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Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!
  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!

Magic Lantern claims is now capable of increasing 3-stops dynamic range using a breakthrough technique which basically combines an image at ISO 100 for some of the vertical lines and another at ISO 1600 for the rest of it. When mixing these two, one can get almost the entire dynamic range the sensor is capable of (around 14 stops). 5D3/7D only.

There are no motion artifacts; not even a difference in motion blur for the two exposures. So, it works well for fast moving subjects. The drawback is a drastic reduction in resolution in highlights and shadows but the hack improves shadow noise considerably.

Usage:
  • D3: works for both raw photo and raw video. 7D: photo only.
  • Select one ISO from Canon menu, the other from Dual ISO submenu.
  • Expose to the right for the lower ISO (usually ISO 100). Maybe darken 1 stop from there.
  • Start at ISO 100/1600.
  • Try a larger gap for really extreme situations, or a smaller gap for better midtone detail (less aliasing).

Histograms, ETTR, playback tricks [5D3 only]:
  • Raw zebras will use the darker exposure for highlight warnings and the brighter one for shadow warnings.
  • Raw histogram will use the darker exposure. Consider the brighter one as some sort of shadow recovery.
  • JPEG zebras/histogram are totally unreliable.
  • In photo LiveView you will see the ISO from Canon menu. In movie mode, you will see horizontal lines.
  • ETTR will use the darker exposure.
  • Playback in 1x will show some sort of HDR preview. At certain zoom levels, you'll be able to see only one of the two exposures, at very low resolution.
  • The dynamic range indicator from the histogram is not accurate.

Postprocessing:
  • For CR2 files: cr2hdr.c (Windows: cr2hdr.exe). It requires dcraw and (optional) exiftool in your path.
  • For RAW video files: latest raw2dng.exe.
  • To get a natural HDR look: try my automatic color grading script.

Drawbacks:
  • Half resolution in highlights and shadows
  • Aliasing and moire - of course, in highlights and shadows
  • You can no longer check critical focus when zooming in


Read more on this thread at magiclantern.com



Jul 16, 2013 at 11:22 PM
bbvaj
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p.1 #2 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


Many of you have seen this already. But for those who haven't:

http://nofilmschool.com/2013/07/magic-lantern-dynamic-range-canon-5d-mark-iii-7d/?utm_campaign=twitter&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=7139

Whats your take on it guys?



Jul 16, 2013 at 10:09 PM
WebDog
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p.1 #3 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


Just removed my post, as we did post with-in seconds...
This is amazing and I hope Canon will pick up this idea and develope it further!!

Tech info:
http://acoutts.com/a1ex/dual_iso.pdf



Jul 16, 2013 at 10:10 PM
amacal1
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p.1 #4 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


I'm confused. Is this for photos or videos? If it's for photos, then this would be AMAZING news for 7D owners (myself included).


Jul 16, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Justin Grimm
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p.1 #5 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


amacal1 wrote:
I'm confused. Is this for photos or videos? If it's for photos, then this would be AMAZING news for 7D owners (myself included).


It should be for photos, since they already have a hack to do HDR video by alternating ISO between frames and then merging them together. Pretty inventive stuff from this Magic Lantern group!



Jul 16, 2013 at 11:45 PM
py2000
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p.1 #6 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


amacal1 wrote:
I'm confused. Is this for photos or videos? If it's for photos, then this would be AMAZING news for 7D owners (myself included).


The magiclantern thread says:
"Usage
- 5D3: works for both raw photo and raw video. 7D: photo only."

But it also says:
"Also, the 7D implementation seems quite buggy right now. Don't use it for serious stuff yet. Programming the dual DIGIC is not that easy for parallel computing noobs like me."





Jul 16, 2013 at 11:45 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #7 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


Hrm, I played around with the sample RAW of the kitchen shot from the 5D3, and it gets a big "meh" from me. I applaud their technical ingenuity, but I'm not sure how applicable this will be to still photography.

Of course, it could be LR 4.4 getting confused by the RAW, but white balance and highlight adjustments, even minor, result in some funkiness, with for example highlights turning pink rather quickly. Also, a 1:1 view looks interlaced, yet moving around quickly in 1:1 in LR results in smooth parts of the image (which look normal 1:1 imagery), which then are "reinterlaced" with the effect.

Certainly exciting to see at least some potential, though.



Jul 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
johnctharp
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p.1 #8 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


Can't wait to get some of this functionality on the 6D... almost makes me sad I sold off my 60D, as it actually ran ML quite well.


