14 bit AD converter: the S3's secret weapon
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Fuji

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-01-2005   #1
Alpaca
 
Artichoke's Avatar
 
Location: Houston
Posts: 46
CamelKarma: 13
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default 14 bit AD converter: the S3's secret weapon

one of the least understood virtues of Fuji's radical DSLR is the S3's 14 bit AD converter
the critical first step of converting the data coming off the sensor into a photograph is the AD converter
with the possible exception of the Kodak designed sensor for the Leica R9 back, other presently available DSLRs use a 12 bit converter
14 bit converts using 16384 levels while 12 bit converts with only 4096 levels
the difference is huge and particularly so in jpg conversion as the in camera processing has much better data with which to work
I think this increased data precision also contributes to the huge size of RAW files from the S3, as does its wider DR
14 bit conversion may contribute as much to the exceptional qualities of the S3's files
this may have been the main reason for my being hooted off the FSLRT site by the S3 Naysayer's Corps
Moshe Vainer (a serious programmer jock who reverse engineers RAW files for yucks) just put up an excellent analysis of the advantages of 14 bit AD conversion on FSLRT which vindicates most of what I had said all along

__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
__________________
web galleries http://www.pbase.com/artichoke
have a look: the price is right
Artichoke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2005   #2
Llama
 
Alice Morrison's Avatar
 
Posts: 578
CamelKarma: 40
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 14 bit AD converter: the S3's secret weapon

This is interesting. Canon claims to have increased dynamic range in its latest cameras. I wonder how they compare? I'm speaking of the supposed dynamic range improvements in the Mk II and 20D.
Alice Morrison is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2005   #3
Bactrian
 
Posts: 2,055
CamelKarma: 344
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 14 bit AD converter: the S3's secret weapon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavel
I've tried searching for the info and can't find it. In my experience if a manufacturer doesn't tout it .... it's probably not there ... so I have to say I think I was wrong on my assertion that the Oly uses a 14 bit conversion.
Pavel, the S3 uses a 14bit DAC, but until Fuji engineers are asked, really, it doesn't mean that much. Of note is that the only Fuji cameras with 14-bit data are all the S-R sensor cameras. I believe Fuji introduced this to handle more the issue of mixing the R pixels with the S pixels. The R pixels are the ones that are 4 times less sensitive than normal ones. Since the R pixels only come into play in highlights or overexposed areas, not all shots really will gather that benefit.

Also, it's not like this is the only solution to the tonal range problem- for example Olympus using a Full Frame Transfer CCD has its own advantages, not to mention the 4/3rds lens system which effectively makes the light enter the sensor in a more polarized way, improving image contrast, color and dynamic range all at once.

I think more than anything the biggest 14-bit data the S3 has is in all the math/curves it needs to apply in the processing alogorithms before the final conversion to jpeg. Likewise, the E-1 and D2X use 16-bits internally when doing this to avoid math errors, that is actually even better.

When looking at typical Fuji cameras that use less bits there you see that it is the curves/image processing algorithms that Fuji uses the ones making the big difference. No other cameras have 14-bit data, except the ones with R & S pixels Fuji has.

I think really all these cameras are great and it's up to the photographer, not the camera, to take the good tonal ranged/well exposed shots. I'll give the S3 the advantage in difficult lighting though, but the Olys have good dynamic range in their own right.

- Raist

__________________
Raist3d
Photographer & Tools/Systems/Gui Vid Games Programmer
Raist3d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2005   #4
Bactrian
 
Posts: 2,055
CamelKarma: 344
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 14 bit AD converter: the S3's secret weapon

Quote:
"No other cameras have 14-bit data, except the ones with R & S pixels Fuji has."
I mean of the Fuji brand.

- Raist
__________________
Raist3d
Photographer & Tools/Systems/Gui Vid Games Programmer
Raist3d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2005   #5
Alpaca
 
Artichoke's Avatar
 
Location: Houston
Posts: 46
CamelKarma: 13
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default for Raist3d: a friendly suggestion

you should check the recent thread on FSLRT from Moishe Vainer on this subject
he has reversed engineered RAW files from various DSLRs including the S2/S3
I think he does this for yucks
while he is clear about 14 bits being only a potential advantage, I suspect Fuji engineers know what they are doing and are putting the extra 2 bits to good use
the files the S3 produces sure seem to have something extra about them
while I heartily agree that it is the photographer & not the equipment,* this is a forum about equipment, so I think it reasonable to discuss these matters here
__________________
web galleries http://www.pbase.com/artichoke
have a look: the price is right
Artichoke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2005   #6
Bactrian
 
Posts: 2,055
CamelKarma: 344
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Yes, E-1 captures 14-bit also. Re: 14 bit AD converter: the S3's secret weapon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavel
I've tried searching for the info and can't find it. In my experience if a manufacturer doesn't tout it .... it's probably not there ... so I have to say I think I was wrong on my assertion that the Oly uses a 14 bit conversion.
Pavel, to my very own surprise, yes, the E-1 does capture 14-bits. Looks like that would explain why the e-system of Olympus is regarded as having a wider and tonal range higher than average besides the inherent advantage of a Full Frame Transfer sensor and lenses designed for Digital making light strike the sensor in a more polarized fashion:

