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Thread: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

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    D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Silly, I know, but I'm using (and liking) both of these cameras at the moment, and I wanted to get a handle on the real difference in image quality. Of course, it's just one shot, so it isn't very representative, but I thought it was an interesting reality check.

    This is the basic shot:



    The A900 shot was at f8, and ISO 200, the D-lux4 at F4 and ISO 80 (which seemed to be about as good a level playing field I could get).
    The D-lux 4 was processed in Capture 1 v4, and the Sony in Aperture.

    I took the same area from the shot, the leica is at 100%, and the Sony is scaled down to match - Leica first:



    and here is the Sony


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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Finally, here is the 100% shot from the Sony shot (sorry about the larger file)


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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    With so many variables, I don't see how you can compare anything....
    sorry, I don't get it....

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Streetshooter View Post
    With so many variables, I don't see how you can compare anything....
    sorry, I don't get it....
    Oh - I can compare it.
    Same area of shot - best ISO for each, good f stop for each.

    As I said - it's personal - but others might be interested. Printing, it's tough to tell at A4 (but possible), but really easy at A3.

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    meilicke
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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    I love crazy stuff like this, and think it is facinating that the dlux does as well as it does, even considering the idealized conditions. Thanks Jono!

  6. #6
    weinglas
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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Hi Jono,

    interesting comparison. Thanks a lot.

    I am not surprised by the file quality of the Sony, but i thought that the Dlux at base ISO would perform better. No structure in the wood and it is not even near the corners. Maybe the focus was not perfect? Does it look better a little bit more sharpened?

    Best regards,
    Claus

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    asabet
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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Jono, mind making the D-LUX RAW available?

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    10Mp vs 24Mp, small optic vs bigger 35mm optics, and smaller vs bigger sensor. It is obvious which would be better here. But in saying that, the D-lux 4 and the A900 have very similar color representation.

    I personally find the images from the LX3/D-lux4 a little softer out of camera, for both RAW and JPGs. So applying some USM to the D-lux 4 crop can help tighten up the image.

    Here is your cropped image from the D-Dlux4 with some USM applied and the difference would be less.

    USM applied d-lux 4 crop


    Mazor

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    asabet
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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    Here is your cropped image from the D-Dlux4 with some USM applied and the difference would be less.
    Not much less. However, Jono's crop is not representative of the detail I came to expect from the D-LUX 4. It's probably just that C1 isn't pulling out the detail, which is why I asked to play with the RAW file.

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Interesting. I also asked myself if the shot could be slightly out of focus? If not I find the difference quite obvious.
    I did a comparison between my D3 and a Mamiya ZD some time ago and was first blown away by the difference but found out later that the D3 focus was slightly of in the one image.
    Cheers, Tom

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Jono,

    B&H's prices are $849 vs $2,999 for DLux4 and the A900, respectively. The price of the A900 is nearly 4 x the DLux4. Based on price alone, I would expect the IQ of the A900 would be better than the small sensored DLux4. I do not understand the comparison as it is comparing a very good P&S to a FF DSLR (apples vs oranges???).

    After I gave you a bad time about comparing a FF camera and a small sensor camera, I remembered that Luminious Landscape compared prints made with a Canon G10 and a Hasselblad H2 with a P45 back (comparing a $500 camera to a $20,000 or $30,000 camera). The writer wrote that under certain optimum lighting conditions (bright sunlight where the G9 could use low ISO) with 13x19 prints, professional photographers could not differentiate which camera made which print. The writer used a tripod for each camera. Did you use a tripod for your test or were both handheld? If it was hand held, possibly some of the softness (at 100%) of the DLux4 could be a result of movement.
    Last edited by Howard; 18th January 2009 at 13:16.

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    yer would be nice to try the RAW and use UFRAW to decode it, hehe

    MAzor

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Howard View Post
    Jono,

    B&H's prices are $849 vs $2,999 for DLux4 and the A900, respectively. The price of the A900 is nearly 4 x the DLux4. Based on price alone, I would expect the IQ of the A900 would be better than the small sensored DLux4. I do not understand the comparison as it is comparing a very good P&S to a FF DSLR (apples vs oranges???).
    Hi Howard
    Absolutely - apples and oranges - the reason I was comparing is that both are cameras I'm very fond of . . . the Dlux4 is often more convenient, and I was interested to find out how much I was losing

    What I certainly wasn't planning was to be negative about either camera . . . I'm sure that anyone who has used either of them will agree that they're both excellent cameras.

