Fuji x10 6MP RAW DR400 EXR mode vs old 6MP DSLR

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
Lloydy
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DMillier ...
In reply to DMillier, 4 months ago

DMillier wrote:

Ok, let's look at it this way. There is fact and there is what people think. if you are the kind of person who prefers your opinion to fact, so be it. I'm not. I want to know how it works.

I've done my own tests: it appears to me that when I shoot DR400 in EXR mode it provides about 2 stops more DR than shooting DR100.

I could be wrong and I'm very happy to be proved wrong but I can't actually think of a single reason why you might expect L mode to do anything other than shoot 12MP of non hardware enhanced image. That's the way EXR works: in 12MP mode you get a regular sensor, in 6MP mode you get EXR dynamic range expansion via a HDR blending effect.

... Bottom line. Shoot what works for you which gives the quality you desire. Make sure you experiment though

If you can't see any difference, then you can't. Simply, be happy with your choices

Please explain to me how you achieve this in L mode...

Can't see it ? Don't use it

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DMillier
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Re: DMillier ...
In reply to Lloydy, 4 months ago

I accept your advice to use what works for me and I thank you for it, but I still want to understand what s going on.

With my X10, when I am in L 12MP mode, I do not have DR200% available to me at ISO100.  I have to up the ISO to 200 to get it.  Likewise, at ISO 200 I do not have DR400 available to me, I have to up the ISO to 400 to get it.

When in 6MP Medium mode, I have DR100/200/400% available to me at all ISO including ISO100.  This seems to prove to me that EXR hardware DR expansion works only in 6MP mode - which is exactly what you would expect given that EXR works by blending two 6MP images shot with different exposures into one 6MP HDR file.

Whether you prefer this or the conventional tone curve lift + underexposure that you get at the L size is a subjective opinion but the way in which the EXR mode is invoked is a matter of fact...

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DMillier
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2nd attempt PART 2 X10 vs S5Pro
In reply to DMillier, 4 months ago

X10 6MP M mode Raw + jpeg DR400%

S5 M 6MP DR400% jpg

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Lightpath48
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+1 - How'd you do this?
In reply to DMillier, 4 months ago

That's a pretty impressive comparison, and proves your point well. May I ask, how did you work through all of this with the X10?

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DMillier
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Re: +1 - How'd you do this?
In reply to Lightpath48, 4 months ago

I walked out into the back garden, stuck one camera on a tripod, took a couple of shots, swapped cameras, repeated. Went back inside, uploaded files, realised I'd done it wrong, went back outside, tried again....and again until I actually managed to get the settings right for all the cameras.

Didn't take too long.

Looking at the files, I'm pretty confident that in 6MP mode + EXR DR400 at base iso, there is so little difference between the X10 and the D100/S5 pro that I wouldn't hesitate to use the X10 instead of one of the older DSLRs,

And because the older DLRs are more than good enough for prints up to 12-13 inches wide to satisfy any pixel peeper that means as I won't need bigger prints that this, I can use the X10 with confidence and not feel I wish i have my XE1 or K5 with me.

Things might be different at larger print sizes or higher ISOs but I haven't tested those.

I might go out and test the X10's 6MP mode vs 12MP just to see for myself whether there is a significant difference...

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Trevor G
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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to DMillier, 4 months ago

DMillier wrote:

You didn't answer an important question: when you shoot L and DR200%, does the ISO go up? Likewise, if you were to shoot at DR400 in L mode, the iso should go up to ISO 400 and you won't have iSO100 available to you.

Well, as we all know, when shooting in L size the ISO has to rise with DR settings.

It doesn't really seem to cause serious problems.

There are 2 ways to get extended highlight headroom - EXR hardware at half resolution and base ISO, and EXR software using increased ISO in L size to match DR settings.

The results are not all that different.

That is what you would expect if you were simply shooting in a highlight tone priority mode eg underexposing and lifting the curve to compensate. The extra highlight range comes at the expense of raised noise levels in the shadows.

This is what all non-EXR cameras do when offering expanded DR options, and as I understand it, it is what Fuji do too when shooting L mode.

The special EXR DR expansion hardware mode drops the resolution by half to M 6MP but does not raise the ISO at all.

