PIX 2015
Previous page Next page

JPEG Tone Curves / Dynamic Range

Our Dynamic Range measurement system involves shooting a calibrated Stouffer Step Wedge (13 stops total range) which is backlit using a daylight balanced lamp (98 CRI). A single shot of this produces a gray scale wedge from the camera's clipped white point down to black (example below). Each step of the scale is equivalent to 1/3 EV (a third of a stop), we select one step as 'middle gray' (defined as 50% luminance) and measure outwards to define the dynamic range. Hence there are 'two sides' to our results, the amount of shadow range (below middle gray) and the amount of highlight range (above middle gray).

To most people highlight range is the first thing they think about when talking about dynamic range, that is the amount of highlight detail above middle gray the camera can capture before it clips to white. Shadow range is more complicated; in our test the line on the graph stops as soon as the luminance value drops below our defined 'black point' (about 2% luminance) or the signal-to-noise ratio drops below a predefined value (where shadow detail would be swamped by noise), whichever comes first.

Note: this page features our interactive dynamic range comparison widget. The wedges below the graph are created by our measurement system from the values read from the step wedge, the red lines indicate approximate shadow and highlight range (the dotted line indicating middle gray).

The X-Pro1's default tone is identical to the X100's, and offers a decent highlight range of about 3.7 stops, with just enough of a roll-off into the highlights to prevent harsh-looking clipping. This places it only marginally behind the likes of the Nikon D7000 and Sony NEX-7, even before you take into account its extended dynamic range settings.

Film Modes

The X-Pro1's colour Film Simulation modes show subtly different tone curves, which translate into visible real-world differences. Velvia/Vivid is very contrasty indeed, clipping more abruptly to both white and black, while Astia/Soft echoes Provia/Standard across the highlight range but is more contrasty below middle grey, resulting in somewhat deeper shadows. The Pro Neg Hi mode lies somewhere between Velvia and Astia in terms of its shadow contrast, while Pro Neg Std closely matches Provia/Standard. Likewise, the various Monochrome modes all match Standard exactly.

Dynamic Range Expansion Modes

The X-Pro1 has two dynamic range expansion settings to bolster its highlight range: DR200 (200%) adds an extra stop of information in the highlights, and DR400 (400%) adds two stops. Technically, the camera achieves this by applying less amplification to the sensor's output than usual prior to AD conversion to avoid clipping highlight data, then pulling-up the midtones to the correct brightness in JPEG processing. This is essentially the same process as Canon and Pentax use for their highlight-expansion modes.

An alternative way of thinking about this is that DR200 is like underexposing a stop to retain highlights then adjusting the brightness afterwards, and DR400 is like underexposing by two stops and adjusting further. Because of this, the minimum ISO available in each mode is limited: ISO 400 at DR200, and ISO 800 at DR400. The flipside to this approach is shown by ISO 100, which is effectively the opposite; i.e. ISO200 overexposed by a stop then pulled-down in processing. This results in the loss of stop of highlight range - to all intents and purposes it counts as DR50, and should therefore normally be avoided. (Note ISO 100 is only available in JPEG anyway).

In this comparison we can see the impact the DR setting has on highlight range. DR200 offers a huge 4.7 stops of highlight range, and DR800 goes another stop beyond this, disappearing off the scale of our graph. Note that this advantage isn't just for JPEG shooters - it extends to RAW files too. On paper at least this is very impressive indeed; we'll see how it translates into real-world results later in the review.

Shadow and Highlight Tone controls

Unusually, rather than having a single 'Contrast' or 'Tone' control, the X-Pro1 allows you to tweak Highlight Tone and Shadow Tone completely independently around a fixed point of middle grey. Each control offers 5 settings, and here we're comparing Normal (as used in the comparisons above) to the two extremes, Soft and Hard. Naturally the Highlight Tone control interacts with the DR setting, so first we'll look at DR100. In the graphs 'N-N' means Shadow and Highlight Tone are both set to Normal; S denotes Soft and H denotes Hard.


