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Author Topic: "The Nikon D3x offers the finest image quality in a DSLR the world has yet seen"  (Read 85379 times)
Leping
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« on: January 05, 2009, 02:07:35 AM »
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$8000 is not a small stack of money especially in today's economy. So how dare Nikon was to put up such a price tag for the new D3x?  Does they fall into a crack and totally out of the reality?

So there are complainers who swear they would never buy a D3x because of the price.  However, let's first face the fact that the Canon's flagship, the 1Ds Mark III, also retails at $8000, although they are routinely sold at discount since it has been on the market for a while.  But when it came out the price was the same so we can hardly say Nikon is too crazy.

Then there start to merge the reviews from the real D3x users, mostly from pros who have extensive experiences with the Canon 1DsIII.  And it happens majority of these if not all are seemly pointing to the same observations: the D3x RAW files set a brand new standard for a DSLR, which has passed the 1DsIII quality level.

Let's first look at the professional review site of Lloyd Chambers, who has on going exhaustive D3x tests including comparisons with the 1DsIII, D3, A700, and with both the Nikon and the Carl Zeiss lenses:

http://www.diglloyd.com/diglloyd/blog.html

Yes, the real reviews on his DAP ("Diglloyd's Advanced Photography") are not free, but from my opinion and as I read from many others, the $29.99 fee is well deserved.  You can also get the DAP and his extensive Zeiss lens review free, if you order a D3x soon through his links to Amazon, B&H, and Adorama.

Here let us see what Lloyd have found and put out today (on his free blog):

"And so Iíll repeat what Iíve stated before: the Nikon D3x offers the finest image quality in a DSLR the world has yet seen. The online bitching and moaning about the price wonít change that factóI donít like it either. But if you need or want the very best DSLR available today, the Nikon D3x is your camera. In fact, I have zero desire to shoot my Canon 1Ds Mark III any more. None at all. Itís not about resolution: itís about stunning image quality."

"How well do D3x images scale? The crop below is actual pixels after scaling to 97.5 megapixels (12096 X 8064), using RAW Developer. It has been sharpened during RAW conversion and also in Photoshop CS4. Probably those versed in the finer points of image scaling could do even better, and sometime soon Iíll be exploring how well PhotoZoom Pro and Genuine Fractals do scaling of D3x images.

You donít need ďfaithĒ with the Nikon D3x: itís offers the finest image quality in a DSLR the world has yet seen."

Is Lloyd, who offers both free and paid reviews of photographic products from all the makers for many years like many others, just biased, or simply over-excited, even he had reviewed the Sony A900 and the Canon 1DsIII just recently?  Let's checkout an independent and totally free review on our own Luminous Landscapes forum, from Dan Wells, again a long time 1DsIII user.  The title of the topic was titled "Nikon is NOT on crack - Initial D3x image quality is AMAZING!"

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=30658

, where we can find the following words:

"I just got out for about 4 hours of serious (landscape and macro) shooting with the D3x this morning, and have been looking at the files for most of the afternoon. The easiest comparison I can make is to the 1Ds mk II (note: NOT mk III), as that is the highest-resolution camera I have a lot of experience with (other than the D3x). I am comparing at ISO 100, converting from 14-bit NEFs (in Nikon Capture NX2) and viewing at 100% on screen (unfortunately, my printer is 180 miles away right now, and I'm on my laptop monitor, NOT my calibrated work monitor, because I am visiting my parents for the holidays). There are two apparent differences - first is the incredible sharpness of the D3x. When I've nailed the focus, the D3x looks very darned sharp at 100% without applying any sharpening - because of the AA filter, the Canon never did that. It would PRINT very sharp, but 100% on screen always revealed a slight blur. There is absolutely no noise in an ISO 100 D3x file, even at 100%, which adds to the impression of sharpness - very slight shadow noise in the Canon files adds a slight haze to dark ones - that is simply not there in a D3x file. The second difference is the dynamic range - the D3x has about a stop more range in the highlights, plus at least an extra stop in the shadows, maybe even 1.5 stops extra in the shadows, all of it very clean. This camera, properly handled, should print 24x36 inches with ease from its base ISO of 100 (I get 16x24 out of the Canon, but don't like to go larger than that).

