iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts

Started Apr 10, 2013 | Discussions
larrewl
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to sherman_levine, Apr 12, 2013

sherman_levine wrote:

larrewl wrote:

I plan to take photos of birds that may be as far as 100m with my FZ200 tomorrow morning.  I usually use Shutter Priority mode.  I cannot find anything for EZ when in SP mode but found iZoom.  If I select iZoom, is the 12MP RW2 file unmodified if I zoom beyond 24x?  I've only tried optical 24x but distant birds occupy too few pixels to make good web photos.  Do you think turning on iZoom and going to 48x might slightly improve my chances to get a useable distant bird image.  I know there's no substitute for getting closer but occasionally that's not an option.

EZ is just what you get automatically when you decrease the picture size from the default 12mp value to some lower value. It's a sensor crop (when you save as JPG). When you save as JPG+Raw, it's a remapping of the full sensor to a smaller number of pixels, so you don't get more than "24x" on the display.

With iZoom (which I think is a good choice) the JPG uses the cropped sensor and upsamples it to 12mpx if the displayed zoom is >24x. Under those conditions the .RW2 contains the cropped file - so you get a 2k by 1.5k raw image if you're at 48x.

Sherm

If both EZ and iZoom create reduced-sized RW2 files when zoom >24x, I agree iZoom seems the better choice for distant objects.  It also seems the RW2 file would be of less value with either EZ or iZoom than if I continue to just take 12MP jpg+raw photos.

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sherman_levine
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to larrewl, Apr 12, 2013

larrewl wrote:

sherman_levine wrote:

larrewl wrote:

I plan to take photos of birds that may be as far as 100m with my FZ200 tomorrow morning.  I usually use Shutter Priority mode.  I cannot find anything for EZ when in SP mode but found iZoom.  If I select iZoom, is the 12MP RW2 file unmodified if I zoom beyond 24x?  I've only tried optical 24x but distant birds occupy too few pixels to make good web photos.  Do you think turning on iZoom and going to 48x might slightly improve my chances to get a useable distant bird image.  I know there's no substitute for getting closer but occasionally that's not an option.

EZ is just what you get automatically when you decrease the picture size from the default 12mp value to some lower value. It's a sensor crop (when you save as JPG). When you save as JPG+Raw, it's a remapping of the full sensor to a smaller number of pixels, so you don't get more than "24x" on the display.

With iZoom (which I think is a good choice) the JPG uses the cropped sensor and upsamples it to 12mpx if the displayed zoom is >24x. Under those conditions the .RW2 contains the cropped file - so you get a 2k by 1.5k raw image if you're at 48x.

Sherm

If both EZ and iZoom create reduced-sized RW2 files when zoom >24x, I agree iZoom seems the better choice for distant objects.  It also seems the RW2 file would be of less value with either EZ or iZoom than if I continue to just take 12MP jpg+raw photos.

iZoom creates reduced sized (i.e sensor-cropped) raw image in the .RW2 when zoom>24x.

The FZ200 does not permit zoom>24x when saving RAW+JPG, even when the "picture size" is reduced. Instead, at all zoom 1-24x, the JPG size falls (the entire sensor is mapped to a smaller pixel array) but the raw image is (afaik) unchanged.

The value of iZoom with Raw is mostly at the user end - Increasing zoom lets you see a smaller FOV in the finder, and save what you see to to the .RW2.  Beyond that, what's saved is simply the center portion of a full-size RW2.  Nothing magic there.

Sherm

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sherman_levine
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to larrewl, Apr 12, 2013

larrewl wrote:

I plan to take photos of birds that may be as far as 100m with my FZ200 tomorrow morning.  I usually use Shutter Priority mode.  I cannot find anything for EZ when in SP mode but found iZoom.  If I select iZoom, is the 12MP RW2 file unmodified if I zoom beyond 24x?  I've only tried optical 24x but distant birds occupy too few pixels to make good web photos.  Do you think turning on iZoom and going to 48x might slightly improve my chances to get a useable distant bird image.  I know there's no substitute for getting closer but occasionally that's not an option.

Also...not sure why you'd use shutter priority here

Why not use Aperture priority with f/2.8

That will ensure that you always get the fastest possible shutter speed for any selected ISO.

