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Thread: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

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    Member Stevieraveon's Avatar
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    Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    I read a comment somewhere that when you shrink a super high resolution image down to a smaller one it will look better than one made with a smaller sensor. (say a medium format vs small format film parallel in same print size)

    Anyone care to comment?

    The driver for me is that most of my clients do not necessarily require all 60 megapixels so if I am prepared to shrink my images, does that pick up the slack where a lens is not as sharp at pixel level? (Please don't shoot me for willing to compromise the pursuit of utmost pixel level perfection in this forum )

    In real life translation, I am looking at lens choices for the Phase One 645 DF+ and am wondering the impact of image size reduction in the overall equation comparing newest lenses with older (say latest Phase One or SK lenses vs. older Mamiya M645 N lenses) and whether I can get away with softer lenses with this.

    As a side note I observed a photographer who provides low res images in the format of 30 dpi but at 8000 pixels. I take it this is intentional but what is the benefit here?
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    I read a comment somewhere that when you shrink a super high resolution image down to a smaller one it will look better than one made with a smaller sensor. (say a medium format vs small format film parallel in same print size)
    You are confusing (or the original poster was) between sensor size and pixel dimensions. If you take two pictures with same size sensor, one with high resolution and one with low resolution, and then downsize both of the to a size smaller than the smaller one, then there will be no difference in the result.

    If, on the other hand, you are taking a picture with two sensors, both at same pixel dimensions but different sensor size, then there will be a difference between the two pictures, no matter how the pixels are resized, because the difference comes from optical characteristics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    The driver for me is that most of my clients do not necessarily require all 60 megapixels so if I am prepared to shrink my images, does that pick up the slack where a lens is not as sharp at pixel level? (Please don't shoot me for willing to compromise the pursuit of utmost pixel level perfection in this forum )
    Most clients don't need 60MP - give them the file size you think they need or want. Files that are too big many times cause problems for the clients to process with their puny computers. Other clients are pixel hungry and you should give them as many pixels as you possibly can. It is up to you to know which is which.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    In real life translation, I am looking at lens choices for the Phase One 645 DF+ and am wondering the impact of image size reduction in the overall equation comparing newest lenses with older (say latest Phase One or SK lenses vs. older Mamiya M645 N lenses) and whether I can get away with softer lenses with this.
    Be specific what focal lengths you are talking about and what lens models - each one if a different story.
    In general - N generation lenses are not only softer not also have different colors (contrast), and may give your image a look that is unsatisfactory.

    These are the generations of lenses:
    LS - latest - very expensive
    Phase One D - less expensive but IMO just as good (for my applications - I know there are differences under some parameters)
    Mamiya D - some are older and softer than Phase One D, other are newer and the same quality
    Mamiya AF - depends on the lens - many are much softer
    Mamiya N etc. - must manually close down aperture every exposure - to me that is unacceptable workflow - some lenses are not very different optically than the AF generation.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    As a side note I observed a photographer who provides low res images in the format of 30 dpi but at 8000 pixels. I take it this is intentional but what is the benefit here?

    8000 pixel is high resolution. If the photographer attached 30DPI value to the file, it doesn't change anything regarding the pixel matrix in the file. You can specify any DPI that you want to a file before you print it, and that is the only time when it becomes relevant. Pixel dimensions on the other hand - once you decrease them, you can't increase them again without degrading the picture.

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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Phase user can get the Sensor+ mode. If you want, less resolution, 2 stops higher ISO and same image quality
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/astral-ark/

    Alpa 12 SWA + IQ 260 , 135 Old Lens Fans

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    Member Stevieraveon's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    You are confusing (or the original poster was) between sensor size and pixel dimensions. If you take two pictures with same size sensor, one with high resolution and one with low resolution, and then downsize both of the to a size smaller than the smaller one, then there will be no difference in the result.