ISO 400 on the D3x is very usable - it looks roughly like an ISO 100 file from a 1Ds mk II in terms of noise - it may have extra dynamic range, which I wouldn't have seen because my ISO 400 tests were on a very dreary, grey day and would have fit easily within the DR of the 1Ds mk II). This is comparing on a per-pixel basis, so the D3x file still has 3/2 the detail in it, due to the increased resolution... I have even fooled around a bit with ISO 3200 (HI 1.0), which looks awful on screen (although quite good considering that it's ISO 3200 - much better than any ISO 3200 film ever looked), but will make a pretty decent 8x10 print with no trouble, and should even print 11x17 with some careful handling. I didn't buy the camera to shoot at ISO 3200, but it's nice to know the capability is there should it be needed. Those unbelievable ISO 100 files are what I bought the camera for, and it is certainly worth its price for its low-ISO performance! There is something highly unusual in the imaging chain of the D3x to get these results - the sensor may NOT be stock Alpha 900 issue (I suspect it isn't - I don't have a lot of Alpha experience, but the test files I've seen are not anywhere near as clean, even at low ISOs) , and if it is, the AA filter in the D3x is extremely unusual, probably made out of pure unobtainium.

Add that performance to a superb rugged and ergonomic camera body with class-leading AF and metering, and the result is a remarkable machine. Yes, it's expensive, but the only way to get better files is three times as expensive and not nearly as rugged."

"Things like microlenses and AA filters are getting better - the D3x seems to have an AA filter that few if any cameras can match (the amount of detail per pixel is remarkably high). I've used a variety of digital setups and film formats over the years (from the original Canon D30 - not 30D, the original 3 MP D30!) to the D3x for the past couple of weeks. My serious photographic work is fairly traditional landscapes, including quite a bit of work much closer in than many landscape photographers work.
Subjectively, here's how a list of cameras I know well come out (when I say low ISO film, I mean Velvia, Extachrome 100, Tmax 100, etc - not Tech Pan or other exotic ultra-fine definition films). When I'm comparing film to a digital setup, I'm referring to film scanned at 4000 DPI on a Nikon 5000 or 9000 (a consumer flatbed wlll have significantly less resolution, and an Imacon may do somewhat better, although the Nikons manage to scan grain, so an Imacon can't be that much better, except perhaps in dynamic range and other non-resolution factors). I shoot everything serious in RAW at maximum bit depth at or near base ISO, and I have rarely used any film faster than ISO 100. This is a rather random sampling of cameras I have owned or used extensively over the years.

Canon D30 (3 mp) - less resolution than low-iso 35mm film, but noise less than grain on 35mm film (overall IQ fairly similar to good 35mm film) - prints 6x9 inches very comfortably, 8x12 in a stretch. Dynamic range of low-DR slide film at 5-6 stops (nail exposures and be careful with subjects).

Sony 6 mp CCD (was in a ton of DSLRs for a while, still in Nikon D40) - resolution more or less equivalent to 35mm, prints a little bigger than I've ever been comfortable with from 35mm due to noise advantage, especially in its newer incarnations (8x12 easily, 11x17 possible). Dynamic range better than most slide films, not close to print film (in the range of 7 good stops).

Nikon D200 (10 mp) - resolution significantly better than 35mm (between 35mm and 645). Overall image quality approaching 645 (which I'd say still has the edge). Prints 11x17 easily, but 16x24 is a big stretch (I've done it, am not terribly happy with the results). Dynamic range similar to 6 mp sensor.

Canon EOS 1Ds mkII (16.7 mp) - resolution nearly equivalent to 645 film, with overall image quality probably slightly to somewhat ahead of 645. The first digital camera I have used that really plays in medium format (film) territory. Dynamic range improved over any previous digital camera I had used by at least a stop (8 or more really good stops in a raw file). Prints 16x24 fairly easily, but gives up before 24x36.

