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Test Dynamic Range - What's It All About? A Panasonic GH2 vs Pentax K5 Comparison

Discussion in 'Reviews, Tests, & Shootouts' started by Amin Sabet, May 1, 2011.

  1. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    depends on the film type. From circa 6 Ev for transparencies up to 12 Ev for B&W, with color negatives somewhere in the middle. Roughly.

    Cheers,
     
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  2. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    This is the reason I can't let go of my 5D. The pictures I get out of my 5D even with my ancient 70-210USM and 50/1.8. blow away my NEX and m43.

    But in terms of comparison of NEX to m43 (i.e. APS-C to 43 sensor), I don't find a noticeable enough difference.
     
  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Give the man a cigar!!!

    This is, to me the whole point of having camera specifications available. Not to make one camera, lens, sensor "better" than another. But, rather to be aware of any limitations so you can make an educated decision as to whether it matters to *you*. In addition being aware of what a particular sensor can (and can't) do will allow a thoughtful photographer to get the best shot available with the gear available. If you know you've got 8 stops of EV then you'll learn to work with that. maybe you'll carry some ND filters or learn HDR photography.

    Back in the good/bad/indifferent old days I shot my first dozen rolls of Velvia. Every one was raving about this stuff and I threw 400 frames into the bin. I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. It was a good friend of mine who told me to "stop being so closed minded and learn to see the world in five stops". Previously I'd only shot negative films with at least double the latitude. It was a revelation to me in my earlier days. And once I "got it" I loved Velvia, like almost every one else. That was when I understood what Adams meant with the term "previsualisation". I've never had an issue with the DR of any digital camera. Partly because they all have more latitude than Velvia and partly because my friend told me what I needed to hear.

    No camera sees like the human eye/brain and, to some extent we all need to learn to see like the camera rather than worrying about getting a camera that sees like we do.

    So in part I wholeheartedly agree with Amin that the DR of m4/3 cameras is better in the real world than specifications alone would suggest, I also think that learning learning what your gear can do and worrying less about what it can't do, will help you get the best from it.

    Gordon
     
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  4. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Amin,

    I don't think anyone here suggested that M4/3 is inadequate for landscape. The article you point to is one of those that brought me to M4/3. To be thorough in the reading though, he primarily expresses delight with M4/3 in comparison to other compact cameras. Similar to my point, he notes that the camera "almost rivals the 5D". Which means the 5D MKI.

    David Clapp continues to use his Canon 1DsIII for landscape work too.

    I am very happy with the performance of my M4/3, including for landscape shooting. But I am not going to deny that my 5D did have advantages in output under certain conditions, and that there are times when I have to work my skills a bit harder to get the most out of my GF1.

    This does not bother me at all, because the tradeoffs are great for me. But, if I were to return to landscape photography in any great volume, with large high quality prints as my output, then I would be adding a non M4/3 to my bag.

    All the same, to describe the DR of M4/3 sensors as an Achilles heel, or even weakness, is nonsense to me. The DR is simply what it is, and each person would have to decide what that means for their photographic objectives.
     
  5. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Hey - try your 5D with the Canon 50 / 1.4. Gorgeous.
     
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I agree and didn't mean to suggest that anyone here had. I was only saying that if anyone comes across someone who feels that way that the Clapp article was a good place to direct them.
     
  7. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Well, similarly, a few days ago I came across a site with some GH2 shots of soccer. They looked great. Now, we all know that M4/3 cannot take action shots...

    I am not suggesting that the GH2 is right up there with every DSLR, but this was good stuff. I will see if I can find the site and link to it.
     
  8. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    655
    Mar 14, 2010
    Toronto
    My thoughts exactly. Panasonic isn't exactly a camera company, but a vertically integrated research and development machine. Pentax uses a Sony sensor, we use native material. Makes me proud.

    I see distinct gains on the new GH2 sensor over the G2, and all this in very limited time. Go Mu-43, and on to slay those dragons.

    Thanks for an informative, well reasoned article Amin.

    Bokeh D

     
  9. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    dxo scores is only a nice to know side notes. Not really relevant as it is all raw work flow results.

    There were recent test of default raw workflows with brand provided editing software, where canon out did nikon. That never happens with dxo results. So I would not get overly concern with the dxo scores.

