One thing for sure. D800 will bring down price of medium format backs, which will be good for all of us.
And for many of us that is NOT only about resolution, but more about adequate resolution along with excellent color (especially skintones), tonal smoothness, hue smoothness, and a few esoteric qualities that make it "beautiful" to our eyes.
There is also perceived DR. I say perceived because engineering labs that test that sort of thing have I believe done the digital photographic industry a disservice by adhering to an absolute engineering definition of DR involving S/N ratio and noise floor. Especially when superior conversion software effectively removes a lot of that noise floor that limits the engineering DR values. What I'm saying is I can push the crap out of my MF files and they hold together amazingly well, and I have yet to see ANY DSLR file that can take half, let alone the same level of abuse (M9 withstanding, it's behaves impressively similar to an MF file).
PS: Wayne, interesting to hear about C... I will need a DSLR for a project later this summer, so am holding off a bit to see what happens. Right now the regular D800 with AA and a handful of Nikon primes is on my radar. I could probably use my DF kit, but most of what I need to do will be handheld and require me to carry all my gear around for the entire day. An M4/3rds would also probably cut it, but the D800 looks like a sweet-spot compromise between weight and file possibilties...
I think what is happening is folks don't know how the numbers translate into what we photograph. The quality we see can be easily explained by the fact the larger image area does not need the optics to work at such high frequency therefore the contrast is simply higher (the amplitude of the MTF increase as frequency decreases). Also with a given angle of view and aperture, the larger format will have a greater object-plane resolution because the entrance pupil is larger even as the object plane resolving power is the same. This also allows the lens designers for larger formats to emphasize contrast over resolving power in their design--having high resolution optics result in flatter images.
I think the science/"real world" dichotomy is a false one.
I am also far away from thinking, that the D800E or what else will come from Sony or Canon will be able to replace MFD, especially not >50MP. But I do assume it will come pretty close to any 40MP MFD solution. Why I think this is because the lack (or inversion) of the AA filter will bring a huge step forward in IQ, not only the sheer pixel count. I have experienced that fact with the Olympus E5 and this beast was really close to the D3X WRT IQ but having just 12MP, because of much more details being rendered. So the combination of high end Nikon glass (or Zeiss glass) together with the latest generation of sensors, the lack of AA filter and the high MP count make me really hope!
Will I sell my H System? Thought about it a short moment, but decided to keep it and upgrade to a higher MP count camera (than my H3D39) whenever CPO H4D50 or H4D60 will become available for a decent price.
Interesting times though ....
You may want this to see this as elitists defending their expensive gear with appeals to ineffable qualities, but that's not what's going on here at all. For that, you have to go to a Leica/Panasonic equivalent model thread.
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Guy has a good point, no one is trying to replace MFD, sometimes the workflow of a DSLR just works better in a particular situation. Try counting all the MFD cameras in use at at a major sporting event! I shoot MFD, but sometimes I really don't need it for specific shoots. That is determined on final print size. Having both of these formats to choose from, just makes good business without having to indulge.
Hasselblad offered up their 31 meg back on an H4 camera to entice those looking to move up in IQ over a 35mm DSLR ... however, if conventional wisdom prevails, the uninitiated may well select a D800 or (Canon's version when it gets here) over an entry level MFD ... then the MFDs will simply swim upstream ... $$$$$$! 50 or 60meg may be the entry point, and the top dogs will breech 100 meg. They have the sensor size to do that.
-Marc my words ...
The negative effects of diffraction apply to medium format just the same as 35mm...
And not to be picky but the original statement was that "Nikons AVAIALBLE lens are outresolved by the D700", it changes the record a little when you now say "MANY of Nikon's lenses" But to be fair, it wasnt your statement- just one you supported.
But seriously, Nikon's current Zoom lenses, let alone the Primes are not outresolved by the D700 and MANY of Nikons Zooms and most of their primes are not outresolved by the D3x.
But on the other side, we already had this discussion when top end MFD backs were reaching 39MP
Now, pixel peeping is a very common activity. However, it is also a useless activity if you are trying to understand what diffraction has on the final image--100% monitor view is not a real world viewing condition. Yes, in absolute terms based on pixel pitch, diffraction will be the same, but image quality is relative and the larger sensor will always come out ahead.
That principle isn't going to change ... every advancement in sensor design for 35mm will be met by sensor design for MFDs ... only the sensors will be twice as big.
BTW, bigger D800 files are available for down-load ... which you can go ahead and print if you want.
