Do pixels matter? What 20" x 30" prints reveal.

Started Jun 14, 2013 | Discussions
MASTERPPA Contributing Member • Posts: 867
Re: I have some questions.

BS.

Even in the BEST of light, a G15 vs a 5D3, on a good sized print (20x30) I can see the difference in a second. Mostly from DR, and edges. If the pic is a landscape, I can tell instantly at about 2 feet.  A portrait, except for DOF is much harder if it is a soft image. But as soon as I look at the hair and eye lashes, I can tell.

misolo wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

  • Or put it all together -- a modern day compact, like the G15, vs modern day FF, like the 6D with good lenses? Is there any noticeable IQ difference between the compact and FF?

The sad truth is that, in good light and if you're not looking for shallow depth of field, there isn't that much difference. Still, you'll only pry my 5DIII from my cold dead fingers...

MASTERPPA Contributing Member • Posts: 867
Re: Do pixels matter? What 20" x 30" prints reveal.
1

For the same scene, same print, etc, etc. on a 20x30, very easy to tell between a 5D2/3 and a D800 (when the scene is properly shot.

I own a 5D3 and it is like people do not want to admit it. I look at the 16x20 on my wall from my 1D2, and it is amazing how much detail I got out that OLD camera. But up close, I cringe. From my 5D3, up close, I can count hairs.

Dave Luttmann wrote:

It would depend upon subject matter. At that size, I can easily tell the difference between the 5D2 and D800.

Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 41,727
Re: I have some questions.

misolo wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

  • Or put it all together -- a modern day compact, like the G15, vs modern day FF, like the 6D with good lenses? Is there any noticeable IQ difference between the compact and FF?

The sad truth is that, in good light and if you're not looking for shallow depth of field, there isn't that much difference. Still, you'll only pry my 5DIII from my cold dead fingers...

MASTERPPA wrote:

BS.

Even in the BEST of light, a G15 vs a 5D3, on a good sized print (20x30) I can see the difference in a second. Mostly from DR, and edges.

The 5D3 and G15 have about the same DR.  What do you mean by "edges"?

If the pic is a landscape, I can tell instantly at about 2 feet. A portrait, except for DOF is much harder if it is a soft image. But as soon as I look at the hair and eye lashes, I can tell.

So you've seen landscapes and portraits of the same scene from the G15 and 5D3 printed at 20 x 30 inches side-by-side?  I never have, so I don't know if I could tell.  But a lot of people here are saying that they wouldn't be able to tell.

Rick Knepper
Rick Knepper Forum Pro • Posts: 16,121
This summary would look radically different
3

in a forum populated by users of higher resolution cameras than what Canon currently has - 35mm format or medium format. When Canon releases its high resolution camera, a summary such as this will look radically different just on fanboiism alone.

My intention in posting to this thread is not to convince entrenched fanbois with financial incentive to deny the obvious and/or to defend their equipment choice but to offer newbies an alternative opinion and suggest a surf over to the Nikon D800 forum or to a medium format forum for a balanced view  on the other side of the matter.

LaszloBencze wrote:

It looks like this thread has played out. Having read every post, I'll summarize as follows:

1. Almost everyone agrees that it is near impossible to tell the difference between large prints made from cameras with widely divergent megapixels ranging from 5 to 36.

Among all DSLR users or even Canon users or even 5D3 users, there is a statistically unmeasurable number of respondees to this thread therefore indicative of nothing.

2. A few people argue that certain types of subject matter do reveal these differences. I agree with them but suggest that such subject matter provides a minority of picture situations.

Nearly 100% of folks participating in landscape photography and who understand digital imaging would at least see the value in capturing more detail (detail is what we are really talking about here right?). Please explain what types of photography would not benefit from the capture of more detail.

3. Even when there are clear differences between cameras, the differences are not profound but difficult to discern, requiring close comparison.

I am finding that many photographers have a blind spot in their sight for resolution and seem to require more training in their viewing skills

4. The strength of a picture as a work of art far overrides the importance of megapixels. An artistically satisfying picture will be forgiven many technical faults. An artistically mediocre picture will provide a field day for nit picking.

