Over the last two posts we’ve been exploring some of the differences introduced by tweaks to the Color Filter Array of the Phase One IQ3 100MP Trichromatic Digital Back versus its original incarnation, the Standard Back. Refer to those for the background. In this article we will delve into some of these differences quantitatively.
Let’s start with the compromise color matrices we derived from David Chew’s captures of a ColorChecher 24 in the shade of a sunny November morning in Ohio. These are the matrices necessary to convert white balanced raw data to the perceptual CIE XYZ color space, where it is said there should be one-to-one correspondence with colors as perceived by humans, and therefore where most measurements are performed. They are optimized for each back in the current conditions but they are not perfect, the reason for the word ‘compromise’ in their name:
We have seen in the last post that Phase One apparently performed a couple of main tweaks to the Color Filter Array of its Medium Format IQ3 100MP back when it introduced the Trichromatic: it made the shapes of color filter sensitivities more symmetric by eliminating residual transmittance away from the peaks; and it boosted the peak sensitivity of the red (and possibly blue) filter. It did this with the objective of obtaining more accurate, less noisy color out of the hardware, requiring less processing and weaker purple fringing to boot.
Both changes carry the compromises discussed in the last article so the purpose of this one and the one that follows is to attempt to measure – within the limits of my tests, procedures and understanding – the effect of the CFA changes from similar raw captures by the IQ3 100MP Standard Back and Trichromatic, courtesy of David Chew. We will concentrate on color accuracy, leaving purple fringing for another time.
What are the basic low level steps involved in raw file conversion? In this article I will discuss what happens under the hood of digital camera raw converters in order to turn raw file data into a viewable image, a process sometimes referred to as ‘rendering’. We will use the following raw capture to show how image information is transformed at every step along the way: