D700 vs D7000 - 1st generation FX still better than new DX for low light

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kdghantous, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. The D3 and D700 are several years old now. But in some ways, they're still noticeably better than the newest DX camera, the D7000 (although the D300s's successor may change things, though I doubt it). Here is a comparison between four DSLRs, including the D3 and D7000, at ISO 6400 with RAW output:
    http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/4568/nikond3vsd7000noise.png
    You'll notice that the D3 is somewhat better than the D7000 and effectively out-resolves the D7000 despite its lower photosite count.
    To examine the differences for yourself, here's the page:
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond7000/page20.asp
     
  2. Using a FX-sensor camera in comparison to a DX-sensor camera is not a worthwhile issue to get concerned over.
    The camera *build quality* of a Nikon D3 greatly overshadows the Nikon D3100, D90, D7000 bodies...if that is what you want to carry with you all day. The Nikon D700 was Nikon's answer for a consumer-grade FX-sensor camera body. Both the D3 and the D700 handle ISO 6400 rather well, and allow you to use (for example) a 20mm lens at 20mm. [*This will create a few groans....plus you can go into DX-mode with the D3 and the D700 if you wish....keeping clean color at ISO 6400.]
     
  3. Karim, thanks for the comparison. I thought the D700 sensor edged out the smaller format, and is one reason I bought the D700 as my first ever DSLR. At a price of $2699, the D700 excludes a lot of "consumers", and the camera body quality is by no means "consumer-grade."
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    You'll notice that the D3 is somewhat better than the D7000 and effectively out-resolves the D7000 despite its lower photosite count.​
    Sorry, anybody who has a decent understanding about photography and has used both the D3/D700 and the D7000 should be able to figure out that is not at all the case. That is precisely why shortly after the D7000 had become available about 10 months ago, plenty of us found out that it is very demanding on lenses. With the D3, D700, and D3S, because of the low pixel density, you can get away with some mediocre lenses, not so on the D7000. I have been using my 500mm/f4 AF-S since 1998 and it has been working fine on the F5, F100, D2X, D300, D3, D700, D3S ... until I got my D7000.
    This kind of general DX, FX classification is simply inappropriate. The D7000 beats the D3X in terms of high-ISO capability at a small fraction of the cost, but people pay close to $8000 for a D3X not because of its high-ISO results.
     
  5. Shun, don't over-react, and take out of context. Karim was obviously referring specifically to the ISO 6400 test he presented. You, yourself, would probably agree the the D3 will beat the D7000 at ISO 6400.
    Personally, I don't care because I rarely, and practically never, go beyond ISO 100 in any camera!
     
  6. These comparison which compare only one feature one on one do make people loose sight of the whole picture. DX does not go versus FX, they're two different formats tackling two different parts of the market. Neither one is better than the other, they both bring advantages and disadvantages.
    Yet, exactly these kind of comparisons do make a lot of people convinced they must have 'full frame' to be a serious photographer. So on a $3000 budget, get a $2500 body and a cheap lens. Without really having the need of FX advantages, but only quoting these high ISO results.
    It's just one aspect of the question. It serves within a discussion, but not as a blank statement.
    So, Karim, an honest question: what is the goal of having this comparison? Who needed convincing that the D700 is very good at high ISOs? Now I've seen the results, should this make me want to get rid of a D300 and jump to FX?
     
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    John, the D3/D700 are probably half a stop better than the D7000 at ISO 6400. People need to keep in mind that today, the D700 still costs twice as much as the D7000 while lacking a lot of the features such as 100% viewfinder, dual memory cards, and of course video.
    But nobody should worry about resolution at that kind of ISO. If you have to use ISO 6400, you merely want to get a half-way decent image so that you can post to the web, e-mail friends or made small prints. As a rule of thumb, I avoid using the highest rated ISO on Nikon DSLRs as much as possible; that means 6400 on the D3, D700, and D7000. The D3S does give you another stop.
     
  8. I recently traded in my D70s bodies for D300s over a D7000 because I did not want a preset dial on the camera that I so often nudged to the wrong setting at the wrong time. I also wanted the faster focus, faster frame rate and more focus points. I did wonder if the D300s ISO would be good enough compared to the D7000, but as soon as I saw my first shots from the D300s at ISO 1600 I was extremely happy.
     
