At what point does IQ precede handling?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by charpi, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. charpi macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2006
    Hello, I've been wondering at what purposes does handling become more important than image quality? (Of course, this is subjective). Coming from a Sigma DP2M user, famed for it's sluggishness but legendary IQ with great micro-detail, I have felt image quality must be obtained at the expense of everything. Just bear in mind that I am no way pro, just a hobbyist.

    Recently, I was thinking about the purpose of my photos - not to print, but rather to just capture great moments and put them on my personal website, or put them on websites for others. (I often volunteer to be the photographer for any company events so they can put the pics on their site).

    With this purpose, I'm quite sure that any photographs viewed online will be max viewed 2880-1800 (retina) resolution. And viewed by people who are non critical about microcontrast, etc etc. Therefore, I feel that in my case, handling (speed of AF, burst mode FPS for action shots, etc) matter more.

    Here's what I feel what matters and what doesn't:

    - Speed of lens - allows shallower DOF, this is easily noticeable, also helps in low light
    - Quality of Bokeh - same as the above, easily noticeable
    - Long exposure bulb mode (my DP2M only has 30s, I wanted to do deep space photog but can't)

    Does not matter as much
    - Megapixels (maybe only for cropping purposes)
    - APSC v Full Frame - If we can just get a faster lens with equivalent range for APSC, the FF one it should look quite similar
    - Microdetails - I used to use photo comparison tools to compare super micro details and choose the camera with better IQ, but I'm not so sure now.

    TLDR: Sorry for the rather confusing post, I'm really not good at starting threads. Basically what I want to ask is: For online viewing, are photos taken with, say, an Olympus OM-D (m43) the same as a D800(FF) ? Since I'm not doing large prints or anything, I think that the difference in IQ should not be too big right? And I should just go for better handling cameras.

    Just wanted to hear opinions on in situations where photos are viewed by "casuals", getting a camera with good handling would be more useful than cameras with good IQ. Is that right?

    Thanks :)
  2. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
    pixel density is much higher on APS-C so it demands MUCH higher IQ from lenses. Lenses often don't deliver this which is why an upgrade to FF often increases IQ greatly
  3. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Such broad statements are usually just false. Designing lenses for APS-C and full frame present different challenges: full frame sensor tend to have larger pixel size (although the Nikon D800 with its 36 MP also has a tiny pixel pitch), but since the sensor is larger, it is more difficult to have sharpness, contrast and such in the corners. One reason why full frame lenses tend to be better is because more expensive lenses from Canon and Nikon simply are full frame (with very few exceptions). Nikon has made a pro-grade standard zoom for crop sensors which was optically comparable.

    In particular, I would think twice about such a statement since the OP uses a large sensor fixed focal length compact where the lens-sensor combo can be optimized.

    To me, the answer is simple: as soon as the tool gets in the way, you should think about getting a different tool. Better sharpness and contrast mean nothing if the camera is too slow to catch the moment, you should switch. Up until last weekend, a Sigma DP1 was may small camera (which has been replaced with a Fuji X100s), so I know a little how you feel. I've made some great shots with it, but all of them of mostly static objects. If that's your style of photography, the slowness doesn't matter as much. My Sigma was so slow that it changed the way I work in a positive way: it forced me to be more deliberate and anticipate a composition. I'd only have one chance to get it right rather than 6 per second. So in this sense, you can use the slowness to your advantage. I hope my argument makes sense to you.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    To many people worry about "IQ" when what really matters is if you got the shot. You first have to be there, then you have to notice it than you need to compose it and wait for whatever action to happen.

    All current model dSLRs have IQ good enough that any electronic display screen will be the limiting factor. Does anyone have an exception? I don't think so.
  5. charpi thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2006
    Yes, I fully agree with you! :) Sorry for making such broad statements.

    Sometimes when I use my DP2M I just get frustrated because the AF did not manage to focus the subject fast enough, especially in lower light (the AF in good light isn't blazing fast either!), or that because of it's lack of high ISO capabilities, I could not manage to get a stable shot ( I don't exactly have the most stable of hands). In other times, when editing the better shots, I'm constantly impressed by it's color and resolution.

    Call it a love-hate relationship then. I'm looking for something more useable now I guess, but I'm still keeping my DP2M haha.
  6. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    If you like this style of camera, have a look at the Fuji X100s. It's literally the best camera I have ever owned, and, at least to me, it completely lives up to the hype. Impeccable image quality, breathtaking high-ISO capabilities and the thing is just a joy to use.

    These shots were taken at ISO4,000. The top one is an in-camera jpg at lower res (immediately after purchase, I went to dinner with friends, so I did not have the chance to setup the camera properly). The top one is taken wide open (f/2), for the bottom one, I've stopped down to f/4. Click in the photos for a full-res version. Note that I haven't edited the photos one iota.
  7. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    All modern digital cameras (i.e. produced in the last 5 years) produce image quality that is sufficient for all but the most demanding photographers (and if you have to ask, that's not you).

    Ideally, you'd want a camera in which IQ and handling are both maximal, but if I had to have one, I'd take great handling and usability over world-class IQ.


    ^^This^^, exactly. IQ is a HUGELY overrated metric (and is often highly subjective).

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