Another 'which FX body should I buy' question...

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shineofleo, May 8, 2010.

  1. Sorry guys since this question seems frequent, but I believe everyone is in different situation, isn't it? Anyway, since there are quite a lot experienced photographer here, I would be glad to hear different voices.
    I have been with Nikon for several years, from D50 to D200, so Nikon now is still my choice although the 12MP sensor annoys me a bit... So the applications I am mostly involved:
    * Landscape. Daylight, night scene, long exposure, HDR, architechture. Recently I want to take some pictures of architechtures at night, but the tripod is not allowed... I think this is one of the reasons I need good high ISO performance. Also, a good widelense can be used now with FX.
    [​IMG]
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    * Astronomy. I think Moon or simple stars have been great challenge for me already, because I don't have a good telescope. But with my 1000mm reflex lense, the moon is easy for me, althought the fix F11 pushed me to set an extremely high ISO. So this is another reason I need very good high ISO result.
    [​IMG]
    * Music Lives. You know this is very hard: Far distance, exciting performers, and very dark environment. I was able to take some good picture with my D200 + 80-200 F/2.8 AFD, but once I compared it with the one from D3/D700, I was completely shocked by the absence of noises! The black is so pure in those pictures! Instead, mine was filled with colorful dots. Well you can say it is more... film-like, but I know the difference.
    [​IMG]
    * Macro. I do love macros because it provides a different perception from human's eye. (By the way I just hate insects and I don't think I will take them in my entire life, ever.)
    [​IMG]
    * Potrait. I didn't took a lot potrait photo but I think this category is getting more poplular now.
    So, the D700 is nice but of course I woulbe prefer a more professional one. Since I always attach the grip with my D200, I am very used to a full-sized body. Also the 100% views and dual card slot, longer shuter life, tougher case, it is hard to refuse.
    D3 is fading out but I just found a used one with aroud 5000-6000 shutters, and it looks quite new. It is around USD 900 cheaper than a new D3s. However, the lack of image sensor cleaning compared with D700 and D3S makes me nervous, also, the buffer of D3 is half of D3s, which explained why it is years after D3s.
    The D3s is the up-to-date nikon's top camera. I don't mind the video, even the live view, but the new sensor surely attracts me with its better high ISO performance. As the price, it is amost twice as D700. (but it is a full body with integrated grip, and so on.)
    I am willing to pay to change the quick-release plate for them, although it is annoying. Also the SB-800 may not wide enough for FX but I think I can afford to update. Also my DR-6 right angle viewer has to be updated due to a different mount.
    As for the lenses, I want to update my 80-200mm 2.8 anyway. But it is not as important as good wide angle lenses - I am considering 16-35mm F/4 VR AFS. My current wide angles are DX anyway so they have to go. I am very happy that the 50mm F/1.4 AFS can be herself on an FX body! So as the 200mm F/4 Micro lenses! At this point there have been a lot of investment, so 24-70mm would be delayed.
    I hope my personal story can provide more information to you, to help me do the decision. In short, I may afford the more premium solution, but can you give some idea to help to 'spend the money more wisely'?
    Thanks in advance!
    Leon
     
  2. With all of the changes in lenses and such you are discussing here, have you considered just switching to Canon? With that line, you could get 21MP, which is much more suitable to what you shoot and more in-line with your own comment regarding the 12MP limitation.
    Again, I only suggest this since you are talking about replacing the lenses you would need to buy if you jumped over to Canon anyway.
     
  3. Wondering why you need more than 12MP. How big do you print exactly? If you print huge and with all you've mentioned, you might have to just pony up for the D3x. Can you wait a bit to see if Nikon has a D700-style 24MP camera, as many feel they will? That's what I'd do?
     
