Tag Archives: camera

New Canon 5DS R DSLR: A Printing Test

(Updated: May 2015)

In February 2015 Canon announced the new EOS 5DS DSLR bodies in two versions: the EOS 5DS and the EOS 5DS R The “R” model does not apply anti-alias filtering (AA-filtering) to the image. This is said to have the potential to optimize image sharpness in some cases, though it increases the risk of aliasing/moire artifacts in photographs that include fine patterns such as fabric, screens, and similar. Both versions of the camera have 50.6MP sensors, which more than double the number of photo sites compared to previous Canon 21MP and 22MP full frame sensors.

A big question for people considering this camera is how much potential for image improvement will come from the higher-MP sensors. My feeling is that the improvement should be meaningful for photographers who already push the upper boundaries of potential print size from full-frame image files, but that the increase in MP will not likely mean amuch to photographers who don’t do this. Since I’m in the former category — and therefore quite interested in the new bodies — I wondered how this might play out in an actual print. (Prints, after all, are where the rubber meets the road with high MP cameras.)

I did not have access to raw files from the new camera at the time of this test, however Canon had made full resolution jpg files available online. (RAW files were not available at the time I conducted the test, but they are not necessary for creating a high quality print, as long as extensive post processing is not used.) I downloaded “Image 2″ from the link, which appears to be a straight-from-camera jpg image made with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS lens at f/11, 1/500 second, at ISO 200. The image is an aerial photograph of a dense downtown area, with many buildings and other details, including some that should reveal moire artifacts if they are going to be an issue.

My entire workflow with the image was as follows:

  1. Open the Canon jpg file in Photoshop CC.
  2. Resize to 30″ x 45″ at 300 ppi
  3. Select a letter-size section of this resized image and crop it out of the full image. Since I am interested in detail reproduction and how the non-AA-filtering body handles potential moire, I took a section that included the radiating spokes of a ferris wheel against the linear forms of buildings.
  4. Apply my customary output sharpening for prints.
  5. Keeping the resolution of the 30″ x 45″ image, I printed the small section on 8.5″ x 11″ Epson Ultrapremium Lustre paper using my Epson 7900 printer.

The results?

If I handed most people the letter-sized print they would probably think, “Not a bad print — not great, but fine.” But they would not likely notice that they were looking at a tiny fraction of an original 30″ x 45″ print. Skillful photographers and printers who looked closely would be able to see some things suggesting this… but once they heard that it was from a 30″ x 45″ inch print, I’m positive that they would join me in being very impressed. Detail is excellent, especially so for such a gigantic print size. I see no obvious examples of moire artifacts, and I’ve looked closely. I do not not see any smearing of colors, and I can see no noise whatsoever in the print.

Since this looked so good, I decided to take things to further and repeat the process — but this time resize to 60″ x 90″ at 300 ppi. For those who don’t know, that would be a very, very big printfour times the print area of the 30″ x 45″ print. Again I selected a letter-size subsection of the final huge image and printed it.

The results?

At this huge size I can certainly see that the image is softer — though whether that is a result of using a 16-35mm ultra wide lens or from the resizing or a combination of the two is open for debate. If you looked at the letter sized print and did not know that it was a crop from an image 5 feet tall and 7.5 feet wide, you would think it was soft. If you made the full print (which I’m not equipped to do!) you would be very impressed. I still see no aliasing/moire artifacts. I do see some slight color smearing in a few areas where there is a sharply delineated edge to a colorful area.

Bottom line: I’m confident that photographers using full frame images to make very large prints are going to like the results from this camera a great deal. I am certainly going to get one — in fact, I have pre-ordered a 5DS R from B&H. (You can do the same using the following links — the cost to you is the same, but you’ll help support this website and article like this one. Thanks in advance!)

Notes:

  • Update 5/15/15: Since I first posted this article much more information about the cameras has become available, including reports and raw files from parties using late-beta versions of the camera. I have had a chance to look at some raw files and they seem quite good to me in every way that matters to my photography.
  • Update: The cameras are now available for pre-order (as of 3/23/15), and I posted an article with more information more about the cameras.
  • The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Canon’s example file was made with the new EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens. The article has been edited to correct this error.
  • As a side note, the level of detail in the sample image speaks very well for the resolving power of the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS lens.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Canon 50MP 5DS Body, 11-24mm Lens, and Updated Rebel DSLRs

I’ll start with a list, and I’ll add a few comments below.

