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Thread: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

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    large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Interested in making large prints 24x36 inches, re: the following gear combos, which is more likely to yield more detailed prints with comparable color and tone? Assume ISO 100, mirror lockup, etc...

    A] 50D with 70-200L IS F4
    B] 5D2, same lens with a 1.4x TC, or 70-300mm IS USM

    Thanks in advance, comments would be appreciated, especially from those with first hand experience with above combos...

    also assuming a reasonable viewing distance of 18 inches or more...
    Last edited by DonWeston; 10th June 2009 at 05:38. Reason: additional info..

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Lot of variables between the two, but given the pixel density of the 50D and the reputation of the 70-200/4 IS (I've only used the 70-200/4 non IS on a 5D), I'd say A.

    This is of course, in fine Canon fashion, you get a good copy of the lens. ;>

    This site may help. Hit his comparison section and you can select side-by-sides of various lens and body mixes.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/

    One aspect of the 70-200/4 IS that some people have complained about (for what it's worth) is that performance diminishes as you zoom in past say 130ishmm at MFD - you need to start stepping backwards to retain optimum sharpness.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Not wanting to add yet another option here, but this just was a new thought, using the 5D2 and same lens and no converter, just crop the image. Where would all this play out??

    Great website by the way, you mentioned, still trying to evaluate the rez charts for comparison purposes, some lenses have a huge difference and others you might expect to show large discrepancies, don't...seems like in most differences the larger sensors are maybe more forgiving, but lots of variables....

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Option C?: 5D2 plus 300 f4.5L or 400/5.6L, or possibly even the 100-400 L IS.
    Jack
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by DonWeston View Post
    Interested in making large prints 24x36 inches, re: the following gear combos, which is more likely to yield more detailed prints with comparable color and tone? Assume ISO 100, mirror lockup, etc...

    A] 50D with 70-200L IS F4
    B] 5D2, same lens with a 1.4x TC, or 70-300mm IS USM

    Thanks in advance, comments would be appreciated, especially from those with first hand experience with above combos...

    also assuming a reasonable viewing distance of 18 inches or more...
    I've got the 5D2 and a T1i which has the same pixel density as the 50D with the 70-200 F/4 IS, 1.4X TC, and the 100-400L IS. I'd be happy to shoot some combinations of them at the longer end and provide you the raw files so you can make your own determination if you'd like. I assume you're interested in the long end only, correct?

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Thanks Jack, but am trying to keep my gear load as light as possible, and compact...can't have everything. Greg - that would be great, but only have CS3 so I can't convert the Raws, and I usually shoot fine Jpgs anyway, fwiw. If you could provide me a couple of shots using both cameras, and yes at the long end, shorter FLs I assume would defer to the 5D2 automatically, alone with the 70-200mm L IS F4.

    Seeing the advantages play out in real world of shooting, either pixel density or pixel count is where my dilemma rests...cost wise I could opt for a 50D and 17-55 and 70-200 combo, vs 5d2 and 70-200mm and save up for other lenses. My biggest question on the short end is what to by for the mid range for the 5d2, don't want to carry a big lens like either the 24-105L or 24-70L. That leaves 3rd party like Tamron 28-75, which was OK with my D700 I just sold, but not great, or other???
    Maybe some AF primes but I prefer shooting zooms where ever possible....funny how getting older, just don't want to schlepp as much...ten yrs ago, it would have been 4x5 kit, digital sure has spoiled me...thanks again for comments...Don

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Option C?: 5D2 plus 300 f4.5L or 400/5.6L, or possibly even the 100-400 L IS.
    I'm with Jack on this. Even the old 5D and the 400/5.6L would do it.

    Never ever use the Canon 2x extender. Just look at the MTF charts with it in "EF Lens Work III" and you'll understand why.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Don, so you just want to see the 70-200 with and without TC on the 5D MkII and 70-200 without TC on the T1i? Not interested in the 100-400? Also, since I'm not a JPG shooter I probably wouldn't set things up properly on both for you to evaluate so I can convert the raw files to DNG which you should be able to read just fine in CS3. It's raining at the moment so if it clears I'll try to shoot them this afternoon.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by DonWeston View Post
    I usually shoot fine Jpgs anyway, fwiw.
    Don,

    Seriously, if that is the case, then IMO you are leaving so much of the image on the table it probably doesn't matter what system you use. In this case, I'd just go with your 50D, 70-200 and use what it gives you.
    Jack
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Jack - in all honesty I have shot RAWs a good deal in the past, and just never saw significant differences when in print, and looking at a foot or so away. Yes, maybe some exist on the monitor, if you can be an expert converter user, but have been doing this awhile and I just don't see it. Not saying there isn't any, just I have not been able to appreciate this difference in print. YMMV. I think lots of times things may be empirically better given perfect light, shooting techniques, etc, but hard to realise in prints. Don't get me started on the professional Cibas I used to have made by commercial labs and what they considered PRO prints....sorry to digress.