  4. Thanks for the reply. Yes, you points are exactly what I was thinking. If I have to get rid of almost everything, the 5DMKII becomes a good choice. I also tried my friend's 5DII, it is quite good. I read some review saying that the high ISO seems better on Nikon D700/D3/D3s.
    Actually as Peter mentioned, a bigger print would be great, but it is not a must. For now, some D700s with 24MP sensor for example, can be perfect. So there is one more option: waiting for a new camera from Nikon. Another month? I don't know.
    Anyway I guess I choose stay in Nikon to make this thread in Nikon sub-forum. :D
     
  5. Honestly, if Nikon had come out with a larger MP camera when I bought in, I would be Nikon myself. Waiting may make some sense, but I don't know that the noise issue is much different with D700 vs 5DII, I don't trust reviews, seen way too many that tout things that I am left shaking my head over, even looking at their own posted examples!
    The D200 is an extremely noisy camera IMO, and from experience with it. Most of the newer cameras will put it to shame.
     
  6. Leon. How big do you print exactly? That's what I was asking.
     
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I too wonder why you need 20+MP. Regardless of brand, when you cramp a lot more pixels into the same area, the quality of the pixels will go down. One side effect is that high-ISO results will suffer.
    I have tested the D3X. Even 24MP is only a small improvement from 12. If your subject has a lot of fine details and you use high-quality lenses at their optimal aperture on a sturdy tripod, you can see some differences. If you are merely using a 1000mm mirror lens shooting astronomy, 24MP is simply a waste. And of course high-ISO from the D3X is a step backward from the D3/D700 (and 2 stops behind the D3S).
    One major drawback for the Canon 5D/5DII is their AF system; Canon wouldn't use that system on the 50D any more, let alone their higher-end DSLRs. However, as least based on the OP's images here, I don't see fast AF being a requirement. Likewise, I wonder why the D3's buffer size is a concern at all. I have shot a lot of wildlife action and a fair amount of sports; I have yet to run out of buffer once on the D3, D700, D300, and D300S. None of the OP's images is action photography.
    Most likely Nikon will introduce DSLRs with more pixels later on this year; they have made that very clear themselves. But once again, Nikon cannot defy physics either. Just like the D3X, you need excellent optics, excellent technique, and the right subject to take advantage of more pixels, and high ISO results will suffer a bit.
     
  8. Apart from the megapixels discussions (and yes, 12 MP is quite enough for pretty immense prints and Shun's point that more MP will hurt high ISO is very valid too), I also kind of fail to see why it has to be FX, really.
    The wide angles... there are plenty seriously good DX wide angles. The only unchallenged one may be the 14-24 f/2.8, more because it is insanely wide. But a Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 or Nikon 10-24 are not bad lenses by any stretch of imagination.
    For macro, DX has an advantage in a bit extra DoF. For lunar shots, crop factor is a benefit. For landscapes and night: most of the time tripod, ISO200 work: won't see the difference between 12 MP DX or FX. And the times when a tripod is not allowed, how may stops you are missing now? The high ISO again comes into play for the live music but let's not forget a D300s/D90 is already quite a lot better than a D200 (1,5 stop, I'd say). So, all in all, does it really have to be FX, or just better high ISO?
    For now, why not a newer generation DX, keep most of your lenses, and you can keep the saved money for that future 20 MP plus camera if you really feel that 12 is not enough.
    P.S. Before the FX-crowd dives on my statements: yes, I state it a bit simplified and charged - I know. But if getting an FX camera comes with updating half the lenses, it doesn't hurt to reconsider whether FX is really all that needed.
     
  9. Shun, here we go again. In your use, MP probably doesn't matter. MP's are not just important in large prints, it is also important in the pliability of an image in post. A 21-24mp camera file will respond much better to manipulation and resizing than will a smaller MP file. This may not matter to everyone, but if you shoot architecture and need to fix perspective, you will realize the difference quickly. There are other applications as well, where it can make a difference.
    There is no loss of image quality at high iso in the 5DII because of noise, it is one of the best! Theoretically, yes, at some point the noise will be an issue due to MP size, but let's talk reality not pie in the sky! Based on your theory, MF digital backs should have incredible high ISO performance, especially a 16-21mp backs. Fact is they all totally suck above iso 200!
    High ISO noise is more a factor these days of the processor in the camera. Newer cameras generally have better high ISO performance as it is one area the manufacturers can work on until they get better sensor technology. Anyone who has used DxO with a high iso shot will quickly see that we aren't at the end of what technology can do in this area!
    The AF system in any camera is only a drawback if it doesn't do what you need it to do. For so many things, it really is a totally irrelevant issue if you can see. LF users don't even have it and what the OP does is done a lot with LF. MF cameras don't have such high level AF, again what is the use or purpose? You throw this one out a lot, but unless you are a high-end sports shooter it is pretty irrelevant, even to what you do! That said, having actually used the 5DII, it can do sports very well thank you--and easily the birds and surfer sort of thing!
    Marginal differences in AF systems and FPS are only something to consider when you actually have a use for them. If you don't, then there are other considerations and here the OP's include MP and FF and given the work he does, some of these other things are really pretty irrelevant.
    I don't even understand the attack on Canon, because I suggested the possiblity? The OP already suggested he would stay with Nikon--give it a rest!
     
