Fuji x10 6MP RAW DR400 EXR mode vs old 6MP DSLR

Started Apr 14, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 20,131
Re: EXR versus X-Trans, or X10 vs X20

OK, here's how I think of it...

A sensor has a baked in maximum possible dynamic range determined by the full well capacity and (mainly) the read noise(in modern CMOS sensors).  The read noise is an ongoing area of improvement but the latest exmor sony sensor are close to as good as it's going to get.

To achieve the best DR in your files, you need to shoot at base ISO, expose as far to the right as you can without clipping highlights and shoot raw.  There's nothing much that can be done to improve on this with standard sensors.

The various flavours of highlight tone priority, Active D lighting etc certainly can't improve on the basic sensor DR.  What these systems do achieve is for jpeg shooters. Essentially they map the available DR ad efficiently as possible to the jpeg file.  For those shooting RAW, these tricks are of zero use.  DR200 and DR400 in full size Fuji files are of no use at all when shooting raw.

If you want to extend DR beyond this, you need a different approach. One approach is HDR: you shoot multiple shots and combine them together either in post processing or in camera. The Fuji superccd in the S3 and S4 goes down a different route. The sensor contains 2 interleaved sets of photosites, one normal sized, the other smaller.  A single shot activates both sets of pixels which are then combined in camera to give you a single shot HDR effect.

The EXR sensor is similar to the superccd approach but a little more flexible: you can choose to the use the second sensor pixels to extend the dynamic range or you can use it to increase the pixel count for more detail.

I have an S5 pro and the tech works beautifully.  I don't have a great deal of experience with EXR used in this hardware DR expansion mode but all along I have assumed that Fuji know what they are doing and it really does work as well as the S5 superccd.

So, what I am expecting is that if use my X10 in 12MP mode I will get more detail and in 6MP mode I will get 2 stops of extra DR exactly like I get with the S5.  I intend to verify this by testing. My initial testing suggests you don't really get that much extra detail when using 12MP mode.  It looks to me like the difference between say 6MP and 7 or 8MP, not the full 12MP.  It's early days but if this holds up across tests it wil be:  1. Slightly disappointing  2. Mean there is barely any point to the 12MP mode.

Of course, at this point I've done no testing of whether 6MP gives the promised +2 stops of DR.

All my comments refer to raw shooting, I have no interest in jpeg performance as I never shoot jpegs.

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"...while I am tempted to bludgeon you, I would rather have you come away with an improved understanding of how these sensors work" ---- Eric Fossum
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