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Thread: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    New version of 645Z firmware released:

    Latest PENTAX 645Z Firmware Update : Software Downloads | RICOH IMAGING

    At long last, and after years of people asking for this (in relation to the 645D first, and now the Z), the function has been added to turn off long exposure noise reduction (aka dark frames) entirely. A boon for star trails!

    Ed
    Ed Hurst, www.spiffingpics.com
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Oh, if only Phase One were listening ... there are many of us I suspect who would happily accept the compromise of post processing NR and have this as an option with our MFDBs.

    I was shooting with a 645Z user this last week and I have to say that it really is a very very desirable DSLR platform and certainly shows up the Phase One DF & MFDB combination. (He also has the 645 DF+ & IQ180).
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Absolutely Graham. Clearly there are other factors to consider when choosing a system (lenses, software, dealer support, etc.) but I wouldn't choose another MF camera body over the Z! The only competitor's feature I can think it lacks is HB's TrueFocus, but you can't have everything...

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Hurst View Post
    Absolutely Graham. Clearly there are other factors to consider when choosing a system (lenses, software, dealer support, etc.) but I wouldn't choose another MF camera body over the Z! The only competitor's feature I can think it lacks is HB's TrueFocus, but you can't have everything...
    Also leaf-shutter lenses. And more modern lenses in general. Especially with apertures wider than 2.8... can't have everything...

    A bit off topic, but does anyone here have experience with the 90mm macro and 28-45mm? For the price they're asking, I feel like they should damn well be best in class, but there is almost no information about em.

    I might make the jump into MF soon (stay tuned!) and I have the chance to acquire a friend's Pentax lenses that include a 55mm 2.8, 105mm 67 2.4 via adapter and 120mm macro, but what I really only want is the 90mm for a few reasons:
    - stabilized for hand held shooting
    - 2.8 aperture
    - good portrait/indoor length (120mm feels too long IMO)
    - 1:2 macro easily enough for me
    - Ming and Lloyd say it has "sensational" optics, but I only have their word for it (although I take their words with respect).

    Just as my 85L spent time glued to my 5D2, I believe the 90mm might be the only lens I would even need on the 645Z, second opinions?

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    If only you could open the files in C1. Has anyone found a work around. Will c1 open a 645z raw file converted to a DNG? DNG created by the Adobe DNG converter?

    I don't know if Phase will ever allow no dark frame processing on the CCD backs as the dark frame is integral to processing out a clean file. But with the 250 / 150 I agree Phase should be able to allow no dark frames as all other companies allow this be it a DSLR or medium format CMOS.

    Paul
    Last edited by Paul2660; 21st November 2014 at 08:42.

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    If only you could open the files in C1. Has anyone found a work around. Will c1 open a 645z raw file converted to a DNG? DNG created by the Adobe DNG converter?

    I don't Phase will ever allow no dark frame processing on the CCD backs as the dark frame is integral to processing out a clean file. But with the 250 / 150 I agree Phase should be able to allow no dark frames as all other companies allow this be it a DSLR or medium format CMOS.

    Paul
    Question:

    Two dark frames. Both taken at same exposure duration and sensor temperature, but at different moments in time (possibly even days apart).

    How different would they be?

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    Senior Member ondebanks's Avatar
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Oh, if only Phase One were listening ... there are many of us I suspect who would happily accept the compromise of post processing NR and have this as an option with our MFDBs.
    There's still hope that Phase One might catch up with that go-go decade, the 1990s*

    Ray

    * Megavision and Sinar DBs had optional dark frame subtraction when Clinton was President.

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    Question:

    Two dark frames. Both taken at same exposure duration and sensor temperature, but at different moments in time (possibly even days apart).

    How different would they be?
    They would be identical (other than stochastic noise, which is true of any pair of frames).

    We do this all the time in astronomy. Regulated cooling to a set temperature point means that last year's dark frames are still good for this year's data.

    Ray

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by ondebanks View Post
    They would be identical (other than stochastic noise, which is true of any pair of frames).