I don't think the uninitiated will base it on pixels, but instead on investment first, or perhaps what lenses they already own. Driving a wedge between these two market shares is exactly what Nikon, Canon, and Sony like, but Phase, and Hasselblad probably don't. It creates competition and better cameras. The point I think that's important, is that some choose to shoot MFD no matter what, it's an amazing camera system, but now we can have both... how cool is that?
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Last edited by johnnygoesdigital; 25th February 2012 at 18:15.
To me, the point is not wether
- 35mm will or won't replace DMF -
The point that the D800 (possibly E) and the D3x before it made is:
- 35 mm is now giving IQ and resolution high enough to be considered for some MF application, while offering body/ergonomics/speed of use/lens selection/accessories selection/flash control/size&weight/battery life/etc etc that are INCOMPARABLY better than ANY MF body/camera system out there.
So, if the only reason to use MF is squeezing that last bit of IQ out of one's images, IMHO 35 mm will very likely never make it. However, if one needs any of the above pluses of 35mm over DMF, the last generation of bodies/sensor combination is starting to get very, very appealing even for users used to or aiming to MF IQ.
MFD is already a compromise between quality, cost and usability. And if you want to use a DSLR type body on it you have to use a FrankenBody with a shutter like a barn door in the wind, no really sharp wides and no real telephotos because they'd be too huge. Otherwise you go for a technical cam and end up fighting colour casts and using a focus method that hasn't changed much since the 1800s.
So I think what those who are most interested in these high pixel count 35mm size sensor DSLRs are saying is: "I want smaller, lighter, cheaper, cameras and lenses that offer Live View, quiet, slap-free shutters, high frame rates, clean high ISO but I also want resolution that allows a 40" print. Maybe Video too. I want all this without making significant sacrifices to noise, DR, perceived acuity and colour depth."
The weasel word here is significant. It is up to the individual photographer to judge what (s)he is losing and gaining in all these trade offs according to how they interpret that word. If in a variety of 40" prints I can't see a substantive difference between the D800e and the IQ180 of course I will sell my IQ180. Without question! Provided of course I am happy that I have an equivalent selection of glass and we all know that might be the problem.
I have read the LL report where various luminaries couldn't tell prints from MFD and a variety of smaller form factors and whilst I would like to flatter myself into thinking that I would be able to, I'm not delusional: if they couldn't, I probably couldn't. It's not enough to have shivers of joy when looking at a file 100% on screen - that is nice but it is a solitary pleasure.
So at some point a number of MFDB users will certainly jump ship. That point will be when a DSLR 'gets there' for them and that day is clearly getting closer, whether or not the D800 is its harbinger.
I had an S2 for a while, the first one in the UK. Great camera. I got rid of it because it fell between the stools, for me. I am not price sensitive, I just want the right balance of usability and quality and I feel that balance shifting in my favour.
What is an MFD application? I can use any camera for any application. There really is no 35mm sensor that is limited by print size. So if you can make any size print from today's 35mm camera, then what is the comparison?
So everything is good enough.
The conversation implies an idea there is an objective IQ definition where an IQ level can be determined to be sufficient. If that were the case then we would have stopped improving photographic technology long ago.
This is not about whether the D800 is going to be a fine camera, it will be. This is a hypothesis on whether one imaging system is equivalent to another solely on the fact that it has the same number of pixels. If you think that, I can save you a lot of money as the Sony DSC-TX200 series compact camera has the same number of pixels as Canon's new flagship 35mm DSLR.
A better topic would be to compare this camera to other 35mm sensors. An analogy between this new crop of 35mm digital cameras would be comparing film 35mm cameras with different resolution films. A fine grain film never turned a smaller camera into a bigger one.
As far as Nikon lenses go, dividing an image into more pixels does not make an image less sharp. If your lens gives you sharp images on your current 35mm DSLR, putting it on a D800 will not change that.
I seriously thought the same thing when I was shooting a 31meg H3D-II and got the D3X ... Remember, at the time those were the relative comparisons. Yes faster AF which was expected, but it wasn't just the file size, it was the look and feel that couldn't be matched, post was harder with the D3X, and retouching was easier with the H3D-II/31 ... and so on.
If you read the Nikon technical bulletin on the D800, as well as the blog post linked to here, it becomes clear that as the resolution moves upward into this realm, this 35mm camera leaves behind the traditional 35mm DSLR performance strengths ... you have to slow down to realize that resolution.
The 35mm aspects you mention are indeed strengths, but not exclusive. Almost all of my 35mm DSLR duties have been taken over by the S2. The ergos and simplicity of operation are better than any 35mm DSLR I've used, the battery life murders all of them, the lenses are better, and the sensor bigger. The only thing I need a 35mm DSLR for is stuff the D800 can't do. I'm more of a candidate for a 1DX or hopefully a high ISO FF Sony.
