Thursday, May 30, 2013

Olympus OMD contrast range

Bert mentioned this image as an example of the great contrast range of the sensor in the Olympus OMD E-M5. And I admit it's a wonderful example. I'm familiar with such a subject with the setting sun mostly from the back, and the contrast is damn high, it has always been virtually impossible to get details in the shadows and keep the sky. But look at this:

After a simple, quick Levels change (on a JPG, not even RAW):

Orig scaled for Blogger:


Tommy said...

I'm confused EO. Where did the center picture come from? Did you manipulate it from the original on the web? If so, how does this reflect the cameras capabilities?

You said "After a simple, quick Levels change (on a JPG, not even RAW)".

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

It is a small part of the original.

Normally when you lighten shadows this much, it looks awful, splotchy, grainy, no detail. But this looks fine. So the recording of details in the deep shadows is much better than we've been used to.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I downloaded the full size (from the link) and manipulated it in Photoshop.

"Levels" is used to changed how light or dark parts of a picture is.

Ken said...

What is in a jpg doesn't tell you anything about the sensor. Modern SLR sensors have several more bits than the range of a jpg. As well the original is underexposed.

John Krumm said...

I'm happy with the DR on my OMD, but so far it hasn't made my photos look much better than my lower DR E5 photos. Many times the shadows are better left dark. But in extreme, harsh conditions it is nice. I like it in the woods when the sun is coming through in places.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

"Many times the shadows are better left dark."

Indeed. I've blogged about this a couple of times, when I'd a set or two with all black shadows. Just more expressive in those cases, I felt.
It took a while to unlearn my early training in Photo Club, where you invariably were chastised (though not unkindly) if you didn't have detail all the way.

Kelly Trimble said...

I always use HDR to get the shadows and highlights to come out at the same time. I've had pretty good luck even with handheld bracketed exposures. But since a lot of what I have to shoot involves crappy lighting that I can't change, I have a lot of experience with HDR. I did once go on a quest for a camera with the absolute best sensor range, but as long as you are shooting a static scene, HDR makes the limitations of camera sensors almost irrelevant.

BTW, on a similar topic, I want your opinion or the benefit of your great photographic experience on something.

My daughter is going to be taking a photography class this fall, and she is required to use a 35mm film camera. I dug out my last film camera, replaced corroded batteries, cleaned the lenses, contacts, etc, and went out and bought some film and started shooting, just to see if it would still work. I had so much fun, I dug out all of my old film cameras and got them all working, including a couple of old Hasselblads and my old Calumet 4x5. I can't explain why, maybe it is the process of fucking with developing, knowing that you only have 24 exposures instead of 32GB on a card, maybe its the technical limitations that introduce a challenge to getting a decent image. For years I've heard purists rant about still using film, but always assumed they just couldn't afford a decent digital camera. I really had fun, and so I started shooting the Hasselblads.

I soon discovered that you almost can't buy 120 film locally (TMax 100, 400, and Fuji 400 color is all my old camera store carried any more, and they said the only buyers were college students in photo classes), and nobody processed color 120 anymore. The local photo shop sends it somewhere, and it takes ten days to two weeks. I bought the chemicals and a tank and reels (I couldn't find my old ones) and have been developing all of the black and white that I've shot, and Walgreens/Target, etc still will process C-41 color 35mm, but I have been frustrated to find decent processing for C-41. I was always told not to try because it is 'just too hard', but I think I might be able to process C-41, and if that works, E-6 transparencies is probably not that much more difficult.

Anyway, I really do not want to have to fuck with prints. I don't want to resurect my enlarger or buy a used one, I dont want to fuck with a bunch of trays, and I really don't want to have to try to print color. I have a cheap crappy 35mm film scanner that produces really shitty digital scans that will produce an image, but nowhere near the quality that is on the negative. I researched film scanners and have ordered an Epson v700, which appears to be the best deal short of spending thousands on a Nikon 9000 or whatever. I figure that I might be able to scan the 35mm with a resolution of around 6 to 10 MP, or better than my D100, but not as good as my D200, along with some tricks to improve the color ranges close to that of modern digital. I figure that I should be able to scan the medium format 120 into the 50 to 100 MP range, and the 4x5 into the 100-200 MP range, assuming wet mounting, etc. If this works, it will be a godsend since I can't afford a digital back for a medium format camera.

Then I had another idea. Would it be possible to shoot bracketed exposures with the film, scan each negative with the same settings, and then produce an HDRI that could then be tonemapped into a 200MP image. I am wondering if such a 'film to digital fusion HDR' technique might produce larger and better quality images than is possible with current medium format digital cameras which are in the 50MP range.

My question: Do you have any experience scanning larger negatives or transparencies? Have you ever heard of anybody trying HDR using film negatives?

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

No, and no.

I very much doubt you can get 200 good MP out of old medium format lenses, or even 50MP. They were designed for film, which was never entirely flat and which did not have that kind of resolution.
Modern medium-format lenses are of entirely new levels of resolution rarely dreamed about before, except maybe in space spy cameras.

I would think that a Canon or Nikon full-frame camera with a good lens would get you much farther in quality. And in features and speed there's no comparison.

Graham Giles said...

Eolake, I hope you don't mind if I use that bottom image as the desktop wallpaper for my home computer. I like it a lot.


Graham .