News from the 3rd Dimension

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Willkommen in der neuen Dimension

NEX-7 : Moiré and other Tradeoffs - and how to counteract them

After some shootings taken with Sony's new NEX-7 it may be time for a first interim conclusion. As you might already know, the NEX-7 has an APS-C sized sensor with 24 million pixels and a very large dynamik range of about 13 EVs. This sounds quite impressing but may have also some tradeoffs that you should be aware of. In many photo forums people are discussing the pro and cons and most of the time you will find complaints about colorshifts when adapting particular M-mount superwide angle lenses or more noise at high ISO levels. I will not go into details about these issues but at least two sentences: If you scale down the high ISO images to resolutions of other currently popular mirrorless system cameras like the NEX-5n, you will see that the noise is comparable. Colorshifts, that you may have seen with the Leica M9 in some cases as well, can be avoided by selecting wide angle lenses with a more telecentric design like the Tri Elmar or by applying post processing corrections e.g. with Cornerfix.

In this article I will focus on some other aspects that you may recognize when shooting with the NEX-7: Moiré.

Moiré example
Moiré in a 100% crop that may occur with sensors that have no AA-filter

When I had the chance to shoot with a Leica M9 about 18 monts ago, one of the issues that I was confronted the first time with was moiré. You may know moiré patterns already from other situations e.g. when looking on the surface of a CD ROM. Moiré patterns on textures you usually find on images, when the textile structure interferes with the pattern structure of the red, green and blue pixels on the digital image sensor. Typically, camera manufactures try to avoid this by applying additional high-pass filters (also called AA-filter or anti-aliasing filter) on the sensor's surface. The penalty of these filters is, that they do not only help avoiding moiré, they also reduce detail resolution and low light sensivity. Leica decided for it's M9 to go for a sensor design without AA-filter. Also Sony attempted to preserve as much details as possible with the new 24 MP sensor of the NEX-7 by applying no AA-filter (or may be a very thin one only - Sony currently provides no details) - and so I was confronted again with moiré...

Wich other options do you have to get rid of moiré without loosing detail resolution? Fujifilm announced a new sensor technology for it's first mirrorless system camera, the Fuji Pro X 1. The sensor does not have an AA-filter and tries to avoid moiré structures in a hardware manner by a less regular arrangement of the RGB-pixels within a 6x6 matrix.

What options else?
Removing moiré in post processing without loosing details is extremely difficult with standard tools. Big relief comes now from Adobe: In the public beta preview version of Lightroom 4 you find additional options for the correction brush after switching to the "new process". One of these options is a very powerful moiré reduction. Look here for the result, when this algorithm was applied with the default setting of 25%:

Moiré removed
Moiré removed with Adobe Lightrooms new moiré correction brush available in Lightroom4 and Camera Raw 7

To give you an idea about the area that was cropped in that example, here is the full image:

(full image, click for other sizes)

If you think this issue may occur only very rarely, you may be quite optimistic...


Dancing Eyes

Stunning eyes, enchanting oriental dance - enjoy!

If you can not see the embedded video, please follow this link.

Choreography & dance performance: Paulina,
Hair & make up: Kerstin Piehorsch,
Concept, production, cam & edit: Helge Hackbarth,
Music: Dinletir - Ice Queen

Filmed with Panasonic Lumix GH2 (with 720p60 @ 44 MBit), Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 and Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm/1.8

(This movie will be available in 3D as well soon, please come back regulary or subscribe to the RSS feed)


Mademoiselle Parfum 3D

In January "Vice Miss Hamburg 2012" Lenea Martens visited me for a shooting themed "Mademoiselle Parfum". It was the first time I had the  chance to use a Sony NEX-7 (for the 2D stills) and the last 3D shooting with my pair of Panasonic GH2.

First we started with a 2D still:

(Click image for higher resolutions)

Now prepare your red/cyan filterglasses and enjoy.

(Click image to see higher resolution. Please use red/cyan filterglasses to see 3D effect)

If you use 3D equipment capable of displaying "genuine" 3D stereo images in MPO format you may try these links:

Link to 3D MPO file

Make-up artist: Kerstin Piehorsch.

Copyright 2011 3D-Kraft.com, all rights reserved.