Nonetheless, EXR is a bit of a kludge at best. As small sensor quality improves EXR will most probably be abandoned.

I have compared my X10 DR200 and DR400 shots, in both highlight and lowlight level details, with my X20.  The results have been shown on numerous occasions in this forum and I am happy to trot them out for you, or anyone else to see.

The later generation X20, with the same lens and same size sensor but using X-Trans technology outperforms the X10 in noise, and is probably indistinguishable in highlights.

E.g - The X20 at ISO100 and DR100 has very similar highlight results as the X10 using EXR hardware (DR200 and ISO100 in M size), but less noise and marginally better lowlights.

Again, the X20 at ISO200 and DR200 produces highlight results almost as good as the X10 using DR400 with EXR hardware (M size, DR400 and ISO100) and I just forget what the lowlights are like, but that is easy to check.  It's certainly not night and day in the X10's favour!

They are both great cams, but EXR does not give an extra 2EV of sensor dynamic range.  Only in the processing of the JPEG in-camera will there be a dynamic range advantage, but then the highlights are quite compressed, anyway, and so can lose much of their naturalness and/or colour/tonal accuracy.

To repeat, that same 2EV of extra highlight detail is also available from the X20 using EXR software (ISO amplification) techniques, with no readily discernible IQ loss anywhere.  Moreover, the X20 noise levels are better than the X10.

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DMillier
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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to Trevor G, 4 months ago

Given the apparent controversy over this, I'll do my own testing, I think!  But first I'm concentrating on the detail differences between 6Mp and 12MP.

ps

Regarding non-EXR dynamic range "expansion", I don't see how this can be expansion at all.  It's just Active D lighting style dynamic range optimisation. There can be no DR expansion without some kind of hardware solution (EXR or the SuperCCD solution in the S3 and S5).  The question of whether EXR actually works seems to be hotly debated still. I'll make my own mind up about that in due course.

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Trevor G
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X10 versus Nikon D200
In reply to DMillier, 4 months ago

DMillier wrote:

Looking at the files, I'm pretty confident that in 6MP mode + EXR DR400 at base iso, there is so little difference between the X10 and the D100/S5 pro that I wouldn't hesitate to use the X10 instead of one of the older DSLRs,

I'm sure that's true.

At normal screen sizes you won't see much difference, especially if you are not using a good quality lens on the Nikon.

And because the older DLRs are more than good enough for prints up to 12-13 inches wide to satisfy any pixel peeper that means as I won't need bigger prints that this, I can use the X10 with confidence and not feel I wish i have my XE1 or K5 with me.

I'm sure that is right, also.  The difference will occur in low light, or if you need to lift shadows.

Here is a comparison between the D200 and the X10.  The cameras were both set to be just not clipping highlights, and I lifted the lowlights so that we can easily see what the shadow noise is like.

As an aside there are vocal posters in here who assert that the X10 has 11.5EV of dynamic range.  By comparison the D200 only has about 9.5EV.

In use, real life if you like, the D200 still far exceeds the X10's ability in low light. If both cameras are set to reveal the same highlight detail just before clipping, how and where can the X10 possibly have more usable dynamic range?

Both shots ISO100, OOC JPEGs:

What's more, the D200 was shot at +0.3EV while the X10 was shot at +1.3EV and DR400.  That should give it a distinct adavantage but of course, because we are dealing with sensors of vastly different sizes, it doesn't.

Still cannot see where the X10 can have 2EV more dynamic range than the Nikon.  The tonal nuances definitely are not there to advantage...

Things might be different at larger print sizes or higher ISOs but I haven't tested those.

I might go out and test the X10's 6MP mode vs 12MP just to see for myself whether there is a significant difference...

Do that - it will be fun for sure. 

May I suggest that you choose a wide dynamic range subject which would normally exceed 0EV, otherwise EXR will not function or produce any advantage.  It only extends highlights in hardware mode.  It has absolutely no effect in lowlights that I can see.

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Trevor G
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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to DMillier, 4 months ago

DMillier wrote:

Regarding non-EXR dynamic range "expansion", I don't see how this can be expansion at all.  It's just Active D lighting style dynamic range optimisation.

