Do you really see THAT much difference in images?

Started Jul 28, 2013 | Discussions
Alex Notpro
Alex Notpro Contributing Member • Posts: 996
the difference is in the shots you miss

Under ideal lighting, cooperative subject and environment, etc, even my iPhone can take pictures that are as good as my E-PM2 (Olympud MFT) or D700 (full-frame Nikon DSLR).

The biggest difference between these cameras are in the shots not taken. Those times where I see an opportunity but won't bother to take the iPhone out of my pocket because I know it'll just produce a blurry mess.

It is less extreme but the same happens between the E-PM2 and the D700. There are shots the D700 will nail which the E-PM2 will just refuse to play along.

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LincolnB Veteran Member • Posts: 4,356
I see THAT much difference in photographers
1

I have friends who consistently take better pictures, more interesting pictures, with their camera phones than some gearheads with their full frame cameras. I also have friends with pro cameras whose photos are just as good with their camera phones.

Sure, I see differences in cameras. I see some shots that simply aren't practical or even possible with lesser cameras. I see clarity in some shots that isn't seen with lesser cameras. But mostly I see good photographers, indifferent photographers, and bad photographers.

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honeyiscool
honeyiscool Senior Member • Posts: 1,376
Passion for photography
2

When you start to do most of your photography at settings that push the capabilities of sensors and lenses, you will start appreciating the gear difference more. That said... not to start a flame-fest, but I do see some pictures on this and other camera boards and wonder, if all you're doing is pictures of buildings and trees from far away in broad daylight, it shows a bit of a lack of passion or maybe motivation when it comes to your photography. Then, maybe you'd be better off with an LX7 or RX100 that just get the job done and prevent you from sinking more money into photography than you need to. I'm just saying, I've seen iPhone snaps on Instagram that show more of a desire to get in there and capture a beautiful moment than some people with $1000 bodies and $1000 glass who seemingly can't get 6 feet in front of someone to get a good shot. When you lack a real desire to capture and preserve an interesting shot, I think it shows in the final result.

I would think that, of all people, MFT shooters would be the kind of people who really understand the need to just get in there and always be shooting because isn't that the idea behind the format, to have a camera that is less than intimidating that can be with you all the time? Regardless, I see a lot of bickering over Olympus vs Panasonic and bashing other people's opinions of cameras and lenses when you should be out there snapping pictures and looking at them and trying to improve your craft.

That said, gear does matter, and I am especially annoyed by those who think that the 20mm pancake is perfect. I tried it for a few weeks, I couldn't get the shots I wanted because of the slow AF speed. That should be the end of the discussion, right? Instead, I'm just met with people who seemingly can't accept someone else's opinion of a lens. Sure, it's opinion that I think the 20mm is unacceptably slow, but it's fact that I tried it and missed a lot of shots while it was hunting for focus, and it's also fact that none of my other lenses have done that. So get over it. It didn't fit my shooting habits. If all I did was take pictures of trees in daylight, the 20mm would have been fine. For me, no review in the world can convince me that the 17mm f/1.8 is a worse lens than 20mm f/1.7, because I've taken thousands of pictures with both and one just worked out better than the other. So when people ask for what lens they should get, I am more than willing to share my own opinion. Just accept it and please get over it.

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ryan2007 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,001
Re: Do you really see THAT much difference in images?

MichaelKJ wrote:

ryan2007 wrote:

rkhndjr wrote:

I read so much about the IQ with this or that camera and lens that I truly wonder if I am just not seeing the same images at times. It has always seemed to me that an image from any decent camera and lens was good in my estimation, disregarding all the highly technical aspects which are brought up in replies. Is there really that much change between images taken with any camera and lens?? How many look forward to seeing a nice picture without critique of some sort. Do all the equations and talk of the sensors, et cetera lead to a better understanding of how to take a good picture, and is it necessary? Just my thoughts this morning and I hope I did not offend any one. No bad thoughts in my mind, just curious.

