D700 Somewhat Disappointing

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by eric friedemann, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. A few years ago, Mike Reichman claimed that a 35mm-style Canon FF DSLR could compete with a scanned transparency from a 6x7cm film camera. Since then, I've longed for the day when I could make a 16x20 print from an image shot with a not-absurdly-overpriced Nikon DSLR that would look as good as a scanned image from a 6x7cm piece of film, thereby allowing me to sell off my MF gear and have only one camera system. From testing the D700, I'm afraid that day hasn't come. Currently, for 35mm-style cameras, I have two D200s. When the D700s arrived in my store, I had two hopes: 1) to again be able to use my 28mm and 85mm f/1.4 AFD Nikkors at the angle of view God intended; and 2) to get dramatically better resolution than is possible with the D200s. I'd shot some images with the D700 over the last two weeks, and the results weren't blowing my skirt up. Thinking I was missing something, yesterday I shot the same image with the D200 and D700 (see alley photo). I set both cameras to lowest ISO: 100 for the D200; 200 for the D700. I used a 12-24mm f/4.0 at 16mm, f/8.0 on the D200 and a 24-70mm f/2.8 at 24mm, f/8.0 on the D700. Both lenses delivered outstanding sharpness and contrast. Then, I made 12x18 inch prints from each camera’s image. Neither camera's image held together particularly well at 12x18 inches, which I expected from the D200, but not from the D700. The big disappointment was resolution. Without any uprezzing, the D200 delivered a resolution of 215 pixels/inch at 12x18 inches- no suprise. However, the D700 only produced resolution of 236 pixels/inch at 12x18 inches. With the considerably larger sensor and higher sensor pixel count, I really expected the D700 to have dramatically better resolution than the D200. Neither camera compared favorably with a print I could make scanning film from my Mamiya 7IIs. I'm not going to post sections of the images. Differences in quality between the two cameras' images aren't particularly noticeable in 12x18 prints, and are less noticeable on-screen at 100%. Let me give the D700 its due: 1. The D700 image is a little more contrasty, apparently owing to its larger sensor. 2. If you look really, really close, the D700 print is a hair sharper than the D200 print. 3. ISO-wise, the D700 produces a little better image at its low ISO (200) than the D200 produces at its low ISO (100). That having been said, for me to dump my D200s, grips and 12-24mm and 17-55mm DX lenses and replace them with a pair of D700s, grips and a 24-70mm f/2.8 would cost me $5-6K. I've decided it isn't anywhere near worth the price (though when bonus time comes at the end of the year, who knows how foolish I'll be).
    00R37T-75517584.jpg
     
  2. I'd like to know a bit more about what your settings were and how the photos were processed and printed.

    One of the things we get out of larger format media is better rendering of tonal range, as well as not needing to enlarge for the same print size.

    By the way God's preferred format is measured in tetra-lightyears not millimeters and pixels
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    You are not going to see huge differences in daylight images. Try the D700 in some indoor, dim light situations at ISO 3200 and 6400. There is where the D3 and D700 shine. The following image is a D700, ISO 6400 example with the 14-24mm/f2.8 at 14mm:
    [​IMG]
    I have printed some of my wedding images from the D2X to 20x30" and at least I am quite happy with the results. I am sure the D700 would do a little better.
    I know Eric likes to buy two identical cameras, but I am afraid that is not a good strategy in the digital era. You'll simply have two cameras depreciating rapidly. I personally have never owned two copies of any Nikon camera. The closest I had was an FE and FE2. At least for me, switching among the D3, D700, D300, D2X, D200 and even a Contax 645 is not an issue.
     
  4. As far is IQ, 10mp vs 13mp represents an insignificant increase in resolution. Even if the D700 was 24mp, you
    would not see a significant difference in resolution.

    I find with any new body I use it takes time to figure out the optimal settings. Oddly, you would think the
    larger sensor would give you better IQ even at lower ISOs. As you (and I) have discovered, it does not. It
    obviously helps at higher ISOs.

    If you don't need the larger viewfinder of the D700 over DX cameras or shoot above ISO 1600 often, you may not
    need it. Now wanting it is another story!
     
  5. Did you apply any sharpening in post processing?

    When the D3 first came out there were tons of comparisons between it and the original Canon 5D which was much older. Most people thought the 5D was sharper often times much sharper. Over the next month the discussion turned to the D3 having a much stronger anti alias filter and that the D3 image could be sharpened in post processing much more than people thought without creating oversharpening artifacts.
     
  6. Ellis, as I didn't have a program in place to convert the D700 Raw files, I used Fine JPEGs from both cameras. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this would not effect either camera's gross resolution- i.e. I made the same print from an uncompressed D200 Raw file, which yielded the same number of pixels per inch.


    Also, I thought I had the D700 set on Auto White Balance, but I may have had it set on Flash, which could account for the difference in color balance. But again, the point of my excercise was not color rendition.


    Shun, when shooting event-type stuff, I have been using the Gary Fong Lightsphere. As such, I'm usually shooting at ISO 400-800 in larger rooms. So, I appreciate the enhanced high-ISO performance of the D700- though the D200 is pretty good- i.e. I haven't felt the need to run D200 images shot at ISO 800 through Neat Image. But yes, I'm more interested in what the D700 can do at ISO 200 than at ISO 3200.


    Elliot, if I had $5-6K burning a hole in my pocket, I'd switch to the D700s today, despite the D700 not being vastly better than the D200. My wants always exceed my needs.


    Again, I'm not slagging the D700. It appears to be somewhat better than the D200 in pretty much every way. Its just that I was expecting the FX sensor from a body at about the same quality level in Nikon's line (comparing a hundred-series body to a hundred-series body) to be dramatically better than a one-generation-older DX sensor.
     
  7. Walt, I turned the sharpening off in both cameras. I did capture sharpening and output sharpening of both images I printed with PhotoKit Sharpener. Neither print lacked sharpness, per se, but both looked a little under-rezzed at only 200+ pixels/inch.
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    At least in my case, the D3 and D700 simply change the way I shoot events. Now I use a lot less flash as a result. Additionally, the D700 (or D300) should be able to give you much better AF under dim light, but as we have discussed lately, the way the 15 cross-type AF points in the Multi-CAM 3500 are placed is optimized for sports instead of event photography.

    Another reason to get an FX body is for wide angle work. Now the 14-24mm/f2.8 and 24mm PC-E are much more useful in FX.

    If you neither need high ISO results nor super wide results, perhaps the D200 and the DX format are just fine for you.
     
  9. I shoot digital, too, but I'm not about to part with my Mamiya 7. But I will buy a D700 because of the high ISO capabilities. That is one area where digital trumps film.
     
  10. pge

    pge

    A white balance comment.

    Eric
    What was your white balance setting. I am assuming auto, and I am surprised that the d200 and d700 are so different. The d700 seems more accurate to me, the d200 seems too blue.

    Shun
    Your white balance seems off to me, too yellow. My d200 in auto white balance does a good job most of the time but not in incandescent situations. I have found that a custom white balance is needed in these situation and works much better. I have no experience with the d700.
     
  11. Eric,

    You said:

    "With the considerably larger sensor and higher sensor pixel count, I really expected the D700 to have dramatically better resolution than the D200."

    The resolution is already defined in advance of any test or experiment. The D200 is a 10 MP camera and the D700 is a 12 MP camera and so the D700 will have a resolution of sqrt(12/10) or about 9.5 percent better than the D200. The size of the sensor does not affect the resolution of the camera at all. This 9.5 percent is about the same as the ratio 236:215 which you quoted as the pixels per inch in the two 18x12 prints. It is all as expected.

    The main gain of the D700 will be lower noise at high ISO and greater dynamic range not extra resolution.
     
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My white balance is probably off, but that place is very dim and their lights are indeed yellow.
    I kind of like this effect myself.

    I don't remember the exact setting I used. Auto white balance tends to work less well with tungsten.
     
  13. As Elliot says, the difference in resolution between 10 and 12 megapixels is negligible. If you put a 12-megapixel back on your MF body (assuming such a thing existed), that wouldn't hold up, either.

    There are plenty of reasons to like the D700 over the DX bodies, but high resolution isn't one of them. You can get the same resolution for much less money in a D300.
     
