Wednesday, April 17, 2013

HS50EXR – Review Part 19 – L versus M again (again?–must be Tuesday) …

Well, it is 12:08 EDT so technically it is Wednesday … and that incredibly obscure Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference was no doubt lost on everyone anyway :-)

So I saw a bird in that tree a block away again and had to know if it was the Merlin hawk returning for a second go round …

HS50exr  1000mm efl  100iso  f/5.6  1/100(!)  L size(!)

Well, no Smile… just a big blackbird (a.k.a. crow.)

I had left the camera on L size for another test and I quickly shot off a burst with the window open to remove the double glass pane from the equation when the little bugger took off. Booo … I really wanted to get an M size image to avoid some of the excess speckling noise that is so prevalent in L sized images, even in RAW.

Anyway, the crow is very clear, but not exactly an image to write home about. Still … it is really far away.

I really liked how the branches came out though in the sunlight so a while later, as the sun was really getting low, I shot that tree from the same spot on tripod etc … and here are four images … the first two being the JPEGs and the second pair the RAFs.

So the primary difference at 1000px in the JPEGs (click on these for the full size as always) is that the M size (first in each pair) has darker skies because of the preservation of the medium sky tones caused by compressing more dynamic range into the image. The RAFs have been intentionally processed to match at the same size, which you will see in a moment.

But wait, you ask. LC&M have proven unequivocally that M DR400 causes blur, mush and color bleeding. The evidence is all over the forum so how can there be any doubt? My answer is .. I dunno, must be crappy tests.

But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. And so we look at 5 pairs of crops … corners (TL, TR, BL, BR) and the center at the end. Left is M4:3 and right is L4:3. L is downsized this time so it should look really nice. It should … but I see nothing to write home about.

They look, to all intents and purposes, about the same. Which by the way puts the HS50 into a better class than the previous generation since the earlier cams had real problems in L size. It looks like tuning the AA filter and demosaic algorithm has made a difference.

Note, though, that all the other issues with L are still true. Cannot use 100 ISO and DR400 … shadows still somewhat at risk … that sort of thing. So shoot it at your own risk. I prefer to get my DR400 protection and I do like the tonality I get.

Bottom line: Shoot whatever you want with these cameras. If you don’t mind giving up all the advantages of M size, L size probably won’t hurt you too much. But I have to warn you that the sharpening settings is extremely twitchy with L sized files. It takes a long time to avoid the pebbly look that we see in so many images … (LC&M appear to embrace this look but I think it stinks.)

So I will continue to shoot my settings as described here: