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)...

guitarjeff wrote:

Where we disagree Ray is that I don't hold that in order for something to make a huge difference you would need to be able to pick that thing out in a dozen shots. The feel could definitely, and will be, expressed over thousands of images, and if it means thousands of images then it means for than a dozen shots. As I said, we can go to two specific cams like the 5D2 and the X pro1 and I can tell a big difference over many shots, and since I will use that cam for a body of work that could contain thousands of shots, it means just as much difference in my own shooting as it shows itself to be in the hundreds of shots I would look at from other shooters.

I agree that the native characteristics of a given filter/array/processor can vary some and it becomes apparent more over time than instantly. But where my experience differs is that the longer I shoot, the more aware I am of what I'm after in a given shot and how I can process the shot to get to that point. And once I've done the processing, the relatively minor differences in that native "look and feel" are reduced to nearly nothing or absolutely nothing or, on occasion, maybe even less than that.  Some say I over-process and I understand that I process some shots a lot, but it's ultimately a matter of taste and my taste (or lack thereof) takes me where it takes me....

Over the past couple of years (we seem to have hit a bit of a plateau in sensor development about two years ago) I've found less and less difference in the ultimate appearance of the photographs I produce and the only meaningful difference is how well the files can handle various types of processing before they start breaking down. And even THOSE differences are far smaller than they were 3-4 years ago. In 2010 or 2011, it didn't take much processing for a 12mp m43 file to really start coming apart at the seams, with ANY shadow recovery exposing horrible amounts of highly visible noise. With the new sensor that Olympus started using in 2012 and the round of APS sensors (which X-Trans, among others, is built on) were also a notable improvement upon what was there before.

The extensive work I did with full frame over the past year (mostly the RX1 with it's amazing DR and Nikon Df with it's amazing high ISO capability) showed this difference in spades. There was almost nothing I could try in processing that those files couldn't handle in spades and ask for more. Both APS and m43 files, while WAAAAAY better than the previous generation, have their limits and I'm sometimes able to find them. As with image quality at the limits of DR and low light sensitivity, I find very little difference in processing modern APS (X-trans or otherwise) and m43, but quite a bit between either and full frame.

And, of course, processing software has improved too, issues with X-Trans processing aside. Stuff like shadow and highlight recovery and NR are much MUCH better in today's tools than what was out there a couple of years ago.

So, I get your point, but I don't see it much once I've done what I'm going to do to the files my cameras produce. Hence, I really can't get worked up about the differences.

You admitted that the electronics and such, filters, gain, type of noise feel, colors, can all make a certain cam have a feel, or characteristics. That admission was al I was looking for, and we disagree on how much difference that should or could make. I claim that it can make a huge difference over the lifetime of a cam and a body of work. I claim that there are probably many X trans users who would say the same, that the special character of X trans photos (that which is beyond the charts and numbers) made a huge impact on their desire to buy an X trans cam.

But you are a cordial person and I enjoyed the back and forth. I can agree to disagree, no problem there.

No problem here either. I always enjoy a good discussion, but I can't stand the flame wars that often break out. I usually try to avoid them completely, but if there's a germ of a discussion in the subject being yelled about, as I think there was in this thread, I sometimes jump in and try to engage in that discussion...

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

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