Why are you willing to be "forgiven"? Demand a higher resolution solution from Canon and when you don't need it, de-resolve your images.

And these lead to an interesting corollary: should Canon come out with a 40 megapixel camera tomorrow, the odds are high that it will not be twice as good as the current Canon line-up but more like 10% better based on subjective evaluation.

By the way, if you can put a true percentage on something, it is an objective evaluation which you will not be able to do with such a comparison. To me, being able to differentiate the limbs and leaves of a dense thicket in the middle ground of a landscape scene when downsized to the dimensions I commonly use will seem like 20x better than a 5D2.

At least that would be case if the improvement were strictly in pixel count. If dynamic range were also extended and every vestige of banding eliminated, it would be a different story.

I certainly can't argue with part of this but you are going to be left behind in the stampede if Canon prices the camera correctly. Though resolution plus some features that now seem commonplace in this genration of DSLR alone would be enough for me to upgrade from the 5D2, isn't it a truly a sad thing for some of us that Canon sensors have such poor shadow recovery? My understanding of DR is that for a given sensor and its dynamic range, it can be adjusted to favor the highlight end or shadow end depending on the manufacturer's target market. IOW, if the range is moved toward the shadow end, the highlights suffer and vice versa I think. Wouldn't it be nice to end the expose to the right technique and get back our color and contrast?

Thanks to all who contributed their thoughts—often very well expressed— to this thread.

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Rick Knepper, photographer, non-professional, shooting for pleasure, check my profile for gear list and philosophy. TJ said, "Every generation needs a new revolution".

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Rick Knepper
Rick Knepper Forum Pro • Posts: 16,121
Re: Yes pixels matter. But it would be difficult
1

LaszloBencze wrote:

I am my only customer. I am very hard to please. Just as I will not watch a basic cable channel any longer and must have HD, I can see the difference a D800E or 5D2 makes in the detail of my images and I have an appreciation for that. And, I don't think you can argue against that.

Well Rick, based on what you said, you are exactly the person I would love to have come by my show to differentiate the pictures. I'm not being sarcastic. I truly would like to meet someone who can easily discern such differences. I might learn something.

Drop me a line if you are coming to Sacramento.

Thanks,

Laszlo

I am coming to Yosemite in October and I would be tempted to do a quick day trip to Sacramento if I wasn't bringing my gal who has never been to Yosemite. There's a lot of ground to cover in 4 days. I am sure your show would be lovely but so is Yosemite.

As for the comparison, I compare the 5D2 to the D800E many times over when PPing images from my trips. I carry both on hikes and trips and have images from both cameras on the same scene. I am sure that I could set up a decent controlled test for the forum but such exercises are mind numbing to me and I am lazy and not motivated to convince folks.

I haven't used paper prints in years. Maybe the print process doesn't expose detail as well as viewing images on a bright, 26" professional monitor (soon to be 30"). My primary medium for displaying my images is my NEC 2690. My eyes are usually positioned from 12" to 18" away. I downsize these images to match my screen resolution. The D800E captures more detail and when downsized to the same dimension, there is more retained, discernible detail vs the 5D2.

One thing that has propelled the 5D2 to stay relevant is the 24-70 II. So, I guess we can debate whether we really need good lenses or does artistic license wipe out this resolution too.

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Rick Knepper
Rick Knepper Forum Pro • Posts: 16,121
Re: Yes pixels matter. But it would be difficult

TTMartin wrote:

Sellwood wrote:

Of course my point was to invite anyone who could attend to see for themselves and determine if THEY can tell the images from the two camera systems apart. Mind you, the point the of the exhibition is art, not pixel peeping. But for those who might wish to test their discernment in addition to appreciating the art, this presents an easy and public opportunity.

Rick, I'll be in Sacramento Monday and will come by to see your show. Congratulations. I don't need, however, to be convinced that your cameras can all be pleasingly reproduced in 20x30 prints. I've had shows for several years and have sold many 24x36 prints that I shot on my old Rebel Xti.

