In pursuit of sharpness, Part II

Achim Reh

New Member
Nov 1, 2011
It has been about 1 ½ years since I posted my first ( highly controversial) review of high resolution sharp images , and at that time, I was using a Nikon D800e.
Well, lucky that photography is an art form, and also sometimes very controversial, there is no right or wrong. I have been called a pixel peeper second to non, a sharpness and resolution fanatic, and , honestly, I see this as the biggest compliment I could get. I also know that I might suffer form a severe form of CGAS ( Camera Gear Acquisition Syndrome) .
Over the last 18 month, I have reached the limit of the D800e, trying out every setting , fine-tuning, several lenses and tripods, and I have to say , I am very sure, that there is not much more improvement in picture quality one could get out of this camera. However, it was not enough for me.
The task was, to improve he image quality even more , and, at the same time, stay mobile. Mobility was already a point with the heavy D800e , Gitzo 3 series and big gear head. The target was, to find a solution that fits into a normal photo bag, and at the same time, gives me even sharper and higher resolution pictures.
With the recent appearance of the Sony A7r, there where suddenly new opportunities. The body is extremely small for a full frame camera, and ( thank you Sony) the “r” version comes with 36 mpeg and no AA filter.
A good start. The other good thing was, that I could fit a Leica M mount adapter. This certainly gives the advantage of much smaller lenses. Suddenly I had a lot of extra space in my bag. The next challenge was, to find a tripod that was small enough to fit into my bag, but stable enough to hold about 5kg, and high enough for me, so I do not suffer form back pain after half an hour photo session.

After long search, I found the Velbon UT 63D, a tripod that fits all my above mentioned requirements. It is of course not as stable as the Gitzo solution, but stable enough for what I had in mind. But collapsed, it is smaller than a 13 inch macbook, and that’s including the head, and fully extended , it stands at 1.7m. I also like the leg lock. One twist with the hand, and you can extend it to the full length, one twist in the other direction, and all segments of the leg are locked.

[/url] _DSF2845 by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

The next challenge was, to increase to picture sharpness and resolution far beyond the 36mpeg. The trick is ( as some of you might already suspect) stitching.
Of course it is very painfully to take 50 or 100 pictures of a scene and put it together later ( and one will reach the limit of Photoshop very quick ). The solution here was Gigapan . The Gigapan epic 100 , a motorized panorama head , is just big enough to hold the Sony A7r . It can not hold the D800e, for this you need the bigger version, and then again this makes the whole thing highly immobile. And Gigapan also provides a stitching software with almost no size limit.
[/url] _DSF2848 by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

[/url] _DSF2849 by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

All this gear , tripod , camera, some lenses, the Gigapan head, laptop , batteries and accessories fit into my photo bag.

[/url] _DSF2844 by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

[/url] _DSF2847 by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

Achim Reh

New Member
Nov 1, 2011
Enough said, here are some results .
This is the whole picture ( please no comment about the sky and the color, it was a lousy light that day ) . The picture was taken once with a 12 mm wide angle

[/url] FullJpeg12mmAdjust by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

This picture was taken with a 85mm Tessar , stitching 45 single images. Due to overlapping and some cropping, I later had 600 mpeg image that shows roughly the same scene as the wide angle lens.
[/url] QuarryGB1 by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

This is a 120% enlargement / crop of the normal 36 mpeg file...about as far as you can get before it becomes pixelated. Please note the small white spot inside the pink circle.
[/url] FullJpeg12mmCrop100 by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

This is a similar enlargement of the ( stitched ) 600 mpeg picture.
[/url] QuarryGB20Crop by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

And here, the 100% enlargement of the 600mpeg picture, fantastic .
[/url] QuarryGB100Crop by AchimReh, on Flickr[/IMG]

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