Nikon D3x (24.4 mp) - resolution well into medium-format territory, close to 6x9 cm scanned film (much sharper per pixel than 1Ds mkII due to improvements in sensor/AA technology). Overall image quality significantly better than scanned 6x9 cm Velvia! Dynamic range appears to be over 9 stops, maybe 10, while remaining completely noiseless. The only files I've seen that are definitively better are scans from large-format film. Prints 24x36 inches (a 25x enlargement) very comfortably, even examining the print from a few inches away. Files appear sharp and detailed on screen at 100%

I'm sure that MF digital is even better than the D3x (although I'd be surprised if the 30ish mp variety were a big jump). 60+ MP MF digital would be approaching well-scanned 4x5 film image quality very closely, if it carries at least the same amount of information per pixel as the D3x. The few Hasselblad H3D II/31 files I've seen are in a similar league to D3x files, with the Hasselblad's edge being roughly the resolution difference (20%). I have not seen a Hasselblad file with enough subject dynamic range to make a meaningful DR comparison (it's certainly not less than the D3x, and could be significantly more)."

So, if Canon has the right to sell the 1DsIII at near the price, Nikon seems to have the right to demand the same amount of money.  And if someone found the D3x price is too high, probably he or she does not need the tool of such caliber.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 04:35:46 AM by LEPING » Logged

Josh-H
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2009, 02:36:13 AM »
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My Goodness.. what a diatribe...

Good luck with all of that and the mission to convince the world of the D3x's superiority and value for money. I feel I should sell all my Canon gear right now and buy a d3X immediately. In fact maybee I should give away my 1dSMK3 instead of inflicting it on some other poor soul... I mean its never produced sharp images for me.... *shakes head*    

Edit - I probably shouldnt have bitten on this thread.. and I will probably be made to regret it in ensuing posts.. but it just came across all 'fan boyish' to me.

Edit - looking more closely at DigitalLoyds website who is quoted extensivley above - he says 'Buy a D3X by clicking on the link on my website for a free upgrade or some such to his subscription'. Any credibility or iimpartiality he may have had is effectivley naught seeing as he is pushing the camera to make money himself.

Off topic...And in all seriousness, And since I want to end my post on a positive note -  I think that there is some truly lovely landscape photography on your website. I spent some time there and very much enjoyed it.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 03:09:04 AM by Josh-H » Logged

dwdallam
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2009, 02:51:24 AM »
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It's not a diatribe, it's simply an advertisement. Someone please delete this crap. What a joke: pay for a review? Get real. If I were the moderator I'd delete this person's subscription. Then I'd go over ot X's "paid" review website and robot email and auto post his forums at 500 GB an hour until his server crashed or his host cut him off. Idiot.

This kind of thing pisses me off, coming at me right after I shuffle through 40 spam messages in my personal email.

If this is for real, then one sentence would suffice: Dx3 new king of pro cameras, pay for my review and you'll see why. And I'm really anticipating the review, as I always do, but this is over the top.

Pure Shit.

I really hope Micheal deletes this or locks the thread. Yeah just lock the thread to prevent censorship.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 02:54:37 AM by dwdallam » Logged

Leping
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 03:48:26 AM »
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In defense of the topic I have started:

1. Among the words I quoted, Dan's reviews are totally free, and right here in the LL forum.  Unfortunately he started the topic in a wrong forum and did not receive the due attention it deserves, to me.

2. I quoted Lloyd's because the other pro D3x review I am aware of, from BjÝrn RÝrslett, is also and completely a paid one:

http://nikongear.com/smf/index.php?topic=13106.0

3. As I mentioned, Lloyd reviews cameras from all the makes, Canon, Nikon, and Sony.  In his previous review (D3 vs. 1DsIII) he showed that D3 has much inferior resolution and the 1DsIII resolved tons more.  Now he is mentioning he is considering to sell his 1DsIII for a D3x, so at least he is convinced himself, hardly just a commercial plot.  The commercial links has been there in his site for many years, not just for the high-ticket bodies such as 1DsIII and D3x.

4. These paid reviews are all over the internet, including many often quoted by Michael (such as the Reid Reviews).  And Lloyd Chambers has been a long time contributor to Luminous Landscape: his paid review was first mentioned by MF on April 11, 2005:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/new/new-2005.shtml

5. Even in Lloyd's free blog site you can see clearly test examples of the resolution and noise advantages of D3x in comparison with 1DsIII.

6. From my point of view, there is no need to avoid paid reviews -- all the reviews you read in magazines and other publications are paid reviews.  Pros and testers need means to support their work and their families, just as we all do.

