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Author Topic: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy  (Read 33218 times)

dwswager

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Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« on: April 14, 2016, 08:16:43 am »

Based on pre-release models and now some general release models, it appears that Nikon has implemented a strategy that sacrifices some low ISO DR to gain high ISO DR.   It seems to me, based on test curves this might be manipulated in software rather being a function of the hardware.  If so:

1. Why do it for the D5 which is a general purpose camera?

2. Why not make it user selectable?

I think this might make sense on the D500 which is targeted more to sports/wildlife where higher ISO are the norm.   But for the D5, I question the strategy.
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shadowblade

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2016, 08:27:04 am »

Based on pre-release models and now some general release models, it appears that Nikon has implemented a strategy that sacrifices some low ISO DR to gain high ISO DR.   It seems to me, based on test curves this might be manipulated in software rather being a function of the hardware.  If so:

1. Why do it for the D5 which is a general purpose camera?

2. Why not make it user selectable?

I think this might make sense on the D500 which is targeted more to sports/wildlife where higher ISO are the norm.   But for the D5, I question the strategy.

The D5 isn't a general-purpose camera. It's a specialist photojournalism and high-speed action camera. These categories practically live at higher-than-base ISO.

Comparing the D4s (the D5's predecessor) and D810, if you don't need the frame rate or the super-high ISO of the D4s, the D810 is better for just about everything else.
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dwswager

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2016, 08:39:55 am »

The D5 isn't a general-purpose camera. It's a specialist photojournalism and high-speed action camera. These categories practically live at higher-than-base ISO.

Comparing the D4s (the D5's predecessor) and D810, if you don't need the frame rate or the super-high ISO of the D4s, the D810 is better for just about everything else.

You are trying to bring common sense and intelligent thought to Nikon's strategy.  In Nikon's view of the world, for professionals, they would only make the D5.  That is, if you said you were a professional (fill in any type of photographer), Nikon would tell you the D5 is the camera for you!  But yeah, I forgot Nikon's bent for photojournalism.

I still think if it is a software based capability (I analyze military weapons systems and almost all the good stuff is now implemented in software w/ some hardware innovations too) why not make that curve user selectable?
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shadowblade

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2016, 08:46:06 am »

You are trying to bring common sense and intelligent thought to Nikon's strategy.  In Nikon's view of the world, for professionals, they would only make the D5.  That is, if you said you were a professional (fill in any type of photographer), Nikon would tell you the D5 is the camera for you!  But yeah, I forgot Nikon's bent for photojournalism.

I still think if it is a software based capability (I analyze military weapons systems and almost all the good stuff is now implemented in software w/ some hardware innovations too) why not make that curve user selectable?

They also include other bodies in their professional service program (D810 among them), so clearly don't see the D3/4/5 as the only professional option.

If I weren't shooting fast action, I would never take a D5...
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dwswager

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2016, 09:25:26 am »

They also include other bodies in their professional service program (D810 among them), so clearly don't see the D3/4/5 as the only professional option.

If I weren't shooting fast action, I would never take a D5...

We are arguing different sides of the same coin.  You're arguing what they do and I'm arguing what they would do if the pesky users would just do what they are told.   There would be nothing but the D5, D4, D4s in the professional service program if Nikon corporate had their way.  Since introduction, I would hazard to guess that the D750 is the best selling camera in the Nikon line for wedding photographers, but I guarantee, Nikon Corp would never release a statement advising professionals to buy the D750 for wedding photography.  There is a reason it took 9 years from D300 to D500...Nikon did not want to make that camera.    I think that is why the D800 was a total shock. 
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shadowblade

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2016, 09:52:58 am »

We are arguing different sides of the same coin.  You're arguing what they do and I'm arguing what they would do if the pesky users would just do what they are told.   There would be nothing but the D5, D4, D4s in the professional service program if Nikon corporate had their way.  Since introduction, I would hazard to guess that the D750 is the best selling camera in the Nikon line for wedding photographers, but I guarantee, Nikon Corp would never release a statement advising professionals to buy the D750 for wedding photography.  There is a reason it took 9 years from D300 to D500...Nikon did not want to make that camera.    I think that is why the D800 was a total shock.