Compare images taken with Fuji X lenses to any equivalent Micro Four thirds lens, the Fuji optics are better. You also have a larger sensor that helps, but that is just a part of the equation.

You can compare the Fuji X20 or even X100s call it p&s to others and the Fuji is still very very good. The X20 has a smaller sensor to the X100s. The X100s and Fuji XE and Xpro mirror-less cameras have a 1.5x crop like Nikon DX.

I am sure taking the next step to Sony RX-1 that is full frame and I think maybe a Leica model (not sure) are a step from that.

You might want to add that you are voicing your opinion that 1) there is a difference, and 2) that the difference is significant enough that it matters. You might also want to explain why so many enthusiasts and professionals are happily using mFT.

It is not an opinion, it is a fact as it stands today for still use in a mirrorless camera comparing Panasonic or Olympus to Fuji XF lenses the Fuji is better.

It was significant enough for me to sell my MFT's gear and I had quite an investment, that is how much better Fuji stands today for stills.

Specifically name the professionals using any mirrorless camera to actually make a living as a only camera. Not to post to a blog so they can brag.

Their are no commercial photographers that solely use mirrorless. None shoot Pro Sports, None shoot magazines, none shoot weddings. I would not shoot Fuji to make a living with this system as it stands today and I own the system.

You need a DSLR and that is what I would buy. You need to use the right tool or it just does not work.

Neil Regular Member • Posts: 138
Re: 20mm 1.7
1

"That said, gear does matter, and I am especially annoyed by those who think that the 20mm pancake is perfect. I tried it for a few weeks, I couldn't get the shots I wanted because of the slow AF speed."

A big Amen to that.

I had the 20mm 1.7 as my only lens for over a year on an older E-P2 and while image quality was absolutely flawless, I eventually grew extremely frustrated with its slow focus and many missed shots as a result.

Before I upgraded to the newer OMD EM5, the Oly 17mm 1.8 focus speed was very noticably superior and an all-around better lens on my E-P2 then the Panny 20mm. Even the (unfairly) less-regarded 17mm 2.8 focuses much faster!

So yes, gear does matter - especially fast, quality lenses. It all comes down to a balance of *increasing* shooting flexibility while decreasing instances of missed photo opportunities.

For me, IMHO, the 17mm 1.8 ticks more boxes for flexibility. Then again, some photographers may not put low-light (or even focus speed) as a high priority and would value a WA or super zoom a lot more. So much depends on shooting style & personal preferences, really.

Cheers,

Neil

Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 30,327
Re: Do you really see THAT much difference in images?
3

Yes, good gear makes it easier to get good images.

And if that good gear makes it easier then more effort can go to getting a pleasing result instead of wasting time on battling the camera.

In film days the quest for more reliable results to allow me to more easily get the shot led me to medium format, owning both 6x6cm (Kowasix) and 6x4.5cm (Bronica ETRS) cameras at various times. In fact I traded in a rather complete Olympus Pen FT outfit to buy an extra lens for the Kowasix at one stage. Half frame photography was so poor then due to the available films and medium format splendid compared to 35mm film.

In film days as now, it was the bigger format that made good photography easier - but the weight then meant that it never was taken out every time.

Now in my wrinkly years I still would love large (sensor) format photography but the weight and bulk of current full frame is not my scene any more, the M4/3 outfit is just the right size and now with the better sensor allows easier ways to get the shot and thus allow me to spend more effort on the arty side of the equation if deemed necessary at the time.

Truth be though that some years in camera clubs got the need for competition and "always presenting an arty shot" out of my system. The main aim now for me is to record what I see and if an arty situation presents itself then I will indulge in what I call my "camera clubby" shots.

Oh, what was the question? Yes, I do see a difference in going from 12MP (E-PL1 and E-P3)  to the 16MP sensor (E-PL5) and that coupled with significant improvements in AF and convenience of features makes the latest package feel so good to me.

