Nikon D300: Better than Velvia results?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by johncarvill, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Folks
    I have just ordered a new DSLR, a Nikon D300s. Now, I anticipate that this will be a big leap up from my old Nikon D70, but will it be able to do the sort of things my F3 can do with film? Well, according to Thom Hogan's review of the D300 (which I assume the D300s can at least match), you can achieve "better than Velvia" results:
    Any opinions on this?
  2. lwg


    I thought my D300 (not the S) results were good when I owned the camera. Better than Velvia is a subjective description. It doesn't have the look of Velvia straight out of the camera, and it's not entirely easy to consistently produce that in post processing. So if you are a fan of Velvia's look then it may not be beter. I estimate I got approximately the same level of detail captured on the film and the sensor, so in that regard I thought of it as a wash. The one thing you can't go with the D300 is create slides to put in a slide projector, so it is not better in that regard. It also is a crop sensor, so it won't take pictures the same as your F3 with the same lenses. I would look at it as a much better D70, and not a direct replacement for slide film.
  3. mtk


    Hi John,
    Great camera that you ordered! I loved my D70 and IMHO still a great camera for all around general use. Your new D300s is a quantaum leap in technology etc. Is it going to produce "better than velvia" me that is a totally subjective opinion. With all due respect, Velvia is Velvia...I find it interesting that this film has set the bar high enough for folks to try to emulate it electronically. I shoot Velvia with my F3 and love it. I love what my D90 does as well.........
    I wish you well and enjoy your new purchase!
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I am not sure what "better than Velvia" means, but I can tell you my experience:
    • I bought my F5 in 1997 and F100 in 2000. I used Velvia a lot on those cameras, among other film.
    • In 2002 I bought my first DSLR, the D100, and I continued to use my F5 and F100 along with the D100, but between 2002 and 2005, I started using the D100 more and more despits its many shortcomings.
    • In 2005 I bought the D2X and stopped shooting film and the D100.
    • In 2007 I bought the D300 and stopped using the D2X.
    • In 2010 I bought the D7000 and stopped using the D300.
    Concerning the D300S, I had one on loan from Nikon to write the review for It is perhaps 90%, 95% similar to the D300, but I never own one myself.
    I still have literally 10s of thousands of slides from the last few decades. Nowadays, every time I look at them, I am very frustrated with their quality.
    You can draw your own conclusions.
    P.S. I still currently own every one of the cameras I mentioned above, except for the D300S, which I have never owned one myself.
  5. Thanks for the replies, folks.
    Yes, I suppose my question was a bit provocatively abstract, but then I was quoting Mr Hogan, not making the "better than Velvia" comparison myself. My guess is he was referring to image resolution, a question, really, of 'quantity' rather than 'quality'.
    I just got back from a trip to Sarajevo, where I used my venerable D70 (and iPhone) but also took 8 rolls of film, four of which were Ektrachrome. (In fact I posted a link to the Flickr gallery in the Colour Slide forum but it's been deleted for some reason). As usual with slide film, I am happy with the look of the photos even when the photo itself may leave me wondering "why did I take this photo of nothing much at all?" This is particularly true of the two rolls I decided to have cross processed, they came out beautifully. The downside? It cost me over £80 to process the films. And I've just laid out a chunk of cash on the D300s. So I will be giving the F3 a rest for a while.
    The D300s seems to be in a slightly odd position in the Nikon lineup. It's besieged on all sides - from its FX big brothers, and from Nikon's higher-end consumer models, particularly the D7000, not to mention the much anticipated D400.
    Actually, I originally ordered a D7000, but once I handled one and discovered how small and plasticky it felt in my hands, I switched my order to a D300s. Ordered the 35mm f1.8 G DX lens to go with it. Can't wait to try it out. Whether I'll ever be able to replicate slide film results is another matter, but I'll give it a go.
  6. It depends on what you intend doing with the transparencies. After scanning many of the thousands of 35mm Velvia transparencies I made over the years with Nikons and Leicas, using my Nikon Coolscan V, they don't match the on-screen or printed quality of images made with my D300, or even the old D70 I used to have. I've found the "look" of Velvia when viewed on a light table is lost when the images are scanned, be it 35mm, 120 or 4x5.
  7. Absolutely agree, Sergio. When I get slides processed and mounted, I always have them scanned at the same time. I then go though each slide on the light box with a loupe, and of course they always look wonderfully rich, but when I look at the scans on the PC they don't look as good, ever. To be fair, they wouldn't look as rich when projected either, obviously.