The thing about electronics and tech companies operating in a non-monopoly is that, if you don't do it, then someone else will. Better to cannibalise your own model than for someone else to do it to you and steal market share. Nikon suffered it badly in the early years of digital, with their lack of a CMOS sensor, then their lack of full frame. Then Canon suffered it when they failed to release a high-resolution follow-up to the 5D2/1Ds3, losing (the 5D3 was essentially a different kind of camera with a different audience), losing a huge group of non-action photographers to the D810 and A7r. If you want to compete for a subset of photographers, you need to produce tools which fit the needs of that subset, not just a general-purpose body - if you don't, then someone else will produce the tool and you'll lose those shooters.

Actually, I doubt Nikon's executives would want all pros to go for the D5. What they'd most likely prefer is to be able to sell the D810 for the same price as the D4/D5.  Unfortunately, competition exists, so they can't.
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dwswager

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2016, 12:59:04 pm »

The thing about electronics and tech companies operating in a non-monopoly is that, if you don't do it, then someone else will. Better to cannibalise your own model than for someone else to do it to you and steal market share. Nikon suffered it badly in the early years of digital, with their lack of a CMOS sensor, then their lack of full frame. Then Canon suffered it when they failed to release a high-resolution follow-up to the 5D2/1Ds3, losing (the 5D3 was essentially a different kind of camera with a different audience), losing a huge group of non-action photographers to the D810 and A7r. If you want to compete for a subset of photographers, you need to produce tools which fit the needs of that subset, not just a general-purpose body - if you don't, then someone else will produce the tool and you'll lose those shooters.

Actually, I doubt Nikon's executives would want all pros to go for the D5. What they'd most likely prefer is to be able to sell the D810 for the same price as the D4/D5.  Unfortunately, competition exists, so they can't.

Back in the film days, the F5 was for pros and everything else was just a toy. 

It was not a bad assumption that once FX sized sensors became commercially viable, that they would supplant DX sized sensors for professional use.  At the time they had real world benefits that far outweighed any benefits the smallers sensors brought.  The issue was DR and SNR.   But as the technology evolved and DX sized sensors boasted somewhat comparable quality, those benfefits like reach, DOF and smaller body and lens sizes came to the fore.  But Nikon has been slow to break their mindset.

I almost switched back to Canon during the D2 to D3 cycle.  I always understood that Nikon had a much smaller pool of resources on which to draw.  Hence, they must be more judicious in the avenues they pursue.  But things like a replacement to the D300 were a no brainer.
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shadowblade

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2016, 01:30:29 pm »

Back in the film days, the F5 was for pros and everything else was just a toy. 

It was not a bad assumption that once FX sized sensors became commercially viable, that they would supplant DX sized sensors for professional use.  At the time they had real world benefits that far outweighed any benefits the smallers sensors brought.  The issue was DR and SNR.   But as the technology evolved and DX sized sensors boasted somewhat comparable quality, those benfefits like reach, DOF and smaller body and lens sizes came to the fore.  But Nikon has been slow to break their mindset.

I almost switched back to Canon during the D2 to D3 cycle.  I always understood that Nikon had a much smaller pool of resources on which to draw.  Hence, they must be more judicious in the avenues they pursue.  But things like a replacement to the D300 were a no brainer.

The film days are very different for a number of major reasons:

1) In a film camera, you can change the sensor by changing the film. The most expensive cameras used exactly the same sensor as the cheapest. In other words, sensor characteristics were not a distinction between different cameras, and there was no tradeoff between resolution and frame rate. The F5 (and EOS-1/1N/1V) were the top cameras because they had all the other features for easier and faster shooting; the actual image quality was no better or no worse than the cheapest camera on the market. In other words, AF and frame rate - features for action photography - were the only real way to draw a distinction between a pro body and an entry-level body. Not so with digital - you're stuck with the sensor you've got, there is a real tradeoff between speed and resolution and there are many features (some of which are mutually exclusive and are unable to coexist within the same body) to optimise a camera either for non-action detail or high-speed action.

