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Uninspired By X5S Noisey & Mushy Still RAW Images

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Greetings all and thanks to those who chimed in on helping me make the decision not to go for the ProRes upgrade. I took the I2 & X5S out for my first test shoot yesterday and was not at all impressed by the still image quality but before I do some proper pixel peeping and compare the image with my X4S, P4PRO and my Sony A7IV is there any advantages in upgrading the firmware from V01.02.0300 to a later version and if so what version is best ?

Shooting settings were ISO 100, DJI 15mm, f4.5, 1/100 sec,Cloudy white balance and touch AF for each shot. I’ve attached a Dropbox link to the image for examination. X5S
The scene was shot into the late afternoon sun behind clouds using both an Urth 2-32 variable ND with an Urth graduated ND 8 stacked out front to properly expose the shot.
Maybe I’m doing something wrong but I truly hope that improvements can be made otherwise I’ll be selling my I2 as the quality over the P4 PRO is negligible IMHO. Can’t wait for Sony to build an integrated full frame drone camera and gimbal.

thanks In advance

Stu
 
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Greetings all and thanks to those who chimed in on helping me make the decision not to go for the ProRes upgrade. I took the I2 & X5S out for my first test shoot yesterday and was not at all impressed by the still image quality but before I do some proper pixel peeping and compare the image with my X4S, P4PRO and my Sony A7IV is there any advantages in upgrading the firmware from V01.02.0300 to a later version and if so what version is best ?

Shooting settings were ISO 100, DJI 15mm, f4.5, 1/100 sec,Cloudy white balance and touch AF for each shot. I’ve attached a Dropbox link to the image for examination. X5S
The scene was shot into the late afternoon sun behind clouds using both an Urth 2-32 variable ND with an Urth graduated ND 8 stacked out front to properly expose the shot.
Maybe I’m doing something wrong but I truly hope that improvements can be made otherwise I’ll be selling my I2 as the quality over the P4 PRO is negligible IMHO. Can’t wait for Sony to build an integrated full frame drone camera and gimbal.

thanks In advance

Stu
Well you are shooting directly into the sun on a cloudy day so you have ghosting, it doesn’t help having multiple filters on the front either. Get rid of the ND filter and use a faster shutter speed. Only use the graduated filter if really necessary. Any time you put more glass in front you run the risk you risk reflections and more ghosting. The ND filter is totally unnecessary in this situation. If you are going to use a filter I would suggest a CPL filter and only a CPL filter

The DNG files from the X5s do need lots of work but I think you could get a pretty good shot out of that if you worked at it. Shoot jpeg if you want to see a better result out of camera. The stock DJI lens is just ok, it’s nothing spectacular but stopping down to f/6.3 will help
 
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Well you are shooting directly into the sun on a cloudy day so you have ghosting, it doesn’t help having multiple filters on the front either. Get rid of the ND filter and use a faster shutter speed. Only use the graduated filter if really necessary. Any time you put more glass in front you run the risk you risk reflections and more ghosting. The ND filter is totally unnecessary in this situation. If you are going to use a filter I would suggest a CPL filter and only a CPL filter

The DNG files from the X5s do need lots of work but I think you could get a pretty good shot out of that if you worked at it. Shoot jpeg if you want to see a better result out of camera. The stock DJI lens is just ok, it’s nothing spectacular but stopping down to f/6.3 will help
Agree. I would also ad that instead of using gradation ND, shoot AEB and combine the various exposures in post. Much better option than fiddling with filters on location and more control over the final result in comfort of your home processing to your heart's content.
 
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Well you are shooting directly into the sun on a cloudy day so you have ghosting, it doesn’t help having multiple filters on the front either. Get rid of the ND filter and use a faster shutter speed. Only use the graduated filter if really necessary. Any time you put more glass in front you run the risk you risk reflections and more ghosting. The ND filter is totally unnecessary in this situation. If you are going to use a filter I would suggest a CPL filter and only a CPL filter

The DNG files from the X5s do need lots of work but I think you could get a pretty good shot out of that if you worked at it. Shoot jpeg if you want to see a better result out of camera. The stock DJI lens is just ok, it’s nothing spectacular but stopping down to f/6.3 will help
Thanks Brett, I’ll take your advice on board and try again using the suggested settings. Two questions though,
1. Should I upgrade my firmware ? and to what version.
2. What would you consider to be the best lens for landscape photography ?

Cheers Stu
 
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Agree. I would also ad that instead of using gradation ND, shoot AEB and combine the various exposures in post. Much better option than fiddling with filters on location and more control over the final result in comfort of your home processing to your heart's content.
Cheers mmarian, I’ll have a crack with AEB and see how that turns out. Do you have a recommended workflow and settings you could share ?
Cheers Stu
 
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Cheers mmarian, I’ll have a crack with AEB and see how that turns out. Do you have a recommended workflow and settings you could share ?
Cheers Stu
I actually do...
First thing first. I've sent you a private message with link to Dropbox folder. I put your DNG through LR and I uploaded a couple of iterations. Let me know what you think via PM if you like..
 
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Thanks Brett, I’ll take your advice on board and try again using the suggested settings. Two questions though,
1. Should I upgrade my firmware ? and to what version.
2. What would you consider to be the best lens for landscape photography ?

Cheers Stu
The IQ is not really affected by FW. The latest FW is .0600 which I have on mine and I have had no problems unlike some others who have apparently experienced also on .0500 loss/reduction of power under certain conditions.
My favorite lens is the Oly 12mm f2. My Oly 25mm f1.8 suffers from decentering issue. Left side close to edge is very soft at f1.8, still visible at f5.6. I tried 4 different copies before settling on the one I've kept but all were pretty much the same which leads me to believing that this is a systemic issue with this particular lens. The Oly 45mm f1.8 is relatively long lens (90mm on FF) and I find it to have a limited use. It is very sharp from f5.6 to f8 but has some CA wide open.
 
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I agree on the Olympus 12mm f/2. I don’t know that it’s going to make an earth shattering difference but it will help.

No matter what you do the raw files from the X5S are going to require a ton of post production work. That’s just the reality of it. Taking AEB bracketed exposures was a great suggestion. On that topic though, it’s important not to merge exposures you don’t actually need. What I do is I set the camera to take 5 exposures and then I very carefully select one for the sky and one for the foreground and HDR merge only those two exposures or even manually blend the exposures in Photoshop.

Another trick I have been using more and more lately is replacing the sky in my photos. I have several photos I’ve taken over the years that have really great skies in them from different angles and weather conditions and I will use the select sky feature in Photoshop to mask in the sky from those old photos with great skies to my new photos. I make adjustments to them to blend them in and manipulate them so that it doesn’t look like the same sky as the original. You open up lots of possibilities when you stop worrying about clipping the sky or having bad looking skies in your photos.
 
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Another thing I find helpful is the use of an Xrite colorchecker. I’ve noticed the embedded color profile for the X5S tends to leave a lot of blue in the shadows and boosts the reds too much. It also doesn’t seem to be well calibrated for cloudy WB situations. I’ve been bailed out many a time by the profiles I made with the color checker. It’s not a silver bullet like it is with other cameras but it does help in challenging lighting conditions
 

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