Sherm

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larrewl
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to sherman_levine, Apr 12, 2013

I think I'll try Aperture Priority some tomorrow. Thanks! 

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capnblinski
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - confused
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 13, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

As I said above, "So iZoom on the FZ200 looks pretty good to me and I shall use it, with caveats, and I think that the fact that birders are using it is highly significant."

I see that using the iZoom feature allows using the FZ200's highest resolution for a given aspect ratio -as opposed to the EZ zoom --  so if I understand correctly --  when using iZoom at 12mp one would be in the 4:3 aspect ratio. And if one wanted the highest res using iZoom in 3:2 -- then the highest res would change to 10.5MP -- and so on?

-dave

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - confused
In reply to capnblinski, Apr 13, 2013

capnblinski wrote:

Mikedigi wrote:

As I said above, "So iZoom on the FZ200 looks pretty good to me and I shall use it, with caveats, and I think that the fact that birders are using it is highly significant."

I see that using the iZoom feature allows using the FZ200's highest resolution for a given aspect ratio -as opposed to the EZ zoom

Hi Dave, firstly, I am only talking here about JPEGs, I do not know about RAW.

With Size set to 12mp, iZoom creates these file sizes:  4:3 12mp, 3:2 10.69mp, 16:9 8.99mp.

But in how it gets there, iZoom does not use the FZ200's highest sensor resolution.  To get the higher magnification/ narrower field of view, you are using only part of the sensor, for example, in 4:3 Aspect Ratio: at 37x, 2596 x 1952 pixels (5.07mp), at 48x, 2016 x 1516 pixels (3.05mp).

It then upsizes these crops to 4000 x 3000 pixels (12mp), apparently inserting additional pixels and adjusting noise and sharpening with iResolution (I think, I am new to this).  That is why iZoom is under iResolution in the menu.

The reason I carried out these tests (best ones on page 2) was that I could not believe that upsizing a 5.07mp or 3.05mp file to 12mp by digital fakery was a good idea or would give me anything usable.

But the results won me over, and I shall now use (in 4:3 aspect ratio) 12mp iZoom files (shot at anywhere between 25x and 48x iZoom) instead of the 3mp EZ files I have used in the past with the FZ8, FZ38 and FZ200.

As corroboration, some extreme birders use iZoom, so that's proof enough for me.

Only thing is, I've put my my lens cap down somewhere and have not found it yet . . . I really must tie it on, after all . . . 

Mike

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DoctorJerry
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 13, 2013

Very well said. It is my understanding that EZ Zoom ONLY takes a central portion of the sensor which is why ther is no image degradation. It does NOT add pixels anywhere. Both iZoom and digital zoom add pixels to the image to get back to their 12mp size.

Jerry

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DoctorJerry
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Ronomy, Apr 13, 2013

How do you think they get that extra zoom if not by taking out the central portion? I do not believe that pixels are added to the image.

Jerry

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to DoctorJerry, Apr 13, 2013

DoctorJerry wrote:

Very well said. It is my understanding that EZ Zoom ONLY takes a central portion of the sensor which is why ther is no image degradation. It does NOT add pixels anywhere. Both iZoom and digital zoom add pixels to the image to get back to their 12mp size.

In EZ, pixels are not added to the crop.  It is just a crop.

Yes, iZoom adds pixels and uses iResolution to get the business done.  See my last post above in reply to Capnblinski, I can find no simpler way to explain it.

It works well, better than a 3mp EZ file . . . trust me, I have used EZ for years, and I am a cynical #######.

Not everything, that is new, is bad.

Extreme birders use it - why would they do that, if it was incompetent?

Mike.

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Detail Man
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 13, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

DoctorJerry wrote:

Very well said. It is my understanding that EZ Zoom ONLY takes a central portion of the sensor which is why ther is no image degradation. It does NOT add pixels anywhere. Both iZoom and digital zoom add pixels to the image to get back to their 12mp size.

In EZ, pixels are not added to the crop.  It is just a crop.

That is precisely his point.