    If, on the other hand, you are taking a picture with two sensors, both at same pixel dimensions but different sensor size, then there will be a difference between the two pictures, no matter how the pixels are resized, because the difference comes from optical characteristics.
    Shlomi, thank you for the response. It is well done and answers my question. I tried to think back on the comment I read. I think the original posting person was saying that when you take film medium format and small format and print them to the same small size, the medium format image will look more detailed and contains more gradation. Looks like resolution and your optical gain explanation clarifies this. I am just unsure if downsize interpolation can benefit from larger original pixel count. From your explanation I guess it doesn't.

    Be specific what focal lengths you are talking about and what lens models - each one if a different story.
    In general - N generation lenses are not only softer not also have different colors (contrast), and may give your image a look that is unsatisfactory.
    Thanks for the breakdown. I am waiting for the rumored wide zoom that may be announced at end of year hence wondering if I can get a cheaper prime to tie me over till we see the performance and the spec of the zoom. I am looking at the Phase One 45mm D and the Mamiya 55mm f2.8N which seems like the sharpest of the bunch. The resolution reduction benefit was my original query on whether I can leverage it as a benefit. I know the N will be softer and less contrasted.

    8000 pixel is high resolution. If the photographer attached 30DPI value to the file, it doesn't change anything regarding the pixel matrix in the file. You can specify any DPI that you want to a file before you print it, and that is the only time when it becomes relevant. Pixel dimensions on the other hand - once you decrease them, you can't increase them again without degrading the picture.
    I must apologize I did not get the facts right before asking this question. So I went back and checked the file, they were indeed 8000 pixels at 300 dpi. (I understand dpi and the "non-impact" on resolution) The thing is the jpg compression was set to 1. I usually understand low res images as 800 or less pixels with compression of 6 to 9. The high pixel super compression was also what triggered my interest in what high pixel count does to the quality of an image.
    Last edited by Stevieraveon; 15th April 2014 at 20:34. Reason: Technical glitch
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    55mm AF is very cheap and very good.
    I don't see why you would want the N.

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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    If you get the 45D I'd question the wisdom of getting a 55mm unless it is the excellent 55LS (which is razor sharp).

    With the DF I find that less lenses are preferable to more (and I have just about all of them). I'd consider a spread of lenses and zoom with your feet vs a plethora do focal lengths or zooms.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Shlomi, thanks for your insight.

    Graham, I am only intending to buy one lens in the meantime either the 45 or the 55 before seeing the wide zoom spec. Thanks for the note on lens choice with close focal lengths, yes it is true. I was looking at the Hasselblad 40 CFE at one point but the distortion is pretty bad... actually distortion is bad for all wide angle MF SLR variants compared with Tech camera lenses.. something I've just come to understand.
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    If you buy only one wide,then get 45D.

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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thanks Shlomi, the more I think about it I am leaning towards this as well since I use the 43XL the most on my interior shoots and 55 is a bit too long. I was trying to save money before seeing the details on potentially 40-80 zoom but I guess the 45 prime will be handy in the arsenal in the long run. I guess I am in the hunt for a used one then.
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    I may have found a reason behind high pixel high compression image format. I see facebook supports images up to 2048 and they typically apply high compression of 80% or so. My guess is this format of "low res" images is for sites that limit by file size and not pixel dimensions perhaps.

    Any thoughts?
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Frankly if you're using high compression then there's not much point to an IQ back.
    It deteriorate the image and should never be used.
    You should reduce the pixel dimensions and increase the compression moderately and never extremely.
    I think this is why you didn't get many other responses - you seem to be missing a lot of your basic knowledge, which is assumed when you use this type of equipment.

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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thanks Shlomi

    I guess I need to clarify and probably put into a different thread as I was adding this to the end of original question. I should have made a post called effects or potential advantage of large resolution images in potential benefits to: making up for lens performance or downsized online uses.

    Thanks for your answer to the first part, for the second part, this is my reasoning.

    I, along with other photographers I know supply high res and low res images to our clients for convenience. I usually supply full res tiff for publication and in addition low res so they can email, post to blogs, websites or use as award jury submissions. I format them as compressed jpg (800 pixel compression of 9 and appropriate sharpening for this size - which is what Getty supplies for low res stock images.)
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    For email you should provide 1000 pixel 80% save for web.
    Save as jpg is larger and contains some information that is needed only for printing.
    Save for web is an option in the save menu above save as jpg.

