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Old Oct 15, 2004, 6:35 PM   #1
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I was examining Steve's brick building picture on the 20D review and noticed that it wasn't all that sharp. I compared it to the similar image in the Digital Rebel review and found that the Rebel's image was a good bit sharper. Maybe the 20D image was just a bit out of focus. But then I couldn't help thinking that the problem may be more fundamental. Perhaps 8 MP demands a tripod and an L-Prime to really be exploited. I checked the pro-sumer camera images (from the Olympus and Sony 8MP cameras.) After all, with enough light and a low ISO setting, they should take full 8MP resolution images. Both images are soft at the pixel level. Check the roof tiles for the easiest way to spot this. I know these cameras test out with higher resolution, but that is under the optimal conditions in the lab, not the real world of hand held cameras and non-L telephoto lenses.

My guess is that most serious photographers don't need that much cropping. However, they can always use another F-stop or a shorter exposure time. Wouldn't it be better to stop at 6MP and just improve the noise situation -- using the same design improvements that enabled Canon to get better than 6MP ISO performance in the 8MP 20D?

The theory that the full resolution of an 8MP camera is difficult to realize in many real-world situationsmay bewrong. Still, I wonder how may of you would prefer a 6MP 20D with a full or even half f-stop noise improvement over itscurrent performance (realised by larger photosites.)

Your comments are welcome.

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Old Oct 16, 2004, 1:14 AM   #2
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Bitplayer asks a very good question well.

However, I think that the only real way that such consumers' questions matter are if they vote with their heads and dollars. Consider the Fuji S3; switch to it if you believe the argument (and its implementation).

Canon is aware of these choices, and is also aware that the marketplace generally wants more MP's over things like lower noise and greater dynamic range. Think of a camera saleman trying to convince someone that a Fuji S3 is a better camera though it has fewer effective MP's. However, some have said that Canon will move towards layered sensors in the next couple of years.

People have lived with reduced dynamic range and noise for a long time (think slides and film), and can continue to do so (photoshop and more photoshop/ noise reduction). Tools like Focus Magic can also do wonders with focus blur and camera shake.

I feel the constraint of the crop ever time I bring the viewfinder to my eyes, and esp. when I use a nice old film camera, so I'd like more MP's together with larger sensors. A full frame camera with the pixel density of the 20D would be around 21MP.

I'm currently working with files in the 55-75 MP range (scanned MF film). These of course have more noise, and are limited by that -- but even at half size, they're sharp when taken and scanned well. I'm not quite sure what the sharpness threshold is, butI know that I usually have to USM 20D/300D images afair bitto get them to look as sharp as the scanned film before USM.

So in my wish list, greater dynamic range and reduced noise are farther down the list than other items. I get greater dynamic range through negative film, and noise with that as well. Um, wait a sec.. Reduced noise is very useful for reducing the aperture and raising the DoF, for action shots; but I don't do a lot of those unless you count kids..

I do want more detail in my images, and am willing to pay for that by using nice lenses, a tripod, and even film when necessary.

I'm also not sure that the current RAW converters are definitive, nor that sample images of this sort are conclusive about the camera sharpness. E.g. there are camera and lens focus and sharpness variations. E.g. when you have more pixels, USM needs different settings to get the same effect in a reduced image.
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Old Oct 16, 2004, 10:49 AM   #3
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Keep in mind that the images were taking at different times, with different lenses (probably at different focal lengths and apertures), using different processing techniques.

It looks like the Digital Rebel image of the building was taken in RAW mode, with +2 Sharpness set for the conversion to JPEG (see Steve's notes at the top of the page).
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Old Oct 19, 2004, 12:11 PM   #4
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I have similar concerns about the true resolution. For a standard look atSteve's prints taken with the EOS-1DS. Nothing else comes close including the other digicams with full size sensors. The Rebellooks sharper to me too although nowhere near the EOS-1DS results. Look at the stars in the flags and the writing on the entrance door of the seafood restuarant.
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Old Oct 20, 2004, 9:32 AM   #5
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OK guys,
Can you dumb this down for me?
If I was to buy a 20D for macro work, (I'm drooling), would the images straight from the camera be better or worse than a 300D? I've never had a camera that offers raw, so I'm talking jpeg. If I had raw available, would THAT image be sharper than the jpeg, or is raw just an easier/better way to post process?


Ron :?:
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Old Oct 20, 2004, 10:16 AM   #6
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This is from my experience, I expect others will have things to add.

RAWs are harder to process because they require an extra step (converting the RAW file to Jpg/tiff/whatever... something that can be edited) but they are also easier because doing white balance is trivial (just pick the color temprature when you convert the RAW.) And getting white balance is not easy if you took jpg pictures directly.

Personally, I don't find shooting in raw is "harder" but it's a bit slower. I do my RAW conversion in PhotoShop CS and I find it's slower than I want.

I'm not sure it is fair to say "Better" or "worse" compared to the DRebel. I don't believe the difference in the sensors is that large. Obviously the 20D is higher resolution. And while the noise isn't really much better, it pattern seems a little bit less distracting.

If you were going to make prints of your macro shots, then yes... the 20D would probably be "better" because the extra 2MP would make it easier to print larger shots, or give you more freedome to crop/recompose.

But this info doesn't come from experience with either camera but with kinda logically thinking about it from what I've read.

Most people don't use AF when doing macro work because the DOF is so small it probably won't be in the right place... so you'll just have to fine tune it by hand any ways.

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