Yes, iZoom adds pixels and uses iResolution to get the business done.

i-Zoom stretches the image-data contained within pixels out into other surrounding pixels - with particularly troubling results when the up-sampling ratio is not an integer value. Doing so seems (to me) silly given that such images are very likely to subsequently be down-sampled for display (which itself involves, up-sampling by interpolation, anti-aliasing filtering, and down-sampling by decimation).

There seems nothing magical about "i-Resolution". In fact, it actually reduces the resolution of any subject-matter existing in areas that it deems to be "low gradation". The net result is when fine detail exceeds the abilities of the image-sensor assembly to resolve it ("pixelation" effects), "i-Resolution" simply detail-smears it away. Rather unusual for a "sharpening" technique ?

It works well, better than a 3mp EZ file . . . trust me, I have used EZ for years, and I am a cynical #######.

From investigating how the FZ30/50 and LX3 accomplish "EZ Zoom", it appears that the chosen priority is that sensor-cropping is used, and down-sampling appears to only be utilized in cases of the very smallest "Picture Size" settings (i.e. 2.5 Mpixel and 3 Mpixel).

Why would an image that has been up-sampled (and then subsequently down-sampling for display purposes in the end, anyway) tend to look better than an image that has been down-sampled ?

More re-sampling (in general) means more artifacts (particulalry when non-integer ratios are used).

Not everything, that is new, is bad.

Extreme birders use it - why would they do that, if it was incompetent?

Just to chide you a bit. This "extreme birders use it" argument seems (to me) to be a bit of a "canard" (French for duck). People who endeavor to focus on any small object at distances may use such modes for reasons that relate to their ability to selectively focus on such subject-matter at all (despite the fact that less photo-sites are as a result being used in the CDAF system).

That alone says nothing in particular about the "image quality" associated with what they end up with. It may merely reflect a philosphy on their part that "some sort of capture is better than no capture".

Presumptions that whatever particular "image quality" (in their eyes) results is as a result universally "adequate" in the view of others simply because some persons choose what they get as an alternative to not being able to reliably selectively focus at all seem misguided to me.

The idea that if "image quality" (in one's own personal view) was poor, then others would surely forego attempting such captures and reject such results is not borne out in my experience.

DM ...

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capnblinski
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - confused
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 13, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

capnblinski wrote:

Mikedigi wrote:

As I said above, "So iZoom on the FZ200 looks pretty good to me and I shall use it, with caveats, and I think that the fact that birders are using it is highly significant."

I see that using the iZoom feature allows using the FZ200's highest resolution for a given aspect ratio -as opposed to the EZ zoom

Hi Dave, firstly, I am only talking here about JPEGs, I do not know about RAW.

I also am shooting solely JPEG'S

With Size set to 12mp, iZoom creates these file sizes:  4:3 12mp, 3:2 10.69mp, 16:9 8.99mp.

I see -- using iZoom (or not) in this case -- setting picture size to 12mp under the 4:3 aspect ratio setting gives me high res  and if i wanted to use 3:2 aspect ratio I'd have roughly 10.5mp as the highest, and etc... In other words using iZoom or not -- the aspect and size is always set in the regular menu or in the quick menu. I thought maybe there was a special setting or other gizmo associated with iZoom for picture size/aspect ratio...

Kudos for keeping these 'tech' threads going!

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 14, 2013

Detail Man wrote:

Mikedigi wrote:

DoctorJerry wrote:

Very well said. It is my understanding that EZ Zoom ONLY takes a central portion of the sensor which is why ther is no image degradation. It does NOT add pixels anywhere. Both iZoom and digital zoom add pixels to the image to get back to their 12mp size.

In EZ, pixels are not added to the crop.  It is just a crop.

That is precisely his point.

Yes, I was agreeing with him.

Yes, iZoom adds pixels and uses iResolution to get the business done.

i-Zoom stretches the image-data contained within pixels out into other surrounding pixels . . .

that have been added - about one-for-one in the case of 48x zoom in the FZ200.

- with particularly troubling results when the up-sampling ratio is not an integer value. Doing so seems (to me) silly given that such images are very likely to subsequently be down-sampled for display (which itself involves, up-sampling by interpolation, anti-aliasing filtering, and down-sampling by decimation).

