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Thread: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Clear preferences and conviction in your choices is now being "defensive"?

    Don't care where the differences come from. I'll leave that to those that like that sort of speculative analization.

    That CCDs are not the future is obvious, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it just like with film. Besides, I already have plenty of CMOS cameras to practice on in the meantime.

    There is enough stuff to deal with in the present without conjuring up "what ifs and maybe's".

    - Marc
    Marc, if you don't know and don't care where the perceived difference between CCD and CMOS sensors come from, how can you have a conviction that there is actually a difference in the sensor technology?

    I certainly don't mind personal preference. I have them too. But before I want someone else to suffer my convictions, I would want to know if they are willing to do the time. Maybe defensive was the wrong word, but there seems to be very strong feelings here. And not just positive for CCD, but negative for CMOS. I guess I just don't understand--I was always a Kodak film guy, which my Fuji friends could not fathom. The more things change...

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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Shashin, I agree that one shouldn't recommend one sensor over another based just on personal preferences. There are far too many "subjective taste variables," "imaging chain variables", or "specific response needs" in that equation.

    On the other hand, why the need to scientifically quantify the differences of those same variables in one part of the imaging chain?

    In my case, my eye does the "quantifying". For all I know, it is simply coincidence that CCD cameras had just the right read-out, lens performance, and processing response to the prevailing software of the time that collectively appealed to my eye, where CMOS did not appeal as much and still doesn't.

    In short, it doesn't matter why.

    My own trek is what has formed my considered "creative" opinions. It isn't some argument just for the sake of arguing.

    Despite all the short comings of the Contax N Digital camera, I preferred the images from this camera with its' FF 6 meg Phillips CCD sensor to any Canon or Nikon of the day, and even afterwards (many of which I also owned).

    Likewise, the Leica DMR with its' 1/37x crop frame 10 meg Kodak CCD and Imacon electronics, delivered images I vastly preferred to my Canon 5D with a FF 12.7 meg CMOS sensor using the same adapted R, or Zeiss CY and N lenses. Many DMR owners persist using that camera despite all the trials and tribulations of an abandoned platform.

    During this trek I even noted the differences with-in MF CCD "look and feel" Kodak 39 meg CCD Hasselblad verses Dalsa 33 meg CCD Mamiya for example both using adapted Zeiss CFi/CFE optics.

    My last foray into "quantify with the eye" was recently testing a Leica M(240), which is a much improved platform over the M9P I owned the M(240) with a CMOSIS sensor produced image characteristics I did not like. I spent two solid weeks experimenting with post techniques, options and profiles provided by users to no avail. Still do not like the image characteristics from this camera.

    So far, I see nothing compelling from the 50c sensor, and as Bob said, meh. I remain open to its' unexplored possibilities and I fully understand that for many, the quantifiable operational advantages like LV and higher ISO performance far outweigh any subjective reactions to image qualities however, that is not my personal criteria, nor do I feel that my current choices limit my creative options due to what and how I make photographs.

    - Marc
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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    If plagiarism was a positive accepted norm in our society and sincerest form flattery, I'd simply repost Marc's post above as my own. Photography is a visual art form, so is painting and sculpturing and a good deal of what one sees and likes is both visceral and highly subjective. Sure to the trained eye, professional or otherwise, certain defined aspects are often part of what makes a picture or painting deemed successful or not. Yet there is also the personal subjective part, the visceral part, that's very individualistic, which appeals to one's senses. They can try to describe what they see or hear, but it's often not something that one can fit neatly into a shoebox or prove with a mathematical formula.

    This doesn't just apply to the technical aspects of the work of art and whether it meets some standard or appeals to some based on its form and content, but also includes elements that simply appeal to the senses. In fact in some cases from a purely technical standpoint, aspects of the picture, painting etc. may simply fall short. Maybe colors aren't perfectly realistic, dynamic range too constricted, or heaven forbid, one cannot put their finger on it but on all accounts it should be inferior, but its not. Simply put one or some combination of factors that are attractive are working to make this given image or painting very appealing.

    Sure it would be great if one could measure and duplicate it, or developed a simply receipe that can be passed on to the others, but as is often the case, the resulting works of art are simply facsimiles.

