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Thread: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

  1. #1
    asabet
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    D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    My D-LUX 4 arrived today. Initial impressions are very good! I think the D-LUX 4/LX3 is the new low light champ amongst pocket cameras, at least for color photography. The Fuji F31 would be the closest competition, but that camera is a stop slower, and I don't recall ISO 3200 on my F31 looking as good as ISO 1600 on the D-LUX.

    I haven't had time to make any good photos yet, but I thought I'd share a quick high-ISO sample. This was taken at the dinner table with Philip sporting a fresh milk moustache. Handheld, 60mm equivalent, f/2.8, ISO 1600, 1/60s. Processed from RAW.


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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Nice capture, Amin, I agree with you, I'm really loving the LX3 and it does remarkably well at the higher ISOs.

    Cheers,

  3. #3
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Thanks Simon. Feels really good to zoom all the way out and still have f/2.8 available in a compact. Almost reminiscent of the D2, though that camera goes to 90mm equivalent and is a bit faster at f/2.4. It's also much larger though!

    Here's the same shot processed to black and white with no noise reduction whatsoever:

    Last edited by asabet; 20th October 2008 at 17:37.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Looks great... I originally had been debating getting the D-LUX4/ LX3 or waiting on Micro 4/3. I'm still leaning Micro 4/3 at this point but this definately gives me more indecision.
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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Looks great. I think I'm going to give my D-Lux 3 to my g/f (she's always lusted after it), and will replace it with either an LX-3 or D-Lux 4. Having a tough time justifying the almost $400 difference though...I'm not sure that I believe that the raw files are *that* different between the two (beyond file suffix).

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    Looks great...
    Having a tough time justifying the almost $400 difference though...I'm not sure that I believe that the raw files are *that* different between the two (beyond file suffix).
    On the Serious Compacts blog (where Amin is one of the main contributors), there are downloadable files from the D-Lux 4.

    According to whats said there, however, one just has to change the file extension (from .rwl to .rw2) to use the same software (Raw Developer) for them. No idea whether this would work with the bundled softwares, but it does seem the files are essentially the same.

    If so, Im afraid it blows one of the main reasons to pay those $400... Would be really interestin if somebody could try this with either of the bundled softwares!

    BTW, almost forgot to say this is a stunning ISO 1600 shot! My D-Lux 3 400s dont look as good!
    Last edited by Per Ofverbeck; 20th October 2008 at 23:30. Reason: Still sleepy...

  7. #7
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Thanks all. I should add that I have some underexposed ISO 1600 results that look worse. Here there was some decent light coming from the window behind me, which really helped with the noise performance.

    Changing the file extension allows Raw Developer to read D-LUX 4 files. However, I'm told that changing the extension in the other direction does not allow C1 to read LX3 files. Despite this, I personally doubt that the RAW files are different in any meaningful way. C1 probably just checks the EXIF to make sure the camera is a D-LUX 4.

    If the RAW files were different, Leica would want to say something about it. Instead, what they say is "Leica Camera AG has developed its own unique colour matching, contrast and picture definition profile which produces digital characteristics complimentary to Leica M film photography." That sounds like in-camera JPEG processing to me.

    I would not have been willing to pay $400+ extra for the Leica. I ended up getting the D-LUX for $750 in "like new" used condition on Ebay, which came down to $561 shipped with the Microsoft cashback deal. Applying the same Microsoft cashback deal to a "like new" used LX3 on Ebay would bring that price down to around $275-300, so I still paid a premium, but a lesser one.
    Last edited by asabet; 21st October 2008 at 05:24.

  8. #8
    nei1
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Its still double the price Amin,but you did get a very good deal,we dont have the discount here in europe.I have to say that it is a beauty and despite my doubts over the differences between the two,it is a tempting camera.As always am interested in your opinions and tests and a belated thanks for the work you do for us viewers.All the best,Neil.

  9. #9
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Thanks very much Neil. I hope to have some good tests up in the coming weeks.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    asabet, nice pics using ISO1600.

    All digital cameras when underexposed will perform alot worst than when perfectly exposed, hence why in studio setups, ISO performance is so much better.

    Still, I think the LX-4 does admirably for a compact camera, and indeed is a milestone for the Panasonic sensor.

    Mazor

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Looks superb Amin!
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  12. #12
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Thanks Mazor.