    Often times perfection is lost by not having perfect light, or opportunity to get the shot as one would like. I would OTOH, love to see two such large prints realizing the differences that often are mentioned, but using the same CS3or CS4 interface for converting files as RAW files. BTW - I spend quite a bit of time converting the jpg many do from Raw, but many times the jpegs get me in the ball park quicker due to the fact I have taken the time to set up the camera properly with attention to things like histogram and WB. There are always compromises...but mine are compact AF zooms and moderate amount of modern advantages like IS or VR. I remember quite a few missed shots with the 4x5, I used to shoot, due to changing lenses or loading film, let alone setup. Not meaning to be ornery or confrontatinal here, but we all have different needs and solutions.

    Not sure I understand the comment about just using a 50D combo, were you making a comment about this cameras plusses for my intended useage? Were you commenting about the advantages of the 5D2 combo being lost just because I shoot jpegs or I don't want to invest in big heavy L glass? After looking at some websites, that compare lenses and body combos, I feel the way to go might just be the 5D2 and just the 70-200L but am still looking for opinions from users such as Greg who uses both FF and APS-c cameras. No one really asked, just assumed from previous posts and images in the gallery, people know I shoot mostly travel scenics and landscapes, so I don't really have a need for more then 300mm. If I did, then I would certainly invest in an appropriate lens for that usage.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Seitz View Post
    Don, so you just want to see the 70-200 with and without TC on the 5D MkII and 70-200 without TC on the T1i? Not interested in the 100-400? Also, since I'm not a JPG shooter I probably wouldn't set things up properly on both for you to evaluate so I can convert the raw files to DNG which you should be able to read just fine in CS3. It's raining at the moment so if it clears I'll try to shoot them this afternoon.
    Greg - thanks for your offer. Yes, I do not have any interest in the 100-400 at this time, as I have no current use for anything over 300mm. Could you possibly, assuming you plan to shoot some files just for me, just shoot some fine jpegs and email them to me. If you want to send me files you already have, then converting them to DNG would be fine. Used that for all my M8 shots. What ever you have would be fine. Using the converter the same manner one uses it for RAW files, should tell me what I want to know. I greatly appreciate whatever assistance you can offer. Don

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by DonWeston View Post
    Jack - in all honesty I have shot RAWs a good deal in the past, and just never saw significant differences when in print,
    ~SNIP~
    Not sure I understand the comment about just using a 50D combo, were you making a comment about this cameras plusses for my intended useage? Were you commenting about the advantages of the 5D2 combo being lost just because I shoot jpegs or I don't want to invest in big heavy L glass?
    My comment meant that as long as you don't see any difference in your particular raws and jpegs, then it is unlikely you will see much difference between a 50D/70-200 jpeg and 5D2/70-200 cropped jpeg or 5D2/70-200+2x un-cropped jpeg or 5D2/75-300DO jpeg.

    More specifically I mean that adding the converter to the 70-200 or using the 75-300DO lens, both/either will probably render as much net image degradation as the crop of the 5D2; and since a cropped 5D2 is essentially the 50D, my advice is just to stick with the simpler, lighter weight, least expensive solution to begin with... As for camera differences, the 5D2 does have a bit broader DR and a bit larger native color-space than the 50D, but you lose those in the jpeg anyway, so there's no gain for you.

    ~~~

    As a FWIW PS: On our print workshops we show examples of printing large off a jpeg versus printing large off the same raw file and the difference is so obvious I don't think any participant has ever walked away thinking they'll ever be shooting anything but raw for *large* prints. Note that a very large part of every one of our workshops is teaching raw workflow, and specifically *how* to convert raw files for optimal results regardles sof your intended output.

    PPS: I'd like to clarify that I still shoot jpegs too... I shoot them (well RAW + jpeg) in my GRD2 P&S camera, and I have my 1Ds3 set to send a small/fine jpeg to the second card while it's sending the full raw to the first card. I'll then take the jpeg card to the local one-hour drug store and have them print a full set of 4x6's for my wife to scrapbook with. She loves them and I don't have to spend any time preparing them. BUT... for my prints, which are usually large, I'll always go to the raw and properly convert it before printing it big. And since you specifically asked about large prints, hence my answer...
    Jack
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    My comment meant that as long as you don't see any difference in your particular raws and jpegs, then it is unlikely you will see much difference between a 50D/70-200 jpeg and 5D2/70-200 cropped jpeg or 5D2/70-200+2x un-cropped jpeg or 5D2/75-300DO jpeg.

    Here I mean that adding the converter to the 70-200 or using the 75-300DO lens, both/either will probably render as much net image degradation as the crop of the 5D2; and since a cropped 5D2 is essentially the 50D, my advice is just to stick with the simpler, lighter weight, least expensive solution to begin with... As for camera differences, the 5D2 does have a bit broader DR and a bit larger native color-space than the 50D, but you lose those in the jpeg anyway, so there's no gain for you.