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    Member Stevieraveon's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thanks Shlomi.

    I feel this post is getting derailed from what I am trying to ask. I do think I have a good understanding for digital imaging output for print and digital use. I have a few ways to achieve low res images. Personally I mostly use Adobe bridge which lets me batch process images using image processor tool for photoshop. I have written various actions in relationship to desired images size which includes SRGB color space conversion, 8 bit depth conversion, image dpi specification and appropriate overlay sharpening. Ultimately we all have our preference for what we consider a low res image based on practical end use.

    Perhaps I can ask this question in a different way for some thoughts.

    Why would an established photographer choose to provide "small" images at large pixel dimensions with very large amount of compression? It is obviously an intentional choice on his part.
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    I have no idea why anyone would do that.

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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Same reaction from my side when I first saw that. Well I did a quick test with my image to see the pros and cons of this unusual setting.

    I made 2 versions - one at 8281 pixels with compression of 1 (a), the other 800 pixels at compression of 9 (b).

    On screen - benefit is user can zoom in and see the details. Gradation is pretty bad in a smooth surface but texture is surely there. (b) How we all understand a low res image is like, not much zooming before pixelization happens.

    In print - I printed both at 10 inches and results is as expected. (a) has much more fine details and textures, edges look good everything appears sharper but one gets blotchy shadows and highlight with banding. (b) has blurry edges/aliased stepping lines, lack of textural details but smoother gradation and more highlight shadow details and dynamic range.

    My only intelligible guess is that it packs more detail in a somewhat manageable file size. Since most people values / judges an image quality by acuity over gradation, it can have the illusion of a better image at this setting. The large size is handy for people to be immersed and convey details in use. It is probably not good for online piracy although the only precaution is the punishment of blotchy gradation which makes lousy prints.

    In a way he is leveraging the higher resolution from the back for a particular advantage.
    What do you think?
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Most people view proof on their screen so the normal way works.
    Maybe his clients want to view their proofs printed on 10" - why would they want to do that I do not know. Maybe he prefers that his clients view their proofs printed rather than online.

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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    These are not proofs. They are final images on the disk. There are high res and low res included in the package. The low res is meant for convenience use.

    The 10 inch was just an arbitrary number I picked for my own test...

    It just dawned on me I never talked about the application. This is for commercial architectural and interior photography where design details is of importance.
    Last edited by Stevieraveon; 16th April 2014 at 22:31.
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    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Hi,

    What I have seen is that if an image is shrunk, it will keep MTF but it will limit resolution.

    So the image will look sharper, but contain equivalent detail.

    Sharpening also comes into play, sharpening can boost MTF but it may come with some additional cost. So there is no simple answer.

    The DPI (should be PPI) is just a note of itent. The only thing that matters is the number of pixels.

    Best regards
    Erik



    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    I read a comment somewhere that when you shrink a super high resolution image down to a smaller one it will look better than one made with a smaller sensor. (say a medium format vs small format film parallel in same print size)

    Anyone care to comment?

    The driver for me is that most of my clients do not necessarily require all 60 megapixels so if I am prepared to shrink my images, does that pick up the slack where a lens is not as sharp at pixel level? (Please don't shoot me for willing to compromise the pursuit of utmost pixel level perfection in this forum )

    In real life translation, I am looking at lens choices for the Phase One 645 DF+ and am wondering the impact of image size reduction in the overall equation comparing newest lenses with older (say latest Phase One or SK lenses vs. older Mamiya M645 N lenses) and whether I can get away with softer lenses with this.

    As a side note I observed a photographer who provides low res images in the format of 30 dpi but at 8000 pixels. I take it this is intentional but what is the benefit here?

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    Member Stevieraveon's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thanks Erik, I think this is exactly what I was trying to remember and clarify. So if we look at the same print size the one made with larger format cameras will still have image quality benefit (MTF as you noted) and this is due to resolution benefit and optical system as Shlomi noted. So I was wondering if one can leverage this and get away with a less sharp lens since it kind of gains over a smaller format if one is willing to downsize the final images for use. Anyhow I ended up purchasing the D lenses which is a better decision in the long run but seems like it potentially could.