Jul 17, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Access
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p.1 #9 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


That's pretty big news, I wonder if Canon's new 'dual pixel' sensors have the same inherent capability or if Canon will ever be able to implement this functionality in their official firmware. It seems like a very useful option for those who need the dynamic range, kinda like the ability to do HDR except without multiple exposures (and could possibly be expanded to more than two ISOs). It's too bad Canon doesn't hire this guy, I mean, if I were in charge at Canon that's what I would be doing (offering him a job with a lot of pay to try to get him to work for them). Because with features like this, Canon would have a huge competitive advantage to Nikon, Sony, and the other companies they compete with.


Jul 17, 2013 at 12:24 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #10 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


Access wrote:
That's pretty big news, I wonder if Canon's new 'dual pixel' sensors have the same inherent capability or if Canon will ever be able to implement this functionality in their official firmware. It seems like a very useful option for those who need the dynamic range, kinda like the ability to do HDR except without multiple exposures (and could possibly be expanded to more than two ISOs). It's too bad Canon doesn't hire this guy, I mean, if I were in charge at Canon that's what I would be doing (offering him a job with a lot of pay to
...Show more


--Business-major response--

You have to assume that for Canon, features like these would be highly disruptive to the market- initially in Canon's favor, but it would force competitors to come up with response products, and that would in turn force Canon to innovate more.

Magic Lantern, to Canon, is free- all they have to do is not lock the guys out of the firmware on their consumer and semi-pro lines. Canon's told them to leave the 1D's and cinema lines alone, and they have, even though the ML team (and it is a team, not a guy) could probably do wonders with those cameras that would make RED users jealous.

So Canon has the advantage of having the equipment available to do this kind of stuff and the prestige that goes along with it (like that Panasonic camera people were hacking) without actually having to pay for it; it's a win-win for them.

And they also don't have to support it or market it; so they can slowly add these features people are obviously pining for with the 'work' already done, and when they do it it will work better, assuming that there are any limitations in ML's implementations.

--end--



Jul 17, 2013 at 12:35 AM
 

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johnctharp
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p.1 #11 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


What I'd really like to see out of stuff like this is the recording of successive frames without actuating the mirror; within the thermal limits of the sensor, record frames at successive sensitivity levels, polling the sensor as the image exposes up to the selected shutter speed.

I don't know if the processors are fast enough to do this, if there's enough memory, but given that the sensors in Canon cameras are capable of being read at 1/4000 or 1/8000, imagine the camera took say five 1/1000 readings for a 1/200 shutter speed?

This would be limited at maximum shutter speed, of course; but even that is a physical/marketing limitation. Thoughts?



Jul 17, 2013 at 12:40 AM
snapsy
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p.1 #12 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


johnctharp wrote:
What I'd really like to see out of stuff like this is the recording of successive frames without actuating the mirror; within the thermal limits of the sensor, record frames at successive sensitivity levels, polling the sensor as the image exposes up to the selected shutter speed.

I don't know if the processors are fast enough to do this, if there's enough memory, but given that the sensors in Canon cameras are capable of being read at 1/4000 or 1/8000, imagine the camera took say five 1/1000 readings for a 1/200 shutter speed?

This would be limited at maximum shutter speed, of
...Show more

Canon sensors support an electronic first curtain but not second, which means the sensor likely requires the shutter to be closed in order to properly read out the sensels and reset the wells. They're able to avoid this for video obviously but the IQ demands for video are not as exacting as stills.



Jul 17, 2013 at 12:45 AM
AGeoJO
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p.1 #13 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


I am not sure what to make out of this yet but it is sure interesting. The listed drawbacks are not encouraging, especially the loss of resolution in highlights and shadows... .

Fred, the provided link is missing an "h", BTW.



Jul 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
kewlcanon
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p.1 #14 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


Looks like it will be better than your D800 Joshua .

AGeoJO wrote:
I am not sure what to make out of this yet but it is sure interesting. The listed drawbacks are not encouraging, especially the loss of resolution in highlights and shadows... .

Fred, the provided link is missing an "h", BTW.




Jul 17, 2013 at 12:55 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #15 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


snapsy wrote:
Canon sensors support an electronic first curtain but not second, which means the sensor likely requires the shutter to be closed in order to properly read out the sensels and reset the wells. They're able to avoid this for video obviously but the IQ demands for video are not as exacting as stills.


I can see that being an issue- thanks for responding to my wishful thinking. I'm just looking at the list of 'limitations' and thinking that they pretty much make these features 'non-features' for most. Given that this appears to be a first-run of the technology, that might get improved.

More wishful thinking- I'm actually not saying that the wells should be reset; rather, that they be read multiple times per exposure, with each pass being saved uniquely. Thus you'd have luminosity readings from the various color sites at different effective exposures for a single shot, with each being from a different point in the exposure along with the final 'full' exposure as specified by the cameras settings, starting from under-exposure up to the full specified exposure.

