D2X performance at ISO 800 vs film...

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by concert_images, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. I don't want to start a highly scientific or technical debate.

    I currently use Nikon F100's for concerts, shooting at ISO 800 on
    Fuji NPZ 800.

    I'm seriously considering moving up to the Nikon D2X.

    So this is a question for those D2X users who use it at ISO 800 and
    have experience of shooting ISO 800 film... Any impressions? I'm
    thinking particularly about grain vs pixellation.

    Some concert photographers have told me that colours etc just aren't
    as good as on film.

    I doubt I'd ever blow shots up beyond A3 size.

    Thanks, Neil
     
  2. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I'll load up some examples for you from the D2x. I usually need a cam as well to shoot in the 1600iso range and haven't shot enough of it to make any serious judgement. but even the d70 blows away anything you could do on npz. i'll post back later.
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Recently I did a similar evaluation, and IMO, there is no comparison. Fuji ISO 800 NPZ has a purple-green tone and the grains are not that great, but it is understandable for an ISO 800 film. You'll see a bit of noise when you shoot the D2X at ISO 800, but it is far better than Fuji NPZ or Kodak MAX 800. The attached image was shot at a recent wedding with a D2X at ISO 800. This is straight from the camera without any noice-reduction software; I only scaled down the image to 500 pixels on the long end. The link below is a wedding image from a year ago using NPZ on an F5. Both were indoor church weddings where flash photography was not permitted. http://www.photo.net/photo/2575048 I have made 4x6" type prints from both, and the D2X prints look much better.
    00Cq7Y-24608984.jpg
     
  4. The advantage to shooting with a good dSLR at a higher ISO is that noise reduction software can be used to clean up the image. Noise Ninja and Neat Image are very good. Bibble Pro, which, overall, is comparable to Nikon Capture, also includes a pretty good noise reduction utility.

    That plus color correction should make low light shooting under mixed lighting easier with a dSLR than with fast film. And it took years for me to admit to that.
     
  5. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    iso 800 on a D2x. NPZ can't do this.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. thank you so far. Yeah, Lex I know! I love film and presume the D2X couldn't yet compare to the crispness of Velvia 50 or Provia 100F (although I don't actually project my slides and never will - I scan then!!)

    I always thought that NPZ 800 would outperform the D2X in low light at ISO 800 - maybe its time to reconsider??
     
  7. Eric, that is stunning quality. Do you shoot in RAW mode? Do you need to do much post-camera noise reduction / PS work?
     
  8. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Iso 800 on a D2x. All four that have been posted are straight from camera raw, no adjustments.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    When you set the D2X at ISO 100, it beats Velvia 50, 100 or provia 100F in 35mm format very easily. The D2X will provide a lot more details than 35mm film, provided that you use a high-end lens on it. I recently made some 8.5x11 prints from D2X RAW files and I had never seen nearly as much sharpness and details from 35mm film of any type.

    Negative film still wins in one area: it has more latitude than digital. For those portrait/wedding photographers who have not been paying sufficient attention to the correct exposure, negative film still lets you get away with a lot more than digital can. However, since I was a slide film user before, digital's dynamic range has never been a problem for me.

    The D2X's main drawback is cost. If Nikon can provide a prosumer DSLR with 8 or 10MP and the image quality is close to that from the D2X (but lacks the AF and frame rate capabilities) at $2000, it'll be a very attractive alternative.

    I hate to point this out in the Nikon Forum, but Canon seems to be ahead in terms of high ISO results. The D2X maxes out at ISO 800 as I would rather not depend on the H1 and H2 settings, but I tested a Canon 20D at ISO 1600 indoors and it looks wonderful.
     
  10. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Neil, yes, i only shoot in raw, and like i said before i noticed your post, these are straight from the cf card. do you want to see 1600 and 3200 iso?
     
  11. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    it's kinda ironic. i need to point out that my friend that works at the only pro lab remaining here, is cutting up npz negs on the light table there...
     