    But still: I will likely get much 'better' images in terms of resolution, from the D300s. I just need to find a Lightroom workflow or plugin or whatever, that will let me replicate that slide film look.
    I heard about a plugin called Alien Skin Exposure, anybody tried that?
  8. It was not until the D200 when my rate of chromes started to be gradually reduced. Now, looking at the past, I consider my expense on previous digital Nikons a total waste of money.
    Even with D300, I still used to shoot chromes from time to time, more as a habit than a real need.
    It was not until the D700 where I radically lowered my rate of shooting chrome film in 35mm format. Not for the image quality issue (that is very close to that on the D300) but for other camera considerations, mostly related to the full format.
    I don`mind so much about "the look" of Velvia (some might be surprised reading that this film is considered as a "reference"), there are many great looking films. I`d not mythicize "Velvia".
    I still have literally 10s of thousands of slides from the last few decades. Nowadays, every time I look at them, I am very frustrated with their quality.
    Me too. I find so funny that they seem to have such "old looking". Personally, most non-family, non-personal photos seem inusable even to my lowest standards (nature, trips, etc.). I now don`t even consider to scan them in high quality. Anyway, I love them, too many wonderful lifetime images... :)
  9. I use a D300 but came from the Kodachrome 25, 64 and Fuji Velvia school. I too have thousands of old slides that were shot with reasonably good equipment (Pentax LX, decent lenses) and looking at them on a light table today they still look good. Since my major concern is not the capture - digital or film makes no difference to me - but the final print, I have compared medium sized (11 x 14) prints made from the slides, and from the D300 RAW files. Even with my beautiful Velvia slides, the D300 files always come out on top for prints.
    I think this is what Mr. Hogan was talking about - not necessarily replicating the color of Velvia, but the general resolution of D300 files against the slower slide films from the past. In that case, I agree with him - my D300 prints look better than my prints from slide film (my prints are made by a pro lab).
  10. Last year after the earthquake in Japan I decided to move up to the D300s from the D70s. For a very short moment I looked at the D7000, but between the smaller size and especially the preset dial on top (which I often nudged just at the wrong time on the D70s), I decided against it. I'm extremely happy with the D300s; image quality, frame rate, autofocus speed, ISO, controls, feel, all suits me perfectly. I use two bodies to shoot concerts and subsequent events, one with a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC, the other with a Sigma 50-150 f/2.8.
  11. I am not sure what "better than Velvia" means​
    I'm not sure either. Can you put it in a projector?
  12. As discussed, I think he meant "better [resolution] than Velvia".
    Whether it's Velvia, Ektrachrome, or whatever, what I'm interested in is replicating the look/feel of slide film, using a Nikon d300s (or similar). That's all.
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    what I'm interested in is replicating the look/feel of slide film, using a Nikon d300s (or similar). That's all.​
    John, I am afraid that is the wrong approach. If you like the look and feel of slide film, use a film SLR and slide film. Of course, if you want Kodachrome, that is no longer possible, and Kodak is phasing out all slide film. However, Fuji is still producing Velvia although there are not as many labs processing them now.
    As I wrote earlier, I am very frustrated every time I look at my old slides. I have zero interest in capturing more of those to increase my frustration. However, that was the only medium available to me in the 3 decades prior to the 2002 to 2005 period. There is merely the reality of life. It is like there was no D800 until a month or so ago.
    On the other hand, if what you are looking for is over-saturated colors as Velvia is known for, that can easily be achieved in post processing. Would that result be close to Velvia and be desirable to you? Only you can decide. If it is not, continue to use the real Velvia.
  14. John: I (very happily) use a D300 for most things. If you're the sort that even began to notice the ergonomic differences between it and the D7000, you likely made the right choice. The D7000 certainly has newer guts - but it just doesn't feel anything like its beefier cousins (or auto-focus like one, for that matter!).

    As for film-ishness with the output from the D300: Download a free trial of Nikon's Capture NX2 to have the experience of what it can do with those 14-bit RAW files. Then, while you're testing, download a free trial of Nik Software's Color Efex Pro plug-in for NX2. You'll have a one-click Velvia-izer (among many other very cool things). They (Nik) present you with dozens of film profiles, and they Just Work. Of course you can tweek from there, if you think their idea of Velvia is a little too Velvia for your taste.

