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Thread: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

  1. #1
    Mitch Alland
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    GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    I've made another comparison shot, this time between the GRD, GRD2 and GX100. The trouble is that I took these pictures yesterday before Sean pointed out the flaws in how I set up the shots — before he read me the "riot act", but of course he is right. Like the shots in the other thread, therefore, these pictures are taken with SNAP focus and automatic exposure metering; the aperture is f/5.0 for the GRD and GRD2 and f/4.8 for the GX100.

    To me, the results between the two GRDs and the GX100 is like before: the latter camera has less contrast — a generally softer look — and I think less sharpness. I realize that the SNAP focus may be different between the cameras, as Sean pointed out in the other thread, but looking at various planes in the GX100 picture I think there may be enough evidence to conclude that the GX100 pictures are less sharp. The GX100 also shows substantially more barrel distortion.

    The difference between the GRD and GRD2, however, I find more difficult to evaluate, apart from the obvious fact that the grain of the GRD2 at 200 is more like the GRD at 100. Someone on dpreview review wrote that the GRD has more "character" than the GRD2, but provided no substantiation; presumably he or she was talking about B&W and may have meant that to get the "grit" of the GRD at ISO200 you'd have to shoot the GRD2 at ISO400. The trouble is that, with the bright conditions in Thailand, particularly at mid-day, often I won't be able to shoot at ISO400. That means I either should keep the GRD to shoot it at ISO200, or start using Alien Skin Exposure.

    In any case please let me know your view on the difference in "character" between the GRD and the GRD2, and also what you now think og the GRD2 vs the GX100 — from these files of from other evidence.

    You can download the DNG files — I shot all three cameras at ISO200 and also shot another frame with the GRD at ISO100 — from the following link.

    http://download.yousendit.com/32B4A7126132E2A5

    Below are four small JPGs, in the following order:

    1. GRD at ISO100
    2. GRD at ISO200
    3. GRD2 at ISO200
    4. GX100 at ISO200

    —Mitch/Huahin
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    Last edited by Mitch Alland; 26th June 2008 at 00:37.

  2. #2
    asabet
    Guest

    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Mitch, thanks again for these samples. I agree with your conclusions. Compared with the GX100, the GR lens appears to impart higher microcontrast and is much more well corrected for distortion. I'm not sure whether the GRD is achieving higher resolution or not, but I do prefer the look of the GRD images. Interestingly, the differences are much more pronounced with the near subject matter and less so with the far.

  3. #3
    Mitch Alland
    Guest

    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Thanks, Amin, but what do you think of the GRD vs GRD2 results?

    —Mitch/Huahin
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  4. #4
    asabet
    Guest

    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    The GRD2 image has more detail captured at ISO 200 than the GRD at either ISO. Based on these images, the GRD2 looks like a clear improvement to me.

    Going back to the GRD2-GX100 comparison, it really looks to me as though they use the same sensor. The GR lens is what makes the difference.

  5. #5
    Sean_Reid
    Guest

    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Alland View Post
    I've made another comparison shot, this time between the GRD, GRD2 and GX100. The trouble is that I took these pictures yesterday before Sean pointed out the flaws in how I set up the shots — before he read me the "riot act", but of course he is right.
    Hi Mitch,

    I hadn't intended to "read you the riot act" at all. The methodology checks that I was discussing about your test are the same ones I have to have do with my own tests. Hence all that focus bracketing and, when needed, re-shooting some tests from scratch. Its quite difficult to get reliable results in comparison testing because its so easy for confounding variables to come into play.

    I'll look at the new set and thanks for doing them. Your last set seemed to show a contrast difference that was interesting to note.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  6. #6
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    I was being facetious, Sean. I thought your criticism of my faulty test was spot-on.

    —Mitch/Huahin
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  7. #7
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Mitch trust me testing just flat out sucks to put it nicely. So many variables
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  8. #8
    asabet
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    One point to consider is that the GX100 lens is rather susceptible to veiling flare, so microcontrast differences between the GRD/GRD2 and GX100 may vary according to the light.

    Mitch, although testing is a bitch, your test photos have been the ones that have helped me make my final decision to buy the GRD2. Thanks again =).

