Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fujifilm S1 – Review Part 8 – Trying the monopod for yet more critical sharpness …

Lots of images here: http://letkeman.net/Gallery/miscimages/Fuji-S1-and-HS50EXR-Review-Images

I went out with a monopod and the S1 to see how much higher my critical sharpness rate could get. And I was kind of blown away …

Right out of the gate I was getting images with smooth backgrounds and a kind of clarity that you only get when everything is just right. The light was gorgeous here and the image takes on a certain dimensionality that is easy to see and hard to explain … I get a visceral reaction …

And again …

Even 640 ISO cannot really spoil the party …

For this next shot, I loosened the wing nut on the Manfrotto swivel head and tilted the camera upward, catching the jet just after it went overhead. Once I added some contrast and processed the sky I found the image looked wonderful. And this one is far from critically sharp … but sometimes we don’

Here’s one where the critical sharpness is on the flower, just missing the bee. But I don’t care, the shot is very nice anyway in my opinion.

Here’s a crop of one of the shots … in fact, it is enlarged past 100% so the noise is accentuated. You can see that this is not large sensor worthy, but it is certainly clear enough with good color …

Another image that took my breath away … (yes, I might be easily impressed. Smile)

A bit closer …

That’s enough clarity for me from a tiny sensor …

The back yard always has willing subjects …

Here’s a severe close up of another image in the gallery

I sat around shooting these random subjects with the monopod and must admit to feeling really good about how well the camera performed. But the best was yet to come.

Nick came outside and sat for a while and did not complain when I turned the camera on him for a while … probably seething inside of course …

This image is pretty amazing for clarity, tone, color … it easily competes with images I have shot with large sensors …

And another …

Go in really close … again beyond 100% …

If you complain about that image quality then you are just being picky Smile

I leave you with this image … I have learned that steadying the camera also allows the AF to pick out small details. So bracing makes sense for many reasons …

Lots of images here: http://letkeman.net/Gallery/miscimages/Fuji-S1-and-HS50EXR-Review-Images

Fujifilm S1 – Review Part 7 – Remembering to brace in the search for critical sharpness …

Up to this point, I have been having difficulty getting more than a few decent shots in a session. So I went out for a walk with the explicit intent to brace the camera tightly for every shot. Elbows tucked in, a bit of tension in the wrists and the eye pressed firmly to the EVF. Gentle squeeze of the shutter and a pause in breathing.

All in all, I think I did well … the S1 turns out to be a pretty good walkabout camera …

I shot a scene against the sky to see how sharp the leaves can look at max zoom … I am pleased with this.

Here is a very tight crop that shows real potential. This is not a perfect shot by any stretch, but it has a lot of appeal for me so I can live with its slightly blown out back, fairly strong grain, and slight lack of critical sharpness.

This next image is the one that got me thinking that I can get sharp images from this camera.

I could see the clarity in the EVF. And then I shot this next one and was really energized.

Wow … that one really worked. Now I know that steadiness really helps.

Another where the sharpness was palpable in the EVF …

And again … with the bees I go on a roll …

 

That last one is the prize of the shoot … the but tongue is amazing …

But here is the winner …

And again, there are more where these came from … http://letkeman.net/Gallery/miscimages/Fuji-S1-and-HS50EXR-Review-Images

So I am not all that worried about carrying the S1 hand held this weekend. I have managed some really sharp and clear images from it … these last ones remind me of the joy I felt in the first set of bees I captured with the J1 and the 70-300VR, which shot at 800mm … there is just something about long zooms when you steady them just right.

Fujifilm S1 versus HS50EXR – Review Part 6 – The woodpecker …

I took a brief walk at lunch today and perhaps 50 feet from my house I encountered a woodpecker destroying a dying tree. I was very impressed with his industrious hunt for food. And I had the two cameras so I shot a bazillion images. The woodpecker was inside the branches so there was dappled sunlight, but the image was backlit so I had to increase compensation by about a stop.

All in all, these were bad choices. It slowed the shutter and that added blur. All in all, the images sucked rather a lot.

Also, craning your neck upward is not conducive to sharp images. More blur on top of the slow shutter. I enjoyed shooting these few that survived, but processing them was a nightmare. Grain, blur, CA (for the S1) and I ended up deleting a lot of images …

Sigh …

I did get a decent image from the S1 right up front … and by decent I mean you can see a bit of detail and the pose is ok.

Here’s another from the S1 … it too shows some detail and the pose is decent. The background is not great, but what can you do? You shoot what is there …

The lone surviving HS50EXR image is pretty good too. But only at web size. You won’t see the originals for these as even these few suck.