I believe that Active D Lighting is different to what Fuji do with EXR software (ISO amplification and tone curve techniques) processing.

There can be no DR expansion without some kind of hardware solution (EXR or the SuperCCD solution in the S3 and S5).  The question of whether EXR actually works seems to be hotly debated still. I'll make my own mind up about that in due course.

What are you actually talking about as regards DR expansion?

We know that the sensor has a fixed amount of DR - it's what happens in JPEG processing that everyone is referring to.  Dynamic range expansion is a fact - you only need to look at images with and without DR techniques to see the extra highlights recorded or revealed, both using EXR hardware and EXR software from Fuji.

Other manufacturers achieve the same sort of results, some using similar techniques, others using variations.

Because EXR hardware still uses two images recorded at different durations, ending simultaneously, which are then combined at the image level, not the sensor pixel level, in camera, the results are not amazingly different to EXR software techniques.

That's one reason that I keep saying that EXR hardware is pretty much a kludge because, in spite of the hype, it just does not produce results dramatically different  ( I and I think many others expected they would be) to EXR software techniques.

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Trevor G
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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to DMillier, 4 months ago

DMillier wrote:

Regarding non-EXR dynamic range "expansion", I don't see how this can be expansion at all.  It's just Active D lighting style dynamic range optimisation. There can be no DR expansion without some kind of hardware solution (EXR or the SuperCCD solution in the S3 and S5).

I can't agree with you there.  Here's the evidence (it's proof for me):

Both images exposed at 0EV - X10 using EXR Hardware (ISO100, DR400 and M size) while the X20 used EXR software (DR200 and ISO200 with ISO amplification/tone curve techniques) to give virtually the same highlight result via RAW.  The OOC JPEGs are badly over-exposed.

I look at highlight detail and clipping to compare results and set a comparison point.

Note X10 settings and the use of EXR Hardware - clouds are well revealed at DR400 with just a slight amount of clipping.

Amazingly the X20 gives very similar highlight results (also shot at 0EV) but by using DR200 and ISO200 - just look at the cloud detail and the slight amount of clipping.  I think there is nothing in it.

Think about those settings for a moment or two - the X10 must surely have a better noise level in the low lights.

But it doesn't.  Look at the floor in particular.

At ISO100 using Hardware EXR the X10 is noisier than the X20 at ISO200 using Software EXR.

Of course, this really should be a test of the X10 in M size EXR Hardware versus L size EXR software, but while I might have the images, I don't have the time to look for them.

Where is the dramatic difference that EXR hardware makes?

It does not exist.

And, for the record, I was a vocal EXR proponent back in Ocotber 2011 when I first trumpeted the advantages of EXR technology in this forum.

The question of whether EXR actually works seems to be hotly debated still. I'll make my own mind up about that in due course.

What do you think of that evidence?

It hasn't been rigged by me - I shot the scene (as an X10 enthusiast who had just bought an X20) in April last year and didn't know the results until I found time to analyse them 6 months later.

In one way I was surprised, but in another I was not. The X20 was obviously better as soon as I started shooting it.  But that's another story.

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DMillier
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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to Trevor G, 4 months ago

OK, here's how I think of it...

A sensor has a baked in maximum possible dynamic range determined by the full well capacity and (mainly) the read noise(in modern CMOS sensors).  The read noise is an ongoing area of improvement but the latest exmor sony sensor are close to as good as it's going to get.

To achieve the best DR in your files, you need to shoot at base ISO, expose as far to the right as you can without clipping highlights and shoot raw.  There's nothing much that can be done to improve on this with standard sensors.

The various flavours of highlight tone priority, Active D lighting etc certainly can't improve on the basic sensor DR.  What these systems do achieve is for jpeg shooters. Essentially they map the available DR ad efficiently as possible to the jpeg file.  For those shooting RAW, these tricks are of zero use.  DR200 and DR400 in full size Fuji files are of no use at all when shooting raw.

If you want to extend DR beyond this, you need a different approach. One approach is HDR: you shoot multiple shots and combine them together either in post processing or in camera. The Fuji superccd in the S3 and S4 goes down a different route. The sensor contains 2 interleaved sets of photosites, one normal sized, the other smaller.  A single shot activates both sets of pixels which are then combined in camera to give you a single shot HDR effect.