    ~~~

    As a FWIW PS: On our print workshops we show examples of printing large off a jpeg versus printing large off the same raw file and the difference is so obvious I don't think any participant has ever walked away thinking they'll ever be shooting anything but raw for *large* prints. Note that a very large part of every one of our workshops is teaching raw workflow, and specifically *how* to convert raw files for optimal results regardles sof your intended output.

    PPS: I'd like to clarify that I still shoot jpegs too... I shoot them (well RAW + jpeg) in my GRD2 P&S camera, and I have my 1Ds3 set to send a small/fine jpeg to the second card while it's sending the full raw to the first card. I'll then take the jpeg card to the local one-hour drug store and have them print a full set of 4x6's for my wife to scrapbook with. She loves them and I don't have to spend any time preparing them. BUT... for my prints, which are usually large, I'll always go to the raw and properly convert it before printing it big. And since you specifically asked about large prints, hence my answer...
    Jack -
    Thanks for the time and clarifications, and for adding the additional benefits of the 5D2 in other areas. I would truly love to see how to optimize using RAW files. I have not had much luck finding the "magic" in RAW usage. I assume that this means that it is visible without walking up to the 24x36 print and looking at it from 6 inches. Maybe I should take your course to see such real advantage, but scheduling and taking time off from work is tough in this economy with two kids in college. Could you make any gross suggestions on how you handle Raw files, i.e. workflow. Noting I have CS3 not CS4. I would like to know if I am making any basic mistakes using the converter in CS3. Or do you need some special converter to optimize RAW files not accessible in CS3. Also for clarification only I was talking about using a 1.4x[not2x] converter to bring the effective FL close to the native 300mm with the 70-300mm ZOOM.
    Thanks again, Don

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    The only comment I'd like to give addresses shooting RAW vs. Jpeg.

    Whenever you shoot Jpeg you are allowing the camera to take full artistic control of your image which is never a good idea. Granted you can open and do "some" processing in CS4 it's nevertheless not as good as what you can achieve with RAW.

    RAW on the other hand gives you a lossless digital negative as well as takes the control from the camera and gives it back to you.

    Shoot the same image with the same settings in Jpeg and then RAW and look at your files size; the RAW file is much larger and for a reason. That reason is a RAW files contains much more information of the image than a Jpeg. Shooting Jpeg the camera will capture the image using only the amount of color information is feels is necessary while a RAW file will include everything; it leaves nothing out. Very similar to the days of film.

    Cameras create Jpeg images from the raw sensor data based on your camera settings like sharpness and white balance. RAW files on the other hand are files are just the raw sensor data; there's no image until processed using specific software (Photoshop or Capture One or a camera specific software).

    One other difference between the two beyond the file size and amount of data is the amount of post processing between the two. If you want to present the best possible image no matter the size then RAW is the way to go. If on the other hand you're just shooting snapshots the Jpeg will be okay.

    I shoot exclusively RAW and that extends to the small G9 and G10 as you just never know....

    Don

    PS: Shooting RAW might be time consuming it nevertheless is so much more rewarding especially when you get that "prefect" image.
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Don - I hear this alot locally also, but seeing for me is believing, and no one I know has proven it to me in print. Don't mean to be stubborn or contrary, just I have done lots of testing using CS3 converters and much of the advantages, I have not seen in print. Like I said, maybe I just need for someone to show such advantage literally. Have you compared to using the same converter interface to handle the jpeg file as you did the RAW or are you just accepting the jpeg file as the camera has made it? It may not be the same. I understand you are losing lots of info, but not too long ago lots of folk were claiming big advantages to film that could or would not show up in prints either over digital. Can you see these advantages without planting your noses to the prints, I need to be shown. How are you managing the files in the converter? What things do you do with the file? I do plenty of adjustments or processing in the converter step and handle the jpegs the same way I did raw files. Maybe I am "ruining" my Raw files? Not really cause I save all the original files whether they be RAW of JPeg. I can always go back to either file and rework the files, if improvements arise in future converters...boy has this gotten off topic from the gear question I originally posed, but I guess it maybe ultimately relevant...

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Hi Don

    Here's my normal workflow:

    Always save an untouched RAW file as archival.

    Cambo RS-1000 and P45+ files:

    Working off a copy of the RAW file I'll open first in C1 then after processing as far as I want move to CS4 to either complete it or print.

    Canon G series or one of our 1Ds series:

    Open in Bridge then camera raw. Often I'll process in camera raw to the point where once I opened it in CS4 I'll crop as needed then print.

    Side note on printing: I always print 16bit and at least 300 dpi.

    Capture One: I'm still feeling my way around here since they just (couple months ago) included 64bit control. I used to use CS4 exclusively until C1 went to 64bit; I now shoot all my landscape with the Cambo RS-1000/P45+ combo and need C1 for LCC.

