Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: ErikKaffehr on May 01, 2012, 11:31:21 AM

Title: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on May 01, 2012, 11:31:21 AM
Hi,

This is really a question to those with real experience of the Nikon D800/D800E. In a sense the Nikon D800 changed the world as it is the first time Nikon has an "affordable" full frame camera with a high resolution sensor. Little doubt that the new sensor is the best of the full frame sensors of today.

My question is: Is the new Nikon sensor a giant leap forward or just a significant gradual improvement over it's predecessor and competitors.

My take is that the resolution advantage is about 21% a significant advantage, like printing 20.6" instead if 17". DR is improved about one EV at minimum ISO (that's a lot of improvement). But these are the numbers. What is the visual difference between a D3X and a D800, or a Sony Alpha 900 and a D800?

Best regards
Erik
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: EgillBjarki on May 01, 2012, 11:42:30 AM
Nikon has impressed, that much is clear. I think that they have improved the world, but not changed it.

They are pushing the envelope, they have set a new bench mark for others to reach.

But there is nothing really changed. There can still be made stitches and multiple exposures. This is just a tool, but it is a very powerful tool, medium format becomes more difficult to justify in my book...
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on May 01, 2012, 11:50:04 AM
Hi,

Well, yes and no. I have seen a comparison between Leica S2 and Nikon D800 on Lloyd Chambers DAP site, and the Nikon came out on top in my view.

But there is MF and there is MF. I guess that an 80 MP MF back with an excellent lens will outperform the Nikon D800, if optimally used.

Best regards
Erik



... medium format becomes more difficult to justify in my book...
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Guillermo Luijk on May 01, 2012, 11:50:23 AM
I think this movement was expected. It's natural and it's happening in all camera ranges.

As digital imaging technology improves (particularly digital sensors), having a compact camera is more difficult to justify if your smartphone produces decent enough pictures for your travel, family and friends shooting without the need to carry extra devices. Buying a low end DSLR is more difficult to justify if your mirrorless camera can produce high quality prints for the advanced amateur, without the need to carry such a heavy and bulky gear. Moving to medium format is more difficult to justify if you have more affordable, fast and light FF DSLR cameras like the D800 providing tons of good Mpx at a fraction of the cost.

It's a whole move upwards in the digital photography pyramid, as lower formats are reaching the quality standards that previously required moving to upper floors.

Regards
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Dustbak on May 01, 2012, 12:13:56 PM
Let me see..... I have picked up my copy of the D800e last weekend. Did it change the or my world? No, not really. It is just a tool!!! Nothing more or less. It does what it is supposed to do.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Rob C on May 01, 2012, 01:07:49 PM
Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.


Unless you mean in personal terms, of course!

When I was young I had tons of resolution and was the most dynamic person I wanted to know...

Effed up the eye-hospětal visit: got there to realise it was the wrong day... how's that for dynamic? I now resolve to get up at 7am again tomorrow and try again.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: M.Piq on May 01, 2012, 01:23:04 PM
Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.


That's it! :-))))
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: M.Piq on May 01, 2012, 01:29:45 PM
Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
So oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
Oh lord won't you buy me a color TV
Dialing for dollars is trying to find me
I wait for delivery each day until 3
So oh lord won't you buy me a color TV
Oh lord won't you buy me a night on the town
I'm counting on you lord, please don't let me down
Prove that you love me and buy the next round
Oh lord won't you buy me a night on the town
Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
So oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: LKaven on May 01, 2012, 01:41:32 PM
My question is: Is the new Nikon sensor a giant leap forward or just a significant gradual improvement over it's predecessor and competitors.

My take is that the resolution advantage is about 21% a significant advantage, like printing 20.6" instead if 17". DR is improved about one EV at minimum ISO (that's a lot of improvement). But these are the numbers. What is the visual difference between a D3X and a D800, or a Sony Alpha 900 and a D800?

Erik, my take on the D800 is that it is an incremental step forward in technology that happens to have crossed a more significant psychological threshold, several in fact.  

1) It challenges widely held misconceptions about the utility of "small pixels" and the difference between 'per pixel' response, and response 'per unit area of the sensor,' and the implications for low light response.  The D800 smashed the faulty conventional wisdom.

2) It provides a sufficient amount of MTF at high frequencies, total MTF carried through to small print sizes, that one can clearly see enhanced rendering of fine textures and detail, including hair, fabric, and skin, as well as leaves and branches.  One is thereby also able to provide detailed portraits where the subject takes up only a minority of the frame.

3) It can make an exhibition-sized print without perceptible compromise.

On this second point, we can compare at 16MP and 24MP resolutions.  Considered in a standard headshot resolution, the 16MP cannot entirely render fine hair and skin textures.  The 24MP is at the threshold of fine hair and skin, with only very slight fragmenting.  At 36MP one can entirely cover hair and skin even when the subject does not fill the frame. At 36MP one also begins to excel with grass and twigs; architectural details appear detailed yet smooth.  
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 01, 2012, 01:54:09 PM
It has changed the levels of expectation for what a 24x36mm format camera, film or digital, is technically capable of.
I suspect it is changing  the 2012  financial outlook for Canon, and both current and future  Phase One, Leaf, and Hasselblad finances.
People will start printing larger or having larger prints made.
Has it changed photography? not really.
If you are a professional photographer if you don't have one ( or something similar) you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage - it depends on your client's needs.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Fine_Art on May 01, 2012, 03:31:18 PM
I think this movement was expected. It's natural and it's happening in all camera ranges.

