Camera Reviews

Canon 5D Mark III Test – ISO

1/60 sec, f/4, iso 800, Canon 24-105mm

 

The new Canon 5D Mark III showed up recently. So far so good. The following items are improved, AF,  frames per second, audio capability, high ISO performance, construction/weather seals, LCD screen, etc.

1/640 sec, f/8, iso 320, Canon 24-105mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the first round of tests we have some in studio ISO samples. ISO 100-12800, 50mm Canon f/1.2 L lens (focused with live view on the rodenstock loupe), processed in Lightroom 4.1. Full Res JPEGs with default sharpening applied, no other tweaks.

5d Mark III test shot

ISO 100, 50mm f/ 1.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

click photo for full res jpeg

Click here to download a zip of the RAW’s ISO 100-12800

I decided to do a print test on our big Epson with an ISO 3200 file.  The native file size @ 180ppi gives us about a 21″ x 33″ print.  No interpolation. After a little adjustment on the Luminance in Noise Reduction in Lightroom  and some sharpening, I made a print.

What the print revealed was that with proper technique, good optics, etc. a beautiful large print can be produced from the Mark III even at ISO 3200 to 6400. There was just a slight “grain” look at ISO 3200, and a little “grainier” at 6400.  But, overall it exceeded my expectations.

1/1000 sec, f/2.8, iso 640, Canon 70-200mm f/ 2.8 IS

 

 

 

 

 

 


Canon PowerShot S95 vs S100 – Worth the Upgrade?

There are many high end cameras floating around the studio. But I still need a super compact point and shoot for times when you don’t want to lug around a brick of a camera. When I say compact, I mean slide in your pants pocket and hardly know its there compact. I’m not looking for something to compete with a proper full frame DSLR, just need something for happy snaps.

Over the years I’ve tried a few different brands, and most of the time I go with a Canon. A couple of years ago a few brands started letting us have access to the RAW capabilities of these smaller cameras. Which is a huge upgrade from just getting some jpegs.

I usually replace my previous version when the new one comes out…S90 – S95 – S100. I was happy with the S95, but the features that stood out most with the S100 for me were better HD video 720 to 1080, GPS logging and slightly wider lens.

 

Below are some comparison shots of the S95 vs S100, both on tripods, self timer, etc. These are screen grabs from lightroom 4, there are no noise adjustments made.

My Conclusion:

The S100 so far looks a little better, not mind blowing…but then again Canon seems to replace these every year so I suspect the differences between cameras won’t be very great. I haven’t posted any video tests yet, maybe in the future. The GPS feature is interesting but it seems to really drain the battery fast. And as with any GPS, reception can be spotty. It is nice when it works though and look forward to that feature being seamless someday. Overall a nice little camera with RAW capability and 1080 video. If you have an S90, its a nice upgrade. If you have an S95, not sure its really worth it. If you are going to buy this camera and just shoot jpegs, I would buy a less expensive camera because if you are not shooting RAW you are wasting your money.


Mamiya / Phase One AF 28mm f/4.5 Aspherical Lens Review

I’m a real sucker for good wide angle lenses, and I’m constantly searching for a few ideal wide lenses for landscape and architectural shoots.  I’ll settle on something I really like, then get a new medium format digital back or camera that puts a hurt on my once “great” lens. So the search seems to go on forever.

The following short test is for the Mamiya AF 28mm f/4.5 Aspherical Lens, which Mamiya started producing a few years ago. Phase One makes one with their name on it as well…same lens. Now that Phase One and Mamiya have one website, I guess they’ll probably just produce one flavor now.  The lens will be used with a Phase One P65+ 60 megapixel medium format digital back.

In the past I’ve used the Mamiya 35mm AF lens as well as a Cambo RS with both the Schneider 5,6/24XL Apo-Digitar and the Schneider 5,6/35 XL Apo-Digitar.  I must say the Cambo RS setup with those lenses and a Phase One P45 back is awesome. There are some drawbacks with the Cambo RS though. Slower to work with, Lens cast issues (which are correctable but still a hassle) ergonomics, wires and cables aplenty as well as major light fall off in the corners. Yes you can use an expensive center filter and or correct in post.  The center filter takes around a 2 stop loss, and correcting in Capture One can add some noise in the corners as its basically brightening the corners around 2 stops. Maybe a review of that camera in near future.

I will be keeping the Cambo as its hard to beat in terms of quality, but there are times I need something a little faster or less clumsy. Basically the Cambo is like a traditional view camera, the Mamiya is an SLR.

Test setup all files:

Phase One AF body

Phase One P65+, ISO 50, RAW

Heavy tripod, cable release, mirror lock up, self timer, AF focus confirmation, slight breeze.

Capture One 6.3.3 on MAC, default lens correction settings= chromatic aberration enabled, Distortion enabled, all others off.

Default sharpening enabled, Amount 140, Radius 1, Threshold 1

 

Main Shot @ f/16  (a real beauty, I know):

Download the RAW file here

Download a JPEG here (full resolution, max quality, sRGB)

 

 

Below are 100% crops of the center (also what I focused on), the four different images are comparing different f stops (f/4.5, f/8, f/16, f/32)

100% Center Crop

 

Below are 50% crops of the center (also what I focused on), the four different images are comparing different f stops (f/4.5, f/8, f/16, f/32).

50% crops were done because this seems to be a good indicator of how the actual print will look on screen if printed at native size @ 240ppi on an Epson. Actual print size is around 28″ x 37.5″

50% center crops

 

Below are 100% crops of the bottom left, the four different images are comparing different f stops (f/4.5, f/8, f/16, f/32)

 

What I see:

F/4.5 – Some vignetting (correctable in post, doesn’t really bother me). Not as sharp as other apertures but still useable if needed.

F/8 – Really sharp in the center, slight vignetting, blue drill in corner not tack sharp mainly because of focus/distance not optical issues.

F/16 – Looks not too bad, chromatic aberrations seem under reasonable control in the trees too. There was a little breeze so look for stationary subjects as indicators of true sharpness. Blue drill in bottom left corner is pretty sharp. f/11 is obviously somewhere in between.  More than likely I will use f/8-f/16 in real world situations.

F/32 – Diffraction pretty obvious at 100%, at 50% its not horrible. I almost never use the smallest aperture on any lens I own.

 

After reviewing the results on screen, I decided to print a large print of roughly 28″ x 37.5″ @ 240ppi (which is the native pixel size) on my Epson 9800, premium luster epson paper, 2880i, profiled, etc.  I ended up using the f/16 image, I know its not necessarily the sharpest in the center but I was guessing at that print size and adding a little output sharpening it would be a good compromise.  For most of my landscape work I prefer most of the scene in focus.

Pixel peeping on screen only shows so much, I can’t remember the last time I went into a gallery and asked for a digital file of the work on display so I can zoom into 100-200% and make sure everything is in order. If it looks good hanging on a wall at a large print size, it’s good enough for me.

Overall the print looks great, at normal viewing distances and at up close pixel sniffing ranges.

– Jordan

 

 


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