Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 31, 2007, 2:43 AM   #11
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 9
Default

MattSwain: The reviews I've read about the eos 400d says the kit lens isnt any good. The d40x doesnt have auto bracketing, so its not good for creating hdr images.

TCav: I will use the camera mainly for nature photos, both in bright daylight and sunsets.

Happy new year to you all
leon_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2007, 4:29 AM   #12
Super Moderator
 
peripatetic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3,599
Default

It's true that the Canon 18-55 kit lens is the worst of the bunch.

Canon have responded by releasing an upgraded version of the 18-55 which has IS and is nearly as sharp as their 17-55 $1000 lens for only around $200.

I was at the Natural History Museum on Saturday - walking around the Shell Wildlife photographer of the year exhibition, which is probably the most prestigeous nature competition in the world.

I walked past one of the winning entries and happened to notice that it had been taken with a Canon Rebel and 18-55 kit lens. Clearly someone had forgotten to tell the photographer that the kit lens was rubbish and he managed to take one of the 50 best photos in the competition with it anyway, out of 20,000 entries submitted mostly by professional wildlife and landscape photographers.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-...12&group=1

I thought of all the sound and fury on the internet forums about how rubbish this lens is and had a good old chuckle.
peripatetic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2007, 7:42 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

leon_ wrote:
Quote:
The reviews I've read about the eos 400d says the kit lens isnt any good.
It's not that the Canon kit lens isn't any good; it's just that it's not quite as good as the others. All by itself, I wouldn't say thatthe quality of the kit lens is enough of a reason not to buy a Canon dSLR.

leon_ wrote:
Quote:
I will use the camera mainly for nature photos, both in bright daylight and sunsets.
Have you had any problems in the past with your KMZ3 not having enough light to take a shot you wanted? If not, then the kit lens(es) should be sufficient. But if you've had problems with low-light photography, then you might need faster lenses.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2007, 7:45 AM   #14
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 18
Default

It's very much over-stated how bad the Canon kit lens is - you'd think it was made from the base of a jam jar or something similar the way that some people describe it. I've got one and it takes decent pictures. You could always buy the camera body and pick an alternative lens. Look at it this way, the kit lens may be the weakspot for the Canon, but it is something that can be corrected, buy the Nikon (for example) and it will never have auto-bracketing.

The latest issue of Digital Photo magazine (in the UK) has a group test of all of the major budget dSLRs (including the three mentioned at the top of this thread) and it has the Canon and the D40x as equal winners in it. Crucially, none of the cameras get a bad score, so whatever you pick is likely to serve you well.
MattSwain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2007, 8:42 AM   #15
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

leon_ wrote:
Quote:
I will use the camera mainly for nature photos, both in bright daylight and sunsets.
You may want to take Dynamic Range into consideration (the range of dark to bright you can capture).

The models you've mentioned with Sony sensors (Nikon D40, Sony DSLR-A100, Pentax K100D) will have the edge here shooting raw, followed by the Canon. The Olympus is lagging behind the other models in this area.

Scroll down to the Imatest results on these pages at Dave Etchells site for examples of Dynamic Range from these models using Adobe Camera Raw for the conversions. You'll also see DR with jpeg images (which is going to be impacted by camera settings for contrast and more because of tone curve differences).

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...410IMATEST.HTM

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...100IMATEST.HTM

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2007, 9:55 AM   #16
Super Moderator
 
peripatetic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3,599
Default

I don't buy those figures, I wouldn't count them in at all in any consideration.

Norman Clark (who wrote the Imatest software) comes up with very different figures on his site.

I cannot see how (using the SAME sensor as is found in most of the 1.5 crop DSLRs) the A100 can get better DR than the FF sensors on the 1Ds and 5D, which have more than 4x the surface area on the sensor.

I don't think ER is using the software properly; it is far more likely IMO that he has made a mistake than that the A100 is that much better than its direct competition as well as cameras that should be returning much better figures.

The JPG DR tests over at Dpreview don't show any significant difference amongst ANY of the DSLR cameras (including the FF) but that I would suggest is essentially an 8-bit JPG issue rather than a limitation of the sensor.


Norman Clark's page on Sensor DR:

http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedeta...ary/index.html
peripatetic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2007, 10:42 AM   #17
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Quote:
Norman Clark (who wrote the Imatest software) comes up with very different figures on his site.
From what I can see, his tests seem to confirm that the Sony 10MP APS-C Size sensors have better Dynamic Range compared to the Canon full frame models at their base ISO settings. At higher ISO speeds, the larger sensors do better.

