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Thread: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

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    Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    I recently got a D3 and I am trying to decide whether or not to sell my DMR. I also borrowed a 5D and 35/1.4L, and used my M8.

    So: D3 with 24-70 at 38mm, 5D with 35/1.4L, M8 with 28/2 and 25/2.8 ZM, and DMR with 28-90mm at 28mm.

    All were at f/4 and the camera's base ISO. Rather than post separate crops of every single image, I took a screen shot of them all open on center.


    As you can see, there is not much to choose between them. The DMR has a little less exposure than the others, but it has the highest native contrast. There is also moire in the finest details. Surprisingly, the 28-90 had rather visible distortion compared to the 24-70mm lens. That said, the 24-70 was at 38mm to get the same angle of view, so I am not going to penalize the 28-90 until I can compare them on film at the same focal lengths.
    Also, the 2mp difference between the DMR and M8 versus the 5D and D3 is pretty much invisible. The extra pixels don't seem to make much of a difference.

    The most apparent thing in this very basic test was that you should choose on the basis of handling and features rather than sheer image quality for most situations. All of these cameras can make a great file. Granted I know that this is an extremely simple test and that there are more tests of optical quality -- certainly bokeh, distortion and edge to edge sharpness factor in, but this is a start. One thing that is important to consider is that the D3 holds this file quality from ISO 200 until well into the thousands, whereas the optimal file quality of the other cameras runs out earlier...above 400 for the DMR, above 640 for the M8, and above 1000 or so for the 5D. It will also pump out this file quality at 9fps with very fast AF. That said, there are times when the small size of the M8, along with its unobtrusiveness will be highly preferred.

    Anyway, I still need to do a lot more tests, but it looks like the D3 will effectively take over the DMR's role, while adding a lot of functionality over it. Now I just need to get to the gym and start doing some more wrist exercises...the thing is a monster!

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Just for clarification, on the top row, it is Nikon, DMR, Canon. The second row is M8 with 25, then M8 with 28.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    To my eye, the DMR blows all the others away.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post
    To my eye, the DMR blows all the others away.
    i have to agree completely with Maggie -- no comparison. DMR all the way!

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Well folks one of the issues is that 28-90 that Stuart has is just flat out killer sharp , it actually was mine. But the fact is any lens up against it will have a serious hard time pulling that resolution. And 28mm is one of it's best focal lengths. Not to say the DMR is not good far far from it. It still is and always has been best in it's class no question. But as you all know and Stuart does also these comparison are extremely tough to do and takes a load of hard work and you need to match lenses of equal strengths and than process fairly according to AA filters and all that stuff and if Stuart did it all to best he can without any variables he would shoot himself in the head before he finished. It's a freaking nightmare to do but on the surface yes the DMR does look the best and I salute him for posting this because all out wars have broken out on threads like this. I think i have been in a few myself. ROTFLMAO

    But I would still love to see Stuart try some more test out and really like to see how the D3 comes up to the gold standard of the DMR and if it is close than Nikon really pulled one out of the hat.

    Seriously any Nikon D3 owner would be thrilled to see the D3 pull in close to the DMR and with it's high ISO's than they would know they have a winner in there hands.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Stuart is that the new 24-70
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Yes Guy, it is. I should note that these are out of ACR without any adjustment. I just put all the sharpening at 0 and set the color balance for daylight. One thing that does not show up well in the screen capture is that the DMR has moire in the text. It also has more color fringing in different parts of the image. Give me a second and I will process the images in a more realistic way.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Here are two more images.

    Here is the D3 overall:

    And the DMR overall:

    And the D3 central crop:

    DMR central crop:


    These are both processed in ACR, not really to match each other, but to what looked good to my eye for both files. The one thing I noticed right away was the distortion in the DMR image. Look at the doorframe and the bookshelf. This is one problem that comes from using small sensors -- the wider angle lens to get an equivalent angle of view, the more distortion. The Nikon only needs 38mm, while the DMR has to use a 28mm. Anyway, this is only the first test.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    I can see the Moire in the DMR. Still looks like the DMR has that edge in resolution and more contrast .
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Also looks like the DMR is holding the highlights better . Left white book, and agree more distortion in the 28-90
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    I wouldn't read too much into the highlights...the DMR was about 3/4 of a stop underexposed...I had to boost it, so it would make sense that it would have more highlight detail. It could be (and probably is) the fact that I just bought it, but the D3 looks like it has more detail...especially given the moire in the DMR files. But the fact is that these differences would be invisible in real life. All this test tells me is that on a tripod at their lowest ISO's, their performance is very very close. I will continue to evaluate however. I am particularly interested in testing the 24-70 and 28-90 on film.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Thanks Stuart that helps knowing that about exposure.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Well a little sharpness addition to the D3 will be needed also because of the AA filter.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Stuart - surprised you think the D3 is heavier in the hand than the DMR...