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    All digital cameras when underexposed will perform alot worst than when perfectly exposed, hence why in studio setups, ISO performance is so much better.r
    True, though that photo also benefited from a balanced light spectrum. Under typical yellow incandescent lighting, no small sensor compact is going to have a good ISO 1600 performance.

    Just to give another example, here's a shot that was taken at f/2.2, 1/25s, ISO 1600 in miserable incandescent lighting coming from behind my wife to the left. The highlights and mids were pushed quite a bit during processing, so this is about as noisy as it gets for this camera at ISO 1600. Usually I'd apply some NR to a photo like this, but for informational purposes I'll show you the resized black and white from RAW with no noise reduction whatsoever:


  13. #13
    wbrandsma
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Thank you for you information, Amin. And that first ISO 1600 photo looks amazing. And I think it helps to overexpose to enhance the image quality of small sensor cameras.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    HI Amin
    I'm afraid that it's your duty to buy a LX3 and do a proper comparison of the raw files . . . .further than that, you'll need a panasonic G1 to do a proper comparison with that camera (and then the little Olympus afterwards).

    Otherwise we'll all stop talking to you


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    Senior Member Arne Hvaring's Avatar
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Hi Amin,
    have you tested the D-Lux at infinity (i.e. landscape shots)?. I ask because I had a Lx-3 on loan recently that didn't perform particularly well at distance. The edges (both sides) were rather soft, the softness extending inwards some 15-20% of the image. This was generally true at all focal lengths I tested.

    I just downloaded the RAW file and looked at it in C1 and it seems very good right into the corners. But here the subject is at a distance of only 2-3 meters.

    Hopefully (!) I had a poor sample, as otherwise this camera is looking quite attractive.

  16. #16
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Thanks Jack, I missed your comment earlier!

    Hi Wouter, it definitely helps exposing to the right, though that first one was actually a bit underexposed during capture.

    Hi Jono, you're a bad influence, know that ?

    Hi Arne, I haven't had a chance yet to check. I'll take a look and let you know what I find plus upload a few RAW files.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    Hi Jono, you're a bad influence, know that ?
    What kind of an answer is THAT?

    Here is us (or do I mean 'here are we'), all relying on you for definitive information on small cameras, and you call me a bad influence

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  18. #18
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    What kind of an answer is THAT?

    Here is us (or do I mean 'here are we'), all relying on you for definitive information on small cameras, and you call me a bad influence
    I hope you know I was kidding !

    I joked that you were a bad influence because I was already thinking of getting an LX3 and a G1, and perhaps the little M43 Oly to test... then I heard my wife's voice telling me to save money.... and then you came and reinforced my first thoughts.

    Now do you see where I was coming from ?

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    OK a little OT but Jono, the G1 is available in Germany. Any signs of it in the UK? We won't have it for a couple of weeks. I'm counting on you for testing. Amin is in the US so he won't have it just yet either.

    I was going to order through Panny direct today (we get a corporate discount) however it is strange that they aren't showing the second lens.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    I hope you know I was kidding !

    I joked that you were a bad influence because I was already thinking of getting an LX3 and a G1, and perhaps the little M43 Oly to test... then I heard my wife's voice telling me to save money.... and then you came and reinforced my first thoughts.

    Now do you see where I was coming from ?

    Hi Amin - of course - I was only teasing . . . . but maybe there was a compliment hidden in there as well
    I'm sorry if it seemed like it was for real - my wife always tells me I assume too much from others with my jokes?

    I'm fighting off a great urge to get a dlux4 or lx3, because my history with small sensor cameras is either dislike or lack of use! (I do like my GX100 for instance, but I almost never use it!). I don't think I'll be able to resist the G1, or the little Oly m43 either . .. whether they'll get used a lot is another matter.
    Last edited by jonoslack; 22nd October 2008 at 03:24.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    OK a little OT but Jono, the G1 is available in Germany. Any signs of it in the UK? We won't have it for a couple of weeks. I'm counting on you for testing. Amin is in the US so he won't have it just yet either.

    I was going to order through Panny direct today (we get a corporate discount) however it is strange that they aren't showing the second lens.
    HI Terry
    Nothing on the horizon here - or on any of the websites that I've seen. Interesting that it seems to be in the shops, but I don't see anyone on dpreview who actually has one. Maybe Louis is right and nobody is buying?

