Why do these A7R shots look so awful? Locked

Started 8 months ago | Discussions
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philosomatographer
Regular MemberPosts: 486Gear list
Why do these A7R shots look so awful?
8 months ago

I have a very strong interest in the Sony A7 series of cameras - I think they are refreshingly forward-looking, and have enormous potential.

I am curious, however, as to why the images in a certain A7R review (by Trey Ratcliff) look so absolutely awful when viewed at 100%. Take this one, for example:

http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-trvCWfM/A

Go to "Sizes -> Original" (bottom right, next to the "Buy" button). For an ISO 100, f/11 images, this looks dreadful. Is this a bad JPEG engine? Or are the lenses just not up to 36MP? My 12MP Olympus E-5 + SHG glass contains much more actual, crisp detail than this 36MP image - despite the higher noise and poorer dynamic range.

I would love to believe that this person did something really wrong - though, to be honest, most of his images look this mushy - check these out, for example:

http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-LT7SDgL/A

http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-QpP2GC2/A(particularly awful)

I'm in no way insinuating that these are normal - I'd just like to understand why they could look so utterly awful, and would love some links to full-res images that members here feel show the potential of this camera. I'd be embarassed to print these large.

This is the sort of detail I currently get from my 12MP (ugly test shot, was just to evaluate a lens):

http://philosomatographer.deviantart.com/art/Full-size-ZD-14-35-Sample-at-f-4-0-354412749

(click "Download" on top right)

Some of my work is here - much of which could, I think, benefit with what the A7 has to offer:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawidloubser/

Thanks in advance!

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martindesu
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Re: Why do these A7R shots look so awful?
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

philosomatographer wrote:

I would love to believe that this person did something really wrong - though, to be honest, most of his images look this mushy - check these out, for example:

http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-LT7SDgL/A

http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-QpP2GC2/A(particularly awful)

I'm in no way insinuating that these are normal - I'd just like to understand why they could look so utterly awful, ...

Well, it's a rather subjective question, so I'll offer a subjective answer. It's probably a combination of technique and Trey's insane amounts of post processing ©.

Trey is famous all around the internet, and has mass popularity with his HDR work, which is "not my cup of tea", and evidently, is not yours either.

I think that the A7R would compliment your style of shooting very nicely. I also plan on getting one - but choose your sources with caution - e.g. FredMiranda.

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seachicken2000
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Re: Why do these A7R shots look so awful?
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

I think it's because these are HDR's.

There will be more noise in the images coming from the process itself, and possibly alignment issues if the images were shot hand held (or on a tripod and the camera was disturbed), and also movement in the image (for example the grass in the first one) can cause ghosting.

I only looked at the first image, but it was taken on the 55mm Sonnar, which is superb. I am pretty sure the component images that made these HDRs will be exceptional quality-wise if shot carefully.

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Lightshow
Senior MemberPosts: 2,465Gear list
Re: Why do these A7R shots look so awful?
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

He doesn't use a tripod, so that could be cause of some softness, and I wouldn't call them awful, there is more to a compelling image than absolute sharpness.

That said

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nzmacro
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,197Gear list
I love them to be honest
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

Okay, I'm a bird and macro only shooter, but I know what I like when I see it and I'm going to be honest.

The only shot I would change from those at the link you posted, would be the first one. I would rotate that slightly to the left for a straighter horizon line.

It is very subjective as already mentioned by someone else. I absolutely love his work and his PP. That's how different we all are. Its a personal taste and I wouldn't be surprised if his shots sell fairly well.

All the best and I love the lighting as well as the contrasts used in his PP. Its all just an opinion

Danny.

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Dave Wyman
Regular MemberPosts: 368Gear list
Re: Why do these A7R shots look so awful?
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

While I'm not a huge fan of HDR, the images Ratcliff produces go beyond ordinary photographic images, each one more an artistic digital rendering of a scene and each one less a traditional image that mimics reality. The photos seem more than sharp enough to me, in part because I don't look at them with a 100% crop.

Your comments seem, like some HDR images, over the top, as if you are spoiling for an argument. Are you not aware, from a simple perusal of Ratcliff's website, that he has a lot of fans and that your comments might seem at least somewhat insulting to them?

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stoppingdown
Regular MemberPosts: 303Gear list
Re: Why do these A7R shots look so awful?
In reply to Lightshow, 8 months ago

Lightshow wrote:

He doesn't use a tripod, so that could be cause of some softness, and I wouldn't call them awful, there is more to a compelling image than absolute sharpness.

