16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?

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smiba New Member • Posts: 2
16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?
1

Hey Everyone,

Simple question, has anyone ever managed to get a good shot with 16-shot pixel shift?

I have tried to use it again today on a still macro shot, with my camera as perfectly still as I could on a tripod, but the 16-shot just always causes really ugly artifacting that makes the image look soft zoomed out, and just gross zoomed in.

The 4-shot pixel shift actually looks a bit better then the single shot, but 16-shot I just never managed to make it look right. It honestly is unusable.
As Sony heavily advertises this feature, I assumed it worked better then it does. Any pixel shift shots are also unusable for landscapes, because anything that moves between the shots will show up really ugly.

Judge for yourself:

Reference image (4-pixel shoot, which I think looks the best)

Single frame (100% zoom)

4-pixel shift shot (100% zoom)

16-pixel shift shoot (25% zoom)

16-pixel shift shot (100% zoom)

16-pixel shift shot (100% zoom, moved to the side of the pawn)

Cheers

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Jamil Abbasy Senior Member • Posts: 1,340
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?
1

I have only tested it a few times at home, but it was a night and day difference.  Some things to check:

Did you have OSS / IBIS turned off?

Are you using a sturdy tripod that is locked down?

Old house?  Does the floor wiggle?  Mine does in some rooms due to it being from 1868, so you can't walk and expect it to be steady for this kind of stuff

Focus once and then set to manual focus

Use a wireless remote release

Hope that helps!

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AlephNull Senior Member • Posts: 2,803
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?
1

I spent an afternoon trying to get a good 16 shot pixel shift image, but I was working outside. Solid tripod, wired remote, manual focus lens (carefully focussed before the shot). Thought that would be good enough.

I don't think IBIS on/off makes any difference, because the pixel-shift takes over the IBIS hardware to do the pixel shifting - you can't do both at once.

I think pixel-shift's may be best suited to reproduction work - photographing art at maximum possible detail. Working indoors would eliminate the very slight breeze I had interfering.

I was using the A7R4. I do not know if the A1 can do better. I might try again one day. I might even try both A7R4 and A1, but I think I'll have to be bored 

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whumber
whumber Veteran Member • Posts: 3,614
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?

Jamil Abbasy wrote:

Old house? Does the floor wiggle? Mine does in some rooms due to it being from 1868, so you can't walk and expect it to be steady for this kind of stuff

I've had pixel shift images ruined because I had a slightly unbalanced fan running in the same room. To get really good results you definitely need a rock solid tripod on a solid surface.

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AlephNull Senior Member • Posts: 2,803
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?

I wouldn’t (yet) call it an unusable gimmick, but I do get the feeling that getting pixel-level sharp images will require preparation, organisation, and maybe a little luck.

I suspect I may have a bit more luck doing it with the A1’s electronic shutter than the A7R4’s mechanical one. Hmm, maybe next time I might try the electronic shutter on the A7R4...

I keep hearing “oh, but it works perfectly on Panasonic” - I wonder if their merging of images does a bit of blurring, or smoothing, to eliminate problems in one shot of the sequence?

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eques Veteran Member • Posts: 3,921
Interesting
1

AlephNull wrote:

I wouldn’t (yet) call it an unusable gimmick, but I do get the feeling that getting pixel-level sharp images will require preparation, organisation, and maybe a little luck.

It works handheld up to 1/60 s with an Olympus em1.3.
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64061978

I keep hearing “oh, but it works perfectly on Panasonic” - I wonder if their merging of images does a bit of blurring, or smoothing, to eliminate problems in one shot of the sequence?

I am chiming in because coming from M43 I plan to move to FF. So this is an interesting topic, because I also consider the EM1.3 as an alternative to FF.

Peter

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fferreres Veteran Member • Posts: 6,894
Re: Interesting
1

eques wrote:

AlephNull wrote:

I wouldn’t (yet) call it an unusable gimmick, but I do get the feeling that getting pixel-level sharp images will require preparation, organisation, and maybe a little luck.

