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The "Canon Look"

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Uncle Frank, May 24, 2005.

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  1. Here's a question posted on the d70 forum, along with my response.

    You were clever to bring your own cf card so you could look at the shots later :) . Both of these are wonderful cameras, with strengths in different areas, so the good news is, whichever one you choose, you've mad a good decision.

    The differences we're seeing are based on the lenses, and the variation in standard image processing that each manufacturer has elected to use. I believe Nikon's kit lens is superior to the one supplied with the 20d, which accounts for the d70 image's superior sharpness. Canon uses a stronger anti-aliasing filter as well, which results in a slightly softer image. The remaining differences are due to processing. For example,

    Here's one of the Nikon images
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    here's one of the Canon images
    View attachment 9383

    and here's the Nikon image again, with some Photoshop adjustments to make it better match the Canon image.
    View attachment 9384

    Here's the rub. Nikon presents a neutral image, which allows it to be altered to resemble the Canon image, but it wouldn't work the other way around. So, imho, the Canon images are less flexible.
  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    I know it's just me, but I liked the way the Nikon image looked before adjustment, and more than the Canon's image. It's brighter, and presents more details in the shadows. This could be due to exposure (and yes, processing) differences more than differences between the cameras.

    I remember doing this exact same thing when I bought my DSLR a couple years ago. Nikon won on the image then too.

    (Here's the in-store testshots I did back then.)
  3. I guess after 12,000+ shots with Nikon and 2000+ with Canon I'm in a slightly better position to judge these cameras than a guy taking 4 shots in a store. ;)  Does this guy buy a car based on crashing it into a wall or taking it out on the open road? ;) 

    In capable hands with good glass the output would be quite different - both shots would look good. :D  The natural bias of Canon is towards more saturation/smoothness and Nikon towards more color fidelity/sharpness (and an unfortunate occasional greenish hue as seen here). If processed with a specific "final look" in mind a skilled user could get well executed shots nearly identical when printed.

    The question remains - which rig makes capturing easier (you must define "easier") and more versatile (you must define "versatile") when processed? That's a very specific question that won't be answered with in store snapshots.
  4. I agree with the comment you made near the end:

    But the "Canon Look" can be quite nice for portraits. In order to achieve it on a low res Nikon image like this...

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    ... all you need to do is create a duplicate top layer, apply 2 pixels of Gaussian blur to it, blend it with
    the bottom layer using the overlay mode, and adust its opacity to taste... 40% in this case. And viola...

    View attachment 9386
  5. This is a quick lens test shot with no processing ( no sharpening either):

    Other than the razor thin DOF at that subject distance (135L f2 @ f2 at 5-6 feet), making the eyes hard to nail "in focus", the shot doesn't look like any brand to my eye. The bumps on her cheeks (very mild acne) are not obscured by Canon plastic magic. :D  I see detail, contrast, sharpness - just like I did with the Nikon stuff. Oh yeah, and the sweetest bokeh since my beloved Nikkor 85 1.4D. :D 

    Maybe I'm so brand neutral I'm now objective. :D  :lol: :D 
  6. Precisely. As I noted, it's a nice effect for portraits, and is more "print ready", minimizing post processing requirement... which is why imho many gravitate towards Canon.

    I think the Nikon images are more versatile. As I demonstrated in an earlier post, they can be photofinished to look very Canon-like, but I don't think the reverse is true. But photographers that favor the Canon-look to begin with have no need to attempt to reverse it.

    No, Joe. You're no more objective than I am. A $5K investment in toys tends to bias us :twisted:.
  7. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    Sounds like the "age old" debate between Colt or Smith & Wesson handguns.

    If you want your cylinder to rotate clockwise, buy Colt. If you want it counter-clockwise, buy S&W.

    To the average user that's the difference. To an expert there are MANY differences that would be considered.

    But in the end it is the user who puts the shot dead center when it counts, not the gun - or should I say camera.

    Great comparison shots and commentary, Joe, Chris and Frank!
  8. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Sounds like toilets - if you want your vortex to spin counter-clockwise, live in the northern hemisphere, if you want it to spin clockwise, live down under. ;) 
  9. I dunno Frank, your sample images are pretty awful (minus the good looking boy). They are taken from two different angles, one is landscape while the other portrait, one's out of focus... These could have been taken with P&S's for all anyone would know.

    As for reverse processing, I had never heard this but I don't hang out in the Canon forums too much. But I can't believe that anyone who is proficient in post processing can't equal or surpass the results we see from Nikon brand cameras using Canon's tools.