Sharpness rarely determines a fine art print--whether a photograph or painting.

The XTi is a very special camera. I still use mine, even though I also own a 6D and 7D.

Hi TT. I know nothing about crop and this may be OT on this thread but what makes the XTi special? Isn't there an Xti 5, 4 and so on? Is it the XTi line or is it the specific model XTi? You used the present tense so I am not sure as to the context.

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The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 20,802
Re: I have some questions.
1

Great Bustard wrote:

misolo wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

  • Or put it all together -- a modern day compact, like the G15, vs modern day FF, like the 6D with good lenses? Is there any noticeable IQ difference between the compact and FF?

The sad truth is that, in good light and if you're not looking for shallow depth of field, there isn't that much difference. Still, you'll only pry my 5DIII from my cold dead fingers...

MASTERPPA wrote:

BS.

Even in the BEST of light, a G15 vs a 5D3, on a good sized print (20x30) I can see the difference in a second. Mostly from DR, and edges.

The 5D3 and G15 have about the same DR. What do you mean by "edges"?

If the pic is a landscape, I can tell instantly at about 2 feet. A portrait, except for DOF is much harder if it is a soft image. But as soon as I look at the hair and eye lashes, I can tell.

So you've seen landscapes and portraits of the same scene from the G15 and 5D3 printed at 20 x 30 inches side-by-side? I never have, so I don't know if I could tell. But a lot of people here are saying that they wouldn't be able to tell.

I've seen 20x30 prints from the G15.  If one were to confuse it with a 5D3 at that size, I'd have to say at viewer is in dire need of an eye exam.  The difference is not subtle.

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misolo Contributing Member • Posts: 945
Re: I have some questions.

Dave Luttmann wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

misolo wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

  • Or put it all together -- a modern day compact, like the G15, vs modern day FF, like the 6D with good lenses? Is there any noticeable IQ difference between the compact and FF?

The sad truth is that, in good light and if you're not looking for shallow depth of field, there isn't that much difference. Still, you'll only pry my 5DIII from my cold dead fingers...

MASTERPPA wrote:

BS.

Even in the BEST of light, a G15 vs a 5D3, on a good sized print (20x30) I can see the difference in a second. Mostly from DR, and edges.

The 5D3 and G15 have about the same DR. What do you mean by "edges"?

If the pic is a landscape, I can tell instantly at about 2 feet. A portrait, except for DOF is much harder if it is a soft image. But as soon as I look at the hair and eye lashes, I can tell.

So you've seen landscapes and portraits of the same scene from the G15 and 5D3 printed at 20 x 30 inches side-by-side? I never have, so I don't know if I could tell. But a lot of people here are saying that they wouldn't be able to tell.

I've seen 20x30 prints from the G15. If one were to confuse it with a 5D3 at that size, I'd have to say at viewer is in dire need of an eye exam. The difference is not subtle.

Most of that difference has to do with the skill of the typical user of each camera and the care that was put into the results, tripod vs. handheld, careful raw processing vs. out-of-camera jpeg, etc.

I'll re-link the example above:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

However, independently of the typical skill and care put into the results from each camera, as soon as the light drops a bit (and without a tripod or with a non-static scene), the difference does become dramatic very quickly.

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Christoph Stephan
Christoph Stephan Veteran Member • Posts: 4,252
Re: Don't believe it.

Great Bustard wrote:

Up to here, I'm with you.

And for wildlife shots, it is easy to see the extra feather detail and such when I took a pic of a bird with a 7D and then a 5D2, the 7D pics clearly show more.

No, I'm afraid I don't buy that. How is it that 18 MP 1.6x resolved more detail than 22 MP FF, unless, of course, you were framing wider with FF?