It works handheld up to 1/60 s with an Olympus em1.3.
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64061978

I keep hearing “oh, but it works perfectly on Panasonic” - I wonder if their merging of images does a bit of blurring, or smoothing, to eliminate problems in one shot of the sequence?

I am chiming in because coming from M43 I plan to move to FF. So this is an interesting topic, because I also consider the EM1.3 as an alternative to FF.

Peter

It’s iffy and poor. I think it’s as bad as it can get just short of being completely useless. Sony has little to gain to make it very good because they usually have the highest resolution cameras first, of course with their own sensors, so their management sees further effort as cannibalizing sales. They implemented it not as a selling point, but as a hedge to not be excluded from purchase from those that make the feature a requirement, even if impractical. This is even more important in the B2B space

Tristimulus Veteran Member • Posts: 7,922
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?
5

Basically a feature for professional product photographers and reproduction work when color and rendering fine detail really matter.

If not satisfied with this feature it is down to user error.

So - not a gimmick but a tool. For those who know how to use it.

Magnar W
Magnar W Veteran Member • Posts: 5,912
Re: Interesting

eques wrote:

AlephNull wrote:

I wouldn’t (yet) call it an unusable gimmick, but I do get the feeling that getting pixel-level sharp images will require preparation, organisation, and maybe a little luck.

It works handheld up to 1/60 s with an Olympus em1.3.
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64061978

You can do this handheld with ANY camera and some post prosessing. Just search the web for super resolution.

The use is limited though, and can never replace the lack of sensor area and megapixels.

Also note that RGGB filtering Pixel Shift something different, this is a filtering process for each single pixel to get very clean color.

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ahaslett
ahaslett Veteran Member • Posts: 8,365
Re: Interesting

eques wrote:

AlephNull wrote:

I wouldn’t (yet) call it an unusable gimmick, but I do get the feeling that getting pixel-level sharp images will require preparation, organisation, and maybe a little luck.

It works handheld up to 1/60 s with an Olympus em1.3.
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64061978

I keep hearing “oh, but it works perfectly on Panasonic” - I wonder if their merging of images does a bit of blurring, or smoothing, to eliminate problems in one shot of the sequence?

I am chiming in because coming from M43 I plan to move to FF. So this is an interesting topic, because I also consider the EM1.3 as an alternative to FF.

Peter

That’s not done by pixel shift.  HHRes has IBIS on while taking each shot and off in between.  As Magnar says you can get a similar effect by taking a burst with IBIS set to recentre between individual shots.  You then need to merge the shots with a suitable programme that understands super resolution.

Andrew

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whumber
whumber Veteran Member • Posts: 3,614
Re: Interesting

ahaslett wrote:

eques wrote:

AlephNull wrote:

I wouldn’t (yet) call it an unusable gimmick, but I do get the feeling that getting pixel-level sharp images will require preparation, organisation, and maybe a little luck.

It works handheld up to 1/60 s with an Olympus em1.3.
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64061978

I keep hearing “oh, but it works perfectly on Panasonic” - I wonder if their merging of images does a bit of blurring, or smoothing, to eliminate problems in one shot of the sequence?

I am chiming in because coming from M43 I plan to move to FF. So this is an interesting topic, because I also consider the EM1.3 as an alternative to FF.

Peter

That’s not done by pixel shift. HHRes has IBIS on while taking each shot and off in between. As Magnar says you can get a similar effect by taking a burst with IBIS set to recentre between individual shots. You then need to merge the shots with a suitable programme that understands super resolution.

Andrew

It's also incredibly hard to actually get pixel sharp images out of the Olympus HHHR. I don't think I've ever taken a HHHR with either the E-M1X or E-M1iii that didn't have noticeable artifacting when you actually look at 100%.

