American Adventure, with a mirrorless?! Yep...

Discussion in 'Epcot Photos' started by zackiedawg, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    I had the general question floating in my mind, whether I could take my NEX3 mirrorless cam, with the basic 18-55mm kit lens, and using the unique 6-frame image-stacking mode for high ISO, actually achieve anything usable shooting ISO6400 - the main thing was whether the camera's stacking and blending algorithms could cope with the animatronic movements between the 6 frames (the algorithm has supposedly been tweaked in the newer Sony APS-C cameras to actually only stack the areas where nothing moved, avoiding any motion blur). ; Roger in particular might find this interesting, as his camera has this multistack ability.

    The glowing answer is: yes it can. ; And well. ; I was also shooting at the same time with my A550 and Sigma 30mm F1.4 lens wide open at ISO6400 doing normal single frame shooting - it shares the same sensor as my NEX3. ; The NEX kit lens is a slow F3.5-5.6, so it could only really pull this off at ISO6400 with the multistack that I know it works, I might try next time with a faster F1.7 lens on the NEX for even better results. ; Anyway, here we go (click on each photo for a slight enlargement and increase of quality):

    Shot with the NEX, ISO6400, 6-image in-camera stack, JPG mode, straight from camera:

    Regular ISO6400 shot from A550 with Sigma 30mm F1.4 lens at F1.6, JPG mode, straight from camera:

    It's partially contributed to my ability to zoom in closer to the scene with the NEX and kit lens, but even comparing full size, the noise is very much lower, as is a nice reduction in NR smearing around areas like the background...detail is a wee bit sharper too, like being able to clearly read every poster on the wall behind the characters. ; And the motion blur has indeed been avoided.

    Shot with the NEX, ISO6400, 6-image in-camera stack, JPG mode, straight from camera:

    Same scene shot with A550, standard ISO6400 single frame, at F1.6, JPG, straight from camera:

    Again, zoom provided some advantage to detail - here they are pretty similar overall in detail - again the NEX is a wee bit cleaner in the backgrounds, and holds a tiny bit more shadow detail - but they're much closer. ; But then you have to consider the fact that the NEX is using a kit lens nearly 3-stops slower (shot at F4.5)!! ; That is something else - 3 stops less sensitivity, and equal if not better results using the same sensor. ; This image stacking stuff is pretty nifty!

    Here are a couple more examples - I don't have comparative shots from the A550 for these, but they still give a good account of the image-stacking mode's quality at ISO6400, as well as the ability to handle motion. ; You know this guy moves around a ton, yet no problem for the 6-image-stacking mode to piece it together without motion blur and with extremely low noise and high detail for ISO6400:

    And these two move quite a bit too - here the kit lens was out to 50mm, nearly full zoom...yet noise is almost non-existent, and detail excellent:

    The slow lens might even provide a bit of an advantage in one respect - the depth of field isn't as shallow, making it easier to capture the scene and land focus...normally, you wouldn't want to be 3 stops slower on aperture at ISO6400, because the shutter speed would fall far too slow...but with the image-stacking mode the camera could squeeze out a 1/15 to 1/30 shutter, just at the limit for slow rides, and still deliver a nice exposure plus nearly eliminate noise while maintaining detail.

    If your camera has built-in image stacking, try it - it's quite something, either for high ISO use, or for HDR blending in camera. ; And it's nice to have a tiny, portable mirrorless camera either as a second body to a DSLR or to even replace it when you want to travel light, but know you can still get the same shots as the big camera in many cases!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2014
  2. gary

    gary Member

    i can't begin to convey how excited the mirrorless and M4/3 developments are to me. don't get me wrong, i love my full frame 5dmk2, but let's face it, it's heavy, and if i can have that quality in a camera that's much lighter for flight vacations, that's just all good to me. panasonic has just announced a new g series, the G3, i expect the capabilities to be much in line with the latest nex offerings, so i would probably be purchasing this next year or so. the G1 was always meant to be a temp measure, more a point and shoot upgrade until the M4/3 sensors and bodies matured the technology more. i now have the full set of panasonic lenses in house, so it's body only upgrades for awhile.

    this is some very nice work justin, and i'm glad to see it because it shows me what is possible with these cameras
  3. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Thank you Gary. ; I agree - though I'm still every bit a DSLR man, there are just times when the smaller, lighter ones are extremely convenient. ; When they used to require a ton of compromise, it was a little painful leaving the DSLR behind, but now that they're quickly closing the gap at least image quality wise, it makes it a much easier decision and a lot of fun too. ; I'm a happy and committed 3-camera system guy now - one pocket cam for the emergency stuff, one lighter travel/second body mirrorless system to grow and enjoy, and one DSLR system for my performance-oriented stuff like sports/wildlife which is still the domain of the larger bodies, ergonomics with larger lenses, big buffers, big batteries, and extremely fast focus and shooting.
  4. PolynesianMedic

    PolynesianMedic Global Moderator Staff Member

    Great work Justin! ; It's good to see that a mirrorless camera can compete with a dSLR.
  5. jbwolffiv

    jbwolffiv Member

    Great shots Justin! ; Love them! ; I was always afraid to take out my camera in there. ; I must have been a little funny bouncing back and forth with the two to get similar shots.
  6. Roger

    Roger Member Staff Member

    It's the sensor! ; The NEX-5 and the new C3 share the same sensor as the A55/580, which is also the basis for the D7000 sensor (tweaked by Nikon). ; For right now, Sony has the largest mirrorless sensor on the market.
  7. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Thanks guys. ; And yes, Rog - definitely that APS-C sensor! ; Mine's the excellent 14MP sensor shared by the NEX3/5, A550, D3100, D90, and Pentax KX. ; The new C3 has your 16MP sensor that seems even better, from the A580/K5/D7000/D5100/A55. ; But give some credit to the multistack ISO - it's a big part of why ISO6400 can come out of the camera noise-free enough for a large print!

    John - you'll notice ALL of my shots from American Adventure are always from an extreme angle, either far left or far right and usually quite close. ; That's because out of respect for others, I shove myself many rows away from anyone, way off in the corners, and way up front - most of the crowd clusters in the middle starting about 8 rows back. ; So I can swap cameras, even shoot with the LCD if needed, without bothering anyone else's experience. ; I accept the off angles as a compromise for the sake of everyone else enjoying their show without seeing my LCD glaring in front of them and listening to my 6-frame machine-gun shutters!
  8. jbwolffiv

    jbwolffiv Member

    Good to know and a great idea for this summer, thanks for it!
  9. Paul

    Paul Member

    nice images Justin, very crisp
  10. PolynesianMedic

    PolynesianMedic Global Moderator Staff Member

    At Pixelmania we usually hit this show late at night, and sit in the middle. ; We have all gotten great shots, and we don't seem to bother too many people when we do it.
  11. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    I haven't yet had the courage to try it from the middle - it might not be too bad using my DSLR, as you can use the viewfinder and turn off LCD screens...but even the shutter noise I always feel like it might be bothersome to some around me. ; And shooting with an LCD held up at arms length would be a big no no! ; So I've always shot all shows from the very back, very front, and usually well off to one side or the other as much as possible...except during Pixelmania where I guess I feel a little more fortified sitting amongst 20 other photogs doing the same thing. ; Though still seems best when we get a nice reserved seating like at LMA, so we can still be a little less conspicuous!

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