Thursday, December 3, 2009

F70EXR -- High resolution versus half resolution -- revisited

This has been a raging debate on the Fuji forum for some time now ... it stands right now that the HR mode (high res) is better on the F200 than on the F70, due mainly to the noise reduction required for smaller photosites in the F70.

So the choice to use HR in the F70 is one of risk. Why would one bother? Well, it is possible to get a bit more detail in the image at 10mp. And if the contrast is high enough, even the F70 can do that for you.

Now ... why do you need that extra resolution? Only two reason:

1) You want to crop. This is much less necessary with the F70 because of its magnificent reach, so I doubt that this reason matters much any more.

2) You want to print big. Well, most people target the web or small prints (to 8x10) with their compacts, so this reason has little to support it either.

So ... there actually is no reason to shoot high resolution in the F70 ... but let's pretend that you see a nice contrasty scene and shoot it in high res anyway. Here is an example ... an extremely contrasty tree in the distance with beautiful fine branches.

I made two shots and downsized the 10mp image to 5mp. This gives it quite the advantage over the 5mp image. I then superimposed the mirror image of three sections of this image onto it. You will see in the following image why even if you think you have the right image for 10mp mode ... you may not.

Remember to click on the image above to see the full sized version, which is a 100% crop. So nothing there is hidden (right Dave?)

The actual duplicated areas (5mp is in the yellow) looks essentially identical to the areas beside them. This tells me that there is simply no advantage to HR mode when targeting small prints and the web. In fact, I see little advantage even for large prints ... none actually.

But there is a *huge* disadvantage to the HR image ... the corn stubble has been smeared almost completely away by the noise reduction. Whereas it has survived in the 5mp insets.

So there you have it ... there is *no* reason to shoot an F70EXR in high resolution. I frankly think you F200EXR owners will find pretty much the same story for typical prints, but I understand the rabid fervor that is required to justify owning the lesser feature set ... there has to be *some* reason why one would want to own the 200 instead of the 70 :-)

Here's a rendering of the complete image from the 5mp version. I hit it hard with processing and the stubble turned out really well, which could not have happened from the high res version.


Lili said...

I have not found one iota of difference between the 200 and the 70 as regards your shooting suggestions.
The HR mode it over sharpened or something; At high enlargements there are artifacts that sare hard to clean up and one loses the DR advantages.
Were I to choose again I would go with the F70EXR.
This does not mean I dislike the 200; it is splendidly capable compact.
I feel Fuji goofed tho in specifying these cameras too close to one another.

Kim Letkeman said...

I agree ... Fuji should have started with the F70 and released the F200 as the cheaper model with fewer features. They still think people will pay more for pixel peeped image differences ... and obviously, from the debates on the FTF, a few will. But many have gone the other way now ...

Lili said...

In my case I got Amin Sabet's former one for less than the f70 was going at the time so the performance/price point were right.
I think, perhaps due to the recession, Fuji marketing sorta lost their way.
From what I am seeing from Kevin C on FTF it does appear tho that the S200 in manys ways is the "S6000" to the S100's "S9100".
I have not heard for sure if the CA/PF issue has been well dealt with yet, but I would not be surprised were it so.

Bob Crawford said...

Kim: it would be interesting to see if the same results occur for macro shots taken at the f4.9

Kim Letkeman said...

Lili, that's a good analogy. Shot in half rez mode, the S200EXR matches the resolution and the better noise characteristics in fairly close proximity. Interesting, though, that Kevin appears to be shooting it in full rez mode.

Bob, macro images tend to magnify details, so there should be fewer regions of low-contrast details to be smeared away. Worth testing, though.

Agent Q said...

I love your post-processing. Just got an F70EXR, was wondering if L or M is the best picture size mode until I saw this. Kudos to your detailed review of this camera.

Kim Letkeman said...

Thanks Agent Q ... There are very few situations where 5mp is not enough. Enjoy the F70, it's still one of my favorite compacts ...