The bling factor vs proper 'testing'

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Erik Kaffehr
Erik Kaffehr Veteran Member • Posts: 4,640
The bling factor vs proper 'testing'

There are a lot of conceptions about high value products.

Matt Granger had the opportunity to compare the Fujifilm GFX 100 and the Phase One:

Both are 100 MP. the Phase one sensor is around 54x41 mm while the GFX 100 sensor is 44x33 mm. That is a 52% difference in area, which corresponds to 23% magnification. Larger but is it better?

I have serious doubts that Phase One is better. The Phase One is a digital back, so you can remove it and put it on a technical camera, that can be a huge advantage, when shooting with a technical camera.

It is no great piece of science to compare two cameras. You set up them both, shoot the same subject with 'equivalent' setups. Process the images the same way having the same WB, same midtone density and same sharpening. Blow up to same print size and compare as layers in Photoshop.

Note that almost everything should be the same. The exception is aperture, why?

We may have three ways to choose aperture, and all those make a lot of sense:

  • Equivalent aperture yields the same DoF. Most really good lenses today reach best performance around f/4 or f/5.6. If we compare say Phase One at f/11 and and say GFX 100 at f/9 both will yield the same DoF, but the GFX will be less affected by diffraction. Testing both at f/11 robs the GFX of some resolution.
  • On the other hand, it may be that the photographer tries to achieve maximum bokeh. In that case it would make sense to use maximum aperture.
  • Or, the photographers tries to achieve maximum sharpness, in that case it makes sense to use the optimal aperture.

But, once you shoot different subjects in different light, the bling factor enters the scene.

Another good example:

Sarah McAleaxnder of LensRentals arranged a comparison between the Leica Monochrome and the Sony A7rII. She was shooting the pictures and the viewers were:

Aaron Closz, Joey Miller - both Leica Shooters and technical experts and Drew Cicala who is co owner of Lens Rentals.

The three viewers were tasked with identifying the cameras. Both Leica experts had a tendency to assume that the A7rII 'was the Leica'. Drew Cicala mostly got it right.

The bling factor does affect judgement. My impression is wine testers say, 'tasting the label' instead of the wine.

Just to say, I think that reviews like Matt Granger does have a value. Using gear for a longer time shows what works and what does not.

But, the 'bling factor' is always there.

Best regards


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Erik Kaffehr
Magic uses to disappear in controlled experiments…

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