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Olympus-OM

[OM] Re: E-1 ISO 800 Acceptability

Subject: [OM] Re: E-1 ISO 800 Acceptability
From: "Joel Wilcox" <jfwilcox@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2006 08:34:52 -0600
On 3/10/06, Moose <olymoose@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> >I ran the printer this morning and made prints of the samples I posted
> >yesterday, with variations.  Yesterday's samples are crops of the
> >original ISO 200 and 800 RAW files.  I'm not sure what percentage was
> >actually cropped, but I would estimate that the printed portion of the
> >5x7s are the equivalents of letter-size prints had I not cropped.
> >
> >
> More like 6x8.

Honestly?  I have no idea how you know this, but I'm sure you must or
you wouldn't have asserted it.  I'd probably have to do some math to
figure it out. Ugh.

> >We're in something of a similar circumstance with digital cameras,
> >it's just that we use our monitors as magnifying glasses in addition
> >to normal viewing.  My beef is when too much magnification starts to
> >be considered "normal."
> >
> >
> Well, I don't know what normal is in this context.

The context is in working with full-sized images and viewing them on a monitor.

>When viewing the
> whole image, I use whatever % fills the viewing area. For 4000 dpi scans
> of 35mm, that is 12.5%, 25% for the 300D, 50% for the S110. On the other
> hand, I know from experience that I need to view at higher levels to see
> what a print will show.

Sorry, I didn't make it clear that I was talking about viewing and
evaluating full-size captures.

> Any camera that produces images that can't be viewed and look decent at
> 100% is giving away a lot to those that can.

I'm just saying that my monitors show the fullsize E-1 images (not web
images) to best advantage at 50%.

> Again, I don't understand. There is a great deal of detail I can see at
> 100% that I can't see at 50%. It's sort of like buying a 5 mp camera,
> then using it at 2.5 mp. To make comparisons easier, I've stacked 100%
> crops of your samples on top of each other
> <http://www.moosemystic.net/Gallery/Others/E1noise.htm>.
>
> The iso 200 is really nice. 800 is pretty noisy, but retains just about
> all the detail in the eyebrows. The NR800 simply loses lots of detail
> compared to 200. Now none of that matters a bit if you like a bit of
> noise and/or if you only post on the web and print full images or modest
> crops. With the image at hand, the iso 200 image would probably look
> nice cropped to a head only shot at 8x10. The 800 would not. If that
> limitation doesn't bother you, everything is fine. What some others like
> me are saying is that there are other DSLRs in the same price range, or
> even cheaper, that will give comparable results at 800 to what you get
> at 200.

Well, I will leave it to others to arbitrate if they care to.  I don't
think the ISO 800 with NR loses a lot of detail.  The NR image is
softened a bit and it suffers in the loss of gradations in the smooth
continuous area of the cheek.  Knowing what to look for, I can see
that in the prints of these images, which are otherwise pretty much
identical.

I assume you're looking at these in Photoshop?

The ISO 200 image looks OK at 100% pixel viewing, but it looks better
at 50%.  Both look better on my monitors that way.  I would never,
ever print that image as large as it appears at 100%.

> >Does anyone actually print at 100% pixels?
> >
> Yes, I'm pretty sure you do. The 2560x1920 image from an E-1 is 7.8x10.7
> in. at 240 dpi. At 10x14, it is 180 dpi. In any case, your printer
> driver is upsampling from the source image to print at it's actual drops
> on paper dpi.

Sorry, my lack of clarity again.  I didn't mean actual pixels by
"print at 100%" but print as large as the image appears at 100%.

> If you mean do they print at the equivalent dpi on paper of the pixel
> pitch on a computer screen, the answer is still yes.

That's what I mean. You've expressed it more clearly.

> A full E-1 frame at
> the 96 dpi of my screen is 19.5x26.7 in. So a slightly cropped E-1 frame
> printed at the 12x16 size many of our printers can do starts to get
> there pretty fast. Folks like Tom S. are already well past that and Bill
> B. is on his way to a bigger format printer.

Yes, but I don't print that large.  If I did, I would certainly be
looking for a different camera.  Tom is shooting 12MP, right?  I think
this is not relevant to a discussion of a 5 MP camera.

> >I think we're experiencing a little bit of silliness about noise.
> >
> Depends on what one is doing with the image. What's good for one may be
> insufficient for the uses to which another may put his/her images.

Perhaps, but I think the kinds of sizes you are discussing are more
germane to a discussion of sensor size than noise handling.  I suspect
we're always going to want some headroom above the minimum needed to
print the largest sizes we might wish to print.

> >I'm not putting this out there to discredit anybody or their decisions.
> >
> Nor am I trying to discredit yours. Just trying to point out what is
> true for some others, where pixel peeping may not be the equivalent of
> navel gazing.

No, I think you have misinterpreted my intentions, and I'm not sure
whether there is an accusation in that last statement.  I hope not. 
What I think about pixel peeping is simply that it is not the way to
get the best out of an E-1.

> In fact, I'm really pleased that you and many others like your E-1s and
> have induced others to buy more. That increases the likelihood that Oly
> will build the camera I want one of these days.

> Other than a couple of what one hopes are fixable firmware shortcomings,
> the E-330 looks real close.
>
> Moose

Part of me cares, and part of me doesn't.  I would like to say that I
hope you do fall off the wagon one of these days.  You do continue to
grace the list as it drifts ever more towards all things E, and I keep
thinking it's wanting to get back with us idiots who swim against the
tide.  We would have a lot to benefit from having you with us.

But I don't care, in an absolute sense, whether the case is ever made
or the camera is ever built that gets you off the fence. Nothing that
I've contributed to this thread has been for you or a challenge to
you.  What matters to me is living with the E-system and getting the
most from it.  5 MP rocks, E-system noise handling is actually OK,
there are things I can now do I could never do before, and I want to
get the best from it, share what I can, and challenge others to share
similar experiences. The fact that we're discovering new things
occasionally to get more satisfaction and better results from it is
almost beyond miraculous.   For some of us the real successor to the
E-1 will need to be about a lot more than sensor size and noise
handling.

But I've spent too much time thinking about how to respond to you, and
I need to get ready for a trip, and I'd like to part in peace, and
leave goodwill along all my paths.  May you have good light!

Joel W.
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