Here we can see that the Highlight Tone control technically has no effect on the white point of the image, and just on the contrast, although the H setting attempts to compress the brightest 0.7 stop of dynamic range into such few levels that visually it will appear to clip earlier. Meanwhile the Shadow Tone setting gives a wide range of control over the openness of the darker regions of the image.

Switch the DR setting to 400% and it's much the same story, only more pronounced. Now setting the highlight tone to Hard results in earlier clipping according to our measurement tool, effectively throwing away much of the benefit of that expanded range. The results in the shadow range are, as expected, essentially identical to those at DR100.

The adjustments offered by these controls are large compared to the differences between the film modes, and in principle this allows you to tailor the camera's JPEGs very specifically to your taste. For example, if you like the colour of Velvia but find it too contrasty and prone to highlight clipping, then you can tame it by softening the Highlight Tone.

However there's a catch - the tone adjustments are universal, and any change is applied to all of the film modes. One way around this is to save your preferred options to one of the cameras 'Custom Settings', which can then be recalled through the Shooting menu. But then there's another catch; these also include ISO and DR settings.

Previous page Next page
616
I own it
204
I want it
131
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 18
HenryDS61

I was looking at getting the X-E2 second hand on E-bay, but with X-Pro2 coming soon the X-Pro1, brand new, with two beautiful prime lenses and the gorgeous full leather case is available at a no-brainer price of £649 in the UK.
My wife bought me this unbeatable package as a present for our 30th anniversary! What a wife? (love you so much Fee X).

The camera IQ is amazing, handling is fantastic, build quality is superb, (not a plastic part in sight, more than can be said for a comparatively priced CanNikon DSLR). I take it everywhere with me, it's small light and always at hand.
If like me you don't have the time or the money to buy an X-pro2 and if you don't just want the latest, buy what is still, (for me at least) the greatest camera bargain going. My advice is grab one before it's gone!

0 upvotes
guyfawkes

I've spotted this incredible 2 lens offer here in the UK as well. Very tempting, but the 28mm f2.8 would be a nothing focal length for me, too close to the 18mm. Fortunately, I found a mint outfit from a London Leica dealer whom I've dealt with before so I know the quality of his used equipment, and this kit comprises of the f2/18mm and the very desirable f1.4/35mm.

0 upvotes
David Smith - Photographer

Well, I guess it's an early christmas for me this year. Today I'll receive my (like new with warranty) 2015 Fuji X-Pro 1 body. The price is insanely low for such a nice camera. It really is. I'm sure it will be a nice complement to my X-E2.

Yes, better camera models are coming at the end of this year. Possibly with a new higher resolution sensor, faster autofocus and more features. I'll get my hands on that stuff in a year or two, when everybody dumps it, like they dump the X-Pro 1 bodies now. Man I love capitalism.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
photominion

Looking to get an X-Pro1 for christmas and really happy to see that all relevant flaws seem to have been eradicated by Fuji's firmware updates. Yes!

1 upvote
David Smith - Photographer

Well, I can tell you right now that you've got something nice to look forward to photominion. I just bought my X-Pro 1 and my first impression is very good. It makes the X-E2 feel like a toy and using the 27mm I haven't really found any difference in focus speed. Not sure what the fuss is about. It's not lightning quick. None of the Fuji cameras are. Focussing speed certainly is adequate and again, I don't see a difference in speed compared to the X-E2. It does take a little longer for the X-Pro 1 to write the file to the SD card. Since both cameras are about the same price, I recommend the X-Pro 1 if you don't need every bit of extra speed and if you prefer to hold a slightly bigger and noticeably better build camera.

