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Fuji S3 Pro

Discussion in 'Fujifilm Cameras' started by Clive, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    I see that Michael Reichman got it wrong about there being no instant playback in histogram mode, and he has apologised.

    The one thing I'm not sure about is whether it's a 6mp or a 12mp camera. My understanding is that there are two sets of pixels, 6mp each for dark light and bright light, thus giving an extended dynamic range. I know that it can perform in 6mp or 12mp mode - but is the 12mp output actual or acheved by interpolation?

    Early reports indicate that the main advantages of this camera are in jpg shooting, and not RAW.

    Clive

    justmono2005
     
  2. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    What you have to understand about Fuji's unique sensor design is that each photosite uses [/i]two[/i] inedpendent light sensitive receptors which have different effective sensitivities. One receptor is a perfectly normal (for Fuji) one. But close to it lies a smaller one with much lower sensitivity, which is therefore able to go on measuring the light falling on it when the larger one is saturated (as in blown highlights). The camera then processes the information from all the photosites in such a way as to combine the two different types and produce an extended dynamic range.

    Now, I think it is theoretically possible that this set-up could contribute to a greater overall resolution in some circumstances, but really the design is such that I think you're getting information from one type or the other, but not both at the same time. If I understand the set-up right you don't normally get increased actual resolution from this in general.

    But then there is Fuji's now traditional quirky layout, in which the photosites are not in a normal rectangular array, like this:

    RGRGR
    GBGBG
    RGRGR etc.

    but in something more like a diamond array:

    RBRBR
    GGGGG
    RBRBR
    GGGGG

    It doesn't quite work in ASCII, but just imagine a chess board turned through 45° so that it is not square on - then imagine all the black squares represent green pixels, and all the white ones alternate red and blue. Now this obviously doesn't give rise to a normal raster file of pixels - a rectangular array as displayed on your monitor or represented in your RAW file, or recontructed from your JPEGS - it needs to be interpolated first. Fuji's processing does this interpolation in such a way as to estimate an RGB value for a grid of points that includes not only the original photosite location, but also every 'node' between a diamond of four photosites. This then gives a file which contains twice the number of picture elements as there were photosites in the original sensor. However, it is still just interpolated data - not real additionally resolved information.

    My own observations, and I note since that others have come to the same conclusion, led me to conclude that by this means they did achieve an apparent increase in perceived resolution by maybe one third, or perhaps a half - i.e. a 6MP SuperCCD sensor seems to give the resolution achieved by a conventional sensor of 8-9MP. I'm still not exactly sure how that is the case - I think it might have more to do with the psychology of visual perception than with any genuine effect, but that's just a guess. I see no rational, technical explanation for any increased resolution - after all, if you simply turn a conventional CCD through 45&deg: (like the chess board) it has exactly the same layout as the SuperCCD. And from the perspective of DSP the bottom line is that 6 million samples is 6 million samples is 6 million samples.

    So anyway, this is what Fuji's double sized files are all about, but it is quite a separate thing from the addition of the extra low-sensitivity photosites in the fourth generation SuperCCD.

    Huw Evans.
     
  3. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    Thanks Huw for your clarification on what Fuji is actually doing. I think for my purposes, it must be regarded as a 6mp camera. My interest is in using cropped images and achieving around 50mb file sizes, which just don't have enough detail with the D100. And it is this detail that is lacking in my interpolated 50mb files from a cropped original. So with a true 12mp camera I should be able to achieve the same detail with half the image that I currently achieve with the D100, or would achieve with the S3 Pro despite its apparent 8-9mp 'capability'

    Or should I?

    Clive



    justmono2005
     
  4. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    I guess we're talking about a D2X here, and yes, what you suggest is, or I think should be, broadly the case. I qualify that statement simply for the case of higher ISO settings - the smaller photosites of the D2X should mean that when pushed to the limits and subsequently processed to reduce noise they will tend to lose effective resolution to the extent that they won't actually retain much more, if any, detail than a D100 file at the same ISO setting. OTOH, when used comfortably within the camera's dynamic range capability - say at speeds up to ISO400 or 800 maybe, I would expect that the greater actual resolution will tell.

