Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
ADW02 Regular Member • Posts: 219
Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?
1

Using a Canon 6D, I hooked up my 100-400 L lens, took a shot at 3200 ISO at 400 mm, 1/2000 of a second, at f11, in broad daylight. The result was less noisy than I thought it would be, but of course it wasn't as sharp as a prime would be. I'm aware that no software will ever create an image that's as tack sharp as a high-end prime lens, but I've been wondering just how good the new Topaz sharpness and noise-reduction filters could be in creating an image that could be acceptable?

I first made various adjustments to the above-mentioned RAW file in Luminar 3, and then sharpened it in Topaz Sharpen AI, with the Focus settings at 90 and 90. I did not use DeNoise AI.The result was a virtually noise-free image that was very detailed indeed. I haven't yet checked closely for distortions, and I don't know how well Topaz could clean up and sharpen an image shot at dusk, with a much higher ISO setting, but what I've seen initially seems promising.

Of course, I'd much prefer a Canon 800 mm L prime lens, but I'm not so crazy about putting a major dent in my finances with the $13,000 invoice. I'm wondering if paying somewhat more than $400 for a 2x extender and learning to baby it for its best performance would yield acceptable results using today's latest software.

Opinions most welcome.

Canon EOS 6D
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
mangurian Regular Member • Posts: 463
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?
2

are there supposed to be images ?

Lan Senior Member • Posts: 1,056
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?
1

I have to say I've been really impressed by the sharpness of my 100-400 mk2, so much so that I sold my 300 f4/L and 200 f2.8/L.

You're shooting at a far higher ISO than I think you need though, unless you're shooting fast moving BIF?

hifi
hifi Senior Member • Posts: 2,511
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?

ADW02 wrote:

Using a Canon 6D, I hooked up my 100-400 L lens, took a shot at 3200 ISO at 400 mm, 1/2000 of a second, at f11, in broad daylight. The result was less noisy than I thought it would be, but of course it wasn't as sharp as a prime would be. I'm aware that no software will ever create an image that's as tack sharp as a high-end prime lens, but I've been wondering just how good the new Topaz sharpness and noise-reduction filters could be in creating an image that could be acceptable?

I first made various adjustments to the above-mentioned RAW file in Luminar 3, and then sharpened it in Topaz Sharpen AI, with the Focus settings at 90 and 90. I did not use DeNoise AI.The result was a virtually noise-free image that was very detailed indeed. I haven't yet checked closely for distortions, and I don't know how well Topaz could clean up and sharpen an image shot at dusk, with a much higher ISO setting, but what I've seen initially seems promising.

Of course, I'd much prefer a Canon 800 mm L prime lens, but I'm not so crazy about putting a major dent in my finances with the $13,000 invoice. I'm wondering if paying somewhat more than $400 for a 2x extender and learning to baby it for its best performance would yield acceptable results using today's latest software.

Opinions most welcome.

I am in a different system (m43), but after recently trying out Sharpen AI, my thoughts have been similar to yours:  this program is capable of some incredible results IMO.

With my PL 100-400 lens, on some airshows I have shot in the past, I have gone back and re-edited some of those shots, now adding in Topaz and it has done wonders.  The program has removed even more noise not picked up after the DXO raw conversion, and also added an extra pinch of sharpness.  This lens is apparently known for being a little soft after 300mm, so the Topaz program has done very well for me.  It is very nice using a relatively inexpensive piece of software to try approach the results of a much more expensive lens.  We are fortunate with so many options today.

Ernie Misner
Ernie Misner Veteran Member • Posts: 5,027
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?
1

Absolutely the newer Topaz AI softwares can help with solving many problems.  If you have AI Gigapixel you can crop a small portion of an image and then upsample it to a more reasonable size.  I used it on a crop of the moon and it worked well.

-- hide signature --

Ernie Misner
http://www.flickr.com/photos/erniemisner/
"I bet we'll find hints of extraterrestrial life before 2030" - Jamie Shreeve, Popular Science

 Ernie Misner's gear list:Ernie Misner's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR +6 more
Toermalijn
Toermalijn Forum Pro • Posts: 15,858
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?
1

Ernie Misner wrote:

Absolutely the newer Topaz AI softwares can help with solving many problems. If you have AI Gigapixel you can crop a small portion of an image and then upsample it to a more reasonable size. I used it on a crop of the moon and it worked well.

Gigapixel AI, Sharpen AI and Denoise AI all worth having in your arsenal.

You might want to substitute Denoise AI for clear AI, but both do a great job on removing noise. Denoise AI is targeted to higher iso images though.

Digital Nigel Veteran Member • Posts: 8,549
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?
3

Here's an example that I shot in Greece, at the Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion. I knew that Lord Byron, the romantic poet, was reputed to have carved his name into the marble in 1810. That would be very frowned upon today, but apparently not then. I knew roughly where it was, but couldn't get near enough to spot it. So I took a few pictures, with the longest focal length of the camera I was carrying. Here's one of them, with Byron's name outlined:

Strightened, 100% crop

I then cropped a 1500x1500 square around the area of interest, sharpened it with Sharpen AI, and upsized it 2x using Gigapixel AI:

This upsized crop has had the effect of effectively doubling the focal length

 Digital Nigel's gear list:Digital Nigel's gear list
Panasonic FZ1000 Canon PowerShot G7 X Nikon Coolpix P900 Panasonic ZS100 Sony RX10 III +15 more
Jim B (MSP) Veteran Member • Posts: 9,657
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?