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  22. #22
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post

    Hi Amin - of course - I was only teasing . . . . but maybe there was a compliment hidden in there as well
    I'm sorry if it seemed like it was for real - my wife always tells me I assume too much from others with my jokes?
    We need a "relieved" emoticon! Sometimes it's hard to tell from the written word.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I'm fighting off a great urge to get a dlux4 or lx3, because my history with small sensor cameras is either dislike or lack of use! (I do like my GX100 for instance, but I almost never use it!). I don't think I'll be able to resist the G1, or the little Oly m43 either . .. whether they'll get used a lot is another matter.
    I'm pretty sure that I'll use a m43 camera once that 20/1.7 comes out, unless it's a terrible lens. As you know, it will behave as a 40/3.4 in terms of framing/DOF in 35mm terms, so it will provide unprecedented DOF control for that form factor and working distance. I only wish that the G1 were smaller or the Oly m43 had an EVF like the G1.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    We need a "relieved" emoticon! Sometimes it's hard to tell from the written word.
    how about:


    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post

    I'm pretty sure that I'll use a m43 camera once that 20/1.7 comes out, unless it's a terrible lens. As you know, it will behave as a 40/3.4 in terms of framing/DOF in 35mm terms, so it will provide unprecedented DOF control for that form factor and working distance. I only wish that the G1 were smaller or the Oly m43 had an EVF like the G1.
    I always feel that the phrase 'DOF control' is a dreadfully emotive expression - it has a real 'value judgement' feel about it . . and anyway, you might as well say that MORE DOF gives you more Control!

    I wonder whether the Oly m43 might not have a 'plug in' evf like the Ricoh's do - it's a good idea.

    I'm really sad that Leica didn't join in, it seemed to me to be the perfect opportunity for a CL replacement - I would have thought they could have done an optical viewfinder with moveable framelines depending on the zoom (a bit like the Contax G series, but without blacking out the rest of the finder). Oh Well!

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  24. #24
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    how about:
    Sounds good to me .


    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I always feel that the phrase 'DOF control' is a dreadfully emotive expression - it has a real 'value judgement' feel about it . . and anyway, you might as well say that MORE DOF gives you more Control
    I know what you mean, but when was the last time you wished that your DSLR could give you more DOF? When was the last time you wished your pocket camera could give you less? For me, the answers are "never" and "this morning", respectively.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    Sounds good to me .




    I know what you mean, but when was the last time you wished that your DSLR could give you more DOF?
    This afternoon (wide angle landscape with foreground)

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    When was the last time you wished your pocket camera could give you less?
    Hardly ever (mind you, my pocket camera doesn't get used that much!)

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    For me, the answers are "never" and "this morning", respectively.

    So I guess I win that one

    it surely depends on what you're shooting - if it's people and candids, then one would normally want less depth of field - although, to me, 4:3 makes for a good compromise.

    On the other hand, shooting nature / plants / macros one often wants as much as one can get.

    I'm not criticising people's requirements (especially yours), simply the implication that less is 'better'.

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  26. #26
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    I certainly don't feel that less is better when it comes to DOF. However, I think of larger sensors as providing a choice, and smaller ones not so much. With your DSLR and wide angle landscape with foreground, you can stop down enough to get small sensor-like deep DOF. I don't think you'd ever reach a case where due to high f-number, diffraction and need for high ISO would turn your A900 into a significantly worse option than a small sensor camera (from an image quality standpoint). In theory this could happen, but it would be an extreme situation of very low light, very deep DOF requirement, and lack of suitable stabilization (effective in-camera or tripod).

    When I take my D-LUX and set it for max background blurring, I'm using a 12.8mm f/2.8 lens. That's just enough to give a sense of emphasis to certain elements at close distance, but sometimes I want more (less ).