    I see a huge difference in the files opened in camera raw; there's so much more leeway for RAW processing than there is for an image taken in Jpeg. Take a look at the difference between the histograms of two equally shot images - one RAW the other Jpeg.

    Didn't mean to go off topic and feel this reply might be a bit rambling and for that I apologize.

    Bear in mind this is just my 2 worth...

    Don
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Don Weston:

    The problem with "show me" the difference in the print is that the person printing first has to print properly using a color-managed workflow in order to see it -- and not many do that...

    Suffice it to say it is very easy to see the difference at arms length in an 8x10 if you do know how to print -- just ask anybody who has seen the comparison prints of our standard test print I share and they'll confirm!

    Here is that standard test print in sRGB jpeg form for web presentation, so you will *not* be able to see directly what I'm talking about. But as one example, if you look at the three green color patches up top of the color squares, you'll note that all three look very similar in this jpeg, but in print those are three VERY distinct shades of green -- more like the difference showing on the greens immediately beneath on the second row. If you have a good monitor profile, the square on the right of three will look more different than the other two:



    Before anybody asks, no you cannot copy this and print it to see the difference, because it was converted to an sRGB jpeg first to show online, so all the distinct color information that would render the difference has been permanently lost in the conversion. I might save some of what has been lost if I used Adobe RGB -- and I'll post one later -- but the original of this image we print from is in Profoto RGB. Jpeg is only 8-bit capable and that's not adequate for Profoto.
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Here is the same image as above, but converted to Adobe RGB, though still obviously an 8-bit jpeg. I realize we're getting way the OP's question, but it does go directly why I made the reco for the simpler, less expensive solution.

    Here is the Adobe RGB image and depending on your computer, browser and monitor, you may see a bit more separation in the greens I mentioned, but still nowhere near the separation you would see out of a good, wide-gamut printer:


    ~~~

    Okay, that was as re color space limitations of jpeg. Now we get into enlargement limitations with jpeg. Simple and quick answer is jpegs will not upscale to large prints as well as a tiff due to jpeg compression and resultant artifacting at the pixel level becoming more obvious and exaggerated on a large uprez.

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Oh Boy Jack

    Now you've opened a whole new area and one that I'm in totally agreement with.

    Proper monitor and printer calibration is an absolute must. Critical to achieving any sort of proper image processing and printing.

    I routinely check my monitors on a monthly basis and more often if I have a critical job to do. You might say I'm anal about my monitor calibration (and I have three of 'em).

    Another absolute key to getting the print right is calibrating the printer. Yes you can use the canned profiles that the printer and paper companies have but the best way is to run a calibration using your specific paper on your specific printer using your specific inks. Yeah I'm anal here as well...

    Okay off topic by just a little however the original question did ask for gear combos in making "detailed prints".

    Okay I'm out of here as I have some of my own work that needs attending to.

    Don

    Edit:
    Jack - I was writing and posted this before refreshing so I may have stomped on your part 2. Sorry about that....
    Last edited by Don Libby; 10th June 2009 at 13:31. Reason: Note to Jack...
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Jack and Don - I appreciate what you are trying to point out, but even accepting that Raw always makes a difference, I still do not see specifically with regards to my original question that it makes a difference to my query.

    Lets assume that I shoot RAW, then what would the answer be? I won't bother re-quoting from the start, re: gear question only at hand.

    Also, I was seeking relative differences between the two camera and lens combos, so unless you are telling me that shooting jpegs automatically cancels out all differences between a FF camera and an APS-C camera, my query still lingers. Are you telling me that the 5D2 jpeg in camera conversion is worse then the 50D, and that NO gain from just using a higher MP and FF still remains? I was not looking for what will give me the best absolute overall quality, just within the guidelines I set out. I posed a gear question, the pros and cons of Raw vs. Jpeg I feel have kind of derailed my original quandry.

    As an aside given the strong feelings here re; Raw files, would a better result be achieved shooting RAW with the 50D then Jpeg from the 5D2? I am not trying to play mental gymnastics here, just trying to balance the gear and their capacities. Also I might point out that without a similar print to compare to, generated by a RAW shooter readily available, and converted competently, would one be able to tell whether or not, what kind of file was indeed used. Point being lots of factors can contribute to final print quality, and I would say the light quality is tops on my list over gear and file type...

    This is a complex topic, I am sure, but there are many factors that contribute to the final product, the question initially was one of gear for me more then the rest....

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by DonWeston View Post
    so unless you are telling me that shooting jpegs automatically cancels out all differences between a FF camera and an APS-C camera, my query still lingers.
    No. What I was saying is that shooting in-camera jpegs moderates the advantages of the stated 5D2/lens-lens+converter options to where in my opinion, there will be little to zero gain to using one of those combos over the 50D/70-200. In fact, the stated 5D2 option combos may be *worse* than the 50D/70-200 option.