Regards..... Guy

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Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 41,736
Rarely...
1

rkhndjr wrote:

I read so much about the IQ with this or that camera and lens that I truly wonder if I am just not seeing the same images at times. It has always seemed to me that an image from any decent camera and lens was good in my estimation, disregarding all the highly technical aspects which are brought up in replies. Is there really that much change between images taken with any camera and lens?? How many look forward to seeing a nice picture without critique of some sort. Do all the equations and talk of the sensors, et cetera lead to a better understanding of how to take a good picture, and is it necessary? Just my thoughts this morning and I hope I did not offend any one. No bad thoughts in my mind, just curious.

...do I see photos where IQ makes or breaks the pic.

Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,468
But frequently ...

Great Bustard wrote:

rkhndjr wrote:

I read so much about the IQ with this or that camera and lens that I truly wonder if I am just not seeing the same images at times. It has always seemed to me that an image from any decent camera and lens was good in my estimation, disregarding all the highly technical aspects which are brought up in replies. Is there really that much change between images taken with any camera and lens?? How many look forward to seeing a nice picture without critique of some sort. Do all the equations and talk of the sensors, et cetera lead to a better understanding of how to take a good picture, and is it necessary? Just my thoughts this morning and I hope I did not offend any one. No bad thoughts in my mind, just curious.

...do I see photos where IQ makes or breaks the pic.

... I see pictures that couldn't have been shot nearly as well with less "capable" cameras. Now how do you reconcile these two observations?

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SkiHound Veteran Member • Posts: 3,316
Re: Do you really see THAT much difference in images?

My response would be a qualified yes. But you make a strong point. The essence of great photography is interesting subject matter, composition, light, etc. A great photographer can make great images with almost any camera. And no equipment will give a bad photographer a good eye. These are equipment forums so an interest in equipment is pretty natural, but I think there is far to much attention given to equipment and far to little to making better photos. Now, certain kinds of equipment or features might be really important for some types of photography. As for IQ I have an E620 and an E-M5. The E-M5 files have considerably more dynamic range, less noise at pretty much all isos, and and higher resolution.

MichaelKJ Veteran Member • Posts: 3,466
Re: Do you really see THAT much difference in images?
1

ryan2007 wrote:

MichaelKJ wrote:

ryan2007 wrote:

rkhndjr wrote:

I read so much about the IQ with this or that camera and lens that I truly wonder if I am just not seeing the same images at times. It has always seemed to me that an image from any decent camera and lens was good in my estimation, disregarding all the highly technical aspects which are brought up in replies. Is there really that much change between images taken with any camera and lens?? How many look forward to seeing a nice picture without critique of some sort. Do all the equations and talk of the sensors, et cetera lead to a better understanding of how to take a good picture, and is it necessary? Just my thoughts this morning and I hope I did not offend any one. No bad thoughts in my mind, just curious.

Compare images taken with Fuji X lenses to any equivalent Micro Four thirds lens, the Fuji optics are better. You also have a larger sensor that helps, but that is just a part of the equation.

You can compare the Fuji X20 or even X100s call it p&s to others and the Fuji is still very very good. The X20 has a smaller sensor to the X100s. The X100s and Fuji XE and Xpro mirror-less cameras have a 1.5x crop like Nikon DX.

I am sure taking the next step to Sony RX-1 that is full frame and I think maybe a Leica model (not sure) are a step from that.

You might want to add that you are voicing your opinion that 1) there is a difference, and 2) that the difference is significant enough that it matters. You might also want to explain why so many enthusiasts and professionals are happily using mFT.

It is not an opinion, it is a fact as it stands today for still use in a mirrorless camera comparing Panasonic or Olympus to Fuji XF lenses the Fuji is better.

Proof?

It was significant enough for me to sell my MFT's gear and I had quite an investment, that is how much better Fuji stands today for stills.

You are an n of 1. It that what you are basing your claim that it is a "fact" that the Fuji is significantly better?

Specifically name the professionals using any mirrorless camera to actually make a living as a only camera. Not to post to a blog so they can brag.