As he was talking about birds he probably is framing wider with FF; long is never long enough with birds. Let us assume he uses his longest lens (400mm or 500 mm or even 600 mm) for the shots, and needs to crop his 5d2 image to acheive the same field of view as with his 7D:

22 MP : (1.6 x 1.6) = 8.6 MP i.e. far less than the 18 MP of his 7D.

Or let's assume a full frame sensor with the same pixel density as the 7D:

18 MP x (1.6 x 1.6) = 46 MP i.e. considerably more than the EOS 5DII or 6D has.

Therefore it is not at all surprising that he achieves better feather detail with his 7D.

In other areas of photography you are correct of course, you simply use a longer lens to achieve the same field of view. In bird photography, this is usually financially prohibitive (and you could mount that 800mm to your 7D and achieve even better feather detail....)

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misolo Contributing Member • Posts: 945
Re: I have some questions.

Great Bustard wrote:

misolo wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

  • Or put it all together -- a modern day compact, like the G15, vs modern day FF, like the 6D with good lenses? Is there any noticeable IQ difference between the compact and FF?

The sad truth is that, in good light and if you're not looking for shallow depth of field, there isn't that much difference.

Yes, that's what I was asking. So, up to a 20 x 30 inch print, the G15 would be as good as FF under those conditions. A similar sentiment was expressed here:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

However, coming back to the subject of light, what's your opinion on that? That is, if people can't see the difference between 5 MP and 36 MP, what about ISO 100 vs ISO 800? ISO 400 vs ISO 6400?

Still, you'll only pry my 5DIII from my cold dead fingers...

For sure, there are operational advantages that make the 5D3 superior to a G15. But I'm talking about just IQ, here.

I think that between 5 and 36 MP you should see a difference at 20x30, but not between 12 and 20 MP.

Never looked carefully at the differences between different ISO for large prints. If you ask me to guess (and this is a pure guess, though if I have some free time this summer may entertain myself checking), I'd say that relative to ISO 100 you might only see a difference when you get to ISO 1600 (assuming the ISO 800 image is handled carefully), but relative to ISO 1600 you might immediately see a difference at ISO 3200.

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Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: I have some questions.

misolo wrote:

I'll re-link the example above:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

The only thing that this comparison shows is that there is no lower limit of how bad (technically) photos you can take with any equipment. There is nothing in focus in the PO shot; and a lot of motion blur from the 1 second exposure. Downloads here. Really? Somebody pays $40k to capture such images?

Show me a P&S shot which could match the IQ of this shot. It is 80mp (!) and has incredible clarity even at 100% zoom. Compare this to the 39mp image above.

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TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: Yes pixels matter. But it would be difficult

Rick Knepper wrote:

TTMartin wrote:

Sellwood wrote:

Of course my point was to invite anyone who could attend to see for themselves and determine if THEY can tell the images from the two camera systems apart. Mind you, the point the of the exhibition is art, not pixel peeping. But for those who might wish to test their discernment in addition to appreciating the art, this presents an easy and public opportunity.

Rick, I'll be in Sacramento Monday and will come by to see your show. Congratulations. I don't need, however, to be convinced that your cameras can all be pleasingly reproduced in 20x30 prints. I've had shows for several years and have sold many 24x36 prints that I shot on my old Rebel Xti.

Sharpness rarely determines a fine art print--whether a photograph or painting.

The XTi is a very special camera. I still use mine, even though I also own a 6D and 7D.

Hi TT. I know nothing about crop and this may be OT on this thread but what makes the XTi special? Isn't there an Xti 5, 4 and so on? Is it the XTi line or is it the specific model XTi? You used the present tense so I am not sure as to the context.

The Canon Rebel XTi (400D) shared the 10mp APS-C sensor of the venerable 40D. It has sharp detail and pleasing character to its output even when viewed at 100%.

It was one of the smallest Rebels making it the perfect candidate to pair with Canon's 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens. The combination allows it to fit in small camera bags designed for more compact bridge cameras. It is now my always with me camera.

It is a camera of firsts and lasts in the Rebel line.

It was the last Rebel to use CF cards.

