Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday the 14th – F550EXR, D7000 and ZS3 – a bright (bright), bright (bright), bright, sun shiny daaaaaayyyy …

Brings back old memories, doesn’t it? Johnny Nash singing “I can see clearly now” …

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

Anyway … I digress.

I decided to reply to a thread on the Fuji Talk Forum that was created by user Sunshine_Boy (tell me that’s not karmic) and test the F550EXR against the D7000 and ZS3. It was a beautiful day today and absolutely perfect for such a test.

The two formal tests are here:

This is the rest of the day / shoot recorded as left overs … just some images that compare the results I got … I like how all three cameras shot, and I think all are capable of shooting in this sort of weather, even though the conditions are clearly quite contrasty.

The D7000 is shot in RAW with compensation used sometimes, the F550EXR is shot in RAW+JPG M size at DR400 at 100 ISO and again with compensation used sometimes, and the ZS3 is shot with iExposure set on, which provides the intelligence to save highlights and open shadows somewhat. It shoots only JPEG, so in some cases I processed the jpeg as if it were raw.

Starting on the left side of the back yard.

D7000 18-200VR  100iso  f/8  1/250s  0EV

F550EXR  100iso  f/8  1/340s  0EV

ZS3  80ISO  f/5.6  1/800s  -2/3EV

Not really a full-fledged winner here … I’d say all did really well. I dialed in a little compensation on the ZS3 because it is an older sensor with fairly small dynamic range. I was pleased with this result. Because of the compensation, the skies look best of all with the ZS3.

The sun was blasting in from almost directly south, which means that the skies will wash out and we’ll get the sun in the image with flare etc. Let’s see how that goes …

D7000 18-200VR  100iso  f/7.1  1/800s  -1/3EV

Well, that looks pretty decent. The shadows are a bit dark, but that was my choice. The D7000 has excellent shadow range, so I could pull them up more here, but this has a hint of silhouette and that looks right to me …

F550EXR  100iso  f/7.1  1/450  0EV

The lens continues to be Fuji’s Achilles heel it would seem. Flare galore here, as would be true of the X10 as well. With ORBs on top of course.

ZS3  125iso  f/6.3  1/1000s  -2/3EV

Not bad. if not for the wild flare top right, it would have beaten the Fuji. As it is, I think I prefer this flare to the contrast killing broad flare of the Fuji.

Interesting how the all-purpose kit lens stomps both with ease. Fan-boys of small sensor so often speak of these kit lenses with derision, saying that you need great glass for a dSLR to beat cameras like the X10 and bridge cams. That is just total bull shit … extreme bias from people who have never shot these lenses on bodies like the D7000. Or maybe they have and just were not competent with the dSLR style of shooting. Who knows …

I have a spectacular Yellow Twig Dogwood bush over in the corner near the patio furniture. It’s best feature is bright golden branches all winter long. Makes pretty pictures on days like today.

These should be clicked through to see the details as they were meant to be seen. These smaller blog views don’t do justice.

D7000 18-200VR  100iso  f/8  1/200s  -1EV

F550EXR  100iso  f/5.3  1/280s  -2/3EV

Shot a bit to the right of the D7000, showing more shadow. Handled it well, and the file looks nice even at 100%.

ZS3  80iso  f/4.9  1/160s  -2/3EV

This is a huge cheat in favor of the ZS3. I shot the branches higher up and caught a lot more of the beautiful golden color. This is the nicest of the three images … but what really matters is that all three did a great job.

I have a couple of enormous Annabelle Hydrangea plants growing beside the pool. Every year, they droop right in and I leave that over the winter for interest. Here, they have caught a huge snow load …

D7000 18-200VR  100iso  f/7.1  1/200s  -1/3EV

F550EXR  100ISO  f/5.3  1/340s  -2/3EV

ZS3  80ISO  f/4.9  1/400s  -2/3EV

Hmmm … should it be this close? Very nice job by all three. I would not disagree with anyone who thought maybe the Panny won this one. Certainly, each has strengths.

A few random shots to close …

D7000 18-200VR  100iso  f/8  1/320s  -1/3EV

ZS3  80iso  f/6.3  1/1000s  -2/3EV

ZS3  80iso  f/5.6  1/800s  -2/3EV

ZS3  80iso  f/6.3  1/1000s  -2/3EV


Well, it wasn’t really a test … but I can certainly conclude that any camera can make nice looking high contrast images with the right compensation and a bit of processing.