  9. Does anyone really uses ISO 6400? I mean, while shooting a paid job or as a serious amateur trying to get a nice shot to hang on the wall.
    My cameras, D700 is set to AUTO ISO up to 1600 and my D300 is glued to ISO 200.
     
  10. I used ISO6400 a few times when shooting partial lunar eclipse with long telephoto. The vast majority of the pictures I shoot at ISO200. I try to stay at or below ISO1600. The point is all the ISO should have lowest noise with FX sensor v. small format, right?
     
  11. A more valid/useful test (to me) is comparing the results after post processing. I find the results at ISO 6400 after post processing to be very, very close, while at ISO 3200, pretty much equal.
     
  12. DXO measurements put the D3 and D700 about 1-1.3 stops ahead of the D7000 in color sensitivity (at high ISO). This means you can use high saturation settings in your raw conversion without noise blowing up in your face (as it does with the D7000, ever tried Vivid with it at ISO 3200? It's not a pretty sight.)
    Neutral SNR is a bit less different, maybe 0.8 stops or so in favour of the old FX cameras. Anyway to me D7000 images start to lose their thrill (competitiveness) when going above ISO 400. For black and white converted images I have gotten the occasional good result at ISO 800-1600. The D3 and D700 I use up to about 3200-4000 (color and black and white). And those images print happily at A4 size (8x11).
    But the D7000 is a great landscape and macro camera (on tripod, at ISO 100). It's capable of very high sharpness. Since most images I print relatively small sizes for convenient viewing, transportation and presentation as a group of images, I prefer cameras that give nice tones and colours. Also, since I use wide apertures a lot I don't want to have to stop down to f/4 to get acceptable results which is often required with the D7000 (MTF sampled at higher frequency, AF issues at wide apertures). I could never see the point of leaving over 50% of the image projected by a lens not recorded. It's like throwing (a large amount of) money (that I paid for those nice full-frame lenses) away.
     
  13. Does anyone really uses ISO 6400? I mean, while shooting a paid job or as a serious amateur trying to get a nice shot to hang on the wall.​
    sometimes, yes.
    00ZJlK-397699584.jpg
     
  14. Eric, very clean shot!

    I use ISO 1600 routinely and 3200 with some regularity.
    Kelby Training has an online class where Kelby spent the day with Jay Maisel shooting street photography in New York. Maisel kept his D3 on ISO 1600 most of the day in order to freeze the motion of his subjects. Hey, if it's good enough for Jay...
     
  15. the above shot was in a dimly-lit tent where a stage had been set up. there was nice ambient light which would have been lost with flash, plus you have to factor in recycling times which slow things down when shooting live action. by shooting @ ISO 6400, i was able to use f/4, which dialed in sharpness with the 70-200, and still maintain a decent shutter of 1/100. that's the advantage of a D3s. in comparison, a d700 would probably have had to shoot at 2.8 and 3200, a d7000 at 1600, 2.8, and 1/50, which would have entailed motion blur. so, not only are there times when high-ISO is appropriate, sometimes it's the only way to get a shot with clarity and sharpness in low-light situations.
     
  16. This was a shot with the D700 at ISO 6400 f/2.8 and 1/500. Outdoor concert - the artist is Jack Semple) the red in the promoters stage ads came out pretty well. ISO 6400 made this and a whole bunch of other shots easy to get without blurring out the performer.
    00ZJoK-397737584.JPG
     