  12. Hi Eric, if you've got some at H1 and H2 (is that it!?) that would be great to see.

    I bowled over by the quality of the zoomed shots you've posted - I had no idea the D2X is so powerful!

    Presumably the lesser contrast latitude of digital vs film would explain why often you see concert shots from DSLRs that lack the punch of the saturated coloured lights compared to film (without flash I mean).

    I know Canon are ahead on DSLRs. I'd use the D2X for concerts and probably not a lot else. Its a huge lump and I can't see myself taking it on holiday backpacking etc necessarily - hence why I'd keep an F100 too.

    I know Nikon are firmly down the 1.5 magnification rather than full frame sensor, but its about waiting to see if they can compete soon with the 1DS Mk 2, or whether I ought to just take the plunge...whatever I buy will be out of date by the time its out of the box...
     
  13. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    And here's the other end, three crops from H-2 on the D2x. Ilkka brought up a good point and I have yet to determine, if H-1 = 1600 and respectively, if H-2 = 3200 or not. Regardless, this is the highest iso you can set on the D2x. I used my handheld meter and set it for 2000 iso and made the exposure. Like NPZ, or film in general, it looks best with an over exposure.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. NPZ couldn't do that at ISO 2000! And I find it is very intolerant of underexposure... Amazing! Time to rent one to shoot my next gig on I think
     
  15. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "I bowled over by the quality of the zoomed shots you've posted - I had no idea the D2X is so powerful!"

    Neil, so was I! When i first got it and came home to photoshop, i couldn't stop zooming in and outin disbelief.

    "Presumably the lesser contrast latitude of digital vs film would explain why often you see concert shots from DSLRs that lack the punch of the saturated coloured lights compared to film (without flash I mean)."

    this is just laziness of the post processing. but you're right, straight out of the can, and most are shot on Canon, they all have the same waxy skin tone.

    "I know Canon are ahead on DSLRs. I'd use the D2X for concerts and probably not a lot else. Its a huge lump and I can't see myself taking it on holiday backpacking etc necessarily - hence why I'd keep an F100 too."

    oh, you'll be taking it everywhere. There's no need for film with this camera. You'll soon get sick of scanning and ending up with inferior quality.

    "I know Nikon are firmly down the 1.5 magnification rather than full frame sensor, but its about waiting to see if they can compete soon with the 1DS Mk 2, or whether I ought to just take the plunge...whatever I buy will be out of date by the time its out of the box..."

    I've grown to really like the 1.5 factor. it took a bit to get used to of course, but now i have all these wonderful fast primes. my 180 is now almost a 300 f2.8, my 135 f2 is a 200 f2. All this glass was so expensive as a 1:1 film lens. I bought the 17-55 dx and am now not missing anything. Just one zoom purchase and that's it. Regarding the MkII, I don't like the Canon skin tones. Go to your pro shop with a couple of cf cards and shoot both. The Canon has on board software for noise reduction that can't be turned off (Nikon does) that will always give that plastic waxy Canon look. I'm not into it.
     
  16. Eric, do you have any BW400CN in your fridge? I'd like to see a comparison between that stuff (exposed at iso 250 or thereabouts) and the D2X. If you don't use it, that's ok too, I am just curious.
     
  17. I hate to point this out in the Nikon Forum, but Canon seems to be ahead in terms of high ISO results. The D2X maxes out at ISO 800 as I would rather not depend on the H1 and H2 settings, but I tested a Canon 20D at ISO 1600 indoors and it looks wonderful.
    Canon is known to perform noise reduction in camera, even on the RAW images - more so than Nikon does. What I wonder is whether the results are better than what you can achieve in post with decent noise reduction tools?
     
  18. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Ilkka, I only have the old T400CN, which i love and still use. I'm down to 20 rolls in 35mm and one or two left for 120. But no, i don't have anything, with any digi cam, that comes close to the kind of results I can get with T400CN. You can get it close, but still, the depth isn' there. With digital, i open raw a few times at different exposures and use masking layers to bring in different values.
     
