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Archive 2011 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?
  
 
bluetsunami
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p.25 #1 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


douglasf13 wrote:
The point is that having no AA filter hobbles a digital sensor in a different way, by actually adding digital artifacts that can be misinterpreted as more detail. It's also partially why AA-less cameras initially seem noisier. If adding sharpening looks more strained, than it's just a good job of sharpening. There's no free lunch, and it's why most DSLR makers don't yank the AA filter (which would be cheaper,) because they're less concerned with edge performance, although I might argue that DSLRs would also be better off at the edges without an AA filter.


The thing is, how does one even differentiate between whats false detail and actual detail? And what bearing does it have on real world images and the very real difference in sharpness at the pixel level? No amount of sharpening will recreate the detail (be it false or real) the GXR is picking up. All I know is that the detail from RAW files from the Ricoh is phenomenal and takes really well to resizing and sharpening while retaining detail. One area being fine texture of objects which gives various lenses an almost Zeiss like feel (versus files from AA'ed cameras) due to this.

And I'd rather have a bit of noise that can be cleaned up in post to the specified strength I need than a catch-all reduction in detail to protect against "false detail" and moire. This is a proof is in the pudding situation for me after playing with many GXR DNGs. I just prefer the quality of files from the GXR vs what I've played with from the 5N.

I'm personally surprised no one as of yet has gotten the AA filter taken out of the 5N (or better yet the NEX7). Interested in seeing what effects it has on various problem lenses.


Edited on Feb 06, 2012 at 03:47 AM · View previous versions



Feb 05, 2012 at 09:54 PM
douglasf13
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p.25 #2 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


bluetsunami wrote:
The thing is, how does one even differentiate between whats false detail and actual detail? All I know is that the detail from RAW files from the Ricoh is phenomenal and takes really well to resizing and sharpening while retaining detail. One area being fine texture of objects which gives various lenses an almost Zeiss like feel due to this.

And I'd rather have a bit of noise that can be cleaned up in post than a reduction in detail to protect against "false detail" and moire. This is a proof is in the pudding situation for me after playing with
...Show more

Hi, bluetsunami. That's my point. Many love the way no AA filter looks. I'm just saying it's possible to get that look with an AA filter, too. I'd certainly be fine with the no AA filter look, and the improved corners would be great, too. Granted, shooting a model wearing finely patterned clothes used to drive me batty in the studio with my Leaf back, but I don't do that kind of work, anymore, and it had pretty large pixels.

To quote Joakim,

"And btw, RESOLUTION can never go up by getting rid of the AA filters. In fact it often goes DOWN in the purely factual sense when looking at a statistical "average" scene - due to a larger number of situations where the interpolation fails to get the missing two colours per pixel right.

What you DO get is a higher contrast at the frequencies close to Nyquist, which can be mistaken for "higher resolution", especially since the main "benefit" you get from it is a very much stronger luma+chroma noise at the pixel level (100% Nyquist) in the interpolation stage of the raw conversion. It's quite easy to add a light sprinkle of "perfect" noise to a normal image - most people will see that as "increased detail". "




Feb 05, 2012 at 10:04 PM
michaelwatkins
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p.25 #3 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


molson wrote:
Possibly a dumb question, but is there a Canadian distributor for Ricoh cameras, the GXR in particular? I've been searching, but haven't found any Canadian stores that carry them.


Not that I am aware of. I ended up using a parcel receiving service just across the border and ordering from a company called Pro Photo Supply in Portland Oregon - at the time B+H and Popflash had no stock; Pro Photo - also an authorized dealer - had stock but didn't ship out of country hence the use of a service.



Feb 05, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Kit Laughlin
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p.25 #4 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Dougles, you quoted theSuede here:

...due to a larger number of situations where the interpolation fails to get the missing two colours per pixel right.

Until I read that, I would have thought that the interpolation algorithms would perform identically in the task of getting the missing two colours right with or without an AA-filter, but on thinking it through, I can see how that might work. What I will say, following bluetsunami and kosmo, is that when looking at images at a print-related resolution (say, ~50% of actual 100 pixel size or, better, printing the image in question, is that the SOOC files from the Ricoh look sharper and more detailed.

Of course, no digital file is "sharp"; they just give impressions of sharpness, or of softness. I completely get yout point about "adding a sprinkle of perfect noise" and getting an impression of increased detail.

Another way of expressing that might be that I prefer the look of the artifacts gained by losing the AA filter over the apparent softness of an AA-filter equipped camera. I have not PMed theSuede yet, but will this afternoon. Interesting discussion for me.