    I guess also that the behaviour of long time users of Leica R underlines the need for Leica to move to autofocus as well as a full frame sensor...personally I dont know if I need my high priced Leica glass to work on a new body designed to take auto focus lenses..and join another buying frenzy - for what gain..in comparison to my MFD gear..especially

    On the other hand the comparisons show ( once again) that the DMR's old tech holds up well against newer cameras at the ISO you were testing anyway..

    Really are there any 'bad' cameras out there these days? I think not.

    I keep getting so surprised at the quality of file i get straight out of the camera from my M8 and the DMR - MUCH less work required to get colour correct for example..and the M8 shots with M glass really POP..( freakish good quality) which resolution tests dont really show off I guess..

    So may variable for Leica to have to battle these days - now that the new front has been openned by the Nikon D3 re ISO wars LOL - and what lenses am i shooting on teh D3?..two Zeiss lenses - fully manual...!!!

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Me too Peter I have 3 Zeiss lenses for the d300. We must be nuts
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Both look awfully good, but I think I like the DMR's colors, contrast and drawing a wee bit more than the Nikon.

    Great CD collection, Stuart!

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    I think the DMR is best too, but the 5D is clearly better than the D3...
    Jack
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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    I love it when Jack and I agree!

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Me too Peter I have 3 Zeiss lenses for the d300. We must be nuts
    Guy,

    I walked in to my long term dealer's wanting to switch to Canon 1Dmk111 from my curent 1DSMK11 for long tele work ( NO MORE LEICA R GLASS FOR ME) - and all the guys there basically said you are nuts to risk the lousy autofocus ...a lot serious users are switching to Nikon for tele work ( high ISO no focus issues.new lenses) ..

    so being me I bought the D3 ( toss up between it and D300 actually)


    The Zeiss glass 28 /100 - is superb, although the Zeiss 100 is tricky to nail focus wide open..yeah we are mad maybe perfectionists..

    I may pick up a 200 VR soon depending on user experiences...and maybe a mid focal length zoom..24-70 ? no interest in the super wide ..I am covered there in MF and R and Schneider.

    LOL - now I wont sell my Canon because I think it is a great universal mount system for crazy glass..etc

    I really have too many cameras and lenses and now even a Leaf Aptus 75 and H1 body which have become pretty much redundant to my uses..because I bought an H3D-31 from Marc...

    want a great deal on a Leaf back ??



    yep crazy..

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Damn it is for a Hassy.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I can see the Moire in the DMR. Still looks like the DMR has that edge in resolution and more contrast .
    Take a look at the white and black text under Pen America on the lower right of the crop. To me the D3 is showing it's extra resolution advantage. I can make out most of the text on the D3 but on the DMR it's pretty much a blur due to the moire and slightly lower resolution. On the black text: "A JOURNAL FOR WRITERS AND READERS", I can make it out on the D3 but pretty difficult to make out on the DMR - don't see any moire in this particular text. Either way, pretty close.

    Greg

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Damn it is for a Hassy.
    You can have teh mount changed to suit a mamiya Guy- easy peazy!
    want me to do it? LOL

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    I have used all 4 systems tested over the past year. My order based on pure image quality DMR,M8,D3 and 5D with R glass (tied)and finally 5D with Canon glass. This isn t a scientific blind test but based on looking at 1000s of images taking in similar situations. For example , I shot spring training with all 5 alternatives. Same light same Cardinal RED uniforms. Shot the same location beach scenes etc. The wild card in this type of testing is the in camera creation of the RAW file. The DMR files have great contrast ,saturation and tone separation with a straight lightroom/ACR conversion . The M8 is close but the difference is enough that in many cases....I can sort images and pick out the DMR files as better. The D3 and 5D files need more work to achieve their best. I am sure that someone with strong skills in raw conversions can make them very close. The wildcard for me is the potential for an R10....OK it may be another year,it may disappoint and it may not use the existing R glass. But everytime I changed to Nikon or Canon....I eventually sold them and came back to the Leica M and R systems. So really two points (raw conversion may alter your results) and (R10 may have a more dramatic performance edge).

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    I just want to say thanks to Stuart for taking the time to make these tests. (And by extension, to everyone else who does this kind of testing.) I just plain don't have the Gene for that kind of methodical testing but I am a lucky beneficiary of the results.

    The thing that stands out for me is just how similar the results are. Working pros will require the nuances offered by the different systems for various reasons. But my sense is that if you own any one of these current systems, you have at your disposal some of the very finest image making equipment currently available. If you happen to own them all, as Stuart does, then you must have some seriously good Karma built up!

    Thanks Stuart!

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    Re: Extremely quick comparison of D3, DMR, 5D and M8 at around 35mm equivalent

    I agree with Roger 110%. I can easily pick out DMR shots from M8 shots, and even easier from N/C files. I went a step further and made custom ICC camera profiles for C1 for both of the Leicas. For me, this has made a big difference. I'll get around to making a profile for the D3 with ZF glass, but haven't had too much time on my hands these days.

    David

    PS - I miss my DMR. It was stolen back in January.
    David Farkas
    Leica Store Miami

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