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Author Topic: Image Quality comparison between Nikon D810 and Sony RX10III - at 500mm  (Read 1475 times)

LesPalenik

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How would a 20MP file from Sony RX10III at its long end (400-600mm) compare with a 20MP center crop from D810 using let's say a 200-500mm or similar lens?
Or a D500 which produces an almost identical 21MP file based on a larger sensor but perhaps not with such a good lens.
 
I looked at the image samples from the Dpreview Studio Comparison tool, but most likely they were all taken on a tripod with a 50mm lens. Those samples show a huge difference in favor of the larger sensor size (both D810 and D500). But I'm wondering about the comparison of sharpness and details of distant subjects taken at 500-600mm (and possibly handheld). 
 
I'd like to hear about a practical usage by someone who used Nikon D500/D810 and RX10III and whether the 600mm Sony/Zeiss lens with its Optical SteadyShot stabilization at its long end can deliver similar image quality as the D500/D8100 with a similarly magnified lens (i.e. 70-200, 70-300 or 200-500 lens).

I'm interested mainly in the final image quality when shooting at the longer end (landscape or wildlife) and I need only a 12-20MP file, so a center crop from D810 would work fine.   
« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 12:47:18 AM by LesPalenik »
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FabienP

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Hi Les,

Michael Reichmann made a similar comparison in mid 2015 for his Canon G3X review, which is available here on Lula. His finding was that the smaller Canon at base ISO did hold its own against the bigger Tamron 150-600 he was using as a comparison for the test.

According to various reviews, the lens of the Sony RX10III performs even better at the long end, so chances are that you might be satisfied with the rendering, especially for hand-held shots of distant subjects. You might want to rent a Sony RX10III to verify by yourself.

Following Michael's review of the Canon G3X, I bought one and was very pleased with its image quality between 35mm and 450mm. Image stabilisation is outstanding, too. What annoys me, however, is that the AF could really be improved upon. The ability to lock on the subject decreases dramatically on the longer end, especially in suboptimal light. Manual focusing is a joke with only 4x magnification. Also, it cannot record at more than one FPS in RAW, which makes it a doubtful replacement for a DSLR & long lens for wildlife.

So you might be pleased by the rendering of the Sony RX10III but do also check if you can live with the limitations of the platform such as low FPS and poor to medium AF performance (contrast detection only).

Regarding AF, at some point in the future there will surely be a new model of the RX10 featuring the on-sensor PDAF present on the current Sony RX100-V. This could potentially make a good replacement for people who occasionally need long lenses for wildlife but want to avoid the huge investment of a 500mm prime and its associated bulk.

Cheers,

Fabien

PS: I can only praise Michael for his outstanding reviews. These lead me to make long-lasting investments which really brought new insights on what could be made with a camera (XPan, long FL with the G3X, etc.). The G3X is the ideal all-rounder camera when the photo backpack has to stay home.
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Jack Hogan

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I'm interested mainly in the final image quality when shooting at the longer end (landscape or wildlife) and I need only a 12-20MP file, so a center crop from D810 would work fine.   

I don't know anybody who does landscapes at 500mm equivalent (sweetspots seem to be around 18-35 or 100-200mm equiv.), so you are really just asking about wildlife.  For wildlife as I think you intend it (only a small portion of 35mm sensing area used most of the time) a Full Frame sensor would be wasted because you will not use it for what it is worth.  So you are really looking for the best compromise between small pixels, excellent fast lenses and excellent auto focus/stabilization.  Lots of options there depending on preferences, including the RX10III if one wants an all-in-one solution.  I would even suggest the Nikon 1 system if it weren't for the fact that Nikon seems to be getting out of that business.

At the wider end, where one would normally use the whole 35mm sensing area, the 1" size penalty is too much to overcome so most Full Frame cameras would typically blow the RX10III out of the water most of the time there.

Cheers,
Jack
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 08:34:22 AM by Jack Hogan »
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LesPalenik

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Thank you, Fabien and Jack,

It's good to know that the both G3X and RX10III with their 1" sensors can make images of comparable quality as full frame cameras with 100-500mm zoom.
Speaking of Michael Reichman, I recall, that he photographed also quite often landscape features with a long lens. In my case, sometimes I need to shoot across a lake, and it could be an interesting geological formation, cottage or a boat. At present, I am using a Sigma 150-500mm lens which is quite soft at the long end, so it possible that RX10III with its Zeiss lens could produce similar or even better image quality.
 
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