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[filmscanners] Re: Newish Digital Tech

David J. Littleboy wrote:

> This is all interesting, and probably quite accurate, but it isn't what
> my eyes tell me.  I've downloaded several full size captures taken from
> the Foveon chip (via the Sigma camera) and I find the images from the X3
> superior to similar images on a Canon product using a CCD and Bayer.
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> Yes, they _appear_ to look better, but you don't know what is real data and
> what is artifacting. You get a twig pattern where the D60 only showed fuzz,
> but the twig pattern won't be the actual twig pattern in the scene. The
> artifacts look just as good as real data. I just don't think a system with
> that level of artifacts is going to be acceptable. With similar pixel counts
> and an anti-aliasing filter, I suspect the Foveon sensor might be slightly
> better, but then the question of color rendering will arise. Is the Foveon
> trick really good enough to separate out the colors as well as the on-chip
> color filters?

I guess no one should use Genuine Fractals, bicubic interpolation, or
any other interpolation format, unsharp masking, or any other sharpening
algorithm either then, because they all corrupt the data accuracy.

What's important to me, is not if on a microscopic scale a data point is
in the correct location or not, but if the final image looks clearer,
and more accurate in terms of color and contrast, with less obvious
artifacting.  You know what? I also don't care is the grain pattern in
film is accurately laid down as long as the image looks like what I
photographed, or what I wished to accomplish with that film.

Again, I'm speaking about making digital color image capture, not lab
test results.

If someone says to me, well "it may look like... but..." I know the
issue may be one of practical use versus looking at the "arcane", to use
a term that has been showing up a lot the last few days.

 It looks to me that Bayer images are better than
> scanned images on a per-pixel basis. Even the sharpest Provia 4000dpi scans
> printed at 300 dpi are a lot softer than D60 images printed at 240dpi. It
> seems to me that the main problems with Bayer cameras are sensor size and
> pixel counts.

 > What problems bother you?

Color fringing, smearing, diagonal convergence problems.  Cost per color

 > A 9MP full-frame US$2,000 camera would put 35mm film out of
 > business for all practical purposes. I'll retire my 645, pick up a
GSW690 for landscapes, and do everything else with the 9MP dSLR...

Fine, where do I get it?  The Foveon is here now, and available, and
within a year chances are much cheaper and smaller version will be
available.  Are there 9 MP color CCD/CMOS SLR cameras for under $2000
now without a long lag time between when I hit the shutter and when the
image is captured?  The closest I see is the Canon 1DS at $8000.  It
claims to have a 55ms lag time equivalent to film, but most less
expensive cameras are considerably slower.

>   The images I looked at were
> not from a Foveon site where one might expect some bias to slant the
> image content toward that chip's best case scenario, but in reviews and
> commentary of the Sigma camera.
> <<<<<<<<<
> They look nice and sharp, but there are color rendition and blown highlight
> problems with the SD9. This isn't fair to the X3, since the SD9 is such a
> dog.

Well, if anything that shows that the X3 is even a better chip than the
current technology is showing it as.

> Perhaps, each technology will end up having its niche market, or perhaps
> something will eclipse both, but if I had the choice, right now, I'd be
> much more tempted toward the Foveon technology for digital images
> capture.  Further, the X3 is literally the first consumer generation
> of that chips technology while CCD has had many years to mature.
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<
> The bit about it being the first generation is its largest problem. The SD9
> is a really badly implemented digital camera: compared to how well the Sony
> F717 is done, and how well the Canon and Nikon dSLRs are done, it's a
> pitiful joke.

For some reason, and my guess would be internal industrial pressure by
some of the CCD/CMOS manufacturers, these companies did not pick up on
using the X3 chip.  Thank goodness Sigma had nothing to lose because
they were not a manufacturer of CCD/CMOS digital cameras.  By
making this camera, warts and all, available to the market, they have
forced a much more serious look at the X3 technology by other

>   Unless
> there is a known limitation within the technology of the X3 chip
> technology, I'd expect evolutionary improvements as has occurred with
> the CCD chips.
> <<<<<<<<<<<
> My reaction to the hype has been excessively negative, but until they come
> up with a decently implemented camera with an anti-aliasing filter, I'm not
> hopping on the bandwagon.

Skepticism can be a good thing.  I like it when a smaller company
challenges the current state of the market and come sup with a new idea
that not only works on paper, but that actually functions in a consumer
product.  If the image sensor industry was one where fair competition
based upon price and quality was the major force that would determine a
product's success I would be less likely to jump into this issue.  But,
the more I learn about the industry, the more I get the sense that there
rae forces which go well beyond the product value.  As a result, I am
happy to suggest people consider the X3 or other Foveon image chip
technologies before assuming the CCD/CMOS based cameras are the only or
best way to go.

> To me, the fact that the X3 chip leapfrogs so many of the original
> problems in the early CCD technology, gives it great promise.  It should
> also lead to cheaper cameras since less is required in terms of
> calculating electronics within the camera, since the raw image is pretty
> much a finished product.
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<
> But calculating electronics are cheap and getting cheaper, fast and getting
> faster. I hate to accues you, of all people, of technophobia, but it looks
> to me that much of the unhappiness with Bayer cameras and the frantic
> jumping on the X3 bandwagon is a sort of technophobia due to a lack of
> understanding of the algorithms involved and a lack of understanding of the
> point that digital imaging is limited to resolutions well under the Nyquist
> limit due to aliasing.

My response has absolutely NOTHING to do with any understanding or
misunderstanding of the Bayer algorithm.  It has to do with my looking
at images and personally finding the X3 result more pleasing to my eyes.
I also like the simplicity of the X3 system, and the reduction of parts
and electronics required.

Digital images _have_ to be soft when observed at the
> pixel level.

Yes, I understand about Nyquist and aliasing.  I still prefer the output
I'm seeing from the X3 in terms of certain aspects of images that I look
for, and I still keep in mind this is the very first product of its type.


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