You may feel differently, but the most interesting announcement to is that of the two versions of the EOS 5DS, a 50.6mp full frame DSLR that seems optimized for image quality. While not everyone will need 50MP in a full frame body, some of us will most certainly benefit from sensor resolution that more than doubles what was previously available from Canon. There are two models, the 5DS and the 5DS R — the 5DS R doesn’t apply anti-aliasing filtering. This has the potential to maximize image sharpness for certain kinds of photographers, and the potential risk of some moire artifacts in photographs of certain types of patterned subjects. The cameras are supposed to begin shipping in June, and I plan to get one — most likely the R model.

For those who like really wide angle zoom lenses, the EF 11-24mm f/4L lens is arguably going to be king of the hill. Early reports are that it is optically excellent, and 11mm is 1mm wider than the excellent 14-24mm Nikon f/2.8 zoom. This lens (as noted above) can apparently now be pre-ordered.

The Rebel T6i and T6s are the newest updated models in the family of consumer Rebel DSLRs. These are fine cameras at a good price, and Canon will no doubt sell tons of them. They use 24mm cropped format sensors, and they are available in body-only version and it kits that include a basic zoom lens. The T6s is said to have a few more “advanced” features added.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Reader Questions: Landscape Lenses

From time to time I get questions from readers, and I usually like to share the answers so that other might learn something, too.

Recently “Gregory” wrote:

I just read one of your articles on appropriate lenses to use for landscape photography. I’m a hobbyist photographer in California that has a passion for landscape photography. I sold my Canon equipment and will be purchasing some Nikon lenses and camera body. I wanted to get your input as to what the majority of landscape photographers use – prime lenses or zoom lenses? Based on my limited budget, here is what I am thinking of:

Option A — Primes: 20mm, 28mm, 50mm, 85mm
Option B — Zooms: 24-70mm, 70-200mm
Option C — Zooms: 16-35mm, 24-70mm

I don’t have the budget to purchase both a super wide zoom AND a telephoto. I’ll have to settle for one of these and then acquire an additional zoom later on. I’m thinking the primes maybe slightly sharper in the borders and lighter to carry, but what about the hassle of constantly switching lenses back and forth? Not sure I want to do this. I would appreciate any recommendations/suggestion you might have.

Before I reply here, let me share a couple of articles that I wrote about more or less this topic:

By the end of this article… I probably will not tell you which lenses to select! But perhaps I’ll help you consider factors that will assist in making a good personal decision that is right for your photography.

To a great extent, many of these decisions are personal and they come down to your own personal preferences and the ways in which you approach your subjects. Some people have reasons for preferring prime lenses, some have reasons for preferring zooms, and others have good reasons for wanting both. Some are comfortable working with a relatively narrow range of focal lengths, while other feel the need for a wider range. Some have a predilection for wide-angle lenses, while others are drawn to longer focal lengths. And this doesn’t even get into the questions about tilt/shift lenses and other variables.

I mention this for a couple of reasons. First, there are going to be people who disagree with my preferences — listen to their perspectives, too, and then use your own judgment. Second, consider your own preferences at least as much. Continue reading Reader Questions: Landscape Lenses

Testing? Testing? (Morning Musings 12/8/14)

Aperture Test Image
Aperture Test Image (1)

This morning I saw an article over at The Online Photographer (which you should be following) about a particular camera/lens combination and the process of doing a quick and informal test of that gear… right there in the kitchen.

I read a lot of photography questions about how this or that thing works, which setting is “best” for a particular result, what shutter speed range works for hand-held photography, how much the shadows can be pushed, whether a lens is sharp enough for some particular usage, and much more. Folks are often looking for quick answers — and who wouldn’t in most cases. However, the quick answers often turn out to be less clear than they might like, and sometimes the simplest questions can end up in controversy.

A simple answer is to simply try it out yourself!

The answers to many of the questions that we ask are too complex to lend themselves to absolute answers. Yet, we can often get a very good and quite accurate feeling for these things by just giving them a try. In some cases the “testing” can be very informal, while in others it might require just a bit more care and organization. But in our modern photographic world of digital cameras and computer post-processing and display the testing is much easier than it might have been in the past, and it is well within our grasp to do it ourselves.

I recall one of the first times I put this to good use with a digital camera. Continue reading Testing? Testing? (Morning Musings 12/8/14)

Fujifilm Lens and Camera Deals (11/12/14)

Those of you shooting with one of the excellent Fujifilm X-Trans sensor cameras (X-E1, X-E2, X-Pro1, X-T1) should take a look at the current promotion on Fujifilm XF lenses and Fujifilm camera bodies. The offer includes a bunch of desirable prime and zoom lenses, including some of the newest ones, with savings of between $100 and $200.

There is also a $100 reduction on the X-T1, the flagship camera from Fujifilm, and the fixed-lens X100S has been reduced by $200.

Fujifilm Lenses

Fujifilm X-Trans Cameras

Notes:

  • Links go to site sponsor B&H Camera.
  • I own the lenses marked with an asterisk.

© Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Seeing Without Seeing (Morning Musings 10/14/14)

Aspen Leaves in Transition - Near Conway Summit
Aspen Leaves in Transition – Near Conway Summit *

I returned a couple of days ago from several days photographing fall color in the Sierra Nevada, something I’ve been doing now for quite a few years. At first, not knowing much about this astonishing annual transition, I worked to figure out the “best” places and times to find aspen color — but I worked, as I so often do, by looking around and speculating more than by doing research. I certainly did find the iconic color locations, but my slow and personal process led me to many places that are not necessarily on the “fall color map” in the Sierra.

It also turns out that the “most beautiful spots” are not necessarily the most beautiful spots! The most special places for me are often in odd little locations that I found by some combination of accident, persistence, and guessing — and they have become special partly because of the whole experience of finding and visiting them.

I was thinking about this as I drove down one well-known road on Sunday. Continue reading Seeing Without Seeing (Morning Musings 10/14/14)

Camera Gear… and Baseball (Morning Musings 10/3/14)

The Bleacher Seats, AT&T Park
The Bleacher Seats, AT&T Park

Recently someone posed — for the 11,535th time — a question about camera brands: Who is truly winning when it comes to the sensor game?

The context of the question had to do with recent advances in digital camera sensors from Sony, found in certain Sony cameras and in Nikon DSLR bodies. (These recent sensors have pushed a few boundaries forward, as always happens when new components are developed and released. In this case, they increase the photo site density and dynamic range.)

As a sometime Bay Area baseball fan, I understand that the concept of “who is winning?” is a nebulous and ephemeral one. Take the Oakland A’s, one of my SF Bay Area teams. A few months ago no one could touch them — they were on a record-breaking winning streak and were the hard-scrabble, underdog heroes of baseball. By the end of the season they couldn’t win and they slipped inexorably from a sure bet to “ain’t gonna happen,” barely scraping out a chance to get one wild-card playoff game… which they lost.

The other Bay Area team, the SF Giants (my emotional favorite, since I grew up following them) was up, was down, and never, even at their best, looked like a sure bet for anything. They had been in the lead, but not by that much, and in the end they came out just a bit behind the (evil, nefarious) Dodgers… but also qualified for a wildcard spot. And they won that wildcard game in fine fashion and go on to a division playoff today. (Giants fans have a word for this, though the full context perhaps only makes sense to those who have watched the team for a while: Torture.)

So, the answer to “who is winning?” is either a very much “in the moment” answer that means virtually nothing over the long run OR there could be some final competitive event at which a final winner is determined… for this year. And then the process starts all over again, and someone else “is winning.”

Extrapolated to photography equipment, right now I would say that Nikon is something like one of the two teams in our California Giants/Dodgers rivalry. Depending on which week you check, one of them is doing better than the other in some ways, but neither will ever be proven (says the Giants fan… ;-) to win in a a final, ultimate, never-to-be-challenged way. Ahead? Yes. How long? Probably not very? The winner? No.

Right now Nikon has an edge by some measure. On the basis of other factors, it doesn’t. A few months or a year from now… who knows? And, really, when it comes to photography — as differentiated from fawning over gear specifications — who cares?

But, yes, the Dodgers won the division title. This year. I’m not bitter. Yet.

Morning Musings are somewhat irregular posts in which I write about whatever is on my mind at the moment. Connections to photography may be tenuous at times!


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.