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Thread started 04 Dec 2014 (Thursday) 02:57
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7D2 vs. 5D3, pushing shadows

 
jwcdds
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Dec 04, 2014 02:57 |  #1

Those of us shooting Canon cameras have often looked to Sony/Nikon with envy when it comes to shadow recovery. Not only because Sony sensors seem to retain details better in the shadows, but also because when pushed, they didn't seem to exhibit the seemingly-Canon-trademarked banding pattern that has plagued Canon camera bodies.

So in the spirit of experimentation, I decided to subject my recently acquired 7D2 to a test. Those of you that find this test silly and useless for "normal" shooting, I agree with you, but that's besides the point. The fact remains that Sony/Nikon has traditionally spanked Canon like a red-headed stepchild in these situations and one cannot dispute that. Whether you care to push your shadows to the extreme is up to you.

So for my test, I shot the following scene at -3 exposure compensation at iso 100.

IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/7D2-vs-5D3/i-tXtMXVF/0/XL/7d2vs5d3-iso100orig-XL.jpg
http://julianchen.smug​mug.com …O/7d2vs5d3-iso100orig.jpg (external link)

For fun, I decided to push the exposure in LR 5.7 by 5 stops (LR's maximum).
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/7D2-vs-5D3/i-fmCWsdL/0/XL/7d2vs5d3-iso100exp5-XL.jpg
http://julianchen.smug​mug.com …O/7d2vs5d3-iso100exp5.jpg (external link)

Zoomed in at 100% pixel peeping, we get...
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/7D2-vs-5D3/i-HthNbS4/0/XL/7d2vs5d3-iso100exp5-100-XL.jpg
http://julianchen.smug​mug.com …2vs5d3-iso100exp5-100.jpg (external link)

Then I decided not only will we push exposure by +5, let's throw in +100 shadows and +100 blacks...
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/7D2-vs-5D3/i-TrZmwdq/0/XL/7d2vs5d3-iso100exp5-100-sb-XL.jpg
http://julianchen.smug​mug.com …5d3-iso100exp5-100-sb.jpg (external link)

It seems to me that the kids at Canon have cooked up some notable improvements in how the shadows are handled. I am unable to provide a numerical value to this improvement, just an opinion from what I visually perceive. Does this mean the 7D2 can stand toe-to-toe with Sony/Nikon? I don't know as I don't have a new Sony/Nikon to compare it with. But my guess is probably/most likely not and the advantage likely still goes to Sony/Nikon. However, I am grateful for the improvements that I do see.

If I ever find the time, I'd like to pit the 7D2 against my 1DX at iso100.

Julian
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Post edited over 3 years ago by jwcdds.
     
Dec 04, 2014 02:57 |  #2

Just a few more comparisons for fun:

Both 7D2, one taken with normal metering, and one with deliberate -3 exp comp dialed in.

IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/7D2-vs-5D3/i-JS9Z3WQ/0/XL/7d2vs7d2-iso100-XL.jpg
http://julianchen.smug​mug.com …Q/0/O/7d2vs7d2-iso100.jpg (external link)

Now I pushed the -3exp image by +3 in LR5.7.
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/7D2-vs-5D3/i-8QzSnrr/0/XL/7d2vs7d2-iso100exp3-XL.jpg
http://julianchen.smug​mug.com …O/7d2vs7d2-iso100exp3.jpg (external link)

And for giggles, I did the same with the 5D3. Left image is the normal exposure. Right image was deliberately taken at -3exp comp and subsequently pushed +3 in LR5.7.
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/7D2-vs-5D3/i-BqSn88h/0/XL/5d3vs5d3-iso100exp3-XL.jpg
http://julianchen.smug​mug.com …O/5d3vs5d3-iso100exp3.jpg (external link)

I'll let you guys come up with your own conclusions. If you've got questions, I'll be happy to entertain them and try and answer if I can. :D

Julian
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Dec 04, 2014 05:35 |  #3
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I see some improvements here, and do appreciate the effort put into your comparison. My question is, What good is the other manufacturer's advantage in this realm, or Canon's improvements? I don't know about other makers, but the Canon digital cameras I've had respond very well to over exposure, and pulling things back in post. I try to make extensive use of ETTR, even to the point of letting bright spots with irrelevant detail blow out. My default setting is +2/3 EC, and in high DR shots with highlights that don't contribute to the scene, I know I have shot +7/3, and gotten the highlights I wanted, and black blacks/shadows, while letting the top-end blow out intentionally. No offense, but your test seems to me to be a bit like test-drivinga Ferrari Testrossa, and only using reverse. Canon cameras are very good at retaining seemingly blown highlights.