From the Olympus USA website, FAQ about E-1:

http://www.olympusamerica.com/e1/sup_faqs.asp

"15. What type of image sensor is used in the E-1? The E-1 features a high performance Full Frame Transfer CCD from Kodak that delivers the highest dynamic range, lowest noise levels and best color of any sensor in its class. The 4/3-type sensor measures 22.3mm diagonally with a 4:3 aspect ratio with 5.5 Megapixels total and 5.0 Megapixels effective. The individual pixels are 6.8Ám square. The CCD features blooming protection for each pixel. Color is applied to pixels via an RGB mosaic color filter with overlying micro-lenses for improved color response and reproduction. The sensor will capture 14bit RGB information, which can be saved in the Adobe« RGB or sRGB color space. "

So looks like the S3 is not unique in its "secret weapon here." I personally think the algorithms make the bigbest difference considering what other Fuji non 14-bit cameras can do.

- Raist
__________________
Raist3d
Photographer & Tools/Systems/Gui Vid Games Programmer
Raist3d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2005   #7
Bactrian
 
Posts: 2,055
CamelKarma: 344
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 14 bit AD converter: the S3's secret weapon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavel
Thanks for digging that up for me. I thought that I read somewhere that the E-1 used a 14 bit dac - but I couldn't remember where is read it so I thought perhaps I was mistaken. I would think though - despite the similarity here that the Fuji can be said to be unique in this regard. Perhaps there is more than just the 14 bittedness at work here but the Fuji is the reigning champ with respect to dynamic range. No one seems to be able to match them in that regard. The proof's in the pudding .... err ... in the pictures
I definitively agree that the SR sensors have more dynamic range, no contest. Interestingly enough, only the Fuji cameras with SR sensors are the ones that can save 14-bit data. I have a Fuji F710 and the dynamic range is very visible in RAW. In jpeg it depends, but the thing with SR sensor cameras is you need to be conscious that you need to push the exposure a bit more, or be willing to do so in some situations, and the sensor through the blend of S & R pixel information will handle it.

- Raist
__________________
Raist3d
Photographer & Tools/Systems/Gui Vid Games Programmer
Raist3d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2005   #8
Bactrian
 
Posts: 2,055
CamelKarma: 344
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 14 bit AD converter: the S3's secret weapon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavel
Thanks for digging that up for me. I thought that I read somewhere that the E-1 used a 14 bit dac - but I couldn't remember where is read it so I thought perhaps I was mistaken. I would think though - despite the similarity here that the Fuji can be said to be unique in this regard. Perhaps there is more than just the 14 bittedness at work here but the Fuji is the reigning champ with respect to dynamic range. No one seems to be able to match them in that regard. The proof's in the pudding .... err ... in the pictures
Pavel, i was going to say that the Olympus website seems to contradict itself. In some other places they talk about 12-bit raw. Given some dynamic range analysis I saw written of the Kodak CCD sensor used pinning it at 12-bits, I am far more inclined now to think it's really 12 bits and not 14 bits. Obivously there are other factors like the lenses, and the type of sensor that help, but I don't think it's 14 bit capture.

- Raist
__________________
Raist3d
Photographer & Tools/Systems/Gui Vid Games Programmer
Raist3d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2005   #9
F1 Camel
 
Location: Jax FL
Posts: 4,227
CamelKarma: 1676
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 14 bit AD converter: the S3's secret weapon

Quote:

Pavel, i was going to say that the Olympus website seems to contradict itself. In some other places they talk about 12-bit raw. Given some dynamic range analysis I saw written of the Kodak CCD sensor used pinning it at 12-bits, I am far more inclined now to think it's really 12 bits and not 14 bits. Obivously there are other factors like the lenses, and the type of sensor that help, but I don't think it's 14 bit capture.

- Raist
So the E1 has a 14 bit sensor but a 12bit DAC? That seems silly if true. The E1 seems to work well no matter how it does work.
__________________
Fuji S2/S3/S5 Pro
Kenko MC7 2X, Pro 300
Nkkor 50 1.8 70-300VR
Phoenix 100, 650-1300& Sima 100mm F2 SF
Sigma 12-24, 18-50 HSM, 18-125, 50-500, 70-300, 120-300, 1.4X 2x
Tamron 28-75
badpickev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2006   #10
Bactrian
 
Posts: 2,055
CamelKarma: 344
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Apparently, I was wrong. The E-1 catpures 14-bits like the S3.

Why the raw file specifies 12 bits is what I want to know. It could be that it uses the 14-bit spaces for most calculations, then going to the final image. Or compresses the bits around a bit. But everythign I read from where the camera was announced does mention 14 bits.

That would explain why the tonal and DR I am seeing. No wonder.

- Raist


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
__________________
Raist3d
Photographer & Tools/Systems/Gui Vid Games Programmer
Raist3d is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Fuji »


Share this topic:

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lumix secret out.... Raist3d Olympus 5 06-27-2006 05:13 PM
70-200 f2.8 IS with converter CI Photography Canon 9 04-25-2006 05:55 PM