    Is there any other benefit for a super high res sensor to leverage against if one is willing to downres? I happened to read this on Ming Thein's post this week about the Pentax 645.

    "consider this: if at the pixel level it loses a stop or two in noise to the D4S, but has nearly four times the pixel count – downsampling is going to yield an amazingly clean image, regardless of the ISO used, with that medium format look*. And that makes things interesting.
    *Related to the depth of field properties of the actual focal length of the lenses, and irrespective of the field of view. Smaller formats mean shorter focal lengths for the same equivalent FOV, and the attendant depth of field properties that go with it – i.e. a lot."

    So I see the benefit of noise masking, anything else? Does it mask camera shake or out of focus shots?

    Yes sharpening is a different topic altogether, appropriate to final size and medium indeed.
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    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Hi,

    I would say that there are like three different factors:

    - Sensor size
    - Resolution
    - Noise

    A larger sensor will collect more light. Most of the noise in digital photography is a property of light (called shot noise). This is caused by the statistical distribution of light. A sensor that collects more light will have less shot noise.

    So a sensor four times 24x36 will have twice the Signal/Noise Ratio. Now, if you reduce exposure two stops on the MF sensor, the Signal/Noise ratio will be the same.

    Another factor is readout noise, that only affects the darks (as shot noise normally dominates). Readout noise is something like four times higher on CCD sensors compared with Sony CMOS (Nikon/Sony/Phase One IQ-250). This is the main reason CMOS is good at high ISO. You can underexpose more on CMOS because the signal is much cleaner. The technology used with CCDs on digital cameras doesn't allow low readout noise.

    Resolution helps in detecting fine detail, but visual impression is dominated by medium size features. A rule of thumb may be that 20 lp/mm dominates visual expression at 24x36 mm. At full frame MF perhaps we could use 12 lp/mm. A good lens may yield 80% MTF at 20 lp/mm, some may go up to 90% MTF at 20 lp/mm (note that this figure is not possible at f/8, because of diffraction limit).

    The same lens could achieve 90% at 12 lp/mm.

    But, proper sharpening can kick MTF up to 100%. Sharpening is more important than lens quality, except when we pixel peep at 70 lp/mm, which is totally irrelevant in most contexts.

    Now, a bad lens will show artefacts, like double contours, color fringing etc. It may be more important that a lens delivers a clean image than it delivering a very sharp image.

    If the lens outresolves the sensor, aliasing will result. This may or may not be objectionable. Bad techniques, like bad focus, excessive stopping down etc can reduce aliasing. Also, aliasing will not arise without the presence of fine detail.

    This posting shows the benefits of small pixels:
    The Future of CCD Sensors

    This videos from Panavision & Canon described the issues, from a Hollywood perspective:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=iBKDjLeNlsQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=v96yhEr-DWM

    It seems that in motion they want to avoid sharpening, they want 90% MTF at 20lp/mm in raw. That may be because sharpening may cause problems in postprocessing. I also guess that sharpening is less elaborate on a 2MP image at 24 frames/s than on a 39 MP image with individual processing.

    Achieving 90% MTF at 20 lp/mm is very hard. Some lenses achieve it, Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 achieves it over the field at f/4 but the Zeiss Apo Sonnar 135/2 goes below 90% MTF at f/4 10 mm of axis.

    The best of my MF lenses is probably the Sonnar 180/4 and that achieves a tiny bit more than 80% at f/8.

    Best regards
    Erik

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    Thanks Erik, I think this is exactly what I was trying to remember and clarify. So if we look at the same print size the one made with larger format cameras will still have image quality benefit (MTF as you noted) and this is due to resolution benefit and optical system as Shlomi noted. So I was wondering if one can leverage this and get away with a less sharp lens since it kind of gains over a smaller format if one is willing to downsize the final images for use. Anyhow I ended up purchasing the D lenses which is a better decision in the long run but seems like it potentially could.

    Is there any other benefit for a super high res sensor to leverage against if one is willing to downres? I happened to read this on Ming Thein's post this week about the Pentax 645.

