A couple of demos of highlight reproduction and DR P45+ vs Sony

Started Jan 19, 2017 | Discussions thread
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Erik Kaffehr
Erik Kaffehr Veteran Member • Posts: 7,103
A couple of demos of highlight reproduction and DR P45+ vs Sony


There is always a lot of discussions about MFD having superior highlight DR and DR, 16 bit colour etc.

Here is a small comparison, including three cameras I have

  • P45+, introduced 2007, 16 bit according to Phase One
  • Sony A900, introduced 2008, 12 bit
  • Sony A7rII, introduced 2015, 14 bits noncompressed

Highlight demo (does not include the A900)

Target Lab 100,0,0 text over Lab (100,0,0) to Lab(80, 0, 0) gradient. Text is Lorem ipsum. The m in Lorem  is the first perceivable letter in the target print.

Exposure to the right, paper white near clipping limit.

Processing in L5 2015.8. Fourth brightest grey patch adjusted to Lab (50,x,x), grey balance on next brightest grey patch.

Highlights slider used to recover text and whites slider used brighten background:

DR Test scen. Table to setup on black backdrop. Left side illuminated by a studio flash, using grid. Right side shaded. A another studio flash at minimum power  bounced from neutral wall.

All exposures ETTR with some overexposure in spectacular highlight on coffee cup. White patch on ColorChecker approximately 1.2 EV below saturation.

Image 1, left side, white balance on next brightest grey patch on CC. Fourth brightest grey patch adjusted Lab (50,x,x).

No great differences

Image 2, the dark side. Processed as the left image, but the dark side ColorChecker used for adjusment. Luminance noise reduction at 40%

Here the older sensors cannot deliver good results. The P45+ image is blotchy and has banding, the A900 image is blotch and has horrible posterisation (not very visible in this part of the image)

DxO mark DR, in print mode. Print mode is relevant as the images are shown at the same scale.

Some summary remarks:

  • The P45+ is a pretty late model and some knowledgeable folks says it is a very good sample. This is my MFD camera. Similar Kodak CCDs are used in Hasselblads 39 MP back  and a smaller version is used on the Pentax 645D and in the Leica S2.
  • I would prefer to use a later model back for this comparison.
  • The A900 was included as it is an early generation Sony Exmoor CMOS device and uses only 12 bits. The Nikon D3X used the same sensor but allowed for 14 bits.
  • A modern Sony sensor like 44x33 mm sensor used in the Pentax 645Z, Hasselblad X1D-50c or Phase One IQ-350 would behave like the A7rII but with 1/2EV advantage.

Best regards


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Erik Kaffehr
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Nikon 1 S2 Nikon Coolpix A900 Nikon Coolpix L5 Nikon D3X Pentax 645D Pentax 645Z
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