Tech Tips for January 5, 2009

I’m back again with another Tech Tips post in the new year in order to take care of some of the questions that have been emailed to me and I haven’t answered yet. Let’s check them out below.

Chuck over at Photography Blog you did a Q/A recently and someone asked you about this blog and you said you had nothing to do with it? Obviously this is your blog so could you explain what you meant?

Yes, let me just quote part of the Q/A here for the readers:

Hi Chuck, thanks for your web site: lots of laughs and interesting to figure out what is real and what is not. Corporate culture: same everywhere – sad really.

Chuck’s Answer: If you’re referring to the “Fake Chuck Westfall” blog, it’s not mine. I have nothing to do with it. In the meantime, your first request has already been granted.

I know this might be a little confusing to you, but this is something I had to do in order to be able to deny having something to do with this blog in case Canon wants to use it against me. As you know I am freely giving my opinion here on this blog and this is not always in line with the official story Canon puts out. But this blog helps me to keep my bloodpressure down and to keep my sanity.

What is it with all the noise on the recent cameras? I thought image quality was important to Canon. Now I have to spend time cleaning up noise even at ISO 100. It’s getting crazy you guys better do something about this!

Thank you for your suggestion. If you’ve been following this blog long enough you already know my personal opinion regarding noise in images: I don’t like it myself. However, at Canon we think that noise is an important part of digital photography and certainly with regards to image quality. More noise in larger images is actually an improvement that contributes a lot to good image quality, as we have clearly demonstrated with the EOS 50D and the EOS 5D Mark II. Going forward, we expect noise to continue to play an important role in digital photography here at Canon with future advancements in sensor development, which will allow for even larger resolutions on smaller sensors while bending, and indeed completely trashing,  the laws of physics and causing a rip in the space-time continuum.
Other industry leaders have also recognized the importance of noise in images. For example, Adobe has demonstrated to share a similar view by including filters in Photoshop that add noise to images. As a result, images made with older cameras that offered noise-free images can now be improved by adding noise to them. I expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future.

Fake Chuck thank you for this blog, I just wanted to say I’m getting really tired of all the pixel peepers out there who seem to only view images at 100% and keep whining about stupid things that don’t matter. Can’t you do anything about it?

Well I’m afraid I can’t, but I have to say that I do share your concerns. My work here at Canon would be a lot easier if people couldn’t view images at the pixel level. If that were the case, nobody would know the 1D Mark III couldn’t focus well, nobody would notice the outer focus points of the 5D Mark II gave them out of focus images, and nobody would notice that the 50D images are less detailed compared to the older 40D.
But keep in mind that with future advancements in sensor technology, it will become entirely pointless to view images at 100% size. Once sensor resolution reaches the gigapixel and terrapixel levels, it will not be practical to view images at the pixel level anymore simply because you’ll essentially be looking at something totally different in that case. For instance, if you would take a picture of your girlfriend’s face using a 10 TerraPixel camera and view it at 100%, what you would then be seeing are pores, skincells and bacteria. The subject matter changes drastically in this case and it would make no sense to view the original picture of your girlfriend at that level of detail.

I asked some engineers at our R&D lab in Japan if I could publish an example of this, and they agreed to let me post a sample 10TP image taken with a prototype sensor:

100% crop of a 10 TerraPixel image

100% crop of a 10 TerraPixel image

As you can see from the example above, it becomes pointless to view this picture of a cute baby at the pixel level in the future. At this point I believe the pixel peepers are going to understand that they should probably try to get a life instead.

I’ve also published more Tech Tips at The Digital Journalist this month. Check it out.

Thanks for reading Tech Tips. That’s it for now. Remember to email your questions to fcwestfall@gmail.com or leave a comment in this post. See you next week!

11 thoughts on “Tech Tips for January 5, 2009

  1. . . . pixel peepers are going to understand that they should probably try to get a life instead.

    But, Not Chuck, pixel peeping is all I have. I had to stop the other kinds of peeping I used to do because the sheriff wasn’t amused.

  2. Hey Fake Chuck,

    At least now you’re guaranteed that Chuck Westfall is reading this blog. So come on all you Canon users out there! Lets join in and tell Mr Masda or whatever his name is what we users want in our cameras.

    Canon better take a long hard look at what Nikon is providing that Canon is not. I’m sure Chuck that with your errmm… field testing of the Nikon D3x that there’s lots to like about the competition and that Canon had better lift their game.

    And I’m going to start:

    Give us pro body and real pro features. Don’t treat us like fools by giving us 9pts. (which don’t always work all the time anyway). Don’t stinge on the AF pts.

    And don’t lie about “having no space” to put in a better AF module or the pop-up flash. If the D700 can do it…. so can you. (remember we’re not fools)

    And give us shorter shutter release lag times and mirror black out times.

    And don’t CUT CORNERS by making stupid decisions like designing a top class lens such as the EF50mm F1.2 II and stinge on the floating element and weather sealing. You’re essentially trying to sell a lens for top dollar which doesn’t give top image quality. I wouldn’t tolerate a lens which focus shifts on stopping down. This is ridiculous.

    Look at what Nikon is doing with their lenses. Apparently they don’t need much AF micro-adjustment with Nikon bodies. Which brings me to my next point. Either you find back you QA team which has gone MIA or you hire the QA team which is currently working at Nikon. Don’t stinge on QA Canon. I know it costs money and thats why we pay money to buy cameras and lenses. IF you don’t provide products fit for use. I’ll just go elsewhere. Judging from the 300% growth of Nikon for DSLRs in all the important worldwide markets, it would be safe to say I’m not the only one who thinks so.

    Well thats it for now. I’m going to go lie down now….

  3. Well said Daniel.

    Funny stuff Fake Chuck.
    That 10 terrapixel image looks pretty clean, must be the built in NR of the Digic 10 processor ??

  4. Daniel, I’m really enjoying uh.. fieldtesting.. my D3x. Maeda will be receiving my report soon.

    David, there’s a good amount of noise reduction in Digic 10, but this sensor is also using material that is many times more sensitive to light compared to what we’re using in sensors today.

  5. one suggestion for you while canon is developing their 10TB cameras. remember to put in some in-camera post processing features like bacteria reduction, skin flakes removal and pores shrinker. you may just be able to avoid a few really bad comments from pixel peepers for canon.

  6. Pingback: Canon EOS 7D: Nikon’s Worst Nightmare Has Begun « Fake Chuck Westfall

  7. I am glad you like your D3X. Make sure you stay tuned for our D4 series Evidently we’ll be putting 28.5 MP on that one with ISO capability up to 32,500. That way you can make out a pimple on the back end of a flea.

  8. Pingback: Tech Tips and Emails « Fake Chuck Westfall

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