    And I know it's a moot point, but conversely, if you shot in raw and learned to optimally convert the raw, I think that maybe then the 5D2 options might in fact offer you some worthwhile gains for large prints over the 50D/70-200 option.

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Don,

    First off let me say I agree with Don and Jack that if you are looking to extract maximum detail and richness from the files and give yourself loads more control that raw is absolutely the way to go. I'll show you an example below that I think clearly shows this.

    Below you'll find the shots that show the range of options we discussed.

    I also threw in a shot at 200 + 1.4TC on the T1i just to see how the 70-200mm F/4 IS handles that case. The lens handled the full gamut exceptionally well even on the extreme example with the TC on the T1i. The T1i if expanded to full frame would be a 40 Mpix sensor - add the 1.4 TC on top of that and the lens is resolving at a level of an 80 Mpix full frame sensor which is pretty amazing.

    Regarding the 5D Mark II with TC vs the T1i without, I'd say they are a dead heat as coincidentally the pixel density pretty much matches and I'm not seeing a heck of a lot of degradation when using the TC on the 5D.

    The files were shot using Raw+JPG large fine on both cameras using the Canon Standard setting for the picture style with white balance set to daylight.

    Finally, just to give you a taste of the difference between the in camera raw files and the standard jpgs out of the camera I've included a crop of the 5D+TC shot converted in Raw Developer. I think you'll agree it's creating a much more detailed shot with significantly more clarity and depth.

    A zip file of the jpgs for the various combination's shot at F/4 to F/8 has been uploaded to:

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/mvminmnlzq5/70-200jpg.zip

    I also uploaded a subset of the RAW files (the ones shot at F/5.6):

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/tygzfoiywng/70-200raw.zip


    Finally, here is a link to the full file converted in Raw Developer. Compare this to IMG_1490.JPG in the jpg zip to see the full impact of the difference.

    1490 developed in Raw Developer


    Ok, now an overview of the scene I shot:



    Now the T1i in-camera jpeg at 200mm F/5.6:



    T1i in-camera jpeg at 200mm F/5.6 + 1.4TC:



    5D Mk II in-camera jpeg at 200mm F/5.6:



    5D Mk II in-camera jpeg at 200mm F/5.6 + 1.4TC:



    Same as immediately above, but 5D Mk II raw file converted with Raw Developer:



    Take a close look at that branch near the lower left corner and compare the textures in the raw vs the much mushier jpg. I think you'll agree that there is more than a bit of difference in the above raw shot vs the camera jpg and in my experience the difference will definitely show up in prints, even small ones.

    Thanks,

    Greg

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Nice example Greg, thanks for posting!

    Just to clarify, the first four crops are each various in-camera jpegs and only the last crop is the converted raw? I can edit the text above each crop to say that if you want.
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Nice example Greg, thanks for posting!

    Just to clarify, the first four crops are each various in-camera jpegs and only the last crop is the converted raw? I can edit the text above each crop to say that if you want.
    That's correct. Certainly, go ahead an edit to make that more clear.

    It's been so long since I shot jpg that this was a good exercise just to remind myself of how significant the difference can be!

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Greg - I have to admit that I do see a big difference in the last comparison of jpeg to Raw images and the detail in the branch you mention and other areas as well. Can this be achieved in ACR only? DoI need a special raw converter? Is this a common finding in most of your files so converted? Guess I will have to play with my old raw files that I have! I'll take your word that the difference shows in print as well as on monitor. I appreciate the time it took to collect these samples.

    Guess that leaves me with one final question, and that is, would I be better off without the TC and just cropping the image or with the TC, albeit a 1.4x version? The 70-200L F4 IS gets some really big raves from the sites I have checked and it seems in most cases the 5D2/70-200L even cropped, is better than the 70-300mm IS USM, not just wide open but even stopped down. The 5d2 seems like a no-brainer with its high ISO ability and FF tonality. By the time I need longer then that, I will have to look later at my wallet and specific needs at the time.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by DonWeston View Post
    Greg - I have to admit that I do see a big difference in the last comparison of jpeg to Raw images and the detail in the branch you mention and other areas as well. Can this be achieved in ACR only?
    Don, I am not Greg but want to point out that Greg used Raw Developer, not ACR and says so in his thread a few times -- you might want to re-read these threads a bit more carefully to make sure you are understanding the key information being shared...

    But more to the point is that choice of raw converter can make a significant -- or at least visible -- difference in the final file. ACR is a very good raw converter, but Raw Developer and C1 are probably the recognized leaders in extracting the best detail and/or color from various raw files.
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Don, I am not Greg but want to point out that Greg used Raw Developer, not ACR and says so in his thread a few times -- you might want to re-read these threads a bit more carefully to make sure you are understanding the key information being shared...
    Jack

    Checking RAW Developer 1.8.3 website looks like it's Mac only am I right?
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Here is the same image as above, but converted to Adobe RGB, though still obviously an 8-bit jpeg. I realize we're getting way the OP's question, but it does go directly why I made the reco for the simpler, less expensive solution.