1 upvote
bootsofspanishleather

I am a rather new member and I must say that the few dopey questions I have asked have usually been answered with great information and a lack of sarcasm and judgement. They were not dopey on purpose. If anyone would like to visit the images in my portfolio you will at least know that I am not just obsessed with cameras but sing them to shoot, share, publish et. So without further ado, just purchased a new Fuji X Pro1 and bam I read the rumor page and it says Fuji X Pro2 verified rumor will be introduced this year. Besides offering the advice, "just shut up and shoot', What would you do? Is this even the right spot to leave my qesriom

1 upvote
Gerardjan

Don't worry too much about it.I also just bought the X Pro 1,well aware of the rumors. It's all about IQ right?I can assure you,you wont be disappointed! Far away from it.And I really wonder whether the IQ(mind you, IQ!)will be very different from this one.
All else, yes for sure.

1 upvote
Don Sata

It will take you a bit of effort getting used to the AF of this camera but it's very engaging to use, the VF is great and images are great too.

If you don't shoot action (like sports, pets or running children) you will be ok.

1 upvote
theprehistorian

I bought an X-Pro1 a week or so ago - I've got a use for it (I wanted a compact 50 that's not too demanding) and they can be had new for £350 in the UK! Happy days. No doubt a new flagship X-Pro2 will be announced soon, but it'll be a very expensive camera, presumably sitting above the X-T1 in the range.

0 upvotes
BobFoster

Fujifilm has fixed most of the reported issues (like slow AF) with incremental updates. I got a chance to review it recently

7 upvotes
optofonik

What is the seemingly insurmountable problem with studying a traditional 35mm film rangefinder and re-engineering it into an equally capable digital rangefinder instead of trying to re-invent the wheel? The idea that you cannot accurately use manual focus is absurd. The whole focusing by wire thing is absurd. Again, why is everyone trying to re-invent the wheel?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
LightCatcherLT

things what you are asking do exist and they are called Leica.

1 upvote
paul simon king

looking at these RAW examples the fuji x Pro looks softer nad less saturated than the Fuji X100s

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dave Chilvers

After using one for a while and with the latest firmware I find the camera to be quite superb. Lets face it, most of us are looking for IQ firstly and has been said in the review lenses like the 35 1.4 are second to none in my book.

3 upvotes
bootsofspanishleather

I just purchased a used X-_pro1 like new in box and I am very curious about the firmware updates that seem to address its previous shortcomings. Should I ask the seller about these because I am naive and no nothing about these on her camera is it a simple fix to update the firmware Your recommendation I don't even know the latest and best ones. or are they available fre e or can they be user updated. and again what is the latest firm ware and how would you perceive this as situation.

0 upvotes
Nikonhead

The latest firmware update as of May 2015 is version 3.4 and can be downloaded from Fuji's website for free. Also check to see if your lenses are also up to date.

2 upvotes
bootsofspanishleather

Firstly I really would like to thank almost everyone for the generous and non combative input. So as long as I am curious about one further issue, any gracious input will be devoured with great enjoyment. Some lenses, whether short, medium or full on zooms have O.I.S and some don't. So any other advice on gaining sharpness and stability that works well for you, hardware wise , please let me know because I am well aware of the great impact shutter speed and stillness etc. have. And please take a moment to take a look at my gallery just so you understand that it is images and not equipment I am really hungry for. Thanks in advance, and yeah thanks Light Catcher LT for the real corn on the cob. "things what you are asking do exist and they are called Leica..Really??

1 upvote
darngooddesign

OIS helps when the shutter speed gets below 1/60.

Use as wide an aperture as possible and push the ISO up to 6400.

Brace the camera against your face with your left hand under the lens to steady it. A thumb-grip, like the Lensmate, helps as well.

Set the camera to continuous low and learn to fire off two or three shots. many times one will be sharper than the other.

After that, just practice being as smooth as possible while gently pressing the shutter release, I find a screw-in soft release button helps. Also, use a faster SD card like the Sandisk Extreme Pro 95 Mb/s.

1 upvote
Total comments: 18