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Re: [OM] Reaching the Top

Subject: Re: [OM] Reaching the Top
From: Wayne Shumaker <om3ti@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 2020 10:00:00 -0700
At 8/31/2020 11:00 AM, CCD Sensor wrote:
>> Really enjoyed the pics on your hike.
>Thank you!
>> However you used a phrase today that I'd never before associated with you
>> ...."Tone Down" ... I had to look to see whether this was really you.
>Sorry about that. My account got hacked.
>There is actually something to my statement, though. Let's consider
>the "Capo dei capi" of digital cameras in regards to color and
>contrast - the Olympus E-1. Most camera RAW files are pretty lifeless
>and flat. Their job is to store the straight, unadulterated
>analog-to-digital conversion as faithfully as possible so the images
>can be remapped to whatever style the photographer chooses. The
>"in-camera JPEG" is just one such canned interpretation of the RAW
>file information. What is unusual about the E-1 is the sensor and A-D
>process is tuned to capture as much color information as possible,
>sacrificing dynamic range to accomplish it. This is a combination of
>color filter technology in the sensor itself, and the voltage bias
>applied during capture. Because the E-1's CCD A-D process sacrifices
>dynamic range for color depth, the images tend to be more punchy and
>contrasty than other cameras. I'm NOT talking about fully converted
>output files, either, I'm talking about the RAW data file. The
>midtones have a steeper slope than other cameras.
>When I open up an E-1 image in Lightroom (Adobe currently has the best
>E-1 converter available today), the amount of contrast and color
>settings required to create a "normal" image (generic, pleasing
>picture of a daylight landscape, for example), is minimal with the
>E-1. Texture, Clarity, and Dehaze require a maximum of about +5 before
>the image goes nuclear. An equivalent Canon 6D image requires settings
>in the +15 to +25 range just to match an E-1 image set to zeros.
>Further color saturation enhancement is either low-single digit
>adjustments or even negative adjustments. Canon images require heavy
>manipulation to match an E-1 with neutral settings. I mention the
>Canon, for my comparative, because it's the most egregious example of
>all cameras and films I've ever used.
>Maybe it is just Adobe's converter that has some magic applied?
>Possible, but only to a certain extent. An E-1 RAW file opened up in
>highly generic converters show a different response curve than other
>Through the magic of RAW converters, we can remap almost any image to
>match another camera image, except for the specific optical traits of
>the sensor and filter-stack itself. And that's another area where the
>E-1 is highly unique. The E-1's CCD literally sees the world
>differently than other cameras. It's one of the few cameras that can
>actually reproduce the colors of an African Violet. It "sees" into
>both the near-IR and near-UV spectrum and maps the colors relatively
>appropriately. And, unfortunately, that is a double-edged sword, as
>the E-1 will give magenta colored blacks without batting an eye.
>So, let's compare to the other two Kodak CCD stable mates: E-300 and
>E-400. I haven't quite gotten a handle on the E-300 - it is similar to
>the E-1, however, it appears to have a slightly different near-UV
>response. The magenta blacks remain. The E-300 is slightly more
>"Canon-like" in the yellows. In all honesty, I'd say the E-300
>produced the more usable picture in more situations than the E-1, but
>because of the yellow mismatch, it seems to lack a slight bit of image
>roundness. The E-400 has a really aggressive IR cut filter and fully
>addresses the magenta blacks. The yellows appear to be closer to the
>E-1, but the oranges and reds are skewed slightly, which is either a
>result of the IR cut filter or the optical response of the blue-green
>In almost every case, the primary culprit between cameras is how the
>blue-green spectrum is mapped.
>I believe what makes the E-1 unique (as well as some other cameras
>from the early 2000s, is that more emphasis was placed on the sensor,
>filter stack, and A-D process to keep the image data as close to ideal
>as possible, where now, the emphasis is on capturing the maximum
>amount of information and then process it to desired results later.
>Which is better? My experience with the Sony A7 Mk2 says that both
>methods are valid and can be acceptable. The difference is that with
>the E-1, you don't have to guess what the colors might be like, as the
>images will slap you upside the head with the colors. With "modern"
>cameras, you really have no point of reference unless it's an Olympus
>camera and you use RAW+JPEG as the in-camera engine does a pretty
>reasonable job of presenting the color science designed by Olympus and
>Kodak about 20 years ago. Because of the sensor and A-D design, the
>images required far less processing or bit-bending, than modern
>cameras. Modern cameras have far more bits to bend than the E-1, so
>the end results CAN be similar. The E-1's sensor and A-D design
>maximized what a whole lot fewer bits can do.

We've had this discussion before.... 

As a circuit designer, an A/D does not do processing, it is linear. I can see 
post processing of the A/D information, or have a non-linear gain in front of 

The main difference in color reproduction is the color filter array and its 
ability to separate colors. Sharper filter separates the colors more. If the 
color filter is less sharp, there is no way to really recover the lost 
information. Dxo Mark has camera sensor color response and typically green 
bleeds into red and blue. No E-1 information though. When green filter 
overlaps/bleeds into red, what do you get? And how does the camera interpret it?

The CCD sensors allowed for color materials that later image sensor do not due 
to how the sensors are made. Due the color filter being on-chip, under the 
microlens, and to the photoresist requirements of the materials to make them.

The E-1 also has a thick AA in front of the sensor which can probably do more 
NIR filtering. Not to mention that it renders dust less of an issue by keeping 
it further from the sensor.

I am happy to sacrifice some color fidelity for higher dynamic range, lower 
noise, more convenience/performance. My color IQ is rather low anyway.

After I'm done processing images, are they really what I actually saw? 
Generally the light was flatter and colors less saturated than what I create in 
post, but probably no where near as much as many photos I see online these days.

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