  14. Mike Reichman claimed that a 35mm-style Canon FF DSLR could compete with a scanned transparency from a 6x7cm film camera.
    Therein lies your first problem: he thought the D30 was better than 35mm film ... you have to assess the believability of each person and not take things written by "names" as gospel.
    I am extremely happy with my 12 MP Nikon FX cameras. That said, no way is the detail from these cameras at base ISO going to match slow 6x7 film. Michael didn't do anyone a service by saying what he did, no matter how much he "wanted" it to be true.
    As far as the aging of DSLRs goes, to me the future developments of DSLRs became largely immaterial when Nikon introduced the D3. It (and the D700) does what I need from a camera; excellent image quality for general photography, especially for people photography in low light; it supports a vast range of specialty lenses and has a nice viewfinder. I was never happy with Nikon's DX cameras - a lot had to do with the fact that I prefer to use prime lenses and Nikon didn't support DX with a set of dedicated primes - but also the fact that I want to see the focus well in the viewfinder and use fast glass at wide apertures - which didn't, in general, result in good results on DX cameras, with the exception of telephoto lenses. To me, DX is a special-purpose format for telephoto shooters.
    I sometimes print a 13x19 from my FX Nikons and the results are "ok". However, I recognize that small-format DSLRs aren't the ideal tool for making huge prints of landscapes, city scapes and so on - for broad city views I use my Mamiya 7. Large landscape prints aren't central to me so I am happy with 12 MP FX. Even when it goes to 20+MP in the future, FX will never really compete with 6x7 in terms of detail, especially at the corners of the image, I am afraid. I've looked carefully at 21 MP images from Canon's DSLRs, printed them and none of the sample images I've been able to download have critical sharpness in the edges, especially when wide angles are used. To me this is a serious flaw in this kind of an application and therefore I think that a dedicated large/medium format film or digital camera is necessary for wall size print applications of landscapes and broad city views. For people photography, I think 12 MP FX does very well.
     
  15. Phil, I thought I had both cameras set to Auto White Balance, but the D700 may have been set to Flash. I have taken other images with the D700 on AWB, and the AWB on the D700 is swell.


    Richard, I'm so bad at math, I became a lawyer. I thought with a 50% bigger sensor and a higher MP count, the D700 would yield more than 9.5% higher resolution than the D200. If you'd asked me to guess in advance, I would have guessed the D700 would yield about 300 p.p.i. at 12x18 inches. But again, you wouldn't want to hire me to balance your checkbook.
     
  16. Ilkka, my dream is one 35mm-style DSLR system for prints from wallet-size to 16x20 inches. It may be an unlikely dream, but its my dream.


    Also, what hasn't improved at all since my D100s is dynamic range. I'd like an image from a DSLR that would yield a seven-stop- or more- dynamic range without my having to go to the Pshop Highlight/Shadow sliders. Certainly, the image from the D700 is no better than the image from the D200 in dynamic range.


    And someone will say, "(w)hat about the Fuji S cameras built on the Nikon platforms." Setting aside their so-so maximum resolution, I've see bunches of prints from these cameras and I don't believe they have the same dynamic range as color print film.
     
  17. Eric,

    The maths isn't so bad going the other way. For 300 ppi at 18x12 inches you'd need:-

    18x300x12x300 = 19440000 pixels or 19.4 MP.
     
  18. Eric, this post and your efforts are both interesting and informative. Perhaps you have a larger issue at hand: photographing alleys and wearing a skirt and all... :>)
     
  19. "To me, DX is a special-purpose format for telephoto shooters" One of best I've seen from Ilkka in a while. I'm almost sorry I bought the 55mm f3.5 Micro Auto-PC.
    00R3CE-75539684.jpg
     
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    It isn't exactly like everybody who does not shoot telephotos can just go out and spend $2700+ on a D700, D3, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 1Ds III or Sony A900.
     
  21. What calls my attention is the awaited "dramatically" improvement of gear, release after release. I see improvements (IMHO some are big) from the D200 to the D300 and to the D3 and D700. Many users are dissapointed in this topic.

    Technology is fast but not as fast as we would like. It`s not magic, thought.
     
  22. BW, be very glad I didn't turn the camera around 180 degrees- not a pretty sight.


    Richard and Jose, I guess I kinda did think that the 50% larger sensor- FX v. DX- would produce a greater change in resolution than the difference of 2 Megapixels between the two sensors.
     
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Eric, do you remember my car analogy? If you only drive from home to your local supermarket within a 25 MPH zone, you are not going to see the difference between a $100K Porsche and a $15K Toyota Corolla. In fact, the Toyota may have more room for your grocery. But we don't write major headlines that "an expensive Porsche is no better than a cheap Toyota" based on such "test results."

    If you want to see the D700's advantages, you need to compare it against the D200 at ISO 1600 and 3200. Or you attach an MB-D10 onto the D700 with an EN-El4e inside so that the D700 can go to 8 frames/sec. Now you shoot some sports or birds in flight with a fast AF-S lens and see whether you see any difference.

    For the Porsche, ask Walter (Schroeder) to test drive it on the Autobahn. :)
     
  24. The D3 gives 300 dpi on a regular image (i.e., Fine .jpg, Large or Medium setting,) so may one ask how you got to the 236 pixel setting? I've made up to 16x20 and 'poster' prints from .jpg D3 files, no problem from doing so. My customers were happy.
     
  25. Eric, there is no reason to think that going from 10 to 12 MP is going to give you better resolution. The lower pixel density, however, provides much cleaner files.

    As far as size is concerned, I am printing 24x36 at 180 dpi on a regular basis and getting fantastic prints. You really need to revisit your settings. Also start shooting RAW.

    Good luck.

    Michael
     
  26. Ilkka, my dream is one 35mm-style DSLR system...

    Well, there is a Leica S2 on the horizon - and Arthur Yeo wrote something about rumours about an upcoming Nikon MX-
    format. Shun - very demanding (DSLR-) users dont drive Porsche or Toyota but maybe Unimog or Caterpillar. Just a thougt.
    georg
     
  27. I'm almost sorry I bought the 55mm f3.5 Micro Auto-PC.
    The 55 is longer than normal on DX (28mm being the normal), so it is among the lenses I meant though not literally a telephoto in the purest sense of the word.
    True enough, few can afford FX at this time, but there are always those $350 F100's. (I am serious though I guess I won't have much of a following.)
     
  28. I don't believe there's any truth to Nikon making a medium format digital system. It would not make any sense, Nikon has
    a lot to do to modernize their lens line and to put substantial resources on a completely new MF system - in a time when
    few people are interested in medium format - seems like a really bad idea. Of the historical MF camera makers - there is only one that
    really made it through the digital transition (Hasselblad). I don't think Nikon is interested in that market.

    I suspect that in 6-12 months, Nikon will just follow Canon and Sony and bring a 20+MP FX DSLR to the market - and we
    will all have a good laugh about the MX format rumors.
     
  29. Sorry Ilkka, my response was directed to Eric (Eric Friedemann , Oct 03, 2008; 12:10 p.m.). I am perfectly happy with my
    D700 - this camera is a giant step forward compared to my D200 - but i rarely shoot stills or landscapes. There are some
    users who need more pixels and latitude than Nikon has to offer - a target for Leica (S2-system), Hasselblad, Leaf and Co.
    georg.
     
  30. Certainly, the image from the D700 is no better than the image from the D200 in dynamic range.
    How did you come to that conclusion? Dpreview.com measures dynamic range in their reviews and they report 8.5 stops at ISO 1600 and 8.6 stops at ISO 200 for the D3. For the D200, they report 6.9 and 8.2 stops, respectively.
    I don't put much weight in dpreview.com's dynamic range determination - I can see an improvement between the ISO 1600 and ISO 200 in the D3 yet this is reported as a 0.1 stop difference which is just not believable. But, especially at high ISO settings, the dynamic range of the D3/D700 is excellent. However, if you use ACR to convert your RAW files, with default settings you might see a couple of stops in the highlights clipped - drastically cutting the DR. Use Capture NX instead, or at least the camera profiles in ACR and you should see a dramatically improved dynamic range at ISO 1600.
     
  31. I have to agree with Ilkka on DRange; I just don't find it believable that it would not have improved. When going from a D70 to a D300, I feel that my adjustment room has improved. Of course if you shoot JPEG with a default profile you can't really make much claims about a camera's DRange. Different profiles for different subjects.
     
  32. "Dpreview.com measures dynamic range in their reviews and they report 8.5 stops at ISO 1600 and 8.6 stops at ISO 200 for the D3. "
    that is if you are working only with the compressed 8 bit per channel JPEGS. According to page 20 of the dpreview.com review of the D3 (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/NikonD3/page20.asp):
    As usual the default Adobe Camera RAW conversion delivers less dynamic range than JPEG from the camera (a more contrasty tone curve and very little noise reduction in shadows). Simply switching to 'Auto' in the ACR conversion dialog reaps huge rewards (we measured the result to have exactly 12 stops of dynamic range), and in our tests with real world shots produced superb results with images that seemed to be over exposed beyond redemption.
     
  33. Michael, if you think you're getting fantastic 24x36 inch prints from a D700, who am I to tell you you're not? Also, I always shoot Raw+JEPG, converting the Raw file for printing. As I mentioned, I don't have a Raw conversion program in place yet for the D700, so I used JPEGs to get an apples-to-apples comparison of the resolution limits of the D200 and D700, which, as far as I know, would not change as between a Raw file and a JPEG.


    Ilkka, if you believe, as some do, that color slide film has an effective dynamic range of seven or eight stops, then you can believe that a D700 has an eight and a half stop dynamic range. Thirty years of experience tells me neither proposition is true, but the folks at dpreview do a lot of good publishing all the data they publish free of charge, so God bless them if they think the D700 kicks out eight stops and change.


    I've used ACR, Bibble Pro, Capture NX and Nikon view for Raw conversion. Any of these products can attenuate the dynamic range of a Raw image, primarily by dredging up shadow detail. What I'd like to see is a sensor with greater latent dynamic range that would make post-camera surgery unnecessary.
     
  34. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Georg, rumors are completely meaningless to me. Back in 1990, some guy and I got into a major debate in Netnews
    rec.photo. He claimed that he had insider information from Nikon headquarters in Tokyo that Nikon would "soon"
    change its lens mount so that they could put AF motors inside their lenses, as somehow it would be impossible to
    do so with the F mount. That was some 18 years ago and I was obviously much younger. We never clearly defined
    what "soon" was, though. 2 years later Nikon introduced AF-I lenses with motors inside.

    That is partly why I put a bunch of those rumor sites into the bozo filter for this forum.

    Incidentally, according to Thom Hogan, you get 9 stops of dynamic range from the D3 and D700 at ISO 200 and that
    drops to 7 stops at ISO 1600. For slide film, I typically expect a 5 stops of dynamic range for e.g. Velvia.
     
  35. "Eric Friedemann , Oct 03, 2008; 12:10 p.m.
    Ilkka, my dream is one 35mm-style SLR system for prints from wallet-size to 16x20 inches. It may be an unlikely
    dream, but its my dream."

    Eric, how about an F6?

    Have an F6 with a D700 for backup. One for Rez the other for Largesse.

    Duncan. (forgive me for taking a liberty with your quote)
     
  36. "You are not going to see huge differences in daylight images." -- Shun
    "Oddly, you would think the larger sensor would give you better IQ even at lower ISOs. As you (and I) have discovered, it does not." -- Elliot

    These statements seem to re-emphasize the point that (image wise) going from a D200 to a D700 may not result in a dramatically noticeable jump in IQ. It may not be noticeable at all. Factoring in the price differential, for many people these observations are very significant.
     
  37. Asking a 35mm sensor to compare with 6x7cm film is a asking alot. Comparing the D700 w/ 35mm film would be alot more fair. I
    think if someone mad a 6x7cm digital camera it would compare nicely to 6x7cm film. You might even compare a Hasselblad
    digital to your 6x7mm film and see how that stacks up.

    I have printed up to 16x20 with a D300 and been happy with the results. Sure under a magnifying glass you can see the
    difference, but if you're printing 16x20 you're not planning on seeing it from 6 inches away.

    To me the real issue is still contrast. I agree with Eric completely, that the published dynamic range of most camera's and film
    stocks is never realistic. I've not seen a digital camera that comes close to negative film in a real world setting. I do think that the
    switch from ccd to cmos censors is a big improvement, and whatever the specs tell you, it's worth upgrading from the d200 to
    d300 / d700 for that reason alone.
     
  38. Ilkka, if you believe, as some do, that [...]
    First we have to define dynamic range (since different people sometimes use different definitions). I normally use the largest recordable signal (recorded as all bits 1) divided by the smallest recordable signal (at which point SNR = 1).
    I have to think about how to measure it, this can be a tricky business.
     
  39. This is a great discussion to follow for an amateur. From the point of view of physics and sensor size, I agree that it is a stretch to compare a 35mm sized sensor with medium format film. The suggestion of comparing the digital Hasselblad format with medium format film makes much more sense. The exciting thing about all of this is that as sensor technology improves and as the electronics allows for improvements in signal to noise ratios from newer sensors, image quality will improve and very high iso settings will be possible with very minimal noise. This will allow for more ambient light shooting with high quality images and will put flash into a creative use mode instead of a necessity mode for photography. This is tremendously exciting and parallels the dramatic improvement in medical imaging which has been the result of better chip design and giant leaps in signal to noise ratios due to improvements in software. The day will come when you will not be able to tell a large print from an FX sensor from a large print from MF film. I can't wait!
     
  40. BTW the other day I took some portraits with my d200 and 50mm/1.4 Zeiss planar -- and wow, how easily I could discern it from film. People were blown away by its perceived high quality. Me? I knew better, having worked so long with my Leicas and MF.

    Best, P
     
  41. Bill, it's safe to say that there certainly IS a noticeable jump in IQ from the D200 to the D700. Including much better
    mechanics to get you THE shot - like much improved metering, WB, AF, etc... But the same can be said for the D300.

    But the difference from the D300 to D700 very much depends on the way it's used. For my uses, the IQ is about the same.
    Shun's car analogy is apt. If you don't require the speed or ISO over 1600, then i do not recommend the D700. Although I
    don't need those 2 benefits, I had to find out for myself. Maybe I expected too much. Don't get me wrong, the D700 is a
    great tool that does what it does very well. But if and when a full frame D3X comes out - my D700 is getting sold toward
    that.
     
  42. Shouldn't expect much difference, D700 is only 2 more MP. Now if you jump to a full frame 20+MP camera then you will see a differnce in detail and resolution. You compared 6x7 film against 10-12MP DSLR and you are correct. The 6x7 film you can get a nice 200-300 MB scan of and make some really large beautiful prints that you could never get with 10-12MP DSLR. But take a 21MP DSLR and by turning the camera vertical and zooming in on the scene, then shoot 3 consective shots panning the camera, Then merge them together in PS (BTW is the most AMAZING photomerge ever) and you end up with 20x30 inch print that will go up against any scanned 6x7 film and probably have more detail.
     
  43. "...and the results weren't blowing my skirt up."

    Eric, do you really wear skirts?
     
  44. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    He is a cross dresser. :)
     
  45. Maybe he means his kilt ?

    :)
     
  46. I guess I don't get the joke here, was there something in my post funny. I offered my opionion on the subject and I get made fun of. I can expect it from someone like Diane Madura, since by her profile shows 540 forum posts, but when I see the moderator jump on the band wagon also. I thought this was the kind of crap you were suppose to be getting rid of, not adding to it. Your a true assest to the Photo.net community.
     
  47. "But take a 21MP DSLR and by turning the camera vertical and zooming in on the scene, then shoot 3 consective shots panning the camera, Then merge them together in PS (BTW is the most AMAZING photomerge ever) and you end up with 20x30 inch print that will go up against any scanned 6x7 film and probably have more detail."

    You got to be kidding. Why not merge 20 shots and compare it to a large format scan?

    It's either you feel the D700 can deliver the goods for you at its current price or not. For those who want to exploit its high iso performance, all the power to them. I'd rather use a better flash (imagine what the extra $5k can buy you) for event photography and have more control over shadows and lighting temperature than rely on that, but that is subjective.