  10. Shun, 24mp should be a noticeable improvement over 12mp! You must not be a pixel-peeper like me. I loved the D700, but wanted more. I'm waiting for the 24mp replacement for the D700. It will come this year, I hope. It's just the same as going from 35mm to medium format, the difference is noticeable in the fine details and the tones. This is one reason why I prefer the D300 over the D700, the D300 actually resolves more fine detail than the D700 in my experience. Higher pixel density combined with a weaker anti-alias filter makes the D300 shine.
     
  11. 24MP is only a 25% increase in linear resolution. If you are not printing huge, not only is it not a huge improvement, but it's an added data challenge, too. (I'm learning this with my recent jump from 6MP to 12 as a matter of fact.) I defy you to show me a 16 x 20 print from each that will look markedly different. I've printed 10 and 12MP images at 24 x 36 and they look great from a normal viewing distance.
    Pixel-peeping lies to you about what you really want to get from your final output. For most of us, 6MP is actually all we "need", even it it's not all we "want". The one area that this makes a big difference is John A's example above of architectural photography where you are doing skewing and distorting of the image. But these folks who say they "need" 24MP... you REALLY have to ask yourself if you actually do.
     
  12. The whole MP thing is really pretty funny to me. Most that don't think it matters work with smaller MP files. Back in 1995, I started scanning images. At that time, a 20mb 8 bit file was impressive. As time went on, I got better scanners and more demands were put on what an image could do(as part of my commercial business). Soon, i learned from day in and day out experience that there seemed to be a major difference once a file reached 50mb 8bit. You just ended up with a file that could handle almost anything. At that time, stock companies didn't even take digital files. When they started to accept them, guess what, they had to be at least 50mb 8bit--not a coincidence I don't think!
    Anyway, I agree that you can get very nice images, and large images, with a smaller MP camera as I have made them. But when you have experience, long term and intense experience, with larger files, you will understand there is a difference. Otherwise, it is like you telling an astronaut who has been in space, that the experience wasn't as they think because you have flown commercially and know better!
     
  13. There is no loss of image quality at high iso in the 5DII because of noise, it is one of the best!

    No loss of image quality? Oh, ok.
    For an objective comparison of the tonality, noise, SNR, colour depth etc. see dxomark.com. They even have a scaled index which simulates the visual averaging of the smaller pixels when making a print of the same size from two cameras with different pixel counters. Of course, there will/may be more detail in the 21 MP images, but at some point along the ISO curve the loss in acceptable tones becomes more important.
    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/en...341|0/(onglet)/0/(brand)/Canon/(brand2)/Nikon
    suggests that the D3s gives comparable tonal quality at ISO 3253 to the 5D Mk II at ISO 1815, and at higher ISOs the difference is even greater. The D700 is a bit behind the D3s at the highest ISO.
    In addition to these factors, the Nikon FX cameras all have the Multi-CAM 3500 autofocus sensor which may be the best phase-detection AF system made so far.
    For landscape, I do think 21 MP or 24 MP would be noticeably superior to 12 MP but for architecture I personally don't think it's as big a deal - by using PC-E Nikkors you can avoid having to do drastic geometrical corrections in post-processing, and this would be a much bigger factor to the final image quality than 21 vs. 12 MP. I also think using tilt can make a big difference to the quality of landscape and close-up images of nature - which is why I've put my money into the PC-E Nikkors rather than buying a D3X at a time when Nikon prices it very high.
    If landscape is more important to you than low light, then either you can the D3X, or one of the Canon or Sony high MP full-frame cameras, or you can wait for the time a less expensive high-resolution Nikon model becomes available. There may be a D700 update this summer or fall but at this point it's merely rumored and no one knows if it will be of the high-ISO (D3s) or high-res (D3X) kind, or something between those two. Last year Nikon sent a query to NPS members about which characteristic (high ISO image quality or high resolution) they find more important in a D700 class of camera - so far the findings aren't public so it's hard to guess what will come. My guess is that most of those people will vote for a D3s type sensor in a D700 body, but that's just my guess. A typical working photographer will have different perspective on this issue than what one might think from internet discussions.
     