    Anyway - I'm setting up a folder where you can get three RAW files from each camera to play with.

    Give me half an hour

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    Not much less. However, Jono's crop is not representative of the detail I came to expect from the D-LUX 4. It's probably just that C1 isn't pulling out the detail, which is why I asked to play with the RAW file.
    HI Amin . . . and everyone else who would like to play.

    I've done no sharpening (at least, not intentionally). So, the obvious answer is, as you say, to let everyone else have a play with the raw file(s).

    Because 3 is better than one, I've put up three files . . . and because it would be fine to remove my pp skills (not that they were applied) I though it would be better to supply the A900 files too . . . as they are big, I've used DNG files for them (I can't easily tell the difference).

    So, there are three pairs of RAW files:


    L1000135.RWL and _DSC3096.dng
    L1000137.RWL and _DSC3098.dng
    L1000138.RWL and _DSC3106.dng

    you can get them at:

    3 pairs of RAW Files

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Jono,

    I own the LX3 and I think it is an excellent camera: 24mm zoom, f2 lens, raw, very good interface, small and light weight, a very good to excellent lens -- a great little package.

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Here is my play at RAW using UFRAW and USM



    MAzor

  17. #17
    asabet
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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Jono, L1000135.RWL makes me wonder whether your D-LUX has some decentering. The right edge is softer than the left. Not sure whether your other tests show a similar result; it may just be the way that shot was taken.

    With regards to the crop you chose for this thread, here is how it looks processed in Raw Developer on the right, compared with your unsharpened C1 version on the left:



    Regardless of processing, the D-LUX 4 file has less detail than the A900 file, but that was never in question. Meanwhile, sharpening the C1 version will make the available detail more apparent in that file, but some of it has been lost in the process of barrel distortion correction, which is applied automatically (without option to disable) in C1.

  18. #18
    weinglas
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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Hi,

    Amin's version looks much better. Now there is structure in the wood and in the rusty metal and the difference to the A900 is not that much for small prints.

    Best regards,
    Claus

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Wow, amin that is imprressive. how did you get the color so rich? must be alot of USM appled there, but it does look alot sharper and somewhat 3D. i am impressed.

    Mazor

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    Regardless of processing, the D-LUX 4 file has less detail than the A900 file, but that was never in question. Meanwhile, sharpening the C1 version will make the available detail more apparent in that file, but some of it has been lost in the process of barrel distortion correction, which is applied automatically (without option to disable) in C1.
    HI Amin
    thank you for that - I'll check up on the decentring when I get home tonight.

    As I said, I did no sharpening, and you've done a much better job, however, I'm worried about the barrel distortion correction - partly with respect to this camera, but also with respect to the G1 and it's lenses. It seems to be a pretty bad idea if it's going to produce smeary results to quite such a big extent . . . better to have barrel distortion and an option to correct it later.

    Incidentally, did you have a look at the other pair of files, with the old farm equipment?

    Claus - as you say - a good compromise for small prints . . . mind you, that particular shot would not have been so good without the barrel distortion correction. Actually, with the detail that Amin has squeezed out of that crop I'm sure a 19x12 print would be excellent. (not so small then).

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    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Jono,

    An interesting comparison thanks. I understand your reasons for the test as the question for me when I go out is whether to take the M8 for the best image quality versus the pocketability of the GRD2 or D-Lux 2. Usually the M8 wins as it not that big compared with the gulf in difference in image quality.

    How do you feel about this camera in general please compared to previous compacts (D-Lux 3, GX200 etc)? Is there a dramatic jump in performance and/or image quality?

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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    Wow, amin that is imprressive. how did you get the color so rich? must be alot of USM appled there, but it does look alot sharper and somewhat 3D. i am impressed.

    Mazor
    Hi Mazor, thanks. The color in my crop is the default result from Raw Developer (Iridient Digital), which is a Mac only RAW converter. With noise reduction disabled in Raw Developer, even ISO 80 files will show noise, which sometimes requires cleanup, especially in deep blue skies. However, for textured surfaces like this, the combination of no noise reduction and Richardson-Lucy deconvolution sharpening in Raw Developer really emphasizes the detail.


