UV lens filters are a popular way to protect the front element of lenses from damage, but you should make sure you invest in a high-quality one unless you want to make a huge sacrifice in image quality. Reddit user EvilDoesIt shot the photos above comparing a cheap filter with a pricier one:
The top one is a $20 Quantaray UV filter. Bottom is a ~$70 B+W MRC UV filter. This is a more extreme example, but it shows the difference between a nice filter and a crappy cheap one. Both these shots are unedited JPEGs from my Nikon D7k with a Nikkor 17-55 ƒ/2.8 @ 1.3s ISO100.
I do realize that the top pic can be easily fixed by adjusting levels, but in my opinion, it’s always better to get the best picture you can get out of your camera before editing. [#]
His last sentence is a gem: to achieve the best images, you want to make sure you’re squeezing out the best image quality you can from each step along the way.
Image credit: Photographs by EvilDoesIt and used with permission
Camera rating business DxOMark has published its in-depth sensor review for the Canon 5D Mark III. For Canon fans, there’s both good and bad news: while the camera boasts the best sensor seen in a Canon DSLR so far — besting the sensor found in the 1Ds Mark III — its score of 81 is far below the Nikon D800’s 95. DxOMark does, however, point out that the two cameras focus on different strengths:
The duel between the Nikon D800 and the EOS 5D Mark III would most certainly take place except that the different sensors each one has adopted makes it difficult to do a head-to-head comparison. Both sensors offer different advantages —in principle, sensitivity for the Canon and definition for the Nikon. With its 36 megapixels, the Nikon D800 clearly has concentrated its efforts on fine detail reproduction.
For its part, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III chose to make a grand compromise: with its 22 megapixels, it offers both higher definition and in theory, higher sensitivity.
Canon 5D Mark III Review [DxOMark]
Turns out the 36.3 megapixel sensor inside the new Nikon D800 isn’t just a megapixel war marketing tactic: the sensor has been given the highest score ever awarded by camera equipment rating service DxOMark. Calling it a “complete success in every sensor-related respect”, the lab states that the D800’s sensor has become the new sensor of reference by which all other camera sensors will be measured. Furthermore, it boasts an “unmatched quality-to-price ratio” by being the cheapest (by far) among the 8 top cameras. The sensor is even comparable in quality to the best medium-format sensors out there, and even outperforms them at higher ISOs. Check out the full review for a more detailed analysis of the sensor and how the D800 stacks up against competition.
Nikon D800: The best sensor analyzed on DxOMark! [DxOMark]
Nokia has released a set of sample photographs in order to show off the camera quality of its new 41MP 808 PureView camera phone. The 33.3MB ZIP file contains just 3 untouched JPEG images — the largest of which (seen above) is a 5368×7152, 38-megapixel photograph that weighs in at 10.3MB. The quality is quite impressive, given that the images were captured with a phone.
“Exposing to the right” is a well-known rule of thumb for maximizing image quality by pushing exposure to avoid noise, but the equation is changing as the quality of image sensors continues to improve. Ctein over at The Online Photographer writes,
In theory, you can still use the dubious right-hand rule. Just be careful to never blow out any pixels.
[…] Unless you’re sure you’re dealing with a low contrast subject, pushing your exposure to the high side makes it likely you’ll blow highlights. If you’re trying to improve your odds of getting a good exposure, pulling away from the right is a much smarter thing to do. If you know your subject is really high in contrast, pull far, far away from the right. Keep those highlights under control and let the shadows go where they may.
[…] Just, whatever you do, don’t expose to the right unless you’re absolutely positive there are no highlights to get blown. It was a questionable rule to begin with; these days I call it downright dangerous.
‘Expose to the Right’ is a Bunch of Bull [The Online Photographer]
Image credit: Out and about again by c@rljones
As you might know, different copies of the same lens can vary in quality, and some people go as far as to purchase multiple copies to pick the sharpest one before returning the others. Roger Cicala over at LensRentals wanted to quantify exactly how much variation actually exists between copies of the same lens, so he subjected some to Imatest quality tests:
[…] while the Canon 100mm f/2.8 IS L lens is a bit sharper than the other two on average, not every copy is. If someone was doing a careful comparative review there’s a fair chance they could get a copy that wasn’t any sharper than the other two lenses. I think this explains why two careful reviewers may have slightly different opinions on a given lens.
That’s interesting to think about. Two highly objective reviews of the same lens could come to different conclusions about relative sharpness compared to other lenses, simply because there are differences among copies of that lens. Too bad reviews are usually based on a single copy of a lens, rather than the average performance of multiple copies.
Notes on Lens and Camera Variation [LensRentals]
DxOMark has just published its findings on the quality of Nikon’s new mirrorless camera sensor, and the verdict is that Nikon did a pretty good job milking quality out of the small 1-inch sensor:
With regard to its size, this ranking is a big surprise, as the Nikon J1 sensor manages to score close to or even better than larger sensors (including 4/3 sensors).
[…] On the other hand, its low-light ISO score is a bit low: 372, which reflects the impact of the sensor size. Indeed, this score is naturally dependent on the sensor size: the bigger the sensor, the more light it captures. So even though the quality of the pixels provided by Nikon is very close to that of its main competitor, its sensor size physically limits the image quality.
If low-light shooting is your thing. then you might want to look into cameras with larger sensors. However, for everyday photography the new Nikon line perform surprisingly well given how much smaller its sensor is compared to its competitors.
Interchangeable Lens cameras by Nikon (via Nikon Rumors)
The relatively small 1-inch CX-format sensor found in Nikon’s new mirrorless cameras caused quite a bit of discontent among serious shooters even before the cameras were announced, but now that it’s official we finally have the opportunity to see its image quality in real-world environments. dpreview has published a gallery of 23 JPGs shot with the Nikon J1, along with 5 RAW files shot between ISO 100 and ISO 3200. Take a look, and judge for yourself.
Nikon J1 real-world samples gallery [dpreview]
While looking into the new compression service JPEGmini yesterday, the following statement caught my eye in an interview they did with Megapixel:
[…] sometimes you increase the quality setting in Photoshop and the actual quality of the image is reduced…
I had never heard of that before, so I decided to dig a little deeper.
There are several things you can and should do to get the most out of the images from your point-and-shoot camera. If you use it correctly, people won’t know with what camera the shot was taken.Check out the photograph above and guess which camera it was taken with. I’ll reveal the answer at the end of the post.