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Tim O'Connor
Tim O'Connor Veteran Member • Posts: 5,641
Re: Interesting
3

fferreres wrote:

eques wrote:

AlephNull wrote:

I wouldn’t (yet) call it an unusable gimmick, but I do get the feeling that getting pixel-level sharp images will require preparation, organisation, and maybe a little luck.

It works handheld up to 1/60 s with an Olympus em1.3.
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64061978

I keep hearing “oh, but it works perfectly on Panasonic” - I wonder if their merging of images does a bit of blurring, or smoothing, to eliminate problems in one shot of the sequence?

I am chiming in because coming from M43 I plan to move to FF. So this is an interesting topic, because I also consider the EM1.3 as an alternative to FF.

Peter

It’s iffy and poor. I think it’s as bad as it can get just short of being completely useless.

Couldn't agree more.

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Tristimulus Veteran Member • Posts: 7,922
Re: Interesting
5

Tim O'Connor wrote:

fferreres wrote:

eques wrote:

AlephNull wrote:

I wouldn’t (yet) call it an unusable gimmick, but I do get the feeling that getting pixel-level sharp images will require preparation, organisation, and maybe a little luck.

It works handheld up to 1/60 s with an Olympus em1.3.
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64061978

I keep hearing “oh, but it works perfectly on Panasonic” - I wonder if their merging of images does a bit of blurring, or smoothing, to eliminate problems in one shot of the sequence?

I am chiming in because coming from M43 I plan to move to FF. So this is an interesting topic, because I also consider the EM1.3 as an alternative to FF.

Peter

It’s iffy and poor. I think it’s as bad as it can get just short of being completely useless.

Only if one does not know how to use this tool.

As said above: great for product photography and reproduction work.

JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 33,961
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?
9

I have been successful with 16-shot pixel shift in tests, in the studio with the camera on a Foba camera stand on a 6-inch concrete-on-grade slab, some distance from the nearest road.

I have never been successful outdoors in a landscape situation, but I've never tried it on a completely windless, birdless day.

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fieldray Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?

I have been successful using the 16-shot pixel shift function, but with some significant post processing work on my part.  Landscapes have been extremely detailed except for some trees with wind motion.  I have blended in resampled single images of the blurred trees using Photoshop, resulting in pretty amazingly detailed photos.  The front-end process reminds me of using a 4x5 view camera to do landscapes - the slow shutter speed required with slow film and f/22 or f/32 had similar wind-blur challenges!

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 33,961
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?

fieldray wrote:

I have been successful using the 16-shot pixel shift function, but with some significant post processing work on my part.

Sure, with enough work in post you can fix almost anything.

Landscapes have been extremely detailed except for some trees with wind motion. I have blended in resampled single images of the blurred trees using Photoshop, resulting in pretty amazingly detailed photos.

That's a good technique.

The front-end process reminds me of using a 4x5 view camera to do landscapes - the slow shutter speed required with slow film and f/22 or f/32 had similar wind-blur challenges!

But the artifacts that resulted weren't as ugly as the pixel shift artifacts, IMHO.

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fieldray Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?

JimKasson wrote:

fieldray wrote:

I have been successful using the 16-shot pixel shift function, but with some significant post processing work on my part.

Sure, with enough work in post you can fix almost anything.

Pixel sampling issues are some of the most frustrating (sometimes impossible!) things to remove for me.  The truth for me is that the 4x pixel shift is genuinely useful for dealing with color aliasing but I have not encountered a situation in my photography where spatial sampling with a 60MP array limits the effectiveness of my photography, so the 16-shot pixel shift is fun to play with but will not likely help my photography.  This reminds me of some of the f#*lamda/p (Q) arguments we used to have designing space optics!  Q=2 was our holy grail as there was by definition no aliasing, but from a practical point of view Q=1 or Q=1.2 was a better optimization.  On some of our FLIRs with bigger pixels compared to the optics cutoff, sub-pixel shifting analogous to the 16-shot function on the Sony camera made a big difference in the final product.