2) 35mm film wasn't much good for landscapers, studio photographers and anyone else who wanted real detail. It was a format for action photographers and amateurs. So, a professional-level 35mm film camera was an action camera - non-action photographers generally wouldn't bother with the format. Not so with digital - the best digital full-frame sensors significantly exceed the resolution of medium-format colour film, and there's also the option of stitching. With digital, 35mm sensors are viable options for both action and non-action professionals, with medium format reduced to a small niche.
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dwswager

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2016, 01:39:09 pm »

The film days are very different for a number of major reasons:


Yes, I'm very aware.  Please have this discussion with Nikon corporate leadership.  While out of camera quality is a big issue, it is no longer the ONLY issue.  Having the best image for post processing is now also a big consideration.
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Rob C

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2016, 02:26:00 pm »

The film days are very different for a number of major reasons:

1) In a film camera, you can change the sensor by changing the film. The most expensive cameras used exactly the same sensor as the cheapest. In other words, sensor characteristics were not a distinction between different cameras, and there was no tradeoff between resolution and frame rate. The F5 (and EOS-1/1N/1V) were the top cameras because they had all the other features for easier and faster shooting; the actual image quality was no better or no worse than the cheapest camera on the market. In other words, AF and frame rate - features for action photography - were the only real way to draw a distinction between a pro body and an entry-level body. Not so with digital - you're stuck with the sensor you've got, there is a real tradeoff between speed and resolution and there are many features (some of which are mutually exclusive and are unable to coexist within the same body) to optimise a camera either for non-action detail or high-speed action.

2) 35mm film wasn't much good for landscapers, studio photographers and anyone else who wanted real detail. It was a format for action photographers and amateurs. So, a professional-level 35mm film camera was an action camera - non-action photographers generally wouldn't bother with the format. Not so with digital - the best digital full-frame sensors significantly exceed the resolution of medium-format colour film, and there's also the option of stitching. With digital, 35mm sensors are viable options for both action and non-action professionals, with medium format reduced to a small niche.



Tell that to most fashion photographers! We used a variety of formats, mostly 135 and 120, from at least the 60s onwards, until digital came knocking.

I won't bore you with a list, but amongst the many 135ers: Bailey, Donovan, Duffy, Klein, Horvat, Parkinson, Sieff, Moon, Peccinotti etc, etc. It was used also in studios, as well as locations. The reason? Some shoots work off a build-up of emotional expression and you can't afford to break the progression every twelve clicks. Size sure ain't everything, even in fairly static situations.

Also, the top-flight Nikons with horizontal shutters didn't always synch. as highly as did the far inferior, vertical shuttered FM and FM2 which brought it up a stop or two of speed.

For travel/calendar work, Kodachrome was kind of king; it withstood lack of refrigeration and didn't need rapid processing turnaround cf. Ektachrome; had wonderful sharpness and it was only rarely available in 120 format, so 135 was a default position.

MF, usually in the shape of 6x6 and 6x7 had other obvious advantages in some situations which made it a better bet. But by no means was 135 an also-ran.

;-)

Rob C

Theodoros

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2016, 02:53:16 pm »

IMO, Nikon's choice is a good one... There are situations where the D5 will shine, the others that it won't shine, surely the pro has kept a D4 (not D4s) in the bag for those cases as pros always work with more than one camera... In fact, I think that Nikon saves money from pros in a way, as they will usually buy only one D5 body keeping their older camera along it...

But think of it....