    We do this all the time in astronomy. Regulated cooling to a set temperature point means that last year's dark frames are still good for this year's data.

    Ray
    This is false. Stuck pixels could develop over time. Hot pixel noise is also related to humidity, pressure, static electricity over the surface of the sensor, etc, not just all about temperature.

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolor-Pikker View Post

    Just as my 85L spent time glued to my 5D2, I believe the 90mm might be the only lens I would even need on the 645Z, second opinions?
    90mm on medium Format is a considerably wider FOV than 85 on FF.
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    I don't Phase will ever allow no dark frame processing on the CCD backs as the dark frame is integral to processing out a clean file.
    Yeah...BUT...why does it have to be Phase themselves who apply that processing? That is the nub of the matter. They don't credit the user with the smarts to take care of such a simple process themselves, at a more appropriate time.

    I tried pressing this with a Phase staffer once and got nowhere...he couldn't comprehend that there might actually be users who don't want it all internally perfected in-back and won't subsequently pipeline the images through C1. And there was such a superior attitude of "we know what's best for you" about the whole thing.

    It's an arrogance culture within the company. You see the same thing in some other firms too - when they know they make the best product on the market, they develop a disdain for customer suggestions pointing out that the best could still be better.

    Ray

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    This is false. Stuck pixels could develop over time.
    OK, I'll give you that. But it would be a really small minority of pixels. I'd much rather spend a couple of daylight minutes tweaking out new stuck pixels, than lose half of every precious clear night to taking long dark frames. We don't expect quite the same perfection in using library dark files, because as Graham said above, we "happily accept the compromise of post processing NR" because it is a compromise which is really worth making.

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    Hot pixel noise is also related to humidity, pressure, static electricity over the surface of the sensor, etc, not just all about temperature.
    Interesting...can you cite a reference for its dependence on those other factors? And do they affect the ~99% of well behaved, low dark current pixels as well, or just the ~1% of hot pixels?

    Ray

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    If only you could open the files in C1. Has anyone found a work around...
    In another post I believe Anders (Torger) mentioned he had written a converter, in order that he could see how the Pentax files rendered in C1 (pretty much identically to the IQ250 files IIRC). Unfortunately he didn't want to distribute it publicly in case P1 got annoyed.

    When serial-P1-upgrader Michael Reichmann bought one, I kind of suspected Pentax must be on to something - and this just proves (yet again) that they are.

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Oh, if only Phase One were listening ... there are many of us I suspect who would happily accept the compromise of post processing NR and have this as an option with our MFDBs.

    I was shooting with a 645Z user this last week and I have to say that it really is a very very desirable DSLR platform and certainly shows up the Phase One DF & MFDB combination. (He also has the 645 DF+ & IQ180).
    Just go ahead and fess-up, Graham. It just doesn't sound right when you keep talking in third person....


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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    90mm on medium Format is a considerably wider FOV than 85 on FF.
    On 33x44 it's close enough, and I always felt the 85 was a little too tight at regular shooting distances, especially with the 3:2 aspect ratio and all.

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    Just go ahead and fess-up, Graham. It just doesn't sound right when you keep talking in third person....

    Not me. I'm saving up for a new camera bag.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    This is great news for Pentax shooters and proves without a doubt –*especially considering Hasselblad have enabled 32min exposures without dark frame on their models that use the same sensor – that the chip itself should be capable of acceptable results when pushed. Pentax are usually pretty forward thinking with this stuff and getting the most out of Sony sensors, so this bit of good news doesn't surprise me.

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Oh, if only Phase One were listening ... there are many of us I suspect who would happily accept the compromise of post processing NR and have this as an option with our MFDBs.

    I was shooting with a 645Z user this last week and I have to say that it really is a very very desirable DSLR platform and certainly shows up the Phase One DF & MFDB combination. (He also has the 645 DF+ & IQ180).
    With a Phase One digital back e.g. IQ250/IQ260 you just choose "Aerial mode" in camera mode, then the dark frame NR is disabled.

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by ondebanks View Post
    Interesting...can you cite a reference for its dependence on those other factors? And do they affect the ~99% of well behaved, low dark current pixels as well, or just the ~1% of hot pixels?