I didn't say that there are professionals who are using mirrorless as their only camera.  Please don't imply that I did.  I'm talking about the fact that there are many serious enthusiasts as well as quite a few professionals who own and use m43.  Do you think they are idiots or ignorant not to recognize the "fact" that Fuji is better?

Their (there) are no commercial photographers that solely use mirrorless. None shoot Pro Sports, None shoot magazines, none shoot weddings. I would not shoot Fuji to make a living with this system as it stands today and I own the system.

I didn't know this thread was about the IQ requirements that professionals use.  How much would you be willing to wager that there isn't a single wedding photographer who uses m43?

You need a DSLR and that is what I would buy. You need to use the right tool or it just does not work.

Need a DSLR for what? Last I checked, my OM-D worked just fine.

I was responding to you comment about the Fuji. Why do you feel the need to bring up DSLRs?

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galupi21 Forum Member • Posts: 78
Re: Do you really see THAT much difference in images?

"It's The Print,  stupid" Bill Clinton said.

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Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 41,736
Re: But frequently ...

Anders W wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

rkhndjr wrote:

I read so much about the IQ with this or that camera and lens that I truly wonder if I am just not seeing the same images at times. It has always seemed to me that an image from any decent camera and lens was good in my estimation, disregarding all the highly technical aspects which are brought up in replies. Is there really that much change between images taken with any camera and lens?? How many look forward to seeing a nice picture without critique of some sort. Do all the equations and talk of the sensors, et cetera lead to a better understanding of how to take a good picture, and is it necessary? Just my thoughts this morning and I hope I did not offend any one. No bad thoughts in my mind, just curious.

...do I see photos where IQ makes or breaks the pic.

... I see pictures that couldn't have been shot nearly as well with less "capable" cameras. Now how do you reconcile these two observations?

That differences in operation (e.g. AF speed / accuracy) usually matters more than differences in IQ, except for extreme circumstances (e.g. large prints in low light), but, more usually, most any modern DSLR or mirrorless, and often compacts, can get the job done for the vast majority of situations, despite differences in IQ and operation.

george4908 Regular Member • Posts: 218
Re: Do you really see THAT much difference in images?
2

dave rogers wrote:

When I was young and music came on vinyl, the stereo setup was treated as a kind of an alter, and the act of listening to music was almost  a religious rite. (Carefully remove the disk from the sleeve, sometimes wipe it down with some anti-static, dust removing fluid, carefully place the cartridge onto the platter, listen to five or six songs, then repeat.) And we all argued about how many hz our amplifiers could accurately recreate without distortion, how much "wow and flutter" our direct drive, quartz-locked turntables produced.

Reminds me of a high school friend of mine in the late '60s who had an awesome stereo system, including a then-state-of-the-art reel-to-reel.  I came over to check it out.  What he played for me was the theme song from "Mission Impossible" as recorded off the TV.  Music didn't really interest him -- his hobby was hardware for sound reproduction.

I didn't get that at the time, but I understand it now.  Being a gearhead is easy -- it just takes money and the desire to keep up with the latest specs.  People invest a lot ot themselves in those specs.  By the same token, I know some guitar collectors who can barely play, and I'm sure every field has its equivalent.  Learning photography, or music, or whatever it is that the gear is designed for -- that's hard work and requires a much deeper commitment.

Not being critical here, I'm as susceptible to gear acquistion syndrome as the next guy.  And the two are not mutually exclusive -- there are gearheads who are also fine artists.

OP rkhndjr Forum Pro • Posts: 13,082
Re: Yes, but....

jalywol wrote:

rkhndjr wrote:

I read so much about the IQ with this or that camera and lens that I truly wonder if I am just not seeing the same images at times. It has always seemed to me that an image from any decent camera and lens was good in my estimation, disregarding all the highly technical aspects which are brought up in replies. Is there really that much change between images taken with any camera and lens?? How many look forward to seeing a nice picture without critique of some sort. Do all the equations and talk of the sensors, et cetera lead to a better understanding of how to take a good picture, and is it necessary? Just my thoughts this morning and I hope I did not offend any one. No bad thoughts in my mind, just curious.