    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    As I said, I did no sharpening, and you've done a much better job, however, I'm worried about the barrel distortion correction - partly with respect to this camera, but also with respect to the G1 and it's lenses. It seems to be a pretty bad idea if it's going to produce smeary results to quite such a big extent . . . better to have barrel distortion and an option to correct it later.
    Yes, I share your concerns. I'm also guessing that the upcoming Panasonic 20/1.7 will have a decent amount of barrel. Panasonic has persuaded the software developers of LR/ACR, Silkypix, and C1 to implement this sort of mandatory lens correction, and none of the those options can pull all the detail out of an LX3/D-LUX 4, or I suspect G1, file. They also cannot use the full angle of view captured in the RAW file, since part of that is cropped out during correction of distortion. For this reason, when I really want to make the most of the files, I convert in Raw Developer and use PTLens as needed to correct the distortion. It takes longer, but the result is superior to my eye (for shots in which distortion correction is not critical). It remains to be seen how Aperture will handle these files.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Incidentally, did you have a look at the other pair of files, with the old farm equipment?
    Not yet. I'm going to take a look now.

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Okay, I just took a look at the pair of old farm equipment photos. There are quite a few differences, including the color, exposure, depth of field, etc.

    As expected, the A900 has a stunning amount of detail in the in-focus regions, and it also has far cleaner shadows than the D-LUX file. Once again I think the D-LUX file will look pretty good even in a large print, but the A900 will have the edge, even in a moderate sized print.

    I upsized the D-LUX file to 6048 pixels wide, the same size as the A900 file, and then downsized both files to 50%. This gives a rough idea of how they'd compare in a moderate sized print. Here is a crop comparison:



    If you want to see how they both look at full res after the D-LUX file has been upsized to match, you can download them here. The D-LUX file has that weird Genuine Fractals artifact look, but it would take quite a large print at close viewing to be bothered by that.

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    Okay, I just took a look at the pair of old farm equipment photos. There are quite a few differences, including the color, exposure, depth of field, etc.

    As expected, the A900 has a stunning amount of detail in the in-focus regions, and it also has far cleaner shadows than the D-LUX file. Once again I think the D-LUX file will look pretty good even in a large print, but the A900 will have the edge, even in a moderate sized print.
    Hi Amin
    I'm seriously impressed by the amount of detail you've got out of the D-lux4 file (not so much the A900 - it's what I've got too!). I think it goes to prove that lens correction should be done later - so much so that I've downloaded a trial of Raw Developer from Iridient. I need another raw developer like I need a hole in the head, but the results you are getting seem to me to be splendid. (the other problem is that it seems pretty expensive).

    Incidentally - did you still think the D-lux4 lens looked decentred?

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Hi Jono, it's hard for me to say whether the D-LUX 4 lens is significantly decentered. It really only looked that way in the one shot, but that was the best shot of the three for evaluation. If your landscape type shots don't show a significantly softer right edge, I wouldn't worry about it. I've come to expect a small bit of decentering in compact camera zoom lenses, and for sometimes unknown cause (to me) it seems like more than it is in certain photos. Unless there are significant problems which are consistent from one shoot to the next, I ignore it.

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    Hi Jono, it's hard for me to say whether the D-LUX 4 lens is significantly decentered. It really only looked that way in the one shot, but that was the best shot of the three for evaluation. If your landscape type shots don't show a significantly softer right edge, I wouldn't worry about it. I've come to expect a small bit of decentering in compact camera zoom lenses, and for sometimes unknown cause (to me) it seems like more than it is in certain photos. Unless there are significant problems which are consistent from one shoot to the next, I ignore it.
    Hi Amin
    Thanks for that - I shot a few brick walls in Norwich at lunchtime to give it another look, and also looked back at some of my older shots with it. Generally speaking I think it's pretty much okay (certainly not worth losing sleep about).

    I think it's brought up a whole can of worms about RAW conversion / DNG files and lens correction information. So much so that I used my simple brick wall shot as a starter for a new thread.

