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RX1 images too 'sterile'???

Discussion in 'Sony RX1 Forum' started by Archiver, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hey folks. I know this would be a tricky question to ask, but I'm doing it in this forum, which is one of the nicest forums I know of, so I hope I'm safe. :biggrin:

    I've been looking through a lot of RX1 and RX1r photos on flickr, and while the technical rendering of the images looks darn impressive, I can't shake the impression that they also have a very sterile, clinical kind of look. I'm not sure if I can describe it much better. Some people complain that digital images look too clean and clinical compared with film; to me, many RX1 images are like the next level up of cleanness, if that makes sense. They make 'normal' digital images have the imperfection normally ascribed to film by comparison.

    Does anyone else see it this way? Do you 'dirty up' your RX1 images to give them some more texture? I'm seeing this in many Sony A7 and A7r images, too.
     
  2. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    820
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    ive heard this term before and admit im really not sure what it means. i do understand some cameras have a film like look and some dont. i think generally ccd sensors seem closer to film as a rule.

    having said that, i personally dont find anything 'clinical' or whatever about rx1 files. i think in the end you either like the look a camera produces or you dont. i personally put the rx1 files in the 'magical' category--another undefinable and probably silly attempt at defining what in the end is simply a matter of personal taste.

    to me, the colors leap off the monitor; the lens is quintessentially illustrative of the famous zeiss 'pop', and i and folks i show the files to mostly chuckle/smile in amazement at what this little baby produces. yvmv, which is fine.
     
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  3. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    That's funny..... I rebought an RX1 precisely because I feel like the images go the other way. I feel like they are warmer (not in color temperature) and more film-like. I guess it's best to just go with your gut. If you don't like them.....then you don't like them. For me, I don't really need a camera this good, but I love the files so much I can't get rid of it.
     
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  4. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg Rorschach Test Pilot

    650
    Apr 18, 2014
    Canary Islands
    Ken
    Pretty interesting. When I opened the RX1 page on flickr it all looked like I had some tobacco stain on my screen. Not quite my beloved old Ektachrome but it's there and I can't say I don't like it ... on the contrary.
     
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I guess "too sterile" is in the eye of the beholder. I personally loved the files I got from that camera. They were as remarkably clean and detailed as you wanted them to be (maybe THAT's what you mean by sterile?) but they held up under whatever level of processing I wanted to throw at them as well as anything. I guess it's the old, 'if you start with a clean signal you can dirty it up all you want, but if you start with a dirty signal, you can't clean it up in post', at least not much... I've ended up with some pretty pristine final images and plenty of really extensively gritty ones, just based on what I saw in the image and which direction I wanted to take it.

    I've ended up with images as pristine as this one (although I do see some hints of Ektachrome in this):

    9363824583_c26046b6fb_b. Coudy Positano-99-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    And as gritty as this:

    10257279125_058b3bfa6e_b. NYC by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    Most fall somewhere in between these extremes...

    But I guess it comes down to what Luke said - if you like 'em, you like 'em and if you don't you don't. I like'd 'em just fine...

    -Ray
     
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  6. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Kyle Krug
    I wonder if this has more to do with the raw files, pre-post, looking somewhat flat in these cameras with higher dynamic range? I do tend to add a bit more contrast than I did in post with some of my smaller sensor cameras.

    Totally agree with both the RX1 and the A7, Luke.... very pleasant output from that sensor.
     
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  7. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    I've never had such a wow factor from any other camera as the RX1 and I include the Leica M in that. The Leica files always look quite disappointing and require a bit of coddling to get them the way I like them whereas the RX1 just delivers almost every time no matter what you throw at it. I got a better set of pictures using the RX1 at night for the SantaSemana procession in Spain than I did from the Leica M and 50mm Summilux :eek: My feeling is that the Zeiss 35mm lens has great character and is exactly the opposite of sterile for me :)
     
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  8. Gubrz

    Gubrz O.* Gonzo's & Bentley's Dad

    979
    Jun 5, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Eliot
    The lens is more full of creamy goodness than a Twinkie factory in the late 80's.
     
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  9. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    I wish there was somewhere in Melbourne where I could rent a RX1 for a week. Then I could see files taken in familiar situations and process them the way I like.

    The amusing irony is that when it comes to video work, I much prefer a very clean, clear look that many would refer to as digital. Not overly processed, but with lots of detail and wide dynamic range. Best examples of what I like are the 4K videos by Jacob and Katie Schwarz on YouTube, shot with a Red Epic and Canon lenses.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pSzhZ76GdM

    View this in 4K, it is just amazing.
     