    Here is the Adobe RGB image and depending on your computer, browser and monitor, you may see a bit more separation in the greens I mentioned, but still nowhere near the separation you would see out of a good, wide-gamut printer:


    ~~~

    Okay, that was as re color space limitations of jpeg. Now we get into enlargement limitations with jpeg. Simple and quick answer is jpegs will not upscale to large prints as well as a tiff due to jpeg compression and resultant artifacting at the pixel level becoming more obvious and exaggerated on a large uprez.

    Cheers,
    Jack

    A few years ago I attended a printing workshop taught by Charlie Cramer and based on the work that he and Bill Atkinson had done together (I believe Bill is now retired from the teaching business altogether but he was a very positive influence while he was doing these workshops) Anyway, they provided a "reference" image that Bill printed on the then prototype 11440 (probably the wrong number but my memory is notoriously faulty......hopefull you get the point) After you had the opportunity to play with all the controls in Photoshop and the printer drivers you could print an image from the electronic file that Charlie and Bill gave to us to see how close to Bill's reference your system achieved.

    Since printing is everything in the final analysis, I found this reference image approach to be a Godsend. If you achieved a close approximation of their printed image you would now be able to print other images, on your own, that were close to the best that could be done with real world images and printer setups.

    Nothing magic here........just a simplified approach to producing printed images that are close to the best that can be done at any given moment in time. As new printers and inksets are produced you must, of course, have access to updated references to know where you are now. But the work needed is miniscule compared to the old approaches.

    Best

    Woody

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by DonWeston View Post
    Greg - I have to admit that I do see a big difference in the last comparison of jpeg to Raw images and the detail in the branch you mention and other areas as well. Can this be achieved in ACR only? DoI need a special raw converter? Is this a common finding in most of your files so converted? Guess I will have to play with my old raw files that I have! I'll take your word that the difference shows in print as well as on monitor. I appreciate the time it took to collect these samples.

    Guess that leaves me with one final question, and that is, would I be better off without the TC and just cropping the image or with the TC, albeit a 1.4x version? The 70-200L F4 IS gets some really big raves from the sites I have checked and it seems in most cases the 5D2/70-200L even cropped, is better than the 70-300mm IS USM, not just wide open but even stopped down. The 5d2 seems like a no-brainer with its high ISO ability and FF tonality. By the time I need longer then that, I will have to look later at my wallet and specific needs at the time.
    Don,

    As Jack mentioned, Raw Developer and C1 are generally considered to be able to extract the most detail but even with camera raw or lightroom you will be able to improve significantly on the jpgs out of the camera.

    Raw Developer is a mac only app so that would obviously be a non starter if you happen to run windows. It's my go to raw developer when I want to extract maximum detail especially from landscapes.

    The Adobe stuff is nice if you're trying to match what you would expect from the out of camera jpgs in terms of color rendering as they have a number of profiles already created that roughly match the Canon styles but I believe you would need to upgrade to CS4 or Lightroom 2 to take advantage of the latest features.

    Also, I believe Raw Developer, Capture One, and Adobe have free trials that will let you experiment with them before commiting.

    There are plenty of people here whom I'm sure would be able to offer assistance with getting the most out of any of the options available so I'd give at least a couple of them a try if you have the time.

    Regarding your camera choice. I'd say if you never need to go out past roughly 300mm and F/4 to F/5.6 work for your style of shooting that you can't go wrong with the 70-200mm F/4 IS and the 1.4x TC combined with a 5D Mk II if you're looking for a great all around camera.

    If you are strictly looking for something to shoot at the long end with, your subjects are relatively static, and you have good light so you can use low ISOs, the 50D would be a fine choice. It matches the detail of the 5D MkII with TC and if you mount the TC to the 50D you would have an even longer effective reach and still pick up more detail but you'll need to have good technique.

    If low light factors into your decision then the 5D Mk II is the obvious choice as you'll gain at least one stop in the upper ISO range.

    Also, if you are shooting from a tripod they both have the same live view implementation that locks up the mirror and lets you use contrast based auto focus. This lets you pick exactly where you want the focus point to be and I've found the camera almost always locks on perfectly. When you release the shutter you get effectively no shutter bounce because the first curtain is electronic. This is an area that Canon has done a better job than any other implementation that I'm aware of - much better than the Nikon implementation of live view.

    Well anyways, hope this info is helpful to you, feel free to ask any more questions and I'll see if I can help.