    The problem is that noise reduction inevitably swallows up genuine detail resolution by smoothing out the whole image. On one forum I read ages ago someone helpfully posted direct comparison images taken with a D2H and a 1DMkII - of course one image was 8MP and the other just 4MP. They were taken at ISO1250. And the Nikon's file was evidently much noisier than the Canon's. But I tried a little investigative exercise, and resampled the Nikon file up to the size of the the other one and looked closely at both images. The fairly clear conclusion was that the Canon didn't really have any more detail than the Nikon - its higher native resolution had been lost in processing out the noise, and it wasn't actually any better for detail than the 4MP D2H.

    Having said all that, as far as I can tell from the advance information this new Nikon's sensor is going to be normal CMOS technology, which means generally higher noise levels. The D100 was CCD (naturally low noise), and the D2H had the new LBCAST sensor, which had particularly low dark current noise (i.e. excellent for long exposures), but was otherwise like a traditional CMOS. So It's hard to know what the D2X's sensor will be like, or what Nikon will achieve with noise processing, or indeed how much they will sacrifice in terms of real resolution to do it. There's always going to be a price to pay for choosing smaller photosites - we'll have to wait and see quite how big a price it is.

    Huw Evans.
     
  5. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    Indeed, and as in everything photographic. Yes, I am talking the D2X, and at this stage would think the D100 and D2X could complement each other.

    I'm very grateful for your thoughts, Huw, and for clarification of what the Fuji actually is.

    I shall keep a close eye on the D2X reviews. Even the 6mp 2x lens factor mode sounds appealing.

    Clive

    justmono2005
     
  6. parisian

    parisian Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately

    Regarding pixel size, a good big 'un will always stuff a good little 'un.
    Many folk have praised the S2Pro and by extension the S3 but there has always been a little shadow of doubt over the interpolation issue.
    The problem now is that anyone with a need for a Nikon mount AND quality/large file sizes are having to use powerful binoculars to see the opposition disappearing over the horizon.
    There can be no doubt that Canon have a massive lead in things digital and though it saddens me to say so, this will be the story for quite a while to come.

    My new job? - Stunt double for Shrek/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif
     
  7. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: Unfortunately

    Regarding pixel size, a good big 'un will always stuff a good little 'un

    It's true for most things, and with Canon being about seven times the size of Nikon, with resources to match (its R&D budget alone is bigger than the Nikon Photo-optical division's entire turnover), what we are seeing is I think fairly inevitable and should surprise no-one. I'm sure Canon would like to get their grubby paws on Nikon's 30% share (I think - can't remember the figures exactly) of the DSLR market.

    But this benighted Nikon user continues to be happy, even with his mere 4MP D2H files, and the stock agency accepts them without a murmur when they are resampled up to over 16MP, so I'm not too worried. Mind you, I'm normally the first person here to start banging on about lack of resolution in digital work, and I still shoot MF and LF film when I want real resolution. I can't see that changing, no matter what the gasfire people do.

    All over the 'net photography forums you can find people insisting that the new 22MP backs produce superior resolution to 5x4, and yet I have 6x7 transparencies that contain - and can put onto paper when properly printed - more detail than it is numerically possible to render in a mere 22 million data points - no bother at all. I can take this 67 shot...

    [​IMG]

    ...and crop out, say, a 30mm x 24mm sized chunk of it, like this...

    [​IMG]

    [ sorry - these are taken from a crappy old low res flat-bed scan, but they're just for illustration purposes ]

    ...and make a 20"x16" print that is essentially grain-free, and as sharp as you like, with, for example, even such small detail as the boat's name or the logo on the sail cover (top right) clearly rendered, like this:

    [​IMG]

    Now that was taken from a print made onto standard negative B&W paper and then inverted in software, but you get the idea. At the enlargements described the text of the yacht's name renders at about 1.7mm high - as clearly defined as, say, bold 11pt type off a laser printer. And equally clearly it could have been a lot smaller and still been adequately rendered. Try that with your 1DSMkII, or even your PhaseOne 22MP back! :)

    So, if you're really serious about high resolution - film is still king, and I think always will be.



