Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Hatstand on Sun 13 Jan 2013, 6:54 pm

I recently bought a Panasonic FZ200 - an upgrade to my existing FZ150. The main reason was the f2.8 maximum aperture that's available across the entire 25-600mm zoom range, but there are some other nice additions including an in-camera HDR mode. I trotted off to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden this afternoon, to give the HDR (and a few other things) a proper workout, and here are some of the results...

All of the following photos were taken using in-camera HDR, except where noted:

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This one was taken using full-auto, not HDR:
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This one was taken using full-auto, not HDR:
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The in-camera HDR combines three separate exposures to increase shadow detail and reduce blown highlights. Ideally you'd use a tripod for this, but I did my little best using a monopod instead (monopod + timer is how I got the high camera viewpoints in some of the shots above. I'm not really 15ft tall and I didn't take a step-ladder). As you can see, the FZ200 HDR effect is quite gentle and gives a "natural" appearance - and the camera managed quite well despite many of the shots being taken with the camera high in the air, waving about on the end of a long pole O_o

It doesn't give the kind of in-your-face "unreal" results that we often see from specialist HDR post-processing software, and personally I like it that way. Of course, when I do want that "unreal" HDR look, I can still use manual exposure bracketing etc and do it myself in post-processing.

The next photos show a few of the many other in-camera gimmicks that are available in the FZ200. I actually shot the photos with each effect "live", just for testing. But actually you can apply most of them in-camera after talking the shot, and save the results to a new file. And this is a more sensible thing to do - you can use manual settings to take the initial shot, you can tweak effect settings without having to take a new shot every time, and if the effect isn't quite what you wanted you've still got something to work with to try again.

Full auto, for comparison:
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HDR:
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"1-Colour":
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"Star":
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"High Dynamic". This is not HDR, it seems to just fiddle with levels to bring out shadow detail at the expense of washing out the rest of the picture. This particular shot worked quite well though:
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Last edited by Hatstand on Thu 24 Jan 2013, 9:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
Goodbye 600D... Hello FZ150!
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby adamp89 on Sun 13 Jan 2013, 8:17 pm

can you just clear up something for me, what is hdr?
Adam
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Hatstand on Sun 13 Jan 2013, 8:44 pm

adamp89 wrote:can you just clear up something for me, what is hdr?

"High Dynamic Range"

Current camera technology typically struggles with scenes where there is a lot of shadows, mid-tones and bright areas all at once.

The mid tones may be perfectly exposed, with plenty of detail visible... but then the shadows may be pure black with no detail, and bright areas may be pure white ("blown highlights") with no detail. Increasing contrast in eg. the shadow areas to show more detail may result in less detail in the mid tones, and more blown highlights.

You can fix this to some extent using levels/curves in photo editing software, to bring out what detail there is - but it can't add detail where there was none in the image to begin with.

So, to capture the best contrast (detail) from the start, in shadows, mid-tones and highlights all at once... "HDR" is used: Three photos are taken in rapid succession, one optimised for shadows, one for mid-tones, one for highlights. The three photos are then aligned and combined into one image with (hopefully) good contrast in all three areas at once.
Goodbye 600D... Hello FZ150!
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Ledhead27 on Sun 13 Jan 2013, 9:06 pm

Nice set, the subtle HDR effects work in my opinion. Does anyone know if G-ACSS is cleared to fly this year along with the Sea Hurri?
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Lumix on Mon 14 Jan 2013, 8:46 am

That's a nice set of shots! They look good :clap:

Do these edits have any in-camera NR or post processing NR carried out on them?
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Hatstand on Mon 14 Jan 2013, 9:08 am

Lumix wrote:That's a nice set of shots! They look good :clap:

Do these edits have any in-camera NR or post processing NR carried out on them?

Thanks! Noise reduction was at the standard/default ie. "0" on the +/- adjustment scale. So yes, in-camera noise reduction. I found the noise levels to be quite low, even though the camera was using ISO's around 500 for HDR under those lighting conditions. But I did apply a small amount of noise reduction post-processing as well.