  14. John A,
    about the same time, we discovered that a 50MB flatbed scan or standard film scan was much worse than a 25MB drum scan, so it's all in the scanning, too. Also, with digital cameras, we've removed the intermediary step of the scan, and that has helped, too. We still do not know how the OP is using his images, though, so we still don't know if he is really one of those who are well served by a 24MP camera.
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Guys, this thread is about Leon Chen, the OP's needs, not about 12MP vs. 24MP in general.
    I think I can take advantage of 24MP in some of my work, but that has nothing to do with the OP's needs. And I had the D3X for well over a month and wrote the D3X review for photo.net: http://www.photo.net/equipment/nikon/D3X/review/
    In that process I compared the D3X vs. the D3 and D700 in all sorts of ways with different subjects, different ISOs, etc. I even printed what would have been 16x24 prints, but I only cropped out small sections from each image and made smaller prints for easier comparison. Even at 16x24, the difference between 12 and 24MP is not that big, and it is mainly in the fine details. However, the loss in high-ISO capability is clear.
    Given the OP's needs, I wonder why he needs 24MP.
     
  16. It looks like a heated discusson on FX/DX and 12MP/24MP. I Actually it still comes back to a single point: cost. If 12MP camera is the same price as 24MP one, of course people will pick the latter...
    Anyway, to answer Peter's question, I will be very happy with a good quality 20X16(18) print. So I think the 12MP should be enough, for me. And that's why I said I prefer Nikon system given other factors - for example, AF performance.
    In short, I would pick 12MP sensor, and FX for now. So could we come back to the choice between these 12MP + FX body? Thanks...
    Update: Thanks Shun for pulling the topic back. I am very appreciated for this discusson because it is always the hot spot for camera body. By the way, I didn't put 24MP as a must, there is some misunderstading perhaps. :p
     
  17. Still not convinced that you "need" FX, but that may be irrelevant. If you'd "like" it, and it would make taking pictures more enjoyable and easier, it's worth it. In my day job I'm a musician, and there are loads of great 500-dollar guitars that would work for me, and 500-dollar amps. So why do I use 2000-dollar amps and 4000-dollar guitars? Because I can, and it's enjoyable. I notice the very subtle difference and enjoy it more.
    I'd get a D700 and the lenses you mention and get out there and shoot something cool.
     
  18. Peter, I didn't give all the details, but I have had top of line scanners all along the way and have done smaller scans versus larger on each. As to digital capture versus a film scan, there is no comparison as to the quality of the digital file--a good film scan is much better than a digital capture just by its nature. Digital, however, eliminates grain in the smaller formats, which offers some major advantages as well as does the high iso performance it offers over high iso film. As I said, once you live it, it is different than the theoretical, which might be relevant to Ilkka's links as well.
    Shun glad it isn't about MP, although that is 99% of your entry!:))
    I don't know why anyone cares if the OP thinks MP are important. Again, it isn't about you, it is about their needs, which I dare say they know better than anyone else! It just seems sort of condescending, don't you think? If there is a flaw in these forums, it is most want to lay their ideas and way of thinking onto others even if it means trying to change their needs! I am more than willing to confront all the fairy tales that come up here, but when the OP says he wants more MP and is going to change out his lenses in any case, it is logical to suggest a possible change to brands that offer what he wants! To question his need for MP, not so logical but certainly more presumptuous! (this goes for question FX vs DX as well!)
     
