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Now this is interesting . . . technical insights gratefully accepted

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Jock Elliott, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    I am constantly experimenting with my cameras, trying to determine what they can and cannot do.

    This AM I noticed the watertower behind the trees being illuminated by the sun, and I thought it might make an interesting picture if I could get the watertower in focus and somewhat blur the trees in the foreground.

    That's when the trouble began.

    I unholstered my FZ200 and aimed at the watertower. The watertower was virtually invisible in the electronic viewfinder, even thought it is a pretty nice one with lots of resolution. I could see the watertower fine through the optical viewfinder of the G12.

    So I went outside and took a photo with each camera.

    Here is the result from the FZ200:

    FZ200_watertower_experiment_004_Medium_.JPG

    and here is the result from the G12:

    G12_watertower_experiment_003_Medium_.JPG

    To my eye, the G12 clearly "sees" the watertower better than the FZ200.

    DXO says the FZ200 has color depth of 19.1 bits while the G12 has color depth of 20.4 bits. Is that the reason the watertower pops more in the G12 picture or is something else going on?

    Cheers, Jock
     
  2. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    Might be dynamic range. The tower looks over-exposed, while the camera has exposed for the plants in the foreground. The dynamic range capability of the camera is not able to handle it.

    If you were to manually expose for the tower, the foreground would become underexposed and obscure the tower too.

    The other thing is depth of field separation. Maybe you need a lens with very shallow depth of field to take the focus and detail away from the plants in the foreground. So, you'd need to shoot wide open with an ND filter to compensate.

    Or alternatively a telephoto lens to further separate the elements.

    Wide angle lenses stopped down makes it difficult to separate the elements especially when you've got two competing exposures.
     
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  3. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Zoomed in with the FZ200, I could not get it to focus on the watertower, not even using manual focus.

    Cheers, Jock
     
  4. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    That's strange that it still couldn't be done manually. It could be the overexposure which makes it hard to capture the detail of the tower, which makes it hard to know when you've locked focus.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    A lot of this may indeed have to do with dynamic range. But the G12, with its larger - but not too much larger - sensor probably offers somewhat shallower depth of field, allowing for a bit more differentiation between the trees and water tower. I can't read any EXIF data on my iPad but were both shots done at the same focal length? How about aperture and shutter speed? Finally, did you have enough room behind you to back up a substantial amount so you could try the shot again with the FZ200 at a longer focal length - maybe twice as long or more? Assuming you could duplicate the conditions, with the tower illuminated in the same way, I would try that approach with both auto and manual focus. Just my two cents worth.
     
  6. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    FZ200:

    f/4
    ISO 100
    1/640
    31mm (actual), 170mm equivalent
    auto white balance

    G12:

    f/4.5
    ISO 250
    1/1000
    30mm (actual) 149mm equivalent
    auto white balance

    Cheers, Jock
     
  7. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    I wouldnt even try to make that differentiation without manual focus... and then, the rest.
     
  8. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    Can you share:
    1. exposure?
    2. jpeg or raw?
    3. computer software used?
    4. manual or auto-focus?
    5. fullsize samples?
     
  9. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    1. See above.
    2. jpeg
    3. No software, straight out of camera
    4. autofocus
    5. Not sure how to do that.

    Cheers, Jock
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    The biggest difference between the two photos is the rendering of the sky. I bet that Canon is programmed to give skies more 'pop' with added saturation and maybe a tiny drop in luminance. If you look at the belly of the tower the colors are nearly identical.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    Took the words right out of my mouth, but expressed them more eloquently than I'd have done.
     
  12. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    I agree with John. Probably a lot has to do with how the cameras process the data in-camera. I don't think that differences in dynamic range and color depth are responsible for these differences (although I am no expert at all). When I zoom in on your samples, I also get the impression that both cameras focused differently. That would not surprise me because the branches of the trees makes focusing on the water tower tricky (I typically use manual focus in these situations). On the other hand, I might be wrong because it might just be a matter of contrast differences.

    Sorry for not being very helpful. Sometimes it is frustrating to see how cameras see the world differently, let alone how computer screens present photos differently. ;-)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I think that the Panasonic is applying a more aggressive (high contrast) tone curve which is compressing the dynamic range too far for what you are trying to achieve. Does it have a "natural", "smooth" or similar jpeg profile?
     
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  14. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Yes it does have a "natural" profile, and the shot was taken with Vivid switched on.

    I would have thought that would have the effect of pumping up the colors, but maybe not.

    Cheers, Jock
     
  15. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    I think you are right, and I took this picture in Vivid mode.

    The frustrating thing is that the the FZ200's EVF does a poor job of differentiating between the blue of the sky and the light blue of the watertower. When I looked through the EVF zoomed in, I couldn't find the edges of the watertower to get them into focus.

    This is the first time that I have found myself dissatisfied with the EVF. In general, I like that it shows me what the sensor is seeing.

    Most fixed-lens, small sensor compacts, I think, offer fairly poor manual focus capabilities. The FZ200 seems better than most. You can assign the slide on the side of the lens barrel to manual focus so that you have one control by the shutter button for zoom, another by the lens for focus, and a small focus-assist button near the slide on the side of the lens. It all works pretty well (although not as well as the focus ring on my film cameras), but if you can't clearly distinguish what you are trying to focus on. . . then it become an exercise in futility.

    The G12, on the other hand, has a horrible and clunky manual focus, involving moving the ring around the perimeter of the four-way controller on the back of the camera. It's just way too easy to inadvertently activate other functions. IMHO, the only thing it is good for is setting up zone focusing.

    Cheers, Jock

    Cheers, Jock