Welcome to the Studio Test Scene
We've worked hard over the last few months to develop a new test scene and a protocol for shooting it and processing the results. The underlying idea is to give a clearer idea of how a camera will perform in the real world - not just an idealized setting.
To achieve this, we've developed a scene that includes a variety of samples of fine detail, low-contrast textures and colored tones that should help you assess what a camera's output will look like. The new scene is shot in both good light and low light modes (explained below), which are designed to be visually distinct. As before, all images in the test scene are downloadable and shooting information (including the lens used) is available by clicking the [i] button under each sample.
In addition to a new lighting mode we have also included the option to 'normalize' the scene to a standard print size and social media size.
|On the top right of the new scene widget you can select from 'Daylight' and 'Low-light' modes as well as normalize the images to standard print and social media sizes.|
The scene is shot so that the brightness of the scene is consistent, between JPEGs (since we believe most people aim for a particular brightness when shooting). Any difference in shutter speeds used is displayed in the settings information. Note that at the very highest ISOs, it is sometimes necessary to reduce the light level to prevent over-exposure.
What’s the deal with this low-light mode?
In addition to replacing our studio test scene we've also added a few new features that give a more complete view of what a camera is capable of in different lighting situations. Of course we still present our daylight scene that uses daylight-balance lighting (CRI 95) to represent a lighting condition that you might encounter outside on a typical day. In addition, we've also added a new ‘low light’ mode that replicates a lighting situation you are likely to encounter in a home or dimly lit bar. This ‘stress test’ is designed to push the camera to its limits and show off noise that would otherwise be masked by the abundant light in our ‘daylight’ scene.
|The light source used in this low-light mode is a single standard household tungsten bulb placed just to the right of the scene providing 3EV of light at the center.|
The extreme angle of the light source to the scene creates a distinct fall off of brightness that creates 2 separate areas of light, a highlight area and a shadowed area. As you may have noticed the scene is roughly diagonally symmetrical, providing similar objects in different light levels in a single image.
How are the low-light images shot?
In our comparison widget we present the low-light setting in JPEG as well as Raw where available. In JPEG mode, the images are presented straight from the camera. Unlike the daylight scene, the low-light scene is shot in AWB (Auto White Balance) and any option to preserve scene 'warmth' is left at its default setting, to give a realistic impression of the camera's output in the real world.
The Raw files are adjusted with a standardized processing method to reveal characteristics which would otherwise be hidden. The brightness of the Raw file is matched to that of the JPEG but here white balance is neutralized and noise reduction is minimized, to show blue-channel noise or banding. For the same reason, the black level is increased to 100 and the white level increased to 20, to brighten detail in the shadow regions while retaining a similar amount of tonal detail in the highlights. As with the daylight scene, sharpening is minimized and a standard amount applied in Photoshop.
What was wrong with the old scene?
The existing test scene, which dates back to October 2009 (and has only allowed user-selectable comparisons since June 2010), has served us well but has presented an increasing number of problems in recent years - most of which stem from it being too small.
|The old test scene dates back to 2009 and has only been directly comparable since mid 2010. This scene had evolved bit-by-bit since 2000.|
The small size of the scene meant that some cameras, particularly those with fixed normal and wide-angle lenses, needed to be shot very close to the scene (often requiring a mini tripod to be set up inside the box it's housed in). Additionally, some modern compacts with large sensors and complex lenses looked terrible when shot at these close-quarters - meaning the scene didn't reflect their real-world behavior.
The three-dimensional nature of the old scene also meant that the scene had to be shot at very small (diffraction-limited) apertures to ensure all the key targets were acceptably sharp, yet still didn't have any corner detail within depth-of-field. These drawbacks, plus the need to revise the lighting of the scene, prompted us to move to a new scene around 7 times larger than the existing one.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.