    I highly recommend this no-cost experimental set up, as it will help you to explore exactly the sort of stuff you're talking about.
  15. I found the D7000 to be small in my hands, too. But that is easily fixed with the battery pack. I do like the heft it has and the vertical format grip. That makes all the difference in the world. I looked at the D300, but felt the D7000 was superior in almost every respect.

    i know this doesn't address the digital vs film question, but I think that there is not enough time left in the universe to address that issue.
  16. In some agreement with Shun, my experience is/was, a roll of 24 or 36 exposures on Velvia, or any slide film usually yielded 20-25% in actual keepers. (Macro stuff, not event or vacation's.) The rest just didn't quite make the grade or were a safety net from bracketing or experimentation.
    In digital, bad shots are either discarded while shooting or in post, making for more instant gratification. The projected size of viewed slides far exceeded actual prints, and "pixel peeping" myself, started long before moving to digital.
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Just as an example, this is a hummingbird image I captured two years ago with the D300, which is similar to the OP's D300S:
    I can arbitrarily add a crazy amount of saturation during post processing. It is not my cup of tea, but apparently some people like things that way.
  18. Format for format, digital has been able to trounce any film at any level for the last 5 years. BTW Shun, you forgot to add some random noise, reduce the dynamic range, add some odd speckles of dirt and reduce the sharpness and colour depth. Having done all that you might have begun to emulate Velvia.
  19. If you want a digital image with high technical quality that can take well to a lot of different treatments, your D300S is better than 35mm Velvia. Same if you want the convenience of being able to shoot a large number of exposures and get the results onto a computer immediately, or the ability to shoot at high ISOs. (Velvia maxes out at 100, D300S starts at 200.)
    If you enjoy using your F3, can't stand the 1.5x crop factor, really like the Velvia look and will be disappointed by images that don't match it, want to create tangible originals or want to shoot landscapes to project onto a wall, the Velvia is better.
    I do enjoy the process of shooting a manual focus camera and waiting for slides to come back, but I'm a bit crazy and it's certainly not for everything, and a good DSLR is usually more versatile.
  20. Shun: I do like your images -- even when they get overcooked like the example above. I think if someone is wedded to Velvia, it is such a personal taste that no matter what digital offered it would never be perfect.
  21. I do love Velvia, but as someone mentioned above, there is a tendency to mythologize it. I have found Ektachrome nearly
    as pleasing,

    I haven't played much with post processing, but I often find it hard to make digital images look as three dimensional as
    film ones, there is some intangible quality missing from (a lot of) digital shots. Maybe I just need the right tools, and
    thanks for all the helpful advice, above, I'll certainly investigate the Nikon and Silbef Effects software.

  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I haven't played much with post processing, but I often find it hard to make digital images look as three dimensional as film ones, there is some intangible quality missing from (a lot of) digital shots.​
    That is something I can't help you with. Unfortunately, my film images are every bit two-dimensional. Until 3D photography becomes popular, I control depth of field and perspective to generate the perception of 3D out of 2D; in that sense, to me, there is no difference between film and digital. However, I am well aware that there are plenty of people who can see differences that I can't.
    Once we start talking about intangible things that are out of my world, it is totally beyond my capability. Again, in such case you should stay with film.
  23. "..there is some intangible quality missing from (a lot of) digital shots."​
    Please, please, somebody tangiblise that nebulous film "quality". You know, the one that 99.9% of us are unlucky enough not to be able to see. Then maybe we can all finally get over film, move on and just take pictures (in an ecologically responsible medium). You don't find many modern painters pathetically whinging that synthetic oil paints aren't a patch on egg-tempora.
  24. You don't find many modern painters pathetically whinging that synthetic oil paints aren't a patch on egg-tempora.​
    You should look on some artists' forums!
  25. Apples and oranges. Velvia has a lot of contrast and saturation. To some degree, you can replicate this look in post
    production of raw files, but it will never look exactly like Velvia or any other film.

    'Better' is subjective.
  26. @Shun C "Unfortunately, my film images are every bit two-dimensional. Until 3D photography becomes popular, I
    control depth of field and perspective..."

