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Fuji S5 Pro Dynamic Range

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  • Roger D. Williams
    I have been trying to get the wider dynamic range that Fuji s special sensor provides, but with limited success. The best results I have achieved so far
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 24, 2009
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      I have been trying to get the wider dynamic range that
      Fuji's special sensor provides, but with limited success.
      The best results I have achieved so far encourage me to
      do the very opposite of what I usually do. I usually
      try to completely avoid any part of the histogram going
      into the over-exposed region, and rely on boosting the
      dark shadow areas, even though this often increases
      noise (less so with my D300 than with the D200 I used
      to use). If I do this with the S5 I get very similar
      results--better than the D200 and about comparable with
      the D300. No sign of the two-to-four stops advantage
      claimed, though...

      BUT I get much better results if I allow nominal
      overexposure in the highlights and use a typical
      highlight recovery approach, reducing the RAW file
      processing "exposure" by a couple of stops. To my great
      surprise there is lots of detail left in those whited
      out areas. Normally a burnt out highlight is just that,
      no use to man nor beast. But these highlights appear
      not to be "really" burnt out. There's also much less
      of that strange coloration you tend to get when the
      R, G & B channels saturate at different points. It
      really does look as if there is less saturation going
      on.

      Is this how it is supposed to work? It does give me
      less noise in the shadow areas, other things being
      equal. I would guess I am getting an extra two stops,
      not the four or more some claim. (I'm not disputing
      the claims, just wondering how to duplicate the good
      results.)

      Roger W.

      --
      Work: www.adex-japan.com
    • Thomas Krueger
      http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml ... Greetings, Thomas - http://www.thomaskrueger.eu thomaskrueger.eu -- View this message in
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 24, 2009
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        http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml


        -----
        Greetings, Thomas - http://www.thomaskrueger.eu thomaskrueger.eu
        --
        View this message in context: http://www.nabble.com/Fuji-S5-Pro-Dynamic-Range-tp22695697p22696012.html
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      • Roger D. Williams
        Thank you, Thomas. Good general information, and giving me some reason for my positive experience with taking exposure right up to the normal upper exposure
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 25, 2009
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          Thank you, Thomas. Good general information, and giving me some reason for
          my
          positive experience with taking exposure right up to the normal upper
          exposure limits. Of course my comment was more about going BEYOND these
          normal limits into what appear to be blown-out highlight regions.

          But there's nothing specific about the Fuji S5, althought I see an
          exception
          was made by the writer of the article for the Fuji S2 (the article is
          fairly
          old).

          I think I will search for S5 specific knowhow, since there doesn't seem to
          be
          what I need in this mailing list. I always think of this list first because
          most problems I run into are encountered while preparing panoramas. <grin>
          Indeed I do very little else with my cameras.

          Roger


          On Wed, 25 Mar 2009 15:43:50 +0900, Thomas Krueger <krueger@...>
          wrote:

          >
          > http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml
          >
          >
          > -----
          > Greetings, Thomas - http://www.thomaskrueger.eu thomaskrueger.eu



          --
          Work: www.adex-japan.com
        • dtonnes
          Hi Roger, Like you I am concerned about burning highlights and noisy shadows in panoramas. Who isn t? With it s dynamic range, the S5 is indeed an intriguing
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 25, 2009
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            Hi Roger,

            Like you I am concerned about burning highlights and noisy shadows in
            panoramas. Who isn't?

            With it's dynamic range, the S5 is indeed an intriguing camera, but I chose
            not to employ it for my work for a couple of reasons - space and speed.
            First, the S5's RAW files are huge...correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't
            they around 25mb apiece? By comparison my lowly 350d puts out 8.5mb RAW
            files, so even with bracketed RAW exposures I get about the same amount of
            space on a CF card but way more exposure headroom. With a speedy computer
            and a smart RAW workflow, I can quickly output enfused tiffs that are
            probably better than what's possible with single S5 RAW files. Yes, there
            can be some issues with movement between enfused images, but in many cases
            this is minor. Often it actually looks rather artistic...things that are
            steady look tack sharp, but things that move (people, flora, fauna) can look
            blurred. I can live with that.

