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Old Feb 13, 2010, 11:58 AM   #31
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Everyone does some NR as they read the data off the sensor. It seems Nikon and now Sony do it more aggressively than Canon.

Per-pixel sharpness differs between cameras and is affected by NR and AA filters. Always has been.

I'll absolutely be willing to put down a modest amount of money against ANYONE being able to tell me which camera (from the same sensor size) made which A4 print. I'd happily put down $50 in a double-blind test of Phil Askey's ability to tell the difference between a D90 and D300 print. Caveat - it has to be a real-world subject not a test chart.
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Old Feb 13, 2010, 12:02 PM   #32
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It probably would be hard to tell the difference with an A4 print. But, camera buyers tend to be "pixel peepers" and want to see the camera that performs the best looking at 100% crops. ;-)

That's where reviews come in showing the differences, using controlled conditions photos, etc.

Sure, in real world use, that may not make any difference. I've seen images that look pretty bad looking at 100% crops that print just fine. But, camera buyers tend to want the "best" for a given dollar amount (assuming they can tell that from looking at 100% crops, right or wrong), and I doubt you'll change that behavior anytime soon.
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Old Feb 13, 2010, 12:07 PM   #33
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But, camera buyers tend to be "pixel peepers" and want to see the camera that performs the best looking at 100% crops. ;-)
The phase "get a life" springs immediately to mind for some reason. :-)

Reading many of the review sites and manufacturers' claims, and contrasting those against the DXO tests, I am thoroughly convinced that we are seeing very modest improvements and those will become even more modest over time as we approach the limits that physics is imposing. Pretty much the only thing that counts in the efficiency of the sensor is how large it is. Just like the film days.

The Emperor is naked and the review crowds (Steve excepted of course) are fashion critics talking about his latest outfits. :P
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Old Feb 13, 2010, 1:19 PM   #34
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Pretty much the only thing that counts in the efficiency of the sensor is how large it is. Just like the film days.
I think we're probably at or past that point. I've been quite surprised looking at images from 6MP dSLR models at higher ISO speeds and comparing detail to newer 12MP dSLR models at the same ISO speeds, looking at photos taken in the same conditions. There's really not a lot of difference in them at a typical print or viewing size. Some of that is probably more aggressive NR, and some of that is probably because higher resolution sensors are placing more demands on the lens quality needed for best results. So, unless you're using the best premium quality lenses, you may not see much difference moving to a higher resolution model.

Of course, in better lighting with the aperture stopped down for better DOF, diffraction limitations are probably entering the equation, too. Yet, the megapixel war continues.
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Old Feb 13, 2010, 1:35 PM   #35
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It probably would be hard to tell the difference with an A4 print. But, camera buyers tend to be "pixel peepers" and want to see the camera that performs the best looking at 100% crops. ;-)

That's where reviews come in showing the differences, using controlled conditions photos, etc.

Sure, in real world use, that may not make any difference. I've seen images that look pretty bad looking at 100% crops that print just fine. But, camera buyers tend to want the "best" for a given dollar amount (assuming they can tell that from looking at 100% crops, right or wrong), and I doubt you'll change that behavior anytime soon.
I read these articles you posted and must say they are not very convincing. For one thing Nikons software processing is different between camera models and can account for this increased noise far better than thinking that the RAW file has been tweaked. Just updating the firmware often changes the question of noise.

But even if Nikon DOES use NR in the RAW files, if you have to blow the image up by 400 percent in order to see it, the question becomes academic.

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Old Feb 13, 2010, 3:16 PM   #36
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...For one thing Nikons software processing is different between camera models and can account for this increased noise far better than thinking that the RAW file has been tweaked...
The analysis was being done on the raw files (*before* the camera should be performing any image processing). That's their point (that these cameras are processing the raw data versus leaving it alone and letting you process as desired later, without it being manipulated by the camera manufacturer first). ;-)
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Old Feb 13, 2010, 3:55 PM   #37
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The analysis was being done on the raw files (*before* the camera should be performing any image processing). That's their point (that these cameras are processing the raw data versus leaving it alone and letting you process as desired desired later, without it being manipulated by the camera manufacturer first). ;-)
Firmware changes, and the difference in firmware between models can have a profound effect on RAW files...

Certainly did effect noise with my D1x. Didn't change noise on my D2x

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Old Feb 19, 2010, 5:36 PM   #38
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Well, I've used RAW, and I think that at this point, with today's DSLRs and compact digicams, with their high resolutions and functions that help get detail in shadows while retaining highlights, RAW is more trouble than its worth.

Most people keep reading about this on reviews and forums and think it's a very important feature that they must have. The reality is that, especially on a compact digicam, you get as much just using the camera's best JPEG setting. Once you get the file on your computer, only work on a copy, and if that copy is also in JPEG format, do all of your post-editing in one go before you save the file. That way, you don't lose any quality that would be worth frigging around with those large RAW files. Alternatively, you could also make that original copy a TIFF file, or the native format of your photo editor if it has one, and then you can work on it all you want without any data loss. Then you only save the final work in JPEG.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 6:40 PM   #39
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Well, I've used RAW, and I think that at this point, with today's DSLRs and compact digicams, with their high resolutions and functions that help get detail in shadows while retaining highlights, RAW is more trouble than its worth.

Most people keep reading about this on reviews and forums and think it's a very important feature that they must have. The reality is that, especially on a compact digicam, you get as much just using the camera's best JPEG setting. Once you get the file on your computer, only work on a copy, and if that copy is also in JPEG format, do all of your post-editing in one go before you save the file. That way, you don't lose any quality that would be worth frigging around with those large RAW files. Alternatively, you could also make that original copy a TIFF file, or the native format of your photo editor if it has one, and then you can work on it all you want without any data loss. Then you only save the final work in JPEG.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 4:13 AM   #40
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Well, I've used RAW, and I think that at this point, with today's DSLRs and compact digicams, with their high resolutions and functions that help get detail in shadows while retaining highlights, RAW is more trouble than its worth.

Most people keep reading about this on reviews and forums and think it's a very important feature that they must have. The reality is that, especially on a compact digicam, you get as much just using the camera's best JPEG setting. Once you get the file on your computer, only work on a copy, and if that copy is also in JPEG format, do all of your post-editing in one go before you save the file. That way, you don't lose any quality that would be worth frigging around with those large RAW files. Alternatively, you could also make that original copy a TIFF file, or the native format of your photo editor if it has one, and then you can work on it all you want without any data loss. Then you only save the final work in JPEG.
There are at least 4 important things you get with RAW:
1. The ability to set white balance after the shot is taken.
2. The ability to apply the noise reduction appropriate to the image.
3. The ability to recover 0.5 to 1.5 stops of highlights that would be blown in JPG.
4. The ability to apply sharpening appropriate to the image instead of a default setting which is often to much or too little.

If you don't understand those things or they are not important to you then you might as well use JPG.

However if you have to (or really want to shoot JPG) mitigating steps can be taken:
1. Modern image processing applications do some quite clever things after the fact w.r.t. white balance.
2. Turn down noise reduction to its minimum setting.
3. Use the DR extension or highlight preservation setting. Or just be careful with your exposure and ETTR.
4. Turn down sharpening to its minimum level.

So I guess it may be more trouble than it's worth if you don't want to invest in the more sophisticated image processing applications like Lightroom, Aperture, Bibble, etc. If you do use one of those then there is no real penalty to using RAW.
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