My thinking is that the highlights will be more salvageable in the first read passes while the shadows will be detailed in the full exposure, especially if the camera is set to expose to the right. It'd be kind of like a single-shot HDR process, I'd think, and while you may go back and raise the highlights or bury the shadows, you'd at least be able to prevent banding and noise issues that are common with blown highlights or under-exposed shadows.



Jul 17, 2013 at 01:01 AM
snapsy
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p.1 #16 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


johnctharp wrote

I can see that being an issue- thanks for responding to my wishful thinking. I'm just looking at the list of 'limitations' and thinking that they pretty much make these features 'non-features' for most. Given that this appears to be a first-run of the technology, that might get improved.

More wishful thinking- I'm actually not saying that the wells should be reset; rather, that they be read multiple times per exposure, with each pass being saved uniquely. Thus you'd have luminosity readings from the various color sites at different effective exposures for a single shot, with each being from a different
...Show more

Your idea is a good one and is currently actively being researched and developed. Do a google search for "binary pixel".



Jul 17, 2013 at 01:07 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #17 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


Thanks again for the response, and the heads-up!

Very interesting that this is a RAMBUS technology; but I'm also not sure if it's the same (exact) thing I'm looking at. The website doesn't get into details, but it looks like they're actually resetting the sensor during the exposure (resetting the wells, as you mention above), instead of just 'polling' the wells as they 'fill up', which is what I'm imagining.

This technology has to terrify Canon, though- neither Canon nor Nikon have a presence in the mobile phone space, and I don't think that they're terribly welcome. Mobile phone-level imaging technology companies have their own IP built up, and have pretty much free reign to innovate without stepping on Canon or Nikon's toes. So I can see where Canon and Nikon aren't in a hurry to support stuff like this, even though their engineers have to have come up with similar ideas already.

I mean, I'm just a computer geek and amateur photographer; I'm not even an engineer by education .




Jul 17, 2013 at 01:21 AM
snapsy
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p.1 #18 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


johnctharp wrote:
Thanks again for the response, and the heads-up!

Very interesting that this is a RAMBUS technology; but I'm also not sure if it's the same (exact) thing I'm looking at. The website doesn't get into details, but it looks like they're actually resetting the sensor during the exposure (resetting the wells, as you mention above), instead of just 'polling' the wells as they 'fill up', which is what I'm imagining.

This technology has to terrify Canon, though- neither Canon nor Nikon have a presence in the mobile phone space, and I don't think that they're terribly welcome. Mobile phone-level imaging technology companies
...Show more

The Rambus disclosures are pretty vague as you've said but they also hint at other methods of counting and I don't believe resetting the wells is essential to their idea. It's probably the best way to accomplish the DR goal though since their intended market is cell phone cameras, where the pixel density is high and the well capacity is low. Btw the researcher working with Rambus on this is Eric Fossum, who is the inventor of the original active-pixel CMOS sensor.



Jul 17, 2013 at 01:37 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #19 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


Yeah- I just read 'cell-phone camera' as business-speak for 'cheap' and 'accessible market'. RAMBUS is a patent house, after all (and one that was once quite reviled in the computer world), so seeing this licensed to Samsung, Qualcomm and Apple, and maybe the Chinese SoC maker would make a lot of sense.

Imagine what could be done with Nokia's sensors; they're using near-P&S sized sensors in cell-phones with wide apertures and ever-improving optics. It sounds very cool, really.

But of course, we'd love to see stuff like this on ILC's. DSLRs have the AF advantage in the near term, but this technology could make the larger sensors and accompanying large, heavy glass photographically irrelevant. And Canikon will have to respond, since Samsung is a likely licensee as is Sony, and both make impressive APS-C sensors.

Imagine getting the massive resolution available at sub-APS-C pixel sizes in a full-frame camera with lenses the size of the 35mm film cameras of old...



Jul 17, 2013 at 01:45 AM
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p.1 #20 · Magic Lantern improves 5D3 dynamic range to 14 stops!


johnctharp wrote:
Yeah- I just read 'cell-phone camera' as business-speak for 'cheap' and 'accessible market'. RAMBUS is a patent house, after all (and one that was once quite reviled in the computer world), so seeing this licensed to Samsung, Qualcomm and Apple, and maybe the Chinese SoC maker would make a lot of sense.

Imagine what could be done with Nokia's sensors; they're using near-P&S sized sensors in cell-phones with wide apertures and ever-improving optics. It sounds very cool, really.

But of course, we'd love to see stuff like this on ILC's. DSLRs have the AF advantage in the near term, but this technology
...Show more

Apparently Fuji and Panny are working on some sort of Organic CMOS sensors that have immense well capacity compared to using to store the electrons and are supposed to make the Exmor DR look old hat.



Jul 17, 2013 at 03:37 AM
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