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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
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Old September 4th, 2006, 03:09 AM   #1
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HD SD lens comparison

This is something much discussed and much debated so I took the opportunity on a shoot over the weekend to do a rough lens comparison between my Canon 19x6.7 half inch SD lens and a new canon HD 2/3 inch lens (Canon HJ11ex4.7 HD lens I think). Well the results were kind of as I suspected. There is very little to no difference that I can see. If anything I think the half inch SD lens is sharper! I have put a couple of frame grabs on my server for you to see for yourselves. Look in particular at the detail in the grass and the flight sim ride in the background.

http://www.ingenioustv.co.uk/clips/canonhd.zip
http://www.ingenioustv.co.uk/clips/canonsd.zip

Both are TIFF grabs from raw 35Mb MXF's. It's a bit of a rough test, but it is a "real world" situation as opposed to a test chart.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 06:04 AM   #2
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There's CA in both. But the HD lens is showing much nicer, cleaner lines. CHeck out the outline of the top of the jet airliner, and the top of its engines, and where the navy blue of the underside meets the white halfway up the fuselage on the SD version compared to the HD one. The SD one looks horrible. In fact the SD one looks like its had the digital enhancement pushed up.

Although the lighting is different on both. So it may be that you had the detail level pushed up way too high anyway. There be some horrible black outlines on many parts of the picture, especially on the SD one where the sun has come out.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 06:33 AM   #3
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It looks to me also that the SD shot had it's detail cranked up. But if it didn't, then I'm curious as to why it looks it.

While one would be wise to get good glass on this camera, I'm with Alister though. The difference between the two is nowhere as bad as you would be led to believe by some (by "some" I mean sales people).

All that said, SD glass seems to round off any resolution advantage this cameras has over, say, an XL-H1. Not a great thing.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 06:47 AM   #4
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The difference between the two is nowhere as bad as you would be led to believe by some (by "some" I mean sales people).
I'm not sure. There is a website somewhere that I have been trying to find again for some time now. There was a direct comparision between 2/3" SD and HD glass on an HDCAM camera. The difference was massive.

I think if the detail enhancement was turned off on both cameras a truer impression of the resolving ability of the lenses would be shown. Edge enhancement gives a really false impression of the picture, and it is hard to seperate what is being done by the lens and what is being introduced artifically (although in the extremes of the picture the big black and white outlines give it away).
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Old September 4th, 2006, 09:39 AM   #5
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OK here is another still from the SD lens, from the same clip just a couple of seconds later where the sun on the plane (an old BAC 111) is not so strong.

http://www.ingenioustv.co.uk/clips/canonsd2.zip

The rather horrid edge enhancement is much reduced on this example. This shows that edge enhancement is most noticable on areas of very high contrast as from the almost clipped aircraft to sky or white aircraft body to dark aircraft engine on the previous SD lens grab. This is not so much a function of the lens as the F350's electronics and I have not played with the knee aperture to see if perhaps this can be reduced.

Look at the picture of the pilot painted on the side of the simulator ride, look at the ME109 aircraft (the one with the black cross) in particular the propellor and antenna, also look at the two aircraft in the clouds above. To my eye the SD lens looks to be clearer. I like to use this part of the image as it is mid range, not overly high contrast and does not appear too enhanced by aperture correction. Also look at the leaves on the tree on the far right of the frame.

All the camera settings were the same, the lens was simply swapped and the the two shots taken. The point I am making is that the difference between half inch SD glass and 2/3 inch HD glass is minimal, probably due to the fact that 2/3 inch lenses are designed for the much larger photosites on 2/3 inch CCD's. I know and have seen the difference between SD and HD 2/3 inch lenses on 2/3 inch cameras, but even then it really depends on the quality of the 2/3 inch SD lens as there is huge variation between lenses and I have yet to see any HD lens/CCD combo that dosn't have CA issues.

I really, really want to see a direct comparison between a good SD and HD half inch lens, there should be more of a difference as both will be designed for the same size CCD's, but I'm not convinced and won't be until I see proof.

One question this test does ask is just how soft must a SD 2/3 inch lens look on a F350?

For me there is no point in spending over 20k for the marginal (I think the 2/3HD is softer) improvement that a 2/3 inch HD lens may give over a good 2k SD half inch lens. I need to see a half inch HD comparison.

BTW the detail was set a little high from a previous shoot and did get turned back down, but I didn't have time to do another lens comparison.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 10:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
The rather horrid edge enhancement is much reduced on this example.
Yes. Looks much better!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
The point I am making is that the difference between half inch SD glass and 2/3 inch HD glass is minimal, probably due to the fact that 2/3 inch lenses are designed for the much larger photosites on 2/3 inch CCD's. I know and have seen the difference between SD and HD 2/3 inch lenses on 2/3 inch cameras, but even then it really depends on the quality of the 2/3 inch SD lens as there is huge variation between lenses
I think this holds water. At the very least, my feelings are this: My father works in manufacturing engineering. What a product gets sold for has a lot more to do with how difficult it was to make, how many they had to make, and what the market will bear. Because of this, I highly suspect there's some wiggle room in manufacturers HD designations.

[edit: I want to clarify: I don't mean to say that there's no difference between an SD and an HD lens, because there are MTF charts, etc that will tell you otherwise. I'm saying more along the lines that I think lens manus oversimplify the issue. "You need an HD lens because you have an HD camera. If you have this camera, then you should spend at least X amount, or you're wasting your money"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
I really, really want to see a direct comparison between a good SD and HD half inch lens, there should be more of a difference as both will be designed for the same size CCD's, but I'm not convinced and won't be until I see proof.

One question this test does ask is just how soft must a SD 2/3 inch lens look on a F350?
Here's a grab from the morning of my concert shoot...this was my first look at the Canon J11x4.5 SD lenses that six of my cameras had on them. Detail was at default, so it's hard to see what's going on in some of those busy edges. But after this quick and dirty look-see, I decided that this lens was at least in the ballpark and wasn't going to hamper me very much.

http://homepage.mac.com/nweaver/.Pub...T00002.tif.zip

I'm in the process now of testing a Canon H9x3.8 1/2" lens I found. I'll let everybody know how it turns out.
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Last edited by Nate Weaver; September 4th, 2006 at 12:32 PM.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 10:54 AM   #7
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I have not played with the knee aperture to see if perhaps this can be reduced.
Hmm, knee aperture might be one way. As you know I hate detail enhancement in all forms anyway. But one other thing you could try if you really want to keep that detail boosted up is to put the detail frequency setting right up to make the edge enhancement very fine and less intrusive.

As for the sharpness, you may be right to a degree. I'd still like to see it with the detail off to get a truer picture (as well as knowledge that the back focus had been set precisely beforehand. I know you would have done, but for a scientific test...), as well as knowning that the lens itself was focussed very precisely. It could be that the HD lens was just ever so slightly out compared to the SD one. So we really need things to be set up properly to make sure anomolies like this aren't introduced.

Quote:
One question this test does ask is just how soft must a SD 2/3 inch lens look on a F350?
Softer. But the main thing I saw was a strange difference in colour rendition between the J11 and the Canon 1/2" HD lens. Something I can't put my finger on, but I have found it almost impossible to eliminate in post.

Quote:
For me there is no point in spending over 20k for the marginal (I think the 2/3HD is softer) improvement that a 2/3 inch HD lens may give over a good 2k SD half inch lens. I need to see a half inch HD comparison.
You may be right, depending on the type of work being done. Certainly for going under supercell thunderstorms and hail storms I wouldn't want to take the most expensive lens!
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