X100F digital zoom *testing*

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Keithpictures
Keithpictures Regular Member • Posts: 425
X100F digital zoom *testing*
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After some unsubstantiated back-and-forth on the forum, I decided to test out the digital tele converter on a very bleak Berlin autumn day. Below are three photos taken from the same spot. This wasn't the most scientific test, and my spot metering resulted in pretty uneven exposures. But anyway, these three are SOOC JPGs:

35mm equiv, 6000 x 4000 px, 11.51 MB

50mm equiv, 6000 x 4000 px, 9.07 MB

70mm equiv, 6000 x 4000 px, 8.24 MB

All are 6000 x 4000 pixels - identical resolution. Technically speaking, no resolution is lost when using the digital tele converter. But they do get smaller in MB as you zoom in. So I think the interpolated pixels are somehow smaller than photon-signaled pixels. Does that make sense?

3000 x 2000 px, 3.3 MB

This one is cropped from the simultaneous RAW file of the first (default 23mm) pic. The resolution is one quarter of the original and the size is much smaller, less than half.

How does the image quality compare here, between the last two photos? This is the question: is the bottom pic, cropped in PS from the RAW file, better looking than the digital zoom? Viewing them small like this, on this website, they look very similar.

When we look at the images at 100%, things look worse for the digital zoom. I cannot confirm if this is due to my own error focusing, but the interpolating results in far mushier, less sharp details:

Screenshot of 35mm equiv at 100%

Screenshot of 50mm equiv at 100%

Screenshot of 70mm equiv at 100%

We have to grant that this 70mm equivalent view is like zooming in to 200% from the default FoV. Here is that image:

Screenshot of 35mm equiv at 200%

It's mushy as well, at 200%.

But the RAW file is a different story. Here is this view from the cropped RAW file at 200%:

Screenshot of 35mm RAW file, 200%

These are my takeaways from this test:

1) The digital tele converter maintains the 6000 x 4000 px resolution.

2) Interpolation creates some mushiness when pixel-peeping.

3) Shooting RAW creates more detail than JPG.

4) To get sharp images of far-away scenes, the X100F is not ideal. An actually longer lens would make more sense.

5) The X100F comes with inherent sacrifices. Shooting in JPG is easier, more fun and less work than shooting in RAW, but quality does suffer. Digital zoom is easier, more fun and less work than carrying an ILC with zoom lens, and quality suffers accordingly.

I don't think interpolation is vastly inferior to JPG compression. It's part of the spirit of the X100: stylish, compact and still versatile. For online publishing, I am happy that I can frame in-camera at 50mm and 70mm.

I will continue to test how sharp I can get with the digital zoom. It would be nice if those 24mp were worthwhile (printing), but right now I cannot imagine printing the 70mm equivalent shots. Maybe that will be another test.

 Keithpictures's gear list:Keithpictures's gear list
Fujifilm X100F Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Apple iPhone 11 Pro
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Fujifilm X100F
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