The beginning of the end of the digital SLR era

soundimageplus

Top Veteran
Jul 6, 2010
David, you missed the 2-3 stop backlight problem. Yes, you can shoot without flash, but depending on the EV comp setting, you either get people coming out looking like silhouettes, or it's as if everyone's feeling the rapture and gone to heaven all at once.
Well not if you do it right. If you can do it with your X100 and he/she can't with a Canon EOS 60D, EF 17-40/4L and a 580EXII, then its pretty clear to me where the problem lies. And its not with the camera.

You said the other photographer was a professional, and fill-in flash with backlight is a problem. Hmmmm....................
 

Lili

Hall of Famer
Oct 17, 2010
Dallas, TX
Lili
I think that pressure on the small sensor compacts could be a good thing. One of the ways they could be differentiated from CSC's would be on price. We could get newer versions of existing small sensor compacts at much lower prices.


I still have my DSLR and I'm not planning to sell it. In fact I'm planning to acquire a 75-300 or possibly 70-200 at some point. I think this is where DSLR's still have an advantage - sometimes bigger is better. While there are compact telephoto lenses that will work with CSC's fast telephoto/telezoom lenses are tricky on smaller cameras and tend to be better balanced on DSLR's.
Olli, hear you on the prices of SSC's however that would cut margin even thinner and something would have to give. Right now it appears the High End SSC's are doing quite well.
As to DSLR's an Tele's, they do handle better, exp with contrast AF; my E-PL1 with the 14-150mm simply will not lock on the moon for example. Manual focus save me there...
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Luckypenguin

Hall of Famer
Dec 24, 2010
Brisbane, Australia
Nic
However, I'm curious, why manual? Is the idea to test fire and dial it in? I'd be worried about missing the shot. Photographing big dynamic group shots I can't count on a reshoot. Playing kids don't offer a second shot either. Also, how would you dial it in? Would you adjust the flash power, distance or would you adjust the aperture? I presume aperture. That's how I'd balance a film photo. The other problem I forgot to mention was that as we had an uneven roof with things like A/C ducts overhead, the roof height kept changing, so each shot could give a different bounce exposure; that's why I presume he was shooting in E-TTL II. Not that it would have helped; as I mentioned, bounce flash could not work: the ceiling was too close and the solitary wall was too far and occluded.

The reason why I would use manual with a bounce flash is because I don't know how the camera is supposed to calculate the correct exposure on it's own. It has no way of knowing how high the ceiling is, what colour, what texture, etc. You basically need to dial in a good baseline setting and then adjust it as necessary. This can be a bit awkward if you are in a room with multiple ceiling heights and textures. It is a good idea to set the flash intensity for close-up shots with the diffuser in place, and then retract it for shots at longer distances. This is a quicker way to control intensity than to adjust it on the flash itself! This may be a compromise and won't always be exactly right, but assuming that Canon didn't lose the plot with the 60D in terms of dynamic range any slight under or overexposures are easily recoverable.

If using the flash head directly I would always be using the diffuser for anything within a few metres of the camera, especially on a flash like the 580EX which has the light output of your average streetlamp.

The messages I wish to convey are:
  • the X100's IQ is in the same ballpark as a prosumer DSLR
  • in certain circumstances, the X100 is the better choice
  • where both can achieve the same end results, it is easier to configure to ideal settings on the X100, the X100 requires less constant fiddling, and the workflow is altogether more pleasant.

I have no issues with your assertion that the X100 was suitable for this scenario, I just don't understand why Canon guy was struggling so much.

I've known a few people who were of the opinion that one of the requirements for obtaining a driver's license should be to understand the physics of what a car does, and I have developed a similar opinion relating to cameras. I have no problems using automatic functions on cameras, and I am sure that I would find it too much hard work if I didn't, but as much as possible I try to understand the workings and limitations of those functions so that I am not blaming the camera instead of myself when things aren't working properly.

This is me coming from an engineering background however so it may just be a personal oddity.
 

ZDP-189

Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189">@Z
Apr 18, 2011
The reason why I would use manual with a bounce flash is because I don't know how the camera is supposed to calculate the correct exposure on it's own. It has no way of knowing how high the ceiling is, what colour, what texture, etc. You basically need to dial in a good baseline setting and then adjust it as necessary. This can be a bit awkward if you are in a room with multiple ceiling heights and textures. It is a good idea to set the flash intensity for close-up shots with the diffuser in place, and then retract it for shots at longer distances. This is a quicker way to control intensity than to adjust it on the flash itself! This may be a compromise and won't always be exactly right, but assuming that Canon didn't lose the plot with the 60D in terms of dynamic range any slight under or overexposures are easily recoverable.

If using the flash head directly I would always be using the diffuser for anything within a few metres of the camera, especially on a flash like the 580EX which has the light output of your average streetlamp.

I have no issues with your assertion that the X100 was suitable for this scenario, I just don't understand why Canon guy was struggling so much.

I've known a few people who were of the opinion that one of the requirements for obtaining a driver's license should be to understand the physics of what a car does, and I have developed a similar opinion relating to cameras. I have no problems using automatic functions on cameras, and I am sure that I would find it too much hard work if I didn't, but as much as possible I try to understand the workings and limitations of those functions so that I am not blaming the camera instead of myself when things aren't working properly.

This is me coming from an engineering background however so it may just be a personal oddity.
I agree. Just like a racing driver should know every component of his car, I have been taught to listen, read, experiment and question my assumptions.

Canon E-TTL II is an advanced pre-flash TTL metering system. The Speedlite (or groups of slaved Speedlites) sequentially discharge a series of preflashes, which are metered through the lens by the camera's matrix meter. Each flash group's preflash is evaluated to determine how it contributes to the overall lighting and the flash power is adjusted accordingly. Therefore, whether you have one Speedlite on camera pointed directly at the subject, or bouncing off a coloured or textured wall, shot through a gobo, or several flashes all discharging from various positions, the system is designed to adjust each group to deliver the exposure required. Old school manual metering, mental math and trial and error strobe adjustment still offers more subjective control, but it's too ponderous for walkabout shooting at a dynamic event. On the whole, E-TTL II works rather well.

I've set up my own EOS DSLR with the same flash and lens and done some experimental shots at home. The Speedlight works as intended. -3EV is just barely noticeable, -2 fills in most of the shadow, -1 EV is just under balance and +0EV balances and almost starts to dominate the ambient. In the range +0 to -1EV, surface reflections are notable.

The X100's unmodfied flash exposure is altogether more aesthetically pleasing. Fujifilm has its proprietary "Super Intelligent Flash" programme. If I told you that I totally understood "Super Intelligent Flash", I'd be lying. None of the research I've done explains it fully. All I can tell you is that the X100 has exposed the ambient a stop above the EOS through higher ISO and the shadows appear like the EOS at -1EV flash exposure compensation. At the same time, far shadows are less underexposed. Manually recreating the cameras' ambient auto exposure but without flash shows a much healthier histogram and subjectively better exposed scene. Flash specular highlights are less harsh. I think the more detailed ambient shadows and less obtrusive flash highlights are the result of the X100 sensor's higher dynamic range (DxOMark 12.4 vs 11.9) and the RAW-utilising dynamic range compression (2 stops at DR400) done through automatic in-camera post processing. Photoshopping of RAW images using curves in Photoshop just about brought the lighting up to the X100 standard.

So you see, we do both know our cameras, how they perform and how to use them better than most. The X100 is not only technically on par with a top prosumer DSLR (in my test case a 5DII), but it delivers a better image right out of the camera. It does so for much less money too. The X100 is very cheap compared to a 60D/5DII plus 17-40/4L and 580EXII. I would support Thom's assertion that compact cameras are now at the same level as DSLRs in many ways. Where the X100 is weaker than a system camera is in system flexibility (prime lens), direct manipulation of the lens (primarily focus) and lack of an optical reflex viewfinder.
 

texascbx

Veteran
Jul 10, 2010
Canton Texas
Ricky
The new A77 to be announced in July will probably make a big splash in the camera world. Especially at the price point Sony can sell it at. I guess they see Panny getting a mint for the GH2 with 14-140 and want to crash the party.
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
Did anyone else notice that he said "RIP Fujifilm" in that post? Will the X100 save Fujifilm or is it a brilliant last gasp?

I find myself using my DSLR less and less simply for it's weight and size but it still has a place. Thinking about it, if I did not own one today I don't know that I would buy one.
 

olli

Super Moderator Emeritus
Sep 28, 2010
Sofia, Bulgaria
olli
I was wondering if anyone would notice that final sentence. I'm not sure that Fuji doesn't have the same kind of enthusiastic niche following as Ricoh. Maybe the will never make it as a volume producer but I think he's probably being a little pessimistic.
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
I was wondering if anyone would notice that final sentence. I'm not sure that Fuji doesn't have the same kind of enthusiastic niche following as Ricoh. Maybe the will never make it as a volume producer but I think he's probably being a little pessimistic.
He's been known to be pessimistic. He sort of has hope for Ricoh.

What keeps Ricoh alive is the Japanese market. I agree that I'm not sure that Fuji has an enthusiastic following. People seemed to like the DR of their last DSLR and one or two of their P&Ss were known for their low light capability, but that is about it.
 

ZDP-189

Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189">@Z
Apr 18, 2011
I was wondering if anyone would notice that final sentence. I'm not sure that Fuji doesn't have the same kind of enthusiastic niche following as Ricoh. Maybe the will never make it as a volume producer but I think he's probably being a little pessimistic.
I am a big fan of Fujifilm. I own several of their best cameras: Klasse W, Natura Classica, Natura Black 1.9, F11, F200EXR, X100. I love their films: Super Presto 1600, Velvia 50 (I have about 60 rolls in the cooler), Superia Reala 100. The more I learn about Fuji, the more enamoured I become. I love their Super CCD, EXR and Natura (film) technologies, plus the DR and N modes and 'Super Intelligent Flash". However they also made lots of junk, even sometimes mixed in among their best product lines. Ricoh OTOH, make pure gold. I have almost all the GR and R film cameras, bar the Elle, GR10 and original GR1 QD. I have all the GRD and GX lines, plus accessories, except the Stussy and 1st anniversary limited editions. The GXR is bulky but packs some great APS-C primes. There's not a Ricoh made in recent years that I wouldn't enjoy using. They are all intuitive, fast and well made.

Both brands deserve their loyal fanbase.

Edit: PS/ When he said "RIP: Fujifilm, Kodak." I believe he was referring to their DSLR businesses.
 

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