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If 12MP camera is the same price as 24MP one, of course people will pick the latter...​
    Leon, I wouldn't make that assumption. Again, 24MP comes with a price: all other technologies being equal, you will get more noise when pixel area decreses. That is simple physics. Actually I think Nikon does a fine job with the D3X; its high ISO results is marginally better than the D300 (and therefore the D300S) and is merely a stop below the D3/D700.
    As I pointed out earlier, you need good lenses and good technique to take advantage of 24MP. I have used the D3X hand held indoors with higher ISO like 800 or so; the result is actually worse than my D700. Those 24MP are meaningless because the higher resolution is easily wiped out because of a tiny bit of camera movement from hand holding and subject motion.
    For example, for your indoor concert, high ISO images, the D3S and D700 will easily out-perform the D3X.
    If I shoot landcape, I want 24MP, but I'll be using my 24mm PC-E, whose large image circle will give me edge-to-edge sharpness on the FX frame. And I'll be stopping it down on a big tripod. Of course my subject does not move and has a lot of details. I am sure the Canon 5D II will also do a good job for landscape photography because that kind of subjects is not demanding on the AF system.
     
  20. I was writing this last entry when Leon was posting, so I agree with Peter on the most likely camera choice to meet Leon's latest comments.
    (Seriously Peter, you think a $500 guitar will match your $4000 one? Certainly, certain models entry level, like the Les Paul, won't be much, if at all, different from a Custom, but it isn't $500 either! I will admit that my son's $350 Fernandez Strat (price 12-13 yrs ago) sounded pretty close to my Custom Shop Strat except it didn't have the humbucker--didn't play the same though, but not all that bad!)
     
  21. John A writes [As to digital capture versus a film scan, there is no comparison as to the quality of the digital file--a good film scan is much better than a digital capture just by its nature.] I couldn't disagree more. It certainly is more "film-like" perhaps, but better? Not necessarily, no (but we are again off-topic). And the questions I (and others) was asking the OP WERE to help him. If he doesn't need nor will be well-served by a 24MP camera (and the accompanying data storage and processing requirements) then he will, obviously, be better-served by a lower MP camera. I don't think I was being condescending, I don't think any of us were.
    However, your capture method should ALWAYS be determined by output. Most people who think they need more MP don't, most who think they need FX don't.
     
  22. Peter, I can fully understand you since I play a lot music (guitar/bass/drum) and I know about how expensive they are getting to! just like (if not similar) to the photography instruments.
    Another reason I didn't pick D300 is that it is the only choice between D200 and D700, or above. So I somewhat want to step a tiny bit ahead in case D300 is killed buy another new cameras.
    For godness sake, I didn't mention any 24MP at all in my original post (I was saying high-ISO, FX, etc.), and everyone thought I need a higher 24MP after John started it......... :) I just couldn't help to smile because all these discussion by excited strangers!
    Very helpful! Thank you!
    So, Peter suggests D700. Cheers!
     
  23. Thanks Shun. Your point is very well accepted! So different application would use different good configuration for it.
    Actually, as for the different between the musical instrument... The Epiphone Les Paul IS different from Gibson Les Paul, where the price is very different. But a Gibson signature edition of Les Pual may have subtle different from a standard Gibson Les Paul. Just as Peter said, it the player likes it, no thing else matter.
    Unfortuantely there is no 'signature edtion' for camera/lense lol.
     
  24. Leon, you said that the 12MP sensor annoyed you, I think that started the whole MP conversation.
    And wow. We're all guitarists! Go figure! We should have a post a beauty shot of your musical instrument thread...
    For most musicians I know, they might get the same music out of a 500-dollar made-in-korea guitar than I will out of my 4000-dollar (retail) Andersons... but you're right... I WILL know the difference myself (as will others with very discriminating ears).
    Plus, they feel better... the analogy carries to cameras. When I recently upgraded I knew I did not need FX and could not afford it. I knew I did not like the feel, however, of the small D5000 as much as the slightly larger D90. In fact, I'd probably get a D700 if I had the dough if only because it feels SO much better in my hands. But would I need it for the way I use my photos? Heck no. I print only a few, often pretty small, and then as part of my job I'm occasionally shooting something that will be on a banner or poster... and the D90 is great for that.
    So D90 it is, and I might get a grip if I can afford it to make it bigger... on purpose...
     