Feb 06, 2012 at 04:11 AM
edwardkaraa
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p.25 #5 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


douglasf13 wrote:
To quote Joakim,

"And btw, RESOLUTION can never go up by getting rid of the AA filters. In fact it often goes DOWN in the purely factual sense when looking at a statistical "average" scene - due to a larger number of situations where the interpolation fails to get the missing two colours per pixel right.

What you DO get is a higher contrast at the frequencies close to Nyquist, which can be mistaken for "higher resolution", especially since the main "benefit" you get from it is a very much stronger luma+chroma noise at the pixel level (100% Nyquist) in the
...Show more

With all due respect to Joakim, his expertise is beyond any doubt, but his expert opinion may not be shared by all others. Proof, all MFDB, S2, M9 and other AA less cameras. I do not think it is an illusion caused by higher contrast, it has been shown in tests that the M9 sensor resolves higher than the Sony A900. All these companies selling top super expensive gear cannot be all wrong



Feb 06, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Mitch Alland
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p.25 #6 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


I would agree with Ed. Also, the difference between the files from the GXR-M and the two Ricoh camera units (A12/28 and A12/50), which do have AA filters, is so marked and of such a nature that it's hard to believe that this is achievable by higher contrast.

—Mitch/Bangkok
Paris au rythme de Basquiat



Feb 06, 2012 at 05:01 AM
douglasf13
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p.25 #7 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Kit Laughlin wrote:
... is that the SOOC files from the Ricoh look sharper and more detailed.


Hi, Kit. Straight out of camera files don't really matter. It's the straight into printer files that I'm more concerned about. SOOC files aren't really straight out of the camera, anyways, because you're still relying on the RAW converter to interpret/process them, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to compare AA filtered vs. non-AA filtered cameras with the same sharpening/raw converter settings, because they require different adjustments (sometimes AA-less files don't need much sharpening at all.)

As Edward mentioned above, we always see these tests popping up comparing the two types of camera, but they're always done with either no sharpening or the same sharpening, which doesn't make any sense. The goal is to take files from an AA-less and AA-filtered camera, optimize each, and then compare. This used to be more difficult, but, now that LR3 and 4 use deconvolution sharpening when setting detail to 100, it's a pretty quick process. The bottom line is that AA-filtered cameras need much more capture sharpening than AA-less cameras, and maybe even a little bit of added grain.

p.s. here is a pretty fun thread about it:
link



Feb 06, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Kit Laughlin
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p.25 #8 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Douglas, I PMed theSuede and asked him if he might care to contribute here.

I agree completely about the point you make re. tests that apply the same, or no, sharpening approach; that's bogus just because we are interested in the final results, however that is achieved optimisation-technique-wise. Maybe all I am saying is that, based on my experience, the GXR files are incredibly easy to use without much optimisation.

I'll read that link, too; thanks.



Feb 06, 2012 at 05:42 AM
douglasf13
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p.25 #9 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Yep, I'm not slamming no AA filter. I still want to rip mine off, because I'd choose sharper corners over some occasional moire. That being said, the optimization I'm talking about is only a slider or two in LR3. Nothing major.


Feb 06, 2012 at 05:48 AM
kosmoskatten
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p.25 #10 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


I would rather have a camera that might (situation dependent) introduce artifacts that are masked in print and that are easy to work with than a camera that will knock down resolution and introduce it's own artifacts and where you have to try recreate the lost information resulting in more artifacts.

This was very evident when I shot a street shot with both the NEX5n and the GXR M with the same lens where there was so much micro detail lost on the NEX5n that I had to reshoot as I thought I had done something wrong. After reshooting it was confirmed that I hadn't done anything wrong from a practical standpoint. The problem was, I was viewing the result at 100% on screen instead of printing and I wasn't trusting my eyes. In print the difference would be (probably) indistinguishable except for corner smear. Also, Sony prints would look better on high ISO shots if I had shot a high ISO scene.

This is where theory and practicality clashes a bit, I would not have chosen the GXR M over the other options if what I saw did not hold true from a practical workflow standpoint.
From a practical standpoint the GXR M simply prints better from scratch up to its resolution limit and is easier to work with. Why? The sum of all parts I guess. Sensor, tweaking, and all hidden process algorithms? I don't know.

I am saying that since we are optical instruments ourselves there are ways to make a print look good/awesome as a final result that will perceptively fool the eye and that has no correlation to viewing a 100% on screen image. In this context I find that you can call it what you want (higher contrast and embedded artifactery) but the end result is what counts. And how easily you get there.






