Tuesday, September 21, 2010

F300EXR – Review Part 7 – Check Those Corners

I stopped on the way home from work today at a location where I could shoot the F70 against the F300 (only two pockets in my coat) … from previous tests, the F80 is actually my best cam for corners, the F70 not far behind but a bit soft. The F300 is clearly behind the F70, but of course that’s at 24mm.

What I will do when I get a chance is find a nice brick wall and try to get a clear idea of the amount of blur from each of these cams. Meanwhile, here are my results from today.

F70EXR

DSCF4818_f70_m43[1]

Those corners are straight from the cam and untouched by any processing. Top left and right are slightly blurred, bottoms are both fine by me. I have been shooting the cam for a long time and really don;t mind it at full wide, so I don’t worry too much about these results on a megazoom.

F300EXR

DSCF0181_f300exr_m43[1]Top left is more blurred than F70, but tolerable. Top right is pretty bad, enough that I should take it back and get it fixed. Bottom left and right are acceptable.

So we’ll see … I bought three years of Internantional “help” from Henry’s so geting it fixed is a piece of cake. After this round of tests is completed, I’ll pop it in for warranty or replacement.

Now … here are the two images fully processed.

F70

DSCF4818_f70_m43_pp[1]F300

DSCF0181_f300exr_m43_pp[1]  At web sizes, the top right corner is noticeable, but not necessarily fatal to my images. Remember that I use compacts for general shooting and concerts. The corners just don’t matter all that much to me as I have the Tamron 28-75 2.8 on the D700 that I can stop down to f/8 to get perfectly clean shots.

Don’t bother comparing the processed images for color … I mucked with saturation etc and warmed them with photo filter. I prefer the tone of the F70, but the F300 could have been made to look the same with more time put in.

Next I shot some bull rushes nearby. Again we see the difference in magnification between 270mm and 360mm. We also see the difference between 100iso and 400iso … I’m not 100% sure how the F300 went to 400iso so early, but I was shooting L4:3 with each cam and as we know the EXR cams will either set DR100 or ISO400 if coming from ISO100 / DR400 in M4:3 mode and it is not always obvious why one is chosen instead of the other … this to me is a huge flaw in Fuji’s algorithms, but so be it.

Note also that it took me *4 tries* for each cam to get the final crisp shot. It was windy today and the rushes were blowing around. The F300’s fancy phase detect focus again did nothing to help, as with the moon shots yesterday.

F70 processed and then unprocessed with crops

DSCF4822_f70_bullrush[1]

DSCF4822_f70exr_m43_crops[1]

Now that’s crisp. ISO 100 helps a lot.

F300 processed then unprocessed crops

DSCF0187_f300exr_m43_400iso_pp[1] DSCF0187_f300exr_m43_400iso[1]

Not bad, but the F70 wins this battle. Still, 400iso versus 100iso is hardly fair, especially considering the F70 has lower pixel density. Also, the longer lens makes the plane of focus considerably thinner … the top crop looks like it is starting to fall outside the crispest part of the focus.

I like both, but the processed F300 stands out for me as better because of the increase in subject isolation.

I then turned my attention to a daisy on the ground. Standing next to it, I shot from fairly close and got this shot with the F70:

DSCF4825_f70exr_daisy_100iso[1]

Pretty crisp in my opinion. Nicely held highlights on the petals.

Now the F300 from closer in, just because it can:

DSCF0190_f300exr_daisy_400iso_shadow[1]

Also a very nice shot, but note the shadow across the right edge of the petals. Oops … just because you can get really close, does not mean that you should get really close. It blocks the light or creates reflections, depending on the subject. This is something to remember when touting the super-macro setting of small sensor cams … getting that close blocks out the light and makes the mode useless at times in the field. Macros always look better with an achromat at full zoom.

Here’s the better one with the angle slightly changed and the distance increased a tad …

DSCF0191_f300exr_daisy_400iso[1]

A very crisp looking shot. I’m quite pleased.

Now. my final shot for this series … a shot of a strange track along the side of the road with trucks in the distance.

F70 @ 28mm

DSCF4827_f70exr_28mm_400iso[1] F300 @ 24mm

DSCF0196_f300exr_24mm_400iso[1]

The corners continue to look a bit blurred. But overall I think the image competes.

What to conclude … 24-360 is a bit much. The corners are blurry at full wide, which is where you expect that. Same issue as with the HS10. Pretty difficult to design something like this.

If you are a pixel peeper, you might want to continue shooting your F200EXR and revel in the better corners … a product of having much less reach. But I would not necessarily shy away from the F300EXR because of this level of blur. You can always shoot M3":2 instead of M4:3 … I’ll set up a test specifically to look at the different formats at 24mm and the to shoot at each zoom incremement until we pass about 30mm … also to check on the effect (if any) of stopping down. With three apertures now, the middle one may actually make a sharpness difference as there may actually be an aperture involved.

The F300EXR continues to feel good in the hands and while shooting.

1 comment:

Lili said...

Interesting, agreed the reach does require some compromises.
As you say for concerts it mattes not or one can, as do you, shoot 3:2.
Of course the long end is where these Fuji's really shine; at least with the F70/80.
How good has the long end of the 3000 proved?