Show me your sharpness comparissons of the D3 & D3x

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by liljuddakalilknyttphotography, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. Hi guys & gals,
    last year I predicted the D3x, was told I had no idea what I was talking about, yet here it is. Now the D3x has been my dream camera for a year & then last week we saw a noise comparison test here. Now, I'm not interested in a noise comparison in low light, that's not what I look for - I want a sharpness test in good light. Reason is simple, in the noise test, the D3 looked to beat the D3x by far in sharpness. So, since that was a noise test & not a sharpness test I here now request that those who have time & are willing give me sharpness shots of the D3x vs the D3.
    If the D3 is actually sharper than the D3x, then I might just as well buy a D700 now instead of waiting for the potential D700x
    Post you shots guys & gals....
    Lil :)
  2. Correct me if I'm wrong but any postings to satisfactorily answer your question would have to be as follows: The exact same subject shot with the exact same lens in the exact same lighting with the exact same camera settings and then cropped to cover the exact same area. Anything else that might be posted here would be inconclusive and misleading. i'd like to see those results also!
  3. Give me some time next week and I'll have this.
  4. It is not really possible as you'd have to use two different lenses. This is the major fault I see with the test of the D700 vs. the D300 on dpreview. One camera uses the Nikon 50mm f1.8 AF-D and the other uses the Nikon 85mm f1.8 AF-D.
    They are two different formats. FX and DX. I bought the D700 and noticed that the per-pixel sharpness was a little less on the D700. However, the major benefit of the D700 is the utter lack of any noise at ISO 200, whereas I could see noise in the D300 even at ISO 200. So you have to decide which is more important. I also don't feel I need 24mp at the moment, with the larger file sizes that come with it. I never print larger than 12x18" and 12mp makes one beautiful enlargement at that size. I did print one 20x30" print from my D300 and it looks wonderful.
    So if you are looking for "which one is sharper" it is a tossup. I would say the D700 is "sharper" than the D300 at ISO 1600-6400, it will capture more detail at high ISOs. But at ISO 200 you may think the D300 is sharper. But the concept of sharpness is meaningless when you realize that the D700 may do a better job at capturing tonality than the D300.
    My advice for you is to wait it out. You have the D300 now, and you are satisfied with it, right? Prices will fall over the next six months. I wouldn't be surprised if the D700 body fell as far as $1999 by Spring 2009.
  5. How do you exactly define "sharpness"? I looked at the sample shots at Nikon's website, and the quality with good lenses (e.g. 200/2 and 60/2.8) at low ISO was stunning. Clearly, when you can shoot at 100-200, have a top lens and work on a tripod you can do things which previously were not possible, but if you plan to work mainly at ISO 3200 then I think it's safe to say that a D700 would be good.
    But Ellis will probably provide little more precise findings about the topic. Not many people have access to the camera yet, but one store here promises to throw in a 50/1.4 AF-S for free when purchasing a D3X ;-)
  6. Dave, I think you misread the request, it's the D3 vs. D3X, the D300 isn't involved.
  7. Don, you're right, but still the comparison between the two is similar in that the pixel density of the D3x is similar to the D300, thus will have more noise at high ISOs.
  8. Guys,
    the reason for this request is simple. Earlier this week we saw a noise comparison in lower light in between the D3 & the D3x. Test made with same lens, same location, just changed camera on tripod.
    Issue was, I could see that the D3 was much sharper in the test shots than the D3x. I want to see if this is just one test or if this is true for the cameras.
    I know there are people here who have both cameras, Ellis being one of them.
    I have downloaded Nikon's test shots but now I'm concerned - the shots don't look as sharp.
    If not sharp - then I'll just buy the D3 or the D700 & be done with it for a while...
    Lil :)
  9. If the final print is the same size and you're using the same lens on D3 and D3X and a tripod that isn't moved, the one from D3X wil be the sharpest. Not surprising when in fact the resolution is 40% higher.

    (I do have both cameras)
  10. God Jul Bjorn,
    & yes - that's what would be expected. But the shots I saw here the other day definately indicated that the D3 is sharper than the D3x.
    so what's up?
    Lil :)
  11. With two same exact images (lens, distant and focal length), I would first res-up the D3 or res-down the D3x before comparing. Why?
    If you have a camera with just 4 pixels and you are looking only two pairs of pixel at a time (aka: 100% pixel crop), that camera's pixel will beat any 4 pixels from a 24 Megapix camera anytime. There is no way any pixel from the D3x will contain more info then one 1/4 frame of info from a 4 pixels sensor. IMHO, a more valid test needs to to be based of the same percentage of the frame. Something what DPreview does in LPH (Lines per Pictures Height).
  12. Lil, I think you mean the comparison by John Scarlett at this forum thread.
    Since the images from the D3 and the D3x are both showing the same area at the same size, John must have either scaled up the D3 images or scaled down the D3x images. My guess is that he scaled down the D3x, which accounts for why it appears to be less sharp.
    Have you seen another direct comparison of the two cameras elsewhere? I would be interested too, as I am also considering the D3x for the same reasons: sharpness and resolution. Thanks.
    I'm looking forward to Ellis's reviews and comparisons.
  13. Just to throw in something else that's been on my mind...