    Joe's got a good eye and a lot of experience with both brands, I tend to lean towards his assesment. At least until I see better examples showing otherwise.

    I don't mean to be harsh, I know what a quality photog you are, but I think your post is a bit unfair (to both brands).

  10. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    One of my (many) missions in life is to debunk this myth.

    Here's a reference: http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadCoriolis.html
  11. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I'm glad the author isn't trying to be harsh. Or critical or personal or biased. Just another friendly NikonCafe opinion.

  12. Frank's helped me out more than a few times. He's a solid guy. I hope to attend a Cafe get-together one of these days and meet him in person. It's a pure instance of differing opinion, nothing more.
  13. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Is it a myth? Must be too much time with the Simpsons :D 

    I did ask a couple of people down under, and they said it spun clockwise down there, but maybe they weren't really checking. I've also read that under carefully controlled conditions, the Coriolis effect can indeed be observed in toliets?
  14. Joe, if you'll take the time to read the first post, you'll find that the samples aren't my pictures. They were taken by a novice at a camera store, who was trying to assess the differences between the two cameras.

    Joe, if you take the time to read the first post, you'll find that I attributed the differences to lenses and elections in default image processing, and stated both were excellent cameras. But Canon's use of a strong AA filter results in effects that aren't easily reversible.

    Joe's opinion is well formed, but keep in mind that it's based on his personal subject and photo-finishing preferences. It doesn't hold true for me, but that doesn't make it any less valid for people with the same mindset as Joe. I've defended Joe's right to express his opinion, and will continue to do so, but it should come to no surprise to him or you to find that many of the people who participate on the Nikon Cafe have a bias towards Nikon gear and images.

    If you read the discussion more carefully, I think you may find otherwise.
  15. Sorry Frank, I still think your conclusions are off a bit. I have to question how well you know the Canon equipment. I'm not aware of how much time you've spent using their stuff or processing with their software so I'm a bit in the dark here. If you're a former Canon owner than accept my apologies.

    Are you basing the quote:
    "...Nikon presents a neutral image, which allows it to be altered to resemble the Canon image, but it wouldn't work the other way around. So, imho, the Canon images are less flexible."
    on some sort of article, personal experience or by just looking at photos posted by Canon photogs?

    I do have some limited experience with Canon equipment and post which is why I feel I can contribute (slightly). I truely don't feel that their images are less flexible.

    As for your other points of not reading the original thread, I'm guilty as charged and offer my apologies for not reading the entire quote as well as I certainly should have.


    PS. Strange thread where a guy is comparing a 1k camera with a 2k camera and then states that his wife will be shooting in auto mode... Kinda sounds a bit like... well a DPR post.
  16. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Actually, they are both in the same price range:

    D70 = 899 USD
    20D = 1,229 USD

    For someone looking for a body with a little better build quality and a little better performance, the difference in cost is largely negligible.

    Methinks the original poster was looking for something a little more robust, otherwise they'd be looking at a 350XT vs D70.
  17. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Did ya call collect, then make them walk 20km down the road to check?
  18. I own thousands of dollars worth of Canon film gear and a couple of Canon P&S digital models so, naturally, strongly considered Canon gear when going DSLR but happen to agree with every word Frank wrote. That's why I now shoot Nikon.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the "Canon look", it's just different -- producing a more heavily in-cam processed and filtered image. It's the "creamy smooth" look Canon likes to promote. That "look" is quite possibly better for the portrait shooter but not for someone looking for detail and accurate images. I often must apply gaussian blur to my portriat shots to get them to the point of the image Joe posted to keep the females happy because they are brutally sharp and detailed showing every little defect.

    Disagree all you like but that does not change the fact each company takes a different approach to image processing in-camera and that produces a "different" image appearance. Notice I didn't say one is better than the other, just different. If we all liked the same things, we would all be driving the same kind of car, huh.

  19. I've taken over 10,000 shots on Canon cameras.

    Personal experience. I'm a journeyman photo-finisher, and paid my dues by reading numerous books and spending a couple of thousand hours learning from the gurus on the DPR retouching forum. Part of my apprenticeship included trying my hand at fixing flawed images from every platform. I can often identify the camera used, and it's really not that hard when it comes to unedited shots from a Canon and a Nikon dslr.

    You're certainly welcome to your opinion, but how about providing a demonstration? I posted a pretty decent Nikon picture, and processed it to resemble a Canon image.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    View attachment 9388

    Then Joe submitted a very nice Canon sample.

    Edit it so that it looks like a Nikon capture, and you'll have proved your point.
  20. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Ahahahaha... So you saw it too... Is that why your "mission?"
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