            Most cameras can capture a panorama much faster than an S5. With a fast CF
            card my 350d can shoot a 6 + 1 (or 18 + 3 bracketed) series with very little
            delay.

            I did this tour last week. Everything was shot on the same day:
            http://tinyurl.com/kukio18. Many of the scenes were shot in the fleeting
            minutes between sunset and dusk. I doubt it would have been possible to
            capture as many scenes with an S5, especially since everything was bracketed
            (except the beach scenes).

            I think the S5 is a superb camera but I wouldn't use it for panoramas. It's
            just too slow and the files are too big.

            Dave


            Roger D. Williams wrote:
            >
            > Thank you, Thomas. Good general information, and giving me some reason for
            > my
            > positive experience with taking exposure right up to the normal upper
            > exposure limits. Of course my comment was more about going BEYOND these
            > normal limits into what appear to be blown-out highlight regions.
            >
            > But there's nothing specific about the Fuji S5, althought I see an
            > exception
            > was made by the writer of the article for the Fuji S2 (the article is
            > fairly
            > old).
            >
            > I think I will search for S5 specific knowhow, since there doesn't seem to
            > be
            > what I need in this mailing list. I always think of this list first
            > because
            > most problems I run into are encountered while preparing panoramas. <grin>
            > Indeed I do very little else with my cameras.
            >
            > Roger
            >
            >
            > On Wed, 25 Mar 2009 15:43:50 +0900, Thomas Krueger <krueger@...>
            > wrote:
            >
            >>
            >> http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml
            >>
            >>
            >> -----
            >> Greetings, Thomas - http://www.thomaskrueger.eu thomaskrueger.eu
            >
            >
            >
            > --
            > Work: www.adex-japan.com
            >
            >

            --
            View this message in context: http://www.nabble.com/Fuji-S5-Pro-Dynamic-Range-tp22695697p22696722.html
            Sent from the PanoToolsNG mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
          • Erik Krause
            ... I don t know from own experince, but it could be that the histogram actually shows the brightness distribution of the preview image visible on the display,
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 25, 2009
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              Roger D. Williams wrote:

              > To my great
              > surprise there is lots of detail left in those whited
              > out areas. Normally a burnt out highlight is just that,
              > no use to man nor beast. But these highlights appear
              > not to be "really" burnt out.

              I don't know from own experince, but it could be that the histogram
              actually shows the brightness distribution of the preview image visible
              on the display, not the RAW image on the card (most probably for speed
              reasons).

              However, Bernhard Vogl did some experiments on Fuji S dynamic range:
              http://dativ.at/s3/

              --
              Erik Krause
              http://www.erik-krause.de
            • Roger D. Williams
              ... Yes. THere s no compression offered--lossless OR lossy. I was surprised by how few shots could be taken with my original 2GM card. Fortunately cards are
              Message 6 of 8 , Mar 25, 2009
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                On Wed, 25 Mar 2009 16:58:28 +0900, dtonnes <dave@...> wrote:

                >
                > Hi Roger,
                >
                > Like you I am concerned about burning highlights and noisy shadows in
                > panoramas. Who isn't?
                >
                > With it's dynamic range, the S5 is indeed an intriguing camera, but I
                > chose
                > not to employ it for my work for a couple of reasons - space and speed.
                > First, the S5's RAW files are huge...correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't
                > they around 25mb apiece?

                Yes. THere's no compression offered--lossless OR lossy. I was surprised
                by how few shots could be taken with my original 2GM card. Fortunately
                cards are getting very cheap, although the S5 needs the fastest cards
                to speed up its rather slothful handling of its large files.

                > By comparison my lowly 350d puts out 8.5mb RAW
                > files, so even with bracketed RAW exposures I get about the same amount
                > of space on a CF card but way more exposure headroom. With a speedy
                > computer
                > and a smart RAW workflow, I can quickly output enfused tiffs that are
                > probably better than what's possible with single S5 RAW files. Yes,
                > there
                > can be some issues with movement between enfused images, but in many
                > cases
                > this is minor. Often it actually looks rather artistic...things that are
                > steady look tack sharp, but things that move (people, flora, fauna) can
                > look
                > blurred. I can live with that.