As digital imaging technology improves (particularly digital sensors), having a compact camera is more difficult to justify if your smartphone produces decent enough pictures for your travel, family and friends shooting without the need to carry extra devices. Buying a low end DSLR is more difficult to justify if your mirrorless camera can produce high quality prints for the advanced amateur, without the need to carry such a heavy and bulky gear. Moving to medium format is more difficult to justify if you have more affordable, fast and light FF DSLR cameras like the D800 providing tons of good Mpx at a fraction of the cost.

It's a whole move upwards in the digital photography pyramid, as lower formats are reaching the quality standards that previously required moving to upper floors.

Regards


Another way to look at it is that cameras are now good enough to remove the technical fretting for most people. The real limitation of getting good composition, at the right time, in good light is more obvious than ever.

Many photographers here show their sites where they have done exactly that. Some other sites not so much.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on May 01, 2012, 04:13:59 PM
The D800 has changed the perception of some photographers about DSLRs and about Nikon as a brand targeting the high end segment.

The D3x already could do a lot of what the D800 does. So this is pretty much 3 years old news that didn't make the headlines then. :-)

I feel that the most amazing feat pulled by Nikon with the D800 - and that is true marketing genius if I have ever seen some - is that many of us will end up buying 2 copies of it, only differing by a tiny piece of glass... and we will love Nikon for having given us the freedom of choice!

That is the part that must be pissing of a marketing monster like Canon 10 times more than DR or resolution. :-)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: LKaven on May 01, 2012, 04:17:08 PM
The D800 has changed the perception of some photographers about DSLRs and about Nikon as a brand targeting the high end segment.

The D3x already could do a lot of what the D800 does. So this is pretty much 3 years old news that didn't make the headlines then. :-)

The D3x was something that if you owned it, you could really see what made it such a beautiful camera and so different from the D3s.  Unfortunately, only a few owned it.  I think its color response was amazing.  It always exceeded my expectations every time out.  You couldn't see that in the specs. 
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: MatthewCromer on May 01, 2012, 04:21:16 PM

I feel that the most amazing feat pulled by Nikon with the D800 - and that is true marketing genius if I have ever seen some - is that many of us will end up buying 2 copies of it, only differing by a tiny piece of glass... and we will love Nikon for having given us the freedom of choice!


Ugh. 

I am convinced that the D800E is an inferior product to the D800.  I thought you were going to stick to your guns on this one, Bernard!

:-)

Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Raw shooter on May 01, 2012, 05:17:26 PM
The D800 has changed the perception of some photographers about DSLRs and about Nikon as a brand targeting the high end segment.

The D3x already could do a lot of what the D800 does. So this is pretty much 3 years old news that didn't make the headlines then. :-)

I feel that the most amazing feat pulled by Nikon with the D800 - and that is true marketing genius if I have ever seen some - is that many of us will end up buying 2 copies of it, only differing by a tiny piece of glass... and we will love Nikon for having given us the freedom of choice!

That is the part that must be pissing of a marketing monster like Canon 10 times more than DR or resolution. :-)

Cheers,
Bernard


Interesting take, and I do agree.  I would guess Canon has a boardroom decision and the financial/talent and the ability to respond to the D800.  Most reviewers (good ones) are seeing the D800 and D800E as a deal changer for Nikon.  I would expect a 6D sooner than later.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on May 01, 2012, 05:24:26 PM
Ugh. 

I am convinced that the D800E is an inferior product to the D800.  I thought you were going to stick to your guns on this one, Bernard!

Did I write "us"? :-)

Cheers,
Bernars
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: ckimmerle on May 01, 2012, 10:26:21 PM
Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.

Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Wayne Fox on May 02, 2012, 12:05:54 AM
Change the "world"?  Lot of interpretation there, but I assume you mean in the context of photographers. :)

Speaking as one who operates a small camera and printing store, this certainly is a game changer, much like the 5D Mark2 was.  This puts much higher quality captures in the hands of a great many people.  We have customers come in every day wanting a large image of a file that doesn't have enough resolution.  Then they want to crop it.  they can't afford a higher resolution camera.  They accept what they get because that's their only option.

these cameras are flying out the door, as are the 5D Mark III's.  we're a long way from filling our waiting list.  In the case of 5D3's and some of the d800's this means a large amount of used cameras available to others that now have a better capture device.  end result, thousands of photographers getting higher resolution capability.

Currently it is estimated that there are several hundred thousand "professional" shooters just in the US - these are shooters who take pictures for "money" and very often provide "professional" enlargements. (debating their "professional" standing is irrelevant, they exist, they shoot a lot, and collectively represent a pretty large part of the market now)

I also have a good share of customers who are avid amateurs that are very skilled and do very nice work that also print sizes larger than the file can really handle.

Bottom line, everyone eventually has an image they want printed and printed large.  You can talk all you want about never printing larger than A3 but almost everyone eventually gets an image they would just love a 30x40 of. A great many of those images are well exposed, just not enough resolution.  Some are not so good, and the lack of resolution makes them worse.   Hundreds of thousands of better capture devices moving into the market in an affordable price range means many of those prints will look better, some substantially better.

