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Why some DSLR files look "plastic"?

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I did that on my 5D (before I sold it).

 

The 50 Cron was sharper than the Canon 1.4/50, but it still looked like plastic, because of the AA filter, noise reduction and CMOS chip. Glass is not going to change that.

 

Please post some of these "plastic" photos. I'm not really sure what you are talking about. (It probably would be good if we all had some kind of common reference point.)

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Guest sirvine

I am genuinely amazed at how much noise reduction I see at 100% crops of the recent Canon 1 series and 5D. To my eyes, it looks like they sacrifice at least 10% of the published resolution to clean up the mess at pixelpeeping levels. Not sure how it turns out in the prints, though. I know in my own case, the M8's noise rarely translates to anything other than a pleasant "film-like" grain in semi-gloss prints even at 13X19.

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Please post some of these "plastic" photos. I'm not really sure what you are talking about. (It probably would be good if we all had some kind of common reference point.)

 

 

The web is full of them. It's a pretty commen comment you hear from shooters.

 

Some of it is a CCD vs CMOS issue, some of it has to do with noise reduction, AA filters and how the RAW data coming off the chip is processed.

 

For me it was the lack of microdetail I saw in my 5D images. I think the AA filter kills too much of it. One thing I like about the images that the M8 and some Nikons produce is that have some accutance. The use of a weak or no AA filter means a little more noise, but at least your eye gets a proper edge to lock on to.

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It's kind of funny, that so many are complaining about plastic look, BUT NOT ONE posted ONE image ...

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Guest guy_mancuso

I wonder what Oscar would say.

 

Sorry i don't do plastic. LOL

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Since I originated this thread I should post an example. This is shot at f8, 1/1000 sec with the 20D and 135mm lens. Shot in Raw processed with LR with everything set to zero for this posting except brightness and contrast at +25. The flesh tone looks very unreal. to me, especially if you look at the right hand.

 

Alan

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Is this what you mean by plastic? That picture looks too light and too blue to me. It is getting washed out.

 

Default settings in raw converters are just a starting point. Still, turning up the brightness and contrat is a mistake in this case.

 

Here it is with a little bit of yellow and a little darker. It's getting a bit posterized because the jpeg was too light and I'm sure I'm adding additional jpeg artifacts by recompressing.

 

I am working on a laptop so I can't say if what you'll see matches what I see.

Try reducing the exposure about 1/2 stop and add a little yellow. You may want to lower the contrast a hair. I think it would be fine.

If you want to email me the raw file, I'll show you what I can do and then tell me if you still think it looks plastic.

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Thanks Alan. You are very helpful as usual. I don't know what to call this, but used the term "plastic" since I saw it used often. Don't know what others mean by it.

 

Yes this photo needs to be corrected for exposure and WB. I just posted "as is" in order to be as close to RAW as possible. I have also tried different corrections. But I still see what I think is too smooth a transition in the skin tones. Looks like she was wearing gloves and pantyhose. Perhaps just personal taste.

 

 

 

Alan

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Looks like she was wearing gloves and pantyhose. Perhaps just personal taste.

 

Alan

 

Her skin is shiny. Probably from being wet or sunscreen. And she is in full sun, plus you've boosted the contrast and brightness so you've reduced the number of tones used to make up the skin color. What do you expect?

 

I have a friend who uses 20Ds for weddings and portraits. She is very pleased with the skin tones. She previously used Hasselblads and then Nikon D100s. She also bought a 5D and likes that even more but doesn't need all of that resolution for a lot of the wedding photos. (Just the formal and group portraits and perhaps some other aspects of the wedding.)

 

I don't think there is any way to convert any image and say it is as close to raw as possible. (The only way to even view a raw file is to process it with some kind of settings.)

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Since I originated this thread I should post an example. This is shot at f8, 1/1000 sec with the 20D and 135mm lens. Shot in Raw processed with LR with everything set to zero for this posting except brightness and contrast at +25. The flesh tone looks very unreal. to me, especially if you look at the right hand.

 

Alan

 

Just for fun, consider trying this in C1 to see how you like the color, etc.There are demo versions available, in case you don't have the program. Try sharpening at "standard" with default settings (for starters).

 

I'm not addressing myself to the "plastic" question so much as I am making a suggestion that might improve your satisfaction with the RAW conversions. Since you already have the 20D, you might as well see what you can get from it. Also, if you've never experimented with Photokit Sharpener, its worth considering. None of this, of course, will make a 20D into an M8 but you might be able to get more from your 20D files than you have so far.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Please bear me with my last post in this thread, folks ... so you say, lens doesn't matter and 20D is not good. Man ... I managed to get a Digital Rebel today ... don't laugh, :Dhere's a grab shot in my backyard with the cheap defunct 135/2.8.

 

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1130/700319547_65c8b67de0_o.jpg&key=5667ca8b290f63fac4551807f77949593bf19421e30c8b24c97a7c554794c06e">

 

Trust me I tried almost all Canon lenses and dumped them all - well, almost. LOL

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Thanks Sean for the suggestion. I am sure I am not getting everything I can with post-processing. Yes I have C1LE which came with the M8 but have been using LR lately.