    Thanks,

    Greg

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    Jack

    Checking RAW Developer 1.8.3 website looks like it's Mac only am I right?
    Don, I'm not Jack but you are correct, it's Mac only software.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Seitz View Post
    Don, I'm not Jack but you are correct, it's Mac only software.
    Thanks Greg, that what I thought. Still not switching platforms

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Just out of curiousity, are there differences simply between ACR, Raw Developer and C1. Also what are the relative costs of each? I played last night with a few .nef and .cr files I have taken over the last few yrs and was able most times to see some differences, always giving the raw file the upper hand in sharpness, i.e. less mushy.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    BTW - I am not Jack either , and am sure Jack might think I do not know Jack.... but for some of us, photography is only a hobby....and I can admit that I have much to learn, that is why I am here....so the experts can educate me.....

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by DonWeston View Post
    Just out of curiousity, are there differences simply between ACR, Raw Developer and C1. Also what are the relative costs of each? I played last night with a few .nef and .cr files I have taken over the last few yrs and was able most times to see some differences, always giving the raw file the upper hand in sharpness, i.e. less mushy.
    Don, there are differences but with tweaking you can generally bring them fairly close. I don't have lots of experience with C1 but Raw Developer makes it fairly easy to get at all the detail without much effort. As a general rule I turn off Noise Reduction and set my sharpening to Hybrid Sharpen Smooth Amount of 7 and Strength to 6 in the SharpNR tab.

    In Lightroom or ACR I dial down Color NR to 0, and start with a radius of 0.5, amount 20, detail 78 and then add a touch of sharpening later in PS. You can of course experiment to get things to your liking but for me these are decent starting points. Different cameras will need different amounts of fine tuning. There are many schools of thought on sharpening and the final output that you are targeting definitely impacts your settings so don't take these as gospel just as a general guideline to get started with.

    Regarding the relative costs, last time I checked Raw Developer was $125 but I don't know the prices on the other two. You should be able to get prices off their respective web sites.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Greg - thanks for that info, I plan on using the trial versions this weekend, and comparing to ACR. Wonder when I can't see any differences, those few files where the file did not improve with the raw version, if maybe some shooting issue exists that I never looked to before, will have to check more carefully. I use Mirror lock up and self timer, and have a decent tripod/head for not using very long lenses, but wonder if not using LV, due to cameras not having it, whether focus was slightly off and never noticed it. I just assumed maybe that on a stationary landscape, focus acquisition would not be so difficult....I guess that falls under the old "assume" definition..

    Don

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Hi Don:

    Just to add to what Greg already said, yes there are differences, but IMO for you right now the differences between these raw converters are not as significant as shooting raw over jpeg.

    As to cost, ACR is free with Photoshop, and is the same conversion engine as LightRoom, and has a simple, usable UI.

    My suggestion would be to start with ACR assuming you already have CS3 or 4, and try that for a while and see if the raw workflow begins to suit you better. If it does, then I would explore the alternative converter options.

    However, my settings in ACR are different: I dial down *Luminance* NR to 0 and leave Color around 35. I set sharpening to amount 35, radius 0.5, detail to 25 and masking at 0.

    Cheers,
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Hi Don

    Just to tack on to what Greg and Jack and others have said - and bear with me as I'm on my first cup of coffee...

    The biggest factor is shooting RAW. Once you do that you'll have a file that contains much more information than what you've worked with in the past. I've never had problems with ACR in any of the versions of PS however they get better with age and currently CS4 is the best. I've been able to open files I shot with my 1DsII in ACR and fully process them to the point of printing - again all in ACR. A side note here is I've been using PS for many years; I think I started around version 4 (okay showing my age here..).

    While I've been shooting MF for several years it's only been months that I've been using C1. The major reason for my late arrival in C1 is they just finally started supporting 64bit. That little bit of history aside, I'm using C1 more and more beyond the LCC for my Cambo.

    I've tried LightRoom and for whatever the reason I just can't seem to warm up to it.

    I agree with Jack - use the ACR you currently have CS3 or 4 as I believe it'll work for you just fine. As far as settings go - and remember I shoot landscape - I simply don't have any pre conceived settings. I open the image (or images) in ACR and let the image tell me where it wants to go. Listen to you image. And by all means make sure your monitor is calibrated.

    Looking forward to seeing some images.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    And by all means make sure your monitor is calibrated.
    Excellent point Don, and MANDATORY for good color output on a print, as is knowing how to print with proper profiles.

    Don W, one issue when working with RAW is all of a sudden your color space can be far larger and needs to be properly managed in your workflow right through to print output. Having a properly profiled (not just calibrated) monitor is essential because there is no other way to know that the colors you are seeing AND adjusting are accurate! Next, because the working spaces are often larger than the print spaces, they need to be properly converted to the print spaces to maintain proper appearance -- anything done carelessly can result in disastrous color in your prints.

    With a typical jpeg in sRGB, the color space is generally smaller than most modern color printer spaces, so shifts in colors due to careless practices often go largely unnoticed...

    So my point here is one downside to the raw workflow: good color management practices become mandatory for good results.