    At this time I'm not sure what's responsible for my preference of output from CCD sensor based cameras vs. CMOS ones, but I know what my eyes and senses tell me. Same thing happened to me as Marc experienced when I compared files from the Leica M240 vs. the M9 or worked with the Contact N digital camera. There was an immediate positive response to much of what I was seeing. Technically some of those cameras often fell short and in the case of the M240, it's operational prowess ran circles around it predisessor. Yet when it came down to it, image output took precedence over everything else. Same thing in my opinion will occur when I compare the Pentax 645D vs. the new 645Z. At this point I have no idea what that comparison will turn out to be like, but first and foremost it will be on the image qualities that appeal to me.

    All this is in many respects like the often cited high end audio analogy many compare photography to. Listening to recorded music is highly subjective and visceral responses to various links in the reproduction chain is often opened to debate. Technical and scientific measurements only account for part of the story and what people hear and like from say a given speaker system or audio amplifier for example. This is much akin to what ones sees in image output from a digital file....there is a measured degree of subjectivity that enters into the equation, that simply can't be explained away simply because the numbers don't add up or the science behind it say there should be no difference.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 26th April 2014 at 06:55.
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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Marc and Dave, Ray does not state there is no difference from a camera with a CCD and CMOS. There is a difference. However, the reason is not simply because it is a CCD or CMOS architecture.

    However, neither of you seem to know or even care about the science. Since the science can clearly point to reasons why you are seeing a difference, why are you dismissing it? Don't you think the science that can bring you these marvelous machines could also analyze them? In fact, it can. Both Ray and I have indicated where the difference may come from.

    As far as observer bias, science covers that very well. There are many factors why someone prefers something over another. Quite well documented as far as I have found.

    So, if Ray and I are essentially agreeing with you, except for the root cause for which you cannot point to, what is your argument? BTW, I am not saying you are not seeing a difference nor that your preference is invalid.

    As far as why I am interested in the science/details is simply because I find it very interesting. Also, if I know the factors involved, it gives me greater insight into the photographic process as well as greater control.

    This kinds of reminds me about the Kodak and Dalsa sensor debates. Both CCD, but both giving different results. There has to be something more than the architecture...

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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Marc and Dave, Ray does not state there is no difference from a camera with a CCD and CMOS. There is a difference. However, the reason is not simply because it is a CCD or CMOS architecture.

    However, neither of you seem to know or even care about the science. Since the science can clearly point to reasons why you are seeing a difference, why are you dismissing it? Don't you think the science that can bring you these marvelous machines could also analyze them? In fact, it can. Both Ray and I have indicated where the difference may come from.

    As far as observer bias, science covers that very well. There are many factors why someone prefers something over another. Quite well documented as far as I have found.

    So, if Ray and I are essentially agreeing with you, except for the root cause for which you cannot point to, what is your argument? BTW, I am not saying you are not seeing a difference nor that your preference is invalid.

    As far as why I am interested in the science/details is simply because I find it very interesting. Also, if I know the factors involved, it gives me greater insight into the photographic process as well as greater control.

    This kinds of reminds me about the Kodak and Dalsa sensor debates. Both CCD, but both giving different results. There has to be something more than the architecture...
    Thanks for the post.

    I DO care about the science of photography, but only to the degree I have to in order to make something work. I'm not an engineer nor have any plans to be one. My education, training and background is in art drawing, painting, design, and photography. Photography is just another medium to express myself with.

    I do not discount those who find it all fascinating, after all, it is scientists and engineers who brought us these tools.

    Yet, in the same manner, I do not need to see the schematic of the machine that made my brushes, or how a chemist formulated my paints.

    I simply don't have the inclination or the interest in all the detailed reasoning and rationale' as to why, or how, any given camera delivers that which I prefer, just that it does.

    So, it is not a matter of dismissing it, instead more the matter of how much do I need to know to make images that please my eye? For me, I only need to see the differences that I prefer, not know all the complex reason why because knowing why, isn't going to change anything.

    When and if it changes, I won't care why either, just that it did change, and I'll move to that if it helps me.

    We all go at this in our own individualistic way and thankfully, we have choices in the way we think, create, and the tools we use.

    - Marc

    BTW, I also noted the Kodak/Dalsa discussions, and experienced the two first hand. In either case, I preferred the results to CMOS based images.
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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Hi Will,

    I too very much appreciate your response and instead of repeating much of what Marc just wrote, I'll add a few brief thoughts.

    I also have a keen interest on the science on how and why things work. If I didn't I wouldn't have extensive education and training in the sciences not would it be part of my life's endeavors. When the time comes when more investigation is done into the how's and why's CCD output seems to be favored by a substantial group of individuals vs. CMOS based cameras, I would be glad to be involved in the discussion.