    Ray
    There's nothing for me to quote. I did a long exposure shot of the sun trail (single exposure over 2 hours) and the battery life did not allow the dark frame NR on site. After that I attempted controlled temperature but it could not work perfectly. The distribution of stuck pixels (more than half) are pretty random even at the same temperature.

    https://500px.com/photo/67886275/

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    With a Phase One digital back e.g. IQ250/IQ260 you just choose "Aerial mode" in camera mode, then the dark frame NR is disabled.
    :O

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    With a Phase One digital back e.g. IQ250/IQ260 you just choose "Aerial mode" in camera mode, then the dark frame NR is disabled.
    Really? Will have to see if this is the same for the IQ180.

    What I find strange is that for exposures in the 1 to 3s range, sometimes there is a dark frame and sometimes there isn't. Somewhat disconcerting when you're doing a 2 or 3 image flat-stitch.

    Have others seen this?

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    Really? Will have to see if this is the same for the IQ180.

    What I find strange is that for exposures in the 1 to 3s range, sometimes there is a dark frame and sometimes there isn't. Somewhat disconcerting when you're doing a 2 or 3 image flat-stitch.

    Have others seen this?
    Yup. I've experienced this frequently, and at longer exposures too.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Thanks Gerald. Last time it happened, I was setup in the middle of the Zion canyon with my tripod setup in the Virgin river. I was exhausted and wasn't sure if I was imagining it

    I'll have to go back and see if there are any differences in the files. Wonder if there is anything in the metadata that tells you if a dark frame was taken or not..

    sorry for hijacking this otherwise pleasant post on the 645Z....

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    With a Phase One digital back e.g. IQ250/IQ260 you just choose "Aerial mode" in camera mode, then the dark frame NR is disabled.
    Thanks for this info. I did not know it applied to the 260.

    Paul

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    Really? Will have to see if this is the same for the IQ180.

    What I find strange is that for exposures in the 1 to 3s range, sometimes there is a dark frame and sometimes there isn't. Somewhat disconcerting when you're doing a 2 or 3 image flat-stitch.

    Have others seen this?
    Don't be disconcerted! There's some very sophisticated monitoring of the sensor temperature, based on extensive study of the behavior of each sensor/model/firmware-version and a goal of maximum image quality. If the exposure requires a fresh black calibration then it is taken, if it can be reused from the previous capture then it is. Simple as that.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Ah, makes sense. Thanks Doug.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    With a Phase One digital back e.g. IQ250/IQ260 you just choose "Aerial mode" in camera mode, then the dark frame NR is disabled.
    Hmm, that's interesting to know. I've never thought to or tried using that mode with my IQ260. Something to try this weekend!

    Update: With my IQ260 fw 5.14.29 (Nov 4 2014) it still performs the dark frame processing even in Aerial mode.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 22nd November 2014 at 12:06.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Update: With my IQ260 fw 5.14.29 (Nov 4 2014) it still performs the dark frame processing even in Aerial mode.
    This is scary. Did you try it on a technical camera or a 645DF+ body? My IQ260 could disable the dark frame NR with the previous version of firmware on a technical camera. I have updated my IQ260 to the latest firmware and I have no backup of the previous firmware! I currently have no camera body to test the latest firmware.

    I am now thinking of switching to the IQ250. I am sure with the previous firmware the IQ250 could also disable dark frame NR by using Aerial mode on a technical camera, because I did a 45 minute long exposure test shot with it during a test drive. If Phase One is now preventing us from disabling dark frame NR with the latest firmware and there is no way to downgrade the firmware, then I will switch to the Hasselblad CFV-50C instead.

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Doesn't the back allow you to go back one level in firmware? The recover function?

    Paul

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    You can use Phase One's Firmware updater to change firmware. Latest IQ firmware and previous firmware versions are in my Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/258ngmkjx...NftHsnnYa?dl=0

    IQ250/150 have their own firmware versions---it's a CMOS thing.

    ken

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    This is scary. Did you try it on a technical camera or a 645DF+ body? My IQ260 could disable the dark frame NR with the previous version of firmware on a technical camera. I have updated my IQ260 to the latest firmware and I have no backup of the previous firmware! I currently have no camera body to test the latest firmware.