Feb 06, 2012 at 05:55 AM
 

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Kit Laughlin
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p.25 #11 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


OK; read that link—interesting, to be sure. On the one hand, the folk who understand the science and all of whom argue for AA-fliters, for the erudite reasons given, and the others, who have come back to FF sensors from MF, and who prefer the look of files from cameras without OLPFs (optical low pass filters). And then there's the Leica M9 users who side with the MF folk.

I will come back to the point I raised above: it may just be that the human optical perception system likes the artifacts created by no AA-filter—except when the artifact is moiré—in which case we don't! And most people do not shoot resolution charts; they shoot the real world where that narrowing lines phenomenon is rare (the world is a fractal place).

The point about cost being the reason MF manufacturers do not have OLPFs on their sensors is brand new to me, and definitely interesting, OTOH. I await further commentary!



Feb 06, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Kit Laughlin
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p.25 #12 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Off the present topic: talking GXR-M; has anyone used the in-camera correction of colour shading with either the CV 12 or 15? There are positive settings 1–3 and negative settings too. I guess I am going to have to shoot some tests if no one knows.


Feb 06, 2012 at 06:07 AM
theSuede
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p.25 #13 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


As with all things photographically related, there's some trade-offs YOU have to decide on.
Image noise vs artificial light. DoF vs shutter speed (when there's not enough light to get both). The list goes on forever...
If your main interest is wide angles and available light shooting, then an AA-less camera certainly adds more value than what it detracts. For me, that mostly shoots in a studio (often) or in good weather with good medium/long tele lenses, I find being without an AA filter "not worth it", but that's my personal choice.

The main negative things about corners and AA filters is that:

a) the material isn't supposed to work that way - everything goes out of whack. Birefringency, which is the physical effect that makes an AA filter "work" is also ray angle dependent to quite a large degree. On the whole you can see the AA filter as a combined beamsplitter/collimator, separating one singular ray of light into two rays at slightly different angles as it enters the filter, and then on exit makes them run perfectly parallel again - as a PAIR of rays. As a ray passes "straight through" one layer of AA filtering it's "spread" buy a certain fixed amount when exiting. If the ray passes through at an angle, it's spread by quite a lot more - as the run-length for the ray through the plate is longer. To spread in both X and Y directions you use two layers of AA filter material, with a phase-plate (to remove polarization) in between. One spreads in "Y", the other in "X".

b) Like any flat slab of transparent material placed in the optical path, it affects the focusing of rays. Astigmatism increases (if the lens wasn't astigmatic in "the other direction" before - then it gets better...) and if I remember correctly it also effects the flatness of the focusing field. I could be wrong about the focusing field. This is why you should keep the internal filter mounted in a super-tele if it says you should do so. It is optically corrected for the filter, and might actually give worse results if it's not there...
...............

If it wasn't so prohibitively expensive, the absolutely best solution would be an AA filter that has weak strength in the middle, and then tapered off to no strength at all on the edges. This would on the other hand make the filter into a convex lens, with all the effects that includes.
The second best solution (but also expensive) is to increase resolution on the sensor. The NEX7 is right there on the edge of actually not needing an AA filter.

It's to bad Ricoh didn't have time to wait for the IMX071 16MP sensor in stead - it would have had slightly less of the negative effects you can get from not having an AA filter.
...............



Feb 06, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Bill Hollinger
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p.25 #14 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


theSuede wrote:
.......The NEX7 is right there on the edge of actually not needing an AA filter.

It's to bad Ricoh didn't have time to wait for the IMX071 16MP sensor in stead - it would have had slightly less of the negative effects you can get from not having an AA filter.
...............



Would you mind elaborating a bit? I spent a week using the Ricoh without an AA filter alongside the NEX7. The NEX7 image contained more detail when enlarged, but more often than not, the Ricoh image appeared to be sharper. Is this an illusion, and if so one where the AA filtered image can be sharpened so it appears comparable to our eyes? This question has taken on increased importance with the (apparent) upcoming release of a 36MP camera available with and without an AA filter. I use longer lenses most of the time, and the main appeal of the 36MP Nikon for me is for large prints of wildlife.

Thanks,

Bill



Feb 06, 2012 at 01:16 PM
kosmoskatten
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p.25 #15 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Joakim, thanks for chiming in.
There is still hope that the next batch of M mounts will be fitted with the 16MP sensor, there has been some speculation on whether it will come out or not. It seems production of the 12MP has or will have ceased shortly.

