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14 bit vs 16 bit (S3 v S007)


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Hi all, I am new to this section of the forum! I have been reading lots of threads about comparing the two cameras but I cant recall seeing a specific topis on that aspect of the bitrate.

I am a fairly seasoned Leica digital (pro) user with Leica M9, SL2 and M10r. I love the speed and precision of the SL2 and the portability of the M, but I would love to step up into MF (I had a pentax 645z for a little while, and I loved it) to slow things down. I am very upset with the battery life of the SL2 in general - tho it has improved marginaly since the new battery came out... and I am told the S007 is a "one shot HDR camera", has a super-duper battery life, and I am keen on using an OVF that will never go out of fashion or hurt my eyes.... and it reminds me of the Leica R8 of my teenage years!

Since the S007 and S3 are not too different in prices on the used market, and the resolution game is not necessarily what I am looking for the most (since the SL2 can churn out 47 or 187 MP...) in an S camera. I just want to use it an an excuse to slow down, go back to using primes (instead of the all mighty 24-90 on my SL2), most important for me is Dynamic range and noise performance up to 6400 iso. Lr denoise makes an amazing job now and turned my SL2 into a 64000/12500iso capable camera. but I can tell there is more to the S files in general at lower iso.

Can you tell a difference in DR in practice between the two cameras? What about file size and shadow/highlight recovery capabilities and does 14 v 16bit matter?

Essentially that would cut the difference between getting an S3+70 or S007 +70/120/35.... maybe.




 

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I thought both had 16bit??

Same price - as far as I understand you have to pay triple price for an S3 vs S007.

I have used S007 and now S3 (but don't have much experience with it yet)-I don't think there is a relevant difference in dynamic range between the two. But I never did scientific comparison. I also don't think there is a relevant noise difference. S3 ia a newer camera and has more resolution and its said its better in the red channel, I never missed anything in this regard in the S007, its also a fine camera.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

That is the thing most people missed indeed: in order to keep the speed I think Leica went for a 14 bits sampling:

S3: 14 bits

https://leica-camera.com/sites/default/files/pm-54101-Technical-Data_S3_EN_032020.pdf?_gl=1*76qnkg*_up*MQ..&gclid=CjwKCAjwouexBhAuEiwAtW_Zxxe3zBbeMPrceHCA8ECN-vG3tRNPxzDBbta6o09InMIbhAmawH-TkBoCDXAQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

For file size I am surprised it is in the region of 70mb for 63MP per pictures while my SL2 is around 85mb for 47MP.... So DNG are compressed (lossless, like on m10 cameras...) Remember when we had the option to compress or not on M9 camera?

For the S007 we can find 2 contradicting PDF

This one states 14 bits for 15stops of DR

https://leica-camera.com/sites/default/files/pm-91418-Datenblatt_S-Typ-007_e_AP.PDF

 

This other one states 16 bits for 13 stops of DR...

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/lit_files/103859.pdf

 

If I could find DNGs anywhere we could be sure for good? Pentax 645Z is 14bits too and exceedingly good files so I am not too worried... But would be nice to hear more from people who did have both. Thank you Tom!

 

 

 

Edited by Slender
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4 hours ago, Slender said:

That is the thing most people missed indeed: in order to keep the speed I think Leica went for a 14 bits sampling:

S3: 14 bits

https://leica-camera.com/sites/default/files/pm-54101-Technical-Data_S3_EN_032020.pdf?_gl=1*76qnkg*_up*MQ..&gclid=CjwKCAjwouexBhAuEiwAtW_Zxxe3zBbeMPrceHCA8ECN-vG3tRNPxzDBbta6o09InMIbhAmawH-TkBoCDXAQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

For file size I am surprised it is in the region of 70mb for 63MP per pictures while my SL2 is around 85mb for 47MP.... So DNG are compressed (lossless, like on m10 cameras...) Remember when we had the option to compress or not on M9 camera?

For the S007 we can find 2 contradicting PDF

This one states 14 bits for 15stops of DR

https://leica-camera.com/sites/default/files/pm-91418-Datenblatt_S-Typ-007_e_AP.PDF

 

This other one states 16 bits for 13 stops of DR...

