Thursday, May 6, 2010

F80EXR – A Cold and Rainy Night

Time for another test of the F80EXR white balance. I beat it up pretty bad because it does not play nice with the blue channel when the light must be heavily pushed. I really dislike that property, because the F70EXR did not do that. But … fair is fair … the camera should be given a chance to prove itself at night outside in the dark. In fact, by only incandescent light. We tend to be forced to shoot by that light when we are out at night after all …

So the first thing I did was to set custom white balance on a rail near my house. This rail is not perfectly white, so the CWB came out a little more blue than it should … but I like a rough and tumble test. Let’s see how it did.

My method was to shoot a few images in the CWB I had set, and then reshoot them in AWB. But I will write as if I shot in pairs, because that will flow better :-)

First thing, I shot the front porch. This is the light that was used to set AWB in the first place, so similarly colored items should come out white. The window frame for example.

The two originals in CWB and then AWB:



And here are some crops to reinforce the obvious :-)




It’s pretty obvious that this kind of image, with a dollop of shadow wunning along the bottom right and on and under the mailbox, will over stimulate the blur channel. There is some very obvious blur blotching in the top image. The bottom image, on the other hand, is rather warm, but is also fairly free of noise. I could live with that image quite well.

On the other hand, I do prefer the colors in the first image, at least the colors not involved in the chroma noise situation. So is the image irredeemable? Well, by happenstance I received the release announcement for Topaz DeNoise 4 tonight, so I downloaded and installed the free upgrade to see what it could do. And I was pleasantly surprised. Although it has really been refined to handle up to four stops of more fine grained noise, it handles this level of noise with aplomb as well.

The denoised versions:



Now the CWB image is quite acceptable and the AWB image is really clean. Very nice plugin this one.

Conclusion: CWB is risky under incandescent light … might be better off with AWB.

Next pair … the neighbors’ yards across the street. Beautiful shiny pavement from the rain.


Both images look ok to me. The former is a better color for my eyes … but bear in mind that I am color deficient. And did you click through and catch the netting visible under the hoop on the right? Amazing for 1600 ISO!

Conclusion here would be that CWB is not fatal and may enhance the colors for some people. Those who prefer the cool look at night.

At this point, I turned my attention to capturing the plants near my porch. This was rather problematic since there was very little light near the ground. I was forced to turn on the AF ailluminator (I never use it normally) and after trying a few images, I had to switch on the flash to get anything at all. And the end result was rather good.

The bleeding hearts near my door … I think this is the same sprig that appears in the last post. The only reason why I got an interesting background here is that I allowed the camera to choose 800 ISO.


And a tulip that lives under my porch like a troll … unlike the bleeding heart, this one was not under the overhand and I got some nice droplets on it.

Note, I made a mistale and left a small light colored twig just inside the frame on the right. You should always clean up the frame … remove distracting elements as they serve no purpose.


So I think the F80EXR did a decent job. If you stay away from custom white balance under really warm light, it makes fine images.

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