  10. Livnius

    Livnius SC Veteran

    475
    Jun 3, 2012
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    I sold the RX1 a couple of months back....ever since it has been my single biggest gear selling regret. Nothing I've shot with before or since has matched (in pure IQ terms) the files that this little thing made, nothing, and by regret I mean curse at yourself, cramp in the stomach and slap your own forehead type of regret.

    However dirty or clean or digital or 'filmic' you want to make an RX1 file....it obliges you, and then some !

    I've never done it before because I've never regretted selling any bit of gear, but the RX1 will soon be my first "re-get" to quote a popular local figure :)
     
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  11. BruPri

    BruPri SC Top Veteran

    699
    May 11, 2011
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Bruce J. Pritchard
    I agree. I got mine while I still had my M9 and shot a bunch of side by side comparison shots. The RX1 looked clinical with background detail, seemingly fighting for attention in a way that seemed to my eye, displeasing. I found this true of most of the NEX series as well. It's the way Sony renders. Of course you can manipulate the files to one's liking, I just saw no natural depth and the images always appeared rather clinical as well, detailed but flat dimensionally to my eye.
     
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  12. Lucille

    Lucille SC Veteran

    324
    Aug 20, 2012
    Hepcat City
    Sony Rx1, it has ruined all other cameras for me...


    f-8.
     
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  13. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    As I only had my RX1 for a short while I don't consider myself qualified to pass any kind of judgement on the images it produces. But right from the start it never smacked me in the gob the way I thought it would. On the other hand the Sigma Merrill's grabbed my attention straight away and continue to amaze me.
    As Lucille said about the sony,
    For me the Merrill's have ruined all other cameras .
     
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  14. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg Rorschach Test Pilot

    650
    Apr 18, 2014
    Canary Islands
    Ken
    I've spent three years in the NEX camp (5, 5n, 7) and while I didn't like the jpgs and Sonys native lenses too much (apart from the 24mm Zeiss) I like the results I get from shooting RAW with some fine legacy glass slapped on. Regarding depth this thread leaves me wondering how the RX1 compares to a Fuji X with the 23mm/f1.4. Anyone? Ray?
     
  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    In terms of the lens, I'd say the Fuji 23mm is actually a pretty damn close match for the RX1. It's plenty sharp at all apertures and, at f1.4, is roughly a match for the RX1 in terms of shallow DOF, if that's what you mean by "depth". In terms of the sensor, the Fuji has its charms and it's also got drawbacks. You can break the files in processing, the "watercolor" effect with Adobe processing is well known and still visible if you pixel peep the files. It's real easy to get halos if you push the contrast or sharpening much at all. The RX1 files, OTOH, are the benchmark that I compare everything else to and everything else falls short in one way or another. Even the Nikon Df sensor, which was overwhelmingly good at high ISO, wasn't as overall flexible and malleable as the RX1 files.

    Whether that equates to "depth" or "clinical" or "pristine" I don't know because those terms mean different things to different people. To me, the RX1 lens rendered beautifully and the sensor produced files I could do basically ANYTHING to in PP. Every other file has presented me with very real limits that I had to work around in processing. The RX1 files are just really hard to mess up.

    The Fuji setup is more than adequate for me, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have pangs of regret for selling the RX1, for which I blame the temptress Nikon Df - I take no personal responsibility! I'm gonna let the dust settle with all of the coming announcements and if the rumored RX2 with the curved sensor drives the price if used RX1's down enough, I may re-buy one. Or if more lenses are announced for the A7 maybe I'll wait around for that system to mature. I don't have any big shooting trips coming this year (remodeling part if our house with any travel funds), so I'm fine with what I have for the foreseeable future. But I was never happier shooting than last year with the RX1 and Nikon A handling the bulk of my shooting needs, with Fuji and Olympus filling in around the occasional wider and longer edges when needed. I could end up back there or someplace similar at some point.

    -Ray
     
  16. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    820
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    i have no doubt the results were not pleasing to you, and thats the subjective nature of looking at stuff. and i also share a dislike of sony generally, and was never particularly moved by what might be described their apsc rendering charateristics.

    however, i am at a loss to objectively understand how a sony characteristic can be 'background detail fighting for attention'. background detail is solely a product of depth of field, and DOF is thinnest with a FF camera like the rx1. if one wants to decrease background detail, they open the aperture and as they do background detail must as a matter of fact recede in clarity and detail. it simply cannot work any other way. there is no doubt that the zeiss 35/2 is one of the sharpest, most detailed out there. but how detailed background is from subject seems to me purely a matter of how the camera is shot. the characteristics of the OOF areas differ by sensor and lens, but detail must recede as the aperture is opened and increase as its closed.

    also, and again while this is subjective, while ive never been particularly fond of 'sony rendering', i found the rx1 sensor had a much different look. maybe its FF vs traditional sony apsc, but i was very much drawn to the rx1 results, which i find leap off the screen.
     