    "consider this: if at the pixel level it loses a stop or two in noise to the D4S, but has nearly four times the pixel count – downsampling is going to yield an amazingly clean image, regardless of the ISO used, with that medium format look*. And that makes things interesting.
    *Related to the depth of field properties of the actual focal length of the lenses, and irrespective of the field of view. Smaller formats mean shorter focal lengths for the same equivalent FOV, and the attendant depth of field properties that go with it – i.e. a lot."

    So I see the benefit of noise masking, anything else? Does it mask camera shake or out of focus shots?

    Yes sharpening is a different topic altogether, appropriate to final size and medium indeed.
    Last edited by ErikKaffehr; 26th April 2014 at 00:19.

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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    Is there any other benefit for a super high res sensor to leverage against if one is willing to downres? I happened to read this on Ming Thein's post this week about the Pentax 645.
    The notion that larger sensors or more pixel sensors produce less noise, which was prevalent a few years ago, is quite incorrect.
    There are very many factors influencing noise other than pixel area and pixel count.
    It would be true that in two cameras of identical characteristics with two sensors that are also of identical characteristics, one with a larger sensor than the other, the one with the larger sensor will have less noise, but in reality the other factors may very well be more important - such as CCD vs. CMOS, firmware, how the sensor is constructed which Erik knows very well but I think is beyond the scope of understanding for anyone who is not an electronics engineer or physicist.

    CCD MFDs are inferior to recent 35mm DSLRs in noise. The comparisons are (or at least should be) made not by pixel but by the size of the object pictured in the frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    So I see the benefit of noise masking, anything else? Does it mask camera shake or out of focus shots?
    Camera shake has nothing to do with noise.
    If shake is an issue, then 22mp DSLR with IS a good the way to go.
    You can shoot high shutter speed or use tri/monopod to reduce shake.

    Different sensor size doesn't only mean different lens focal length, but also different f stop to get the same DOF, and also different diffraction deterioration for the same f stop.

    If you're putting a soft lens of MFD then you are losing almost all of the advantage and might be better off use 35mm with the best lenses they have. You did good to buy D's.

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    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Hi,

    My take is that I am pretty sure that MFD CCDs have more noise in the darks where readout noise matters. On the other hand, I would guess that SNR is better on MFD than on DSLR at medium exposure (say 3EV below saturation), so I would say that in mid tones MFD may be less noisy. But, program defaults like C1-s lure you into reducing exposure, and thereby giving away the MF advantage.

    I have been shooting both CCD and CMOS simultaneously, and if there is a difference between CCD and CMOS, I have failed to see it, except for dark noise (where CMOS wins). Obviously, Capture One and Lightroom differ. Camera white balance differs, exposure differs, colour balance differs.

    Now, if I try to shoot under controlled conditions and try to keep things constant. ETTR, check with RawDigger, shoot grey card, shoot colour checker, generate DNG profiles etc, I see less and less difference, often no difference at all, specially not in A2 size prints.

    What I see is that the more control the less visible difference, which leads me to believe that the foremost difference may come from white balance and work flow.

    Best regards
    Erik

    Quote Originally Posted by shlomi View Post
    The notion that larger sensors or more pixel sensors produce less noise, which was prevalent a few years ago, is quite incorrect.
    There are very many factors influencing noise other than pixel area and pixel count.
    It would be true that in two cameras of identical characteristics with two sensors that are also of identical characteristics, one with a larger sensor than the other, the one with the larger sensor will have less noise, but in reality the other factors may very well be more important - such as CCD vs. CMOS, firmware, how the sensor is constructed which Erik knows very well but I think is beyond the scope of understanding for anyone who is not an electronics engineer or physicist.

    CCD MFDs are inferior to recent 35mm DSLRs in noise. The comparisons are (or at least should be) made not by pixel but by the size of the object pictured in the frame.



    Camera shake has nothing to do with noise.
    If shake is an issue, then 22mp DSLR with IS a good the way to go.
    You can shoot high shutter speed or use tri/monopod to reduce shake.

    Different sensor size doesn't only mean different lens focal length, but also different f stop to get the same DOF, and also different diffraction deterioration for the same f stop.