  9. #9
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Mitch I sent you 2 PM's in case you did not see them. Be back in a couple hours . Soccer game
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  10. #10
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Alland View Post
    I was being facetious, Sean. I thought your criticism of my faulty test was spot-on.

    —Mitch/Huahin
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    OK, good. I really hadn't intended to rain on your parade.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  11. #11
    Sean_Reid
    Guest

    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    One point to consider is that the GX100 lens is rather susceptible to veiling flare, so microcontrast differences between the GRD/GRD2 and GX100 may vary according to the light.
    I suspect that's true and, if it is, I think you're quite right about the direction of the subject lighting being worth considering.

    I think we're going to find that the GR/GR2's prime lens is a bit more resilient than the GX zoom, which would not be surprising. But, I'd want to be sure of that before saying so.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  12. #12
    7ian7
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Thanks for all your comparison efforts.

    My sense is that the "character" attributed to the GRD may have as much to do with that subset of shooters pushing the explosive/grainy/saturated colors achieved in post-processing, in that nice way the GRD color responds to it.

    I've been visiting Flickr, hoping to see new GRD2 work by certain photographers whose color GRD work influenced my GX100 purchase back in May, to see if they're achieving comparable results with the new camera, but it may be too soon, because I haven't found anything exemplary yet.

    Mitch, if I look at your GX100 work objectively — and my own — I think that overall the greater level of post-processing used to achieve contrast sharpness and grain in these files vs the GRD seems to result in the end in a more piercing overall contrast or density and sharpness that I find more tiring to focus on — literally more taxing on my eyes to look at than the native contrast of the GRD files I've worked with. Does anyone else share this experience?

    This is NOT a criticism of Mitch's pictures (but maybe a frustration with my own). Lately, I've actually been achieving slightly less "crunchy"-looking results by sharpening during the conversion process in ACR, as opposed to using USM at the end. Over the next few months, I will keep an eye on what you're posting in B&W from the GRD2, and hope one of the many amazing amateur colorists I found so inspiring begins posting color with the GRD2.

    From what I've seen so far, I agree that there are greater "sensor" similarities between the GRD2 and GX100, than with the original GRD, and I find that sort of disappointing. In my mind Rodinal was a smoother and more uniform version of "automatic" extreme grain with more shades of grey between the black, whereas the more haphazard or offhand use of pushing with D76 was more pleasing and organic in its roughness and soft, wide contrasty grain. So to continue Sean's earlier analogy from another post, the GRD seems to have that D76 look pretty much out of the camera, whereas when things do get grainy with the newer sensor, it seems to be a bit smoother, and less "signature".

    Does anyone think creating a RAW "grain" file with the GRD — say on a white wall — and using it as an inverted layer and selectively dappling grain on to a GRD2 or GX100 image with a gradient tool could work? Is that silly?

    If someone created those files, I think it would be fun to try.

    Anyway, I'll check in on your obsessions intermittently, and post occasionally, but I do appreciate all of your efforts.

    Kind regards,
    Ian

  13. #13
    asabet
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Ian, I too have been goiing through tons of GRD 2 images on Flickr. I can say for sure that the ISO 400 and higher in-camera JPEGs from the GRD 2 are not for me. If I were a JPEG shooter, I would not even consider this camera. With regards to the RAWs, it does seem that the noise is less crisp than the noise from the GRD, though there is no smearing/loss of detail. Rather than doing an overlay of the GRD noise, my preference would be to overlay scanned film grain or to use an application like Alien Skin Exposure. I do this occasionally with my GX100 files.

  14. #14
    Sean_Reid
    Guest

    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    I can't think of a single small sensor camera that I would want to use in JPEG mode, even at ISO 100. There's always some degree of smoothing. I realize that others may feel differently.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  15. #15
    IamJacksBrain
    Guest

    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by 7ian7 View Post
    Mitch, if I look at your GX100 work objectively — and my own — I think that overall the greater level of post-processing used to achieve contrast sharpness and grain in these files vs the GRD seems to result in the end in a more piercing overall contrast or density and sharpness that I find more tiring to focus on — literally more taxing on my eyes to look at than the native contrast of the GRD files I've worked with. Does anyone else share this experience?
    I noticed that in Mitch's first test photos that the combination of the GRDII's contrast and bright light hurt my eyes.