    Cheers,
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Sitting here and trying to figure out a visual explanation of the difference between file/information sizes. Figure your coffee cup contains the information found in a Jpeg - now think of a one pound coffee can sitting next to it. That's the difference. (This is what happens as I sit here drinking my first pot of coffee )

    You'll be overloaded/bombarded with the amount of information you get with a RAW file and you will have to change your workflow. Don't get discouraged as the effort is well worth it when you produce that kick-a$$ detailed image. Taking this back somewhat you your original question - shooting RAW will make your camera/lens combination work to it's fullest. You'll soon find that you no longer are driving a Yugo - now sitting behind the wheel of a Ferrari on the autobahn. It's not faster - you're just using it as it was intended.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Jack, Don and Greg - thanks all for the pointers, it will be lots of food for thought this weekend. Raining here anyway, so a good weekend to do PS stuff. Btw - as I told Greg in a PM, some of the bad info I started with here, were from pro portrait shooters locally, I have known for yrs. Their needs are obviously a lot different then mine, I just took things at face value...

    If I get real bored, I may check out a free trial for Raw Developer and see if I can achieve better results or not to justify its cost. I also may push off the camera purchase to see if the additional image quality satisfies my current needs. Am sure, they won't get any more expensive while I reconsider...

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    I usually send tif files to Imageprint (my printer RIP) and print on the 4880. typically i have already sized the images in CS4 for 300dpi at the print size i will be using.
    so my question is: any reason not to save these print-ready files as jpg, aRGB, rather than tif, using highest level quality? just to reduce file sizes.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    John,

    I save all my print files as tiffs even though I pay a size penalty. My thinking is drive space is cheap, and tiff is such an entrenched standard it's likely to be supported for many years.
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    John,

    I save all my print files as tiffs even though I pay a size penalty. My thinking is drive space is cheap, and tiff is such an entrenched standard it's likely to be supported for many years.
    Same here - tiff. The only time I do anything in Jpeg is for the web

    Don

    Just thinking outloud here but this might be a good poll question....
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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Is there anything wrong with saving them as .psd files, as I do all my own printing on either a 7600 or 3800? .psd files seem to open easier or quicker then .tiffs. I know they are proprietary for PS, but they save layers I think the same as .tiffs.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    typically i have already sized the images in CS4 for 300dpi at the print size i will be using.
    John - you may want to consider sizing the images at 360dpi (or 240) given that the Epson's native resolution is 2880 (720, 1440, 2880). Again, another one of those "can you really see a difference" and the answer is probably yes sometimes.

    I will defer to Jack for the explanation.

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Yes, use 360 or 240 or if printing very large, even 180 PPI as base file resolutions if you print with Epson printers; 300, 200 and 150 if you print on HP or Canon. These resolutions divide more evenly into those printer's native output resolutions, making the math the print driver has to handle easier . And you can see differences in many prints, especially in areas of high frequency detail. The differences we are talking are very slight, so not worth going back and reprinting something differently, but nonetheless it's there often enough to make doing it that way worthwhile.

    Re PSD. Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with saving a file as a PSD -- as long as you plan to keep using CS as your main photo editor... PSD is not really standardized and Adobe alters it with subsequent versions of CS pretty regularly, so it is not as universal as tiff as third-party vendors may not keep up with future Adobe changes. But PSD is more efficient and usually means a smaller footprint, especially if you have a bunch of adjustment layers. By contrast, tiff is standard and can be read by many different programs, but the files are usually significantly larger.
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    large prints which combo would yield better results

    FURTHER EXPLANATION TO MY INITIAL THREAD QUESTION...

    Here is where I am at...with thinking...

    I regularly visit Northern California for vacation, in particular the Napa Valley Region. Each visit, I like to take photos, as a general hobby. Currently, I have been using my Canon 5D and Canon 24-70mm.

    Trip A: When traveling solo on these trips, I typically bring the Feisol Tripod...because I can take my time to set-up the shot and enjoy my photography.

    Trip B: When traveling with a companion, sometimes their patience runs thin, with my set-up and carrying of the Tripod. Thus, I have been thinking of purchasing the Canon 24-105mm IS. On these trips, I can now "hand-hold" the majority of shots.

    My question is which set-up will yield better image quality?

    Make a little more sense I hope...


    Thanks to all those sharing their thoughts...

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    Sorry but haven't been back to this thread in awhile, but if you still need an answer, I would suggest the old tried and true, when in doubt use a good solid tripod, first and foremost. If not available then I find I like my 24-105L IS more and more, with the IS and that hand held I get far better results with IS on a lens then without, for me it is not a question. Guess I am just not so stable on my own anymore. The only time that the 24-70L on its own would be good if you needed to use it at F2.8, at least that is for me currently, YMMV...best and again sorry for the delay..Don

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    Re: large prints, which combo would yield better results..

    The new 70 200 vr 2 is so good and sharp even with a 2x it is amazingly sharp. Look at my post about it. David

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