What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter
NikonRumors has outlined specs for a D800. It reportedly will be available with or without an antialiasing filter. What do you think about that?
The anti aliasing filter is used to reduce the presence of moire on digital images. For regular patterns, moire can be an issue - stripes, checks, some roofs, etc. But antialiasing filters work by blurring your image, so in theory an image without the AA filter would be sharper.
Today LifePixel and others offer a service to remove the antialiasing filter. Normally that is for IR photography and the filter is replaced with an IR filter. But they can also replace it with clear glass.
With high megapixel images the issue of noise comes in due to the smaller photosites. I think I understand that there is a greater need for the antialiasing filter with small photosites. But perhaps noise can be controlled adequately in post.
Would you consider a ordering the camera without antialiasing filter?
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#1. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 0
ScottChapin Charter MemberFri 23-Dec-11 12:59 PM
I would have guessed that the higher megapixel cameras would be less likely to have moire problems, so the greater sharpness would be more important than the noise handling....maybe.
It might depend upon the ISO at which objectionable noise starts to manifest itself with the smaller photosites. Generally, I would prefer improved sharpness.
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#2. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 0
gpoole Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004Fri 23-Dec-11 02:07 PM
I believe you use Capture NX2. In the Camera and Lens Corrections section there is a Color Moire Reduction setting. It has 4 choices Off, Low, Medium, and High. If this works similarly to the hardware filter then I would say get the camera without the filter and do it in software.
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#3. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 2
rectangularimage Nikonian since 01st Oct 2009Fri 23-Dec-11 04:37 PM
>...If this works
>similarly to the hardware filter then I would say get the
>camera without the filter and do it in software.
Agree. Leica M9 doesn't have an AA filter and I don't hear any complaints about that.
#6. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 3
benveniste Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Fri 23-Dec-11 09:00 PM
I've heard a bit of grumbling. Erwin Puts, for example, does show examples of Moire in his M9 review.
Remember, when new lines hit your eyes from the an image you spy that's a Moire!
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#4. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 0
I'd love to hear from somebody who has had this done to a camera and see some samples. It makes sense to me not to have the AA filter, as long as it doesn't introduce other issues that are hard to correct.
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#5. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 0
>NikonRumors has outlined specs for a D800. It reportedly
>will be available with or without an antialiasing filter.
>What do you think about that?
I think it's maundering drivel from NikonRumors.
The original D800 rumor was never an actual rumor. It was only a fouled up claim for a source. It was a wish-list/dream camera post sent into an Asian camera enthusiast site. Nikonrumors mistranslated it as some sort of insider info and ran with it. The lesson here is to never rely solely on Google Translate.
I like speculating as much as the next person, but multiple camera SKUs (with/without AA filter!?!), 36mp main sensors and other non-starters just don't make sense.
#8. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 5
ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Fri 23-Dec-11 11:05 PM
Howard - Certainly it is a rumor. But my IR D200 does not have an anti-aliasing filter. And the way an anti-aliasing filter works, it should make for sharper images with the risk of moire.
Gary - thanks for the note about Capture. I have a good test image from my IR camera and will see what Capture can do.
I'm looking for a serious discussion of the pros and cons. There are enough people interested that LifePixel offers a conversion.
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#9. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 8
EpicDan Charter MemberSun 25-Dec-11 04:32 AM
Filter or not is a moot point if the camera's detail isn't used. If a photographer is using a 12 megapixel camera to print 4x6 photos then the filter can be removed without debate. The moiré would be in the details not visible on a 4x6.
Moire happens in high frequency areas where there are a lot of lines close together close to the sensor's spacing. Often described as the finest details the camera can capture. Those who purchase a high-megapixel camera will be looking at the details . . . which is where moire exists. Keep the filter.
On the other hand, the filter blurs edges on larger objects too. Removing the filter is awesome where there is low frequency detail. I'd love to see the crisp edge of the football in a sports photo without post processing. Who cares if the player's hair has a bit of moire? It can be removed in post processing if required. Get rid of the filter.
In conclusion. I want a mild filter. Im not exactly sure where to draw the line. The D100 was a bit aggressive; the D3S seems good to me.
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#10. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 0
>Howard - Certainly it is a rumor. But my IR D200
>does not have an anti-aliasing filter. And the
>way an anti-aliasing filter works, it should make
>for sharper images with the risk of moire.
Fair enough Eric. It's just that I'd prefer to disabuse Nikonians about any expectations of multi-SKU (with and without AA filters) new bodies from Nikon. It's an unrealistic expectation, an inventory nightmare for retailers, a potential product return/exchange headache for consumers and retailers, and a needless potentially difficult post-processing load for a notable percentage of photographers.
I think a time will come in the next 3-5 years when AA filters and Bayer CFAs are eliminated entirely in new camera body/sensor designs. When that day comes, I will definitely have a party at the end of which all the guests will be required to scream in the direction of Japan, "WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG!!??"
For now though, the benefits of paying LifePixel to remove the AA filter and replace it with a clear optical protector, IMO, seems to outweigh for most photographers the potential moire problems which might occur from time to time. Unless a photographer is frequently shooting subjects containing potentially moire-inducing patterns and at shooting angles conducive to the generation of moire, I'd say ditching the AA filter is a good thing to do if their quest for ever-finer sharpness is of genuine benefit to their particular type of photography and preferred subject matter.
I haven't personally done it yet because nobody on this planet is ever going to be allowed to modify my D700, and because modifying my underused D7000 will void its warranty. OTOH, if Nikon itself offered an AA filter removal service, I'd have the work done immediately. Such work from Nikon would also likely include a firmware update that include some form of in-camera moire detection and processing.
I think the eternal quest for ever finer sharpness is a bit of a mug's game. I acknowledge the need some photographers have for sharp detail in finely wrought subject matter, but as a general principle of photography I have always believed that sharpness as an overarching need is highly overrated.
The geek side of my brain says otherwise though. If I could do the job myself I'd have done it already - perhaps to my D200 when I still had the thing. For now though, despite what I said above with respect to LifePixel's mod, I'd advise photographers who prefer less post-processing rather than more to stay away from the mod. Current camera CPU programming fundamentally takes into account AA filtering. Monkeying with the balanced design of the hardware may sometimes yield unexpected problems.
So . . . who wants to go first? Anybody here want to sacrifice a D700? How about a D300? A old D200 (maybe not a D200 - after all, the law of diminishing returns might apply too well)?
#11. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 0
How about a Nikon patent for an AA filter that is switchable to an OFF position
That would solve the D800 purchasing problem rather nicely, allowing for example Landscapes in the OFF position and Portraits in the ON position and when being really careful, you could shoot the image with both OFF and ON.
As an aside, from what I have read an AA filter becomes LESS important as resolution increases, so in theory a 36mp D800 would be less prone to Moire in the first place.
Anyhow it would be a real marketing coup if Nikon could actually release a high res camera with a user-selectable setting for this. I would certainly give AA=OFF a whirl for Landscape. But if I am forced to choose at time of purchase I'd go with the AA filter based on the assumption that Moire is difficult to remove in PP (e.g. in a model's hair or fabric).
Best regards, SteveK
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#12. "RE: What do you think of a camera without an anti-aliasing filter" | In response to Reply # 0
Kirk Tuck waxing nostalgic about his 6 meg Kodak DCS 760 because of its great 16 bit color and lack of an AA filter if anyone's interested.