    The D700 has some extra features, but there are trade offs. The good news is that 2-3 years they will cost 1/2 as much as today.

    Oh yes, Reichmann has had plenty of mind farts about DSLR performance.
     
  48. "I'd rather use a better flash"

    But of course that kills the feel of any existing lighting and 9 times of 10 just results in a boring to look at photo.
     
  49. I feel you have unreasonable expectations.
     
  50. I find this whole comparison curious. How is this different than comparing a high performance 35mm film camera with the latest film to a 6x7cm camera and declaring the 35mm camera not worth upgrading to from your current 35mm camera. These are different tools for different purposes. The D700 was not created to produce large landscape images but rather to appeal to a broad range of photographers and with the Canon 5D and the 5D MK II.

    Perhaps the new hasselblad digital camera or the recently announced leica would be worthy of comparison with 6x7 film.

    Also to keep the comparison fair, if you are going to take the time to get a high resolution scan of a negative then why would you not take the time to use an appropriate tool to upsize the image from the digital camera before printing it?

    In short, I would not want to be stuck with the limitations of a 6x7 camera while shooting a live event, nor would I want to be stuck with the limitations of a 12mp D700 or D3 if I were photographing landscapes to print mural sized prints with!
     
  51. Rudi, your point is right on target.
     
  52. I don't know Mike, nor have I read any of his stuff (I assume he's a Canonite), but his initial supposition that one could compare a FF DSLR against MF anything should have set off the smoke alarms. I thank Eric for taking the time to illustrate that no FF DSLR will ever be able to compete on a resolution basis with MF film. I think a far more useful comparison (anybody have time for this??) would be to run a series of comparisons of existing 35mm chrome films against the current best-on-the-block from both Nikon and Canon. That would certainly be a more appropriate AND meaningful comparison. I for one am quite happy with the results - and handling characteristics - of my D300 and D3 - they give me exactly what I want, better yet, they give my clients exactly what they want. --Rich
     
  53. "I guess I don't get the joke here"

    I believe the jokes were not made towards you, but to the OP. (see the first OP's first post)
     
  54. mjt

    mjt

    A lot of great answers in here. I think the consensus (as it should be) is<br />
    "35mm" cameras (be they film or digital) have a different focus [sic] than<br />
    their medium format cousins. I have not read Reichman's article, but it<br />
    would be interesting to read his technical test methods. Personally, I would<br />
    say that a 12 MP DLSR can't compete with a 6x7 scanned transparency<br /><br />

    For those interested, Thom has a matrix showing "comfort zones" of print sizes<br />
    from various MP sensors: http://www.bythom.com/printsizes.htm<br /><br />

    Although a bit off-topic, I'd like to touch on the brief white balance discussion<br />
    in this thread. First off, it's my opinion that all DSLR's perform [consistently] poorly<br />
    in any light other than that of a 25% cloudy day (outdoors of course) - I'm speaking<br />
    about a DSLR in AWB mode. And they don't always get it correct out in a fairly sunny<br />
    day, either. It's my experience, even with the high-end D3 - if I fire off a sequence<br />
    of shots (say a football play in action) 2 to 3 of the 6 shots' WB will be off. The reason<br />
    for this is that the camera must continue to make a decision about what the light source is.<br /><br/>

    With that said, everyone should ALWAYS shoot with a CWB setting, be it either in-camera<br />
    or in post processing - in other words, dont trust the AWB setting.
     
  55. In my totally uninformed opinion, DSLRs are just catching up to 35mm film, still nowhere close to medium format film of any size, much less 6 cm x 7cm. (Do the math. 3.5 cm x ~2.5 cm < 9 cm squared., compared to 6 x 7 = 43 cm squared, a ratio of approximately one to five.)

    When did this catching up happen? At 12 MP, 16MP, 21MP? I do not know, but I think somewhere in that range DSLRs caught up with 35mm film.

    Those who want to produce prints of the same quality as medium format film but who cannot afford very expensive medium format digital backs are probably best advised to stay with medium format film for quite a while longer.

    Again, this is an uninformed opinion, but I know what I like when I see it, and I still like medium format firm prints I think that we have been hearing for so long that digital is now comparable to medium format film that we have begun to believe it, although all the evidence seems to be to the contrary. Digital has the advantage of speed, and especially of allowing us to avoid scanning, but has it really caught up? I venture to say that even the medium format digital backs will not equal the quality of digital format film.

    Those who have switched to digital for business reasons will probably be the last to admit this, along with total neophytes who have no idea.

    --Lannie
     
  56. Simple question - how does D700 compare to good 35 mm slide film, tripod, using same lens? Medium format is not a fair comparison. I find myself still using ISO 100 slide film a lot, particularly for wide angle scenes.

    The D700 is definitely under consideration - how does it compare to say Astia 100F in image quality?. I find myself still using film a lot for non-resolution reasons - viewfinder, wide angle, smaller depth of field. The D700 would make the transition to digital complete.
     
  57. -- "But of course that kills the feel of any existing lighting and 9 times of 10 just results in a boring to look at photo."

    Really? I beg to differ. For $5k you can plant your own wireless controlled strobes, alter the lighting to match your photography, and make things MUCH more interesting. Oh, it helps to learn how to use artificial light properly.
     
  58. The inverse square law also applies to sensors.

    To double the resolution of a 10 mp sensor you need 4 times the pixels - twice as long both vertically and horizontally.

    Buy a back for your MF camera.
     
  59. Boys toys! Digital is fast, convenient, expensive and so-so quality. Analog is still getting better as long as scanners evolve and
    they do. I listened to a Kodak salesman in 1997 who told us a Kodachrome 25 resolution is about 25 Mpix. I still belive that,
    happily taking pictures with my D70s and 5D.
     
  60. I guess I must be easy to please but I have been getting 16"x20" prints from White House Custom Color <whcc.com> all
    summer using up interpolated files from my D40 (to 300ppi CS3 Bicubic Larger). The originating NEF is 6 mpx. The detail
    and general rendition basically knocks me out..... just generally speaking. Even viewed quite closely, there is to my way of
    seeing, plenty of detail. If the shot fails, its not because there is not enough resolution.

    I never understand these discussions.....most of the time, even monitor resolution (> 100 ppi ?) looks great to me at
    comfortable viewing distance. Also, very few of my large B&W prints from years ago have nearly as much "working" detail
    as I can get from my D40......the only thing I really miss is that with TriX, you could misjudge the correct exposure by a
    country mile and still get a print (1-2 stops).
     
  61. I really expected the D700 to have dramatically better resolution than the D200.

    Unless you wait several generations the improvement have got more to do with hype than actual image quality. However,the cash outlay is not.

    The internet is about hype and selling you the latest and greatest.
     
  62. The combination of my D200 and 17-55mm is all I need to get great images which will print up to 36 x 24"
    I would like to upgrade to the D300 but now see no need to go up any further than that. Thanks for the information.
     
  63. It ain't the meat it's the motion... t
    00R49o-76009584.jpg
     
  64. Eric, getting back to your original post. The 24-70 isn't at its best at 24mm f/8; it's a "PJ" optimized lens great for wide
    apertures but there are better 24/25mm lenses for shooting at 24mm at f/8. I know this doesn't help you if that's the
    lens you're considering but just something to keep in mind.

    Did you do any shooting with the 28/1.4 and 85/1.4? To me that's where some of the greatest benefits of the
    D700 are: image quality at wide apertures. I don't have the 28/1.4 but the 85/1.4 does give excellent results already
    around f/1.8. Try it out for available light people shots and compare with results that you can get with your D200. As long
    as you shoot at f/2.8 or wider, you should see a quite considerable improvement in detail compared to the D200.

    At mid-apertures, the pixel count often limits results more than the lens, but wide open you do get the benefits from larger sensor area.
     
  65. I've been happy with Nikon DSLRs. but I've never expected any of them to replace medium format film. I'll buy a D700 soon because I shoot indoor basketball and the high ISO performance is superior to film.
     
  66. Though I'm still a hobbyist with a camera, I have enjoyed and read all of the posts in here with great detail and
    admiration for those of you that are technically advanced with these little black boxes :D

    I'm a D80 user for now, having upgraded from a D70 because the latter had fell in a pond and couldn't be repaired.

    Having said that, I'm in the market for a new camera and reserve the D80 as a back up. I had considered purchasing
    the D700 thinking this would be the ultimate upgrade (budget wise) but now I feel I may go back and look at the D300
    again as my main shooter.

    Most of my work is shot without flash so would there be any benefit to spending the extra ducks to get the D700 over
    the D300? And yeah..all of my lens are DX and I understand that the crop factor would come into play with a D700?
     
  67. Douglas- if all your lenses are DX then you would have to buy full frame lenses for the D700.
     
  68. Ilkka, yes, I took some images with the D700 with both the 28mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 AFD lenses. By f/2.8, both lenses produced excellent sharpness from center to edge. Then again, both lenses produced exceptional sharpness on the D200. Yesterday, for the hell of it I took some pix with the D700 and the 14mm f/2.8 ED Nikkor at ISO 1600. Shooting at f/8.0, the results weren't bad. However, I'm sure Nikon could improve this lens by updating it. Again, the newish 24-70mm f/2.8 produced excellent sharpness on the D700. Enlarging to 12x18 inches, the issue isn't lens sharpness- its insufficient resolution.
    00R4On-76107584.jpg
     
  69. ... and ...
    00R4Ot-76109584.jpg
     
  70. Eric, you can always wait for Nikon's answer to the Sony A900 or the Canon 5 D MK II. It is sure to come eventually.
    Since you're interested in large prints you can wait a little while. For me the interest in FX is lens compatibility and
    low light possibilities.

    When you tested the 28mm on FX, it should be compared against the fastest lens you have on DX that has the
    same field of view as 28mm on FX. If you shoot the 28mm on DX, then the appropriate lens to compare with would be
    approximately 43mm on FX; 35 or 50 could be considered for the test.

    When I tested my ZF 50/1.4 + D3 against the 35/2 ZF + D200 (almost perfect match in FOV), both lenses at f/2, I
    found the
    image taken with the D3 at ISO 3200 was sharper than the D200 image at ISO 200; the test was made on tripod and
    convinced that 12 MP FX is just the ticket for me. I also sometimes make large prints but I shoot so much stuff that
    doesn't get printed larger than A4, the extra processing time and storage from 24 MP would force me to get a high
    end computer system or spend even more time on post-processing (currently this takes probably 30% of my free
    time...). As of now I can wait for a few years before a high resolution FX sensor. When computers can deal with it
    comfortably, I'll be using one too. As of now, there is so much to shoot and exploit in current equipment that I don't
    miss higher resolution options at all. BTW I also use the Mamiya 7, but am considering selling it as I have limited
    time and too much equipment.
     
  71. As far as the 14mm prime goes, you may want to look into the 14-24mm as a replacement. The zoom is reported in several
    places to be superior optically and they cost about the same new, so in effect the prime has been replaced by the zoom.

    For me, 14mm is way too wide on FX ... I don't have the brains to get good images with such a wide lens.
     
  72. Yes, we've sold a couple of the 14-24mm f/2.8s with D3s. Its a beautiful zoom and I doubt Nikon will ever revamp the 14mm.
     
  73. Yes, we've sold a couple of the 14-24mm f/2.8s with D3s. Its a beautiful zoom and I doubt Nikon will ever revamp the 14mm.
     
  74. I'm sorry about the double posting. P.net has hanging up all afternoon. Its seeming like changes in the banner ad at the bottom of the page suddenly soaks up a bunch of bandwidth?
     
  75. Most of the places I go on the web have become tiresome because they load up so much stuff it takes forever. Things started going downhill about 6 months ago. I wonder if net nerds will begin to realize that traffic is falling off. Too much monetizing and metrics.
     
  76. Gosh, you need some real help. I make absolutely TACK sharp 17" x 25" prints from my D700. I also make very sharp 2' x 3' prints. Very sharp at most ant viewing distance over 12". Obviously (to me) you are doing something (or many things) very wrong. Please feel free to e-mail me. Perhaps with a few e-mails back and forth I can help you. Yesterday I made a 5' high vertical print from my D200. Looked great from 2' away. My MF equipment could never do this. If you like, I can uprez and send you the file. It is HUGE.
     
  77. Steve, if five-foot prints from your D200 look good to you, God bless. Poster quality isn't acceptable to me- if I can't look at the print from a foot away, I won't bother making it. If it isn't photographic quality, I'm not interested.


    I'd note that I've now done a couple of 12x18 inche prints from D700 images uprezzing from 230+ pixels per inch to 300 pixels per inch. They look a little better, but still don't compare favorably to scanned MF negatives.
     
  78. Eric, I've printed 20x30" prints from my D300 and they look fantastic. 12x18" prints from my D80 looked fantastic as well. You won't get that kind of quality from 35mm film, but at 12mp we're approaching medium format (6x4.5). I would say 24mp (the new Sony DSLR) will approximate 6x7cm quality. I still prefer digital over film as when you scan film you lose a lot in the first place. I'll wait for Nikon to release a D700x with 24mp before I'll consider upgrading from my excellent D300.
     
  79. Just to drive some of you guys crazy(er), my 2cents:

    I shoot both a 5D and 6x9 color negative film. It amazes me how close in image quality the 5d is to the 6x9 scans. While each
    camera has advantages for certain types of photography, the 5d is about as sharp as 6x4.5 film in a final print.

    Sure the film scan has a lot more pixels, but it is a 2nd generation copy of the image having to go through a 2nd set of optics and
    the scanning sensors. It also has a bit more "noise/grain" than the digital original from the 5d.

    Comparing pixel dimensions of the file is not a fair way to compare the two photographic processes.
     
  80. So refreshing to see some real world comments; after reading so much on the somewhat over-oxygenated photo sites of late. A few comments:

    . many believe that the 12mp sensor Nikons are as good as the pixel-rich pro Canon's, in that print output is about equal in quaility; some do add that they would also be interested in high pixel count FX sensors on Nikon bodies;

    . I agree with Eric and Ilkka in almost all respects with regard to DSLR-MF comparisons; I have been saying for many years that landscapes, especially detail-rich (foliage, intimate landscapes) will be the last frontier for DSLR technology. And so it continues to be for me with D200 RAW images.
    . re DR, Astia is very satisfying, I see little need for more DR and usually discard the extra I get from NC/Reala in post processing.

    . DSLR strong points continue on as before the latest crop (D700, and the forthcoming 5DII): lens range and zoom flexibility, macro, tele, VR/IS, turnaround speed, file size, preview; to which we can add ultra high ISO. An impressive portfolio, one that most will find necessary for their work, but one that will not excel in all avenues.

    . why is it not fair to compare 6x7 or MF in general to DSLRs? It is called a market, you know; and many photographers use their equipment for the same purposes, as time goes by - their interests change much less than their equipment does ;-). The second hand market certainly has marked MF down to the point where many more can use it for its strengths.

    . using RAW with an 'outmoded' body negates advances in many improved features of later models for many uses: AF speed, frame rates, better WB, in-camera sharpening/NR, etc.

    . flash will always look poor for real world (non studio) images; so high ISO is a major breakthrough, and not forgetting how intrusive and fussy flash is to locations, subjects and modesty.

    . Reichmann is entitled to his views as are we all; he is probably one of those guys who is obsessed with computer tech, as many pros seem to be..it has been a surprise to see so many of them abandon large film's many advantages and superior output - excluding the mega-dollar digital 'solutions'.

    . re 35mm vs DSLR, it is hard to justify 35mm in pure IQ terms; I still have a soft spot for discreet shooting, available light neg film rangefinders (with a Hexar AF) but again it's a specialty usage.

    . DX was always a stop gap measure for Nikon, so I will also get a D700, in my case for wide angles and high ISO; Nikon do need to do better with a fine, slow walk around zoom (eg 24-105/4) and is it too much to ask for 2 decent light, wide primes - say a 20mm and a 28mm, using the same excellence that went into the 14-24/2.8?

    Mr Bingham, maybe you need to consider downgrading to a D30, my reasoning being that the latest DSLR equipment may be too good for your standards..

    Mr Lee, it may be that others see nuances in image quality (IQ in digital newspeak, just another metric, right?) such that it may be complex than you indicate. Subject matter has a lot to do with it, as do personal standards, lighting conditions, the central meaning of the image which affects what the eye is drawn to, and so on. The refrain about the next latest camera being the answer to digital IQ is rather old , is it not, especially as you believe we are already there? Maybe we all have poorer eyes than yours, and Steve's of course..

    Scanning is of course a very big and complex area of discussion..suffice to say that, given attention to detail and software, the better desktop devices (Nikon 9000, Minolta MultiPro) deliver incredible scans from high input quality film (tripod, slow speed film, sharp lenses, technique) even at 645 that comparisons with DSLRs even at 100% plus put film ahead at moderate scan resolutions (say, 3200ppi). I am speaking of an overall measure of image quality, taking in colour fidelity and even intangibles, which are not measurable but which still may be, in fairness, factors for judgment.

    I have 645 scans I do not expect to equal in a DSLR for some years yet..then there are always drum scanners for the ultimate quality. The whole point of MF/LF is to minimise grain for critical demands. Your comment re pixel comparisons is correct but it brings me to another decided advantage of 6x7: the tremendous file size, which permits a lot of cropping for those who do not believe that the world is always a perfect fit for their camera's aspect ratio. If you cannot see that scanned MF does not better the antique 5D output in overall IQ, perhaps I can offer a Bingham style service for email scan advice!
     
  81. "The 6x7 film you can get a nice 200-300 MB scan of and make some really large beautiful prints that you could never get with 10-12MP DSLR. But take a 21MP DSLR and by turning the camera vertical and zooming in on the scene, then shoot 3 consective shots panning the camera,"

    Sorry, that doesn't convince, as you could do the same with your MF camera or any other, scan and merge the same way. Unless I'm missing something.
     
  82. There is a difference between a print which looks sharp because of image processing, and a print that looks sharp
    because there is as much actual scene detail as the paper can hold. If you don't see this difference or value it
    then by all means ignore this discussion!
     
  83. "So refreshing to see some real world comments; after reading so much on the somewhat over-oxygenated photo sites of late." -Philip


    And in my email this morning from smartshooter.com


    "HOW I BOOSTED PORTRAIT QUALITY AND PROFITS by Will Crockett


    presented by Moab Inkjet Paper.


    Think you can't set your camera to shoot in JPEG mode and sell a $500 16x20
    printed straight from your camera with NO file repairs / Photoshop? Think
    again.


    I've even linked the original file direct from the camera for you to download! See for yourself what your camera can do when you learn how to use it to it's max?"
     
  84. "I shoot both a 5D and 6x9 color negative film. It amazes me how close in image quality the 5d is to the 6x9 scans."

    It sounds as if you need a better scanner.
     
  85. A lot of people scan their medium format with flatbeds or use commercial labs which may or may not care about the
    quality of the scans or agree with how you want it done. I use LS-9000 and ICE takes care of dust nicely in color
    film, saving time, and the scan quality is really good (with glass carrier). I don't mind the process at all. I
    usually just scan 6x7 at 2000 ppi; if I plan to make an insanely large print then I go higher but it does come
    with a penalty in space and time. Already at 20 MP the scans from 6x7 are very nice, as long as the scanner
    optics are good. I got soft results from an Epson 4990 (even with glass carrier) - basically the sharpness wasn't
    adequate for even a
    letter size print - the LS-9000 or a Flextight give much better results even at small print sizes.

    I think it's quite sad really, considering all the time and money put into using the somewhat clumsy and very
    expensive medium format equipment, if you don't use proper scanning equipment and technique, you might as well
    have used a D70.
     
  86. "Robert Budding , Oct 06, 2008; 08:29 a.m.
    "I shoot both a 5D and 6x9 color negative film. It amazes me how close in image quality the 5d is to the 6x9 scans."
    It sounds as if you need a better scanner."

    I use a Nikon filmscanner with the glass carrier. It's quite good and sharp. The 5d is not as detailed as 6x9, but it is surprisingly close, and grainless.
    If I'm shooing landscapes than 6x9 film it is on a tripod. If I'm just "taking the camera with me" without purpose, than it will most likely be the 5d and it's landscapes are often detailed enough. If I think I'll want a big print, I'll make the image from multiple frames, even handheld.
    I knew my opinion would annoy a few...:)
     
  87. Ilkka wrote: "I think it's quite sad really, considering all the time and money put into using the somewhat clumsy and
    very expensive medium format equipment, if you don't use proper scanning equipment and technique, you might as
    well have used a D70."

    And that is indeed why film-based medium format is 'on the way out' for me. The hassle to get the same results as a
    current '35mm'DSLR camera is incomparable. I can afford to use my Mamiya 645 (which actually ALWAYS was a
    hassle to use.. mmm...), but getting a Coolscan 9000 for it is just too much - work & money. There I will easily
    sacrify some image resolution towards the practical use that the current crop of DSLR camera's has to offer! And I
    make better images *because* it is less difficult to make them. My 645 sits on the shelve. To me, I have a pretty
    good idea what to expect from a 12Mpx camera, from my experience with D200 and D300. The fact that the D700
    has even better high-ISO performance and is full(35mm..)frame, makes it far from the "disappontment" with which
    this thread started..! Only thing is... I don't have it yet.
     
  88. If I think I'll want a big print, I'll make the image from multiple frames, even handheld.
    How do you fix the clouds and other parts that move between exposures? Whenever I do this I end up with some artifacts.
    getting a Coolscan 9000 for it is just too much - work & money.
    Well, if you have some existing nice images shot on medium format film, would that not justify the effort assuming that they can't easily be reshot with digital? I never thought the LS-9000 was much work to use; I think it's quite pleasurable compared to some other scanners I've used, and certainly easier than operating a darkroom. But it is a considerable investment, I agree with that. However, the money I've spent on digital capture devices and trying to hunt for a decent wide angle prime for my Nikons was so costly that my medium format equipment, including the scanner, feels very cheap in comparison. There is nothing like the tonal beauty of 6x7 black and white transparencies (except of course, larger formats ...), even after scanning, I don't know what I would replace that with. Perhaps just be without, but given the history of traditional black and white photography, the beauty that people for over 100 years have labored so much to produce in the darkroom is pretty easily accessible now with digital scanning and PS, plus a black and white capable inkjet. I haven't seen anything comparable made with digital capture.
    I don't believe that ease of operation automatically transfers into better images. It depends on what kind of images you're looking for. Certainly for making informal candids of people, anything that moves, digital is better, but a successful high resolution image worth permanent wall space may also be produced by good planning. I'm not saying that you're in any way wrong, it's just that it's not obvious that the easy approach is always the best. A more deliberate image may be resulting from a slower process. I am wondering myself if I have the patience for it, considering the added complexity of operating two very different camera systems and workflows, but I enjoy the diversity of having more than one way of doing something.
     
  89. Ilkka wrote: "I think it's quite sad really, considering all the time and money put into using the somewhat clumsy and very expensive medium format equipment, if you don't use proper scanning equipment and technique, you might as well have used a D70."

    I totally agree. I sold my Bronica system after I got a D70. I just couldn't justify the price of a medium format film scanner, and my Epson 2450 flatbed scanner with medium format negs/trans was no better than the D70 images. However, the Epson flatbed scanning a 4x5 neg/trans is another story. My scans from 4x5 negs and printed at 11x14 are better than darkroom prints, and are superior to D70/D80 images. I haven't tried 16x20 prints, but the 16x20 sized images look sharp enough to yield a very good large print. I'm sure the newer flatbeds are even better. I think if I was still interested in serious landscape photograpy, I'd use a 4x5 field camera and a good flatbed scanner.
     
  90. "Ilkka Nissila , Oct 06, 2008; 11:43 a.m. If I think I'll want a big print, I'll make the image from multiple frames, even handheld. How do you fix the clouds and other parts that move between exposures? Whenever I do this I end up with some artifacts." It's not usually a problem. I just keep each frame on a separate layer and draw the mask around the problem areas. It takes a little time, but I only make a panorama if the image is worth the effort. I'll try to attach a really big jpeg pano so you can look for the moving things like cars that appear twice in the same photograph...
    00R5A2-76401584.jpg
     
  91. Ilkka wrote: "I don't believe that ease of operation automatically transfers into better images. It depends on what kind of images you're looking for. [snip] I'm not saying that you're in any way wrong, it's just that it's not obvious that the easy approach is always the best. A more deliberate image may be resulting from a slower process. [snip]."

    Ha! We should maybe devote a different thread somewhere else to this subject - it is a fascinating one on its own. For my style of working (see for example www.flickr.com/photos/albinonflickr), I usually get annoyed with tripods and cumbersome camera-contraptions beyond the point of being flexible and intuitive. At that point being 'slowed down' doesn't lead to better photographs, to the contrary. Indeed, that is a personal thing - some people love to work with large camera's on heavy tripods (admittedly, I usually carry an old Gitzo 500 around - but it gets most use from bird observation). Admittedly, on the other side of the spectrum is the 'easy approach' of just shooting away and see what is left in final selection...

    About the workflow with larger formats film towards digital prints.. I would love to work with the 9000, but future photography investments will go towards camera's.. My 645 was always in the shadow of 35mm work and the number of slides is limited.
     
  92. You have some great images; MF would be very impractical for that type of close-up work. But I have to say many of your
    images (i.e. http://www.flickr.com/photos/albinonflickr/277586259/) look very much like they were taken on a tripod.

    I take all my people photos hand-held, but my landscapes, architectural shots, and close-ups are mostly tripod based work.
    I don't get good results shooting still subjects hand held. Something is always a little off if I do that. When traveling I
    sometimes squeeze under pressure and take pics hand-held, often I regret it when looking at the results. The high ISO
    performance of the D3 certainly has made it more viable than it used to be but still ... I'm very annoyed if I have to fix
    things in post-processing. I'd much rather put the camera on tripod and get it right in the first place.
     
  93. Maybe some of you should stop worrying so much about equipment and start taking pictures... Jesus, it never ends. And I thought I was desperate for new gear. I shoot a d40x for Christ's sake. Talk to me about High-Iso performance or sharpness, you have a D700, stop bitching.
     
  94. I got to this quote and had to chime in:

    John Beaver
    "To me the real issue is still contrast. I agree with Eric completely, that the published dynamic range of most camera's
    and film stocks is never realistic. I've not seen a digital camera that comes close to negative film in a real world setting.
    I do think that the switch from ccd to cmos censors is a big improvement, and whatever the specs tell you, it's worth
    upgrading from the d200 to d300 / d700 for that reason alone."

    I agree in general; but I shoot the Fujifilm s5 Pro which does have very great exposure latitude. The tradeoff is
    resolution. So for resolution I shoot film (and for the aesthetic), but for latitude the S5 Pro wins.

    Best,
    James
     
  95. Wow... the D700 is made for speed, handling, full frame wideangle use and of course... hi iso with low noise. thats where it excells, wait till nikon releases that 24mp beast they have in the background in hiding. as for resolution... best bet is the Sony Alpha A900 with that 135mm f1.8 ziess lens at f8 or a meduim format digital camera. you want the res you go ultra high res. right now, the tech hasnt quite jumped into that category... however, lets just be honest, the D2x and Canon 1Ds Mark II have already been used for enlargements with great success. Is it you or is it the camera?
     
  96. Are we going to having similar questions in 2010?
    • Nikon's new 36 megapixel camera only having a 10% improvement over their old 25Megapixel Camera?
    • The numbers race continues; with 38 GB memory cards to cope with the huge data files.

    There will always be those who value numbers and technical specifications over the Subject matter. Those who want expensive toys to play with (and I have known many) are what keep Nikon; Canon etc in business.

    Real photographers concern themselves with composition exposure and subject. The number of pixels is irrelevant . Does a miniature painting deserve less merit because it is small?

    I am sure are some great images from mobile phones; Maybe we should spend a day with one and post the results on this forum?
     
  97. Maybe some of you should stop worrying so much about equipment and start taking pictures...
    We do.
    Real photographers concern themselves with composition exposure and subject
    Composition and exposure should be second nature for people who shoot a lot. The subject is never a triviality, so that's something to think about. However, opinions differ so wildly about content related matters so online discussions of that are rarely fruitful. It's better to talk about the content with people you know personally in real life, and technology with us geeks online. :)
     
  98. Dave Perkins wrote: "I am sure are some great images from mobile phones; Maybe we should spend a day with one and post the results on this forum?"

    ...And then regret that those great images were not taken at a higher resolution, with just a little bit more control over lighting and focusing.. ;-)

    For me, 10Mpx was the starting point, 6Mpx I always thought of as just-not-enough. Those 10Mpx are still fine on my D200. From there on, everything is a welcome improvement.
     
  99. "Ilkka Nissila [Frequent poster] , Oct 07, 2008; 08:31 a.m. Maybe some of you should stop worrying so much about equipment and start taking pictures... We do. " Professor, I'd like to see you post an image. Maybe you don't have time since you are fixing that Big Bang machine or something. Just kidding Ilkka. I'm having a sarcastic moment. Anyways, here's something I took this morning. Nothing special, but what's interesting is that when viewed at 100% it's not at all bad - extremely sharp. I might even print it.
    00R5lI-76623584.jpg
     
  100. BG
    Is that large pano you posted of Tibilisi by any chance? I have a few friends from the region.

    I've read this thread with great interest. It's much better-tempered than many forums I've seen (dpreview being notably waspish). I have a D200; I don't earn a penny with it and as a full-time, non-earning carer, it represents a large expenditure when combined with a few lenses. The D200 seems to be the baseline reference for this discussion, which interests me as I've been looking enviously at all the better alternatives from Nikon.

    I have been doing VR HDR spherical panos for about a year, mostly in extremely under-lit environments, using the Nikon 10.5 FE. This sometimes entails 4 minute+ exposures, RAW+jpeg @ F8, ISO 100-200, with 7-or 10 shot bracketing - a total of 70-90 shots per pano. This takes a while (particularly writing the files to cards) and is very vulnerable to the presence of other activity in the vicinity. So a camera that produces significantly less noise at higher ISO would be very useful; I'd love a D300. Another £1000 is a lot of money to me, though. Going to FX format and replacing all the lenses is simply out of the question. I wonder what developments we can expect for the DX format? There's a huge installed user base of potential customers for continuing updates to the format I would have thought. Does anyone have an opinion on the likely timescale and expectations for the next increment?

    On the photostitching element in the discussion, I have been using PTGui, with its own (now improved) blending engine and the alternative blending apps, Smartblend and Enblend. It's not the easiest software to learn but it works extremely well.
     
  101. Yes Roy, that's Tbilisi, Georgia. A very beautiful city. You should visit your friends if you get the chance.
     
  102. Roy, thanks for the post. I'm with you, DX format suits me just fine. I have a D300 and recently bought the Nikon 10.5mm DX fisheye and am loving it.
    [​IMG]
    Dale Chihuly sculpture at the V&A Museum in London, D300 and Nikon 10.5mm, 9-28-2008
     
  103. Still can't decide which one is better, horizontal or vertical...
    [​IMG]
     
  104. Will try. Not a professor, by the way. Just one of those academic ants behind the scenes. ;-)
    00R5tw-76665584.jpg
     
  105. For me, a very interesting thread.
    My primary digital camera is a D200. I use it primarily at base ISO & rarely at ISO 400, for landscape and the like. I have been thinking that maybe, someday, price drops and the economy allowing, I would get a D700. I have a fair amount of AI-s manual focus glass.
    But, it appears from the above, that I would little if anything, at low ISO.
     
  106. Jay, I would recommend trying the camera and seeing what you can do with it. It's not a magic box which transforms
    photography. Like with any new technology, it takes time and experimentation to find the best way to use it. There are
    considerable rewards though, once you learn to use it. Even at base ISO.
     
  107. "I would recommend trying the camera and seeing what you can do with it."

    Good advice.
     
  108. Jay, one of the things I've learned since I got the D300 is that high ISO is a great thing. So the D700 would be even better. As a serious landscape photographer I had always thought that base ISO 100 was all I would ever need. There are so many more options now available that I had never thought before. Even if you just want to clown around you can really improve your photography.
    00R6An-76771684.jpg
     
  109. Now I have a D700 and a D300 I can add a few observations from some NON-scientific test shots. Possibly due to the greater density of pixels in the D300 it seems that enlarging a crop produces very slightly more resolution than using the D700 at low ISOs. However the overall color gradation and feel of the picture is rather better with the D700 as is the low light capability and the larger viewfinder is a very important benefit - the D300 is tunnel like by comparison. I am happy with both cameras but much prefer the D700. I repeat that my comments derive from wholly nonscientific testing and others may get different results,so please exercise restraint when responding !

    Philip
     
  110. Okay, please excuse the disruption.
    In the interest of getting back on track I've deleted the offensive remarks from one individual. My apologies to Robert Budding, Ric Marder and Eric Friedemann, but I deleted your responses to the disruptive individual rather than trying to edit them to maintain context. I hope you won't mind.
     
  111. Eric-

    I know this is Nikon country , but the Canon 1DSMKII + MKIII would solve your problem. I use Nikon's for photojournalism, but Canon + MF for architecture + commercial work. The Canon glass is not as good as Nikon's, but I get 16x20 prints that are tack sharp.

    Hope I'm not convicted of heresy...

    Best,

    Neil
     
  112. Neal, it's not heresy, but switching for the extra pixels is probably not rational at this time given that most
    of the investment is in lenses. Canon bodies
    don't
    work perfectly with Nikon glass; you can use them with an adapter but lose the automatic aperture and autofocus.
    In landscape photography, these things may not matter that much, but for normal photography, they do. Canon is no
    longer the only player in 24x36 digital, and although Nikon hasn't traditionally been a player in the high
    resolution market, they may well follow Canon and Sony.

    Even though the current FX Nikons are 12 MP, I find the print quality to be excellent. Scanned 6x7 film has more
    fine detail, but the images look different enough that the "look" should the
    driving factor for the choice of medium, not the fine detail. E.g. I use 6x7 for the high contrast traditional
    black and white look. For wall sized prints of still
    subjects, I think medium format digital or drum scanned large format film (esp. for black and white) are better
    than either 24x36 digital or MF film. If
    you want to extract the last bit of detail from 35mm Nikon lenses, and see the comparatively blurry
    corners, I don't think you have to wait long for that, for whatever this "look" is worth. Me, I am happy to have
    invested in FX before it is spoiled by too small pixels. ;-)
     
  113. To clarify my previous post, I sounded probably too negative towards high-res FX sensors. I know they have advantages in portability, flexibility, lens choice etc. compared to MF/LF equipment. But I remain suspicious as long as Canon's own advertising pictures (the glacier landscape) has distinctly soft corners in an image which should not have them - couldn't they find a better lens for the shot? If this is the best that can be done, then count me out.
     
  114. Neil, if I won the lottery, I'd be out tomorrow buying two 1DSMIIIs, half a dozen of Canon's lenses that have been thoughtfully redesigned for FX sensors, half a dozen of Canon's flagship flashes, etc. But, for better or worse, I can't afford to dump all my Nikon stuff and start over.
     
  115. Thinking very seriously to move either D300 or D700.
    Quite a few folks are saying D700 is loud. Is it so ? I have D70s - compared to that how loud is it ?
     
  116. The sound of a D700 firing isn't likely to be confused with the sound of a Leica M6 firing, but I didn't find the D700 loud by comparison with other DSLRs or 35mm SLRs.
     
  117. Anand,

    I would say the D700 shutter feels more substantial in the hand; however the sound energy is about the same or negligible.
     
  118. I got my D700 a few days ago and must say I, too, am disappointed.

    Yes, I still have had to make my own coffee each morning.
    Other than that...it's great!
     
  119. I'm a Canon shooter myself, but thought I'd lurk in the Nikon forum to see what's cooking on this side of the photoworld. First I must say I'm surprised that this discussion hasn't been closed by the admins! :) Not that it should. It presents some intriguing insights into people's photographic philosophies and workflows :) I've no intention of fuelling any fires here. I personally find that I get more latitude with my film prints... As for resolution as relates to printing, Eric (OP) I'm just curious as to why one would want to view a 16x20 print from 12 inches away? I base this on your statement:
    <p>"Poster quality isn't acceptable to me- if I can't look at the print from a foot away, I won't bother making it. If it isn't photographic quality, I'm not interested." What would you term 'photographic' quality?
     
  120. "I'm just curious as to why one would want to view a 16x20 print from 12 inches away?"


    Why wouldn't you want to be able to view a 16x20 inch print from 12 feet AND from 12 inches? Doesn't such a print call to you to come see its details?


    My home has a fairly open living space. I hang images on walls where, like in a gallery, you can walk right up to them.


    I like to view largish prints from some feet away, taking in the whole image. Then I like to come up close and see every detail. To me, that's photographic quality. You look at a 20-inch print of an image like Richard Misrach's photo of an abandoned swimming pool with the Salton Sea in that background up close and the detail is bottomless- the image is razor sharp and the contrast and tonality are amazing:


    http://ericwilliamcarroll.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/richardmisrachdivingboard-saltonsea-1983.jpg


    I don't like prints that are soft when you get up close to them. It suggests to me that the photographer either doesn't know or doesn't care what a photographic print should look like.


    But that's me. Others may be perfectly satisfied with lesser quality.
     
  121. Misrach uses an 8x10 so I would imagine his prints are detailed.
    <p>
    If you want that kind of pictures, you're looking entirely in the wrong direction for equipment.
     
  122. I don't care what format your are shooting. Even a shot from an 8x10 camera will have some softness if you enlarge it even a few times. It doesn't mean the photographer doesn't know what he's doing. It means you are too close to the print. The larger the photo, the farther back one should stand to properly view it. A 16 x 20 is too large to be proberly viewed from a foot away.
     
  123. "Even a shot from an 8x10 camera will have some softness if you enlarge it even a few times."

    You can enlarge a few times and still produce tack-sharp images if you have an excellent enlarging lens, your film is flat, and your enlarger is properly aligned. Even when examined with a loupe they can be sharp. BUt there are limits. Certainly you will see softness up close with 10x and greater enlargements.
     
  124. "Doesn't such a print call to you to come see its details? "

    No.

    Because that it isn't the way the photographer saw the photo and I am more interested in a photographer's view of life than absolute technical details.
     
  125. Ellis,
    What a response. Short, sweet, to the point, polite and tack sharp. That one sentence could be the mantra of this forum. I vote YES!
     
  126. Ideally, a photograph should look good as a small image as well as a large print, with the fine detail enhancing
    the image, but not carrying it. IMO, the message should be clear from a small image (e.g. on the web) ...
    otherwise it's diffult to use it for communication.

    I can appreciate fine detail in a large print, with the eyes wondering about in the detail, but to me it is far
    more important that the image looks good and delivers its message when printed small (e.g. A4), since the
    presentation of a large print is limited to its residence. In a large print, I typically view it from a few
    meters away, so again FX works fine for me.
     
  127. Thank you, Eric, for your explanation. Thank you too, Ellis, for that very pithy response. For me, I would agree with Ellis. If I am looking at the photograph of a vista taken over a mountain range or rolling hills, I would be more interested in the 'bigger picture' rather than coming up close to view individual leaves, for exmple. If I were looking at macro work, then I would want to see fine detail up close...
     
  128. This thread turns out to have become quite philosophical - and that from the starting point where Eric
    mused about his disappointments around the D700...

    I agree to the general conclusion of Ellis' to-the-point contribution. "I am more interested in a
    photographer's view of life than absolute technical details".. Yes, remember that earlier in this thread we
    were even shortly considering mobile phones as the standard instrument of art.

    But the power of Ellis' words rather overshadows part of the discussion. And in the end I disagree with what
    he states. For example, I could make the same kind of landscape images on '35mm' medium, as the
    famous landscape photographers on large format. Take for example Jack Dykinga's excellent work. BUT
    part of the attraction of large format photography IS its technical perfection and the fact that it draws you
    nearer - beyond the 'overall' image overview - and still new details disclose themselves.
     

Share This Page

1111