Landscapes have been extremely detailed except for some trees with wind motion. I have blended in resampled single images of the blurred trees using Photoshop, resulting in pretty amazingly detailed photos.

That's a good technique.

The front-end process reminds me of using a 4x5 view camera to do landscapes - the slow shutter speed required with slow film and f/22 or f/32 had similar wind-blur challenges!

But the artifacts that resulted weren't as ugly as the pixel shift artifacts, IMHO.

Absolutely true!

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 33,961
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?
2

fieldray wrote:

Pixel sampling issues are some of the most frustrating (sometimes impossible!) things to remove for me. The truth for me is that the 4x pixel shift is genuinely useful for dealing with color aliasing but I have not encountered a situation in my photography where spatial sampling with a 60MP array limits the effectiveness of my photography, so the 16-shot pixel shift is fun to play with but will not likely help my photography. This reminds me of some of the f#*lamda/p (Q) arguments we used to have designing space optics! Q=2 was our holy grail as there was by definition no aliasing, but from a practical point of view Q=1 or Q=1.2 was a better optimization. On some of our FLIRs with bigger pixels compared to the optics cutoff, sub-pixel shifting analogous to the 16-shot function on the Sony camera made a big difference in the final product

Q = 2 means two samples per Sparrow Distance, right? To do that with a Bayer CFA will take about two binary order of magnitudes decrease in pitch at reasonable f-stops. Or we could just stop way down...

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fieldray Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?

JimKasson wrote:

fieldray wrote:

Pixel sampling issues are some of the most frustrating (sometimes impossible!) things to remove for me. The truth for me is that the 4x pixel shift is genuinely useful for dealing with color aliasing but I have not encountered a situation in my photography where spatial sampling with a 60MP array limits the effectiveness of my photography, so the 16-shot pixel shift is fun to play with but will not likely help my photography. This reminds me of some of the f#*lamda/p (Q) arguments we used to have designing space optics! Q=2 was our holy grail as there was by definition no aliasing, but from a practical point of view Q=1 or Q=1.2 was a better optimization. On some of our FLIRs with bigger pixels compared to the optics cutoff, sub-pixel shifting analogous to the 16-shot function on the Sony camera made a big difference in the final product

Q = 2 means two samples per Sparrow Distance, right? To do that with a Bayer CFA will take about two binary order of magnitudes decrease in pitch at reasonable f-stops. Or we could just stop way down...

Q=2 for a Sony A7riv sensor is about f/13 if you figure on a center wavelength of .55 um.  So based on our old arguments, optimum f/number for practical use might be about f/8.  Turns out that non-linear image restoration ‘ super resolution algorithms like to use Nyquist sampling (Q=2) but for pixel peeping, image detail is really getting soft at this point.  Bayer sampling doesn’t change the sampling cutoff but it puts a dent in the higher frequency MTF.  As for two binary order of magnitudes,  I think that one order of magnitude (factor of 2) would be plenty.  My experience in the technical world is that depth of focus over the field of view becomes the dominant challenge if you are trying to do diffraction limited imagery much below f/4 or f/5.  Thanks for the discussion!

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blue_skies
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 12,065
Re: Wrong example?

I see plenty of reviewers and example online showing that it does work as advertised.

There are two places to avoid using it:

a) when there is movement in the image, e.g. in landscape shots

b) when there is extreme shallow DOF, e.g. in your example

Additionally, your shutter time of 1.3 sec is quite lengthy, and prone to vibrations (softening).

For (extreme) macro, ie. very shallow DOF, I would suggest to use focus stacking, this is unrelated to pixel shift, but it gives you what I think that you are after.

For basic pixel shift at 4x versus 16x, 4x shifts by a whole pixel, and 16x shifts by half a pixel. For images which have clear sharpness defined at this level of pixel-detail, the image will up-sample quite nicely.

Try out some other scenes first, and then decide if your example is just a bad example. 
Particularly, start with an example which has a larger area of in-focus-plane details that show better when up-sampled (pixel-shifted).

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Cheers,
Henry

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