  25. Leon, there is a "signature edition" for photogs.
    It's called Leica...
     
  26. Hey Leon, I didn't bring it up at all, you clearly stated that "...although the 12MP sensor annoys me a bit..." With that and the FF thing, there are only a few choices and I offered one! Need to look where the issue became an issue more closely! Too many are too sensitive/defensive about their equipment, it is just a tool!
    Peter, I don't know your background so it is hard to know how you make these statement, for me it is over 32 years of shooting of which 20 have been very high level professional experience. So, you may know better....
     
  27. Leon, sorry, I brought in the FX versus DX arguments... not to distract, though, I hope. The point was/is: the current DX cameras are simply already quite better in high ISO than the D200. It's worth checking comparisons. But Peter is right - if you feel FX will bring you more joy, by all means, of course.
    Given your description, the D3 actually makes a lot of sense (D3s being quite a bit more expensive) - if you always have the grip attached, just as well get a camera with the grip integrated. The lack of sensor cleaning, I would not be too worried about that. It's not a miracle cure by far anyway. As for the buffer, see Shun's point on that earlier.
    But, given the fact that lenses are more worth it, and needed, saving the extra $$ and getting the D700 makes the most sense.
     
  28. Oh, I did say 12MP annoyed me, sorry! But I didn't mention D3x because I know I will not get it - it is too damn expensive lol! Basically there are landscape AND indoor concert both in my list, I have reason to be annoyed... Anyway, I am not going to get another 24MP at a even higher cost separately for landscape... As Shun said, I am not ready for it: lenses, my technique. :)
    Photography and Music are expensive hobbies, so I am very glad I didn't know there is signature edition for photos, and I can pretend to have no idea about Leica. :D
    According to Peter's advice, I would get D3s... Please enlight me if this is a stupid idea. :eek:
    Bless...
    Update: Just saw the new replies. Thank you guys! So this is a fight between preference and money, again. It's a nice talk! I think I still have to spend some time to make the decision! Cheers!
     
  29. D3S. For anything requiring high dynamic range and excellent high ISO performance it is the best there is right now. Forget Canon, forget 24 mpix, those do not help you when the light gets low or when it gets very contrasty. It's amazing what today's FX can do in low-light, contrasty scenes. This isn't limited to dimly lit concerts either -- the first two pics you posted would surely have benefited from a D3S by being able to better preserve all the subtle tones.
    As it is, however, there are always compromises. For careful tripod work, a high pixel count will have an advantage compared to 12 mpix in a 16x20" print. In today's world, you just have to choose what your priorities are, since the high pixel count is then a problem for some other subjects. Based on your post, I got the impression that the D3S is the best compromise for you. You could also look at stitching -- maybe you already have since your night cityscape is very wide? That can be a useful technique for certain landscapes. For macros, the best lenses are just as important as cameras.
    For astronomy a more sensitive body is of course welcome, but people who really get into astronomy seem to be buying expensive telescopes and specialized cameras for it, so if astronomy is an important consideration, then special equipment for that is probably higher on your list.
    Don't discount live view -- I find that for tripod work it's the most reliable way to focus. And you might not need an angle finder anymore. LV is a great tool for landscapes and macros, less fiddling around than with an optical viewfinder only.
    An SB-800 should be fine, it's a highly valued too for a reason. I think it goes to 14 mm when the diffuser panel is in front of it, shouldn't be any problems at all with FX.
     
  30. Leon, if a 24mp version of the D700 comes out, it will depend on the noise factor of the 24 version. If you are a studio shooter with lights etc. than yes, but if you are a street shooter or other types of available light photography, than you may want to stick with the 12 MP D700. It just depends on your needs.
     
  31. Thank you Oskar! Your analysis is based on my posted photo, which was my initialy reason to let you know what I really need. It is very good news that I can keep the SB-800 and yes, I just start to realize that LV can replace the right angle viewer in Macro and Landscape!
    I am definitely not a studio shooter and I do encount complicated light condition, so according to Barry, 12MP it is, I don't need to wait for 24MP version of D700. - or just because of the price, but who knows.
     
  32. http://www.bythom.com/upgradepath.htm
    Listen to Thom. He's right.
     