  17. Eric, The D3s is in another league. It is not a first generation FX. Nice shot!
     
  18. Physics says that a FX sensor should have 1-stop better low-light capability than a DX sensor simply because the pixels are 2x larger.
    Given that some of the area is consumed by metal and routing, this advantage should be more than 1 stop. Thom Hogan's D3 book claims the advantage is larger due to some unique sensor design in the D3. Word on the street seems to claim the FX-to-DX advantage should be more than 1, less than 2 stops.
    Having recently upgraded from a D90 to D3 (similar generation, DX to FX), I have observed 2 things:
    1. at least a 2-stop difference, maybe 3 stops. I have not taken identical shots with both cameras (a scientific test) so my observation is colored by opinion based on which shots I have observed.
    2. a great variation in low-light performance that seems to correlate with contrast. Shots with minimal contrast (stuff you would shoot with Fujichrome Velvia 50) are stunning at ISO 3200. Shots with contrast are clumsy at ISO 800.
    I do not have a D7000, but from what I have read it has maybe a 1-stop advantage over the D90, even with 1/2 stop more pixels. If this is true, I'm interested to see what happens when they apply this technology to an FX camera. Or, have they done this already? If the D3 is > 1.5 stops better than the D90 and the D3S is better still, is the D7000 only on par with the D3S?
     
  19. If the D3 is > 1.5 stops better than the D90 and the D3S is better still, is the D7000 only on par with the D3S?​
    only the D3s is on par with the D3s. the d7000 is not quite up to the d700/d3 in this category. the d90, the d300 and the d300s all have the same sensor and are about equal at high ISOs; the d7000 is about .75-1 stop better, the d700/d3 are about 1.5 stops better; the d3s is about 2-2.5 stops better. what this means in real terms is 1600 on a d300 = 2500-3200 on a d7000 =3200-4000 on a d3 = 6400-8000 on a D3s. YMMV depending on contrast, contra light, background shadows, etc.
     
  20. "A more valid/useful test (to me) is comparing the results after post processing." - this is what really matters.
    But chances are that you will be comparing person ability to post process rather than camera/lens performance.
     
  21. Karim was obviously referring specifically to the ISO 6400 test he presented.​
    I should have been more explicit about it. But yes, that's what I meant.
    So, Karim, an honest question: what is the goal of having this comparison? Who needed convincing that the D700 is very good at high ISOs? Now I've seen the results, should this make me want to get rid of a D300 and jump to FX?​
    1. Some people want to know if the D700 is worth the 100% extra. My opinion: not necessarily. There was one thread about that not too long ago. But I am presenting a fact (in the comparison), nothing more.
    2. It is interesting to see how close DX can be to FX. Simple as that.
    3. It's up to you. Do you value high ISO? I do. But you don't have to, despite what has been shown.
    But nobody should worry about resolution at that kind of ISO.​
    Nobody should worry about colour at that kind of ISO! I'd love to shoot T-Max 100 @ 3200-6400. Yeah, that's six stops under. But it's bloody good considering it's a 100 ISO film.
    Does anyone really uses ISO 6400? I mean, while shooting a paid job​
    Eric does, and I do as well. In some situations, 6400 is barely enough. That's very, very rare, though. And in those rare cases, nobody expects a usable shot anyway.
     
  22. I am a pretty hardcore night photographer and might occassionally use ISO 6400 if it was available, but even I wouldn't use it enough to justify paying over $2000.
    Kent in SD
     
  23. "It is interesting to see how close DX can be to FX. Simple as that" When I first received my D7000, the first thing I did was compare ISO 6400 test shots between it and the D3. After post processing with DXO software, I found the differences in IQ in every regard to so small that it wasn't worth worrying about, and the differences were really only visible if pixel peeping. And you had to look pretty hard to see them.
    Pretty good results for a DX camera considering the laws of physics...
     
  24. I found the differences in IQ in every regard to so small that it wasn't worth worrying about​
    If there are no deep shadow areas, I'd believe it in a second. I'm not skeptical at all, I just think that it's nice to have the best native quality that you can get. And then if you had to go to 12,000... ;-)
     
  25. I have been using my 500mm/f4 AF-S since 1998 and it has been working fine on the F5, F100, D2X, D300, D3, D700, D3S ... until I got my D7000.​
    Shun I can imagine that you are totally fed up with the 500mm. I will take the problem off your hands for let's say $ 100,00. After all, it is an old lens.....
     