No, all of the equations and technical discussion of sensors and camera capabilities do NOT help anyone master the essential fundamentals of photographic composition. Training your eye and brain to recognize a photo opportunity is the most difficult and elusive part of this hobby/profession, and I would venture to guess that most digital cameras sold in the past 10 years would be adequate to get started with that.

The training eye and brain have little to do with my post, really. No offense intended. I just want to see how many people really appreciate an image as is, no PP or anything else. How happy are we with an image? My words about a good image should have been sufficient for anyone here to understand the limitations entailed by my words.

All of this technical pickiness comes in from two directions (which are not necessarily mutually exclusive, although they can be):
1) Photography has a heavily gear-oriented focus for a lot of particpants. It's always been that way, and I think always will be. Some of the gear-driven participants can be really excellent photographers; others can be mediocre or terrible; it truly runs the gamut.
2) Some photographers are seeking a particular look or feel to their images, or photograph subjects or situations that are difficult for some gear to capture adequately. As a result they chase the technology, hoping it catches up with what they need/would like it to do. It's these photographers for whom small differences in image output jumps out and becomes a big deal.

Whether or not you see a difference between one camera's output and another thus really depends on a combinations of training and expectations.....and not everyone needs the ultimate photographic setup to do good work, either.

Look, I have been involved in photography for the past 40 years, with the past 10 being the first time I have had much of an opportunity to really work with it. I have good and bad shots from all the cameras I have had, and honestly, a really good shot from any of them, no matter when taken, is still a really good shot, even if the camera was less than stellar. The thing is, as my technical expertise has grown, and my understanding of what a camera and lenses can and can't do have increased, I find that I am more sensitive to what the output looks like, and I can pick up differences in image quality that I would not have seen before. It's those differences that push me to consider newer camera bodies with better specifications, still. We ARE getting awfully close now, though, to the point at which, even for me, the advances may not justify a new body for rather a while...

Well put. Some people still show great images from a ten year old camera and are happy with it. That is what matters. New gear will only cost a lot of money and I am an expert on that part:-)) It is all fun up to a point. I have taken pictures for over 60 years and have many framed very nice pics on the walls around me in this room. But I never took a lesson, shot all of them from an aesthetic point of view and hoped.

.

-J

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Russell Smith
Eternity was in that moment.

OP rkhndjr Forum Pro • Posts: 13,082
Re: Yes but glass not cameras

Trevor Carpenter wrote:

I see very little difference between my G5 and any other camera but I do see incredible differences when comparing to someone's pictures taken with the best glass. I have always looked in awe at bird pictures with Oly 4/3s 300mm and there is nothing I can do about it because a) no glass like that exists for m4/3s and b) even if it did I couldn't afford it.

Now we finally get to the truly important part- good glass. I used a DSLR for years and found quickly that a $200 lens just did not get the same pic as a $1000 lens. This does avoid any words about how the composition and subject matter entered the deal.Thank you for the thoughtful reply.

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Eternity was in that moment.

Olymore
Olymore Senior Member • Posts: 1,751
Re: Do you really see THAT much difference in images?

Other than dynamic range the IQ was good enough a couple of generation back for me. Now the latest Sony sensor gives me enough DR most of the time the only reason to change is for functional reasons.

For instance I want a moderately sized camera with a viewfinder that is as large as my old OM film cameras, I want the ability to properly autofocus my four thirds lenses with a sensor as good as the one in the OM-D, and it would be nice to have longer lasting batteries.

I suspect I will be there with the forthcoming OM-D 'Pro' .

And I would also like a compact camera with a similar viewfinder and sensor. Stick a 20mm or 25mm F2.8 lens on it and I'll be happy.

Those two cameras along with my current OM-D (for when I don't want to carry larger lenses and camera) would satisfy me barring any miraculous beakthrough in sensor techology.

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morepix
morepix Veteran Member • Posts: 9,360
Cautionary tale?

Do you think you're Hans Christian Andersen?