Digital Nigel wrote:

Here's an example that I shot in Greece, at the Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion. I knew that Lord Byron, the romantic poet, was reputed to have carved his name into the marble in 1810. That would be very frowned upon today, but apparently not then. I knew roughly where it was, but couldn't get near enough to spot it. So I took a few pictures, with the longest focal length of the camera I was carrying. Here's one of them, with Byron's name outlined:

Strightened, 100% crop

I then cropped a 1500x1500 square around the area of interest, sharpened it with Sharpen AI, and upsized it 2x using Gigapixel AI:

This upsized crop has had the effect of effectively doubling the focal length

Now this is an excellent example of an application of these two packages working together.

-- hide signature --

Jim
"It's all about the light"

 Jim B (MSP)'s gear list:Jim B (MSP)'s gear list
Canon EOS 80D
Ernie Misner
Ernie Misner Veteran Member • Posts: 5,027
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?

Digital Nigel wrote:

Here's an example that I shot in Greece, at the Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion. I knew that Lord Byron, the romantic poet, was reputed to have carved his name into the marble in 1810. That would be very frowned upon today, but apparently not then. I knew roughly where it was, but couldn't get near enough to spot it. So I took a few pictures, with the longest focal length of the camera I was carrying. Here's one of them, with Byron's name outlined:

Strightened, 100% crop

I then cropped a 1500x1500 square around the area of interest, sharpened it with Sharpen AI, and upsized it 2x using Gigapixel AI:

That is astonishing and good to see!  So you agree with Topaz that AI Gig should be run later in the workflow rather than earlier for upsampling?

This upsized crop has had the effect of effectively doubling the focal length

-- hide signature --

Ernie Misner
http://www.flickr.com/photos/erniemisner/
"I bet we'll find hints of extraterrestrial life before 2030" - Jamie Shreeve, Popular Science

 Ernie Misner's gear list:Ernie Misner's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR +6 more
Digital Nigel Veteran Member • Posts: 8,549
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?
1

Ernie Misner wrote:

Digital Nigel wrote:

Here's an example that I shot in Greece, at the Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion. I knew that Lord Byron, the romantic poet, was reputed to have carved his name into the marble in 1810. That would be very frowned upon today, but apparently not then. I knew roughly where it was, but couldn't get near enough to spot it. So I took a few pictures, with the longest focal length of the camera I was carrying. Here's one of them, with Byron's name outlined:

Strightened, 100% crop

I then cropped a 1500x1500 square around the area of interest, sharpened it with Sharpen AI, and upsized it 2x using Gigapixel AI:

That is astonishing and good to see! So you agree with Topaz that AI Gig should be run later in the workflow rather than earlier for upsampling?

Yes. Gigapixel seems to work best when the input file is really sharp, so any use of Sharpen should be immediately prior to, rather than after, Gigapixel. It makes sense: you don't want to upscale any blurred areas in the original. Of course, Sharpen doesn't always produce good results, so it's only worth using on images where  it doesn't introduce unpleasant artefacts.

This upsized crop has had the effect of effectively doubling the focal length

 Digital Nigel's gear list:Digital Nigel's gear list
Panasonic FZ1000 Canon PowerShot G7 X Nikon Coolpix P900 Panasonic ZS100 Sony RX10 III +15 more
OP ADW02 Regular Member • Posts: 219
Re: Could Topaz make Telephoto shots reasonable?
1

Yes. Gigapixel seems to work best when the input file is really sharp, so any use of Sharpen should be immediately prior to, rather than after, Gigapixel. It makes sense: you don't want to upscale any blurred areas in the original. Of course, Sharpen doesn't always produce good results, so it's only worth using on images where it doesn't introduce unpleasant artefacts.

This is well worth noting, and I'm going to try this method in my tests. A Topaz representative has asked me to use my Canon 100-400 L lens with 1.4 extender, and Sigma 50-500 with 2.0 extender to see how much improvement Topaz could make on landscape and cityscape photographs in terms of cropping, shooting with high ISOs, and both.

These are decent mid-level lenses, but of course they won't compete with the quality of an 800mm Canon prime lens, which costs $13,000. Since they can't open wider than f11 at their maximum reach, it should be interesting to see how the Topaz AI programs can handle low-light shots at ISOs as high as 12,800. (I won't go higher than that, as 25,600 is really asking too much of any software.)

What's important here is not developing a cropped or uncropped image that's as pristine as one produced by an expensive prime lens, but creating a picture through the use of Topaz filters that the photographer would consider acceptable to his viewing audience. That's a matter of personal interpretation, of course, but if enough photographers here are satisfied with these new AI programs, then I think it could be said that Topaz is really on to something.

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads