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Processing Summicron-R 50 images
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 7:43 pm    Post subject: Processing Summicron-R 50 images Reply with quote

I want to show you the typical histogram of a photograph shot in a bright sunny day with the Summicron-R 50mm - one of the many I shot that day in Bardi.



I have taken a screenshot of Breezebrowser Pro RAW editor. Notice that the settings of the camera are set to "normal" for contrast and saturation and to "0" for sharpness. Look at the histogram. The lens has captured the full range of tones from the deepest shadows to the most bright highlight. It actually clipped some of the highlights.

Not just it covers the whole range. It also does with great amount of information. It means that it has saturated ALL tones, from the dark shadows to the highlights. There is only a fall just before the brightest highlights.

I have examined many histograms on my 5D, of both autofocus lenses, and the oldest manual lenses, but I never saw anything to even come close to that.
Most lenses use about 2/3rds of the dynamic range - some of the oldest lenses I have, can use even half of it, like some of the less contrasted oldest Nikkors I have. But even those lenses who use the full range, NEVER do it at full power like this.

The performance of this lens is amazing, it records every information and it records it at very high density.
I think this is one of the main keys to the quality of this lens, and at the same time, it makes it REALLY difficult to use it with digital.

Yes, because as you know, the dynamic range of digital is inferior to that of the film. This Summicron was clearly built by Leica to take full advantage of the full dynamic range of the best films. But with digital, it is so powerful that it is close to unuseable: it is obvious by looking at this histogram, that even a move of 1/10th of a stop up or down, can either clip highlights or shadows.
In other words, this lens only gives you ONE possibility of exposure, and if you miss it, you lose information. You have to expose DEAD ON the correct value or you are in trouble.

Of course, if you do pick the right value, this lens gives you load of information to generate a perfect digital file without the need of almost any processing. It is boosted from the start, optically, not digitally.

It is a near to perfect lens, that requires a near to perfect photographer.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Processing Summicron-R 50 images Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
...Yes, because as you know, the dynamic range of digital is inferior to that of the film...


Sorry, Orio, but that's not true. (There might be some problems in recording highlights, but there are easy ways out of it.)

On a high end film you might get wider dynamics than with JPEG.
But shooting digitally RAW will provide considerably wider dynamics than any film!
Slides, btw, are the worst!

(Neither film nor regular digital files can reproduce the dynamic range of some shots at sunshine. But with digital photography you can quite easily produce HDR pictures.)

I do not want to start a discussion which medium is "better", this makes no sense, and I like to shoot on film and digitally. But the idea that film offers a wider dynamic range is an too often cited misconception. (That's why I had to object here...) Wink

Carsten


PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I forgot something:

This Leica lens obviously is excellent!! Congratulations, Orio!

C.

P.S.: After seeing this picture, I'm really looking forward to your series!


PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Processing Summicron-R 50 images Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:

On a high end film you might get wider dynamics than with JPEG.
But shooting digitally RAW will provide considerably wider dynamics than any film!


Yes but you have to combine exposures. This is "not fair", so to say Wink
With a single exposure, good film has wider dynamic range. The point in my observation was related to the way the lens is optimized for a dynamic range that obviously exceeds the range of a single exposure in a camera like a 5D (maybe with more powerful digital cameras, that is not true anymore).


PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:15 am    Post subject: Re: Processing Summicron-R 50 images Reply with quote

Orio wrote:

With a single exposure, good film has wider dynamic range.


See "Dynamic Range and Transfer Functions of Digital Images and Comparison to Film" at http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/dynamicrange2/index.html

The scanner used in that test isn't the best possible one, but even two extra stops of dynamic range for film wouldn't make much difference, especially for slide film.

Veijo


PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:13 am    Post subject: Re: Processing Summicron-R 50 images Reply with quote

vilva wrote:

See "Dynamic Range and Transfer Functions of Digital Images and Comparison to Film" at http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/dynamicrange2/index.html
The scanner used in that test isn't the best possible one, but even two extra stops of dynamic range for film wouldn't make much difference, especially for slide film.


