X-E2 14-bit RAW vs X-E1 12-bit RAW

Started Dec 5, 2013 | Discussions
a l b e r t
a l b e r t Senior Member • Posts: 1,673
X-E2 14-bit RAW vs X-E1 12-bit RAW
1

I finally did some comparisons on the two RAW formats.

On the surface, one cannot really see the difference in OOC JPEGs until you play with RAW.

With X-E1, if I pull the shadow details up with LR5 to +70, I see lots of noise.  Shots after shots, the noise in the shadow is the same, lots of it.

With X-E2, there is virtually no noise when shadow is pull up +70.  Shots after shots, the shadow noise is clean when pulled up.

This means, the X-E2 RAW file is far more suitable for performing HDR.

This also implies the sensor in X-E2 has lower inherent noise.  The 12 vs 14-bit difference is in the ADC (Analog to Digital Converter).  There is no point with using a 14-bit ADC unless the noise is lower.  If the noise is not lower, the 14-bit quantization will be wasted as those extra 2 bits would simply be capturing sensor noise.  But well, it looks like the X-E2 has a much lower noise sensor to begin with.

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a l b e r t
OP a l b e r t Senior Member • Posts: 1,673
X-E2 RAW example


Default LR5 setting

LR5 Shadow +70

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a l b e r t
OP a l b e r t Senior Member • Posts: 1,673
Re: X-E2 14-bit RAW vs X-E1 12-bit RAW

I may have jumped to the conclusion too quickly...

I looked at the images I had with X-E1, lots of them were at ISO 800 with DR400.  Most of my X-E2 shots were at DR200.  So this may not be a fair comparison.

I'll need to find more relevant images of X-E1 first...

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a l b e r t
OP a l b e r t Senior Member • Posts: 1,673
X-E1 RAW example

This one was captured with X-E1 @ ISO 800 DR400

Default LR5 settings

LR5 Shadow +70

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a l b e r t
OP a l b e r t Senior Member • Posts: 1,673
Re: X-E2 14-bit RAW vs X-E1 12-bit RAW

a l b e r t wrote:

I may have jumped to the conclusion too quickly...

I looked at the images I had with X-E1, lots of them were at ISO 800 with DR400. Most of my X-E2 shots were at DR200. So this may not be a fair comparison.

I'll need to find more relevant images of X-E1 first...

Ok, I did some tests on X-E2 with a fixed ISO 800 using DR100, DR200 and DR400.  In all cases, the shadow noise after +70 pull is still fairly low even for DR400.

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Randy Benter
Randy Benter Veteran Member • Posts: 3,197
Re: X-E2 14-bit RAW vs X-E1 12-bit RAW

a l b e r t wrote:

I may have jumped to the conclusion too quickly...

I looked at the images I had with X-E1, lots of them were at ISO 800 with DR400. Most of my X-E2 shots were at DR200. So this may not be a fair comparison.

I'll need to find more relevant images of X-E1 first...

I agree that the X-E2 allows one to push the shadows more, but the difference is limited to the 14-bit vs. 12-bit output. The sensor itself doesn't have less noise because both cameras have the same sensor. That specific sensor has the option of 14-bit or 12-bit readout, but Fuji chose not to use 14-bit in the X-E1 or X-Pro1. The X-100s and X-E2 have a faster processor that can handle the larger 14-bit raw files.

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a l b e r t
OP a l b e r t Senior Member • Posts: 1,673
Re: X-E2 14-bit RAW vs X-E1 12-bit RAW

Randy Benter wrote:

I agree that the X-E2 allows one to push the shadows more, but the difference is limited to the 14-bit vs. 12-bit output. The sensor itself doesn't have less noise because both cameras have the same sensor. That specific sensor has the option of 14-bit or 12-bit readout, but Fuji chose not to use 14-bit in the X-E1 or X-Pro1. The X-100s and X-E2 have a faster processor that can handle the larger 14-bit raw files.

I think the latitude on pushing the shadow is quite a bit more with the X-E2, compared with X-E1. This essentially translates to higher DR.

I don't think the sensor is the same b/w E1 and E2. At least the one on X-E2 has phase detection pixels. One would think the X-E2 sensor is the same as the sensor in NEX-6. But the release of these 2 cameras are a year apart. Who knows if Sony has improved it some more and perhaps Fuji may even have asked for specific features/improvements on the sensor. Sony never disclose how many phase detection pixels were on the NEX-6 sensor. One does get 99 phase detection points in the center region for NEX-6. Fuji said there are about 86000 phase detection pixels.

When X100s was introduced, I was at the seminar, and the Fuji reps from Japan told us that X100s has 14-bit ADC on the sensor.

On the NEX-6, it has a JPEG processing option called DRO (DR Optimizer). It basically lifts the dark shadow in the scene, and I found that it works really well most of the time, and the shadow after lifting is noise free.

Do you have reference for the X-E1 sensor saying that it is 14-bit capable?

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silentstorm Senior Member • Posts: 1,310
From my technical understanding...
2

a l b e r t wrote:

I finally did some comparisons on the two RAW formats.