If noise had been a problem, the FZ200's "hand-held night shot" mode probably would have been a better choice than HDR. That also combines multiple images, but with the aim of reducing noise, rather than increasing dynamic range. Now that I think about it, I probably should have tried a few shots like that, just for comparison. Oh well, another time.
Goodbye 600D... Hello FZ150!
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Lumix on Tue 15 Jan 2013, 10:48 am

Thanks for the additional info re the NR used. The results look good.

I have a FZ30 as a holiday/travel camera and am obviously interested in seeing what the FZ150 & FZ200 produce in light of the noise comments made on various reviews.

Still managing to get some FZ30 shots added to a.net so loath to get rid of it & I do like the fact that it focuses via the lens barrel rather than the ring adjuster etc. Much easier to get just what zoom you want.
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Hatstand on Tue 15 Jan 2013, 12:08 pm

Lumix wrote:Thanks for the additional info re the NR used. The results look good.

I have a FZ30 as a holiday/travel camera and am obviously interested in seeing what the FZ150 & FZ200 produce in light of the noise comments made on various reviews.

There are mixed reactions on the review sites. Best thing is to look at their sample images and judge for yourself. The most useful sites let you compare photos of the same studio scenes taken with various different cameras and ISO settings.

Bear in mind when comparing though: the FZ200's f2.8 maximum aperture is available throughout the zoom range. So when using zoom in low light, it lets you use wider apertures than other cameras... and therefore lower ISOs... and therefore significantly less noise. For those situations you actually need to compare eg. the FZ200 at ISO 400, and the other camera at ISO800 etc.

(Similarly, when using zoom in good light - the FZ200's bigger available apertures allow faster shutter speeds than the competition, and therefore potentially less motion blur).

Subjectively, it seems to me that the FZ200 (JPGs with default in-camera noise reduction) might have marginally more noise than the FZ150 - but doesn't smear details as much. It's extremely difficult to tell on real-world photos, and impossible without pixel-peeping. You could consider this an improvement (easier to "fix" noise than smeared detail?). I'd also say, subjectively again, that both the FZ150 and FZ200 are no worse than my old Canon 350D for noise, and also not bad compared to my old 600D either.

Lumix wrote:Still managing to get some FZ30 shots added to a.net so loath to get rid of it & I do like the fact that it focuses via the lens barrel rather than the ring adjuster etc. Much easier to get just what zoom you want.

Yeah, there's no getting away from that I'm afraid: Panasonic seem committed to allowing the use of teleconvertors with their 25-600mm lens... which you can't feasibly attach directly to the lens filter threads, due to their weight. You therefore use an adapter tube that screws onto the body (enclosing the lens) and fit the teleconvertor to the tube. Since the lens is enclosed by the adapter tube... manual zoom control would be useless, it HAS to use motorised controls instead...
Last edited by Hatstand on Tue 15 Jan 2013, 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Goodbye 600D... Hello FZ150!
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Flare Path on Tue 15 Jan 2013, 12:33 pm

Hi Hatstand,

Nice photos - I've also PM'd you.

Cheers. :smile:
Flare Path

Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby AlexC on Tue 15 Jan 2013, 6:51 pm

Some great shots. But a 25-600mm/constant F2.8 lens, how is that possible?
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Hatstand on Tue 15 Jan 2013, 6:59 pm

AlexC wrote:Some great shots. But a 25-600mm/constant F2.8 lens, how is that possible?

You must simply accept that there is magic in this world.

Or you could just ask Leica how they did it :-D
Goodbye 600D... Hello FZ150!
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Flare Path on Wed 16 Jan 2013, 2:08 pm

Hatstand wrote:
AlexC wrote:Some great shots. But a 25-600mm/constant F2.8 lens, how is that possible?

You must simply accept that there is magic in this world.

Or you could just ask Leica how they did it :-D


:lol:
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby AlexC on Wed 16 Jan 2013, 3:02 pm

A camera with a Leica lens costing less then £450....that is magic, or the bargain of the century, or both! :smile:
Pte. Aubrey Gerald Harmer, R. Suss. R. (att. to the Sherwood Foresters) KIA 26/9/1917 Polygon Wood, aged 19, NKG. RIP
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Hatstand on Thu 17 Jan 2013, 9:33 am

AlexC wrote:A camera with a Leica lens costing less then £450....that is magic, or the bargain of the century, or both! :smile:

Well, Panasonic have been using Leica lenses for a very long time in their FZ cameras, most (all?) of them costing way less than that eg. The Panasonic FZ150 is now about 280 quid.

But if you want to pay a "proper" Leica price, you can buy practically identical cameras from Leica instead (eg. V-LUX 3, V-LUX 4), in which case you pay an extra 200 quid to have the Leica name on them ;-D
Goodbye 600D... Hello FZ150!
Hatstand
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby phreakf4 on Fri 18 Jan 2013, 4:01 pm

AlexC wrote:Some great shots. But a 25-600mm/constant F2.8 lens, how is that possible?


It isn't.

The lens is actually a 4.5-110 (approximately)mm using a small sensor (probably only 4 or 5mm wide) to give the equivalent field of view of a 24 to 600mm lens on a full-frame (36x24mm) sensor. F2.8 on 110mm is no problem., though it must be getting very close to the limits imposed by aperture diffraction at the short end. I would be interested to see how far the aperture range goes at the other end, to give acceptable depth-of-field at the longer focal lengths....

Having said that, the quality of images being produced by many compact or "bridge" cameras(and even some mobile phone cameras) using such small sensors is astounding, especially with regard to the amount of "noise" which is not seen in the images.
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Hatstand on Fri 18 Jan 2013, 6:07 pm

phreakf4 wrote:
AlexC wrote:Some great shots. But a 25-600mm/constant F2.8 lens, how is that possible?


It isn't.

The lens is actually a 4.5-110 (approximately)mm using a small sensor (probably only 4 or 5mm wide) to give the equivalent field of view of a 24 to 600mm lens on a full-frame (36x24mm) sensor. F2.8 on 110mm is no problem., though it must be getting very close to the limits imposed by aperture diffraction at the short end. I would be interested to see how far the aperture range goes at the other end, to give acceptable depth-of-field at the longer focal lengths....

Having said that, the quality of images being produced by many compact or "bridge" cameras(and even some mobile phone cameras) using such small sensors is astounding, especially with regard to the amount of "noise" which is not seen in the images.

Um, I don't really understand your "it isn't possible" statement, or what you're getting at regarding physical dimensions. The FZ200 has a zoom range of 25mm-600mm and a maximum aperture of f2.8 throughout. So... it must be possible. I guess to be more accurate given the physical dimensions, we should say 25mm-600mm effective focal length range - but in practical terms, I don't see how that changes anything?

Anyway - the sensor type is 1/2.3", which means a sensor size of 6.16mm x 4.62mm. This is the standard size for compact cameras, and typical for this class of superzoom (eg. Canon SX50 has the same sensor size).

The minimum aperture is f8. Which again, is common for superzooms, and is the same as the Canon SX50.

This is what makes the constant f2.8 so attractive: it's basically all the "usual" specs for this class of camera...with bigger maximum apertures added. (Although, that's not the only reason you might choose the FZ200 over other superzooms, and there are some reasons why you might not choose it).

They haven't compromised anything to get that aperture range, since it's basically identical to the previous FZ150... with stuff added, rather than taken away.
Goodbye 600D... Hello FZ150!
Hatstand
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby phreakf4 on Fri 18 Jan 2013, 11:17 pm

Hatstand wrote:
phreakf4 wrote:
AlexC wrote:Some great shots. But a 25-600mm/constant F2.8 lens, how is that possible?


It isn't.

The lens is actually a 4.5-110 (approximately)mm using a small sensor (probably only 4 or 5mm wide) to give the equivalent field of view of a 24 to 600mm lens on a full-frame (36x24mm) sensor. F2.8 on 110mm is no problem., though it must be getting very close to the limits imposed by aperture diffraction at the short end. I would be interested to see how far the aperture range goes at the other end, to give acceptable depth-of-field at the longer focal lengths....