    If you're putting a soft lens of MFD then you are losing almost all of the advantage and might be better off use 35mm with the best lenses they have. You did good to buy D's.
    Last edited by ErikKaffehr; 26th April 2014 at 08:50.

  24. #24
    Member Stevieraveon's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thanks Erik and Shlomi for the insight. They are very helpful.

    As for camera shake / low ISO, anti-vibration measures, white balance - it is the baseline of crafting a professional image which with the increased megapixel sensors are exposing the flaws of technique and optics to the photographic spheres. I do agree good technique is more important than any band-aid solution in post. But if one is stuck with shoots where such setup is not allowed/appropriate then I thought the benefit of downsizing will help overcome some of the technical flaws. Ultimately, outside of commercial shoots most people do not judge an image solely by its sharpness indeed. (unless the images are blown up that is)

    As for sensor size / type / noise performance I can only comment on the non-technical side based on my personal experience in processing. It is indeed tied to software for post-processing and images can look very different. Although at this point I have 5 years with Lightroom and D3 but only very short time with Phase and C1P and learning as I go.

    If I compare purely the ease to coax good desired image out of the cameras I would say my D3 is easiest and better than the M9-P, obviously D3s with better noise headroom and we know color is a bit weird on M9 (Lr). With M9 is feels a bit stiffer. With the P65 exposure and tonality is not bad but color is not as easy (in c1P). I recently upgraded from GF1 to the E-P5. My overall experience is m4/3 is the hardest to extract good images easily, the colour for skin tone is inferior and noise is quite apparent and when using the curve tool it just falls apart very fast. Although I finally upgraded to CS6 which actually supports the E-P5 so things may be better. In my mind I am attributing the challenges with m4/3 to the smaller sensor and can really feel the difference in maneuverability. It just feels so stiff and not malleable. I think it takes twice as long compared to D3 files.

    So for now I have 2 CCD vs 2 CMOS and the pixel count is all over the place. The cameras all have their appropriate use based on their form factor. In an overall non-technical demanding use I would say the D3 and M9-P are my first choice for producing most pleasing photos with the least amount of effort. Although I am still quite new to phase one and C1P, ask me again in 2 years the perception may differ :-P
    Last edited by Stevieraveon; 26th April 2014 at 13:00. Reason: typo
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  25. #25
    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Hi,

    This discussion made me to look into a couple of P45+ vs. Sony Alpha images. I would have great difficulty coming up with solid conclusions.

    I like shooting with both and both can make great images.

    Best regards
    Erik

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    Thanks Erik and Shomi for the insight. They are very helpful.

    As for camera shake / low ISO, anti-vibration measures, white balance - it is the baseline of crafting a professional image which with the increased megapixel sensors are exposing the flaws of technique and optics to the photographic spheres. I do agree good technique is more important than any band-aid solution in post. But if one is stuck with shoots where such setup is not allowed/appropriate then I thought the benefit of downsizing will help overcome some of the technical flaws. Ultimately, outside of commercial shoots most people do not judge an image solely by its sharpness indeed. (unless the images are blown up that is)

    As for sensor size / type / noise performance I can only comment on the non-technical side based on my personal experience in processing. It is indeed tied to software for post-processing and images can look very different. Although at this point I have 5 years with Lightroom and D3 but only very short time with Phase and C1P and learning as I go.

    If I compare purely the ease to coax good desired image out of the cameras I would say my D3 is easiest and better than the M9-P, obviously D3s with better noise headroom and we know color is a bit weird on M9 (Lr). With M9 is feels a bit stiffer. With the P65 exposure and tonality is not bad but color is not as easy (in c1P). I recently upgraded from GF1 to the E-P5. My overall experience is m4/3 is the hardest to extract good images easily, the colour for skin tone is inferior and noise is quite apparent and when using the curve tool it just falls apart very fast. Although I finally upgraded to CS6 which actually supports the E-P5 so things may be better. In my mind I am attributing the challenges with m4/3 to the smaller sensor and can really feel the difference in maneuverability. It just feels so stiff and not malleable. I think it takes twice as long compared to D3 files.