  33. I will say something unfashionable - if you have resolution issues with the D700/D3 (as I do sometimes) shoot 35mm slide film like Provia and scan it well or get it scanned well. It is rather better than either of those cameras - provided that your lenses and technique is good. For all other things the D700 is really extremely good and you need not look at getting anything more expensive.
     
  34. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    James, it is not whether it is fashionable or not. I stopped using 35mm film when I got the D2X back in 2005 precisely because 35mm film lacks resolution. I recently re-scanned a bunch of slides I shot from about 10 years ago with my Coolscan 5000, and I am totally disguested by the quality I got from Velvia, Provia, etc.
    P>
     
  35. "Listen to Thom. He's right."​
    Darn it, Thom says I don't need to replace my D2H, unless I go directly to a D3. Nuts. I was hoping a D700 would be enough, since the only thing I really dislike about the D2H is the bulk and weight. Guess I'll wait awhile longer.
     
  36. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    What Thom does not know is that your particular needs as a photographer can change over time, and he has no idea about your specific situation. The most common case is that people begin with a starter consumer DSLR; as they get better they need a more sophisticated camera with more features and controls. Unfortunately, we also get older over time; sometime we would rather carry a smaller, lighter camera for fun shooting. Or perhaps a prosumer now has kids and would rather have a simplier camera for family pictures.
    In other words, you could potentially graduate from a D40 to a D90 or D300S. And someone else could trade down from a D1X to a smaller D5000. It all depends on your specific situation.
     
  37. Yeah, the 'universal rules of camera upgrading' sounds nice at first glance, but still, we need different opinion for various individuals.
    I think I will choose between D700 and used D3, the spare money can be invested into good lenses.
     
  38. Shun, I routinely shoot my D700 and 35mm film and you can plainly get more resolution from the film - plainly. How are you sharpening? Off a Coolscan 9000 and intelligent use of Smart Sharpening gets you amazing results. Do you use Smart Sharpening? Doesn't sound like it. Perhaps your Coolscan needs a service? There is something not right in your assertions if you see such a huge difference the wrong way. My D700 files are processed either using NX2 or Lightroom sometimes and even using Smart Sharpening they fall short of 35mm film for highly detailed subjects.
    Anyway this sounds like an old debate reopening...
     
  39. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    James, I bought my Coolscan 5000 less than 2 years ago, brand new, and I immediately noticed that how poor scanned images are. Initially I too thought something was wrong with it. However, my slide frames are extremely sharp in the scans, including those little fiber hanging off the edge of the cardboard mounts. So I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with my scanner.
    Anyway, these debates are getting old.
     
  40. 35mm film does have more resolution than 12mp, no question. But it has to be scanned well enough for it to show up. 24mp is about equal to 35mm film. The Nikon 5000 can scan to a 50mb file. That file can be processed and printed larger than a 12mp file can. Digital starts to look really ugly when you interpolate it a bunch.
     
  41. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    35mm film does have more resolution than 12mp, no question.​
    Dave, maybe no question to you, but a lot of people would strongly disagree with that statement. However, photo.net already has way too many totally useless film vs. digital debates. I am well aware that certain people already have a fixed opinion so that no facts will change their mind.
    In any case, that is not what this thread is all about, and please do not take it off that tangent again. We already have way too many threads totally ruined by those useless debates.
     
  42. If 12MP camera is the same price as 24MP one, of course people will pick the latter...

    KEH recently had an used D3x for the price of a new D3s. I probably could have stretched a bit and bought either. I chose, instead, to get an used D3, saving a little in the process. For what I do, a clean ISO 6400 means more than 24MP with a practical upper limit of 1600. If you do the math, the D3x has only 40% more resolution than the D3, at what I consider a terrible cost in image quality. Not everyone is obsessed with resolution for its own sake.
     
