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Thread: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    I've heard a lot about how great sensor plus is and this evening I gave it a very thorough workout for the first time. Not impressed. You get a file dimension about the same size as an M9 but to my eye it is noisy, really artifacty, and about 25% of the time at ISO 800+ for no apparent reason has the sort of banding you need to push a 5DII to 6400 to provoke. The usual question is, has Tim bought another pup, or are they all like this? If they are, then I agree that for FFMF it's not too bad but it doesn't really inspire me to use it for anything serious at all...

    Samples (90% quality JPEG, full scene then 100% crop, fairly correctly exposed and with no adjustments in C1 other than WB):




  2. #2
    DougDolde
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Whats with the fruity hat?

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Check out the other thread on the 110 lens nearby - these guys are Morris Dancers, an ancient English form of folk dance (mostly invented by nostalgic Victorians as far as I can see!) and they perform outside English pubs on summer evenings in exchange for a in the charity box and a a few pints of ale. They also hit each other with sticks and wear bells on their ankles.

    Go figure.

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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Sorry to hear that, Tim - I've used Sensor + a few times and have been very happy with it - tho' I'd rather have a 60 mp file!

    I'll see if I can post some examples.

    Bill

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Wow this is so wrong it is scary. Sorry Tim but God knows what you are doing or what is going on. Maybe one of the best features of these new backs from Phase. I 100 percent disagree. I use this feature a LOT.

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13379
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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Wow this is so wrong it is scary. Sorry Tim but God knows what you are doing or what is going on. Maybe one of the best features of these new backs from Phase. I 100 percent disagree. I use this feature a LOT.

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13379
    It must have something to do with the different subjects you shoot Guy! If I were a digital back would get even worse banding from shooting Morris Dancers than the one Tim is getting - you shoot beautiful girls, so your P40+ is of course much happier to oblige

    Seriously speaking Tim, I am very sorry to see that happening to you - I didn't give my P65+ a serious try with Sensor + yet, but will try and to that next week and see what I can get out of it. I would anyway contact P1's support and see what they have to say about that...
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Well I wish it was beautiful girls all the time but it has yet to disappoint me and main reason i won't buy a Canon or Nikon because I can get ISO 1600 pretty cleanly
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    .... If I were a digital back would get even worse banding from shooting Morris Dancers than the one Tim is getting - you shoot beautiful girls, so your P40+ is of course much happier to oblige
    ....
    I don't care who you are---that was funny!

    Initially, I thought Sensor+ was just some sort of corny marketing or hype from Phase One---until I used it. Wow---it actually has great utility! Resolution goes down, but you're still using the full frame of the entire sensor. To be sure, the full resolution is usually preferred, but sometimes when you need that extra stop/speed, you'd be surprised what Sensor+ is capable of.

    Tim, have you tried burning sage?

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Well I wish it was beautiful girls all the time but it has yet to disappoint me and main reason i won't buy a Canon or Nikon because I can get ISO 1600 pretty cleanly
    Indeed - seriously speaking, leaving girls aside (not that THAT isn't serious of course! ) I have to get into some serious Sensor Plus testing and see if that will be enough for me to drop my D3 system altogether for the work I do. So far, I use my Nikon D3 (17-35, 24-70, 70-200, 35 f1.4, 50 f1.2, 85 f1.4) for paid concert work in clubs where the light is not that great, but being able to consolidate all the work in the Phase system would be great, both as ease of use and economically of course. More than the sensor (your ISO 1600 samples look stunningly clean to me!) what I am worried about is the body-lens-AF speed combination, but the DF body seems way faster than the older Phase body, so I am hopeful
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    The speed is actually better than one would think. Try putting the body on C and let it follow focus. Be surprised it is actually quite good at it . Now not Canon good but shooting runway with a 300mm with the models coming straight at me is a challenge for follow focus and my keeper rate is very good. Make sure your back is on zero latency. It makes the back faster
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    So far, I use my Nikon D3 (17-35, 24-70, 70-200, 35 f1.4, 50 f1.2, 85 f1.4) for paid concert work in clubs where the light is not that great, but being able to consolidate all the work in the Phase system would be great, both as ease of use and economically of course. More than the sensor (your ISO 1600 samples look stunningly clean to me!) what I am worried about is the body-lens-AF speed combination, but the DF body seems way faster than the older Phase body, so I am hopeful
    I can understand the desirability of using a single system but I think the Nikon D3 is far better suited for the kind of work you're describing. Let us know how you make out. I'm certainly curious...

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    BTW do NOT even try sensor plus outside of C1. They are a team and will not work good at all without each other. Also watch your luminance and noise levels. C1 tends to go a little high by default. Try 15 or 20 for luminance and 50-60 on color. This is obviously by taste and I use that setting for 1600 but go lower for lower ISO. It is a balancing act on what you like.
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    I can understand the desirability of using a single system but I think the Nikon D3 is far better suited for the kind of work you're describing. Let us know how you make out. I'm certainly curious...
    It is a great question and if your doing high ISO work daily as your main bread winner than the DSLR's will be a better choice but like me that uses both a lot and does not want to invest another 10k in another system but rather put in the MF system than it makes some sense if it is more occasionally used. ISO 800 doing events is all you will ever need so using a MF is a no brainer but when you start leaking into 1600 and above than the DSLR' seem like a better choice. Is there days I would rather have theDSLR sure but when I look at the files at the end of the day i keep saying why to myself. Sure I am beating myself up with a heavier load to deal with but I am also getting paid too. Maybe a little easier to swallow when you actually get money to bust your butt out there. LOL

    I know many view sensor plus as a gimmick but not me I view it as saving money on my end and putting that money back in my pocket . Sure it is harder work but you know the old saying yada yada yada
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    Senior Member eleanorbrown's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Initially I thought sensor plus on the 65+ was marketing hype too until I tried using it. Now I make frequent use of it and it allows me to hand hold when I wouldn't otherwise be able too! I'm getting great results. Eleanor

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    I can understand the desirability of using a single system but I think the Nikon D3 is far better suited for the kind of work you're describing. Let us know how you make out. I'm certainly curious...
    I will definitely share with the forum as soon as I have a chance (read: a non-paying gig where I can just go and try stuff out, or a paying gig but close to home so I don't have to lug 2 systems around to try them side by side)... I am certainly curious to see how it will work out as well, just need to put bread on the table in the meantime

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    BTW do NOT even try sensor plus outside of C1. They are a team and will not work good at all without each other. Also watch your luminance and noise levels. C1 tends to go a little high by default. Try 15 or 20 for luminance and 50-60 on color. This is obviously by taste and I use that setting for 1600 but go lower for lower ISO. It is a balancing act on what you like.
    Thank you Guy for the tip, actually I am now using C1 for ALL my digital stuff (that'd be Phase & Nikon for the moment, though I am looking fwd to add a GF1 to the mix) and though I might be able to squeeze something more out of those NEFs using Capture NX the whole software is so abysmal that once getting used to Capture 1 I never looked back and started using it for all my stuff. Looks good enough to me with the NEF to not have to bother using NX anymore.
    Thanks for the noise settings, I will definitely try them as a starting point as soon as I will have a chance to use S+ seriously. Oh, and about the "zero latency", I started using it after my first shooting with the P65+ and it makes an incredible difference - wonder what the "long latency" is there for

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    It is a great question and if your doing high ISO work daily as your main bread winner than the DSLR's will be a better choice but like me that uses both a lot and does not want to invest another 10k in another system but rather put in the MF system than it makes some sense if it is more occasionally used. ISO 800 doing events is all you will ever need so using a MF is a no brainer but when you start leaking into 1600 and above than the DSLR' seem like a better choice. Is there days I would rather have theDSLR sure but when I look at the files at the end of the day i keep saying why to myself. Sure I am beating myself up with a heavier load to deal with but I am also getting paid too. Maybe a little easier to swallow when you actually get money to bust your butt out there. LOL

    I know many view sensor plus as a gimmick but not me I view it as saving money on my end and putting that money back in my pocket . Sure it is harder work but you know the old saying yada yada yada
    I am with you on this one Guy, I am doing lot of different work with photography (both to put the proverbial bread on the table and because I enjoy the diversification, I would not like to specialize on one thing only) and though concert work is a good portion of what I do - and though I have a good D3 system already set up (D3, 17-35, 24-70, 70-200 VRII, 35 f1.4, 50 f1.2, 85 f1.4 all manual, plus bits and bobs) - I wouldn't mind to free that Nikon-tied cash to expand on the Phase system a little, and to get the Rodenstock 23 for the Bicam as well...

    We'll see how it turns out! Thanks guys!
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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by eleanorbrown View Post
    Initially I thought sensor plus on the 65+ was marketing hype too until I tried using it. Now I make frequent use of it and it allows me to hand hold when I wouldn't otherwise be able too! I'm getting great results. Eleanor
    Great to know Eleanor, one more reason to find the time to give this a serious try
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Zero latency will eat batteries a little quicker for sure. When using a tech camera sometimes this can be a issue because it is always on without delay and you can do a single cable without wakeup. I think Phase put the long latency in for saving battery but it needs to wake up the back also which in this mode you need the wake up cable and for some folks that is fine with certain types of work like landscape stuff.

    Now on the DF body zero is instant shooting and I believe there is a slight delay with long latency to wake it up or get it out of pause mode.