                Yes, that's one approach. I intend to use the S5 for interiors of hotels
                and restaurants for customers (and interiors of churches for my personal
                interests) as I have not been too happy with the movement, ghosts, etc.
                you get with enfused images. I'd rather work with a single image if I
                can get away with it.

                > Most cameras can capture a panorama much faster than an S5. With a fast
                > CF card my 350d can shoot a 6 + 1 (or 18 + 3 bracketed) series with very
                > little delay.

                Well, I WILL be shooting brackets, of course. And I am a bit concerned at
                the speed. But interiors, particularly unpopulated intereriors of the kind
                you get in restaurants and hotels (most guests don't want to appear in
                promotional panoramas), don't present any problems for enfusing if I HAVE
                to go that way. And usually I am not too pressed for time.

                > I did this tour last week. Everything was shot on the same day:
                > http://tinyurl.com/kukio18. Many of the scenes were shot in the fleeting
                > minutes between sunset and dusk. I doubt it would have been possible to
                > capture as many scenes with an S5, especially since everything was
                > bracketed (except the beach scenes).

                I'll comment after taking a good look at these. I am sure you are right
                about it being difficult to shoot them with an S5. Fortunately for me,
                I got the S5 in exchange for a film camera I never use, so it came "free"
                as you might say. And for my specific application it seems just about
                ideal. I understand the images are a little "softer" than with the D300,
                but I use my D300 with a Sigma 8mm circular fisheye, which is slightly
                softer than the Nikon 10.5mm I will be using with the Fuji S5, so I
                expect the results will be comparable, and fit nicely into the same
                VR tour.

                I'd still appreciate hearing from anyone who has experience in processing
                the S5 RAW files to take best advantage of the wider dynamic range
                available.

                > I think the S5 is a superb camera but I wouldn't use it for panoramas.
                > It's just too slow and the files are too big.

                I'll put up with that. <grin> I already like the quality and colour of
                the images I am getting, although it IS slow and the files ARE big...

                Roger W.

                --
                Work: www.adex-japan.com
              • Roger D. Williams
                Thank you, Erik. I had read that article, and I was thinking of getting an S3 (Bernhard compared the S2 and S3, not the S5) when the D200 came out, and I
                Message 7 of 8 , Mar 25, 2009
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                  Thank you, Erik. I had read that article, and I was thinking of getting
                  an S3 (Bernhard compared the S2 and S3, not the S5) when the D200 came
                  out, and I plumped for that. Although it was in many ways a very nice
                  camera indeed, the noise levels and restricted dynamic range (compared
                  with film, which I had used exclusively up till then) meant that I was
                  never completely happy with it. Then the S5 came out and I wished I
                  had waited!

                  I traded the D200 in for a D300 after the cost had dropped quite a bit,
                  and of course the D300 is a great improvement. But as I said in another
                  post, I got my S5 by trading in a camera I no longer use. And I am
                  already glad I did.

                  I find after searching for "Fuji S5 Pro" linked with "dynamic range"
                  that my experience is common. This is that the blinking highlights
                  on the preview image can be recovered to a quite astonishing extent
                  by the proper RAW development. I am successfully using Silkypix, and
                  getting good, noise-free shadows and clean highlight details with no
                  colour casts in situations where this was previously impossible. It
                  means quite a change in my exposure settings.

                  I expect Fuji will now launch an S7 based on the D300! <wry grin>

                  Roger W.