    Maybe I'm wrong, but what about diffraction? We know that the D300 is limited to about f/11 because of the size of the photosites. Wont the same be true with the D3x due to the increased number of pixels on the same sized FX sensor as the D3 and D700? This must be a limitation if the camera is to be used as a landscape tool?
    Any thoughts on that folks?
  14. Kuryan,
    that's the thread that got me started. Yes, you've got it. So we wait for Ellis to have time to work on this for us. :)
    Thanks Ellis for taking the time. :)
    Lil :)
  15. I did a test series with the CoastalOpt 60mm f/4 APO lens, the only lens I know that can deliver decent results at f/45. It did so with the D3X as well.
  16. Bjorn did you by chance also compare contrast and resolution at high ISO? At some point the higher noise should compensate the higher pixel density. I read a few comments that the noise in D3x is a bit better than expected but still worse (as expected) than in images from the D3.
    Since we talk about noise. Does anybody know a link about the number of photons captured per pixel in a given light intensity and about the ratio of photon shot noise to other noise sources like readout noise. It would not need to be the D3 sensor but a similar sensor would be of interest too.
  17. The Imaging Resource site has numerous test images taken under controlled shooting conditions - you can examine and compare the results from the two cameras at various ISOs for yourself. The results are quite interesting and IMO favor the D3X when printing enlargements or making substantial crops.
  18. You know, Elliot, ...
    I went to that site. It's pretty cool, but .... I selected the "Still Life" 100 shots for my comparisons, and I saw very little if any difference between the D3x and most of the cameras, down to the D40. Perhaps 100 ISO is not the best to choose, since that is not the native speed for all the sensors. However, what shot/ISO should I look at to show the differences ?
  19. "I might just as well buy a D700 now instead of waiting for the potential D700x"
    YES, just buy it and go out and take photos. You or your clients will not give a rats arse if the images are not as sharp as those of a non existant camera, as long as you are there capturing the critical images that have substance. "There's nothing worse than a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept" A.Adams
  20. Thanks Elliot,
    that's a page I used to go to before the old computer crashed. Based upon that - the D3x is sharper.
    Lil :)
  21. Lil,
    Just how sharp do you want and for what use? In the studio with correct light you will see better extreme results from the D3x. At the football or for wildlife, the D3. If you are doing landscapes or available light, get a D700 and be content that you have saved yourself $$$$'s.
    Its the same reason why the old 5D was better than the 1Ds Mk3. Horses for courses.
  22. John, possibly the only way to see a visible difference from camera to camera (in most cases) is to view the full size images and compare specific areas side by side. I have always used the still life shots you reference because they contain such a vast variety of subject matter including bright colors and shadows
    While I have typically found just the slightest of differences from camera to camera, the D3X is the first camera their site has posted images for where at least to my eyes there is a noticeable improvement in overall image quality (at the lower ISOs up to perhaps up to ISO 1600), more specifically sharpness/detail. I don't see any improvement in sharpness/detail with the A900 or MKII.
    In my original post, I made reference to improved results when "printing enlargements or making substantial crops. Last week, for my own curiosity, I downloaded the full size image of the ISO 400 still life image for the D3, D3X, 5D and 5DMKII and printed them all out as 8 x 10s. In comparing the prints side-by-side, they all looked pretty much identical sharpness/detail wise. Yet, if you decided to make 24" x 30" posters, the difference would be somewhat more apparent IF you were standing 12" away. At a normal viewing distance of several feet away, the prints would likely look identical (all things being equal except for the MP count).
    The bottom line...
    There are many considerations to getting a highly detailed picture other than the camera body. Having the right lens (pro vs consumer), the right focal length for the subject matter and nailing the exposure with the right aperture are all possibly more important than the body you are shooting with. For example, As John mentions, there is very little difference in IQ from the D3X to the D40 in the test images at IR. Based on the IR site and my own experiences with the D40 and D3 (I own both), I concur. For a distant subject, I would probably get better results with a D40 and a 400mm lens than the D3(X) with a 50mm lens. Again, if image size matters, more MP helps.
    Lil, perhaps you can buy the D3X and post a review for everyone! :)
  23. bms


    Looked at the charts. IMHO, according to above mentioned site and teh recent noise comprison, D3X is sharper (no surprise), D3 has less noise (no surprise either) and I I am still $4500 to $8000 short..:) Given current economics, almost everyone would be better served with a D700... which seems to have the best price/performance ratio....
  24. Elliot,
    I would love to buy a D3x - but my husband has worked about 25 days in total this year & that's scary enough. Now add the soot & ash damage from the recent fires & we're already out $ 15,000 on new flooring. But if life turns out OK then I will - - when the camera has dropped in price. :-D
    Wait a minute - - I'd have to buy both the D3x & the D3 since I have neither.... :-(
    Lil :)
  25. Just to clarify... I stated above "there is very little difference in IQ from the D3X to the D40 in the test images at IR" - I was referring to typical standard size prints, not enlargements. You can cleary see a difference when pixel peepinig or making enlargements.
  26. I was clicking on the shots to get them as large as I could and then viewing side by side. I don't know what size that works out to. It wasn't an " Oh wow. " sort of thing, which was disappointing, to be honest. I wanted to see definitive reasons for getting something better than a D40, beyond lens choice and features. Maybe I'll look at ISO tests above 100 for further tests.

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