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/lit_files/103859.pdf

 

If I could find DNGs anywhere we could be sure for good? Pentax 645Z is 14bits too and exceedingly good files so I am not too worried... But would be nice to hear more from people who did have both. Thank you Tom!

 

 

 

The S-007 16b/13-stop version is published in 2014, 14-bit/15-stop version is 2015. Both mentioned "subject to change without notice" in the page bottom. 
The S3 14-b/15-stop is published in 2020.

So I guess the later version is an update, maybe through firmware, and carried through S3.  Apparently the bit-value to dynamic stop is converted with non-linear mapping. 

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That is a good point. Though I wonder why keep this under the radar, I have the impression most people dont realise either camera is 14 or 16 bits.... being a major point of the Hassy cameras vs the rest I wonder why staying silent on that.

And yeah by comparison it seems my SL2 files are much larger than S007 and even S3...

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Posted (edited)

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6 hours ago, Slender said:

That is a good point. Though I wonder why keep this under the radar, I have the impression most people dont realise either camera is 14 or 16 bits.... being a major point of the Hassy cameras vs the rest I wonder why staying silent on that.

And yeah by comparison it seems my SL2 files are much larger than S007 and even S3...

I guess the bit-scale is based on sensor's sensitivity. But the eye sight sensitivity does not correspond to the "linear" value of sensor.

I don't know about visual sensitivity (recording), but in hearing sensitivity (recording) the so call A-law or U-law may be applied. It can compress the recording data value without loosing (much) the hearding quality. 

Even in visual (electro-magnetic wave) sensitivity, whether it shoulod be based on the electro-magnetic field strength or electro-magnetic power (square of field) can bd subtle. For example, ther coherent light (laser?) based photography "Holography" is the result of EM-field, not EM-power. So I guess there might be something beyond intuitives,  

Edited by Einst_Stein
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I don't want to be overly reductive, but I don't think you will find either camera lacking in dynamic range. I think if you really want to push the file around, and resolution is not as critical for you, I would get the S007 as it is less expensive and has a lower pixel density sensor. In my experience the S3 did best with DR when it was a bit above base ISO (better at 400 than 100), as the deep shadow noise was a bit more for me at ISO 100 than 400. I don't know why, that's just what I found. The S3 has very impressive highlight retention. If that is your main focus, I would look at the S3. If you are thinking more about being able to push the files, I would look at the S007. I should preface this by saying that I had the S3, SL2 and S2/S006, but not the S007. I have had an S007 on loan and got a feel for the files, but I did not have it alongside the S3 at the same time. Even though I did not love everything about the S3, if I wanted to buy another S camera and the S007 and S3 were the same price, I would take the S3. I think the added resolution was a nice benefit. But for overall utility at the current price point, the S007 is hard to ignore, especially if you have an SL2 that can do multishot.

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I own the 645Z and the S007. I would rate the sensor quality of both as comparable (both are excellent). The dynamic range of pictures from the S007 are significantly higher because the lenses are better (less stray light) than most Pentax lenses. There are good lenses in the Pentax portfolio, but not all.

A plus for Leica is the faster aperture (2.5 instead of 3.5). The viewfinder is much better.

Pentax has at least two lenses with IS (28-45mm and 90mm)

The Pentax sensor is very robust against dust (never had to clean the sensor) while the S007 drives me crazy from time to time.

However, since  I have the S I rarely use the Pentax

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Posted (edited)

Thank you very much @tom0511@Stuart Richardson@Einst_Stein@ImmerDraussen@irenedp

Photons to Photos confirms there are slight differences at various ISO - this proves that the S3 has a dual gain design, like the M10R, M11, SL2 and probably SL2s... and Leica probably decided to drop the sampling from 16 to 14iso to preserve the speed given the processor and most of the pipeline is same as S007 whilst having to deal with nearly 90% more pixels... Which goes in the direction of the precious insight from @Stuart Richardson: the S007 files could be a bit more malleable, which is really what matters to me. For sheer resolution the SL2 with multi shot would trump everything else on offer from Leica... I am more looking for the "one shot hdr" side.

That's what the GFX100 II and SL2s do to access higher frame rates = they drop from 14 bits to 12 bits.