    This is disappointing. Why do people make such snarky remarks? I said I wanted my images to look (and feel) three
    dimensional, not to be 3D. And you know this. Whatever.
  27. Rodeo Joe: "Please, please, somebody tangiblise that nebulous film "quality". You know, the one that 99.9% of us are
    unlucky enough not to be able to see. "

    I know this can be a divisive issue. But there are qualitative differences between film and digital. However, if I were a
    Luddite film purist I wouldn't have just spent the guts of a thousand quid on a DSLR!

    "Then maybe we can all finally get over film, move on and just take pictures (in an ecologically responsible medium). "

    This argument always makes me laugh. All those redundant plastic digital camera bodies, lenses, and batteries are just
    what Mother Nature ordered, eh?
  28. About the 3D look: Yes this is another topic, the three-dimensionality. I think this effect can be equally achieved with any media, including pencil drawing, digital photography, oil painting... it`s "simply" a mere control of light, selective sharpness and composition. Sadly, all is measurable in this world (at least for me). No magic...
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Isn't 3D merely the abbrevation of three dimensional? I don't see 3D means anything different.
    Again, if you believe film has some intangible quality, IMO you should continue to shoot film. You will never find that in digital.
  30. The image of the hummingbird looks nothing like Velvia. It does however have that "digital" look to it IMO.
    I will note that I shoot both slide and digital on my outings, and the digital can give beautiful results. However, it is still different (maybe in technically negative ways such as reduced dynamic range) than film results, and maybe because of my age (40's) and having grown up during the Film Era, I still prefer the film images many times, especially with scenics and landscapes. However, I have noticed recently that many of the outdoor images in magazines, etc. are getting sooo close to the look of Velvia and Slide film, that they have actually fooled me a few times when I go to read the captions. So it appears that it is possible to get the "Film Look" with the right camera, software, and knowledge.
  31. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The image of the hummingbird looks nothing like Velvia.​
    Nobody says it does. It is merely an example for extremely over-saturdated colors.
    I am considerably older than Randall. Back in the 1970's and 1980's, I mainly use Kodachrome. When Velvia first came on the scene around 1990, once I shot some New England fall foliage with both, and I gave a slide presentation showing an A/B comparison. Back then, people were shocked by the exaggerated colors in Velvia. It was promptly dismissed as "Disney Chrome." Initially I also didn't like it. It took a few years until around the mid 1990's that Velvia became mainstream, and that was the beginning of the downfall of Kodachrome and perhaps Kodak also.
    The thing is taste and preferences can change over time.
  32. @Shun "Isn't 3D merely the abbrevation of three dimensional? I don't see 3D means anything different."

    Well, you are employing rhetorical sophistry, for reasons best known to yourself. When cinemas show kids' films in '3D' does that mean they're three dimensional?No.

