I Have to Show You This


The hills around Haweswater, Cumbria.
The hills around Haweswater, Cumbria.

I find this image very exciting. Now before you think I have lost the plot I need to explain a little about why I’m excited. It’s not the content or the composition, although I do quite like the scene, it’s actually the quality that’s exciting me.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the fine detail viewed at 100% magnification.

Foreground area at 100% maagnification. Click to enlarge
Foreground area at 100% maagnification. Click to enlarge

And from a little further in the distance.

Detail from further back in the image at 100% magnification. Click to enlarge.
Detail from further back in the image at 100% magnification. Click to enlarge.

I’m sure you will agree that the image quality is very good and that the camera has resolved the fine detail in this scene well.

Now the exciting thing for me is the camera I used for this shot. It’s actually a Canon 300D using a Sigma 10-20 lens and was shot in September 2006. But what I find really remarkable is that the reason for the quality is not the camera but today’s software. Somehow the software we have now appears to pull much better image quality from these old RAW files.

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12 thoughts on “I Have to Show You This

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    1. It could be the lens but it’s not. I have tried this with some old images and the new versions appear so much cleaner and sharper. The other point I would make is that the images themselves are cleaner and the detail seems much crisper. I will try to dig out a reasonable comparison. It’s difficult to see the difference in screen grabs but when you’re working on the image you just get a sense that the quality is better than it used to be.

  1. Or the newer high resolution computer/monitor. An interesting test, PP with new , as you have done, and PP with the state-of-the-art from 2006. Any way it looks great.

    1. I have some old versions of some images that were processed way back and they just don’t appear as crisp and clean. Something else that you can do is set your Lightroom engine to an old version and you can see how poorly it recovers shadow detail. I will try to post something about this.

  2. I am really impressed with this image. I upgraded from a 350D to a 5D some 6 years ago but was always pleased with the image quality of the 350D. Makes we want to go back to some of my old images (of which there are many) and take another more serious look with today’s software. A very nice project during the long winter nights, if I can wait that long.
    Thank you.

    1. You must do this. I’m finding some gems in the old images. In the past I didn’t have the tools to do the editing but today it’s much easier with the plug-ins. I like to shoot most of my Landscapes in the Winter months so summer is the time to do this (or infrared photography).

  3. Was this converted with Lightroom / Adobe Camera RAW? If so, it’s doubly interesting, because a vocal minority on the internet seems to insist that ACR is insufficient for high quality conversions, and DXO or Capture One are required to get the most out of one’s files…

    1. Yes, it was with Lightroom. I have seen lots of people saying that tools such as DXO and Capture one are much better than Lightroom but it hasn’t been my experience. All of these tools are good and I have used them all at times as well as Photo Ninja which seems to produce the sharpest and most detailed renderings out of all of them. The differences though are minor so I use the one that is easiest and quickest for me. I also found that the Capture One conversions (I was using the Pro version) looked sharper initially but when zoomed in to 100% there were quite a lot of artefacts with some of the cameras whilst others were clean. Odd and a little frustrating. Bottom line is that Lightroom and Camera RAW produce great images.

  4. First, it’s an absolutely cracking image, and secondly, the image sharpness is wonderful – more like the quality a good T&S lens would manage.

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