Having said that, the quality of images being produced by many compact or "bridge" cameras(and even some mobile phone cameras) using such small sensors is astounding, especially with regard to the amount of "noise" which is not seen in the images.

Um, I don't really understand your "it isn't possible" statement, or what you're getting at regarding physical dimensions. The FZ200 has a zoom range of 25mm-600mm and a maximum aperture of f2.8 throughout. So... it must be possible. I guess to be more accurate given the physical dimensions, we should say 25mm-600mm effective focal length range - but in practical terms, I don't see how that changes anything?

Anyway - the sensor type is 1/2.3", which means a sensor size of 6.16mm x 4.62mm. This is the standard size for compact cameras, and typical for this class of superzoom (eg. Canon SX50 has the same sensor size).

The minimum aperture is f8. Which again, is common for superzooms, and is the same as the Canon SX50.

This is what makes the constant f2.8 so attractive: it's basically all the "usual" specs for this class of camera...with bigger maximum apertures added. (Although, that's not the only reason you might choose the FZ200 over other superzooms, and there are some reasons why you might not choose it).

They haven't compromised anything to get that aperture range, since it's basically identical to the previous FZ150... with stuff added, rather than taken away.


As I said, the actual focal length of the FZ200 lens is 4.5 to approx 110mm. For an actual 600mm lens to have an f2.8 aperture, that aperture would have to be 600 divided by 2.8, which equals 214mm, or larger than the actual camera.

Thinking more about it, it is not actually impossible to make a lens of 45 to 600mm with an f2.8 aperture, but to get some idea of what such a lens would look like (and what it would weigh, not to mention the price!!!!) take a look here http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-sigma-200-500mm-f2-8-ex-dg-telephoto-zoom-lens-canon-fit/p1030537....... and that is only 200-500!

What it changes in practical terms is that you have, at the long end for example, the angle of view of a true 600mm lens (on a 35mm or full-frame camera) but the much greater depth-of-field of a 110mm lens (which is more or less independent of sensor size, assuming a flat focal plane (which doesn't ever exist, just to be pedantic). That is why it is far easier to isolate a subject by throwing the background out of focus on a DSLR than on a compact or bridge camera. The depth-of-field of a 4.5mm lens, even at f2.8, is still considerable.

Another practical limitation is that introduced by the effect of shorter focal lenses on the diffraction issue mentioned in my earlier post. At very short focal lengths, such as the 4.5mm featured on this camera, (and indeed on any camera) there is a physical limit on how small the aperture can be before diffraction effects from the aperture itself begin to seriously affect image quality. That is why few compact or bridge cameras (and indeed consumer camcorders, which also tend to feature very short focal lengths) offer apertures smaller than f8.
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Re: Old Warden - HDR and other gimmicks 13 Jan 2013

Postby Hatstand on Fri 18 Jan 2013, 11:59 pm

phreakf4 wrote:Thinking more about it, it is not actually impossible to make a lens of 45 to 600mm with an f2.8 aperture, but to get some idea of what such a lens would look like (and what it would weigh, not to mention the price!!!!) take a look here http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-sigma-200-500mm-f2-8-ex-dg-telephoto-zoom-lens-canon-fit/p1030537....... and that is only 200-500!

*Goggle* 72cm long, 15kg, and £12,700...

Even f5.6 400mm DSLR lenses were too big, heavy and expensive for me, and that's one of the reasons I decided to make sacrifices in image quality, optical viewfinders, and tight depth of field... and switch to a superzoom.

Anyway, thanks for the explanation, I understand what your point was now. (Err, I think :-D). Still, it's not something that bothers me - It goes from wide angle, to a giant 24x zoom reach... no matter which way you look at it. We normally speak of lens focal lengths in terms of "35mm equivelents" (in this case 25mm - 600mm) with no regard for the actual physical dimensions, how they're engineered, or what size sensor is used. And the constant max aperture still represents a big advantage over competing superzooms.

As for the f8 minimum aperture - it's usually not a limitation for my purposes... except when I want to shoot with slow shutter speeds (below 1/250) on a sunny day eg. to get good prop blur at airshows. Then I need a neutral density filter.
Goodbye 600D... Hello FZ150!
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