While it is true the skill lies in the person and not the gear, when making large prints you can't make up for poor resolution.

And to be honest this is probably just the beginning.  Within a year there is a strong possibility a 36mp camera will come along for under $2k, and then someone will go to 40 or 45 megapixel (also maybe within the next year)  and suddenly a 24mp full frame equivalent device will show up for $1400 ...  within a few years the great majority of shooters will suddenly have the potential of better prints.

(and then new technology will make prints obsolete, but then those devices may indeed be retina type displays of 240 or better ppi so the higher resolution cameras still offer something)

Now how 'significant' all of this is and whether it "changes the world" is certainly debatable and really doesn't have an answer since the concept is pretty subjective.  It's certainly changing my world ...

fun to speculate ... can't wait to see what's next ...

Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Josh-H on May 02, 2012, 08:28:28 AM
Shh, they'll never believe you.

:-)
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on May 03, 2012, 06:15:04 AM
Wayne,

Thanks for explaining. Always nice to hear about what is going on in the real world, and your writing is down to earth and pretty free from hype.

Best regards
Erik


Change the "world"?  Lot of interpretation there, but I assume you mean in the context of photographers. :)

Speaking as one who operates a small camera and printing store, this certainly is a game changer, much like the 5D Mark2 was.  This puts much higher quality captures in the hands of a great many people.  We have customers come in every day wanting a large image of a file that doesn't have enough resolution.  Then they want to crop it.  they can't afford a higher resolution camera.  They accept what they get because that's their only option.

these cameras are flying out the door, as are the 5D Mark III's.  we're a long way from filling our waiting list.  In the case of 5D3's and some of the d800's this means a large amount of used cameras available to others that now have a better capture device.  end result, thousands of photographers getting higher resolution capability.

Currently it is estimated that there are several hundred thousand "professional" shooters just in the US - these are shooters who take pictures for "money" and very often provide "professional" enlargements. (debating their "professional" standing is irrelevant, they exist, they shoot a lot, and collectively represent a pretty large part of the market now)

I also have a good share of customers who are avid amateurs that are very skilled and do very nice work that also print sizes larger than the file can really handle.

Bottom line, everyone eventually has an image they want printed and printed large.  You can talk all you want about never printing larger than A3 but almost everyone eventually gets an image they would just love a 30x40 of. A great many of those images are well exposed, just not enough resolution.  Some are not so good, and the lack of resolution makes them worse.   Hundreds of thousands of better capture devices moving into the market in an affordable price range means many of those prints will look better, some substantially better.

While it is true the skill lies in the person and not the gear, when making large prints you can't make up for poor resolution.

And to be honest this is probably just the beginning.  Within a year there is a strong possibility a 36mp camera will come along for under $2k, and then someone will go to 40 or 45 megapixel (also maybe within the next year)  and suddenly a 24mp full frame equivalent device will show up for $1400 ...  within a few years the great majority of shooters will suddenly have the potential of better prints.

(and then new technology will make prints obsolete, but then those devices may indeed be retina type displays of 240 or better ppi so the higher resolution cameras still offer something)

Now how 'significant' all of this is and whether it "changes the world" is certainly debatable and really doesn't have an answer since the concept is pretty subjective.  It's certainly changing my world ...

fun to speculate ... can't wait to see what's next ...


Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Scott O. on May 03, 2012, 12:55:27 PM
Naw, the world is just as screwed up as it ever was.  But now we can take sharper images of it...
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on May 03, 2012, 03:13:38 PM
 :-) That was a good one! :-)

Naw, the world is just as screwed up as it ever was.  But now we can take sharper images of it...
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Chris Pollock on May 04, 2012, 07:16:34 AM
Naw, the world is just as screwed up as it ever was.  But now we can take sharper images of it...
That's a good point. As much as I like photography, I can think of many things that the world needs a lot more than a better camera.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Keith Reeder on May 04, 2012, 02:59:05 PM
Has it changed the world?

Yeah.

Apparently it's turned every photographer on every photography forum on the net into a low-ISO-DR-obsessed landscape photographer who couldn't take a picture worth a tinker's cuss until the D800 arrived...
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Chris_Brown on May 04, 2012, 03:12:47 PM
Apparently it's turned every photographer on every photography forum on the net into a low-ISO-DR-obsessed landscape photographer who couldn't take a picture worth a tinker's cuss until the D800 arrived...

 :D :D
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 04, 2012, 05:36:17 PM
That's a good point. As much as I like photography, I can think of many things that the world needs a lot more than a better camera.
Bingo.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: jeremypayne on May 04, 2012, 05:57:08 PM
Has it changed the world?

Yeah.

Apparently it's turned every photographer on every photography forum on the net into a low-ISO-DR-obsessed landscape photographer who couldn't take a picture worth a tinker's cuss until the D800 arrived...

