Sunday, May 2, 2010

HS10 Review Part 18 – Indoor Macro

So how does the HS10 handle crappy light? Light with some contribution from an old incandescent (halogen) bulb and with some contribution from filtered sunlight. Lots of orange and blue fighting it out.

I shot a macro image of the head of my son’s guitar. I was trying to isolate the wires, and I must say that the auto focus (AF) on the HS10 was difficult to use in this light.

I eventually got a couple of comparable images. FIrst, let’s look at the out of camera (OOC) shots. No processing here except a resize and slight sharpen for web (you should *always* do a slight sharpening after you downsize an image):





The astute will notice that the HS10 was shot at 3200 ISO for this comparison. That should be unfair, but in fact that HS10 is quite good at 1600 and 3200. That sensor’s strength is right there.

But, I could not get a sharp shot until I set 3200 ISO. Let’s compare exposures to see why.



This was my fault. I did not notice that the camera had set f/5.6 instead of f/2.8. I am used to shooting in P mode on the F70 and the HS10 was shot in M or A mode most of the time. The F70 generally chooses the right aperture with no input, which is what I like in my small sensor cameras. They are conveniences, and the HS10 is not quite as convenient in many ways. This is one.

Anyway, the difference in these shots is one stop of ISO, and the Sony sensor happens to be pretty good up there so the comparison is still interesting.

The astute will have already noticed that the F70 image blurs the background more than the HS10 … again :-)

Other than that difference, both look ok. Detail is definitely acceptable for two small sensors shot at very high ISO.

What happens when the white balance is adjusted to make the pegs look grey?





Well, I’ll give the nod to the F70EXR there. I suppose the ISO difference invalidates a strong conclusion, but the F70EXR always seems to handle funky white balance very well. The tiny sensors, even the BiCMOS Sony sensor in the HS10, do not handle it as well.

For sun, I went on to shoot a few more images with the F70EXR, which I find a lot easier to handle in bad light. AF is definitely quicker and more accurate.




This is the final set of images I have with the HS10. If I get another chance to shoot it, I will play with auto ISO for a while and see whether it is pleasant to shoot with in the same way as the F70EXR. Otherwise, it certainly takes some nice images. Just watch your exposures … this sensor does not have much exposure latitude (i.e. it has poor dynamic range), and for me shooting RAW on such a slow camera is simply not an option.


Ralf said...

Dear Kim,
I think you have a deep understanding and critical mind in using cameras, so allow me to ask you for help in making up my mind: I used a lot of diffent cameras in my life - rollei, linhoff, canon dslr, ... whatever. The last thing I bought is a F200EXR and I´m very happy with IQ - it meets my needs. My question is: do you think IQ of the HS10 is close or significant worse in the same range of the F200EXR lens? I like a lot of features with the HS10 and it seems to be light enough to carry it with me while traveling ...
thanks for your help,
many regards

Kim Letkeman said...

Ralf: My extensive comparison between the F70EXR and HS10 says that they are very similar in overall image quality. From what I have seen of the F200EXR, I don't consider it's IQ to be that much different from that of the F70EXR. So, in general terms, you should be able to extract basically the same image quality from the HS10 as you do from the F200EXR. With one exception ... the HS10 does not have an EXR sensor and therefore will blow highlights more easily than the F200EXR when shot properly.

MiKeLezZ said...

Smaller Aperture = Shallow Depht of Field.
You shot f/3.3 on the F70EXR and f/5.6 on the HS-10. That's all.

Kim Letkeman said...

Mike ... when the sensors get that small and/or the magnification increases that much, the differences become negligible. So a much deeper analysis is required. I think in the end it was the aperture, but it's much less obvious that you are making it sound with these cameras.

drpankajshukla said...

Hi Kim !
I just wanted to ask u about how to correct color in HS10 images since I notice that they have a CYAN color cast to them !
Can I just dial in a fixed amount of negative correction using the color balance tool? .. but that would be very subjective ...!

Kindly guide me [step wise ] to the THRESHOLD/GLOW method that u mention in your latest addition to your blog [Crombie's Workshop]
I found the effect wonderful on the Man+Woman portrait !

drpankajshukla said...

On a past occasion u have suggested the use of ONOne phototool for color tone correction however after having downloaded it I could not get it to work from inside of the CS3 !i.e. no picture was visible on launching the pluggin !
Can u suggest an alternative ?

Kim Letkeman said...

drpankajshukla: On white balance: the HS10 offers the ability to trim white balance in camera. Check the settings and dial in whatever it is that makes the camera create good images in sunlight. Shoot something white at different settings and pick the closest one. That way, all your jpegs come out close.

On threshold/glow: I've posted these instructions before. The threshold technique involves a threshold layer in photoshop where you adjust what you want lighter and what you want darker. Once you set that, you blur that upper threshold layer to taste (makes the transition from light to dark harder or softer) and set the blend mode to "soft light." Then you set opacity of that layer to taste. The glow technique is similar, but you make an ordinary duplicate layer, set blend to screen, and apply Gaussian blur to that layer to taste. Then set opacity to taste. Between these two, you can really smooth out textures and noise, yet get a fairly dramatic look. Works amazingly well in black and white.

Regarding OnOne: I use only SkinTune, which is now a part of phototune. In fact, I have found that I no longer need it, as I have internalized correct skin colors and am able to use a combination of color balance layer and color filter layer to affect the same changes. To understand skin tones better, google for "smugmug skin tone" and read that article.

drpankajshukla said...

Thank u Kim !
I will try out the in cam technique as soon as the sun comes out for a while !

Thanks for the steps of the threshold method !I will give it a try !Have u used the glow technique on the color image of the Man +woman color portrait too ?It looks exceptionally outstanding despite being simple !I felt that the light and your postprocessing has made it outstanding !

Thanks for directing me to the smugmug skin tone tutorial !