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Thoughts on Ultra High Resolution Imagery with Multi-Shot High-Res Mode

See my L-mount mirrorless wishlist and Leica M wishlist.

I have been seeing terrific improvements in resolution and ultra low noise with the Multi-Shot High-Res mode of the Panasonic S1R, covered and shown in detail in diglloyd L-Mount Mirrorless. The sheer quality of the images is something new. One thing has emerged as a disappointing limiting factor: lens performance well below the demands of 187 megapixels.

My perspective changed today: the images shown in Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 Examples @ 187 Megapixels: Lee Vining Canyon show more detail than I have ever seen in a digital image. And with ultra low noise and no moiré and no color aliasing and moving water usually works great. This is oversampling done very very well.

Most incredible of all: Multi-Shot High-Res mode works under field conditions, making it a real feature for real images outdoors under many (not all) conditions—unlike pixel shift—whoohoo! Wind is still a challenge, as it can potentially move the camera, as well as preventing full capture detail on leaves and grass. Single shot mode is not the end of the world when needed... and again done the smart way—Panasonic records a single shot frame along with MultiShot—perfect!

Which leads me to these thoughts:

  • Cameras without a Multi-Shot High-Res mode feature suck as an 'investment' in two ways: (1) they are already obsolete given the huge quality gap, and (2) the same effort on my part yields a far more detailed image with no moiré and lower noise—far better ROI. Now that I see what is possible, there is no going back. And I can still shoot conventional single frames where that is needed.
  • Optics are everything. Only with the best lenses can peak results be obtained. Lenses that rely on distortion correction offer less than full potential guaranteed, since distortion correction invariably damages sharpness by stretching pixels apart in some areas of the frame. I don’t want to buy any lens that cannot perform well at 187MP.
  • DSLR lenses like Zeiss Milvus are just as useful now as they ever were. Awkward to use with a lens adapter, but for the image quality the right lenses deliver, the results are rewarding.
  • The need for medium format is still there, but greatly reduced—Multi-Shot High-Res mode offers more detailed imagery and lower noise than any medium format camera I’ve used, including the 100 megapixel Hasselblad H6D-100C. Of course, a medium format camera with the same feature would be welcome.

I don’t want to buy a Canon or Nikon or Sony camera without Multi-Shot High-Res mode. Instead of a Nikon Z7, I’ll likely buy the Panasonic S1R, because I can get far superior image quality from all my Nikon F-mount images. Plus for lens evaluations, nothing beats the increased resolution.

Actual pixels crop from 187 megapixel image
f8 @ 1/4 sec Multi-Shot HighRes, ISO 50; 2019-04-24 19:21:57
[location “Lee Vining Canyon”, altitude 7400 ft / 2256 m, 60°F / 15°C, LACA corrected]
Panasonic S1R + Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2

[low-res image for bot]
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