I'm actually rediscovering my love of the D700 and will likely NOT upgrade as I had planned and will probably buy an OM-D instead.
Title: The OM-D E-M5 is more likely to change my world
Post by: BJL on May 04, 2012, 07:23:22 PM
I'm actually rediscovering my love of the D700 and will likely NOT upgrade as I had planned and will probably buy an OM-D instead.
Mybe getting off topic, but yes, maybe everything worth saying about the D800 has been said, and it is time to move onto the OM-D E-M5, which makes more of the opportunities provided by the change to electronic sensors to do things differently, rather than just making progress through "more of the same" (same format shape and size as 35mm film, same optical approach to the viewfinder, same body shape and size and weight as a high end 35mm film camera, same big lenses, no tiltable LCD, no VF well suited for video, despite having a video mode, no sensor based stabilization that works with all lenses ...)

For cost alone, this sort of camera might change the photographic world for more people than a $3000 Borged Nikon F100.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Eric Brody on May 06, 2012, 12:25:45 PM
I've been using my D800E for almost a week, using it a lot. I love it. Will it change the world (of photography)? It will in the sense that any new, better tool can improve the craft. It won't in that I am the same (lousy) photographer I was last week. All my cameras have been better than me, from my dad's Rolleiflex through my Beseler Topcon, Mamiya 7, Arca 4x5, D70, D700, and now D800E (I am sure I missed a few in there). I do love the impressive detail it can resolve. For an amateur like me, it likely saved me many thousands of dollars as I was seriously considering a used MF back for my Hasselblad V camera. I have no interest in whether the D800E is "better" than a MF digital back. I'll likely never have a MFDB, and likely will never need one. I was quite happy with my prints from my D700 with good lenses and I'll be even happier with my prints from the new camera. I'll still take sharp photos of fuzzy concepts, to paraphrase Ansel. For now, it is the camera I have wanted since I switched to digital years ago. With the tilt-shift lenses, and excellent live view, it approaches what I always loved about view camera photography, the opportunity to put the camera on a tripod, look around, find the image, adjust the camera to how I want it to look, and make the exposure easily. And... I end up with a result I can preview in the field and achieve "pre-visualization." The camera will not make me a better artist, perhaps it will enable me to be a better craftsman.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Rob C on May 06, 2012, 12:44:20 PM
I'm actually rediscovering my love of the D700 and will likely NOT upgrade as I had planned and will probably buy an OM-D instead.



I've not lost my love for mine, either, and I certainly have no intentions of upgrading to anything, ever again, just as long as the old D700 keeps on truckin'. Neither do I intend buying a lesser camera - already have a cellphone one.

Rob C
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Glenn NK on May 07, 2012, 02:22:12 AM
Has it changed the world?

The pixel density of the Nikon D800 = (36 MP/24/36) = 42,014 pixels per mm2, I've heard of a body (don't have it) that has (18MP/22.3/14.9) = 54,173 pixels per mm2.  If it the sensor was enlarged to FF, it would have approx. 46.8 MP.  Is my math close enough (I did some rounding)?
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Rob C on May 07, 2012, 04:53:05 AM
Has it changed the world?

The pixel density of the Nikon D800 = (36 MP/24/36) = 42,014 pixels per mm2, I've heard of a body (don't have it) that has (18MP/22.3/14.9) = 54,173 pixels per mm2.  If it the sensor was enlarged to FF, it would have approx. 46.8 MP.  Is my math close enough (I did some rounding)?




I don't know, Glenn, maths was never my thing, rounded or otherwise. On further consideration, 36-26-36 has a sort of divine rhythm to it, I suppose. Much as with true R'n'R, then, similarly dated but divine.

Where were you in '62? I guess I know where I was, more or less: entombed deep within an industrial darkroom producing prints of turbine blades; my Dark Age, so to speak.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Eddy M on May 07, 2012, 05:41:51 AM
It changed people's opinion about megapixels. Previously, many believed that high mp sensor only generates more noise. D800 proved that it has very good noise control, even better when scaled down.

It's time for 100+ mp camera.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: uaiomex on May 07, 2012, 11:07:20 AM
It certainly changed the look of forums. Especially the Canon froums.  :D
Eduardo
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: luxborealis on May 11, 2012, 04:56:43 PM
Erik, my take on the D800 is that it is an incremental step forward in technology that happens to have crossed a more significant psychological threshold, several in fact.  

1) It challenges widely held misconceptions about the utility of "small pixels"...

2) It provides a sufficient amount of MTF ... that one can clearly see enhanced rendering of fine textures and detail...

3) It can make an exhibition-sized print without perceptible compromise.


To add to LKaven's salient points, the D800 is step towards democratizing image quality. When the high cost of entry into any industry or industry segment is reduced, it opens up opportunities that were not there previously. Whether or not it results in better photography will depend entirely on who is using one, but at least now, those who could not previously enter the world of the high IQ offered by MF systems or backs can now get there a little more readily.

Don't underestimate the financial and psychological importance of this. While it can be argued that, to a professional, the difference between a Pentax 645D system and a Nikon D800 is only a few years of depreciation written off against income tax, to those who don't have the start-up income or the desire for business (proverbial "starving artists" amongst them), but love to create and express themselves through photography, this can be a game changer in many ways.

That being said, there is no doubt that the lion's share of D800s will, in fact, be purchased the those who have more money than sense and just want the latest, greatest, biggest, best, so it won't be a game changer there - just technically great, larger files of little lasting consequence.

At the same time, I am curious to know how well Nikon sales go over the next 12 months – not just of D800 bodies, but of their prime lenses and high quality zooms. I wonder if the D800 must just create a small resurgence in prime lenses.

Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Fine_Art on May 11, 2012, 05:43:01 PM
+1
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: ndevlin on May 12, 2012, 11:03:21 AM

Did the D800 change the world?  "Yes", if your world consists mostly of #firstworldproblems  :)

"Yes", if you make medium format cameras for living.

It also mates, for the first time, a level of IQ that would satisfy essentially any photographic craftsman, even those who specialize in large prints, with the ease and convenience of a state-of-the-art 35mm DSLR. That's pretty significant for some.   
 
It's simply the most 'important' technological advance in digital photography...until the next one.

- N.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: BJL on May 12, 2012, 04:44:35 PM
In terms of technology/bang for buck, the D800 has changed the expectations of many. Game changer? Yes.

In terms of success as a photographer, ...
... the price of entry to some careers might be substantially less, if a DMF kit is no longer needed, which might enable some careers to get of the ground, or allow some talented but not yet well-financed young photographers to move up to a level of success and income that would not have happened otherwise. A worthwhile local effect rather than a world changer. Any lowering of cost barriers to entry should make a profession more "meritocratic".
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: BJL on May 12, 2012, 05:49:12 PM
...but a DMF has never been needed.

As I've said elsewhere, the vast majority of photographers earning their living in the industry are using <22MP cameras.
Firstly, I was clearly referring to the parts of professional photography that are still dominated by MF, and surely very few of those DMF users are using <22MP, and most seem to be buying 40-80MP these days.

Are you saying that most of those professional photographers using DMF have no real need for more than what 35mm format has been offering for about seven years, but do it out of habit, or preference for how the gear handles, or such? And arguing that primarily on 22MP resolution being sufficient? Are the higher resolutions only of real interests to wealthy amateurs and spec. snobs?

Isn't there meant to be more to sensor performance than resolution, amd so more to the significamce of the D800(E) than being the first 35mm camera to have more resolution than a 22MP back, even when cropped to 4:3 shape? Dynamic range used to be the "go to" sensor characteristic amongst DMF enthusiasts when arguing the inferiority of 35mm format sensors. One thing the D800 does is undermine that DR argument.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: BJL on May 12, 2012, 06:03:30 PM
Sorry, I thought that my mention of _some_ careers, and my mention of DMF in that sentence, and the fact that we have been discussing the relationship of the D800 to medium format, made it obvious that I was talking about the sort of photographic careers that typically use MF. That and the fact that obviously a lot of professional photography is done with 35mm format, and has been since the film era, so it would be bizarre for me to be suggesting that all types of professional photography are still using MF.
Title: What areas of professional photography needed DMF before the D800, if any?
Post by: BJL on May 12, 2012, 06:37:48 PM
But again, precisely what parts of professional photography are still dominated by MF?
You probably know more than I: are you saying that no significant area of professional photography has a real need for DMF? If so, as of when? Did some previous milestone 35mm DSLR end the need? And what is your comment on all the professional photographers who both use DMF and repeatedly argue its professional necessity over smaller formats? Is it just a (rather costly) preference for how the gear feels in the hand, viewfinder image size and such?
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Peter Le on May 12, 2012, 09:24:15 PM
    I think the D800 changed Canons world big time.......actually Nikon in general changed Canons world. It is no longer easy for them to give us their normal trivial update......hopefully just enough  to get us to buy a new body. We will see what the 1DX sensor pans out to be. But I`m sure they will find a way....the 5DIII is a much better camera then it's brother......but when you come to the sensor they are still clinging to not giving us to much. I`m on the fence about changing......it is not a easy move. I have shot Canon all my life and coreer....and I`m not young by any means. If I make the move it will be long term......I don't flip back and forth like some. Many of my colleges are in the same thought pattern at the moment also. If we do change we will take a monitory beating on glass for sure and Nikon does not make some of my favorite glass ether. And when I get pissed about the money I lost or the lens I don't have it won't be at Nikon....it is not their fault Canon is being inept. If Canon would come out of their ridiculous secrecy and let us know what they are planning and when may be it would buy some time....but I don't think there is a fat change at that. If I or any of my colleges change we won't be back......and I think there are a lot more photographers out there in this boat then a lot of you here understand. I don't see how a Company like Canon is taking this gamble..........although I didn't think the banks would take the stupid gambles they did and are still taking ether....Now before I get flamed about it is not all  about MP......I know I know....I am more concerned about DR at low ISOs where I am always at and there are many many photographers out there that are thinking of changing because of low IOS DR then for 36 MPs........Sorry just my rant.....it has bin building for oh about 4 years now..... ;D
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: luxborealis on May 12, 2012, 09:36:12 PM
As I've said elsewhere, the vast majority of photographers earning their living in the industry are using <22MP cameras.

+1 - Excellent point! Touché!
Title: Re: More bollocks about the D800 and changing the world
Post by: BJL on May 12, 2012, 09:50:57 PM
Yes. MFD is invariably a choice, not a need.
OK, you are in a better position to judge than me. I will just have to keep wondering why a significant number of professional photographers continue choose to use far bulkier, more expensive DMF gear that requires more lighting support and has far worse low light performance limitations, if not for professionally benefits such as image quality advantages. Or perhaps you are using "need" in a very strict sense like "would die otherwise".
Title: Re: More bollocks about the D800 and changing the world
Post by: BernardLanguillier on May 13, 2012, 02:49:00 AM
I will just have to keep wondering why a significant number of professional photographers continue choose to use far bulkier, more expensive DMF gear that requires more lighting support and has far worse low light performance limitations, if not for professionally benefits such as image quality advantages.

What data are you relying on when you write "significant number"?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Wondering about what actual fraction of professionals _do_ use DMF, vs "need to"
Post by: BJL on May 13, 2012, 10:03:13 AM
To KLaban:
    My main questions and comments are simply about the extent that professionals do or do not in fact use DMF equipment rather than using a smaller format like 36x24mm. So my apologies for following the red herring about "need", which is neither particularly relevant to my point nor within my expertise. So let me focus my curiosity on the patterns of equipment choices that are actually, currently being made in various areas of professional photography.

To KLaban and Bernard:
Although my impression is that there is still a significant amount of professional usage of DMF cameras (i.e., the DMF market is not so dominated by wealthy amateurs), that is mostly anecdotal, not based on hard data. My "equipment egalitarianism and progressivism" certainly makes me hope that the actual need for such bulky and expensive gear has been reduced to a very low level by recent technological progress. I am comforted for example that a chunk of professional work can be (and occasionally is) done even with teeny tiny 4/3” format, even though that removes any gear-based excuse for my less than professional quality results.

But as one datum on actual current levels of professional DMF usage: one of the forum members who deals with DMF equipment recently indicated that rentals are a very large proportion of their DMF business, and since I doubt that many amateurs rent DMF gear, that suggests to me that there is still "significant" professional usage of DMF.

Maybe insiders like Doug or Steve or Yaya or Thierry or Stefan could add some facts here!
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: ndevlin on May 13, 2012, 11:54:45 AM
But again, precisely what parts of professional photography are still dominated by MF?

Fashion and celebrity portraiture.  'nuff said.
Title: curiosity about what actual fraction of professionals _do_ use DMF...
Post by: BJL on May 13, 2012, 01:14:28 PM
Perhaps you should consider channelling the time you spend here obsessing about cameras into making images?
Perhaps you could spend some of the time you spend responding here by channelling your expertise and experience with MF and professional photography into answers to honest questions about what is actually going on in professional photography? (Or better yet, simply ignore forum posts and questions that do not interest you!) I do not see why it would bother you that I am curious about trends amongst professional photographers and their equipment choices. What happens there can effect the direction of equipment options and choices for the rest of us enthusiast amateurs in a few years' time.

By the way, I have no reason to disagree with your apparent assessment that higher resolutions (>22MP) are little needed for most professional photography. But strangely, some categories of amateurs seem to desire far higher resolution than a lot of professional photography. (How much of that desire is rational or a real "need" is a separate question.)
Title: Re: More bollocks about the D800 and changing the world
Post by: Petrus on May 13, 2012, 01:21:42 PM
What data are you relying on when you write "significant number"?

Cheers,
Bernard


I work for a magazine publishing company with 18 in-house photographers doing both photojournalism and studio photography. After 1Ds and 5DII (and later D3x) came out nobody has used MF cameras and backs anymore. Now we are moving to D800 for those who want them. Not much industrial or architecture, but I still think this shows the trend. After all, even the first EOS-1D in 2002 with 4.7 Mpix images looked better than most 35mm Provia, even full spread...
Title: Re: curiosity about what actual fraction of professionals _do_ use DMF...
Post by: BJL on May 13, 2012, 02:28:52 PM
Are you quite sure? Are you sure you haven't got that arse about face?
I agree that it is also quite common these days for technological innovations to arrive from the bottom up; that is why I said "can effect", not "does effect". For example, decisions by Canon and Nikon about what technology to offer in 35mm format gear interacts with what is offered in APS-C formats from the same makers.

Oh but the weather is getting better, and it is past time to go outside!
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Ray on May 14, 2012, 09:01:53 AM
I just did an exercise comparing the DXOMark D800 results with a few MFDBs of similar pixel count. I think the closest in pixel count would be MFDBs such as the P645D, P40+ and P45+.

Those are all around 40mp, but if cropped to the 3:2 aspect ratio of the D800, the pixel count should be almost identical and therefore the resolution from all sensors compared should be the same, excluding any significant differences in lens quality, especially if we use the D800E.

I have to admit I was a bit surprised. I expected at least one or more of these DBs to have some qualitative advantage over the D800 in at least one or more parmeter, such as SNR at 18% for example. In fact, on all the graphs the D800 was either the equal, marginally better, or in the case of DR, significantly better.

There was just one instance of the P40+ having an insignificant 1dB better SNR at its less sensitive base ISO of 46. Needles to say, the D800 DR is way better, ranging between 1.3 and 2.5 stops better than all 3 DBs, depending on ISO.

The P40+ is a 2009 camera and the 645D, 2010. That we can get this level of performance from a $3,000 DSLR just 2 or 3 years after these very expensive MFDBs were announced, is very remarkable.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: douglasf13 on May 14, 2012, 02:19:24 PM
I just did an exercise comparing the DXOMark D800 results with a few MFDBs of similar pixel count. I think the closest in pixel count would be MFDBs such as the P645D, P40+ and P45+.