The EXR sensor is similar to the superccd approach but a little more flexible: you can choose to the use the second sensor pixels to extend the dynamic range or you can use it to increase the pixel count for more detail.

I have an S5 pro and the tech works beautifully.  I don't have a great deal of experience with EXR used in this hardware DR expansion mode but all along I have assumed that Fuji know what they are doing and it really does work as well as the S5 superccd.

So, what I am expecting is that if use my X10 in 12MP mode I will get more detail and in 6MP mode I will get 2 stops of extra DR exactly like I get with the S5.  I intend to verify this by testing. My initial testing suggests you don't really get that much extra detail when using 12MP mode.  It looks to me like the difference between say 6MP and 7 or 8MP, not the full 12MP.  It's early days but if this holds up across tests it wil be:  1. Slightly disappointing  2. Mean there is barely any point to the 12MP mode.

Of course, at this point I've done no testing of whether 6MP gives the promised +2 stops of DR.

All my comments refer to raw shooting, I have no interest in jpeg performance as I never shoot jpegs.

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DMillier
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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to Trevor G, 4 months ago

I'd say (assuming your tests were well done) that you have showed that the newer xtrans sensor is a better sensor than the older EXR sensor.  It's useful if trying to decide between an X10 and an X20 but of no use at in deciding whether to shoot your X10 in 6MP raw or 12MP raw!

One explanation for your results might be that the EXR technology doesn't work for X10 raws, only for X10 jpegs - but if this is the case  1. It would be really stupid 2. You'd need to explain why X10 6MP DR400 files are as big as 12MP files...

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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to Trevor G, 4 months ago

Trevor G wrote:

Think about those settings for a moment or two - the X10 must surely have a better noise level in the low lights.

But it doesn't. Look at the floor in particular.

...keeping in mind, of course, that this is what you get from combining the two exposures using Silkypix's techniques, which is combining a short exposure (noisier in shadows) with a longer exposure (blown highlights).

It would be interesting to extract the two images separately, and see if a different technique would achieve a less noisy result. I have sometimes (not always) gotten better results than Fuji this way, which means probably better than Silkypix. Would you mind sharing the Raw file?

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DMillier
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Re: X10 versus Nikon D200
In reply to Trevor G, 4 months ago

Is the D200 the 10MP CCD or the 12MP cmos, I forget.

Your account makes sense for me if about a standard 12MP 2/3 CCD but surely the game is different if the HDR effect of EXR mode is taken into account?

DXO rate the DR of the full size X10 files at 11.5 stops.  I'm certainly not qualified to disagree with their methods.  I do know that DR is something that has definitely improved across the sensor generations so you would expect a newer smaller sensor to close the gap somewhat with older big sensors.

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Trevor G
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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to cantanima, 4 months ago

cantanima wrote:

Trevor G wrote:

Think about those settings for a moment or two - the X10 must surely have a better noise level in the low lights.

But it doesn't. Look at the floor in particular.

...keeping in mind, of course, that this is what you get from combining the two exposures using Silkypix's techniques, which is combining a short exposure (noisier in shadows) with a longer exposure (blown highlights).

The above is RAW.  Silkypix predominantly uses the second, shorter exposure.  In fact, except at very low shutter speeds, I cannot see when the first frame is used.

It would be interesting to extract the two images separately, and see if a different technique would achieve a less noisy result. I have sometimes (not always) gotten better results than Fuji this way, which means probably better than Silkypix. Would you mind sharing the Raw file?

I can post both RAW frames - I believe I have done this already but will check.

Bear in mind that the lowlight results from JPEG are much, much worse.

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arbuz
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Re: X10 versus Nikon D200
In reply to DMillier, 4 months ago

DMillier wrote:

DXO rate the DR of the full size X10 files at 11.5 stops. I'm certainly not qualified to disagree with their methods. I do know that DR is something that has definitely improved across the sensor generations so you would expect a newer smaller sensor to close the gap somewhat with older big sensors.

-

This is very strange answer. You're happy to post claims that old 6MP DSLR = X10 in terms of DR. You provided some pictures to illustrate it. Instead of talking about DXO why don't you make the test where we have some shadows and lift it to see if DR is really the same? You did not talk about DXO methodology in your original post so please don't start now just accept valid challenge to your claims and deal with it by evidence.