On the surface, one cannot really see the difference in OOC JPEGs until you play with RAW.

With X-E1, if I pull the shadow details up with LR5 to +70, I see lots of noise. Shots after shots, the noise in the shadow is the same, lots of it.

With X-E2, there is virtually no noise when shadow is pull up +70. Shots after shots, the shadow noise is clean when pulled up.

This means, the X-E2 RAW file is far more suitable for performing HDR.

This also implies the sensor in X-E2 has lower inherent noise. The 12 vs 14-bit difference is in the ADC (Analog to Digital Converter). There is no point with using a 14-bit ADC unless the noise is lower. If the noise is not lower, the 14-bit quantization will be wasted as those extra 2 bits would simply be capturing sensor noise. But well, it looks like the X-E2 has a much lower noise sensor to begin with.

The extra bits are not for the noise or DR. The bits are there to represent a certain voltage level of the signal. Doesn't mean that having more bits will yield lower noise. Good eg, the medium format backs, they all have 16bit per colour & they are not as clean as the old S3pro.

The reason for having 16bits is because of a wider colour gamut. If you have more colour info you need more bits to represent them as faithfully as practically can.

In video you have 8bits vs 10bits, only in very hi end sys you get 12bits video & with keying sampled at 4:4:4:4 (YUVK). In still cameras, you have 12bits vs 14bits vs 16bits. And I actually can see a colour hue/sat difference in the Nikons Tiff or RAW using native converters.

Lastly, in order to view the better colour 14bits offer, you need a monitor that can display full 10bits of colour coupled with a graphics card equally capable of doing that, & 100% aRGB space or wider. I recommend a nVidia Quadro series or the AMD ATI FirePro series, & using displayport output (the only interface that supports 10bits output). Apple cinema display totally couldn't cut it, nor their hardware, unless you have a mac pro with Quadro or FirePro inside running DP output on a capable display.

Side note: Using CS4/5/6 on Win, you can select 10bit output, but this option is not available on mac.

bowportes Veteran Member • Posts: 3,887
Re: X-E2 14-bit RAW vs X-E1 12-bit RAW

If you have access to Capture 1, I'd be curious how the E1 versus E2 stack up in terms of shadow noise when you push it.

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(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,321
Agreed.

More bits just  lets you slice the pie into thinner pieces.

On the other hand could the ADC unit  support a higher maximum signal input? This would have nothing to do with the number of bits.

silentstorm Senior Member • Posts: 1,310
Re: Agreed.

wchutt wrote:

More bits just lets you slice the pie into thinner pieces.

On the other hand could the ADC unit support a higher maximum signal input? This would have nothing to do with the number of bits.

That pretty much depends on the device or application in hand. If you digitise audio mics directly, then probably in the mV range. Or you can also digitise signal in the micro-volt range.

But as a simple rule of thumb, more bits & more samples, reproduce better signal fidelity.  Eg, NICAM stereo for tv broadcast has 11bits at 32Khz, compared to a cd with 16bits 44.1kHz.

57even Forum Pro • Posts: 14,668
Re: X-E2 14-bit RAW vs X-E1 12-bit RAW

a l b e r t wrote:

I finally did some comparisons on the two RAW formats.

On the surface, one cannot really see the difference in OOC JPEGs until you play with RAW.

With X-E1, if I pull the shadow details up with LR5 to +70, I see lots of noise. Shots after shots, the noise in the shadow is the same, lots of it.

With X-E2, there is virtually no noise when shadow is pull up +70. Shots after shots, the shadow noise is clean when pulled up.

This means, the X-E2 RAW file is far more suitable for performing HDR.

This also implies the sensor in X-E2 has lower inherent noise. The 12 vs 14-bit difference is in the ADC (Analog to Digital Converter). There is no point with using a 14-bit ADC unless the noise is lower. If the noise is not lower, the 14-bit quantization will be wasted as those extra 2 bits would simply be capturing sensor noise. But well, it looks like the X-E2 has a much lower noise sensor to begin with.

If you read the DPR review, Fuji's default tone curve (which LR tries to emulate) has darker blacks to begin with. Hence you should not need to add +70 to an XE1 shot.

The number of bits is not relevant. It's unlikely this has any bearing on DR. DR is defined by the S/N ratio of the photosites at zero exposure (which gives you the darkest discernible black level separation) and overall saturation level (which gives you the difference). Using more bits simply gives me more graduations between black and white.

DR improvements (if any) would be down to improved signal processing and/or more efficient microlens or filter design. It's unlikely the silicon is substantially different. The number of bits will not affect DR, only the smoothness of gradients between the two which gives you headroom for strong contrast adjustment with wide colour gamuts, if you have a graphics card that can handle the extra bits and a monitor that is wide gamut.

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hexxthalion Contributing Member • Posts: 540
Re: X-E2 14-bit RAW vs X-E1 12-bit RAW
1

you've got more info to play with, more colour transitions. it's the same as with 16-bit RAW files from hassy back I was testing - you can abuse those files quite a lot before they fall apart

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