Posts Tagged ‘comparison’

Camera / Lens Test

November 6, 2009

I’m always looking out of my apartment window at the grand view I have of Bangkok. The window faces west and I have a fine view all the way from Rachadapisek Road all the around to the tall office buildings in the Chatuchak District.

Today I noted someone had erected a new billboard on a building about three miles away to the north. I thought I’d see if I could read it from a photograph.

I have two Canon DSLR bodies: a 2004 vintage EOS-300D (the original silver Digital Rebel) and a 2006 EOS-30D.

My longest lens is the Canon EF 75-300mm F4-5.6 zoom (non-IS). It is good for a US$200 lens but of course not up to “L” standards.

I decided to do a test using the same lens on both bodies with the same shooting conditions. Fortunately today was clear in the morning so I had a good view.

I set the cameras up on a tripod with a cable release with these settings:

  • Aperture priority – F8. (I read this is the len’s optimum aperture)
  • ISO 100.
  • RAW
    • 3072 x 2048 for the EOS-300D‘s 6.3MP sensor.
    • 3504 x 2336 for the EOS-30D‘s 8.2MP sensor.
  • Pattern metering mode.
  • Zero exposure compensation.

I took photos at 75mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm and 300mm with the same lens on both cameras.

I imported all the pictures into Lightroom 2.4, converting them to DNG and the Pro Photo RGB colour space in the process. I used the Lightroom “Camera Landscape” camera calibration profile (which matches Canon’s Landscape Picture Style). I set the white balance to Daylight (5500K).

Here are the views taken at 75mm:

Bangkok Chatuchak District from the Apartment (EOS-300D)

EOS-300D

Bangkok Chatuchak District from the Apartment (EOS-30D)

EOS-30D

You can examine larger pictures on Flickr by clicking on each picture.

I was interested in the pink billboard at the centre of the pictures.

I used Lightroom to make two crops of the 300 mm pictures’ DNG files to show only the billboard. Here they are:

Billboard (EOS-300D)

EOS-300D

 

Billboard (EOS-30D)

EOS-30D

 

Yes! I could read them.

They are advertising new “Paradise” condominiums on Chaeng Watthana Soi 14. They have an offer of free furniture.

But I was surprised that the picture from the old EOS-300D seemed clearer. I think I applied the same processing parameters in Lightroom. I would have thought that the newer EOS-30D would have delivered a better result.

Maybe the EOS-30D’s sensor is dirty. I don’t have the courage to try to clean it myself.

I have not yet found anywhere in Thailand where I can rent Canon camera equipment. It would be great to rent a L telephoto lens for a few days to compare the results in real use.

Is there anything wrong with my methodology?

Advertisements

Camera Prices in Thailand

October 1, 2009
Camera Prices in Thailand

Bangkok Camera Prices

I did a quick, unscientific price comparison of popular cameras sold in Thailand, the USA and England. My prior impression was that Thailand is a very expensive place to buy electronics due to high import taxes.

For Thailand I chose the EC Mall retail store at Fortune Town Mall near my home. I understand it is an official dealer, but I think they stock some grey-imports too. I saw some Japanese-language boxes in the window.

I did an internet price comparison with Amazon.com for the USA and Jessops.com in England.

I checked the prices of the following cameras listed on the EC Mall sign above:

Canon EOS-50D body
Canon EOS-450D kit, 18-55 IS
Canon EOS-500D kit, 18-55 IS
Canon Powershot G10
Canon Powershot SX200 IS
Canon IXUS 95 IS / IXY 110 IS
Canon IXUS 100 IS / IXY 210 IS
Canon IXUS 110 IS / IXY 510 IS
Nikon D3000 kit, 18-55 VR
Nikon D5000 kit, 18-55 VR
Nikon D90 kit, 18-105 VR
Nikon D300s body
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX40/48
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3/TZ7
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35/38
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

As I expected, Amazon.com (USA) was cheaper than Thailand by an average of 10%. But Jessops.com (UK) was an average of 20% more expensive than Thailand.

Perhaps the UK has both high import duties and higher VAT. It is 7% in Thailand. Amazon.com generally does not charge sales tax.

I ignored the cost of shipping and handling when I got the Internet quotes but I made sure i was comparing like with like. I wonder why manufacturers use different model identities in each market. The EC-Mall sign lists both the US and the European identities.

The Canon EOS-450D was not available new from Amazon.com.

Incidentally, I asked about the Canon EOS-7D. EC Mall did not know when it would be available here through Canon (Thailand).

You can download a  PDF file of my price comparison spreadsheet here. As they always say in England,  E&OE: “Errors and Omissions Excepted”.

Given that if I buy a camera in the US I won’t get warranty service in Thailand, it’s best to buy here even if it is 10% more.