  43. I too wonder why you need 20+MP. Regardless of brand, when you cramp a lot more pixels into the same area, the quality of the pixels will go down. One side effect is that high-ISO results will suffer.​
    Does this mean that when Nikon comes out with a 24 MP camera for 2000 USD that Nikon users shouldn't buy it because "12 MP is enough." That's just silly. If Nikon had the equivalent of the Sony A850, you guys would all run out and buy one (and so would I).
    IMHO, Nikon is tormenting its user base by not offering an economical hi-res camera when at least two other brands offer such models. Yes, "high-ISO results will suffer" - a little bit - but if you already have a D700 or a D3 or a D300s you already have a capable high-ISO body.
    High resolution is a lot more than just a way to make big prints. For instance it gives extensive cropping options. If you catch a rapidly unfolding scene that can't be duplicated, later on you can crop it in several different ways and still have plenty of resolution for each resulting compositon (crop-o-sition?). I have to crop D700 files sparingly or I end up with a puny output file.
    And what's wrong with the ability to make a large print once in a while? If you take 20,000 photos this year and you only blow up two of them to 30 or 40 inches, it's still great to have that ability when you need it. It's a lot better than saying, "Darn, I only had 12 MP when I shot this." See also: HD video (or the lack thereof).
    Count me among the throngs who, out of desperation, picked up a competitor's high-res body and a couple of lenses. I haven't turned my back on Nikon; my D700 beats the competitor for ruggedness, high-ISO noise, AF flexibility, and responsiveness at events. But I just couldn't wait any longer. I'm absolutely delighted with the results. Nikon could have kept ALL of my business if they had acted faster. Sorry, but life it short, light is fleeting, and the world changes every day. I have to capture my high-res images NOW.
     
  44. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    High resolution is a lot more than just a way to make big prints. For instance it gives extensive cropping options. If you catch a rapidly unfolding scene that can't be duplicated, later on you can crop it in several different ways and still have plenty of resolution for each resulting compositon (crop-o-sition?). I have to crop D700 files sparingly or I end up with a puny output file.​
    Not exactly. As I said, 24MP is very demanding on your optics and camera support. If you are shooting some "rapidly unfolding scene" in a hurry, especially hand held, your image may still be 24MP, but you don't have all that much resolution due to camera shake, subject movement, etc. And if you further crop away from the center of the frame, you will be using a "sub-prime" area of the image circle. In that case you might as well start with a DX sensor, which is at least always centered in the best part of the image circle.
    I'll be interested in a 20+MP DSLR mainly for still-subject type work. I don't shoot much inside a studio, so in my case it'll mainly be landscape photography where I carefully compose on a tripod, stop down to f8 or f11, fine tune my focus in live view. For that kind of work, I think a Canon 5DII will completely beat a Nikon D3X; I sure don't need all that bulk and weight when I hike, and I don't need very good AF or AF at all for still subjects.
    If Nikon had the equivalent of the Sony A850, you guys would all run out and buy one (and so would I).​
    Maybe you would, I certainly wouldn't. None of those sub-$3000, 20+MP DSLRs from other brands has very good AF. Even the D3X only has 5 frames/sec. A large part of my work requires fast AF, accurate AF under dim light, and frame rate for action photography. Nikon spoils us because you get Nikon's best AF system starting from the $1500 D300S. If you want Canon's best AF, you are talking about a $5000 1D Mark 4 or some 1DS-class camera, although the 7D has pretty good AF also. And I don't even bother with Sony.
    As I frequently point out, 24M out-of-focus pixels won't do you much good.
     
  45. As I frequently point out, 24M out-of-focus pixels won't do you much good.​
    Agreed, but I'm not sure what sensor size has to do with focus. My old 10MP D200 had a lousy focusing track record. I lost a lot of otherwise nice shots until I learned not to trust its AF under certain conditions.
    These days, as often as I can I use manual focus in Live View with the camera mounted on a solid tripod and balanced with a spirit level, i.e. employing the same techniques that I use when shooting large format. When I have to hand-hold a shot and use AF, I focus as carefully as possible and use VR (or equivalent).
    Are the AF results always perfect? No, AF never is (nor MF for that matter). However, AF is still a valuable tool for changing scenes and moving subjects. My D700 doesn't autofocus properly 100 percent of the time (especially when shooting head shots or distant scenics) but I still think its AF is respectable. Thank goodness that both of these newer cameras are better at AF than the D200 was!
     
  46. So the end of the story is that I picked a used D3. I am very happy with it. Thank you all!
     
  47. Leon, good choice. That is a camera you won't tire of soon. And with a shutter rated at 300k clicks, should last a few years.
     

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