    But I wasn't arguing along such literal-minded lines, anyway. I meant that film, particularly slide film, has - imho, naturally - certain qualities which are hard, if not impossible, to replicate in digital. Film often has a feeling of 'depth', which is what I meant when I alluded to dimensionality. Digital images often tend to feel flat - and, yes, that's a hard statement to quantify or objectively prove. The intangible nature of the quality or qualities which distinguish film from digital is inherent to those qualities. The fact that i cannot point to it and say, "Aha, no denying that is there?!" is a function of the very qualities I'm talking about.
    But I'm setting film aside for a while, and I'm going to try to get the most out of my new DSLR. I'm not going in with an anti-digital attitude.
    And no, that hummingbird pic looks nothing like Velvia. It looks flat. And yes, I did think you were equating that image's hyper-saturation with what I like about Velvia, which is not the case.
    Here's an arbitrary comparison. Look at this:
    Nice light, nice colours, etc. But even with a few tweaks in Lightroom, to me it still looks unmistakably digital.
    Compare with:
    Light not as good, and (arguably) the shot is a touch underexposed. Yet, to me, this has a 'depth' to it that is nothing to do with angle, lens, depth of field, etc etc. It's just a 'feel' that the image has which comes from having been shot on film.
  33. Right, it has nothing to do with angle, lens, depth of field, etc etc.
    As I mentioned above, it has to do with light and composition. I`m not sure at all if selective sharpness is a must, but I think it helps. Your second pic show three steps of light (shadow, light, shadow) together with different planes, in a diagonal composition. If the lady were not blurred, it `d be another "flat" image. Someone could say the first one has a "pop" effect.
    Why do you think your sample pic cannot be taken with say, a D700? Lets see:
    • You can get the very same DoF
    • You can get the very same sharpness
    • You can "tweak" the colors (although is not not necessary, colors could change and the effect or look will be more or less the same)
    • You can get the very same contrast, dynamic range
    • Etc., etc., etc.
    So, where is the difference? In fact we`re looking at a digital picture. Why could a scan look "3D" but a DSLR image not?
  34. John, here is a link to custom D300 picture controls. The link is in the first post of this thread and it includes instructions on installing them. There are Velvia, Astia and Optima settings here among others. These aren't official Nikon settings but can be useful for getting what you want out of the camera:
    I have those 3 in my D300, but don't really use them. I do use the D2X modes more than anything else with D2X mode III being a nice saturated setting without being over the top. These are from Nikon and you can get them here, along with the Landscape and Portrait picture controls:
    edit: I see that the D2X modes do not list the D300S as a compatible camera (it is listed for Landscape and Portrait though...)
    I'm not sure if the Velvia and others listed are compatible with the D300S, maybe someone can shed light on it.
  35. Better than Velvia? of course. With Velvia, you get that, and only that. With a D-anything image i think you get what you make out of it, just about any look you want. Is there a tangible look and feel difference between digital and film? Perhaps, but my guess is these differences are becoming increasingly small, and that most people given a blind test would not be able to distinguish well crafted digital images from well produced film images.
  36. Can we drop the fixation on the '3D' thing? I thought I'd already made clear that by 'three dimensionsl' what I really meant
    was 'depth', as opposed to the 'flatness' of digital. Film has a different look and 'feel' to digital, I don't know why people
    sometimes deny or fail to see that. I'm not saying its an inferior look/feel, I'm just saying it's different.
  37. @Jose: I don't think the lady is blurred I think she's out of focus. Yes the first image has a pop effect partly due to post
    processing. In a number of ways, the first image is better, but the second looks more 'real' somehow.
  38. Changing the default Picture control from Standard to Vivid will make the images look more like Velvia. You can make changes to other picture controls too if you want to. I suggest you shoot in RAW and do this all in post processing. Joe Smith
  39. Take away the magenta cast and lighten the shadows on your digital example John, and it begins to look much more like the film. The shadows could stand a lot more lightening with access to a RAW file rather than an 8 bit JPEG. And if all you shoot is JPEGS, then obviously you won't see the full dynamic range and colour detail that digital is capable of.
  40. @Ric M: Thanks for the links, I'll follow those up.
    @Rodeo Joe: What makes you think I only shoot JPEG? I shot the image above in Raw, and adjusted the curve in Lightroom.
  41. Sorry John, the mention of Picture Control profiles mislead me. They only work on JPEGS.
    Never used Lightroom. Does it have a proper curves tool, or does it just use sliders to adjust the curve like Elements?
  42. Oh, yay. Another film vs. digital debate... yay.
  43. I think the results "may be" comparable to Velvia if you shoot at low ISO - e.g., ISO 200 with the D300s.
    A well-executed Velvia-50 image can be exquisite "right out of the box". Digital needs capture sharpening, WB/Level adjustment, etc., etc. Having said that, I prefer the convenience of digital over film these days.
  44. Didn't mean to start a digital vs film war. Was just wondEring what results I could expect from my D300s. Having said that, I'll go to my grave believing that film has a different look and feel. One more example:
    If I'd used a DSLR to take that shot, could the resultant photo have had the same feel?
  45. John, yes, you could have achieved a similar look and feel with a DSLR. (I won't claim identical, but similar). Conversely,
    you could have rendered a second version with more visible detail in the shadows and less shadow on the man's face. The man's skin tone could have been improved by adjusting the white balance, or you could leave it like this (slightly bluish).

    The color of the red letters and the blue pants could easily have been made more OR less saturated. The perspective
    distortion visible in the converging vertical lines of the column and the wall in the back could have been corrected. A very
    slight barrel distrortion visible as a mild curvature in the steps could have been straightened. And you could have created
    an alternate black and white version.