  26. The FX v DX debate trundles on.... but it's not just about the camera body, ISO speed and sensor noise. It's also a question of lens availability. There are no (that's zero) wideangle lenses worthy of the name for DX with fast apertures, but for full-frame you can readily pick up a 35mm f/1.4, 28mm f/1.4 or 24mm f/2 prime. OK there's Sigma's 20mm f/1.8, but the image quality wide open leaves so much to be desired that it's only just about good enough on full-frame and almost unuseable on DX. Besides, its angle-of-view on DX is less than you'd get from a full-frame 28mm f/1.4 at a stop faster and with better image quality. Case stated.
    Here's a low-light snapshot I took in the pub recently. The D700's superb high ISO capability let me use a relatively small and cheap 70-300mm zoom and still handhold. This characterful gentleman was so involved in conversation a few seats away that I was able to use Liveview and pretend I was just fiddling with my camera to take a whole series of pictures candidly.
    00ZKHg-398093584.jpg
     
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Shun I can imagine that you are totally fed up with the 500mm. I will take the problem off your hands for let's say $ 100,00. After all, it is an old lens.....​
    Sure, mine is the one-of-a-kind 500mm/f4 AF-S collector's item used by the infamous photographer Shun Cheung. Send me US$10,000.00 and I'll pay for shipping. :)
     
  28. I just finished shooting a feature film, shot almost entirely on a set of 3 Nikon D3s's. We did about 40 days of shooting last summer (almost all at night) and almost 2 weeks this year, but this year we had access to the new D7000, so instead of D3s's we were mostly shooting on the D7000. I should note here that the switch was not entirely because of DX or FX, but because the D7000's has a far superior video capability, 1080P vs 720P and a superior codec (AVC vs motion-JPEG). After shooting a combined total of over 60 days in the dark lit by some professional film lights (we're talking about lights that by themselves rival the cost of the D3s and are big enough for me to sit in), sometimes by LED lights from home depot, sometimes LED lights strapped under a dashboard in several lengthy in car scenes, and sometimes just by a flashlight. We shot explosions, action scenes with stunts, and all sorts of crazy things. We had a wide selection of lenses (14-24, 24-70, 70-200 VRII F/2.8 trinity, 24mm F/1.4, 28mm F/2.8 AIs, 35mm F/1.4G, 50mm F/1.4G, 85mm F/1.4G & AIs, 105mm 2.8 VR Macro, 135mm F/2 DC, 200mm F/4 200mm F/2 VRI, & the 400mm F/2.8 VR). I'm sure I'm forgetting a few lenses but that's most of them. The majority of the film was either shot at F/2.0, ISO 1600 & 1/30 of a second (a little slow but acceptable for video). Usually that was for close or medium shots where DOF was not an issue, when the needs for large DOF was needed usually F/2.8 at ISO 2000 & 1/30. We never went above ISO 2000 because both camera's look very poor and are completely unacceptable in video mode (video's noise is much more annoying and present and harder to process than stills). Although Above ISO 2000 in movie mode the D7000 preformed noticeable better, that is in noise amount, but a slightly softer image, Of course our images are 2MP on the D7000, 1MP on the D3s, so detail, although obvious on full size stills from both cameras, is greatly reduced by the video resolution limit thereby making the resolution loss of the D7000 negligible. That being said at ISO 1600, the D7000 preformed much better. What was interesting is the D7000 seemed to have an auto noise reduction, which would produce really clean blacks and very clean "lit" areas. However transitional "grey" areas showed a considerable amount of nasty color grain (it is much more apparent and annoying than on stills because its moving), but if lit properly and kept at a minimum, very impressive. I'm thrilled because the resolution isn't high enough that detail is lost, but produces a much cleaner image. The D3s on the other hand, although noisy all over, produced a very natural, film looking grain that was not colored, by far the best I've ever seen from any film camera, although I have yet to try out some of the better high camera's like Arri's Alexia. It was actually very pleasing from an artistic standpoint and it played well and did have a charm of its own (slightly sharper than the D7000 in trade for much more natural noise). Of course grain or noise is very key in how a scene is lit, and not all by your camera's sensor. I've shot stuff at 6400 and it was perfectly acceptable to be blown up for professional use, and I've shot stuff at 6400 I would be embarrassed to post on the web. Its not what camera you are using, DX or FX, its how you light your scene and control your highlights, shadows and transitions and as some people have pointed out how you post process. Also I want to point out that difference between FX and DX should never be viewed as a quality one, but as artistic opportunities, and I'm not talking about making teles longer and wides wider, that's a obvious technical point, but for an example, I would put a 24mm on a DX sensor to get a close up. Why not put a 35mm on a FX? Because close up, the 24mm has a certain "wide" quality that lets me see the area around the actor in a different way than a 35mm on a FX would let me see. It makes a close up not so personal, on the other hand, I'll use a 135mm on FX for the opposite reason, rather than use an 85mm on a DX (and get a better quality image because I don't have to worry about the corners and the faster speed), because I want to make something very personal and want the audience to focus in on only what I'm showing them, and get no sense of the world. Y'all are so focused on quality you've completely ignored new ways to capture images with the tools in your bag. And they are just that, tools for you to use to expand your creativity, we are aren't all submitting our images to some ISO beauty pageant here people. The D7000 isn't quite as good as the D3s? No way, but that's like saying the 70-200 @ 200 isn't quite as good as the 200mm F/2. Well no duh, but if your picking the 200mm F/2 over a 70-200 because the 70-200 @ 200mm is just slightly inferior, then you've completely ignored the creative, practical and technical usage of two great tools. Shame on all of your pixel peepers, start using your DX and FX camera's for your creative potential and as old friend of mine says, shut up and shoot!
     