Note this image on the same page you posted a link to. The D200 starts out with more DR at it's native ISO speed (ISO 100 with this Sony 10MP Sensor):

http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedeta...4cameras_2.gif

Now, look at the data from the EOS-1D Mark II and you'll see this (11.3 stops of DR at it's base ISO speed of ISO 50). See table 1B from this page:

http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/evaluation-1d2/

Table 1b: Canon 1D Mark II: Derived Sensor Performance

Code:
A        B            C          D         E        F         G
Camera
ISO      Gain     Read Noise   Maximum   Dynamic  Dynamic    Maximum
(electrons/  (electrons)  Signal     Range    Range  Signal-to-Noise
12-bit DN)             (electrons) (linear) (stops)     Ratio

50    26.03        30.62     79,900    2,610     11.3       283
100    13.02        16.61     53,000    3,190     11.6       230
200     6.51         8.95     26,500    2,960     11.5       163
400     3.25         5.56     13,200    2,380     11.2       115
800     1.63         4.04      6,620    1,640     10.7        81
1600     0.81         3.90      3,310      850      9.7        58 

http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/evaluation-1d2/

3200     0.41         3.93      1,650      420      8.7        41
The D200 (using a Sony 10MP APS-C Size sensor) has a higher 11.7 stops of DR at it's base ISO speed. See table 1 from this page:

http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedeta...200/index.html

Table 1: Nikon D200: Derived Sensor Performance

Code:
A        B            C          D         E        F         G
Camera
ISO      Gain     Read Noise   Maximum   Dynamic  Dynamic    Maximum
(electrons/  (electrons)  Signal     Range    Range  Signal-to-Noise
12-bit DN)             (electrons) (linear) (stops)     Ratio

100     7.98        10.0      32,680    3,268     11.7       181
200     4.0          8.1      16,770    2,070     11.0       129
400     2.0          7.7       8,380    1,088     10.1        92
800     1.0          7.4       4,190      566      9.1        65


1600     0.5          7.4       2,100      284      8.1        46
Quote:
I cannot see how (using the SAME sensor as is found in most of the 1.5 crop DSLRs) the A100 can get better DR than the FF sensors on the 1Ds and 5D, which have more than 4x the surface area on the sensor.
That's what the tests indicate, at least at their base ISO speeds, including the page you posted a link to. Both the Sony DSLR-A100 and Nikon D200 (shown in the DR graph on that page) use a Sony 10MP APS-C size sensor. ;-)

Note that the new Sony 12MP Sensor is even better in this area from what I can see.


Quote:
The JPG DR tests over at Dpreview don't show any significant difference amongst ANY of the DSLR cameras (including the FF) but that I would suggest is essentially an 8-bit JPG issue rather than a limitation of the sensor.
There is not going to be as much difference in the jpeg images, because of contrast/tone curves being applied in the image processing pipeline. The higher end models will tend to use a less contrasty curve for a bit better DR straight from the camera.

Since you brought up the tests at dpreview, you'll notice that Phil specifically mentions Dynamic Range in both the E-410 and E-510 reviews in the cons section of his conclusions, since it does measure lower than competitors.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse510/page31.asp

Note that the new Sony 12MP APS-C size sensors used in models like the Nikon D300 and Sony DSLR-A700 have even more Dynamic Range compared to the Sony 6MP or 10MP APS-C sensors from tests I've seen so far. Note this comment in the Pros section: "Excellent dynamic range at ISO 200 (more highlight range than we are used to seeing)"

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra700/page32.asp

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2007, 12:11 PM   #18
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

It looks like the tests I posted a link at imaging-resource.com were comparing the EOS-1Ds Mark II, and the DR graph at the page you posted a link to was comparing the EOS-1D Mark II.

In any event, these little Sony sensors test well compared to models with larger photosites, at their base ISO speed. At higher ISO speeds, the larger photosites are going to win. lol

This is why I brought it up:

leon_ wrote:
Quote:
I will use the camera mainly for nature photos, both in bright daylight and sunsets.
If I wanted to use a camera mostly for harsher lighting outdoors (where you may have direct sunlight as well as deep shadows in the same image), I'd want to take Dynamic Range into consideration, especially considering comments like this from Phil in the E-510 review conclusion (and he also mentioned DR in the E-410 conclusion):

""Dynamic Range less than competition (highlights by about three quarters of a stop; 0.7 EV)", "Serious highlight clipping on bright days unless you reduce exposure"

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse510/page31.asp

and comments like this from Dave Etchells, from the E-410 review Imatest page at imaging-resource.com:

"Regardless of the positions of the other cameras though, the Olympus E410 does appear to offer rather poor dynamic range, the one notably negative mark against what is otherwise a good-performing consumer SLR."