    So for now I have 2 CCD vs 2 CMOS and the pixel count is all over the place. The cameras all have their appropriate use based on their form factor. In an overall non-technical demanding use I would say the D3 and M9-P are my first choice for producing most pleasing photos with the least amount of effort. Although I am still quite new to phase one and C1P, ask me again in 2 years the perception may differ :-P

  26. #26
    Member Stevieraveon's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Just read this on Ming Thein's Pentax 645Z review.

    "If you don’t need a full size file, oversampling and downsizing to 16MP – comparable to say the E-M1 and D4 - will yield some surprises: ISO 51k is very, very clean. It’s so clean I’d say it looks something like a ISO 2500 file from the E-M1, and an ISO 12.8k file from the D4 – and of course thanks to the downsampling, fine detail is much better, too. Food for thought for the reportage shooters – I certainly intend to make full use of this."

    This is what I was trying to note earlier on in the discussion. So he is saying downsampling can reduce noise and increase fine detail definitions...

    Original context here:
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  27. #27
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    This is what I was trying to note earlier on in the discussion. So he is saying downsampling can reduce noise and increase fine detail definitions...
    This is just bad logic stemming from a 100% monitor view. Print a full-rez and down-sampled image the same size and the down-rez image is just missing the higher frequency detail. But basically, you are going to see the same thing including the influence of noise.

  28. #28
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thanks for the clarification. I guess for pure digital display it is a side benefit of sort then?
    Like leveraging the handicap to conceal flaw.

    What is at play here? The monitor design (light emitting) versus printed dots (reflected surface) or the LED screen design? Will higher res monitor change this phenomenon?
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    A displayed image will be viewed at a particular size, regardless of the pixel resolution (the 100% monitor view is not a real world viewing condition and to judge the same image at two different scales, that is what down rezing causes, makes no sense). So the act of tossing out information in an image does not result in better quality, just a lowering of resolution to mask something. But the human visual system does that masking naturally anyway--it cannot resolve smaller pixels any better than larger ones. So when you make that final image, what are you really gaining by making the pixel fewer and larger? That is going to happen in the viewer's experience of the image anyway.

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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thanks Will for the explanation, it is very helpful. if we parked the absolute perfect print and details in the printed realm and only talk about digital displays then it could be considered as an advantage then. Besides need for large size fine art prints sadly most photographs are consumed in a digital display or small size in a magazine - hence the high megapixel downsampling trick could be used as a leverage to benefit over 35mm sensors in a way. I do find the phase one sensor+ mode quite clever and helpful at times if we can draw a parallel between in camera and post downsampling.

    Not that any of us really enjoy the thought of tossing information out but for most people 12 megapixels is adequate and this display masking could be used as one of the tools when you are constrained by shoot situations and not bound by large prints while having a higher pixel sensor.

    It is like instagram (gulp), if only produced and consumed on the mobile phone screen, things actually look okay
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  31. #31
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Hi,

    These are some examples using my P45+ and my Sony SLT 99, 39 MP vs. 24 MP. Old Hasselblad Distagon 50 vs. modern 24-70/2.8 zoom at 35 mm, MF vs. DSLR.

    The images are in three sizes:

    Orginal:
    http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...ink/Originals/
    Expanded to 7240 pixel width: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...Shrink/Expand/
    Shrunk to 4000 pixels width: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...Shrink/Shrink/

    Draw you own conclusions…

    Unfortunately, processing is not identical.

    The raw files are included as DNGs. Original raw files are imbedded, so they can be extracted using Adobe DNG Converter.

    Best regards
    Erik


    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    Thanks Will for the explanation, it is very helpful. if we parked the absolute perfect print and details in the printed realm and only talk about digital displays then it could be considered as an advantage then. Besides need for large size fine art prints sadly most photographs are consumed in a digital display or small size in a magazine - hence the high megapixel downsampling trick could be used as a leverage to benefit over 35mm sensors in a way. I do find the phase one sensor+ mode quite clever and helpful at times if we can draw a parallel between in camera and post downsampling.