    However, let's say that you're right and I'm wrong about the ability to have more DOF being a significant advantage for some small sensor cameras. The fact is, people who want/need deep DOF have a lot of choices in the pocket camera market. Those who want/need shallow DOF in non-macro, non-telephoto shots have very modest tools for that application. The 20/1.7 for m43 is a significant advance in that respect.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    I certainly don't feel that less is better when it comes to DOF. However, I think of larger sensors as providing a choice, and smaller ones not so much. With your DSLR and wide angle landscape with foreground, you can stop down enough to get small sensor-like deep DOF. I don't think you'd ever reach a case where due to high f-number, diffraction and need for high ISO would turn your A900 into a significantly worse option than a small sensor camera (from an image quality standpoint). In theory this could happen, but it would be an extreme situation of very low light, very deep DOF requirement, and lack of suitable stabilization (effective in-camera or tripod).
    Well, that is a good point, but actually, getting foliage in the foreground and mountains (well, okay, small pimples with churches on them ) in the background CAN be a problem,
    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    When I take my D-LUX and set it for max background blurring, I'm using a 12.8mm f/2.8 lens. That's just enough to give a sense of emphasis to certain elements at close distance, but sometimes I want more (less ).

    However, let's say that you're right and I'm wrong about the ability to have more DOF being a significant advantage for some small sensor cameras. The fact is, people who want/need deep DOF have a lot of choices in the pocket camera market. Those who want/need shallow DOF in non-macro, non-telephoto shots have very modest tools for that application. The 20/1.7 for m43 is a significant advance in that respect.
    It's a non argument really - we want the same things, and I think we both feel the same way about m43 being a really good compromise (at least, that's what I think). I guess I just have a bee in the bonnet about some people's superior attitude to dof (not yours I hasten to say! )

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  28. #28
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    I know what you mean Jono. Anyone who has spent any time in a certain Olympus forum is going to be sick of certain people going on and on about DOF!

    Speaking of DPReview - Jono, did you see the Sony A900 review? Strange findings there! Simon concluded that the A900 AA filter is stronger than the D700 AA filter. I think he must have some jelly on his sensor .

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    I know what you mean Jono. Anyone who has spent any time in a certain Olympus forum is going to be sick of certain people going on and on about DOF!

    Speaking of DPReview - Jono, did you see the Sony A900 review? Strange findings there! Simon concluded that the A900 AA filter is stronger than the D700 AA filter. I think he must have some jelly on his sensor .
    HI there
    Wasn't it interesting! Is it the jpg engine? or is it the way he's processing in ACR (mind you, ACR doesn't seem to do very well with the A900).

    I thought the studio comparisons were a bit odd as well - I got the impression that the differences were more to do with different point of focus (those paper clips were out of focus weren't they?).

    Reading the 'cons' made me realise why I like the camera! It's so very 'un sony' - limited options, easy to use, focusing more concentrating on accuracy than speed - etc. etc.

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    neither of you have provided enough rationalization yet for me to spend $400 more for the red dot. Arrghh....

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    neither of you have provided enough rationalization yet for me to spend $400 more for the red dot. Arrghh....
    From what I've seen there doesn't seem to be any major differences despite what a few Leica people have said. The major differences from what I can tell are a more M8 like GUI, Capture One software, different file extension, an extra year of warranty, and a much nicer external body. I'd pay an extra $150-200 for that but asking for an extra $400 is a bit ridiculous (and disconnected) for Leica to do IMO.

    The camera is still a bit limited in some regards such as the zoom range. I think I would actually prefer the D-Lux 3 lens with the upgraded electronics of the D-Lux 4 for all around usability. On the other hand though it's hard to argue with the speed and results as well. Asabet got an astounding deal and for the price he paid I think I would've bitten as well. For the full price of the D-Lux 4, I think I would look more toward Micro 4/3 which gives you more flexibility and should have outstanding IQ as well for slightly less money.
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    I fell into the Leica trap on the D-LUX 2, convincing myself that it had to have an advantage over the LX1, and indeed esthetically, I did prefer the packaging better, but when I bought the LX3, I never even considered paying the additional $400 for the "Leica". I don't believe that anyone shooting RAW will see any significant difference whatsoever, regardless of whether the RAW files appear to be different between the two cameras. In fact, I'd be surprised if there was any difference that couldn't be closely simulated by changing camera setting in the jpegs either.

    Cheers,

  33. #33
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    neither of you have provided enough rationalization yet for me to spend $400 more for the red dot. Arrghh....
    I share Simon's opinions above, but I'll help you rationalize the $400 as follows:

    1) Longer warranty is probably worth $50.
    2) RAW software is worth 0-$100 depending on whether you like C1. For rationalization purposes, let's say it's worth $50.
    3) Cosmetic difference and red dot factor may be worth $100.
    4) Possibility that Leica's color/curves applied to in-camera JPEGs are not easy to replicate with LX3 is remote, but if you're obsessive compulsive this may be worth $50.