It was the first and last Rebel with a 10 frame RAW / 27 frame JPG buffer

It was the first Rebel with Canon's integrated sensor cleaning system.
It was the first Rebel that supported Canon's picture styles.
It was the first Rebel with a single rear LCD display.
It was the first Rebel with Canon's 9 point AF layout
It was the first Rebel to support improved center AF point accuracy when using an f/2.8 lens.
It was the first Rebel to display RGB or Luminescence histograms.
It was the first Canon dSLR to have a 3rd party firmware upgrade, that gave rise to Magic Lantern.

It's special because it is a joy to use, and every time I look at pictures from it it continues to amaze me. This soon to be 7 year old camera, still holds its own in my opinion.

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LaszloBencze
OP LaszloBencze Contributing Member • Posts: 761
Exhibition ends on July 6th 2013

That Saturday is the last day it will be up. However, I will still have the prints of course and would be willing to show them if you were willing to visit.

LaszloBencze
OP LaszloBencze Contributing Member • Posts: 761
Insightful Luminous Landscape article
3

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

Published in 2008 comparing Hasselblad Phase One 45+ back with Canon G-10 point and shoot

This article (which I had not noticed before) is a real eye opener. It comes to the same conclusions I came to but more so. The author is not saying that a $40,000 Hasselblad digital camera is no better than a $500 Canon pocket camera. What he is saying is that under certain commonly encountered conditions it is very difficult to tell the difference between the two.

Those conditions are:

1. Viewing the images at moderately large size (13" x 19")

2. Having the subject matter be a forest landscape with many leaves instead of "models in a studio with fabrics and delicate skin tones."

He points out that he allowed experienced photographers to compare a stack of prints made with the two systems and that the main distinguishing characteristic which allowed for camera identification was the shallower depth of field of the Hasselblad images. Apparently several viewers responded to the greater depth of field produced by the small Canon camera as being "sharper" and attributed those pictures to the Hasselblad.

I'm sure that if the images had been printed to a huge 4' x 6' wall mural size, the superiority of the Hasselblad would have been easy to spot. But 4' x 6' prints do not qualify as "commonly encountered conditions." Nor would cropping a picture to 20% of its image area.

Newer and better equipment always brings pleasure to serious practitioners of the photographic art. I know it does for me. But much of that pleasure is based on considerations other than image quality: better software, greater ergonomics, useful features, etc. When we evaluate new cameras solely on image quality, I'm afraid our satisfaction is more likely to be an abstract sense of technical achievement which resides more in our minds than in the images we create.

I agree 100% with the lesson he draws from his surprising comparison:

"The lesson here, especially for newbies and amateurs (the pros have always understood this) is – stop fussing over each new camera's image quality."

qianp2k Forum Pro • Posts: 10,350
Re: I have some questions.
1

Great Bustard wrote:

misolo wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

  • Or put it all together -- a modern day compact, like the G15, vs modern day FF, like the 6D with good lenses? Is there any noticeable IQ difference between the compact and FF?

The sad truth is that, in good light and if you're not looking for shallow depth of field, there isn't that much difference. Still, you'll only pry my 5DIII from my cold dead fingers...

MASTERPPA wrote:

BS.

Even in the BEST of light, a G15 vs a 5D3, on a good sized print (20x30) I can see the difference in a second. Mostly from DR, and edges.

The 5D3 and G15 have about the same DR. What do you mean by "edges"?

Not ture. I don't own G15 but similar 1/1.7" sensor S95 and I do own 5D3. The difference between two cameras are HUGE. FF 5D3 is vastly better than much smaller sensor G15 in highlight headroom for example and much lower SNR, no comparison even at base ISO that 5D3 color tonality, shadow noises and highlight clipping are much better.

If the pic is a landscape, I can tell instantly at about 2 feet. A portrait, except for DOF is much harder if it is a soft image. But as soon as I look at the hair and eye lashes, I can tell.

So you've seen landscapes and portraits of the same scene from the G15 and 5D3 printed at 20 x 30 inches side-by-side? I never have, so I don't know if I could tell. But a lot of people here are saying that they wouldn't be able to tell.