    Not that any of us really enjoy the thought of tossing information out but for most people 12 megapixels is adequate and this display masking could be used as one of the tools when you are constrained by shoot situations and not bound by large prints while having a higher pixel sensor.

    It is like instagram (gulp), if only produced and consumed on the mobile phone screen, things actually look okay

  32. #32
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thanks Erik for providing the samples. Personally I feel there are a few different variables at play here which makes it harder to use as sample images for this exercise. I would say the focal length and camera distance, lens field curvature, quality and focus point variable is making it harder to compare. Also the size difference is huge to make it easier to see.

    You have inspired me to maybe do my own test one day when I find the time. I will try m4/3, ff, and mf to see. To do a proper empirical comparison takes a lot of time ,equalized variables and patience… hence for now I leave it to some of the bloggers that I trust. I am taking Ming Thein's report for informed conclusion at this point. In this case, ISO noise reduction and fine detail retention from a downsampled high res image is the focused study here.

    Cheers,
    Steve
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  33. #33
    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Hi,

    Noise is reduced when image is downscaled, it is simple math. For instance, reducing size to 50% reduces noise a factor two.

    Fine detail is retained with downsizing, within the scope of the image size. But, aliasing will always result from downsampling, adding fake detail.

    There are methods that are better or worse for downsampling.

    Also, I have found that downsampling maintains edge contrast.

    So resolution will be limited by the downsampling but MTF will be carried over to the downsampled image.

    This is what I found a couple years ago, the writing is unfortunately not very clear:
    Scaling Up or Down?

    Best regards
    Erik

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    Thanks Will for the explanation, it is very helpful. if we parked the absolute perfect print and details in the printed realm and only talk about digital displays then it could be considered as an advantage then. Besides need for large size fine art prints sadly most photographs are consumed in a digital display or small size in a magazine - hence the high megapixel downsampling trick could be used as a leverage to benefit over 35mm sensors in a way. I do find the phase one sensor+ mode quite clever and helpful at times if we can draw a parallel between in camera and post downsampling.

    Not that any of us really enjoy the thought of tossing information out but for most people 12 megapixels is adequate and this display masking could be used as one of the tools when you are constrained by shoot situations and not bound by large prints while having a higher pixel sensor.

    It is like instagram (gulp), if only produced and consumed on the mobile phone screen, things actually look okay
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieraveon View Post
    Thanks Erik for providing the samples. Personally I feel there are a few different variables at play here which makes it harder to use as sample images for this exercise. I would say the focal length and camera distance, lens field curvature, quality and focus point variable is making it harder to compare. Also the size difference is huge to make it easier to see.

    You have inspired me to maybe do my own test one day when I find the time. I will try m4/3, ff, and mf to see. To do a proper empirical comparison takes a lot of time ,equalized variables and patience… hence for now I leave it to some of the bloggers that I trust. I am taking Ming Thein's report for informed conclusion at this point. In this case, ISO noise reduction and fine detail retention from a downsampled high res image is the focused study here.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  34. #34
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thank you Erik, that is super helpful and very clear to see! Sounds like you have done some research on downsampling methods. What is your preferred method to downsample?

    Cheers,
    Steve
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  35. #35
    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Hi,

    It depends, I mostly use Image Magick when I build my on web pages. Otherwise I am quite happy with Lightroom export to JPEG. But I am no expert on downsampling. Bart van der Wolf has much better info.

    I can mention that Eric Chan says they have tested a lot of methods before settling on the present ones. (Erik Chan is lead developer of Lightroom at Adobe AFAIK)

  36. #36
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Thanks Erik!

    Cheers,
    Steve
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    Re: Resolution advantage over lesser lens performance?

    Best advice is look at the results.
    Lens resolution is expressed in terms of line pairs per millimeter on the sensor at a given contrast ratio.
    As one down-sizes the file, the apparent result is that lens performance seems to be increased. The "dpi" of a processed file is only a hint and does not change the underlying file.
    So why would you down-size?
    Only to avoid incompetent down-sizing (and over-sharpening) by the client.
    -bob
    Last edited by Bob; 8th July 2014 at 01:30.
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