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...410IMATEST.HTM

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2007, 12:46 PM   #19
Super Moderator
 
peripatetic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3,599
Default

First of all to the OP, this has gone a bit off-topic. My advice is that the differences between the cameras you are considering with respect to DR are small and very unlikely to be a real-world issue.

Jim,

Firstly the 1D Mk II is a 1.3 crop, so I wouldn't expect the difference between that and a 1.5 crop to be terribly large. However the pixel spacing of the 1D Mk II and the 5D are identical so the DR is the same.

But do notice how much the read noise is down on the 1DMkIII and combined with the 14 bit encoding that should translate into much better DR. In practice however the gains seem to be very limited.

Secondly the base ISO of the 1D is 100 not 50. So it comes in at 11.6 compared to the D200's 11.7. Hardly a basis for choosing one camera over the other.

It wouldn't surprise me if the newer generations manage to improve matters still further, that is surely to be expected. But these sensors are getting very close to the limits imposed by the laws of physics.

The real point of the article though is to understand how DR is calculated. And that is full well/read noise. Full well is the number of photons captured before the "bucket" is full, and read noise is a function of the efficiency of the electronics. Now the well size is a function purely of the physical dimensions of the pixel hence the advantage of larger sensors at a given megapixel rating. The read noise is where we find generational inprovements, but the sensors are so good that we aren't going to see a great deal of improvement anymore. There is also the fact that the encoding space is probably too small to make much of this matter. 8 bit is already too small, the new sensors have pushed beyond what 12 bit can handle and are therefore starting to encode in 14 bits. The medium format sensors have true 16 bit encoding. So it's the combination of those 3 things that makes the real world difference; pixel dimensions, sensor read noise, encoding space (indirectly).

There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes in noise correction algorithms on the RAW data, v5 of DXO optics for example claims they have made a significant leap in this area. I believe that Nikon is starting to do some clever things here in-camera too, the NEF file is not actually being recorded RAW it's being run through noise reduction algorithms first - hence the kind of fantastic high ISO performance that the D3 is showing.

I must admit this is a fascinating subject but IMO of very limited relevance to the OP.


Is it really your considered advice that the difference in DR (assuming the A100 has as much as a full stop advantage - which I doubt very much Phil reckons 0.7EV disadvantage to the Olympus) is that really a reason to choose it over another camera? Is this an issue where you have found a lot of problems and thought that if only you had that one extra stop of DR all your problems would be solved? Problems that persist through HDR processing of RAW files - either by differential processing of a single RAW file or by processing multiple files?
peripatetic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2007, 1:30 PM   #20
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

I would absolutely want another stop of DR if possible if I were going to be shooting in harsher lighting (i.e., outdoors in daylight often).

I shoot raw + jpeg all the time to maximize DR now, as I like to shoot photos along the banks of the Ogeechee River often where lighting can be harsh.

I'll have to dig around for some of the jpeg images, but if you look at the bottom right thumbnail on this screen capture of digiKam, that's the blown jpeg. ;-)

http://www.pbase.com/image/74600490/original.jpg

Here's an example of where even raw barely got as much DR as desired from a Maxxum 5D (Sony 6MP CCD), due to the direct sunlight on the dog, as well as the darker shadow areas, trying to main a blue sky as well. You're going to lose DR on both ends in this type of lighting.

I ran this one through Camera Raw and digiKam before deciding on digiKam. I didn't bother with curves or anything else.




Here's another one shot in raw with direct sunlight from a Maxxum 5D. I've posted this one before.

This one was converted with one of the 3.x versions of Adobe Camera Raw, and I still had a hard time keeping as much of the highlights as I wanted to (another stop of DR would have been nice for more highlight detail). I'd have to dig around for the jpeg, but the raw file did much better for this type of image usding Camera Raw for the conversion.




Note that this model also tests quite well shooting raw. See Dave's imatest results here. But, another stop would be nice to have, especially in harsher outdoor lighting (and that type of lighting seems to be what the OP is interested in shooting in more often, which is why I brought up DR).

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...M5DIMATEST.HTM


JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 3:29 PM.