XT1 - Truly Superior IQ

Started Mar 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
Ray Sachs
Ray Sachs Forum Pro • Posts: 10,580
Re: Can you tell them apart? X-Trans and GX7 shots (and others)...

John Carson wrote:

Ray Sachs wrote:

Here are a bunch of shots taken with a variety of cameras, including X-Trans, m43 (both GX7 and 1 or 2 EM1 shots because I didn't have the GX7 all that long), other APS, full frame, and even some from a small sensor camera. The exif is stripped out, the aspect ratios are applied randomly, and all images are uploaded with a long edge of 2048 pixels, small enough so that this doesn't come down to extreme pixel peeping, but large enough to fill a 27" monitor and to see any really notable differences in quality. And these are real world examples of how I shot 'em (all raw) and how I processed them for my taste. Your taste may be different - that's fine, but that shouldn't keep you from calling out the obvious superiority of the X-trans files and inferiority of the m43 files...

By the logic of your argument, full frame isn't clearly superior to a small sensor camera.

Random photographs of a variety of subjects under a variety of conditions presented at a variety of sizes aren't a meaningful test of the relative abilities of different cameras. For a meaningful test, you need to shoot the same subject under the same conditions.

What your samples establish is that you can get a nice looking photo from a wide variety of equipment. Indeed you can, but controlled comparisons under a range of conditions, including demanding conditions, will permit many cameras to be distinguished.

To quote from a slightly earlier response to a slightly earlier comment along the same lines:

"The point is it's not an experiment (or test). It's real world actual photography that I've been doing over the past year or so. Lots of them in very similar circumstances and lighting, but yes, covering a variety of conditions. If the differences in IQ between cameras really mattered, this is exactly where you'd be able to see it. If you can only see it pixel peeping test photos, does it matter and can you really say that one is meaningfully better?

I could do a whole other series of low light shots that would also not show which is scientifically better in a test lab but would show that everything from m43 to full frame can produce really nice low light photos - the small sensor shots wouldn't hold up for the most part here, but everything else would."

If the differences only matter in controlled testing, then it becomes almost a philosophical question whether they matter. I do a lot of fairly demanding street shooting in low light using zone focus techniques which tell me a lot about a camera's higher ISO capabilities in a lot of ways. And also many of it's operating characteristics. I can get into a detailed analysis of what makes a camera better or worse for this type of work. I'd bet if I was a wedding or sports or portrait photographer I could get into a lot more detail about which tools are closer to the ideal for those jobs too.

But I can only address my particular area of expertise at that level - for more general shooting in a variety of circumstances and conditions I can only show what's worked for me. I've pretty much stopped using sensors smaller than m43 because I can now get m43 and APS sensors in such small packages that I don't see the point any longer and in low light, the 1" and smaller sensors do really start to limit what I can do. But between full frame and m43 I only see tradeoffs, not better worse. Yes, full frame has better low light capabilities and narrower DOF IF I'm willing to carry and shoot with the fastest best glass available, which is large, heavy, and expensive - so I'm not. So at that point APS or m43 with faster glass that closes most of the gap between sensors is a better choice for me. Tradeoffs...


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We judge photographers by the photographs we see. We judge cameras by the photographs we miss - Haim Zamir

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