I never print my S95 photos to 20x30" as no reason but I believe it will have significant difference. The difference is not really in amount of MP but in SNR, color tonality, natural sharpness, clarity, highlight clipping and shadow noise even at base ISO no mention in high ISOs. Among the same format (sensor size) cameras, the difference in amount of MP is much smaller. I don't see much difference between 5D1 and 5D2 when print to 20x30" that I do have a few prints from each camera.  Even at base ISO 5D3 color tonality, shadow noises and highlight clipping are much better than 1/1.7" sensor based G15/S110.

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MASTERPPA Contributing Member • Posts: 867
Re: I have some questions.

Great Bustard wrote:

misolo wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

  • Or put it all together -- a modern day compact, like the G15, vs modern day FF, like the 6D with good lenses? Is there any noticeable IQ difference between the compact and FF?

The sad truth is that, in good light and if you're not looking for shallow depth of field, there isn't that much difference. Still, you'll only pry my 5DIII from my cold dead fingers...

MASTERPPA wrote:

BS.

Even in the BEST of light, a G15 vs a 5D3, on a good sized print (20x30) I can see the difference in a second. Mostly from DR, and edges.

The 5D3 and G15 have about the same DR. What do you mean by "edges"?

The edge of very sharp objects do not look the same between the two camera. I have both cameras, and see it from the same pics I take with my 5D3 (all in Disney world) and the ones my wife shots.  Both cameras are on auto, since I am not picky. But on the large prints we have, esp the ones that are cropped a lot, I see it. I am NOT able to pull as much data from the G15 from RAW. Highlights and shadows are bad from the G15

If the pic is a landscape, I can tell instantly at about 2 feet. A portrait, except for DOF is much harder if it is a soft image. But as soon as I look at the hair and eye lashes, I can tell.

So you've seen landscapes and portraits of the same scene from the G15 and 5D3 printed at 20 x 30 inches side-by-side? I never have, so I don't know if I could tell. But a lot of people here are saying that they wouldn't be able to tell.

MASTERPPA Contributing Member • Posts: 867
Re: Do pixels matter? What 20" x 30" prints reveal.

The breakdown is, it depends on the scene. For example, if you are shooing landscapes with trees at 20*30, and cannot see the difference between a 1DII/1DIII and a 5DII/III, then you need glasses.

If it is a portrait shot with a 1.2 lens, most cases it is much harder at NORMAL viewing distances.

Double resolution is major. But I can see the difference on landscapes between the 5D3 and the D800(E). And that is not double the resolution.  Since I owned both the 1DII, 1DIII, 5D2, 5D3 and a mix of 20D, 30D, etc over the years, I can see it.  I have a 20x30 print, ISO 100 from my 1DII on my wall and I can see the pixillation in this pic. I do not see it at all in my 5D3 print, ISO 100 from the same area (I shoot a lot of my portraits in the same 3 locations, so I can see a progression from one camera to the other, over the years.)

I think you need to talk to people who have owned all 4 of the camera, and ask them about the prints from the same locations.  Different pics do not count, since all scenes are unique.

LaszloBencze wrote:

I currently have a show of 38 20" x 30" prints appearing at the Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento. Most of the pictures were taken with either a 5D MKII or 5D MKIII. However, some of them come from the Canon 1D MKII and 1DMIII which are not full frame and have about half the number of pixels of the 5D cameras (8 & 10 megapixels vs over 20 for the 5Ds).

What I noticed is that I could not tell which pictures were taken with the lower pixel count 1D cameras. They do not stand out as obviously inferior. In fact all the pictures look good and are indistinguishable in terms of sharpness or resolution.

Now I'm sure that there are benefits of the 20 megapixel cameras. And I do own two of them. But my point is that real life photo situations with large areas of bland texture or out of focus areas do not reveal such differences. This is a bit of a surprise for me but a reassuring one.

If you happen to live in the Sacramento area, you're welcome to look for yourself. The gallery is at 2015 J street and is well identified with signage.