    All of this is very easy to do when editing raw files in Lightroom or Photoshop.
  46. Just for the sake of argument....and I'm not taking a position in the debate whether film has a different or superior "look" over digital
    capture....unless all one wants is to sit in front of a light table with a loupe, wouldn't scanning a transparency to display it either on-screen
    or as a digital print reduce it to just another form of digital capture, and do away with whatever "superior" film-like qualities it may have
    had? All the color transparencies I printed the old-fashioned way, in the wet darkroom using Cibachrome/Ilfochrome materials, do exhibit
    different qualities when compared to the same images digitally scanned, edited and printed. Anyone who can recall producing prints
    using those archaic darkroom methods must surely agree that it was a real PITA, and often much less effective than using current
    hybrid methods.
  47. @Sergio: "...wouldn't scanning a transparency to display it either on-screen or as a digital print reduce it to just another form of digital capture, and do away with whatever "superior" film-like qualities it may have had? "
    Respectfully, no, this is a wholly fallacious argument. That would mean *any* image, from cave paintings through to yesterday's news, viewed online would be classed as "a digital image". But looking at the Mona Lisa on Google image search doesn't digitalise the original.
    Looking at my scanned slide, above, you're seeing an online version of a scan of a transparency. The *medium* is digital, the original *image* is not. How the image is transmitted is not bound up with how it was captured. The chemical reaction triggered on the film by the brief presence of light created the image, that fact doesn't ever change.
    I've seen great photos taken with digital. Many (most?) professionals have gone digital now. I'm very much looking forward to my new DSLR, and to taking a long break from film. But none of this changes the fact that film has different qualities to digital, any more than being a feminist changes the fact that men and women are different.
    Could this image have been created digitally?:
  48. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    John, I think most people notice that film is different from digital in general, just like:
    • Kodachrome is different from Velvia.
    • The D2X is different from the D300
    • The D300 is different from the D7000.
    • The D700 is different from the D800.
    As I said, back in the 1970's and 1980's, I mainly use Kodachrome and still have a lot of slides from that era. In the 1990's I switch to Fuji Velvia, and Sensia/Provia for wildlife. From 2005 and on I went from mostly digital to all digital, and from one generation of DSLRs to another.
    What is "better" is highly subjective. Therefore, with no disrespect to Thom Hogan, who is clearly a well known Nikon guru, unfortunately, his comment that "You can get better-than-Velvia results with the D300" is somewhat pointless and only leads to totally unnecessary debates. That was why I said if you prefer the Velvia look, use Velvia film, but we can get extremely saturdated colors from digital also, to a degree that it bothers me to no end as I demonstrated.
    Is Velvia "better than" Kodachrom? Back in 1990, I didn't think so. Initially I didn't like Velvia's saturation, but by 1995 or so, Velvia became my preferred film for landscape; however, I never like Velvia for wildlife except perhaps in very dull, highly overcast days. Even so, Velvia's green cast on wildlife is annoying.
  49. Never meant to stir up the film/digital debate.
    Basically, I just wanted some discussion on how good I could expect the images I will get from the D300s to be.
  50. John, that image could have been created digitally by using multiple exposures or Photoshop layers. A lot of people wouldn't call it easy to get it to look just right, but the same would be true doing it in film. Really, there isn't a lot you can't do in digital, and a D300 is very capable, so it mostly comes down to how you use it.
  51. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Basically, I just wanted some discussion on how good I could expect the images I will get from the D300s to be.​
    For perhaps 99% of those of us who read this forum, certainly including me and perhaps you John as well, the limitation is behind the camera, not inside.
    Today, the D300S is still an excellent camera for still images. I wouldn't mind using my D300 any day, but I now prefer the D7000 for better higher-ISO results, and then there are the D800 for better high-ISO (after down sampling) and more resolution ... However, for video capture, the D300S has never been a very good tool.
    AF on the D300S is still top notch. The D4 and D800 use essentially the same AF module with small improvements for f8 lenses (f4 long lenses with 2x TC).
  52. @Shun: Indeed. And my limitations are many!
    The D7000 is certainly well specc'd; I just found it too small to hold and therefore use. I have no interest in video, by the way.
    I'll be sure to check back in once I've played with the D300s a bit.
  53. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    John, I know some women feel that the D7000 is too heavy, and there are plenty of people who think it is too small and too light. All of those are valid opinions. I happen to be 6'1" and weight over 200 pounds, but I can hold an F5, D3, D7000 or J1 just fine. I am not very picky about camera sizes, but the lack of a viewfinder (EVF) on the J1 annoys me.
    But that is just me.
  54. As a news and magazine professional, I always have the reader/viewer in mind. The reader never sees slides on a light table, no will they ever see a projected slide show. They see the newspaper, the magazine, and the web site. For me in the current era of technology, this means that shooting an analog film and scanning it to make it digital creates both an additional workflow burden and, with the exception of the best and most expensive drum scanners for slide film, a decisive loss of quality. For the hobbyist, the look and feel of a mounted color slide might be fun and satisfying, but in the professional world, we are almost entirely digital in 2012.
  55. This question has really gotten me to thinking. Is the new D800e better than micro brewed beer?
  56. Better than Moab Brewery Poison Spider microbrew? Not likely.
  57. @richard B: Yes, I know that (I mentioned it above), but we amateurs can afford to be arbitrary dilettantes!
    And, finally on the digital/film topic, here's a counter-example: an Ektrachrome image that looks almost flat enough to be mistaken for digital:
  58. I`m going to bed... zzzzzz
  59. "I`m going to bed... zzzzzz"
    Trouble is, when you wake up, it'll still be here....
    although I did like the sound of "And, finally......"
  60. @Mac: Thanks for your intelligent, constructive and highly amusing contribution. Go forth, and multiply.
  61. I kind of got here a little late, but I had this same problem a couple years ago. The digital pictures just didn't look like what I was used to with Velvia. I tried all things with the digital cameras for a while until I tried out a d700. Then that was it. The first picture I took looked like trash, but it looked like film - a higher quality film. It had depth and also that 3D look. I started using the velvia action I had created in photoshop, and it really looked good. Velvia is not just a high color saturation that a lot of people think it is. It also has high contrast which helps the color look more saturated. The first thing to do with a digital image is to get the contrast right, then add color.
    The other thing is DOF. 35mm format has a different DOF. Some say it's shallower, but I'm not sure if shallower is the right word. Also to get the same grain, I have to shoot at between 1600 & 3200 to achieve the grain of 400 film. At ISO 200 it's just too smooth. However, when I print large, that smoothness looks really good.

