Does the A7(r) kill HDR picture taking ?

Started Jan 15, 2014 | Discussions thread
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 5,722
Sensor quality vs. brand loyalty

DFPanno wrote:

My post addressed Canon DR vis-a vis Sony DR.

Sony went for dynamic range early -- think A100. Having better DR actually made Sony sensors look noisier back then, but they stuck to it, and modern Sony sensors have class-leading DR and very low noise. There is really nothing to discuss; the superiority of Sony sensors is documented all over DxOMark. Incidentally, this is really about superior analog electronics on the sensor, and is also why Sony sensors are essentially "ISOless" -- the only reason changing ISO by analog gain would make a difference is bad analog electronics (quantum efficiency isn't adjustable), and that's apparently what's going on in Canon sensors.

Right now, it looks like Sony is roughly 1 Ev ahead of the pack on DR (for the same sensel size), companies like Aptina and Samsung are the pack, and Canon is about 1 Ev behind them (or 2 Ev behind Sony). In practice, an improvement of 0.5 Ev is just noticable, and 1 Ev is pretty obvious.

All kinds of folks do extraordinary things with Canon cameras; never implied otherwise.

The other basic truth: film is very noisy and commercially-processed 35mm film from the 1970s gives IQ that is overall comparable to a good 1.5MP image (poorer than an uncompressed HD video frame!). I used to pride myself on my darkroom techniques (and even taught darkroom techniques back then), but even with the greatest care, my old 35mm images are more like 3MP equivalent. The best more modern films brought 35mm to about 6MP IQ, and thanks to film flatness and emulsion thickness issues, it really can't do much better than that. Yet, 35mm film images are hanging in a lot of museums.

Yes, I want the best IQ technologically possible -- I worked hard to get that back in the 1970s with film, and it's a significant part of why I mostly shoot with Sonys now. However, the basic truth is that lack of resolution, high noise, and poor dynamic range don't prevent making aesthetically great and meaningful photos.

Canon users think that the feel and features of their cameras help them make better photos, and I'm sure at least some of them are right. It's just annoying when Canon folks start making claims about their cameras that are just plain technically wrong... which mostly happens WRT the sensors, but also about things like OVFs with screens that are designed to optimize brightness (rather than to evaluate focus/DoF, as were found in pre-autofocus SLRs). The problem is that cameras are expensive toys, and that type of product breeds a lot of brand loyalty that easily can overpower technical issues in people's thinking.

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