The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 20,802
Re: Insightful Luminous Landscape article

Ah yes, from the same team that gave us the D30 beating film....and the 1Ds beating medium format....and the Film is Binary articles.  Ya, quoting them is like quoting Ken Rockwell.

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TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: Insightful Luminous Landscape article
2

Dave Luttmann wrote:

Ah yes, from the same team that gave us the D30 beating film....and the 1Ds beating medium format....and the Film is Binary articles. Ya, quoting them is like quoting Ken Rockwell.

KR is a great person to quote, he flip flops around so much, you can usually find something he said that supports both sides of a position. Just pick the one that suits you.

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Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 41,727
Re: I have some questions.

qianp2k wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

misolo wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

  • Or put it all together -- a modern day compact, like the G15, vs modern day FF, like the 6D with good lenses? Is there any noticeable IQ difference between the compact and FF?

The sad truth is that, in good light and if you're not looking for shallow depth of field, there isn't that much difference. Still, you'll only pry my 5DIII from my cold dead fingers...

MASTERPPA wrote:

BS.

Even in the BEST of light, a G15 vs a 5D3, on a good sized print (20x30) I can see the difference in a second. Mostly from DR, and edges.

The 5D3 and G15 have about the same DR. What do you mean by "edges"?

Not ture. I don't own G15 but similar 1/1.7" sensor S95 and I do own 5D3. The difference between two cameras are HUGE. FF 5D3 is vastly better than much smaller sensor G15 in highlight headroom for example and much lower SNR, no comparison even at base ISO that 5D3 color tonality, shadow noises and highlight clipping are much better.

The DR / pixel for the 5D3 is 11 stops at base ISO:

http://www.sensorgen.info/CanonEOS_5D_MkIII.html

The DR / pixel for the G15 is 11.5 stops at base ISO:

http://www.sensorgen.info/CanonPowershot_G15.html

Of course, we all know (especially you) that per-pixel measurements are meaningless when comparing photos made from different numbers of pixels. To that end, the DR / µphoto is 13.2 stops for the 5D3 and 13.3 stops for the G15 -- basically the same.

If the pic is a landscape, I can tell instantly at about 2 feet. A portrait, except for DOF is much harder if it is a soft image. But as soon as I look at the hair and eye lashes, I can tell.

So you've seen landscapes and portraits of the same scene from the G15 and 5D3 printed at 20 x 30 inches side-by-side? I never have, so I don't know if I could tell. But a lot of people here are saying that they wouldn't be able to tell.

I never print my S95 photos to 20x30" as no reason but I believe it will have significant difference. The difference is not really in amount of MP but in SNR, color tonality, natural sharpness, clarity, highlight clipping and shadow noise even at base ISO no mention in high ISOs.

The dynamic range is the number of stops in lighting where you can see detail from shadows to highlights, and, as demonstrated above, it's the same for the 5D3 and G15.

Among the same format (sensor size) cameras, the difference in amount of MP is much smaller. I don't see much difference between 5D1 and 5D2 when print to 20x30" that I do have a few prints from each camera. Even at base ISO 5D3 color tonality, shadow noises and highlight clipping are much better than 1/1.7" sensor based G15/S110.

Where the 5D3 will pull ahead of the G15 is that the photos will have less noise for any given exposure, as more light will fall on the larger sensor of the 5D3 and the sensors are rather close in terms of efficiency.  In addition, 22 MP will record more detail than 12 MP, but since that doesn't seem to be an issue for the 5D vs 5D2, then it wouldn't be an issue for the G15 vs 5D3, so that leaves us with noise.

So, is the noise differential really what makes the difference between the systems, even at base ISO, as opposed to the additional detail captured with more pixels?  Or is noise, like more pixels, another overhyped measure, since the print and/or our eyes are the weakest link in the chain and severely curtail the utility of better tech, with the exception of significantly lower light and larger prints, where what constitutes "lower" and "larger" are largely scene dependent?

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