  29. Skyler, I very much appreciated your post. I love film production (or the idea of it!) so it was right up my alley. :)
    I note that the APS-C DSLRs are much better video cameras than FF ones (D3 or 5DII), though nowhere near as good as an Alexa or Epic. Using a 5DII over a 7D or D7000 is irrational in my book. I can prove it, too - should I start a new thread, perhaps in the Casual Conversations forum?
     
  30. Sounds great Karim, I am very interested to start a discussion on such! In my comparison's between the D3s and the D7000 there was nothing from a sensor size point of view that would have made me shoot the D7000 over the D3s strictly on a sensor size. I am a very firm believer that the Alexia is truly in a class of its own, the first true digital cinema camera, nothing in the DSLR realm, or film realm, or RED realm, or any other camera even comes close, except maybe the Sony F23, and even then its very dated now. As far as EPIC is concerned, I am far less enthusiastic about. Things like RED suggesting that EPIC should be taken seriously, and even going so far as saying it will reinvent the DSLR world, has me laughing at RED so hard, I have a very hard time taking them seriously in the professional camera market, either as video or picture.
     
  31. Here's that thread I promised:
    http://www.photo.net/casual-conversations-forum/00ZMEf
     
  32. Hi.. I shoot both D700 and D7000. I have been a professional photographer since 1976. I love film and only went, reluctantly to digital, which I have now come to embrace.
    I use D700 and D7000 for my Nikon equipment.
    Take a look at this shot at 6400 on a D7000. This is the JPEG version, Vivid.... I also shot a raw version which is actually a lot cleaner and has more detail in the shadows. (In the raw you can see all the detail in the hair, and their is less noise, but this is great for this illustration.) I used the 18-200mm DX lens. I often use an FX lens on this camera. f5 at 80mm at 1/2000.
     
  33. Oops -- here is that photo I meant to include....
    [​IMG]
     
  34. OOOOOOOPS!!! One more try... Not bad for 6400 DX.. Yes..If I hadn't been lazy I would have carried the 70-200 f2.8 with me and would have been able to shoot this either full frame or DX at a slower ISO. Yes, I prefer slower ISOs, but more importantly, getting the photo is what counts in the end.... The detail in the raw image is much more impressive....
    [​IMG]
     
  35. The build quality and stability of the D700 are so much better then the D7000. The D7000 is an expensive toy and the D700 is a professional workhorse. It's a difference you can clearly see and feel when you hold both camera's in your hands and make a couple of photos with it. Also, I like the image quality of the D700 better. Clearer, crisper and less noise. I find the D7000 images a little bit soft. However, if you like to travel light and if you don't mind the crop factor, the D7000 better for you. It's a compact DSLR with loads of features and good image quality. DX lenses are smaller and lighter (although there are some nice and compact full frame primes too).
     

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