                  On Wed, 25 Mar 2009 17:35:29 +0900, Erik Krause <erik.krause@...> wrote:

                  > Roger D. Williams wrote:
                  >
                  >> To my great
                  >> surprise there is lots of detail left in those whited
                  >> out areas. Normally a burnt out highlight is just that,
                  >> no use to man nor beast. But these highlights appear
                  >> not to be "really" burnt out.
                  >
                  > I don't know from own experince, but it could be that the histogram
                  > actually shows the brightness distribution of the preview image visible
                  > on the display, not the RAW image on the card (most probably for speed
                  > reasons).
                  >
                  > However, Bernhard Vogl did some experiments on Fuji S dynamic range:
                  > http://dativ.at/s3/
                  >



                  --
                  Work: www.adex-japan.com
                • Keith Martin
                  ... This is my experience too; the range is more obvious in the highlights. This whole DR thing with the S5 Pro is something that can be hard to nail down in
                  Message 8 of 8 , Mar 25, 2009
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                    Sometime around 25/3/09 (at 18:13 +0900) Roger D. Williams said:

                    >I find after searching for "Fuji S5 Pro" linked with "dynamic range"
                    >that my experience is common. This is that the blinking highlights
                    >on the preview image can be recovered to a quite astonishing extent
                    >by the proper RAW development.

                    This is my experience too; the range is more obvious in the
                    highlights. This whole DR thing with the S5 Pro is something that can
                    be hard to nail down in an unmistakeable, absolute way. It is a
                    little like processor or disk speed; you notice it more when you
                    don't have it than when you do. :-)

                    I use the S5 Pro for all my panorama shots, moving up from a D70 not
                    long after the S5 was first launched. (And before the big price
                    drops, dangit!) Yes, the RAW file size does take up a little more
                    room than I expected, but I got myself a couple of 8GB cards and
                    haven't had problems.

                    As for shooting speeds, I suppose if I wanted to shoot bracketed
                    exposures AND work very quickly I would find it a slight problem.
                    However, my typical scene involves highly active people, so true
                    bracketing is rarely an option. (Yes, the blurs that can make are
                    interesting, but I only rarely find them acceptable.) Sometimes I
                    shoot brackets, but not where there are moving subjects; those two
                    things are simply mutually incompatible however fast your camera is.

                    I've had no problems shooting 6 or 8 around plus z & n in dancing
                    crowds in festivals and clubs, which must class as among the most
                    movement-filled settings you can get. The camera has an acceptable
                    memory buffer, so I'm not dealing with the 'write to card' speed
                    directly.

                    It isn't a sports photographer's camera by any means; I would hate to
                    rely on it for bursts of shots in key moments in a football game, for
                    example. But the 'shoot, turn, shoot, turn' process of panorama
                    shoots is far slower than that no matter what head you use.

                    Okay, I *have* caught up with the buffer two or three times when
                    trying to work as fast as possible *and* going around more than once
                    without stopping. But over time I've found that even in very busy
                    conditions I don't need to push it to that point.

                    The only camera I'd move to from here would be a full-frame sensor
                    model, and it would need to have better resolution too. Really, we're
                    talking 5D MkII or D3x levels. Which means I'll be sticking with the
                    S5 Pro for the forseeable future! :-)


                    @Dave,
                    Your exposure blending/fusing in that tour is remarkable; I'm sure
                    the client was absolutely knocked out by the final results. I'm not
                    convinced that the S5 Pro would have been a serious problem for this,
                    as the slight difference in bracket capturing speed (assuming fast
                    cards were used) would be negligible compared to the time gained or
                    lost during the setup of each pano location. Those glorious sunsets
                    are quick, but we *are* talking seconds here.

                    Of course, you clearly made a good decision regardless of whether it
                    could or couldn't have been done with different kit; the results are
                    glorious! :-)

                    In my experience the S5 Pro is actually an *excellent* camera for
                    panoramas. The extended dynamic range (most obviously in those
                    recoverable highlights) and pleasing noise handling (low in the first
                    place, and looks more like film grain when it starts) are precisely
                    what's needed when capturing a 360-degree scene with a single fixed
                    exposure setting.

                    I would rather it was a tiny bit sharper, but I've found this is only
                    an issue when pixel-peeping rather than using shots in a normal
                    fashion. And as that's the tradeoff of how the better dynamic range
                    works, I'll just stay happy and keep using things such as the 'blue
                    channel sharpening' technique posted here some time ago.

                    k
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