orb theory

Started Feb 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
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knurl Regular Member • Posts: 305
orb theory

trying to find out more about the orbs, and after discussing it in another thread i bumped on these images taken with nikon1 camera.

this makes me believe the x10 is not the only camera to produce orbs. these nikon images resemble the x10 orbs closest.

example A

the spotlight on the right hand side of the stage has an out of proportion white circle superimposed. you can see the actual size of the spotlight in the other pics next to this one on the flickr link below. but it is basically the same spotlight as the one standing on the frontside of the stage (left of the drummer).

example B

again there is a much bigger white disc superimposed, that eats away from the leaf. in the other pictures you can see that the actual size of the perforation in the leaf is even smaller than the ones around it. you can see this in the image next to it in the flickr link.


the main difference in these examples compared to the x10 ones is the edge which is less sharp. a possible explanation for this is that the discs in the nikon images are obscured by optical effects. i mean that the optical artifacts (flare) are more prominent than the sensor artifacts (orb). in the fuji x10 this is the other way around. maybe fuji built a too good lens on a camera with a too bad (oversensitive to orbing) sensor.
or simply put :
orbs = sensor artifact
flare (and ghosting and coma) = optical artifact
nikon orbs - flare = fuji orbs.


  • it seems with nikon this orbing doesn't happen so easily as with the x10, and is actually not problematic . these are the only examples i could find and they both have a light source shining directly into the lens.

  • obviously this does not make the x10 problem more acceptable. these examples of another (cmos) sensor just help me to support this theory.

  • this digging into nikon images was triggered by a picture that was referred to before in this forum from macau's st pauls cathedral. but what is confusing about this image is that the sharp edged "orbs" are actually lampions hung underneath the lampposts ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/doctorcasino/6740547105/ ). however, the lights from the lampposts are clearly also out of proportion.

  • could this also be an explanation why the orb problem is less pronounced in the xs1? the lens being more sensitive to flare or star-shaped highlights.

  • i'm one of those people that actually can live with the orbs in the x10. nevertheless, i am interested in understanding this phenomenon produced by my camera.

questions :

  • your opinion on this please?

  • does anybody know who manufactures the x10 sensor. nikon1 is aptina. perhaps that could help.

  • can anyone provide an image of what blooming looks like on a cmos sensor? it is written often that cmos is immune to this, but the opposite has been suggested here. perhaps the orbing should not be called blooming.

  • would be interesting to find a similar nikon1 image with a lens which is less prone to flaring etc.

  • it would also be interesting to have a nikon1 user try to simulate non-circular orbs as we have seen in these bilbao photos. orbs is obviously not a good word. "blobbing" would be correcter. also orb is already taken by another phenomenon (google "orb optics wiki").

it's possible the nikon (v1) reacts differently when using the mechanical shutter. i read some reviews mentioning a relation between electronic shutter and blooming. without further explaing though.

Fujifilm X10
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