    The smaller sensor of the gh2 does not have as much dr as the pentax. But it still produce a nice photo, and with the editing skills of the user in RAW an excellent photo can be produced.
     
  10. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Amin-

    Great write up and comparison. Extremely informative and easy for a noob like me to understand.

    Lee-

    When I compare photos of the K5 and GH2, I also see a subtle difference that goes beyond the objective qualities of sharpness and dynamic range (if those can be objective). While the GH2's images appear to be sharper for the most part, the GH2 also appears more "clinical" to my eyes. The K5 has more ... depth? More of a 3D? This is probably just a matter of opinion though. Not sure if it's quantifiable.

    Of course, if I had to pick between the two, I'd pick the ... :) 
     
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  11. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Interesting results, not what I expected to be honest..and a nice analysis in case we missed some of the meaning of the tests!

    Thanks for taking the time to work on this.
     
  12. Sapphie

    Sapphie Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jun 16, 2010
    Armando, you little tease! The answer is ... (drum roll please ... ) there isn't one!! They are both great cameras and, at the end of the day, there's more to it than alleged IQ. I have found that the LR 'auto tone' facility does wonders for the GH2 shots. I love the ability to change aspect ratio on the GH2. I also prefer the K5 OVF ... I just can't see well through the GH2 in bright light, maybe it's me or maybe there's some setting I haven't found yet.

    Regarding sharpness, try cranking up the LR sharpness beyond 25 for the K5 images to say, 60 or so. Any better?

    LOL, now the X100 is tempting me ...

    Lee
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    The difference in DR is apparent only after substantial pushing of the shadows. This kind of shadow pushing is not a common event in my postprocessing. With a shot such as the example shown in this article, I tend to leave the shadows dark, similar to the displayed shadow crops prior to rollover. In that case, the difference in DR is simply not apparent.



    Although I would probably try a different sort of torture test for DR (such as the typical interior when the view out of the window and the interior should both be correctly exposed which is a situation that no camera can handle without major pp -- I may post an example or two of this tomorrow), I find this an excellent article and above all the point above that the DR differences are only apparent with heavy shadow pushing is spot on. Far too many complain about blown highlights which is purely the fault of the photographer not choosing the correct exposure-- I know as even with the GH2 I still occasionally do it.

    David
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Yes, I have to tease! I'm still working on a write up about using the GH2 and K5 side-by-side.

    The EVF on the GH2 doesn't help you in bright light? That's a bummer. I like the EVF of the GH2 much better than any OVF. Because it's so much bigger and brighter. Same with the EVF of the Sony A55.

    Whenever I crank up the sharpness in LR, I end up getting the speckle noise look-a-like thingies. So I then have to add masking, and then get those weird looking transitions between the sharpened areas and the masked areas. In another words, I haven't quite mastered the art of sharpening (or de-noising) yet. Maybe someone will be kind enough to do a write up on sharpening and de-noising. Hint, hint!!! :smile:
     
  15. drpump

    drpump Mu-43 Regular

    154
    Oct 28, 2010
    Perhaps off-topic, but I've had reasonable results with careful use of a flash to illuminate the interior. Sometimes takes a few tries to get the exposure right though.
     
  16. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Not off topic at all I would say. Problem is there are many, including myself, who dislike flash and especially built-in camera flash in many situations even though of course it helps enormously to give more even lighting. Probably with an investment in time and money in proper studio lighting equipment, you can get closer to recapturing the feeling of natural light -- this would perhaps be a good thread in itself as I have little experience in this area.

    David
     
  17. Sapphie

    Sapphie Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jun 16, 2010
    I will look forward to that! Where will you publish it?

    Lee
     
  18. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    If I ever complete it :rolleyes: , it will be in SeriousCompacts.com.
     
  19. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    http://dko22.zenfolio.com/img/v20/p1028006623.jpg

    http://dko22.zenfolio.com/img/v21/p734510461.jpg

    here is a before and after shot example at medium size which should be enough to show that even having to push the shadows even over 5 stops as here, the results with the GH2 at base ISO are still pretty usable unless you're printing large. I remember that my FF results with such a test were better but not dramatically so. Yes, getting an ideal flash setup is the best answer but would the lighting still keep the fresh daylight look?

    David
     
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  20. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    NJ
    Pretty impressive, David. I'll have to try that someday...
     
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