    The above are strictly subjective value judgments. As I've written them, they account for $250 of the $400. The delta of $150 is likely to be recouped in the resale value differential.

    Hope that helped .

    Now that was one way of rationalizing. Here's what the things are worth to me:
    1) Longer warranty: $25
    2) Raw software: $0 (already bought C1)
    3) Cosmetic difference: $100
    4) Leica claims about colors, etc: $25
    5) Higher anticipated resale value: $100

    So, it wasn't worth it to me until I found a good deal.
    Last edited by asabet; 22nd October 2008 at 12:54.

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Rationalization at it's finest!

    Ciao,

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    heh...that's more like it

    The raw software is a non-issue as I use Aperture (though it apparently doesn't support either camera yet). Warranty is probably a non-issue too...p&s seem to be replacement items rather than fixers (sad). Resale value might be relevant, but I end up giving my older cameras to family or donating to my son's school rather than selling them. The color curves are possibly an issue as sometimes I don't want to shoot raw just based on storage and speed. I hate spending time in post...

    Still, $400 is $400. That damn red dot...

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post

    Still, $400 is $400. That damn red dot...
    Just count yourself lucky that Leica seem to have abandoned m4:3 . . . just imagine having to buy all those leica M lenses for the adaptor, and the Panaleica lenses to make the most of the decent sized sensor.

    They've missed an opportunity to bankrupt us all!

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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Love the B&W version, Amin. Can't wait to see more from the D-Lux 4, the few samples I've seen so far look terrific. I went in another direction and used the Live.com/eBay deal to get the G10 ... limited budget right now, and liked the longer zoom. Wish I could have both, lol.
    Regards,
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    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Thanks Joan, I'm looking forward to seeing your G10 photos! We're spoiled for choice right now in the advanced compact market.

  39. #39
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    In a fit of red dot dementia I picked up a DLux4 tonight. Only have taken a few snaps at night on the street and then messing around in the apt while reading the manual. I have to say that I'm *very* impressed so far with the low-light capability. I haven't shot a raw image yet, but the jpgs look quite good, with the "dynamic b&w" looking pretty close to how I'd tweak an image anyway in Aperture.

    One interesting thing is that I had my DLux3 at -2/3 ev all the time (as I've done with most small sensor cameras). The DLux4 so far it spot-on at night at 0 ev.

    Quick snap from tonight - 2nd one on the camera. I look forward to playing tomorrow...



    inside, low light macro



    crop

    Last edited by nostatic; 29th October 2008 at 23:26.

  40. #40
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    A few snaps this am. These are iso 100 indoors (!), f2 1/80s







    I wish I had another 20mm on the long end, but so far the low light performance is amazing. The downside is having to learn Capture 1 for dealing with the raw files...

  41. #41
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    I'm really pleased with the low light ability of this camera. Here's an in-camera JPEG at ISO 800, f/2.6, 1/50s, 48mm equivalent AOV, resized by Flickr with no postprocessing whatsoever:



    Here's the 100% crop of the RAW file processed by Raw Developer with NR disabled but subsequent chroma only NR applied in Noise Ninja:



    Here's the in-camera JPEG crop for comparison:



    Capture One processed crop, all settings at default:



    This shot would have required ISO 1600 or higher with most other compacts.

  42. #42
    Senior Member Joan's Avatar
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    That's fantastic, Amin! Raw Developer really makes a difference, doesn't it?

    I think this 800 iso is equal to or better than the G10 at 400, (or at least the results I'm seeing from DPP, which I am starting to hate with a passion. Can't wait for a better solution.)

    Regards,
    Joan

  43. #43
    asabet
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Thanks Joan. Yes, I'm quite fond of Raw Developer. One of the many good things about the G10 is that you can be sure it will be supported by virtually all of the third party RAW processors!

  44. #44
    Senior Member Joan's Avatar
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    Re: D-LUX 4 at ISO 1600

    Yes, I just have to be patient. One of the things that really bugs me about DPP is the final step of converting to jpeg for Web viewing. Set at only "5" for quality and 1024x768, the files are still 600-900kb! That is nuts.
    Regards,
    Joan

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