7. I am currently shooting a Canon 5D Mark II, but I am convinced enough so that I will probably buy a D3x.  Coupled with the far superior Nikon 14-24mm/f2.8 wide angle and the three new PC/E lenses plus the Carl Zeiss ZFs.  I am personally interested in the topic and debating my investment, and hence I found the subject interesting and believe it is interesting to the others.  I never buy anything thought Lloyd's links or anybody else's.  I do not offer paid tests or a blog site, but I do have access, and carefully test 5DsII, 1DsIII, Phase One P45, and D3x.  My preliminary conclusions happen to agree with the Dan's and the Lloyd's.  My not having my own D3x right now is purely from financial reasons.  And for sure I am keeping my Canon 5D and lenses.

8. The common say is that the Nikon ergonomics is better than the Canon and Sony.  But Lloyed had reached an opposite conclusion -- the D3/D3x UI designs are severely flawed, MLU, self-timer, and Live View, etc.  I feel the same way, say, the Nikon Live View is not reachable when the camera is 7.5" high on my tripod, while the 5DII's is, and easily.  However, still mainly shooting LF and MF chrome film, I really need something that gives me at least the Imacon scanned 645 slide film quality on 24x30 prints, which the 1DsIII/5DII came little short but the D3x is comfortable with (Dan's experiences and mine).

To mention but a few.  Please correct the misspelling of Michael Reichmann's name.

Leping Zha
Ph.D. in Physics

Quote from: dwdallam
It's not a diatribe, it's simply an advertisement. Someone please delete this crap. What a joke: pay for a review? Get real. If I were the moderator I'd delete this person's subscription. Then I'd go over ot X's "paid" review website and robot email and auto post his forums at 500 GB an hour until his server crashed or his host cut him off. Idiot.

This kind of thing pisses me off, coming at me right after I shuffle through 40 spam messages in my personal email.

If this is for real, then one sentence would suffice: Dx3 new king of pro cameras, pay for my review and you'll see why. And I'm really anticipating the review, as I always do, but this is over the top.

Pure Shit.

I really hope Micheal deletes this or locks the thread. Yeah just lock the thread to prevent censorship.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 04:13:17 AM by LEPING » Logged

jjj
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 07:04:56 AM »
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Quote from: LEPING
$8000 is not a small stack of money especially in today's economy. So how dare Nikon was to put up such a price tag for the new D3x?  Does they fall into a crack and totally out of the reality?

So there are complainers who swear they would never buy a D3x because of the price.  However, let's first face the fact that the Canon's flagship, the 1Ds Mark III, also retails at $8000, although they are routinely sold at discount since it has been on the market for a while.  But when it came out the price was the same so we can hardly say Nikon is too crazy.
The reason why people think it is crazy is that when the Canon came out it had no competition and being the first in a field is expensive. Now you have serious competition from 3 other cameras, 2 of which are waaaaay cheaper. So that is why people are shocked at the price, if it had been that price before the 1DsIII had come out, there would have been less kerfuffle. It's the timing of the price, not the price per se.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 07:05:17 AM by jjj » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 07:15:07 AM »
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Hi,

The "diglloyd DAP pages" are actually useful like the Sean Reid Reviews are. IMHO there is nothing wrong if you charge for reviews.

This quote is also taken from the same analysis as referred from the initial article:

"The Nikon D3x is the resolution champ here, and also on the resolution chart.

The extensive work and cross-checking involved in preparing this comparison taught me that a great many choices influence the perceived end result; while the 24.4MP D3x will always be obviously sharper than the 12.1MP D3, the 21.1MP Canon 1DsM3 images are so close to D3x resolution territory that adding a bit more sharpening, a different tonal curve, etc, can easily fool the eye into believing less is more. For that matter, a 0.1mm excess rotation of the lens barrel (focus) carves off multiple megapixels from the end result!

In short, choosing the D3x over the Canon 1DsM3 purely for resolution would be a mistake, especially with the near-certainty that Canon will one-up the D3x resolution before long. One should choose by evaluating image quality as a whole. Therein lies the real advantage of the D3x, at least to my eyes."

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: dwdallam
It's not a diatribe, it's simply an advertisement. Someone please delete this crap. What a joke: pay for a review? Get real. If I were the moderator I'd delete this person's subscription. Then I'd go over ot X's "paid" review website and robot email and auto post his forums at 500 GB an hour until his server crashed or his host cut him off. Idiot.