What I DO think is happening, it that the photography business is in a ww depression ... and actual standards and demand have declined. IMO, that is the strongest argument as to why this relatively inexpensive, but high performance camera will succeed.
There is always this sort of chomping at the bit and rush to buy with anything relativity unique when announced ... witness the 24 meg Sony NEX7 touted as the M9 killer ... then it was a nice M9 supplement ... then it started showing up in the F/S listings. The reality never seems to match the hype.
Having been a very slow learner, it has taken me forever and a lot of cash to immunize myself from this.
BTW, personally, I am far more interested to see how the D800 stacks up against other 35mm DSLRs than verses MFD. How will it do for what most people use a 35mm DSLR for? What is the real world difference between this and my 24 meg Sony A900? Against the 1DX in normal shooting conditions?
I have to sharply take exception to the statement that D700 outresolves current Nikon lenses. That's just a complete erroneous statement. Any sub-$100 50/1.8 maxes out even D7000 resolution which has same pixel pitch as D800.
Here's some more food for thought from Ctein:
The Online Photographer: Why 80 Megapixels Just Won't Be Enough...
I stand by my previous point
Possibly. A couple of points, for Nikon shooters this isn't about going from 24mp to 36, it's about going from 12mp to 36. those that needed/wanted more resolution switched to 5D Mark 2's (my store has a lot of them). Nikon never really moved that many D3x cameras in relation to other models. So for Nikon this is important to win back some of their loyal base who were forced to switch because they refused to put their 24mp sensor in a less expensive body. For Nikon shooters this Is a big difference, but even for those with 5D mark 2',he difference is a 31% increase in linear resolution ... pretty significant.There really isn't much difference at all between 24.5 and 36 MP.
Yep. because they've gotten close to what hey regard as MF (40mp) they make the claim, but there's a lot more to it.I also find it rather funny what Nikon claims MF quality with this camera.
There is a lot more to different formats than the amount of pixels.
The only real test is if someone shoots real world images with a d700, d800, 5D mark2, 5Dx (if it shows up), and an S2, IQ140, 160, and 180 or Hassie equivalents. Shoot some stopped down for depth of field, at optimum settings for minimal diffraction, and work with them to get the best 40x60 print you can, hang em on a wall and take a look (none this "appropriate" viewing distance stuff, if you go there my iPhone would probably be fine).
Bottom line, the better the resolution, the bigger you can print with stitching, or the more you can crop. But for some of us, we're not even happy with the IQ180, and stitch it frequently. Sorry, but a 80" pano needs a lot of resolution.
The perfect sensor will be the one like a retina display, pixel pitch so fine no lens can be created to out resolve it. (assuming lenses made of glass, there are other technologies which use the electromagnetic properties to control and focus the light much better than optical glass does but they aren't currently practical for what we do).then the resolution will be lens based ... as you sharpen to dial out diffraction, you get the same thing you would have had with a lower resolution sensor. The lens sets the resolution limits, not the sensor (we're talking 100mp on a dSLR, maybe 3 times that on a MF).
How can we make a rational choice for a creative process?
If you want the system that gives the bast bang for the buck, it would be an APS-C system. The quality should be good enough for most applications. It will give great AF, a large system (larger than 35mm), wonderful power use, low cost, and widely available. That would be sufficient.
Somehow, i don't think we are going to get anyone here to jump, though.
I don't think I would be going out on a limb to say the folks here are not looking for something that is sufficient. For the type of work Avedon did, which was just reproduced in magazines, I would think 35mm would have been fine, but he shot 6x6 and 8x10. The format was irrelevant? Did it matter that the camera did not have a huge choice of focal lengths?
35mm is also very practical for most of my work. But it would not replace the documentary work I did with a Horseman SW612. There is no comparison. I have met lots of people who have told me that a 6x12 pano camera cannot be used for handheld documentary work. Just as a 6x17 camera cannot be used for the same kind of work--just don't tell Josef Koudelka.
Now, if you were giving general advice to someone starting in the business, then the D800 would be a great choice. It would be "good enough" for many things. But I think suggesting to photographer with a great deal of experience with different formats and systems that the D800 should be "good enough" for them is going a bit too far simply because it has the same number of pixels.
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
I think the subject is a bit misleading... 35mm will never be "as good as" MF - simply because they will never look the same. The lenses have completely different design parameters. Someone obsessed with the look of MFD will never consider 35mm "as good as" whatever MF it is they prefer.