As of the 16MP Sony sensor; could it be that the higher resolution would help with reducing moiré to a certain point? As of now I am surprised to see that the A12 M mount has much less trouble with moiré than the M9 has. I see it in very few images and on shots where I was expecting moiré it didn't even occur. I have of course had a few moiré shots and moiré can be provoked but it is much less of a problem than I would have thought.

Apparently the M mount is selling well enough but Ricoh might want to sell of the stock of A12 M mounts first instead of having to have a clearance sale of them. When the flooding struck the factories that provided (unspecified) parts and labor it seems that the A16 M mount was put on hold for more than one reason, either assembly of the last batch of A12 M mounts, production of the A16 zoom module and parts for the GXR body.

Come next weekend we might find out something about a refreshed GXR body. I am keeping my fingers crossed.



Feb 06, 2012 at 04:44 PM
michaelwatkins
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p.25 #16 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Whatever the science may be, the implementation of the AA filter on the NEX-5N appeared to destroy a certain level of detail that no amount of sharpening or pretty noise could recover. However in print size, often - not always - you'd be hard pressed to note the difference although I do believe that corner and edge smearing of lenses more affected by the oblique angle at the edges did translate to a noticable difference at print sizes.

Sometimes I depend on the "electronic zoom" and crop significantly; in those cases, you'd notice the difference.



Feb 06, 2012 at 05:17 PM
douglasf13
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p.25 #17 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Michael, I believe the point is that removing the AA filter adds digital artifacts and creates a false impression of more resolution, and adding artifacts through various methods can get an AA-filtered camera there. I've messed with GXR raws, and I've owned cameras without an AA filter, and I don't feel that similar results aren't achievable between filtered and non-filtered sensors, assuming processing is optimized for each. I do want to contact MaxMax again about removing my AA, though, for edge performance. They won't return my emails


Feb 06, 2012 at 05:39 PM
kosmoskatten
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p.25 #18 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


Douglas; ah, so you are going to rip it out huh?


Feb 06, 2012 at 06:23 PM
douglasf13
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p.25 #19 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


kosmoskatten wrote:
Douglas; ah, so you are going to rip it out huh?


I'll certainly consider it, if possible. I know that, due to the way Sony bonds the sensor pack, MaxMax didn't offer the service a few years ago, but I heard a rumor that they were on the A900 last year. We'll see. I'm not worried about risking it on a relatively cheap camera like the 5N. Heck, I might even donate my old NEX-5, if they need something to practice on.

Essentially, MaxMax rips out the AA and IR, and replaces it with a new IR (and maybe clear glass.)



Feb 06, 2012 at 07:23 PM
theSuede
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p.25 #20 · Still no love for the Ricoh GXR?


AA-less cameras often print better "SOOC" because of the fine grit that the raw-conversion gives. It's like adding dither to a signal, it breaks up digital straight edges, and adds contrasty grain where a print needs it. As long as you have no moire, and don't care about reality, this is good on a print (most of the time).

The thing with sharpening that often surprises me is that people are surprised when sharpening doesn't do the thing they want...

What does "sharpening" do? It takes two values, and then it amplifies their difference signal. It increases a contrast.
Now what contrast is it that it increases? In a finished picture, you have
a) probably moved the blackpoint
b) allowed the camera color profile to muck about with the R/G/B ratios to get "good color"
c) applied an "S" shape curve
d) applied a gamma correction to save the image as sRGB or ARGB
e) probably almost clipped individual channels due to saturation problems when "downconverting" to a smaller color space

Within the highlights/shadows you hardly won't get any sharpening at all - the S-curve has already flattened the contrast values. There's to little to amplify.
In areas bordering to the knees of the S-curve, you will over-inflate the difference "over the knee", i.e make the dark to dark or blow a few pixels into white
In the upper midrange, where you already have an exaggerated contrast (S-curve + Gamma) you will oversharpen
In the lower midrange, just above the lower S-curve knee, you will mainly increase noise

See why this won't work "as you think it should"...? :-)

Learning to work "past" all this is one of the things you do when working with image sharpening. In a camera without an AA filter some of all this is already taken care of before the interpolation stage, before all of the curve-modifying stages, which makes the image "easier to handle" regarding sharpening in post.

Most of the difference that people "see" in surface structures when comparing AA and not AA stems from this. Sharpening an AA image after development does not sharpen structures and bright areas nearly as much as it "should" - or more accurately, it oversharpens darker details so much that you have to keep the sharpening very low in strength to not make some areas of the image look viciously oversharpened. There are some very easy ways around this, when you learn how to balance your sharpening.



Feb 06, 2012 at 10:33 PM
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