This kind of thing pisses me off, coming at me right after I shuffle through 40 spam messages in my personal email.

If this is for real, then one sentence would suffice: Dx3 new king of pro cameras, pay for my review and you'll see why. And I'm really anticipating the review, as I always do, but this is over the top.

Pure Shit.

I really hope Micheal deletes this or locks the thread. Yeah just lock the thread to prevent censorship.
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Slough
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2009, 07:22:43 AM »
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Quote from: jjj
The reason why people think it is crazy is that when the Canon came out it had no competition and being the first in a field is expensive. Now you have serious competition from 3 other cameras, 2 of which are waaaaay cheaper. So that is why people are shocked at the price, if it had been that price before the 1DsIII had come out, there would have been less kerfuffle. It's the timing of the price, not the price per se.

The reason people think the price is crazy is because most are probably pixel peepers and internet experts who can only see the sensor. To them all that counts is the pixel count and/or high ISO performance. Hence for these people it is over priced. Heck, you can get almost the exact same thing from Sony and Canon right? Give it a year or so and we'll see the D3x-lite (sic) whatever it is called at a competitive price to the A900 etc.

BTW everyone complained about the price of the Nikon 600mm F4 VR etc lenses. Now that demand has slowed, the price has dropped to the level of Canon equivalents, in the UK anyway. That's how the market works.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2009, 07:31:17 AM »
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Hi,

The "diglloyd DAP pages" are actually useful like the Sean Reid Reviews are. IMHO there is nothing wrong if you charge for reviews.

This quote is also taken from the same analysis as referred from the initial article:

"The Nikon D3x is the resolution champ here, and also on the resolution chart.

The extensive work and cross-checking involved in preparing this comparison taught me that a great many choices influence the perceived end result; while the 24.4MP D3x will always be obviously sharper than the 12.1MP D3, the 21.1MP Canon 1DsM3 images are so close to D3x resolution territory that adding a bit more sharpening, a different tonal curve, etc, can easily fool the eye into believing less is more. For that matter, a 0.1mm excess rotation of the lens barrel (focus) carves off multiple megapixels from the end result!

In short, choosing the D3x over the Canon 1DsM3 purely for resolution would be a mistake, especially with the near-certainty that Canon will one-up the D3x resolution before long. One should choose by evaluating image quality as a whole. Therein lies the real advantage of the D3x, at least to my eyes."

My guess is that the D3X is probably in the same league as the other 20+ MPixel DSLRs, significantly better than the D3 resolutionswise. Much is depending on lenses an area where different optics may shine, or not, independent of the manufacturers name on the lens barell.

Best regards
Erik
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2009, 07:50:42 AM »
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As someone that has now shoot with all three cameras extensively; four if you included the 1Ds MKIII, I can tell you that claims that one or the other is noticeably different than the others based solely on its sensor are fooling themselves. There are so many variable that if one wishes it would be trivial to bias any test one way of the other, depending on light levels, lens used, post processing and so forth.

Here's my considered opinion. The differences are mouse nuts. What are mouse nuts, you ask? Very, very very small, I reply.

Yes, there are differences in overall image quality between these three or four cameras. One will do better in very low light, another in high contrast situations. One will have wider dynamic range, and other a bit more resolution. But give me the raw files from each camera shot at the same time of the same subject and 9 times out of 10 I'll make 16X20" prints in a few minutes that will have you scratching your head over which is which. I've now done this little test so many times that people don't even come to the studio any more and pick up the challenge. They know that they'll end up buy the beer afterward almost every time.

The real differences come down to size, handling, lenses choices, features, support, cost etc. That's where the differences lie. Sure, one camera will have a slight edge in one extreeme performance area, and another in another. But on the main slope of the bell curve, they are more alike than they are different.

The rest is fan-boy fanaticism.

Michael






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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2009, 08:37:49 AM »
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Quote from: michael
Yes, there are differences in overall image quality between these three or four cameras. One will do better in very low light, another in high contrast situations. One will have wider dynamic range, and other a bit more resolution. But give me the raw files from each camera shot at the same time of the same subject and 9 times out of 10 I'll make 16X20" prints in a few minutes that will have you scratching your head over which is which.