However, there's a different angle: a LOT of excellent photographers actually prefer 35mm over what they might consider characterless, overly bland and too-perfect MF. If MF is a cream puff, then 35mm is a samosa. Sweet vs savory. There are proverbial truckloads of photographers out there who want a "big 35mm image". Instead of shooting MFD and then processing to give it spunk they can dump their MF gear, buy into the D800 at 1/5-1/10 of the proceeds from the sale, and get files that require far less work in post - for their intents. And the D800 is only the beginning; next up is Sony, and I'm sure Pentax and Canon will follow suit.
If I were a in any way involved in the MFD food chain I'd take the D800 very, very seriously...
- I like the normal FOV (70mm on the S2/ 50mm on ff) and neither the Nion 50/1.4G nor the Sigma 50/1.4 are anything close to the Leica 70mm.
-simple user interface - its nice to have many functions (like the Nikon) but it can also get confusing sometimes-plus you have to ask yourself which functions you really need/use
-viewfinder (maybe the most important part of a camera besides the sensor?) even though I assume the D800 viewfinder is quite good - mf-viewfinders are even larger
-lens-options - depends a lot on your needs. A wildlife/birding shooter needs long tele-no question. I am coming from 14mm - 400mm in the Nikon system - many zooms etc.; but yo can do soo much with just 3 or 4 primes. I now sometimes even carry just 2 lenses. but I guess it depends on the application.
-for some reason which I can not explain technally I just prefer the images from ccd without AA over cmos. I dont know, but this has also been vali for smaller sensors like the Leica dmr/M8 and also the M9. So its not a sensor size question (not just).
It is different for each of us. There is the theory of a system, and there is the reality ... what we actually need and actually use verse what the marketers and internet discussions tell us we need ... then we in turn use to argue our points ... but would rarely use most of what is argued for as being essential.
Of course, there are those who may actually need all this stuff, but that isn't the point is it? They are a minority. And, yes, the 35mm DSLRs have expanded their diverse nature ... but that has been true for a long time.
As to the S2 beyond IQ, in fact I mentioned the superior S2 ergonomics, the simple fast operational interface as well as the battery life (which is much longer than my D3 ever was BTW). The tether speed is just fine, I use it all the time.
Since the S2 is focal plane camera, you can adapt a lot of lenses to it ... including a MF fisheye that'll beat the snot out of any 35mm version, Schneider T/S, 500mm Zeiss lens, and so on ... in fact a Leica R long tele has been adapted ... plus great lenses like the Zeiss 110/2FE ... Leica even makes the adapter for V lenses. (all of which I have no use except maybe the Schneider T/S).
As to use of lighting, the S2 has a dedicated speed-light that features HSS for snaps and fill, it's just as good as the SB900s I used. I have extensively used the Nikon CLS and IMO, most of the time it was sending a boy to do a man's job. All this use of wimpy speed-lights has been heavily promoted by the companies and highly skilled spokespersons. I'm also immune to that sales pitch now, no matter what brand. IMO, if you want to light something ... light it!
Again, nothing against any of this ... people are going to do what they want no matter what.
My perspective is different than trying to do everything with one thing ... I judge a camera for what it does well, not just what it can't do. Works for me.
Marc ...Please I bought your D3X and most of the zeiss glass . I was pretty happy until now. My perspective is based on surely a different cut regarding what elements of performance are most important . Just for accuracy ...the new nano coated Nikon G primes came out after I purchased the D3X from you . I find them materially better than the prior versions of the 24,35,85 1.4 lenses . Most notably they don t have that yellowish tint of the older Nikon glass. I do agree with many of your comments just not the overall evaluation of the D3X .
My experience with the D3x color and post processing is not unlike what has been reported . It can be difficult and in some situations I found it almost impossible to get the greens where I wanted them. I have generally chalked this up to not spending the time to use NX2 or to develop the calibration and presets for Lightroom . BUT... Most of the time I am quite happy with the results . The files themselves have a smoothness that reminds me of film . Color saturation is pretty great and DR at low ISO is superb.
OK compared to what ? I have shot almost side by side comparisons of the area around the Juno Beach Pier with the S2 . On a tripod mirror up at f5.6 into scenes that have tons of fine deal and at the same time smooth tonal transitions in the sky and water . The S2 is in a different league altogether and you can see it in a minute (any size display) its that obvious . Yet The D3X file with Zeiss glass looks fantastic and I am sure a photographer that has great post processing skills could put me to shame . The S2 is better and for many applications would be my first choice . But I shot the US Open Tennis with both the S2 and the D3x ....no contest ..the D3X has excellent AF,AE handles a ton better etc etc.