In my tests the FZ200 at 37x iZoom upsized the 5.067mp sensor crop to 12mp.  I picked 37x as a prime number, just in case that made things more difficult.  But the results were equally good.  I have no idea how they do that.

There seems nothing magical about "i-Resolution". In fact, it actually reduces the resolution of any subject-matter existing in areas that it deems to be "low gradation". The net result is when fine detail exceeds the abilities of the image-sensor assembly to resolve it ("pixelation" effects), "i-Resolution" simply detail-smears it away. Rather unusual for a "sharpening" technique ?

I agree, when I compare iRes On with iRes Off images in general, iResolution sometimes reduces surface detail but in some cases it sharpens edges.  So whether iRes On is better or worse depends on the subject and whether surfaces or edges are more important.

It works well, better than a 3mp EZ file . . . trust me, I have used EZ for years, and I am a cynical #######.

From investigating how the FZ30/50 and LX3 accomplish "EZ Zoom", it appears that the chosen priority is that sensor-cropping is used, and down-sampling appears to only be utilized in cases of the very smallest "Picture Size" settings (i.e. 2.5 Mpixel and 3 Mpixel).

Yes, I used EZ for years and as a simple sensor crop it does what one would expect, exactly the same as a PC crop, but helping with the capture process.

Why would an image that has been up-sampled (and then subsequently down-sampling for display purposes in the end, anyway) tend to look better than an image that has been down-sampled ?

Exactly.  I thought that iZoom would be a disaster, that's why I ran my own tests.  I was surprised that the results were so good.

More re-sampling (in general) means more artifacts (particulalry when non-integer ratios are used).

Not everything, that is new, is bad.

Extreme birders use it - why would they do that, if it was incompetent?

Just to chide you a bit. This "extreme birders use it" argument seems (to me) to be a bit of a "canard" (French for duck). . . . . . . . .

Less an argument, more an additional example.  Birders want feather detail - what could be more demanding of IQ than that?

I agree with you that iZoom ought theoretically to be a disaster.  But my own tests on page 2 tell me that it isn't, and I am told here on the Forum that a lot of birders are using it, and I am claiming that many of them would recognize inferior IQ if they got it.

For me personally, it is all a non-issue.  The 25-600mm EFL lens of the FZ200 is over-the-top for me and I am unlikely to need anything over 600mm, except for fun.  I would have been happier with an ultralight development of the FZ5 with improved IQ and something like 25-400mm EFL and a weight of around 350 grammes.

My only motive here was curiosity to see how well iZoom works, and to try to understand how it works, and the comments from you and other posters have been very helpful.

Mike

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - confused
In reply to capnblinski, Apr 14, 2013

capnblinski wrote:

Mikedigi wrote:

. . . . . . With Size set to 12mp, iZoom creates these file sizes:  4:3 12mp, 3:2 10.69mp, 16:9 8.99mp.

I see -- using iZoom (or not) in this case -- setting picture size to 12mp under the 4:3 aspect ratio setting gives me high res  and if i wanted to use 3:2 aspect ratio I'd have roughly 10.5mp as the highest, and etc... In other words using iZoom or not -- the aspect and size is always set in the regular menu or in the quick menu. I thought maybe there was a special setting or other gizmo associated with iZoom for picture size/aspect ratio...

Kudos for keeping these 'tech' threads going!

Thanks Dave, with this 25-600mm lens, I am unlikely to use EZ or iZoom much myself but I was curious to see how well iZoom works and to understand a bit more about how it works.

Mike

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Ronomy
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to DoctorJerry, Apr 14, 2013

DoctorJerry wrote:

How do you think they get that extra zoom if not by taking out the central portion? I do not believe that pixels are added to the image.

Jerry

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For EZ zoom you are correct!  Pixels are subtracted using EZ.  The only zoom that there isn't anything thrown away is at full zoom for the resolution you are set too.  With izoom there is no lost pixels in the optical zoom range.  Some of the older cameras may not handle izoom as well as the newer beasts.  Processing has gotten better.  Heck they do it in TV's!  Buy a highend video processor and you get the best up sampling.  These days even the cheaper TV's are doing a better job at adding pixels.  It gets better every year.

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