Could it be that 16x22 is not large enough to tell them apart?

Regards,
Bernard

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A few images online here!
michael
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2009, 09:24:29 AM »
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Bernard,

That's roughly a 300PPI print from a 24MP camera. Go bigger and the PPI drops, which will start to be noticeable eventually and therefore one will have a hard time ascribing whether the image decline is due to one factor or another.

20X30" brings us down to 200PPI and at this point while nice prints can be made I don't think that the print is able to resolve the micro detail that the image might have to display.

That's why I do my on-print comparisons at 16X20 for a 21-25 MP camera. For a 40MP file a 20X24" print us used, and my guess is that once I start working with 60MP files from the Phase One P65+ next week 30X40" prints are going to have to become the evaluation norm.

Michael
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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 09:58:25 AM »
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Quote from: michael
The real differences come down to size, handling, lenses choices, features, support, cost etc. That's where the differences lie. Sure, one camera will have a slight edge in one extreeme performance area, and another in another. But on the main slope of the bell curve, they are more alike than they are different.

The rest is fan-boy fanaticism.

Michael

That sums it up very nicely, in 100 words or less, and for free.

Nuff said, but I'll toss this in:  

Walk away from the computer and carry your blooming camera gear 10 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week, 12 months a year, and you'll rate gear differently than at the keyboard.  There's a sincere difference between sufficient image quality for the need, and the weight of carrying something "better."
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 10:00:21 AM by Hank » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2009, 10:05:28 AM »
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Hi,

Sharpening may also play a role, it's not exactly easy to make two images with two different sensors and possibly different raw processing pipelines to yield identical gradation curves.

I would suggest that author of the original article severely overstated the tone of review he quoted. That review is still going on, BTW. I simply don't believe that we can reliably see small differences like 21 or 24 MPixel images, especially not if the images are optimally processed. Not that I'm a very experienced pixel peeper, but I know simple math.

Just as a note on the side, Mr. Chambers uses among other the Coastal Optics 60/4 APO macro lens in this test, probably the finest lens ever built for an SLR, with an almost 5000 USD price tag.

http://www.diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/Coas...60f4/index.html

He uses live view for focusing and a lot of other precautions. He is very careful to point out that even if the Nikon beats the Canon on this test the margins are very small. Mr. Chambers also tested the Sony Alpha 900 with the 135/1.8 which also beat the Canon 1SsIII, with a small margin. Without live view exact focus was really hard to achieve on the Sony.

Things like exact focusing and a well working and easy to use MLU are probably far more important than a couple of MPixels. A good reason for Michael Reichmann to pick on Canon and Nikon to make a decent MLU.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: michael
Bernard,

That's roughly a 300PPI print from a 24MP camera. Go bigger and the PPI drops, which will start to be noticeable eventually and therefore one will have a hard time ascribing whether the image decline is due to one factor or another.

20X30" brings us down to 200PPI and at this point while nice prints can be made I don't think that the print is able to resolve the micro detail that the image might have to display.

That's why I do my on-print comparisons at 16X20 for a 21-25 MP camera. For a 40MP file a 20X24" print us used, and my guess is that once I start working with 60MP files from the Phase One P65+ next week 30X40" prints are going to have to become the evaluation norm.

Michael
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« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2009, 11:24:29 AM »
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Quote from: michael
Yes, there are differences in overall image quality between these three or four cameras. One will do better in very low light, another in high contrast situations. One will have wider dynamic range, and other a bit more resolution. But give me the raw files from each camera shot at the same time of the same subject and 9 times out of 10 I'll make 16X20" prints in a few minutes that will have you scratching your head over which is which. I've now done this little test so many times that people don't even come to the studio any more and pick up the challenge. They know that they'll end up buy the beer afterward almost every time.

Michael

Michael, I'm sure the majority of us look forward to your camera reviews because we know you'll give us that rare balance between the objective and subjective. Plus, you then have the guts to use the cameras you like! Your too honest- we're going to have to send some men in black vans for you...ok, after you get back from Antarctica.  