    I am now thinking of switching to the IQ250. I am sure with the previous firmware the IQ250 could also disable dark frame NR by using Aerial mode on a technical camera, because I did a 45 minute long exposure test shot with it during a test drive. If Phase One is now preventing us from disabling dark frame NR with the latest firmware and there is no way to downgrade the firmware, then I will switch to the Hasselblad CFV-50C instead.
    i tried it using my Alpa and in normal exposure latency, aerial mode, dark frame calibration on and off modes. I only shot 5s or so but it definitely counted down after the shot for the dark frame. I didn't try it on a DF+ body although I certainly can later.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Graham,

    I tried with zero latency, and there was no dark frame. 15 seconds, then 20 seconds, both without the dark frame. (IQ 160, latest FW.)

    Steve
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Interesting ... I'll try it again when I'm home later with zero latency.

    Back on topic, I was pleased to see one of my local camera stores CameraWorld in Portland is now stocking the 645z (& 645d) and the latest Pentax lenses - what a change from only a few months ago where it was a Pentax desert around here.

    Ken: no, I'm still not buying one ...
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Ken: no, I'm still not buying one ...
    Sure, like we're supposed to believe that....
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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Sure, like we're supposed to believe that....
    I can relate to Rodney Dangerfield sometimes ...
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    There's nothing for me to quote.
    You obviously haven't noticed my avatar You made some strong technical assertions, and I'd still like to see the basis for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    I did a long exposure shot of the sun trail (single exposure over 2 hours) and the battery life did not allow the dark frame NR on site.
    Nice shot! And an interesting result re. the dark noise of the D800E vs the D4S. The D4S may have one of those sensors optimised for very high ISO snapshots but poor at longer exposures...I had a Kodak DCS720x which was an extreme manifestation of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    After that I attempted controlled temperature but it could not work perfectly. The distribution of stuck pixels (more than half) are pretty random even at the same temperature.
    Are you saying that (a) 50% of the D800E's pixels became "stuck" in your long exposures and (b) entirely different subsets of pixels became stuck in different exposures? That, (b), would be very strange (and not at all what I measure with CCDs...neither photographic or astronomical ones).

    Ray

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    Re: 645Z firmware update - including turning off dark frames at least!

    I do know that Phase One's official spec on long exposures for the P45+ are, outdoor temps no higher than 69 degrees F and low to moderate humidity. I am not sure on the static electricity but this is CCD vs CMOS.

    In my use, the D800e seems to get to a threshold in about 2 minutes to 5 minutes, then the rest of the image seems to stay pretty balanced out. The longest single shot I have taken the D800e to is 30 minutes and that was just playing around, as I normally will only stack at night, max 5 minutes per shot, average 2 min. I always have Long Exposure noise reduction off (which for nikon makes the camera create a dark frame each time).

    The CMOS in the D800e does a good job, however it's plagued by the same white dot issue that the D810 had, and Nikon fixed. As I have seen many D800e cameras that don't seem to have the white dot issue, it's clear to me Nikon fixed this issue on the D800 family under the covers, and just forgot to apply the fix to the newer D810. I can also state that the outdoor temperature makes a big difference in the white dots, i.e. 80 degrees or hotter and they will be a pretty big issue. C1 does an excellent job on these spots with the single pixel noise slider, where as LR can not clean them without massive loss of detail in the rest of the image.

    With the IQ260, I have only taken mine to 10 and 15 minutes. Both frames at the LE setting of ISO 140. Results were OK, but still not as clean as my P45+ at 45 minutes, so I never really did anymore testing. Each time the back took the dark frame.

    I have never tried stacking with the 260, due to the dark frame. If the dark frame can be disabled in Aerial mode in zero latency, I am still not sure it help much since in zero latency the back will get much pretty warm in a much shorter time frame.

    Paul

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