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  17. BruPri

    BruPri SC Top Veteran

    699
    May 11, 2011
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Bruce J. Pritchard
    In responding to the OP's point that the images appear "sterile" ...to me it's not about depth of field, or quality of glass, or sensor performance. It's all about a camera's ability to capture that moment when one sees a picture before it's even taken. Like lovely warm morning sun on a tree through a bedroom window. I want to preserve that moment and sense memory, of course often adjusting aperture, exposure, shutter speed when needed. I take the picture. (stay with me here) There was an inner voice that said, ooh, I like what I see, it's emotional. When I look at the image, I want to smile inside and relive that emotional connection. It is a direct correlation between the way my eyes perceived the moment and the way an image is rendered. In this regard, I found the RX1's ability to do this much lesser than my M9 or X1. I am not a Leica ****** btw, I currently own an RX10 which is the first Sony product I've owned that I've held on to the longest. I look for a natural and representative result, the way my eye sees things, I cannot fault the RX1 for any resultant lack of detail, it's a resolution beast, it's the rendering that seems to require much manipulation to make them have the same depth (and I'm not talking depth of field) and emotional impact as my eye saw things, perhaps sterility was an appropriate description and struck a chord with me. It's absolutely subjective and this was my experience. Subjects in life, with the exception of our dog, do not leap out of life at me, I rather they didn't leap off the page either.
     
  18. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I get what you're saying Bruce. But I personally almost NEVER see what I saw and what I'm trying to convey when a photo first shows up on my computer screen. The photo exists in a specific frame, composed as well as I can compose it, but if I saw some sort of beautiful light, or dramatic shadows, or amazing colors or clouds, or some sort of drama in the shot, it's pretty much never there in the untouched file, whether raw or jpeg. I pretty much ALWAYS need to do varying amounts of processing, maybe even a bit of cropping to get the final image to convey what I saw or felt when I made the exposure. To me, that's just a limitation of trying to fit what I'm seeing through my eyes, with their ability to deal with nearly infinite DR and about 180 degrees of peripheral vision, into a 3:2 or 4:3 or 1:1 frame at whatever focal length I shot it. By the time I work on it a bit, I can sometimes convey most of what I saw.

    The color photo I included above is as good an example of this as I can show you. What you see in the first photo is what I saw and what I wanted to convey, here:

    9363824583_c26046b6fb_b. Coudy Positano-99-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    What the camera gave me initially, though, was this, which is probably more true to the literal interpretation of what was there, but missed much of the beauty and drama that I saw with my eyes and perceived with my head and heart:



    32405797.d22538d9.1024.


    Coudy Positano-99

    Without doing some processing, no camera will give me that intangible beauty or drama that I saw and I'm trying to convey. And the RX1's ability to hold up to just about any processing I can throw at it makes it that much more of a tool for me to convey that than just about anything else I've used. I'd say that something like a Fuji's Velvia profile might have gotten me a bit closer SOOC (whether with Fuji's jpeg or Adobe's Velvia color profile applied to a raw file), but I'd have still had to do some additional processing. And the Fuji file just wouldn't give me the same latitude to do that without breaking up at some point.

    -Ray
     
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  19. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    So I am not the only one....

    Each time when I see a Sony RX/A7 photo, I think "wow". Incredible DR, clean, etc but I can't help thinking that the pics look "digital". It's the word that pops up when I try to put into words what I think, without being able to exactly describe what I mean. It taught me that everyone views the world differently. What works for me, may not work for you and vice versa. But I am very happy that this forum provides the opportunity to see so many great photos taken by a variety of cameras. A good way to learn what works and what doesn't work for me.

    QUOTE=Ripleysbaby;181860]As I only had my RX1 for a short while I don't consider myself qualified to pass any kind of judgement on the images it produces. But right from the start it never smacked me in the gob the way I thought it would. On the other hand the Sigma Merrill's grabbed my attention straight away and continue to amaze me.
    As Lucille said about the sony,
    For me the Merrill's have ruined all other cameras .[/QUOTE]
     
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  20. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I think it points, more than anything, to the fact we all perceive things differently.
     
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