    Doug may add more to this but this is the way I understand the setup
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Now the good news here is the P40 and P65 plus backs seem to run more efficiently than the previous backs in regards to battery power. I carry 5 batteries but rarely get past two in a day of shooting. I find even with zero latency an improvement in the new backs. So I always just leave it on zero anyway. Now landscape folks out in the field may want to consider longer latency if they are out overnight or constantly on.
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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    I don't care who you are---that was funny!



    Tim, have you tried burning sage?
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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    I was always told that zero latency, whilst speeding up response on an SLR style body and obviating the need for a wake-up cable on a tech cam, means that the sensor is 'always on' and that in turn means that it is generating heat and therefore noise. Further, that Dalsa sensors are not designed to handle this as well as Kodak ones with their longer available exposure times, and that therefore with zero latency on a dalsa you run the risk, unless shooting for short periods and then powering off, that the sensor gets warm and noise levels start to rise.

    If this isn't the case I'd love to know it since wake-up cables and slow response suck but the only PM I've had from a tech-type about this thread asked me whether I was using zero or normal latency.

    In any event, no panic here. I like the P65+ and will assume that some freakish aspect of yesterday's shooting was to blame so I will make a whole load more test exposures and see what I get before I get to gnashing!

    ps I bet C focus is better with zero latency since there is no pause between the moment of focus lock and exposure.

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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    I would send the raw file to your dealer.

    This doesn't look like the ISO800 files I've personally shot with that system or like the variety of sensor+ files I've seen from others. Has this rendering been pushed in exposure or otherwise greatly changed from the original neutral (all sliders at default) rendering? In particular the banding is surprising. VERY rare to see that off a Phase back and not something I ever expect at ISO800 in sensor+.

    I've found ISO800 in Sensor+ to be REALLY good and ISO1600 to be surprisingly good.

    Silly question: can you triple check that this file was in fact in sensor+ mode? If this were an ISO800 at full resolution file (the max ISO for full res) I would not be overly surprised to see some strangeness (it is after all the last ISO on the system for full res and any camera's highest ISO is a bit weird - otherwise they should have included a higher ISO!).

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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Also the backs aren't very sensitive (on the contrary they perform well even pushed to some extreme situations) but just wanted to make sure you hadn't, for instance, left the back in direct sunlight sitting on a black metal table for a couple hours or something. Heat does = noise and it's rare to see it have a practical effect, but if you get the back really hot and use high ISO at the same time it can impact image quality.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Hi Doug,

    It was a cool evening, maybe 15C, and the camera was in shade all the time. The frame I posted has all sliders at C1 default except for WB but even at 'as shot' the banding is very clear. The frame was shot 1 minute and 13 seconds after the previous frame and there is the possibility that I switched the back off between exposures though generally I had it permanently on, Normal latency and yes, this shot is certainly in Sensor Plus more because it has the lower resolution.

    I will see if I can make it happen again. There were some other frames that had this too but since they were also OOF I trashed them. so I will have to see if there are any traces of it in any of the other ones I kept!

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    Member Chris Barrett's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Pretty soon after I got my P65+, I tested the Sensor + against my D3. I haven't used it since. It was just not even close to the high iso performance of the Nikon. Certainly each tool has it's strengths. It is nice of Phase to build in some versatility, tho.

    Lately some of my files are noisier than I feel they should be. I think I need to do some zero latency testing. I so do not want to go back to wakeup cables!

    CB

  25. #25
    Ken Tanaka
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    FWIW, Chris' remarks, above, echo my perspective on PhaseOne's Sensor+ technology. I'm certainly glad that I have it but it's not really competitive with the high-ISO frames I can get from my Canon 5DII, or even my 1DsIII. My P65's ISO 800 and above is roughly where the Canon technology was four years ago. (I can't speak for Nikon...never touched one.) In Phase's support, however, C1 v.5 does do a pretty nice job of cleaning-up these files natively.

    I really don't care about high ISO with my P65; that's not what I bought it for. ISO 100-400 is basically my working range for this tool. But if you really need the best shot-in-dark imaging stick with Canon and Nikon. They're at the absolute top of this game, and likely will remain there for years to come.

    Right tools for the...

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Sensor+ is definitely about flexibility. I'll probably be "stuck" with a Canon DSLR alongside the Phase for quite some time....

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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    If your not going over ISO 800 or 1600 than no need for the DSLR's is what I have come up with. If i was going higher and doing more of that type of work, sure that would be the best bet BUT i see no need spending another 8 or 10k for a system that for me really would be worthless because i know for sure i would not even pick it up with a P40+ sitting here. My files are very clean at 800,1600 and for this type of PR work i have to do it is perfect for it. Besides all of that I hated working with Canon and Nikon files of the past , not sure about the new bodies but I was left completely uninspired from the files. Horses for yada yada yada.
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Just goes to show one man's invaluable feature is another man's useless bloatware.

    I like sensor+ because
    - half of my shooting is in situations where I am 100% willing to capture a (very sharp and pliable) 10 or 15 megapixel raw file. It increases shooting speed, decreases storage needs, and increases the sped of editing/processing
    - ISO800 and ISO1600 look darn good. I also use ISO3200 quite often by using them as high contrast black and white.

    Like this shot. I can't remember if it was ISO 1600 or 3200, but it was high! (note the blown highlights are a result of my style and could have been held if desired, and there is banding from the JPG compression which is not in the raw file).



    If you're doing a lot of work at ISO3200/6400/12800 with your nikon/canon then that's clearly the better tool. If you shoot a lot at ISO1600 (especially if you're using IS lenses or f/1-f/2 apertures) a Canon/Nikon would probably be a better tool but having two complete systems means doubling up lenses, accessories, batteries, chargers blah blah. Cost, packing-size/weight, keeping two systems up-to-date with firmware/software etc, learning two systems. If Sensor+ means that, for your style of shooting, you can stick with one system that is worth a lot right there.


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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    I never saw the point of Sensor Plus as eliminate the need for 35mm (although some did indeed do so - Guy). Instead I always saw it and still do see it as a tool that allows you to shoot medium format in more situations than you would otherwise. And that has been a prime desire of photographers for years.


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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Instead I always saw it and still do see it as a tool that allows you to shoot medium format in more situations than you would otherwise. And that has been a prime desire of photographers for years.


    Steve Hendrix
    +1... But then because it was as good as it is, I was able to sell my Canon kit. But at the same time, I am not at all surprised it doesn't suit Tim...
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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    I think it is really easy to poo-poo Sensor+ at first blush (I did). But then you find yourself in some situation where you need it, and your DSLR is not around. And it works.

    Sensor+ is just something that's nice to have; it's added more flexibility for me and it has proven its value much more than I would ever have thought initially.

    ken

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post

    +1... But then because it was as good as it is, I was able to sell my Canon kit. But at the same time, I am not at all surprised it doesn't suit Tim...
    Actually I was quite surprised. Those nasty streaks were the first issue I've encountered with the P65+ which otherwise seems well made. And given how much I'd heard about the high quality of Sensor Plus results from so many sources I was expecting it to be pretty good, so much so that I used it without thinking, as I trialled my new LS 110.

    As it is I fall into the camp of about half the people here: it's great that it's available and I'll use it when the need crops up unexpectedly but for now at least if am anticipate any volume of high iso shots I'll take the Canon.

  33. #33
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    When you say nasty streaks, I think we need quantification. Are they patently visible in every image, or only slightly so at 400% view in smooth, even-toned areas at binned 1600 or 3200?

    I ask because it is a documented trait to show have some of the sensor fold lines areas show up in the latter circumstance. In my case I've seen it once or twice when conditions were "prefect" for me to find it, but even then it would never be noticeable in an A4 print by 99.9% of the population.
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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    When you say nasty streaks, I think we need quantification. Are they patently visible in every image, or only slightly so at 400% view in smooth, even-toned areas at binned 1600 or 3200?

    I ask because it is a documented trait to show have some of the sensor fold lines areas show up in the latter circumstance. In my case I've seen it once or twice when conditions were "prefect" for me to find it, but even then it would never be noticeable in an A4 print by 99.9% of the population.
    Hi Jack,
    there's an example of what I mean in the 100% crop at the top of this thread and I think that should answer your questions. Posting from iPhone right now, not at home so can't confirm but I think that shot was at ISO 800 and it's either banding or streaking but isn't in the right place to be 'fold' I think....

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Hi Jack,
    there's an example of what I mean in the 100% crop at the top of this thread
    Sorry, I had somehow missed that crop on the first go! Anyway, what you are showing there doesn't resemble what I have seen when I did find a sensor fold -- mine was centered and vertical in orientation, and rendered a subtle difference in shading/hue on either side. I have no idea what that is on yours, maybe could be a read or write flaw for that file?
    Jack
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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    I had a centrefold issue on my final S2 and it was just as you describe. I think the problem on the phase file at the top of this thread was more like a highlight streak from the bright area at the right hand side. I had it a few times that evening but not since. Sigh. Seems like there's a ghost in every machine!

  37. #37
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor Plus, what's the fuss?

    I would suggest that when something weird happens in one file, it is an anomaly of some sort. When it repeats on occasion, it is a concern. When it is appears consistently or is repeatable, it gets elevated to an issue...

    My .02,
    Jack
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