Mademoiselle Parfum

In January "Vice Miss Hamburg 2012" Lenea Martens visited me for a shooting themed "Mademoiselle Parfum". It was the first time I had the  chance to use a Sony NEX-7 (for the 2D stills) and the last 3D shooting with my pair of Panasonic GH2.

(Click image for higher resolutions)

For the 3D version please click here.

Make-up artist: Kerstin Piehorsch.

Copyright 2011 3D-Kraft.com, all rights reserved.


SLR Magic HyperPrime 12mm / F1.6 (black ring) - wide and fast

After we already saw some reviews of the pre-production SLR Magic HyperPrime 12mm / F1.6 labeled under the "NOKTOR" brand and carrying a yellow/green ring, now I had the chance to test the "black ring" version that will go into production under the "SLR Magic" label. It will be available in December 2011 in the U.S.A. for a retail price of $499 US$. You might already have seen SLR Magic "Toy Lenses" with a colorful plastic look and quite blurry at open aperture. Now make yourself ready for a lens of a completely different standard!

SLR Magic HyperPrime 12mm/F1.6

It is very solid and well made, feeling like those premium compositions of metal and glass from Voigtlaender and Leica. It is operated completely manually and this is already one of the main differences to it's m4/3 competitor, the Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm/F2.0. The focus and aperture rings move very smooth allowing to adjust the focus very precisely. The diaphragm has 12 blades that can be closed stepless allowing to render round out-of-focus circles of confusion even stopped down to F2.0 or F2.8. The minimum distance is 0.15 m allowing macros with nice DOF effects as well. The lens comes with a metal front cap that is screwed into the filter thread.

First let us see how it's size compares to other m4/3 lenses:

Size comparison
Comparing sizes with the Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm ultra wide angle zoom (left) and the Olympus M.Zuiko 45/1.8 (right, which is nearly equal in size to the M.Zuiko 12/2.0).

And this is how it looks mounted to the Lumix GH2:

HyperPrime 12/1.6 attached to the Lumix GH2

So what makes this lens different to the Olympus M.Zuiko 12/2.0? First of all it has no autofocus - but to be honest: I do not miss that very much at this lens as with wide angle lenses of this type you have a DOF from approx 3m to infinite even at open aperture when focused at about 7m. If it comes to macro distances, autofocus again will not help so much as manual focusing will give you much more control over the scenery.


Although the lens is getting a bit soft at open aperture (F1.6) it is still playing on a very high level and allows you some extra portion of bokeh with an even shallower DOF compared to F2.0:

Sharpness and bokeh at F1.6 (cliick for other sizes)


Queen of Black Swans (2D & 3D)

While looking for a strong make-up for a 2D and 3D shooting, we were inspired by "Black Swan". Here are our results including some "making-of" pictures:

Sorry, no Java support available, please install here.

Link to 3D MPO file #1

Link to 3D MPO file #2

Link to 3D MPO file #3

Thanks to model Mariam and make-up artist Kerstin!
Lenses: Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH, Olympus M.Zuiko 45/1.8


Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 ASPH Comparison

Now as the new nano surface coated Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 ASPH Micro FourThirds lens also reached German retail stores, I was curious to see what you win with that lens compared to the 14-42mm kit zoom beside the obvious gain in light sensivity of about 3.5 f-stops.

Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 ASPH

Pic. 1: Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 ASPH attached to Lumix GH2


The following photos are taken at F5.6. All pictures are focused by auto-fokus (AF) which works fast and reliable with both lenses. On the first glance there is not much of a difference - perhaps you may recognize a slightly bit more vignetting of the kit zoom even at F5.6 compared to the Leica DG Summilux.


Finest Dance 3D

Finest Ballet and Latin Dance (Cuban Salsa and Reggaeton) in 3D performed by Regina (stills for "warming up" the 3D perception), Zaimy and Michel.

Latin Dance performed by "L@s Chéveres" (www.el-chevere.de). Click here to see a 2D version of that video.

The video and stills were recorded using a rig with two radio controlled Lumix GH2:


To enjoy this 3D video without the need of 3D glasses, you can open it on the new generation of 3D smartphones like the LG Optimus 3D and the HTC Evo 3D. We are sure that further autostereoscopic devices will follow.

In order to gain highest playback quality you can download the 3D BluRay ISO image here, if you have a BluRay disk writer / player and a 3D TV.


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