Thursday, October 22, 2009

Short-billed Dowitcher

Juvenile, NYC in September



This is a classic juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher shot from a low angle (lying in the mud) at Jamaica Bay WR toward sunset. This was shot with the digital Rebel XTi, which doesn't always produce exceptional images but does well on well-lit subjects at low ISO.

Wilson's Phalarope

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tests on 5D Mark II settings

Prompted by discussions with a friend concerning his new 7D I did the following tests on my 5D Mark II :

1. Default Picture Code settings do not affect RAW file appearance in Lightroom. Not a great surprise this, since RAW files are supposed to evade most or all processing policies that effect in-camera JPG files. I shot an IT8 target with RAW+JPEG. Of interest was that there was some difference in color reproduction in the reds between "Faithful" and "Neutral" in the JPGs.

2. High ISO Noise Reduction settings do affect RAW appearance. This test was shot against a defocussed white wall (i.e. "featureless" image) at 2 stops underexposure at ISO 1600. There was a marked difference in appearance of the JPG files, with much less evident grain in Standard and Strong settings than at Low or Disabled. Standard was fairly close to Strong. This pattern was also evident in file sizes (more noise = larger files). For the RAW files there was a subtle difference for the same shots - more or less invisible for the lower ISO (400?) that I tested the previous evening but just visible at ISO 1600. I did not test sharpness reduction, but that's the usual trade-off. Canon, however, in this document, indicate that Adobe Camera Raw ignores this setting.

3. Noise patterns at all ISOs. Everything from 100 to 3200 in 1/3 stop increments with the same -2 stop underexposure as the previous test. Notably, stops 1/3 below the "standard" ones showed less noise, but also a little more exposure. In fact for ISO 160 the featureless noise shots perhaps showed nicer noise appearance than ISO 100. The 5D Mark II has this tendency to produce grid noise artifacts at lower ISOs. The ISO 1/3 stop above the standard ones fared least well. This pattern has been commented on previously at the Dpreview.com forums, and despite the high bs level much of the content in those forums, it appears to have a basis in fact.

Central Park, October 6th

Black-throated Blue Warbler (first fall male)


Scarlet Tanager (first fall male - notice the molt limits in the coverts)