I like them in general (even though nothing out of the ordinary), but for landscapes I expect sharpness (unless you intentionally go with blurring, which doesn't seem the case).

It's a matter of taste; but please explain me why one should use an A7(r) + Sonnar 55mm to take unsharp photos.

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Fabrizio Giudici
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stoppingdown
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Re: Why do these A7R shots look so awful?
In reply to Dave Wyman, 8 months ago

Dave Wyman wrote:

Are you not aware, from a simple perusal of Ratcliff's website, that he has a lot of fans and that your comments might seem at least somewhat insulting to them?

Are you kidding, right? Now one can't even express his own personal opinion about what he like or dislikes for fear of insulting someone? Are we under the dictatorship of politically correctness?

Just to make an example out of photography, I don't like most of the things that Picasso did, I mean I strongly don't like them, I have the right to say that in public and if someone feels insulted for a legitimate opinion it's a problem of that guy.

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Fabrizio Giudici
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philosomatographer
Regular MemberPosts: 486Gear list
I said nothing of artistic merit
In reply to Dave Wyman, 8 months ago

Dave Wyman wrote:

While I'm not a huge fan of HDR, the images Ratcliff produces go beyond ordinary photographic images, each one more an artistic digital rendering of a scene and each one less a traditional image that mimics reality. The photos seem more than sharp enough to me, in part because I don't look at them with a 100% crop.

Your comments seem, like some HDR images, over the top, as if you are spoiling for an argument. Are you not aware, from a simple perusal of Ratcliff's website, that he has a lot of fans and that your comments might seem at least somewhat insulting to them?

Hi Dave,

I said nothing of the artistic merit of the images. But if you think that those images are technically acceptable for large printing, you have very low standards I am afraid. They are noisy, blurred, and riddled with a canvas-like noisy texture.

If this is all part of his artistic vision, well then - more power to him. I just wanted to understand - from the community of people that use the A7 - if this is typical. I must admit, I didn't realise that almost all of these are "HDR" images - which explains a lot. Not everything (i.e. I do much less noisy HDRs with my ancient-tech E-5) - but a lot.

I find it amusing that you think that I should care in the least over insulting somebody's "website fans" in a technical discussion of image quality. Ha!

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unknown member
(unknown member)
Re: Why do these A7R shots look so awful?
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

Tastes differ

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\Iggy

philosomatographer
Regular MemberPosts: 486Gear list
Thank you all (consider this thread closed)
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

Hi all,

This being DPReview, I can see that I already have some people ready to pounce on me. I don't know what it is with the users of this forum being so hostile!

I'd like to thank you all for your replies - first of all for the links to examples showing the incredible potential performance of the A7/r, and secondly, for bringing to my attention that almost all of these images are severly "over-cooked" HDR composites. This was not obvious to me - especially as most of them should comfortably be captured within the dynamic range of a single exposure on this camera.

Eveybody has their own style, and I would never like to judge that. I simply wanted to understand why these images has such poor technical quality when viewed at large magnifications. Not for the sake of pixel-peeping, but to get an impression of the A7/r as instrument for making large prints.

Those of you with this intriguing camera - enjoy it! I'm certainly going to play with one next time I'm in a shop that sells one.

Enjoy life,

Dawid

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philosomatographer
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Nothing to do with taste
In reply to Iggy1965, 8 months ago

I'd like to repeat that I am not referring to the artistic merit of the images. I referred purely to the awful quality of the images when viewing at full size.

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mdavidp
Senior MemberPosts: 1,185Gear list
Re: Nothing to do with taste
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

Blur due to camera shake. A tripod may be a necessity due to sensor size.

Mike P.

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Greynerd
Senior MemberPosts: 3,551
Re: Nothing to do with taste
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

I expect you walk around an art gallery with a magnifying glass.

Edit: Thinking about it Seurat is the only really decent artist as most of the rest show significant smearing.

philosomatographer wrote:

I'd like to repeat that I am not referring to the artistic merit of the images. I referred purely to the awful quality of the images when viewing at full size.

littlemt
Forum MemberPosts: 51
Re: I said nothing of artistic merit
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

philosomatographer wrote

Hi Dave,

I said nothing of the artistic merit of the images. But if you think that those images are technically acceptable for large printing, you have very low standards I am afraid. They are noisy, blurred, and riddled with a canvas-like noisy texture.

If this is all part of his artistic vision, well then - more power to him. I just wanted to understand - from the community of people that use the A7 - if this is typical. I must admit, I didn't realise that almost all of these are "HDR" images - which explains a lot. Not everything (i.e. I do much less noisy HDRs with my ancient-tech E-5) - but a lot.