Then I have D7000 that Carolyn uses for event photography . When I got it I shot similar stuff with the zeiss glass. This is similar sensor technology to the new D800 . The ability to resolve fine detail ..apparent at 100% was really excellent . What I can t see easily is how the larger file and the new camera processor affect the results with the D800 . The point here is that this sensor is better than the D700 or the D3 .
The new Nikon glass is a real step up . If you have never shot the new 70-200 VR2 then you don t know . The old version would be unacceptable in the context of this discussion but the new version holds up well to both the Zeiss and Leica R glass. Since I can shoot the new Nikon glass,the zeiss zf glass and some of the Leica R glass on a D3x I am in a position to know the differences . No question some of the Nikon glass begins to disappoint even on the D3X . But the glass is getting better from both Zeiss and Nikon . For example the Zeiss 21/2.8 Zf.2 is already considered by many the best performing wide angle on a 35mm format (see diglloyd). Most people would be happy with the 105/2.8 micro AF and the fast primes give you F1.4 . Couple that with decent ISO1600 and there will be situations where the D800 could perform better .
I do agree 100% that the D800 even the nifty E version will not rival the the IQ from MF but it makes up a lot of ground in extending the range of subjects it could cover . Good glass is important you could easily see that when the M8 went to the M9 ...the older glass still had its character but the new glass performed even better. You could see flaws at 18MP that were not apparent at 10MP. I expect the same with the new Nikon s .
My conclusion is a safe one ..it depends on what you plan to shoot and how you plan to go about it.
i think these comparisons get off track; they really should boil down to:
there is no question that a larger sensor and better firmware will produce better results.
there is no question that the best optics will produce better results.
some optical viewfinder/mirror cameras just work better than others; IQ, sensor size notwithstanding
some camera systems have more options than others
Now to be fair we have to keep this in context ... my comparison you're responding to was at the time verses what MFD I had at that time ... the 35mm comparison was based on difficulty post processing a LOT of work where babying files is a real PITA. Fact is, the Sony immediately solved all that ... but before I let go of the D3X, I shot it side-by-side with a A900 for a whole wedding season until I was satisfied with the robustness of the Sony for wedding work ... robustness was never a question with the Nikon. The lenses were the usual wedding duo of nano coated lenses ... 14-24, 24-70 ... and a 70-200 (which I rarely ever used, preferring the 200/2 VR for longer work). The Zeiss ZF optics were nice, but not practical for my application of a 35mm DSLR. In fact, I'm done with manual focus except the M.
I have no doubt that shooting tennis is 35mm DSLR territory ... stuff like that is why I maintain a 35mm system ... but most that stuff isn't 36 meg territory either. I think it is a shame that a true D700 successor wasn't developed ... a smaller bodied FF 18 meg 16 bit robust camera with high ISO and speed as its middle name. BTW, a zillion other wedding shooters wish the same thing.
But it's not just about MF users jumping ship; it's also about the many many serious 35 FF shooters teetering on the brink of the MF precipice who are going to take a step back and think again.
Just this guy you know
I don't care what gear I have.
Things I sell: http://www.shutterstock.com/sets/413...html?rid=61105
Or ...They consider this or that to be (fill in blank) ... who is they?
It sounds to me like you are editorializing about your opinion masked as a majority opinion of a nameless group.
"If I were in any way involved in the MFD food chain ..." clearly says that you aren't. So it stands to reason those that are involved have some applications that require the MFD gear they use, and you apparently do not. Fact is, most MFD users also use 35mm DSLRs, It isn't an either/or situation ... they use what is appropriate.
Personally, I DO take the D800 seriously ... as a 35mm DSLR, not a substitute for my MFD system which I have for a reason. When the reason goes away, so will the MFD ... but so would the need for a 36 meg DSLR as an "almost can" substitute.
This time again it'll be a choice selection of Zeiss, new G primes and PC-E lenses only. With the exception of the 14-24 which is frankly an absurdly good lens, no zooms this time.
The DF remains, as does the Alpa and the MFDBs. I see no reason for an either/or situation. I prefer the AND choice for now. I suspect that my new camera will probably arrive in July/August given the mad rush of pre-orders ahead of me.
I will use both and be happy to have the opportunity to do so...
Btw, I foresee a prime Nikon glass drought ahead. Anyone realistic about the D800's capabilities is probably wise to snap up the good G primes, 45 & 85 PC-E and Zeiss glass now. Ditto the 14-24 & 70-200 VR II.