  19. Yeah. I just wish I could get this kind of images with digital, but I can't with the D70.
    00CqCI-24610484.jpg
     
  20. Eric, those are very impressive. Certainly Fuji Neopan 1600 would be hard pressed indeed to match them, let alone any colour negative film. I'm a B&W film user (no software can match darkroom printing, until I can dodge and burn by waving my hands over the monitor!) but for colour, digital's definitely the way.
     
  21. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    It's odd. I have a whole 8x10 portfolio book of digital images, and most other photogs don't believe they are digital. It takes desire to work them over in post. But nevertheless, there's something i can't get, lattitude, on the digi that is there with T400Cn @250 iso. I did these three D2x shots yesterday.

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Although I'm a film guy, I have to say that digital has the advantage when it comes to high ISO.

    But I mostly shoot at ISO 100, 160 & 200, and no digital camera I've used (borrowed) has given me the colour/look of Velvia, Provia or Kodakrome. Also, I think digital is still way behind film for B&W.

    Digital IS the future, but film will NEVER go out of style (I hope).
    Just my 2 cents.

    P.S Loved those low light photos. Definately can't get such cleam pics with ISO 800 film or higher.

    Cheers.
     
  23. Let us see some action examples, folks! I think D2X should be more capable than some static portraits?! Shun, would you whip out your 500mm f/4 AFS and show us some birds in flight or something like that with your new D2X? Congrats on your new toy, BTW!
    00CqJu-24613084.jpg
     
  24. The fact that the D2X noise goes up at HI settings is a physical necessity with small pixels, you can manipulate the data all you like with image processing algorithms, but you can't escape the fact that more photons means less noise. So a larger sensor will always win over a smaller one given equal technology and image processing in each case. However, do you want to pay for it and carry the associated lenses is another matter.
     
  25. <img src="http://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/3488117-md.jpg" height="453" width="680" border="0"><br>The Pull<br>by Nikos Peri<p>
    D2x and 80-200mm f/2.8 AFD<br>
    Would have to check, but certainly not higher than 320 ISO...
     
  26. Now, that is what I am talking about! Nice one, Nikos!
     
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Vivek, I said I tested a D2X and a Canon 20D. It doesn't necessarily mean I own those cameras.

    And at least in my case, I typically don't shoot birds in flight with a 500mm/f4 from a tripod. It is much easier hand holding a 300mm/f4 to follow flying birds. I know some Canon users use the 100-400mm zoom for that same purpose. The combo between a 300mm/f4 AF-S and an F5 bodies works very well for birds in flight while the 300mm/f4 + D100 is a complete disaster. Therefore, I have reasons to believe that any D2 or F6 would work also.
     
  28. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    ...i got a pic of my dog running...sorry to let ya down Vivek
     
  29. The 200mm f/3.5 ED Nikkor and a (severely) modified TC-16A seems to be great for hand holding, for me. Now, I realize the limitations of the AF drag from the camera (D70). It is quite frustrating. Yes, there is more hope with the D2X. Though the camera's itself will be add some weight, faster reaction times from the camera should made it a joy to use.

    Hmm..no new D2X,yet, Shun?
     
  30. Running sounds way better than some other activities of dogs, Eric! :)
     
  31. BTW, my remarks were not at all meant to be disparaging towards your work or posts, Eric. Lovely examples for the original question!
     
  32. Come on guys, Vivek and Shun, you can't help the burning sensation in your pockets. You want it, they have it in the store, now just swipe that card. You feel the heart rate go up at the very thought of it. ;-)
     
  33. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ilkka, I am still waiting for that elusive D200 that gives me 10MP and Multi-CAM 2000 at $1200. :)
     
  34. Burning sensation in the pocket (and everywhere else for that matter) is a sure thing if I go near any shop with a D2X with an intent to buy now.

    Thanks for prompting, Illka!
     
  35. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    do it and get it over with.
     
  36. Gits, showing me all those amazing images and me not able to fund a credit card. Shocking behaviour. Noise Ninja worth the money for my D70 tho? anyway I can pretend??
     