Football games with long telephoto, F1 racing in bad whether, moto cross in the mad and exhibitions too, Night races, natural disasters, night concerts... Then is Nikon's traditional "specialism" from the 60's... the war reporters! There is no point in doing some things as good as the previous model would achieve, as then, there would be no point for the reporter to add the new camera... OTOH, dual interface won't improve things because a sensor that has been mechanically designed to achieve what the D5 is designed to do, won't perform like a D4 at 400 ISO no matter what the interface is. Now, as it is, the reporter can have a D4 & a D5 in the bag and do any reporting better than anybody else  or any other camera combination can...
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gss

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2016, 03:42:57 pm »

I would be OK with this if Nikon were to offer a high resolution camera (D820?) with the exact same focus capability as the Nikon D5.  I have a D4 and a D800E, and can't tell you how many times I wished for better focus for the D800E, while with the D4 focus was never an issue.  Since the D4 for me is simply an event camera, I am happy with the camera's performance at ISO 400-3200 and don't need it to be superlative at ISO 100.
But this is just me.  I can see why someone would want a camera that does everything well; I just don't think we're ever going to get it.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2016, 06:58:57 pm »

At low ISO the D5 probably has about the same DR as a 5DIII that millions of Canon photographers have been telling us for years is absolutely not an issue. ;)

So yes, it is clearly poor compared to a D810, but it is still perfectly fine for general photography and many would argue that fine landscape photographs can be captured with 12 stops DR.

Besides, the D5 has the most consistent metering I have seen so far in a DSLR and I have no concerns trusting it fully. This will reduce the occurences when large corrections must be applied.

All in all it is clearly best in class for what it was designed for (AF and low light) - the 1DxII may get close, although matching the AF of the D5 will be tough - while being perfectly adequate for general shooting.

I am not sure why so many people apparently keep living in a world of fantasy where they expect to find THE tool perfect for every application?

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 08:10:08 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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shadowblade

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2016, 10:59:10 pm »

At low ISO the D5 probably has about the same DR as a 5DIII that millions of Canon photographers have been telling us for years is absolutely not an issue. ;)

So yes, it is clearly poor compared to a D810, but it is still perfectly fine for general photography and many would argue that fine landscape photographs can be captured with 12 stops DR.

Besides, the D5 has the most consistent metering I have seen so far in a DSLR and I have no concerns trusting it fully. This will reduce the occurences when large corrections must be applied.

All in all it is clearly best in class for what it was designed for (AF and low light) - the 1DxII may get close, although matching the AF of the D5 will be tough - while being perfectly adequate for general shooting.

I am not sure why so many people apparently keep living in a world of fantasy where they expect to find THE tool perfect for every application?

Cheers,
Bernard

The problem is more the resolution than the DR.

Regardless, a two-camera combination of D5 and D810 will cover almost everything, as well as provide a fair bit of redundancy in the areas in which they overlap.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2016, 11:12:23 pm »

The problem is more the resolution than the DR.

The reality is that, on moving subjects, the slightest AF innacuracy robs the image of a lot more than 16mp, so in real world applications, 21 well focused pixels resolve more than 36 slightly blurred.

Cheers,
Bernard

shadowblade

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2016, 11:23:04 pm »

The reality is that, on moving subjects, the slightest AF innacuracy robs the image of a lot more than 16mp, so in real world applications, 21 well focused pixels resolve more than 36 slightly blurred.

Cheers,
Bernard

I was talking about the landscape/architecture/macro/nonmoving applications of the camera. In that case, it's 36 million well-focused pixels (or whatever number the D810 successor has) vs 20 million well-focused pixels.

Clearly, the D4/D5 is optimised for action. But the D810 is no slouch either. After all, it performs superbly for weddings and other events, and also does well for wildlife photography, where cropping is a big issue. It's major failure for action isn't AF (in which it's a lot better than the D800e) but frame rate while shooting full-frame RAWs.
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shadowblade

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2016, 11:43:30 pm »

I am not sure why you keep commenting in various threads about cameras designed for action in terms of their abilities for landscape photograhy? Yes, I will keep using my D810 for landscape, no doubt whatsoever.