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David
www.pbase.com/morepix

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David Kieltyka
David Kieltyka Veteran Member • Posts: 5,167
Not that big a deal
2

With experience people begin seeing nuances in image quality that they missed earlier on. But when you first look at a photo and it has those few seconds to either make an impact or not, such nuances are irrelevant. The qualities of the photographer matter a whole lot more. Note that I'm talking about looking at other people's photos. When looking at our own, we tend to be reminded of stuff that skews our ability to dispassionately evaluate what we've done. Which is why photographers are often poor judges of their own work.

Anyway, if the photographer has an eye for compelling or pleasing composition and is competent technically, most gear in most situations will be good enough to get the job done. Anything beyond that is in, shall we say, rarefied air. More than meaningless, less than significant.

And as the saying goes, It ain't the tool, it's the fool.

-Dave-

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AndyGM Contributing Member • Posts: 698
Re: Do you really see THAT much difference in images?

I think what we are discussing here is the intersection of the ambition and vision of the photographer, with the capabilities of the camera. You need both to produce striking images.

I will readily admit I take a lot of "unambitious" shots with my m43 camera, shots in blazing sunshine at small apertures with my walkaround lens of choice, a superzoom. Could I get as good results with a fixed lens superzoom camera with a pokey sensor? Yes, its likely, although m43 cameras still have the fastest CDAF in the business so there is still a capabilities advantage there that means my setup can get shots I otherwise wouldn't with the simpler gear alternative, and the m43 setup isn't all that bigger which is what you want when you are walking around. I would say I'm still learning on the vision thing, about knowing and seeing a good photo opportunity when one happens.

Likewise there are shots I have taken with native and adapted prime lenses which are quite ambitious and that I know I just would not have been able to take with lesser gear, and the ambition of these shots is really stretching me as a photographer, and give me learning opportunities I wouldn't have otherwise.

And I can handle both of these shooting situations with just the one camera.

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Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,468
Re: But frequently ...

Great Bustard wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

rkhndjr wrote:

I read so much about the IQ with this or that camera and lens that I truly wonder if I am just not seeing the same images at times. It has always seemed to me that an image from any decent camera and lens was good in my estimation, disregarding all the highly technical aspects which are brought up in replies. Is there really that much change between images taken with any camera and lens?? How many look forward to seeing a nice picture without critique of some sort. Do all the equations and talk of the sensors, et cetera lead to a better understanding of how to take a good picture, and is it necessary? Just my thoughts this morning and I hope I did not offend any one. No bad thoughts in my mind, just curious.

...do I see photos where IQ makes or breaks the pic.

... I see pictures that couldn't have been shot nearly as well with less "capable" cameras. Now how do you reconcile these two observations?

That differences in operation (e.g. AF speed / accuracy) usually matters more than differences in IQ, except for extreme circumstances (e.g. large prints in low light), but, more usually, most any modern DSLR or mirrorless, and often compacts, can get the job done for the vast majority of situations, despite differences in IQ and operation.

On the right track but not just differences in operation. Some people (and no, I am not thinking about you  ) appear to think that differences in camera capabilities, such as those between FF and MFT, translate into perceptible differences in IQ for just about any picture. As we both know, that's not the case. There are many things the two formats can do about equally well. But there are a few things FF can do better (at a certain price in terms of bulk, weight, and cost). In other words, the more capable camera is more versatile, i.e., can handle more shooting scenarios reasonably well. I believe they call it a bigger "performance envelope" these days.

Personally, I never really saw it differently. It was clear to me from the beginning that the Konica SLR I bought when I was sixteen wouldn't do significantly better than the compact I had practiced on before that (my father's Konica C35) at about 35 mm FL on a nice summer day with no particular difficulties in terms of metering or f-stop-shutter-speed combination (the C35 was program mode only). I was also clear to me from the beginning, that the SLR could accomplish quite a few things the C35 couldn't handle at all.

Same with progress over time. Today's cameras can take decent images in shooting scenarios that were simply impossible in the past but that doesn't mean they will do significantly better in every case.

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