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Dec 04, 2014 06:51 |  #4

Canon, when compared to the Sony sensor, is still quite behind, but when compared just to Canon, the 7D2 beats all other cameras to date, even the 6D and 1DX. This is what Clark found out too in his low light noise tests. Just to remove the banding issues when bringing up an exposure 3-5 stops is huge, it means you can now remove noise less aggressively to get a result that is more presentable.


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Dec 04, 2014 07:37 |  #5
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I don't mean to sound flippant, but why would you want to underexpose in the first place? When I shoot jpg (seldom), I try to get the exposure correct in camera. When I shoot raw, I overexpose as much as is practical because highlights are recoverable for about 1.5 stops. When would someone want to underexpose?


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Dec 04, 2014 08:15 |  #6

GeoKras1989 wrote in post #17310815 (external link)
When would someone want to underexpose?

When you run into your ISO ceiling, and still need higher shutter speeds.




  
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Dec 04, 2014 08:27 |  #7

adamo99 wrote in post #17310906 (external link)
When you run into your ISO ceiling, and still need higher shutter speeds.

Or you want all the DR you can muster, so you have to shoot at a low ISO and not blow out highlights, and push the shadows up later. Available DR drops the higher up the ISO range you go, thus the need to shoot at a low ISO in those cases. This is why landscape photographers always talk about pushing shadows, DR, and banding.


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Dec 04, 2014 08:28 |  #8
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adamo99 wrote in post #17310906 (external link)
When you run into your ISO ceiling, and still need higher shutter speeds.

I understand that on a practical basis. In reality, I can't think of too many situations where it is relevant.. My 60D goes to 12,800. If I use an f/2.8, or faster, lens, I am nearly shooting in the dark. What kind of results are expected at this level? With the 6D, at 51,200, f/1.4 and 1/60, I am quite literally shooting in the dark.

What situation leads someone to want to underexpose by three, or more, stops?


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Dec 04, 2014 08:33 as a reply to  @ GeoKras1989's post |  #9

I guess you may have missed the part where I stated this:

Those of you that find this test silly and useless for "normal" shooting, I agree with you, but that's besides the point. The fact remains that Sony/Nikon has traditionally spanked Canon like a red-headed stepchild in these situations and one cannot dispute that. Whether you care to push your shadows to the extreme is up to you.

For this test, I deliberately under exposed the photo so that I can push the shadows and see what kind of noise results from doing so. As one can see with the 5D3, the banding pattern noise eventually rears its ugly head and that has been the Achilles heel of Canon sensors. The 1DX and 6D up until know have been more resistant to banding. When I have time, I will try to do a 7D2/1DX comparison to see and to share.

Naturally, one should do their best to "get the exposure correct in camera." But there are situations where if you're tracking a bird-in-flight across the skies, and if you're going from darker skies to brighter skies, the subject will go from properly exposed to severely under-exposed due to the camera's metering. It's not like you can ask the bird to stop in mid-air as you adjust your metering. So there's no "do-over" on that shot. You had your opportunity and it's gone forever. You live with what you're able to capture and try to recover in post processing as best as you can.

There are situations where you may want to consider under-exposing. For instance, you're shooting a medium-telephoto to wide-angle scene during sunset at the beach towards the direction of the setting sun and there are clouds or something else on the horizon that you don't want to clip on the highlight. Yet, your surfer/subject just caught the wave of his life so there is action/movement. So while you try to preserve the highlights, you end up with really dark shadows/subject that you may want to bring back up. Granted these are challenging conditions but if you have a camera that could retain detail better in the shadows and is more forgiving when pushed, it can only help, not harm the end result.