    Huw Evans.
     
  8. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    OTOH, here's some crappy low-resolution Nikon D2H files for you! ;-)

    Good enough for stock, I reckon. (I've sent dozens of D2H files to the agency, and they haven't complained - so far.)


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Huw Evans.
     
  9. Wilko.

    Wilko. Well-Known Member

    Sir Huw Evans?

    this benighted Nikon user

    Wilko (collectively a NRIPN)
     
  10. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: Sir Huw Evans?

    It's okay - you don't have to bow. ;-)

    Huw Evans.
     
  11. Seven

    Seven ..or eight

    Re: Sir Huw Evans?

    Never mind the chat about cameras I've really enjoyed looking at those few images Huw! As ever great to see the demonstrations also /img/wwwthreads/smile.gif

    Tanya(CRIPN)/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif
    <a href=&quot;http://www.castvision.co.uk/&quot;> CastVision </a>
     
  12. parisian

    parisian Well-Known Member

    Re: Unfortunately

    Film is indeed still king and scanning 6x6 negs on my old canoscan the detail is unbeleivable. But taking Clives search for highly croppable images then I am not convinced that the fuji or even the D2X will give him what he is looking for. I suppose also that the lenses are the limiting factor, having difficulty as I understand it in reaching the resolving power of the sensor. In the shots you show it does help that there was a damn good photographer behind the camera.

    My new job? - Stunt double for Shrek/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif
     
  13. parisian

    parisian Well-Known Member

    Re: OTOH, here's some crappy low-resolution Nikon D2H files for you! ;-)

    I would like to see them printed at A2 and put alongside the 6x7's.

    My new job? - Stunt double for Shrek/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif
     
  14. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Re: Sir Huw Evans?

    That's "Sir Huw" to you Tanya.........................I'll just continue to call him plain old git face! /img/wwwthreads/smile.gif

    BigWill

    <font color=blue>I'm sailing like a driftwood on a windy bay!<font color=black>
     
  15. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: Sir Huw Evans?

    Thanks Tanya. I had a great time on that little shoot - it's the rejuvenated canal basin area in my home town up in Worcestershire. Had great weather for about an hour over new year and those pictures and a few dozen others were the result.

    Huw Evans.
     
  16. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: Unfortunately

    I think you're right about cropping - I've long been of the opinion that it is digital's Achilles' heel. A good fine grained film just gives you a scope that simply isn't there (or not to the same extent) with digital.

    Huw Evans.
     
  17. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: Sir Huw Evans?

    I'll just continue to call him plain old git face!

    I'd expect nothing less! :)

    Huw Evans.
     
  18. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Re: Sir Huw Evans?

    That's Mr git face, sir, to you! /img/wwwthreads/wink.gif

    Tim BSRIPN
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    Re: Unfortunately

    I agree with you both. My use of digital capture is for convenience, particularly in producing a lot of stock images quickly. But to me, comparing digital to film is like comparing 35mm to medium format.

    I have Leica equipment which is second to none in the 35mm world, but it just can't produce the results of my Mamiya 645 system. Then go to 6x6 or 6x7 and you are starting to talk superlatives, particularly with a fine grained film like APX 25 or Velvia.

    To spend £3,500 on 12 megapixels (or over on £5000 on 16, or twice as much on 22) is something I could only justify if I thought the equipment could pay for itself. So that is why I am considering the D2X as a better machine for producing stock. If there is a problem with cropping, then I really need to know.

    Perhaps I would be better spending money on a medium format scanner that had ICE. Cleaning a 6x7cm scan to an agency's requirements is a total turn off.

    Clive

    justmono2005
     
  20. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: Sir Huw Evans?

    Quite right - put the big Irish tosser in his place! :)

    Huw Evans.
     

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