  37. Bleep the ISO. I just want an intro to the babe in the green tank and black hat. Whew!
     
  38. Yeah, makes one wonder! Is he lucky because of his new tool or the subjects he works with?!
     
  39. I think exposure-wise, digital is easily the most forgiving medium of all. This is because of the low noise (at <= iso 400), you can adjust the images a lot more than film scans in Photoshop without the noise becoming a problem.

    With color negative film, exposure becomes very critical if you want to enlarge more than 5x. This is a real problem for me and I might as well buy a D2X just to avoid my problems with scanning color negatives.

    Slides come out just fine in scans in terms of grain, but they are too contrasty for most people photography. I do use them for all sorts of things, but I can't imagine anyone who would want their portrait taken on slide film ...
     
  40. Unless the photographer is Steve McCurry, of course :)
     
  41. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    uhm, Astia exists for this purpose Ilkka. Nice stuff, and crossed as well.
     
  42. so where do Nikon go after then D2X? I'm hoping that if they announce a replacement in the not to distant future, the price of the D2X will come down...D3X here we come!?!?
     
  43. D200 and D200h both with 16 mpix resolution and priced at $1500 or less.
     
  44. And the moon. On a stick. With bells on. :p
     
  45. so in reality, nothing is in the public domain about Nikon's next top end DSLRs then?
     
  46. Concert: Before you post anything on the Nikon forum, do you read any of the instructions that appear there? There lies your answer to all the speculative questions on D3000X, etc..
     
  47. The D2X just came out and it's the king of the hill at the moment. Can't really imagine a replacement less than 3 years away. The time between D1X and D2X was about 4 years ...

    Yes, I know Astia. Also, E100GX has excellent characteristics for skin tone. But I still think color neg gives sweeter tones of people with traditional enlargement or contact printing (yum). I'm just so frustrated in how difficult it is to get even minilab quality prints (ok, a very good minilab is what I use) by scanning and printing color negs. But this is off topic.
     
  48. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Ilkka, the meta date in cs2 shows that the d2x is using 1600 and 3200 iso when the camera is selcted at H-1 and H-2 respectively.
     
  49. I know this is a bit off topic. I'm a new and proud owner of a D2X. I'm thrilled with it. While I've always had loss of quality when resizing images for posting, it seems the problem has worsened with my D2X photos. I don't know if that's due to the very large file being reduced so much or what. It's frustrating when the quality of the uploaded images look nothing like the crisp full size versions.

    The images posted in this forum thread don't seem to be suffering the same problem. I'd love to hear your steps for resizing prior to uploading.

    (I'm shooting RAW and using PSCS to resize.)
     
  50. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Laurie, the D2X has so many pixels that you might need to down sample frequently. With PhotoShop CS or CS2, use Bicubic Sharper to down sample.
     
  51. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Laurie, as Shun just said, i downsize with cs2, image/image size and go to 720, about the max for most that are still on 1024x768 here. then i 'save for web' and hit the highest quality that is under 100k, usually 'high'. then uplaod to my folder and use html text to post it in the thread. this way i can remove them when the thread is stale.
     
  52. I've found the following unsharp mask settings to work pretty well in Photoshop (for submitting to photo.net). Amount = 70%, radius 0.7, threshold 2. Give or take a little. The pics look surprisingly bad when you don't apply unsharp mask.
     
  53. 100/0.8/1 works well for me, but I'll give yours a go Ilkka. Anyone have a suggestion for a 15x10" from a Frontier?
     
  54. Anyone have a suggestion for a 15x10" from a Frontier?
    Actually, yes. None. In my experience, the Frontier tends to zap a little USM itself and if I do some beforehand as well, it gets very messy in larger prints. Maybe just the settings on the one machine I use...
     
  55. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I'm with Nikos. And Agfa D-Lab is even worse for doing its thing.
     