Again, I'm not promoting shadow pushing on a regular basis. (If anything, I often add contrast to my photos when processing.) But it is a legitimate concern for a small group of photographers out there who wants more dynamic range at low ISO, especially when we know that the technology is out there (see Sony sensors). This is a situation where Canon is playing catch-up. And from what I can tell, they're doing better. I just don't own a Sony-sensor camera to personally find out how it stacks up against the competition. :)


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Dec 04, 2014 08:33 |  #10
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TeamSpeed wrote in post #17310931 (external link)
Or you want all the DR you can muster, so you have to shoot at a low ISO and not blow out highlights, and push the shadows up later. Available DR drops the higher up the ISO range you go, thus the need to shoot at a low ISO in those cases. This is why landscape photographers always talk about pushing shadows, DR, and banding.

Ok, that does make sense. I don't have any personal experience with that type of shooting. I find it quite interesting that I have been doing this for about fifty years, and I can still learn a new trick. Thank goodness for the internet and sites like this. Now to figure out how to apply it.


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Dec 04, 2014 08:35 as a reply to  @ GeoKras1989's post |  #11

This is more of an issue/concern when shooting at low ISO (usually iso 100) and not high ISO. I believe the consensus is that Canon is better for high ISO shooting.


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Post edited over 3 years ago by TeamSpeed. (4 edits in all)
     
Dec 04, 2014 08:35 |  #12

GeoKras1989 wrote in post #17310934 (external link)
I understand that on a practical basis. In reality, I can't think of too many situations where it is relevant.. My 60D goes to 12,800. If I use an f/2.8, or faster, lens, I am nearly shooting in the dark. What kind of results are expected at this level? With the 6D, at 51,200, f/1.4 and 1/60, I am quite literally shooting in the dark.

What situation leads someone to want to underexpose by three, or more, stops?

When you want DR, both from an exposure situation, and from a color situation. Every time you bump your ISO, even your color range drops. Do a controlled shoot on a color target at ISO 6400, 12800, 25600, and 51200, the color gamut gets duller.

Shooting landscapes can provide situations where DR could be 13+ stops across, you have to shoot these at low ISO, try not to blow out the bright areas, and then bring up the shadows later. Sure you can bracket, but if you have any movement in the scene, then you have that mess to deal with. With the Sony sensor, you can take one pic, and HDR it or bring up shadows on that one file.

Shooting weddings is another. If you have an outdoor wedding, a white dress with a dark wedding altar and others in dark suits, shadows etc will cause issues, and you will have shadows that are 3+ stops underexposed.

Finally, its just good for those cases where the camera metering gets fooled, and the moment is over, so all you have left is the actions of pushing up shadows later and hope for the best.

I had all kinds of pushing up of shadows on this shot, sunlight on a white dress is just so much fun, especially with a groom wearing black.

IMAGE: http://gerberphotos.smugmug.com/Engagements-and-Weddings/Tim-and-Jessica-Gross/i-nv2S4Sc/0/X2/5P1B0751-X2.jpg

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Dec 04, 2014 10:47 as a reply to  @ TeamSpeed's post |  #13

what camera and lens was this photo taken with?

very nice job with the blacks


thanks


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Dec 04, 2014 11:06 |  #14

TeamSpeed wrote in post #17310952 (external link)
When you want DR, both from an exposure situation, and from a color situation. Every time you bump your ISO, even your color range drops. Do a controlled shoot on a color target at ISO 6400, 12800, 25600, and 51200, the color gamut gets duller.

Shooting landscapes can provide situations where DR could be 13+ stops across, you have to shoot these at low ISO, try not to blow out the bright areas, and then bring up the shadows later. Sure you can bracket, but if you have any movement in the scene, then you have that mess to deal with.

I've been using a gradient filter in the field to reduce this effect. But there are many times that I expose to the right and will harvest great data from the white areas, but still have a dark area that I'd lie to bring up. I don't think Canon in general does as good a job as the high end Nikons in this regard, and some examples of Nikon's prominence in this area are found in a number of places including DP Review.


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Dec 04, 2014 11:25 |  #15

The 7D2 is the best right now of any Canon camera it appears, based on various reviews all over the place including ClarkVision. But yes, they still need to clean up their noise floor to a lower level of electronic randomness.


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7D2 vs. 5D3, pushing shadows
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