Those are all around 40mp, but if cropped to the 3:2 aspect ratio of the D800, the pixel count should be almost identical and therefore the resolution from all sensors compared should be the same, excluding any significant differences in lens quality, especially if we use the D800E.

I have to admit I was a bit surprised. I expected at least one or more of these DBs to have some qualitative advantage over the D800 in at least one or more parmeter, such as SNR at 18% for example. In fact, on all the graphs the D800 was either the equal, marginally better, or in the case of DR, significantly better.

There was just one instance of the P40+ having an insignificant 1dB better SNR at its less sensitive base ISO of 46. Needles to say, the D800 DR is way better, ranging between 1.3 and 2.5 stops better than all 3 DBs, depending on ISO.

The P40+ is a 2009 camera and the 645D, 2010. That we can get this level of performance from a $3,000 DSLR just 2 or 3 years after these very expensive MFDBs were announced, is very remarkable.

  In those terms, even some of the better aps-c cameras out there are remarkable, at this point.  In DxO's tests, the K-5 and NEX-7's DR tests higher than the 645D, and it isn't all that far off in most of the other categories.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: BJL on May 14, 2012, 05:08:35 PM
I have to admit I was a bit surprised. I expected at least one or more of these DBs to have some qualitative advantage over the D800 in at least one or more parmeter, such as SNR at 18% for example. In fact, on all the graphs the D800 was either the equal, marginally better, or in the case of DR, significantly better.
Ray,
   you should be surprised, because the DXO numbers seem to violate some basic physics in the realm near base ISO sensitivity, where noise at 18% is dominated by photon shot noise. The explanation is something that I mentioned in another recent post, and tried to explain to you a while ago: this is one case where the misguided DXO calibration of sensitivity is completely unjustified, and effectively pushes the SNR 18% curves of the DMF back about two stop left of where they should be.

What is happening there is that some DMF backs with 16-bit ADC output use that extra latitude to allow more of a safety margin in the highlights by positioning the mid-tones at an ADC output level that is further down from the (four times higher) maximum numerical level, which can be done while still keeping all the numerical level high enough that discretization noise does not harm to signal because it is still well below the noise of the analog signal: indeed, the absolute numerical levels need be no lower. DXO then declares that the "true" ISO speed is based on the placement of mid-tones in the raw file relative to maximum raw level, which is neither specified by any of the ISO12232 definitions of sensitivity nor relevant to comparisons of noise levels with equal lighting conditions and equal exposure level.

As a simplified illustration of the problem imagine a DSLR and a DMF tested with equal exposure index setting, equal f-stop and equal shutter speed with equal lighting on the test subject, and both producing an output level of 2000 for the 18% gray card mid-tones ... the catch being that for the DSLR with 14-bit output, this is level 2000 out of 16,384 whereas for the DMF back with 16-bit output, it is level 2000 out of 65,536, so that the placement relative to maximum level is 1/4 as much, so two stops lower. As a result the "DXO ISO speed" of the DMF back is two stops lower than for the DLSR: that is absurd! (And no, it cannot be explained by the need to correct for the discrepancy between t-stops and f-stops on the prime lenses that DXO uses for testing!)

But the good news is that, as you said a while ago, the ISO sensitivity values given by the cameras are also available with mouse-overs, so you can read them, adjust the curves horizontally and get a more accurate comparison. The offset is about 1 1/2 to 2 stops. When I read the graphs that way, the DMF backs do have roughly the expected advantage in 18% noise level when rescaled for pixel count in the "print" values.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Doug Peterson on May 14, 2012, 05:46:33 PM
I just did an exercise comparing the DXOMark D800 results with a few MFDBs of similar pixel count. I think the closest in pixel count would be MFDBs such as the P645D, P40+ and P45+.

Those are all around 40mp, but if cropped to the 3:2 aspect ratio of the D800, the pixel count should be almost identical and therefore the resolution from all sensors compared should be the same, excluding any significant differences in lens quality, especially if we use the D800E.

I have to admit I was a bit surprised. I expected at least one or more of these DBs to have some qualitative advantage over the D800 in at least one or more parmeter, such as SNR at 18% for example. In fact, on all the graphs the D800 was either the equal, marginally better, or in the case of DR, significantly better.

There was just one instance of the P40+ having an insignificant 1dB better SNR at its less sensitive base ISO of 46. Needles to say, the D800 DR is way better, ranging between 1.3 and 2.5 stops better than all 3 DBs, depending on ISO.

The P40+ is a 2009 camera and the 645D, 2010. That we can get this level of performance from a $3,000 DSLR just 2 or 3 years after these very expensive MFDBs were announced, is very remarkable.

I misread this post, initially I read:
"I just did an exercise comparing D800 results with a few MFDBs of similar pixel count."

I was understandably glued to my seat and, frankly, shocked at your statements. But having followed your posts for a long time I take them seriously.

Then I caught my misread that you didn't actually compare real-world photographic results, you compared dXo graphs. This is of far less interest to me.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Ray on May 14, 2012, 11:30:47 PM
  In those terms, even some of the better aps-c cameras out there are remarkable, at this point.  In DxO's tests, the K-5 and NEX-7's DR tests higher than the 645D, and it isn't all that far off in most of the other categories.