@ImmerDraussen your feedback is encouraging because I loves the output of the pentax so so mucn, its so impressive and neat ensemble with the 55mm f2.8 (a great little lens) and yes, the main argument for going the S route would have to be the lenses, because if not the Pentax ticks all the boxes for a sub 2/3K medium format DSLR

Edited by Slender
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On 5/7/2024 at 2:47 PM, Slender said:

That is the thing most people missed indeed: in order to keep the speed I think Leica went for a 14 bits sampling:

S3: 14 bits

https://leica-camera.com/sites/default/files/pm-54101-Technical-Data_S3_EN_032020.pdf?_gl=1*76qnkg*_up*MQ..&gclid=CjwKCAjwouexBhAuEiwAtW_Zxxe3zBbeMPrceHCA8ECN-vG3tRNPxzDBbta6o09InMIbhAmawH-TkBoCDXAQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

For file size I am surprised it is in the region of 70mb for 63MP per pictures while my SL2 is around 85mb for 47MP.... So DNG are compressed (lossless, like on m10 cameras...) Remember when we had the option to compress or not on M9 camera?

For the S007 we can find 2 contradicting PDF

This one states 14 bits for 15stops of DR

https://leica-camera.com/sites/default/files/pm-91418-Datenblatt_S-Typ-007_e_AP.PDF

 

This other one states 16 bits for 13 stops of DR...

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/lit_files/103859.pdf

 

If I could find DNGs anywhere we could be sure for good? Pentax 645Z is 14bits too and exceedingly good files so I am not too worried... But would be nice to hear more from people who did have both. Thank you Tom!

 

 

 

P2P measurements observe 14 bits for both cameras. Look at the bit number attached to the name in https://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/RN_ADU.htm

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3 hours ago, John McMaster said:

I think Leica called them 16bit, but it is not the same as a PhaseOne 16bit....

john

I have an S2, and S3 and an IQ4. I don't find it the same either.

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10 hours ago, Slender said:

Could it be a methodology error? Because the typ 006 and 007 are clearly labelled as 16 bits cameras by the manufacturer

I guess the bit number might not mean the raw  bit depth in the ADC, but it may be the bit depth after the non-linear conversion. Or, it may mean the ADC step size is not 2X, they are all between 1X and 2X. The ADC step size of 16-bit version is diner than the 14-bit version.  

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Leica M9 had a 16bit container file (you can check in LR0 but the sampling from the sensor was done in 14bits... Anyway heart leans towards S007 anyhow. If i need more pixels for the sake of pixel, there is the SL2 for this. If I need ultra low light, there is the SL2s for that... On Photons to photos it sits in betweem these and my M10r and I think eventually my Leica ecosystem would look like SL2(s?) - S - M10r.

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11 hours ago, tom0511 said:

What do you mean? sorry, English is not my native language.

What I mean is that the IQ4 produces files with a significantly smoother color gradation in transitions, and nuances, than the S3 or the S2. It is not always obvious to the eye and wouldn't be appreciated much in a jpg export -yes on a large print-, but the files "look" different.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2024 at 7:54 AM, irenedp said:

What I mean is that the IQ4 produces files with a significantly smoother color gradation in transitions, and nuances, than the S3 or the S2. It is not always obvious to the eye and wouldn't be appreciated much in a jpg export -yes on a large print-, but the files "look" different.

I wonder if the higher 150mp resolution of the IQ4 possibly also helps create smoother color gradations, ie, simply less algorithmic effort associated with the color filter array if the underlying sensor has more info?

Aside from the IQ4, are any medium format cameras “true” 16 bit (eg, Hasselblad, Fuji?).

Edited by Jon Warwick
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Jon Warwick said:

I wonder if the higher 150mp resolution of the IQ4 possibly also helps create smoother color gradations, ie, simply less algorithmic effort associated with the color filter array if the underlying sensor has more info?

Aside from the IQ4, are any medium format cameras “true” 16 bit (eg, Hasselblad, Fuji?).

Define "true 16-bit"? what scale?

Linear scale light intensity? log scale? 16-bit aligned to the minimum light? or aligned to max light? etc. etc. 

Edited by Einst_Stein
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