  16. #16
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by 7ian7 View Post
    ...Mitch, if I look at your GX100 work objectively — and my own — I think that overall the greater level of post-processing used to achieve contrast sharpness and grain in these files vs the GRD seems to result in the end in a more piercing overall contrast or density and sharpness that I find more tiring to focus on — literally more taxing on my eyes to look at than the native contrast of the GRD files I've worked with. Does anyone else share this experience?..
    Ian, that bears some thought, and I'll have t look over my pictures...

    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  17. #17
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    [Seems that one cannot edit postings after more than 1 hour, so here's an addition to the previous one].

    Ian:

    As I stated in other postings I find that I have to make much more aggressive sharpening and contrast moves to get GX100 pictures to get the look that I want, which I cannot achieve as consistently as with the GRD. Nevertheless, I me happy with a lot of my GX100 pictures as in the "Chartres and Chateaux of the Loire" series linked under my signature below, which you have seen several times.

    As for the GRD vs the GRD2 I like the latter at ISO400 and 800, but prefer the GRD at ISO200. At ISO100, I get the following type of look from the GRD2 but you have to keep on mind that this at midday on a very bright day in Thailand: in such harsh light it's not that easy, in my experience, to get good results with Tri-X:



    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1026877...89594785/show/

  18. #18
    Mitch Alland
    Guest

    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by IamJacksBrain View Post
    I noticed that in Mitch's first test photos that the combination of the GRDII's contrast and bright light hurt my eyes.
    That's more a function of the extremely harsh light on a bright day in Thailand at midday than of the camera. Both sets of test pictures were taken during lunch on exceptionally bright days, which was the only time that I had an opportunity to take the pictures. Looking at the scene without sunglasses would hurt your eyes as well; hence, you cannot blame the camera for this. As I wrote in my previous posting, if I were shooting TRi-X on such a bright day at midday, I'd have trouble to get consistently good results. Quite different from shooting at midday in the northern hemisphere.

    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  19. #19
    7ian7
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Mitch

    I think there's an argument for not attempting to approximate the look of the GRD with the GX100, because in doing so — bumping curves and deepening blacks etc to enhance grain — I've inadvertently pushed the post-processing beyond the "natural" limit on many shots (and my limit is pretty intense anyway) in to something that comes off a bit too processed-looking.

    The current ACR — which is getting me way, way closer to a "finished" looking image even before opening up in to PhotoShop than I was able to achieve in CS2 — seems to be helping me lay off a bit, and achieve dramatic but still "natural" results. I am thinking ACR with the GRD2 will yield good results as well.

    Your point about the characteristics of the actual available light is well-taken. Still, I'm not sure it's technically a dynamic range issue, since all these cameras blow highlights anyway, but each camera does seem to have its own way of compensating or responding to those limitations.

    I always use RAW so I can't comment on jpeg issues. Although I have noticed that "save for web and devices" is better than ever in CS3, in terms of reducing rich imagery back down to tiny files.

    Anyway, I can't wait to see what you guys do with the 40mm conversion lens.

  20. #20
    asabet
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    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    I can't think of a single small sensor camera that I would want to use in JPEG mode, even at ISO 100. There's always some degree of smoothing. I realize that others may feel differently.

    Cheers,

    Sean
    Sean, yes I believe we are both in the minority in this respect. With my GX100, I shoot RAW + fine JPEG when I am shooting B&W. After processing the RAW, I frequently compare it to the in-camera JPEG. Often the JPEG helps guide my RAW process, and rarely the JPEG looks flat out better to me than my RAW effort. I'm sure that for an expert such as yourself, the RAW process is always superior. However, I suspect that the majority of folks have less experience processing than I, and for them the GX100 B&W in-camera JPEGs do a nice job of balancing noise and detail at every ISO. Not so for the GRD 2 in-camera files from what I have seen.

  21. #21
    chris_tribble
    Guest

    Re: GRD vs GRD2 vs GX100 comparison pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    I can't think of a single small sensor camera that I would want to use in JPEG mode, even at ISO 100. There's always some degree of smoothing. I realize that others may feel differently.

    Cheers,

    Sean
    Couldn't agree more - and I'm not that happy with the idea of using JPEGs from 1 series Canons - unless you're under real pressure from a picture editor to get stuff to them over a cell phone!

    Best

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