    Here's a shot with the d700 with my velvia action.
  62. Jon Reid, that's a nice-looking shot! You've gotten pretty close to the Velvia look.
    I agree that contrast (along with white balance and black point) adjustment should come early in the workflow. (Although with the non-destructive developing tools in Lightroom, you can adjust parameters in almost any sequence.)
    Lightroom 3 and 4 let you allow grain simulation to photos, so you don't have to shoot at ISO 3200 anymore. I'm sure that PS has this feature, as well.
  63. I `m sorry I`m so rude... I don`t get how a D700 digital camera looks like "high quality film" while e.g. the D300 doesn`t have the "3D and depth" of film. Supposedly, here we are not looking at physical parameters like DoF.
    But once in the DoF issue, "35mm format has a different DOF"? Isn`t it shallower if compared to DX format? I`m quite lost. Is there any "magic" feature I`m missing here, too? Is DoF related to the media, sensor or film, actually?
    The "structure" of digital is quite different to the structure of film, so I wonder how could someone get the"same" grain shooting digital... Noise is the same as film grain? Personally, I wonder why we`d want to emulate the look of film with digital... one of the good things about digital is the "absence" of grain, but wait; if we have it, we don`t want it, if we cannot get it, we miss it... Don`t get mad; take the most of digital, and if you want the "magic" of film, shoot film. Otherwise all what you get are substitutes.. ;)
  64. Thanks Dan. Yes the film grain is in PS, but I hardly ever add grain. The reason I suggest contrast first, is because to my eye it's hard to tell how much contrast to add.
    Jose, the difference is Dx vs Fx. It does take more work to get a digital picture to look like film, and it's debatable if it ever actually does look like film. However, with the original format for the lenses we shoot, the film look is more prevalent than if a crop is taken of those lenses. I think there's hundreds of variables that play in the different look between film and digital, and format and dof is only a couple of them.
    I'm not sure that Dof is shallower in Fx. When I shoot at f/16, pretty much everything is in focus down to about 30" away from the camera at 28mm. With Dx, it's about the same. At 2.8, the dx looks different, but not really shallower. I'm sure someone has taken a picture of a tape measure to measure the difference!
    I don't pick apart the grain to decipher the difference between noise and grain. However, I remove all color noise, and the resulting texture at high iso's looks similar to film grain. I've often wondered what RMS size grain we get with digital. :)
    Don't get me wrong, I like film, but I shoot about 90% digital and don't look back. A couple years ago I hauled a film camera and digital (dx) camera around with me for several weeks and took exactly the same pictures of landscapes with both having the same lighting. I printed several of those pictures, from both film and digital. Hanging on a wall at 13x19 I couldn't really tell a difference. I adjusted the color balance of the digital to match the film, adjusted the contrast to be about the same, and I really couldn't tell a difference. That's when the film camera started getting used a lot less!
    So, for John...enjoy your d300. If it's anything like the d700 it's a camera that will last you a long time. If you really like film, keep a film body in you're bag for those shots.
  65. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I hope people realize that Velvia is by no means some kind of "ideal" film. As I said, when Velvia first came on the scene, its over-saturated colors bothered me a lot. It took several years before it became my standard landscape film. For wildlife photography, Velvia's over saturdation is annoying to me and I especially dislike its green cast on animals. Once I was in Tanzania and I mistakenly used Velvia to take a picture of several guides on our group with a fellow traveler who is African American. Velvia's high contrast is terrible on those darker skin tones or even lighter skin tones.
