Saturday, April 9, 2011

F550EXR – High Resolution High ISO RAW — Review Part 23

I was fooling around, shooting throwaways at dinner this evening under horrid lighting … a huge window 10 feet behind me and those awful industrial lights above. All skin has a sickly pallor and all shadows turn blue. Just what you want for people.

Anyway, I turned the cam to L3:2 more and shot a few images, one of which was a close up of Jon’s eyes. And when I saw the image on the PC I was kind of impressed. This shot is 1000 ISO and has not had any processing. I think it looks pretty decent for an L mode image …

Now, before you assume anything like perfection, this is from the JPEG, so there is still some noise reduction going on. I tweaked things a bit to clean up the gritty NR Fuji favors and try to make the white balance look a little more like skin. But of course, my color vision is for shite so if it looks goofy that’s down to me and not the F550EXR.

That also pulls out more detail in the eyebrows. So here is what this image looks like at full size:

For 1000 ISO that’s not bad at all. But the very fine skin detail is missing in action. The smoothing is just a tad too strong to retain it. Even before my clean up.

So … a couple of options present themselves.

1) You can always try to pull more detail out with something like Topaz Adjust:

Well, that sure sucked out a lot of detail :-)  For most people, I suspect that the price is too high here … this is the kind of effect that works really well when you are going for an ancient effect or a super-gritty look for action like the knights I shot a while back. And even there I did not leave it full strength.

2) Shoot and process RAW":

Try to ignore the white balance. It’s the best I could get by running it through Silkypix and then ACR and CS5. The eyes are neutral and the skin is crap. But this post is about detail, not color. You can tweak color or go black and white quite easily, you can’t create detail where none exists.

So if you click through and look at the 800px version, comparing it to the other jpeg-based versions, you are going to see a lot more subtlety to the details. This is just *much* better …

And the crops to prove it … now remember that the top crop is a 1000 ISO image at 100% from a 1/2” sensor with 16mp of data … that should just blow you away …

It’s a bit low contrast, but that just makes all the subtle detail (like skin texture) all the more impressive. The jpeg-based web-sized images retain a slightly plastic sheen to the skin, whereas the RAW image retains real texture.

So shooting high resolution in RAW can do some amazing things … this camera continues to perplex me … smearing one moment, then amazing me with detail the next …

No comments: