Archive for October, 2008

Friday, October 31st 2008

Too Many Pixels, Canon

Dpreview.com just posted their full review of the Canon EOS 50D. The interesting part is when they look at the noise performance.

Canon EOS 50D

According to the review, Canon have claimed that the 50D will perform better than the 40D even though it has 50 percent more pixels. If you scroll down the test page you can clearly see that this is not the case at all.

Also, the pixel density of a 15 MP APS-C sized sensor is more than even the best lenses can cope with.

So what you get is this: Unnecessarily large files with more noise (which in turn increases the file size even more).

Canon, please understand that SLR buyers aren’t as gullible as compact buyers when it comes to megapixels. That said, the 50D has many other nice features: A huge, high-res screen, HDMI output, front/back focus adjustment per lens, to name a few.

All those are features I want on my next camera. Just not the oversized, noisy images.

So. Dear Canon. Please release an update to the 30/40/50D series with the nice gadgets of the 50D, but with a more reasonable sensor resolution. 10 MP is about right I’d say.

Tuesday, October 21st 2008

Awful weather = awful photos?

Well, obviously, no. Or I wouldn’t be writing this. I got thinking about the relationship between weather and photographic quality and arrived at this theory:

A graph showing the relationship between weather and photo quality.

The weather today was, without a doubt, awful. So with an umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other I set out in an attempt to catch the mood on CMOS.

Operating the camera and holding the umbrella at the same time turned out to be tricky. Also, it was difficult to keep the camera still enough to avoid shaky pics in the dull light. I dialled down the exposure a few notches to keep the dark feeling.

Anyway, here are a few of the shots:

19193 - 2008-10-21 kl 09.44

19219 - 2008-10-21 kl 09.53

19220 - 2008-10-21 kl 09.54

The rest are here.

Monday, October 6th 2008

Some more HDR

Just playing around really, hardly very interesting shots. But this is definitely a good use for HDR, shooting out through windows.

19124-19126 - HDR

And the regular exposure:

19125 - 2008-10-04 kl 15.37

19115-19117 - HDR

And again, the medium exposure original:

19116 - 2008-10-04 kl 15.33

I did these the cheating way with only three exposures, -2, 0 and +2. By using the camera in high speed drive this is quite good for when you don’t have a tripod around. You still need something to hold your camera against though.

Thursday, October 2nd 2008

HDR – Getting it Right

Today I sat down and went about creating HDR images out of the multiple exposures I took on my last photo excursion. It was pretty tricky getting the settings right in Photoshop and it took a couple of hours of experimenting before I felt the output was what I wanted.

(If you just want the photos, scroll down.)

The main problem seems to be that when you press a large tonal range into 8 (24) bits of colour you easily end up with a very dull looking photo.

The fix for this dullness is using curves and local adaptation when converting from 32-bit to 8-bit. But, with endless possible combinations of settings it takes a while to find something that looks good and realistic.

I finally ended up with these settings:

  • Radius: 120 px
  • Treshold: 1.0

I also adjust the curve to only just clip the information in the 32-bit image:

Screenshot of the 16-bit conversion dialog in Photoshop with my favourite settings, radius 120 px and treshold 1.0

Those settings give me this:

A19070 - HDR

And for comparison, the original (metered exposure):

19070 - 2008-09-29 kl 17.46

I have put the best shots in a Flickr set.

Getting the shots right

While making the HDR images I realized that I didn’t take dark enough exposures to retain all the detail in the brightest highlights. I used the cameras auto-bracketing feature and did -2, 0 and +2 exposures, except for the last shot I took where I manually did -4 EV to +3 EV at 1 step intervals.

And it is only in that last shot that I can get all the detail around the sun.

So if you’re including the sun or a bright sky, you should probably go at least four stops below the metered exposure, and four above. If you follow Denny Tangs advice here that means that a series of -4, -2, 0, +2 and +4 should do the trick if you’re using an SLR.

If you use Photoshop for merging into HDR I’d love to hear what settings you tend to use.

Edit: Since posting I have decided to also add a very slight S-curve for slightly more contrast. The photos on Flickr have been updated.

Thursday, October 2nd 2008

IDG.se, Try Sticking to the Facts

I read this article over at IDG.se. (Google translation) I was so annoyed by the factual errors and speculation I felt I had to write something.

The article tries to give the current standings in the browser wars. But like many other articles on IDG.se it is full of holes and guesswork.

Here’s what got me annoyed (translated from Swedish):

There are studies that, although financed by Microsoft, show that Firefox is more often subject so security issues than Internet Explorer because Firefox is released in new versions more often.

First – basic rules of journalism. If a study is paid for by a player in the game then it most likely gives a skewed view of reality. (If Internet Explorer really were safer, Microsoft wouldn’t have to pay someone to come to that conclusion.)

Second – basic rules of software development. That argument is so obviously flawed and backwards I can’t see how anyone could possibly buy it let alone publish it.

… since Google now has a browser of their own they aren’t investing as much in Mozilla when it comes to browsers.

Umm, didn’t Google just renew their deal with Mozilla? This time for three years instead of two.

The biggest advantage for Internet Explorer 8 is its market share, which is at around 75 percent.

Let me say umm again. IE7 and IE6 currently have roughly 35 percent each. If IE8 is going to be deployed or downloaded as slowly as IE7 then it will take many years before it has 75 percent market share.

On a side note: Microsoft really should push their new browsers harder via auto-update systems for the benefit of the web.

Apple’s web browser Safari is usually said to be the third largest, but it isn’t really in the same competition as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome.

That is mainly because Apple isn’t doing as much to create solutions for running applications in the web browser as the competitors.

Wassatagain? Safari 4 will let the user create icons in the operating system as shortcuts for web apps. Are they saying Internet Explorer is doing this too? That would be news to me. (Although I’m not really a big fan of this feature myself, it feels like a step back.)

And what about the Acid3 test? Safari 4 will pass it with flying colours, before any other browser. That’s a big deal for app developers if I’ve understood things correctly.

Furthermore, the Javascript engine in IE8 is embarrassingly slow compared to the competition.

Mozilla’s representatives also claim that the finished version of Tracemonkey, the company’s Javascript platform, will blow Google out of the water.

Another typically journalistic exaggeration. Mozilla may have said Tracemonkey will be faster, but they have never said that it will be that much faster. They will still be in the same league.

All in all, a pretty typical article from IDG.

Wednesday, October 1st 2008

Snygg bild DN.se

skärmdump på en ful bild på dn.se