    In other words, as a film, Velvia has narrow applications. It is good for some and perhaps a lot of landscape photography, but it is very bad for many other things. Velvia's over-saturation attracts some people, especially beginners and even some well known photographers, but I dislike their work for exactly that reason. Therefore, I sure am glad that digital is nothing like Velvia. In other words, it does not take a whole lot to be "better" than Velvia. Late in the film era, I used Provia and Sensia far more often than Velvia.
  66. I think the fame of Velvia came from the begining... I remember it was the "only" and first competitor for Kodachrome, and with an easier and cheaper E-6 process. I think I bought it the first time simply because it was "the best" (in that times "the best" for me had the mean of "the finest grained and most saturated", period).
    Jon, I don`t understand your statement about DoF with a 28mm lens... I`m one of these guys who shoot "metric tapes", although not this time.
    Check this thread; there are a couple shots that show the "1.5 times" DoF difference between FX and DX (ninth post). I can imagine than "with a 28mm lens", in a not so representative kind of shot, the DoF difference could not be too obvious, although is there.
  67. Check this thread; there are a couple shots that show the "1.5 times" DoF difference between FX and DX
    Well yeah if you shoot a different focal length on Dx than you do Fx. However, my 55mm micro would fit on the d300, so the Dof would be the same on Dx as Fx. However if you wanted the same area on dx, you would need about a 35mm lens which would normally have a different DoF. So When I use the 28-85mm lens on the d700 the DoF would be the same if I put it on the d300.
    Communication...the key to understanding! :) I was thinking you would use the same focal length on both formats.
  68. P.S. I still currently own every one of the cameras I mentioned above, except for the D300S, which I have never owned one myself.​
    Just out of curiosity, why do you still keep all your older model cameras? You can still get some returns on your D300 and D2x. I am trying to decide on selling my collection (F,F2,F3s,F100,D1h,D2x) to finance the upcoming purchase of D800 since they are just collecting (hence the term "collection") dusts. But then their worth may so minimal that I should just keep them for sentimental reasons. Sorry for the hijack.
  69. Well, I got the D300s, finally. Does it take pictures that are "better than Velvia"? I guess we all agreed that was impossible to quantify. All I can say is I love the camera.
    A few results can be seen in my 'D300s' gallery on Flickr, if you're interested:
  70. For every upgrade of an experimental dull, drab, electronic image taking machine, imagine how many hundreds of rolls of Velvia you can get, while trying to emulate Velvia. Sigma's quattro has come near but thats another how many hundred rolls again. When velvia's 185MP is equalled plus dynamic range, and it needs no computors, PP, etc etc . I may switch.
  71. 185MP? That is the funniest thing I've read in weeks. Even better than your made-up 180MP figure from the other archive thread.
    And dynamic range. In Velvia!
    Sometimes the kool-aid is just too sweet to give up.
  72. Yeah, where do you get the "185MP" number?
  73. There is no way a D300s capture can compare with Velvia projected onto a large screen with a high quality projection lens. I mean, what are you going to use to project a D300s file? See what I mean?
    If the image files are to be digitally processed and used for Led display or printing, then yes, I think a D300s capture could be competitive with Velvia.
  74. There is no way a D300s capture can compare with Velvia projected onto a large screen with a high quality projection lens.​
    How often are our images displayed that way anymore?

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