Wow, really an interesting page! It's a pleasure to stand corrected in front of such well laid-down scientific proofs.
From the text it appears that they have not taken advantage of the possibility of combining exposures

Quote:
The image in Figure 1 was obtained with a Canon 1D Mark II camera in raw mode and converted to a 16-bit tif file using Canon's software with default settings


which makes the test really worth while.
But now I wonder about something: why does everyone around the internet say and repeat that film has a wider dynamic range? What a widespread misinformation. From now on, I will take with extra caution any information that I read on the forums which is not supported by scientific evidence.


Last edited by Orio on Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:14 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: Processing Summicron-R 50 images Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
LucisPictor wrote:

On a high end film you might get wider dynamics than with JPEG.
But shooting digitally RAW will provide considerably wider dynamics than any film!


Yes but you have to combine exposures. This is "not fair", so to say Wink
With a single exposure, good film has wider dynamic range. The point in my observation was related to the way the lens is optimized for a dynamic range that obviously exceeds the range of a single exposure in a camera like a 5D (maybe with more powerful digital cameras, that is not true anymore).


I'm not talking about DRI or HDR, Orio.
Even with a single shot, the digital sensors (the good ones) have a wider dynamic range than film. This is true for the 5D and even for the 350D...
Several tests have proven that (e.g. the one Veijo mentions).

As I said, I like to shoot on film, but not because of some advantages, just because of the "feeling". It rather is a nostalgic thing.
This wrong idea that film offers a wider dynamic range is one of the arguments that is often used by film fans to find a reason against digital photography.

Again, I do not want to discuss which medium is "better". It would be like discussing if going by bus or by train is better - these are two different things.
But we should not follow the traps that are provided by some film fanatics. Wink

Carsten

Carsten


PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:15 am    Post subject: Re: Processing Summicron-R 50 images Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:

But we should not follow the traps that are provided by some film fanatics. Wink
Carsten


Yes, like I said, I will be more cautious from now on in accepting statements that are not supported by similar scientific evidence.


PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Orio. First I am pleased the question about dynamic range was sorted and corrected. When I first saw the Film vs Digital I thought Oh no here we go again, shall I get involved or not. Anyway what I want to ask you is do you use Canons RAW converter or is it just for the screen shot? There obviously must be more control, adjustments that I cant see but have you tried Adobe? I have tried a few of the Raw converters and Adobe to me and it seems many reviewers is the best. I could stand corrected on that as I have never used Canons or even seen my Canon friends use it (My Canon 5D friend uses Adobe) and of course there are converters I have never tried but the control Adobe gives is very satisfying.

I would like to comment on your original point but admit I dont understand it. What I am seeing is a normal if slightly overexposed (1/3 stop) histogram in relation to the scenes tonal values. The overexposed bit should be able to be pulled back no problem.


PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob Leslie wrote:
When I first saw the Film vs Digital I thought Oh no here we go again.


Here we go again, what?
If I am wrong or misinformed one time, it doesn't mean that I am wrong and misinformed every time, and neither that you are correct every time.


PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Orio My remark here we go again was not directed towards you it was the subject. I expected to see a film vs digital dscussion start.

So sorry you seem to be so sensitive. FORGET IT


PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob Leslie wrote:
Sorry Orio My remark here we go again was not directed towards you it was the subject. I expected to see a film vs digital dscussion start.
So sorry you seem to be so sensitive. FORGET IT


Ok, I apologize for having misunderstood your comment.


PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob Leslie wrote:
Anyway what I want to ask you is do you use Canons RAW converter or is it just for the screen shot? There obviously must be more control, adjustments that I cant see but have you tried Adobe? I have tried a few of the Raw converters and Adobe to me and it seems many reviewers is the best.


I have both the built in converter in Photoshop and the Lightroom program which I had for free being a Rawshooter Premium user.
The reason why I use Canon's converter (embedded into Breezebrowser) is that it's the most faithful to the camera's colors.
I have always had problems with the Adobe conversion programs because they alter the reds of my Canon cameras, and shift them towards orange. I have never been able to fix this satisfactorily so this is the reason why I use the software seldom, although it has indeed many controls (probably too many, as several of them are duplicates in Lightroom).
So normally when my picture is good enough from the start, I use Canon conversion. When my picture is problematic, such as this one, I use Rawshooter if it's a 5D picture, and Adobe if it's a 400D picture, because they allow me to control the dynamic range better.
If I see that the non Canon software just doesn't make the color right for a picture, then I make two Canon conversions (one for the highlights and one for the shadows) and combine them in Photoshop via the Fred Miranda plugin.