True! But in those cases the MFDB sometimes has an SNR at 18% advantage, which translates to smoother midtones and smoother skin tones. Also the higher resolution of 40MB and the greater sense of 3-dimensionality, or 'je ne sai quoi', as a result of the lack of an AA filter, can make a noticeable difference, when compared with 16mp sensors.

What surprises me in these comparisons I made is that those three 40mp DBs would appear to have zilch performance advantage in any respect whatsoever, not even in resolution, color sensitivity nor tonal range, and presumably when compared with the D800E, not even with regard to that mystical 3-dimensionality. They've become dinosaurs.
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Ray on May 15, 2012, 12:08:45 AM
I misread this post, initially I read:
"I just did an exercise comparing D800 results with a few MFDBs of similar pixel count."

I was understandably glued to my seat and, frankly, shocked at your statements. But having followed your posts for a long time I take them seriously.

Then I caught my misread that you didn't actually compare real-world photographic results, you compared dXo graphs. This is of far less interest to me.

 ;D  ;D  ;D. I would also be glued to my seat if you were to show me real-world comparisons between, say, the P45+ and the D800E. Unfortunately, my experience in the past has been, on this forum, when such comparisons are made between MFDB and 35mm, by MFDB afficionados, I usually sense some sort of strong bias going on. The DoFs may be different, or the focal lengths used are not quite equivalent, or the focussing is slightly different in both shots, or the exposures are not equal in terms of ETTR, and so on. Sometimes even, the scenes compared are different.

Whenever I compare the performance of my own cameras, which vary in sensor size and image quality to perhaps an even greater extent than a modern FF 35mm compared with some DBs, I'm always extremely careful about possible bias. I bracket exposure in 1/3rd stop intervals from obvious overexposure to obvious underexposure, to ensure that I end up comparing equally exposed shots. I use either LiveView for critical focussing, or select a target with a pattern that will produce aliasing in the viewfinder, indicating 'spot on' focussing.

Whenever I perform such comparisons, I find my results almost exactly match DXOMark's. Not actually exactly of course. One always has to allow for a small margin of error, which may be due to the methodology or may be due to manufacturing QC variations in the cameras tested. Any variation of less than 1/3rd of a stop in DR or SNR would fall into that category.

I look forward to your comparisons, Doug.  ;D
Title: Re: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?
Post by: Ray on May 15, 2012, 12:54:33 AM
Ray,
   you should be surprised, because the DXO numbers seem to violate some basic physics in the realm near base ISO sensitivity, where noise at 18% is dominated by photon shot noise. The explanation is something that I mentioned in another recent post, and tried to explain to you a while ago: this is one case where the misguided DXO calibration of sensitivity is completely unjustified, and effectively pushes the SNR 18% curves of the DMF back about two stop left of where they should be.

What is happening there is that some DMF backs with 16-bit ADC output use that extra latitude to allow more of a safety margin in the highlights by positioning the mid-tones at an ADC output level that is further down from the (four times higher) maximum numerical level, which can be done while still keeping all the numerical level high enough that discretization noise does not harm to signal because it is still well below the noise of the analog signal: indeed, the absolute numerical levels need be no lower. DXO then declares that the "true" ISO speed is based on the placement of mid-tones in the raw file relative to maximum raw level, which is neither specified by any of the ISO12232 definitions of sensitivity nor relevant to comparisons of noise levels with equal lighting conditions and equal exposure level.

As a simplified illustration of the problem imagine a DSLR and a DMF tested with equal exposure index setting, equal f-stop and equal shutter speed with equal lighting on the test subject, and both producing an output level of 2000 for the 18% gray card mid-tones ... the catch being that for the DSLR with 14-bit output, this is level 2000 out of 16,384 whereas for the DMF back with 16-bit output, it is level 2000 out of 65,536, so that the placement relative to maximum level is 1/4 as much, so two stops lower. As a result the "DXO ISO speed" of the DMF back is two stops lower than for the DLSR: that is absurd! (And no, it cannot be explained by the need to correct for the discrepancy between t-stops and f-stops on the prime lenses that DXO uses for testing!)

But the good news is that, as you said a while ago, the ISO sensitivity values given by the cameras are also available with mouse-overs, so you can read them, adjust the curves horizontally and get a more accurate comparison. The offset is about 1 1/2 to 2 stops. When I read the graphs that way, the DMF backs do have roughly the expected advantage in 18% noise level when rescaled for pixel count in the "print" values.


Can't make head nor tail of your post, BJL. You seem to be stuck in some antiquated methodology relating to the film era.

I mentioned in some other thread my experiments in shot noise which would be relevant to your claim that noise at 18% grey is dominated by shot noise.

It so happens that the Canon 50D has an unusual characteristic. The camera appears to produce the same image quality at ISO 100 as it does at ISO 200. DXO don't even mention test results at ISO 100 for this camera, yet ISO 100 does require double the exposure of ISO 200.

What's the effect of that extra light, one might wonder. My tests indicate that it doesn't improve DR by any significant degree, nor does it improve noise in the midtones by any significant degree.

To demonstrate my point I attach 200% crops of highlights and midtones, plus a 600% crop of midtones and lower midtones. Judge for yourself. Theory is fine. Practice nails the issue.