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post


    Regardless of processing, the D-LUX 4 file has less detail than the A900 file, but that was never in question. Meanwhile, sharpening the C1 version will make the available detail more apparent in that file, but some of it has been lost in the process of barrel distortion correction, which is applied automatically (without option to disable) in C1.
    Hi There Amin
    I just thought that, in fairness to capture 1, I'd have a bash at doing a better job with capture - to that end I've linked my original (top left) and your much better Raw Converter version (top right). This one still isn't as good as yours , but it's certainly a lot better than the original.


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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    I am totally happy with my DLux4. It is especially good in low light...no substitute for fast glass (even if it is tiny). I think this comparison shows how good the DL4 actually is.

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Hi There
    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    I am totally happy with my DLux4. It is especially good in low light...no substitute for fast glass (even if it is tiny). I think this comparison shows how good the DL4 actually is.
    I quite agree - There are the differences you might expect, but it's definitely a tribute to the D-lux4

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    But sadly you're pushing me back towards an a900 again. Seems that a DLux4/a900 combination would cover most anything you'd need to do. DL4 for pocketable street, a900 for more serious crops and detailed work.

    I just can't get past that $5K price of entry at the moment. I suppose if I sold all my Pentax stuff but I do love the small limited primes and wanted to keep a body, two primes and sell everything else. Arrgghh...why can't the Sony stuff drop in price from msrp like the Nikon and Canon have? Of course rumor has it that everything is going significantly *up* in price soon due to currency fluctuations, but seems that would be suicide in this economy. We'll see...

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    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Hi All,

    Looking at these again it really is quite impressive what this small camera can actually do. While nobody was expecting it to be up to the A900, in suitable conditions it does a very respectable job.

    What are the files like at higher ISO's please? F2 or F2.8 plus OIS plus a highish ISO could make for a very nice carry about.

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    But sadly you're pushing me back towards an a900 again. Seems that a DLux4/a900 combination would cover most anything you'd need to do. DL4 for pocketable street, a900 for more serious crops and detailed work.

    I just can't get past that $5K price of entry at the moment. I suppose if I sold all my Pentax stuff but I do love the small limited primes and wanted to keep a body, two primes and sell everything else. Arrgghh...why can't the Sony stuff drop in price from msrp like the Nikon and Canon have? Of course rumor has it that everything is going significantly *up* in price soon due to currency fluctuations, but seems that would be suicide in this economy. We'll see...
    HI Todd
    Yes indeed - an excellent combination, it gets you from near MF quality to something in your pocket. I guess that your Pentax gear is in the same situation as my Olympus gear . . . endangered

    As for the price of the Sony - yep, it's expensive, but it's 90% of the D3x, at 1/3 price (and actually most of that 10% I wouldn't want anyway!).

    I also feel that, unless you really want better high ISO (and it is good to 3200 with care), then the A900 represents something of a watershed; I know it's all been said before, but I wonder whether one will be able to squeeze much more than 24mp out of 35mm lenses, on all other fronts the camera is quite 'good enough'.

    You know it makes sense

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Quote Originally Posted by ecliffordsmith View Post
    Hi All,

    Looking at these again it really is quite impressive what this small camera can actually do. While nobody was expecting it to be up to the A900, in suitable conditions it does a very respectable job.

    What are the files like at higher ISO's please? F2 or F2.8 plus OIS plus a highish ISO could make for a very nice carry about.
    Well, these are actually only at ISO 400, but the fast lens and the OIS meant that they could be shot at very low shutter speed. With most other small cameras you would have had to shoot either at an even lower shutter speed, or at higher ISO.

    Worth mentioning that, with all those dark areas, they are just the kind of shots that can look horrid.

    These are converted in C1 and have no noise reduction added.





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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Hi Jono,

    Thanks for posting those, My last D-Lux was/is a D-Lux 2 and at ISO 400 it is a very different story to these!

    As you say, if you can get the shot at ISO 400 due to the fast lens and OIS then why increase the ISO.

    I am not sure if I will be holding out much longer ...

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    Re: D-lux4 vs Sony A900

    Another quick and dirty, DLux4 at 60mm vs K20d at 64mm (43/1.9)

    The DL4 was shot jpg, the K20d raw, and the K20d is the first example in each pair. I think there were some AF issues with the K20d shot, but it was point, AF, and shoot. The bottom line again being that the DL4 is *very* good imho. I do have other shots where the file from the K20d outperforms but it isn't as night/day as you might expect.








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