Sunday, January 27, 2013

At last, a full days photography

After a full day out with the DP2M the X100 and the 5D3 yesterday, it’s time for some analysis…..

The experience has been very interesting and informative but my upfront conclusion is that, even for straight landscape, the 5D3 still trumps the DP2M. Now that I’ve stated that I will also say that for some specific tasks, the DP2M is clearly the better tool, but it is quite limited in its application. I’ll go into this in some detail below.

A crop from  DP2M. This is it's core competency...

Secondly the X100, again, on a day out like this it actually displayed more of it’s limitations than  it’s advantages.

Revdanda beach: Magenta/green colour shifts in the sky and distant foliage fairly obvious

Let me say from the outset that conditions were challenging: Bright ‘winter’ sunshine coupled with mist and haze made for tough conditions for landscapes anyway, these conditions require excellent DR with dazzling whites and inky blacks. HDR then becomes an attractive option.  Photomatix Pro works wonders with the 5D3’s CR2 files but not with the X3F’s from the DP2M, seeming to greatly increase noise,  blotchiness and other artifacts. Maybe if I mess with SPP a little more I can resolve or reduce this but for now it’s a bit of a no-no.

I think one can fairly easily develop a ‘Foveon eye’ in order to select the subjects for DP2M photography, because where it works, it works amazing well, any scene with detail, with texture is going to be very nice so long as the DR is not to extreme. I’m looking forward to using it for garden photography on slightly overcast days back in Europe, I’m certain it will excel at this. Buildings, structures, vegetation, things with ‘edges’ are all targets for the Foveon as far as I am concerned.

Frangipani flowers against a pale blue sky. The DP2M beat the crap out of the 5D3 on this subject

Of course, comparing the X100 with either of these resolution monsters is always going to produce unfavorable results and so it did. Useful for ‘snaps’ only, again, I hope to get out in Mumbai for some ‘street’ with the X100 soon and I’m certain it will be amazing.

Back to the DP2M: I really need to read up on down rezing for screen display, because simply resizing in LR4 I’m loosing ‘The look’. Images at 100% are incredible but at screen display size they’re soft, I’ve read quite a bit about this subject on various forums, I think some serious study is required this afternoon.

Ancient frangipani trunk. The detail and '3D pop' in this file is incredible

So: The 5D3 is not going just yet, I’m prepared to cope with the bulk in return for the lovely CR2’s and their freedom from artifacts, the X100 will be my take every where snapper and the DP2M will come out when the scene warrants it, because when it does, the results are simply astonishing.

A Revdanda lane. A 'snap' from the X100

Battery life: Of course the 5D3 never asked for the spare battery that I was carrying, its actually amazing give the relative sizes of the batteries and what they are asked to achieve, 10/10 for the Canon. The DP2M was actually a surprise giving me 53 full RAW's from one battery. The X100 was not so good and I used all three batteries in a modest days shooting, maybe 200 RAW's.
The other niggle is getting the X100 out of its leather half case every time I want to replace a battery or card, in the baking sun and dust of India, it can be a bit of fraught process but I continue to use the case because of the protection it undoubtedly gives and the better 'feel' in the hand.

Lots more Foveon photos in high res on my flckr page:

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