But hey, I got to watch a woodpecker for quite a while and it was fun … that’s why we do this, no?

Fujifilm S1 versus HS50EXR – Review Part 5 – Two walks in the neighbourhood … and one brain fart …

Cloudy with the threat of rain. I was on a technical conference call pretty much all morning on Thursday, so I grabbed the cameras and took a wander around the neighborhood for a few minutes once I had a moment for lunch. When I got back, I quickly dumped the cards – and deleted all but two images.

For part 1 I had been shooting at 3200 ISO at the end and I left both cameras on that setting … a royal brain fart. I ended up saving one shot from each camera …

The S1 shot a nice flower that came out reasonably sharp and with only moderate noise, considering the circumstances.

The HS50EXR shot a squirrel in a great pose, and although it is really noisy I am willing to live with it for the purposes of web presentation. On some monitors, this image looks absolutely abysmal. So be it … it’s still a great pose.

So let that be a lesson … check your camera’s settings before you embark on a photographic journey of any length.


And now we begin part 2 of the review, which is a simple walk in the neighborhood with head to head shots of whatever appeared before me …

Note that clicking on the following images will give you full sized JPEGs as rendered in Lightroom 5.6. This review does that just to get you to understand how difficult it is to get anything sharp at all when one is plinking about without really concentrating on good technique. I really paid for it …

This first group includes several images each. I love daisies in any form, and the yellow daisies with skinny leaves is one of my favorites.

S1 – This one is actually pretty sharp.

 

HS50EXR – this too is quite sharp.

So the two are quite capable of shooting web images. If you click on them (and you may need to open in a window or tab or whatever and then expand) you will see that they are not really critically sharp. But at web sizes they are very nice.

Note that there are similar images in the gallery page for this review, so you can look there for more examples. http://letkeman.net/Gallery/miscimages/Fuji-S1-and-HS50EXR-Review-Images

I love Purple Coneflowers, and these are growing in my neighbor’s yard. I like these images, but they are not critically sharp. Still, at web sizes they look great.

HS50EXR

S1

So far the tonality and colors are pretty similar to me. Also, the sharpness is very similar.

Wandering along, I encounter a squirrel …

The HS50EXR really made a hash of this one … but some of that was me (little bracing) and most of it was a tiny sensor at 1600 ISO … such is life when you shoot on cloudy days under trees …

The S1 does not make me shout for joy either … but it did choose ISO 400 at the cost of shutter speed. This was probably the right choice …

So far I would say that we are in a tie.

There are a number of other comparison images in the gallery, so pop over there for that. I will leave you with one more comparison where I think the S1 spanked the HS50EXR a bit … these are close crops of a basketball net that I shot from perhaps 25 feet …

Note that the difference here is not the lens, but rather the statistical nature of OIS at such long focal lengths …

HS50EXR

S1

There is quite a difference in micro-contrast in the ropes. I have noticed this difference in several other images, always favoring the S1. So when you get it right, the S1 does a very nice job.

Fujifilm S1 versus HS50EXR – Review Part 4 – Chromatic Aberration …

The HS50EXR has virtually no chromatic aberration, but as I have been processing the S1 I have noticed a rather breathtaking amount of both CA and purple fringing. I am usually able to get rid of it with a heavy hand on the controls in Lightroom, but it does leave a mark for sure. Removing CA is never free, and removing PF really stains the edges.

I cropped the test charts from part 3 to show how easily the lens fringes. This chart was shot in a dark corner of the basement with a long exposure on tripod. Yet there is still rather a lot of CA …

The HS50EXR shows none at all …

But the S1 shows more than a little …

Looking at a few screen shots in Lightroom, one can see that overexposing images is a huge risk …

image

image

Watch your exposures and be prepared to deal with it. Although I must say that for people who are not hyper sensitive to it, you won’t see enough to freak out over. The early EXR lenses were just as bad at times and we dealt with them. So was the S100fs and we dealt with that too.

Fujifilm S1 versus HS50EXR – Review Part 3 – Magnification comparison at max zoom over 10 feet …

I have noticed that the S1 does not magnify more than the HS50EXR, despite the 1200mm advantage over the 1000mm claimed by the HS50EXR.

So I set up a tripod and shot a test chart about 10 feet away.

HS50EXR

S1

Not only is the S1 not 20% longer, it is clear quite a bit shorter at max zoom.

Hmmm … could this be that internal focus issue that so many super zooms suffer from in APS-C land?

Perhaps … I will have to test them at very long distances later on …