 

Alan G. - by "close to Raw" I meant no change in sharpenning, exposure, recovery, etc. 0, 0 in brightness and contrast makes it worse. You are right, it's probably something I did wrong, or she looked that way to begin with.

 

Simon - great shot.

 

Alan

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Alan G. - by "close to Raw" I meant no change in sharpenning, exposure, recovery, etc. 0, 0 in brightness and contrast makes it worse. You are right, it's probably something I did wrong, or she looked that way to begin with.

 

 

I knew what you meant, but I don't think I've ever processed a file that I thought was any good without using a number of adjustments. Skin tones are one of the most delicate things to adjust to look nice - whether using a raw converter, scanning, or printing color negatives. I still can have trouble with them. By the way, I've had the best results on skin tones by using C-1, but I've only used a few converters.

 

I think struggling is to be expected because many enthusiasts (and many pros too) simply don't have the training or experience to undertake this. So they either need to take some classes or they are left to their own devices to climb the learning curve. And then they need to practice a lot.

 

I had several specific classes in college where I learned the concepts of color and how to make color prints. Then I had a custom color printing business and also worked as an architectural photographer where I had to know a lot about producing "accurate" color by using CC filters on my camera. And I've been scanning for about 12 years and shooting digitally for about 8 years. So I've adjusted many thousands of images.

 

So it is easy for me to look at a picture and quickly see how to adjust it. But that ability didn't come very easily.

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Please bear me with my last post in this thread, folks ... so you say, lens doesn't matter and 20D is not good. Man ... I managed to get a Digital Rebel today ... don't laugh, :Dhere's a grab shot in my backyard with the cheap defunct 135/2.8.

 

Sdai

 

I agree, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Digital Rebel.In the right hands it can product some awesome images.The previous samples shown here are not doing the canon gear any justice.

 

regards

andy

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Is this what you mean by plastic? That picture looks too light and too blue to me. It is getting washed out.

 

Default settings in raw converters are just a starting point. Still, turning up the brightness and contrat is a mistake in this case.

 

Here it is with a little bit of yellow and a little darker. It's getting a bit posterized because the jpeg was too light and I'm sure I'm adding additional jpeg artifacts by recompressing.

 

I am working on a laptop so I can't say if what you'll see matches what I see.

Try reducing the exposure about 1/2 stop and add a little yellow. You may want to lower the contrast a hair. I think it would be fine.

If you want to email me the raw file, I'll show you what I can do and then tell me if you still think it looks plastic.

 

 

Alan, how are you going to put high frequency detail back into the plate that was filtered out on the way from the light hitting the sensor to being dumped as a RAW file?

 

Color balance has very little to do with it looking plastic.

 

It's the lack of accutance and high frequency detail that makes a lot of these images look 'plastic' to many people.

 

You see the same problem with film, if you develop a fine grain emulsion in a strong solvent developer, you end up killing low level detail and the image can end up looking mushy.

 

The M8, DMR, many Nikons, the discontinued Kodak full frame and several MF back do not use an AA filter or a very weak one. If you examine their files closely you will see crisp edges, some grain and very fine detail.

 

Canon uses a fairly agressive AA filter and does a lot of noise reduction. As a result their images lack what could be called microcontrast and high frequency detail. On a low level nothing is really crisp. From there it can become a temporal problem, because your eye doesn't have anything concrete to lock on to.

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Stating the obvious, the look of the final image is clearly the product of the whole chain of technology, from the filter in front of the lens, to the print/monitor. Having said that, I find that that plastic look has often to do with the type of sensor used. C-mos can have it and the new Mos sensor on the Digilux3 seems to do that as well. Postprocessing, however, is of course the tool of choice to arrive at the look the user wants to achieve.

 

Having said that, I would like you guys and gals to guess: Is this plastic-fantastic shot CCD or ?-Mos ? (Hint: It has been post-processsed to some extent

)

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I killed the other thread these images were posted on stone dead - so maybe i can put this one out of it's misery too

 

Some quick color manipulation of a 5D file that was posted to show how insipid and drab the original Canon file was, gave what i thought was a more interesting comparison between the cameras. Putting the two halves together inone file to compare the 'plasticity' of the images can also be instructive - sorry for the added jpeg artifacts of recompression - and apologies to the original poster for re-using their images here (I don't own either camera), but as the images were posted for direct comparison purposes, I felt it was fair to re-post them here:

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In this comparison it looks more like an edge contrast thing to me.

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In this comparison it looks more like an edge contrast thing to me.

 

Maybe - I'm not really sure myself to be quite honest. I simply took the images that were posted on the other thread and applied a couple color manipulations on the Canon image to bring it into line with the Leica hues and saturation. Your comment reminded me that I then sharpened the file somewhat.

 

For the purposes of this thread, i downloaded the M8 file and put it together with the manipulated 5D image. I can sharpen the M8 half with the exact same settings as i did the 5D shot earlier, as I haven't used PS since this morning otherwise.

 

But to be honest, I think the comments would all be going the other way on a Canon user-forum.

 

PS: and also bear in mind that the Canon image was originally posted to show how inferior it was to the M8 capture.

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