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Trevor G
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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to DMillier, 4 months ago

DMillier wrote:

So, what I am expecting is that if use my X10 in 12MP mode I will get more detail and in 6MP mode I will get 2 stops of extra DR exactly like I get with the S5.  I intend to verify this by testing. My initial testing suggests you don't really get that much extra detail when using 12MP mode.  It looks to me like the difference between say 6MP and 7 or 8MP, not the full 12MP.  It's early days but if this holds up across tests it wil be:  1. Slightly disappointing  2. Mean there is barely any point to the 12MP mode.

You have the results of your test already, above.

Surely if the EXR Hardware method worked there would be some way to show a substantial 2EV difference between the two images?

Surely if EXR did anything it would be possible to see that compared against an identical size non-EXR sensor?

I know it's hard to believe after all the hype about EXR hardware, but it literally does nothing that cannot be achieved with EXR software.

Of course, at this point I've done no testing of whether 6MP gives the promised +2 stops of DR.

It does, but so does any other camera using EXR software techniques.

All my comments refer to raw shooting, I have no interest in jpeg performance as I never shoot jpegs.

There is absolutely no advantage if using RAW with EXR Hardware, since all that happens with most processing software is that the second, shorter duration, under-exposed frame is used.

In other words, the RAW result is exactly the same as shooting at -1 or -2 EV.

If using JPEG you get a slight retention of some highlight information.  The extra 2EV is squeezed into the upper 0.5EV of image information, which means you lose most of the detail in low contrast, washed out colours.

It really is a kludge, a non-event.

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DMillier
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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to Trevor G, 4 months ago

I'm using Lightroom and I'm not going to swap to anything else.

Interesting to hear you suggest that it might not actually do the blending of the two HDR images.  Clearly, if it doesn't there is no point to using 6MP mode. And as it appears from preliminary testing that the 12MP mode doesn't offer much improvement over 6MP in terms of details, then there is little point in using that either. Which means there is little point in using the camera at all and I'd be better off reverting to my old Canon G7 as that at least provides 10MP of detail!

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Re: X10 versus Nikon D200
In reply to arbuz, 4 months ago

Absolutely! I'm confident in my claim that the 6MP mode of the X10 matches my old 6MP D100 for detail. Did enough shots to demonstrate that to myself.  At the moment I'm starting to test the resolution difference between the X10's 6MP and 12MP modes.  That work in not complete yet to my satisfaction so although my preliminary view is that there is not much difference, I haven't yet done enough to be completely convinced.

When I finished this work, I'll try and work out a way of testing whether ISO 100 DR400 in 6MP mode has any advantage in DR over ISO 100 DR100 (in raw).  Until then, I'm not claiming anything factual.  The DXO reference was a throw away line just to say that acknowledged authorities recognise that DR improves with newer sensor generations.  They did not test 6MP EXR mode at all, only 12MP mode.

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Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20
In reply to Trevor G, 4 months ago

Trevor G wrote:

The above is RAW. Silkypix predominantly uses the second, shorter exposure. In fact, except at very low shutter speeds, I cannot see when the first frame is used.

Hence the noise.

It would be interesting to extract the two images separately, and see if a different technique would achieve a less noisy result. I have sometimes (not always) gotten better results than Fuji this way, which means probably better than Silkypix. Would you mind sharing the Raw file?

I can post both RAW frames - I believe I have done this already but will check.

I don't want the frames; I want the original Raw file. I can extract the frames (anyone can; in fact I think I learned it from you, or perhaps from the other guy whose name I can't recall at the moment). If you can post the X20 raw, too, I'd be grateful.

Bear in mind that the lowlight results from JPEG are much, much worse.

I would expect that.

I don't doubt that the X20 has a better sensor for low light than the X10; I've read quite a lot about recent improvements in sensor technology in that regard. However, taking one low-light shot & improving the S/N ratio using software alchemy, or combining several short, low-light exposures using software alchemy, and combining one short exposure in good light with one longer exposure in good light using software alchemy, are all very, very different things, with lots of options for how to combine, etc.

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