Please correct me if I have screwed up my comparisons or calculations.

4 Panoramas Comparison

August 21, 2009

It’s a lovely clear morning in Bangkok. Delighting in the view from the apartment I shot similar panoramas with my four cameras:

  1. Canon EOS-300D with an image stabilized 28-135mm lens set at 28mm.
  2. Nikon Coolpix P6000 in Landscape mode with the lens set at 12.3mm.
  3. Canon EOS-30D with the 75-300mm lens set at 75mm.
  4. Sony DSC-W35 in Landscape mode with the lens set at 6.3mm.

I processed them all in Lightroom / Photoshop CS4. Using the same parameters for each.

I posted them all to my GB-in-TH account at Flickr (I have more free upload quota there this month.)

1.

Bangkok Morning from the Apartment

2.

Bangkok Morning from the Apartment

3.

Bangkok Morning from the Apartment

4.

Bangkok Morning from the Apartment

Which one do you prefer?

Other Work on Nikon D-Lighting

August 9, 2009

I found this blog entry where a photographer looked at Active and vanilla D-Lighting more scientifically than I. See here. He used a Nikon SLR and concluded that there is value in D-Lighting: something you cannot do in Photoshop.

Unfortunately Val & Easa have not updated their blog since June 2008. I will try leaving a comment thanking them anyway.

I wonder how many ‘orphan’ blogs are on the Internet – those that haven’t been updated for over a year yet remain available.

Nikon’s ACTIVE D-Lighting

August 9, 2009
Nikon Coolpix P6000 Active D-Lighting Comparison

Nikon Coolpix P6000 Active D-Lighting Comparison

Now I’ve sorted out the difference between Active D-Lighting on the Nikon Coolpix P6000 camera (and other Nikon cameras) and the plain D-Lighting, I thought I would try a comparison of the former.

I took a picture using each setting: Low, Normal, High and Off. I thought the scene covered a wide range of tones from highlights to shadows.

Like yesterday’s comparison with post-processed D-Lighting (in camera) I made one file with the four pictures and their histograms from Lightroom.

I cannot see a major difference between the pictures: certainly not enough to warrant the extra processing time incurred on the slow camera. I think I could get comparable results with a Curves adjustment in Photoshop.

However, I am concerned about my experimental technique. I tried to ensure that neither Lightroom nor Photoshop processed the work the camera did. I wanted to show the pictures with only the camera’s processing. I am not sure if in the ‘printing’ process where I put each of the four images in a single JPEG file Lightroom tried to be helpful.

I have seen that when Lightroom imports files that I have exposure bracketed. It tries to adjust them to the same exposure, adding up to 4EV in the process. In this case ‘No! Please leave it alone!”

Nikon’s D-Lighting

August 8, 2009

Nikon Coolpix P6000 D-Lighting Comparison

The Nikon Coolpix P6000 allows you to apply “D-Lighting” to pictures you’ve taken using an editing tool in the camera’s firmware.

To quote Nikon:

D-Lighting can be used to create copies with enhanced brightness and contrast, brightening dark potions of the picture. Enhanced copies are stored as separate files.

(Nikon Coolpix P6000 User Manual (English) page 68).

The camera replaced the first letter D of the file name with a F, so DSCN1234.jpg becomes FSCN1234.jpg.

The camera only lets you make one copy so you can only try a single setting.

There are three levels of D-Lighting: High, Normal and Low. I thought I would try to compare the different levels in a fair way.

I selected a picture that seemed well-exposed. It is the “Office Depot” store on Sukhumvit Road at Phrom Phong.

I applied the three levels of D-Lighting to the picture and imported them to Lightroom without making any develop adjustments. I then printed the three copies and the original to a single JPG file. I added the Histogram as produced by Lightroom to the picture.

I am not enough of an expert in describing the colour characteristics of pictures to explain the differences between the D-Lighting settings. Suffice to say that I think the picture looks best as it was shot, with no D-Lighting applied.

What do you think?

Note

In my extensive research for this post (Googling “D-Lighting”) I find that Nikon use the term in two ways:

  • Active D-Lighting is extra processing the camera applies while taking the picture, trying to extend its dynamic range.
  • Just plain D-Lighting is the effect applied in the camera’s firmware after taking the shot.

My Nikon Coolpix P6000 supports both, as do many Nikon DSLR cameras. I am talking about the post-shooting variety here. I should do some comparisons of Active D-Lighting too.

Here is another photographer’s comparison of Active and Normal D-Lighting.

One blog entry I read said that Active D-Lighting slows down image processing and does not make much difference in the real world. The P6000 is slow. Anything I can do to speed it up will be a blessing.