In response to Mr. Zha, I don't think anyone doubts the excellence of the D3x, and it's great that Nikon has recaptured their former glory. Other-brand fanboys who had counted them out have been silenced. At least until another maker announces a camera with a slightly better sensor, in 6 months. And 6 months after that, Nikon trumps that sensor- ever-so-slightly, of course. The camera makers aren't stupid. They've hooked into our collective perfectionistic and keep-up-with-the-other-guy neurosis...they must feel like they've discovered the Alchemy of the Ancients: a way to turn silicon into Gold! (silly-CON?)

The only catch for Nikon and their D3x pricing is the world has changed over the past year, as we all know. No more easy credit, a market crash...did I mention housing and jobs? When that bubble popped, so did $8,000 dslrs. And that era isn't coming back, btw. I'm willing to bet Nikon and Canon can make plenty of profit from their flagship cameras even if they list them under $5k...which they will, and sooner than they think.

Meanwhile, I find myself lusting after an A900...not just for the sensor, but that beautiful viewfinder, and those darned nice Zeiss lenses...oh yes, and the in-body IS. See, just another willing victim of the Alchemists of Japan. Yet I'd much rather spend the $$ on an A900 system than a shrink.
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Leping
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« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2009, 11:52:45 AM »
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Sharpening plays not only a role but can be also the most crucial one, as I learned from Lloyd's D3 vs 1DsIII review a while ago, where the initial conclusion that the D3 images are abnormally soft to the pixel count was only bursted later from using a better RAW converter (RAW Developer, which again I have no connection to and paid for my copy) that happens to use a much better demosiasing algorithm than the ACR/LightRoom, and offers much better sharpening options, especially for the Nikon NEF files for us landscape photographers.

Michael has stated nicely that under the real world situation all the three new cameras performs very similarly, which I totally agree.  However, Lloyd's test is interesting because of that he is using the best optics under the ideal conditions, and comparing different RAW conversion and sharpening options viewed at 200% pixel level to see the differences (sharpening in conversion and upsampling in Photoshop, or no sharpening in conversion and do both in Photoshop, or let the RAW converters do the upsampling, etc.).  As well known, the popular ACR/LR RAW engine does not work very well to the NEF files, and going through about the worst route (ACR/LR sharpening, which is basically deconvolution based, and output 100%, Photoshop upsampling) results in much inferior LOOKING results at 200%, 100%, and 50% than the better route outcomes, such as doing capture sharpening in RAW Developer (RD) with the DoG (Differential of Gaussians) sharpening option with parameters like 0.27 radius, 350 amount, no noise reduction, and the sharpening NR at the minimum, and let RD output at near 200% (it has little bit advantage to use a non-interger factor here, for example, 193% for 24x36 at 300dpi for my 5DII files) followed very little bit of Smart Sharpening (0.3/100 for example) in Photoshop before the output sharpening(s).  Only under all the ideal lab conditions, RAW conversion, and super pixel-peeping, can one possibly pick, or simply prefer from the personal taste, one 21-25MP DSLR above the others, from the overall looking, artifact level, sharpness/acutance, noise, and luminal and chroma noise spectral characters.  And you can say the conclusions can be more personal preference or taste than hardcore science.

Anybody taking a look of my work sees that I am a perfectionist, but also a real world photographer not only a pixel peeper.  However, I have seen enough fine prints from my peers and master printers of our age, most from scanned film, to question the today's printing quality standards from digital sources, since I trust my own eyes to easily pickiing up problems and artifacts most of the "fine art prints" the other people rave about, just as my ears to tell the 192KHz/24bit digital or LP source apart from the AP3 128kbps.  It is correct that looking at not 100% but 50% in Photoshop tells more about the final print, but a lot of digital artifacts and the common over-sharpening sickness can be also readily picked up at 50%, if all is not carefully done.  Nevertheless, looking at 200% does make thinks considerately easier, and the ultimate quality level one can passibly reach with the capture engine of choice.

Acutance is not the only thing that makes great prints.  Even though Lloyd showed the D3x resolved nicely the 70 level on resolution chart against 1DsIII's struggling 60, that's what we expected from the pixel count and a weaker or possibly different kind of AA filter.  However, it seems what fascinated both Lloyd and Dan was the looking and cleanness of the D3x RAW files when processed appropriately, which was the original purpose of my initial post.  Just as in my comparisons I found the P45/P45+ backs do not offer really any higher pure resolution (Mamiya zoom optics in comparison with the best primes on the 21-25MP DSLR), but much smoother toner transitions that makes them highly attractive.

Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Sharpening may also play a role, it's not exactly easy to make two images with two different sensors and possibly different raw processing pipelines to yield identical gradation curves.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 11:55:17 AM by LEPING » Logged

Michael LS
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« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2009, 12:13:14 PM »
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Quote from: LEPING
Anybody taking a look of my work sees that I am a perfectionist, but also a real world photographer not only a pixel peeper.

That's for sure. I've visited your website many times. Your work is absolutely beautiful.
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jjj
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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2009, 01:35:40 PM »
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Quote from: Slough
The reason people think the price is crazy is because most are probably pixel peepers and internet experts who can only see the sensor. To them all that counts is the pixel count and/or high ISO performance. Hence for these people it is over priced. Heck, you can get almost the exact same thing from Sony and Canon right? Give it a year or so and we'll see the D3x-lite (sic) whatever it is called at a competitive price to the A900 etc.
I'm not a fanatical pixel peeper by any stretch of the imagination and certainly not a slave to the MP race. Yet I still thought it was a stupid price. I wouldn't have if it had been introduced 18months ago, it's the timing of the price.
I bought a 5D in preference to the 1DsII and bought an EOS-3 in preference to the EOS-1 as in both cases I bought the best camera for my [professional] needs, not just the most expensive  model. The handling of the two cheaper cameras was also much better [for me] and I still miss the EOS-3's eye control autofocus - the main reason I bought it.


Quote
BTW everyone complained about the price of the Nikon 600mm F4 VR etc lenses. Now that demand has slowed, the price has dropped to the level of Canon equivalents, in the UK anyway. That's how the market works.
But Nikon seem to ignoring the changed/changing market, which is why people questioned their sanity. It seems to be just the fanbois that don't think the pricing is abit daft/arrogant.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 01:37:21 PM by jjj » Logged

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petermacc
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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2009, 01:48:06 PM »
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Quote from: Josh-H
Edit - looking more closely at DigitalLoyds website who is quoted extensivley above - he says 'Buy a D3X by clicking on the link on my website for a free upgrade or some such to his subscription'. Any credibility or iimpartiality he may have had is effectivley naught seeing as he is pushing the camera to make money himself.

He basically said if anyone wants to buy the camera and does it through his site he will give them a free pass to the paid section of his site. I have seen many sites that do that. Hell, dpreview and others are worse than that. At least he is giving people who do want to get the camera a free item that they would not have gotten if they bought it straight from amazon. Places like David Busch's website links to amazon actually give better pricing than direct from amazon, I don't see how this detracts from the reviewers credibility. It gives them a chance to offer a better price to their readership than the retailer does right off. I won't complain about a chance to get a lower price.
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Plekto
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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2009, 02:33:30 PM »
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Considering how much printing lags behind camera resolution these days, exactly WHY do you need a 25MP camera?     This is the question I ask my friends when they are shopping for the latest toy.  With a typical 8 X 12 print in a normal Epson or similar printer, anything over about 10MP is just wasted pixels.  The D3x?  Roughly 11x17 at 400dpi dye sub(or inkjet equivalent) - and that's look at it 3-4 inches away quality.  That's as large as anyone typically would hand-hold a photograph or oversized album.  Mostly it'll get put on the wall where 200 or 300dpi would suffice.  Larger than that certainly is going on a wall.

As such, it is caught between a hard place.  True pros use larger formats(digital backs as a rule) and more pixels than that because they can afford to, and mostly, because they have the equipment to print large enough($5-10K+ on a large format printer).  The average consumer won't touch something like that and will flock to the Sony or other systems as they are cheaper and are overkill for anything they will print at home.  

This leaves the Nikon essentially with no market.  Pros are using better equipment and home users can't afford it the software, printers, and other goodies to realize the quality of the D3x.  Not when the camera itself blows their entire budget.  

Oops.

Sales seem to back this up as well - the A900 is flying off the shelves as is the older D3.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 02:41:16 PM by Plekto » Logged
KLaban
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« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2009, 02:50:54 PM »
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Just imagine if all of this angst was channelled towards making quality images rather than wasted on discussing image qualities.
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