Because comments were made to the effect that, 'the D4/D5 is the only Nikon pro body and is the best body for all professionals; anything else is amateur'. Which is quite clearly not the case, as any ex-medium-format or other non-action photographer would know.

Quote
As far as actions goes, I have used pretty extensively the D810 and the D750 for action and now starting with the D5. The D810 isn't bad (in absolute terms it is pretty good), but it is still pretty significantly behind the D750 in success rate and I will soon have the opportunity to confirm my initial suspicion that the D5 will far out perform both.

Cheers,
Bernard

It seems to match the 5D3, so, if you're shooting anything other than small, fast targets moving close to you (where bigger lens movements are required - birds in flight or cheetahs running in the distance really aren't that challenging) it does better than OK.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2016, 11:51:18 pm »

Because comments were made to the effect that, 'the D4/D5 is the only Nikon pro body and is the best body for all professionals; anything else is amateur'. Which is quite clearly not the case, as any ex-medium-format or other non-action photographer would know.

It seems to match the 5D3, so, if you're shooting anything other than small, fast targets moving close to you (where bigger lens movements are required - birds in flight or cheetahs running in the distance really aren't that challenging) it does better than OK.

I am not sure who said that, but I will most certainly continue to use my D810 for landscape, the D5 is clearly an inferior camera for such applications.

As far as AF goes, I am sure the D810 does match the 5DIII but I don't find that particularly impressive compared to the performance of the pro bodies, at least not with the super teles.

Cheers,
Bernard

shadowblade

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2016, 12:06:50 am »

I am not sure who said that, but I will most certainly continue to use my D810 for landscape, the D5 is clearly an inferior camera for such applications.

As far as AF goes, I am sure the D810 does match the 5DIII but I don't find that particularly impressive compared to the performance of the pro bodies, at least not with the super teles.

Cheers,
Bernard

Not sure why people continue to refer to them as the pro bodies, when the majority of wedding photographers prefer to use the D750/D810/5D3 even when D4s/1Dx are available, and you'll hardly ever find a still-subject or studio pro using them... Just that people tend to equate 'pro' with sports/fast action/photojournalism/live music, since they're the really visible people (apart from wedding photographers) - when does a member of the general public really get to see a studio, architectural, product or landscape photographer at work? Really, they're as specialised as the 5Ds, only with the emphasis in the other direction. I'd call the D750/D4s/D810 and 5D3/1Dx/5Ds all pro bodies, since they're the bodies generally used by paid shooters, with the exact choice of body dependent on what you need to shoot. Evidently, so do NPS and CPS.
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John Koerner

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Re: Concerns over the Nikon D5 DR Strategy
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2016, 12:19:53 am »

The thing about electronics and tech companies operating in a non-monopoly is that, if you don't do it, then someone else will. Better to cannibalise your own model than for someone else to do it to you and steal market share. Nikon suffered it badly in the early years of digital, with their lack of a CMOS sensor, then their lack of full frame. Then Canon suffered it when they failed to release a high-resolution follow-up to the 5D2/1Ds3, losing (the 5D3 was essentially a different kind of camera with a different audience), losing a huge group of non-action photographers to the D810 and A7r. If you want to compete for a subset of photographers, you need to produce tools which fit the needs of that subset, not just a general-purpose body - if you don't, then someone else will produce the tool and you'll lose those shooters.

Actually, I doubt Nikon's executives would want all pros to go for the D5. What they'd most likely prefer is to be able to sell the D810 for the same price as the D4/D5.  Unfortunately, competition exists, so they can't.

You took the words out of my mouth.

The D5 is a specialist's camera, an action camera.

The D810 is a single-image, "absolute quality" camera.

High ISO with very good image quality, under a vast array of conditions, is (exactly) what sports photographers, photojournalists, and hardcore nature photographers need.

Only landscape shooters want/need absolute ISO 64 image quality for massive prints.

The Nikon D5 is a better camera, in every possible way you can define the word "better," except in absolute 1-shot quality, and even then only taken under ideal conditions.

Jack
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