Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fuji X10 – Review Part 2 – Dynamic Range Test

Caveat: This test may be flawed. I appear to have left the camera in S size, not M. However, in EXR-DR mode, the camera should perform the usual DR processing and emit the right file size. I’ll be doing other DR tests along the way, but I wanted to try this one on a nicely sunny day …

The first set of crops were shot in RAW at 100 ISO, which forced DR100.

If you click through, you can see how it renders shadow detail. Quite well actually.

As you push shadows up, you obviously see more grain when you underexpose. And you get a slight blue shift, which is pretty common on small sensors. I normally address that in ACR but I only wanted to try to equalize exposure and open shadows for this test.

The bottom line is that RAW has no headroom. At –1ev you are already risking highlights when metering with matrix mode. The best exposure for the sunlit highlights is –2ev, but the shadows are kind of grainy. Still, properly processed this would be fine.

So how does EXR-DR compare? DR400 suggests a 2 stop headroom, so even +1ev should not be blown out.

Well, there goes that fantasy. You get one stop of protection with hardware DR extension. That’s pretty good, but less than implied by the designation DR400. Still, this is a torture test, so this is probably a pretty good performance.

So how about RAW+JPG in a PASM mode? That should be the best of both worlds, no? Here are the crops from the RAW files.

No joy here … since I shot these almost half an hour later than the first set, I cannot really make a direct comparison … but for sure there is no extra protection.

So … the bottom line is that you can get 1 stop of protection if you are willing to shoot jpeg. I prefer RAW, so I will be underexposing by one stop as always and performing the protection myself in ACR.

Another impression: The X10 shoots RAW much faster than the F550EXR. Very nice to work with.