    Right now those differences are for the most part conjecture and so debating why CCD output for some is superior to CMOS is simply different theoretical points of view Look how long it's been since digital recorded music has been available to the masses and still no one has a clear explanation to the science as to why some find analogue recorded music preferable to digital. Same discussions goes for tube amps, preamps, and other similar equipment vs. solid state designs. Science has given us lots of theories and so me good evidence (sampling rates etc.) but nothing definitive.

    So believe me, both science and art is my life's work, but there is so much energy and time I can devote to various sub disciplines to gain a full appreciation and understanding...especially when no one has made a direct correlation between many of the how's and why's one sensor or camera's output is favored over another. All interesting stuff but what I like and see in my imagery takes precedence.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 26th April 2014 at 12:20.

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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Tom, if you don't mind, I will chip in. Sensors have a linear response and need no pigments to reproduce color. Film has a non-linear response (they don't make good photon counters) and require dyes to reproduce color. The dye layers are also stacked, which complicates the process. The color is created through an indirect process of dye couplers with silver which needs to be removed--this get into things like the efficiency of the dyes and whether each dye layer has a similar non-linear response, and when you realize that equal color density in the dye layers don't actually produce a neutral tone, film get really messy. When going to print, you have the added complexity of the print material is also non-linear and matching tone curves become very complex.

    I don't think Ray state everything was down stream. There is the spectral response of the sensor and the color filter array.

    I like both my p25+ and my 645D. I also shoot Sony CMOS. I might be able to show a different result, but both results would still be good, neither of which could be said to be better.

    Now, I am not a big fan of magic when it comes to imaging. I do not believe things have mystical qualities. Now, I might have a preference to certain cameras, sensors, or films, but I also know there are too many variables in the process to equate any of them as having special qualities--most likely I have simply done the work with them and learnt a process to get the result I like.

    So, can you or anyone else show the qualities that are in a CCD vs. a CMOS? I am really interested. This is why in my initial post in this thread I did not recommend one sensor over the other because I am really hard pressed to show a difference--my personal feelings are really not enough.
    Hi Will,
    I understand the chemistry of film fairly well; the electronics of digital much less so.
    I am not saying that CCD and CMOS are or aren't inherently different in how they render an image, I am simply saying that I, and many others, find the existing output different. My point is that if the rendering is a consequence of engineering choices, why not design a CMOS that produces the same output of a CCD; it would make a lot of customers very happy. I certainly didn't say anything about magic or mystical properties; the output is different, the question is why.

    Tom
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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Thanks for the post.

    I DO care about the science of photography, but only to the degree I have to in order to make something work. I'm not an engineer nor have any plans to be one. My education, training and background is in art drawing, painting, design, and photography. Photography is just another medium to express myself with.

    I do not discount those who find it all fascinating, after all, it is scientists and engineers who brought us these tools.

    Yet, in the same manner, I do not need to see the schematic of the machine that made my brushes, or how a chemist formulated my paints.

    I simply don't have the inclination or the interest in all the detailed reasoning and rationale' as to why, or how, any given camera delivers that which I prefer, just that it does.

    So, it is not a matter of dismissing it, instead more the matter of how much do I need to know to make images that please my eye? For me, I only need to see the differences that I prefer, not know all the complex reason why because knowing why, isn't going to change anything.
    If I may voice an opinion: I think that this is an important point on which I do not agree. Contrary to you, I believe that finding out the complex scientific reason(s) why a particular camera gives a pleasing output and another less so is going to change a few things.

    At least that is how it works for me. Understanding the reasons why a given camera gives a given output often helped me to produce the look I wanted, and not always necessarily with that camera.

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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Quote Originally Posted by jerome_m View Post
    If I may voice an opinion: I think that this is an important point on which I do not agree. Contrary to you, I believe that finding out the complex scientific reason(s) why a particular camera gives a pleasing output and another less so is going to change a few things.

    At least that is how it works for me. Understanding the reasons why a given camera gives a given output often helped me to produce the look I wanted, and not always necessarily with that camera.
    Personally, I think that is a very valid perspective. Especially if you are trying to create a body of work that has a signature look and feel but use different cameras.

    The question that then arises is just how much does each person want to immerse themselves into a regimen involving a lot of variables? How consistant can we make something look like something else?

    For example, the Leica S and M9 have a synergistic look and feel but try as I might, I could not get the M(240) files in the same area. They are simply different.

    - Marc

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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Quote Originally Posted by tsjanik View Post
    Hi Will,
    I understand the chemistry of film fairly well; the electronics of digital much less so.
    I am not saying that CCD and CMOS are or aren't inherently different in how they render an image, I am simply saying that I, and many others, find the existing output different. My point is that if the rendering is a consequence of engineering choices, why not design a CMOS that produces the same output of a CCD; it would make a lot of customers very happy. I certainly didn't say anything about magic or mystical properties; the output is different, the question is why.

    Tom
    And that is the tough question is they are unknown in the fact we have no idea what manufacturers are doing. There are also things that change our behavior, like DR.

    So, for example, it has been proposed that one way manufacturers improve sensitivity is that they make the color filter array weaker. That give more cross channel bleed which needs to be dealt with somewhere in the pipeline. If that is the case, and photographers love their sensitivity, then I don't see manufacturers going back to better, in terms of color reproduction, CFA. Kodak was known to be fanatical about color and so hang onto that 645D.

    Then how are manufacturers building the de-Bayer profile? All cameras from other companies are different. The secret sauce.

    Some of it might be the photographer's fault. Certainly DR has been improving and that makes subtle differences in the way a photographer may process--simply by processing for the shadows and highlights will change contrast and saturation. I know photographers love the idea of more DR, but be careful what you wish for.

    As for observer bias, there is the phenomenon of perception where we have been using a particular camera for sometime and have learnt the how to process to our liking. A new camera comes along with a new sensor, we need to start the process all over again. Since we forgot about the learning curve of the old camera, the new camera seems to be a pain. Especially if there are expectations the sensor is "better"--more DR, less noise, etc--we find it disappointing. It isn't, we just not have developed the process to get the look we like. It took me awhile to figure out my RX-1. No my RX-1 and 645D are not the same, but there are too many factors masking the results for me to see a CCD/CMOS thing--different formats, Kodak/Pentax vs. Sony color and profiles.

    If you look at all the variable in a photograph from the original scene, the optics, the DR/noise of the sensor, to exposure, to processing, and then display. And the skill of the photographer is most likely the largest influence here. The sensor architecture is pretty obscure. You, Ed, and I regularly post 645D images here. All consistently high in quality. Yet, our photographs show a distinct style of the photographer--I am sure no one would confuse them. And not just in subject matter, but the tonal and color qualities. Where is the CCD look?

    I am a firm believer in the fact the 645D and my Phase p25+ makes great images. I also know how easy they can be to process. They make rich images. I rather think it is chip size and pixel area that is contributing to that than they are CCDs. I also think Kodak and Delsa and Pentax and Phase did great jobs with the CFA/profiles.
    Last edited by Shashin; 26th April 2014 at 15:34.

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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    Will Wrote--->>>"If you look at all the variable in a photograph from the original scene, the optics, the DR/noise of the sensor, to exposure, to processing, and then display. And the skill of the photographer is most likely the largest influence here. The sensor architecture is pretty obscure. You, Ed, and I regularly post 645D images here. All consistently high in quality. Yet, our photographs show a distinct style of the photographer--I am sure no one would confuse them. And not just in subject matter, but the tonal and color qualities. Where is the CCD look?"---<<<

    Will, I'm not sure I fully agree with this statement. All these variables most definitely contribute to the look of the final image output from a CCD sensor based camera....but at the same time they also contribute to the look of output of a CMOS based camera. Yet even when these variables exist in both types of cameras, consistantly, it's the CCD based camera that appeals to me most and from what I gather, to many others too.

    I realize many notice an absence of posted images from myself. Although I shoot 645D for personal use, lack of time to other more pressing responsibilities often leaves little time to fully process these images in order to be suitable for posting (personal images). The majority of my work with the 645D often involves well known and recognized personalities and/or clients whereupon written contractual agreement, prohibits my posting. At times, in some others cases, its simply not ethical. It's certainly not from lack of wanting to contribute to image posting and hope it's not construed this way.

    The explanation of why the CCD based cameras have an appealing look to their images that many find lacking in a CMOS based camera, is still a long way off from being quantifiable. There have been so many possible explanations bandied about (no doubt some very plausable) and that's why at present, I choose to concentrate on image output, rather than the science and reasoning behind such differences. As I posted before, I am certainly very interested in the hows and why's..but there are so many hours in the day, so to speak. Everyone approaches this differently but at the end of the day, it's about the imagery and also final output that one hopes to achieve and of course love of the entire process.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 27th April 2014 at 08:15.

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    Re: Pentax 645D, or 645Z: CCD vs. CMOS

    As an aside, thanks for the compliment Will :-)

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