crops were supposed to be at 11%, but they are at 10, 11 and 9% . . . mystery solved.

Mike

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DoctorJerry
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

Nice comparisons BUT for me I would rather try EZ ZOOM first.  The extended range youreducing just cropping out the central portion of the sensor ( goingdown from 12 mp to 8 or 5mp) gives better results than any of the digital zoom variations in my opinion.

Jerry

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to DoctorJerry, Apr 11, 2013

DoctorJerry wrote:

Nice comparisons BUT for me I would rather try EZ ZOOM first.  The extended range youreducing just cropping out the central portion of the sensor ( goingdown from 12 mp to 8 or 5mp) gives better results than any of the digital zoom variations in my opinion.

I used 3mp and 5mp EZ Zoom a lot with my FZ8 and FZ38 and that was my start point for looking at iZoom.

With the FZ200, 5mp EZ gives me 37.5x zoom and a 5mp file.  iZoom at 37x or 48mp or whatever between 24x and 48x gives me a 12mp file.

That would be meaningless if it gave inferior quality, but the iZoom pics I have shown here compare very favourably with the 24x normal zoom pics, it seems to me.

It seems that it does not just insert extra pixels, the iResolution is said to balance noise and sharpening. But I don't know the technology of it.

Mike

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