You're the greatest.

Mel Snyder
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,599Gear list
Re: Nothing to do with taste
In reply to Greynerd, 8 months ago

Greynerd wrote:

I expect you walk around an art gallery with a magnifying glass.

philosomatographer wrote:

I'd like to repeat that I am not referring to the artistic merit of the images. I referred purely to the awful quality of the images when viewing at full size.

Wish I had said that!

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philosomatographer
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Are you guys completely insane?!
In reply to Mel Snyder, 8 months ago

I can't believe what I am reading. Which part of "I am not referring to artistic quality" was unclear to you all? Do you just WANT to pick a fight?

There were some very helpful responses in this - a technical gear forum - yet you come out of the blue and effectively state that performing any kind of technical analysis is a hostile act.

Why would anybody then even bother buying an ultra-high-image-quality camera like the A7 in the first place? Just get a Holga! Use your camera phone!

I posted a link to some appalling-quality images made with what is effectively the highest-performance image sensor available. I wanted community input, not owning the camera in question, but being very interested in it.

I got a most satisfactory answer from courteous replies - yet after it all, people feel they need to take this thread completely off-topic and spew bile in my direction. Please get over yourselves!

Sheesh.

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littlemt
Forum MemberPosts: 51
Re: Are you guys completely insane?!
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

philosomatographer wrote:

I can't believe what I am reading. Which part of "I am not referring to artistic quality" was unclear to you all? Do you just WANT to pick a fight?

There were some very helpful responses in this - a technical gear forum - yet you come out of the blue and effectively state that performing any kind of technical analysis is a hostile act.

Why would anybody then even bother buying an ultra-high-image-quality camera like the A7 in the first place? Just get a Holga! Use your camera phone!

I posted a link to some appalling-quality images made with what is effectively the highest-performance image sensor available. I wanted community input, not owning the camera in question, but being very interested in it.

I got a most satisfactory answer from courteous replies - yet after it all, people feel they need to take this thread completely off-topic and spew bile in my direction. Please get over yourselves!

Sheesh.

When I grow up, I want to be just like you.

nevercat
Senior MemberPosts: 2,292
Re: Why do these A7R shots look so awful?
In reply to stoppingdown, 8 months ago

stoppingdown wrote:

Dave Wyman wrote:

Are you not aware, from a simple perusal of Ratcliff's website, that he has a lot of fans and that your comments might seem at least somewhat insulting to them?

Are you kidding, right? Now one can't even express his own personal opinion about what he like or dislikes for fear of insulting someone? Are we under the dictatorship of politically correctness?

I agree with you on this point. People should n't be insulted when someone don't like the things they doe, think or believe.

Just to make an example out of photography, I don't like most of the things that Picasso did, I mean I strongly don't like them, I have the right to say that in public and if someone feels insulted for a legitimate opinion it's a problem of that guy.

Well you are right about the liking or disliking of the results (Picasso=painitng, Ratcliff=photograph) that is up to everybodies taste and you are free to express that. Nobody should be offended by the opinion of the other. The only thing what the OP did what I think is not right is blaiming the tools. You don't like Picasso, but you are not telling people that the brushes, paint and canvas from Picasso is bad and that you can do better eith much cheaper tools)

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Greynerd
Senior MemberPosts: 3,551
Re: Are you guys completely insane?!
In reply to philosomatographer, 8 months ago

If you cannot take the heat keep out of the kitchen. The point is these images were produced as artistic creations and are very beautiful. To many of us trying to use them to test pixel resolution seems a bit crass. The high resolution available in the first place gives the latitude for post processing.

The worst thing in DPR is posting something that is entirely ignored which I have experienced a few times so you are not doing too badly. It is very bad manners to post something and then to lecture people on their responses if they are not to your satisfaction.

philosomatographer wrote:

I can't believe what I am reading. Which part of "I am not referring to artistic quality" was unclear to you all? Do you just WANT to pick a fight?

There were some very helpful responses in this - a technical gear forum - yet you come out of the blue and effectively state that performing any kind of technical analysis is a hostile act.

Why would anybody then even bother buying an ultra-high-image-quality camera like the A7 in the first place? Just get a Holga! Use your camera phone!

I posted a link to some appalling-quality images made with what is effectively the highest-performance image sensor available. I wanted community input, not owning the camera in question, but being very interested in it.

I got a most satisfactory answer from courteous replies - yet after it all, people feel they need to take this thread completely off-topic and spew bile in my direction. Please get over yourselves!

Sheesh.

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