  56. Regarding Canon's new top gun dSLR, one of the first things I noticed about their ad campaign (featuring a full page photo of Bo Derek) was that the sample photos were too soft. If they wanted to show off the camera's potential for sharp images they probably should have chosen a younger model and not have to worry about wrinkles. (Or they could have photographed me: I'm a little older and a lot wrinklier than Bo.) With an $8,000 dSLR I'd want to see its potential for maximum sharpness at the ISOs where it'd typically be used. I'd be less concerned about high ISO noise.

    The D2X is obviously sharp. I suspect the noise some folks are seeing could be effectively reduced with Noise Ninja or Neat Image. Judging from the multicolored speckling in the ISO 2000 photos Eric provided I'm guessing that not much was done in the way of noise reduction.
     
  57. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "Judging from the multicolored speckling in the ISO 2000 photos Eric provided I'm guessing that not much was done in the way of noise reduction."

    You're right Lex. I did nothing, they are straight out of the raw converter. No sharpening, no noise treatment, no exposure adjsument. I felt a 'wysiwyg' was the most fair judgment for displaying what the camera is capable of for those considering the camera in the near future.
     
  58. Since that's the case I'd say those images are plenty acceptable. Once Noise Ninja and Neat Image have had a chance to refine their presets for the D2X at high ISO settings, a little noise reduction followed by sharpening should alleviate most concerns about high ISO noise.

    While I can't do anything about the banding that occurs with badly underexposed photos taken at 1600 and 3200 on my D2H, noise reduction and sharpening software really help improve the correctly exposed images.
     
  59. Shun, Eric Ilkka and Guy, Thanks for the info. I'll give it a try!
     
  60. OK...I tried resizing in steps and used the 70%/.7/2 USM guidlines. The result is MUCH better. Before, I was going straight to 750 or 800 on the long end (bicubic) and using 50%/1.5/0 (give or take on the %).

    I used 5 steps to go from 3834 to 750 (bicubic sharper). Is there a formula for the number and size of the increments when downsizing?
     
  61. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "Give or take a little. The pics look surprisingly bad when you don't apply unsharp mask."

    huh? i rarely apply it for anything, and never for just posting here. my whole folder(s) contain images withoput usm, nadda one. maybe you're talking film scans Illka?
     
  62. Eric, What image sharpening menu setting are you using?
     
  63. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    i don't sharpen at all, they're straight out of the camera, raw. my whole folder here is like that.

    when you do sharpen, you should do it in lab mode though. so make duplicate layer, in case you don't like it, then go image/mode/lab and hit 'don't flatten' then go into your layers pallet and click on channels, click on lightness, the image will go to grey scale, then preform your usm settings, then revert out the way you came and back to adobe rgb. click on your new layer and compare it to the one underneath, your original, and if you like it then flaten the layer if you wish.
     
  64. Eric, recently I've been doing it both on film and digital captured images for p.net submission. I think a little unsharp mask helps compensate the fact that most of the details of the pic are thrown away when resizing for web. It's a matter of taste but for a long time I didn't know what settings to use and now I feel I've got it right.

    Layers ... ugh, layers smells like requiring more memory than my laptop has ... ;-) So your method doesn't sharpen color contrast but sharpens luminosity contrast at the edges? I'll give it a try some time.
     
  65. Thanks for another great tutorial Eric. I'll give it a try tonight on some product shots I need to have processed and e-mailed to the printer by tomorrow afternoon.
     
  66. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    oh Illka, i wasn't reccomending not to harpen, i'm just lazy here.

    Laurrie, no worries
     
  67. While waiting on the product shots to back up, I played with the different sharpening methods listed above. Here are three versions of the same photo. The first was resized in steps but no USM applied. The second was sharpened using Illka's recommendation. The third was sharpened using Eric's recommendation. Otherwise, the image is straight out of the camera (and it's not straight). I'm hoping the differences will evident on the small jpgs.
    00CsfO-24669484.jpg
     
  68. OK..so you can't really tell at this size. My preference (when viewed larger) is Eric's version. It only took a few seconds longer.

    I look forward to trying both methods on different images. I suspect like most things, different methods will work better on different images.
     

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