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Ray

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A Biased Evaluation of The Differences...
« Reply #120 on: January 19, 2008, 11:43:50 pm »

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Well, that's still tricky as you never quite know  how the camera is mapping light to code values. Say one sensor is 1 stop more sensitive than another - then equal exposure settings could produce clipped highlights on one, and not on the other. Say that how the RAW data is developed into a JPEG either in camera, or to a TIFF in your RAW converter uses a different curve for different cameras, and maybe the cameras treat black point data differently, you could get fooled by just comparing images.
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Graeme,
I don't have the tools nor the experience to analyze RAW images as others do on this site, such as John Sheehy and Panopeeper. I'm not so sure I would find doing that of much practical relevance to the taking of photographs, so I agree my comparisons here cannot be totally scientific.

The latest version of ACR with CS3E is the main tool I'm using for this comparison, which is the same tool I use to process all my images, so how these images respond to conversion with the software I use to process all my images, whatever the camera, is what's relevant for me.

In order to be as objective as possible, I set the blacks and contrast to zero in ACR and the tone curve to linear. Luminance smoothing and sharpening is also set to zero and I don't touch any of the other enhancement tools such as saturation and vibrancy etc., but I have tried adjusting the temperature and tint of the 5D image to that of the D3 image in deference to the Nikon salesman's claim that the D3 produces very accurate auto WB. There's certainly a strong difference in hues between the two images with white balance 'as shot'.

All the pairs of images I've compared are either correctly exposed (according to ACR's histogram) or underexposed. Comparing one image with clipped highlights with another which doesn't have clipped highlights would be totally unfair.
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Ray

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« Reply #121 on: January 20, 2008, 12:48:34 am »

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I have a friend that works as Private Dective, the big reason he bought a Nikon D3 is the silly 25,6 k ISO. That he tells me does his "spying" business a great deal. He say that as long you can be sure that you can see who it is on the photo it is a moneyshoot for his "spy" business.

He used to use a 5D because its great iso performance. But he loves to have those silly settings as that stops blur, blur is more often his enemy than noise. As most off his photos done by night in avaible light. To use a flash would probaly be unwise in his kind off work  

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And that's a very good reason to use a D3. This issue is different from the one I've tried to address in this thread. There are clear advantages in having a camera that boosts an underexposed image so you can see what you've captured on the LCD screen. ISO 25,600 is 3 stops faster than the 5D's setting of ISO 3200.

My contention is, if your private detective friend were to use his 5D at the same shutter speed and aperture as he uses with the D3 set on ISO 25,600, he would get only a marginally noisier image after conversion and adjustment of the RAW image. After further clean-up with Noise Ninja, the 5D might be virtually as good, or as close as matters. Just how close is what I've been trying to find out with my comparisons in this thread.

But let's be clear, if I were in your friends position, I'd be using a D3 too. It's difficult to make an accurate assessment of the image you've just captured if it appears on your camera's LCD screen 3 stops underexposed. Furthermore, if you are shooting jpegs then there would be no contest. I didn't even bother shooting in jpeg mode with the two cameras when I was in the Nikon store. I can't imagine that a 5D jpeg image, underexposed by 3 stops at ISO 3200 would be anywhere near as good as a D3 jpeg image processed in-camera at ISO 25,600.

When I see claims that the D3 has a 2 stop noise advantage over current Canon DSLRs, I can only assume that such claims apply only to shooting in jpeg mode.

I wish these experts would be clear on that point. If the claim applies to RAW images, then I'd like to see their RAW results because my comparisons suggest the difference is of the order of 1/4 to 2/3rds of a stop.
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Ray

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« Reply #122 on: January 20, 2008, 05:11:55 am »

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But to imply that a camera like the 5D can achieve the same results as a D3 by "push processing" simply ignores the fact that this can then also be done to the D3's images. ISO 50,000 anyone?
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ISO 50,000? You got it! In the right hands the 5D can do ISO 50,000.    

The following shot of the Chiang Mai Mona Lisa is actually ISO 64,000 by my calculation, ie. ISO 4000 underexposed by 4 stops, counting from -0.67 EC in Camera Raw.

No noise reduction nor sharpening has been applied. Sure the 100% view in ACR is noisy, but it's freaking ISO 50,000   .

[attachment=4759:attachment]  [attachment=4760:attachment]
« Last Edit: January 20, 2008, 05:46:33 am by Ray »
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John Sheehy

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« Reply #123 on: January 20, 2008, 08:54:43 am »

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I wish these experts would be clear on that point. If the claim applies to RAW images, then I'd like to see their RAW results because my comparisons suggest the difference is of the order of 1/4 to 2/3rds of a stop.
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That sounds about right, though I would say that the 5D was more prone to 1-dimensional banding noise.

The comparison that bothers me most, though, is to the 1Dsmk3, as the mk3 collects a similar number of photons with the same exposure, and has similar pixel read noise, maybe slightly higher, but not high enough to compete with the shear number on the 1Dsmk3.  This, of course assumes the same real-world exposure at RAW saturation, but I don't know if that is true.  That's why the same shot needs to be taken with the same manual exposure, and preferably with the same lens.
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Ray

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« Reply #124 on: January 20, 2008, 07:56:10 pm »

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The comparison that bothers me most, though, is to the 1Dsmk3, as the mk3 collects a similar number of photons with the same exposure, and has similar pixel read noise, maybe slightly higher, but not high enough to compete with the shear number on the 1Dsmk3.  This, of course assumes the same real-world exposure at RAW saturation, but I don't know if that is true.  That's why the same shot needs to be taken with the same manual exposure, and preferably with the same lens.
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You could always pop into a store that carries both Nikon and Canon gear and do your own tests, John   . That's what I generally do before buying a lens.

It seems to me it's always been difficult to get definite and unambiguous information on such matters. Dpreview seems to be the most thorough reviewer but sometimes their results are a little ambiguous when they rely upon jpeg images too much.

It's no accident that Michael has used the word 'biased' in the title of his review. When one actually owns some of the equipment being evaluated, it's perhaps difficult to be completely impartial. In your situation you probably have no intention of buying either the D3 or 1Ds3 so you're in an ideal poition to write an 'unbiased' review on the aspects that have been glossed over so far  .
« Last Edit: January 20, 2008, 07:57:25 pm by Ray »
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jeffok

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« Reply #125 on: January 20, 2008, 10:13:11 pm »

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ISO 50,000? You got it! In the right hands the 5D can do ISO 50,000.   

The following shot of the Chiang Mai Mona Lisa is actually ISO 64,000 by my calculation, ie. ISO 4000 underexposed by 4 stops, counting from -0.67 EC in Camera Raw.

No noise reduction nor sharpening has been applied. Sure the 100% view in ACR is noisy, but it's freaking ISO 50,000   .

[attachment=4759:attachment]  [attachment=4760:attachment]
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Very interesting (the girl too). It would also be interesting to see the D3 image at ISO 50,000 (or 64,000) to compare the two. Have you done that?
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Ray

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« Reply #126 on: January 20, 2008, 10:23:54 pm »

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Very interesting (the girl too). It would also be interesting to see the D3 image at ISO 50,000 (or 64,000) to compare the two. Have you done that?
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'fraid not. I can't find any place in Bangkok that has a D3 for hire. Perhaps I should have spent more time in the shop and photographed a few sales assistants instead of a pile equipment in a dark corner.
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Ray

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« Reply #127 on: January 20, 2008, 10:40:32 pm »

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Ray,

Well, you'll probably agree with me that the reason why some cameras deliver less saturated high ISO RAW files is that there is just more entropy on those files that do not enable them to make the image look good while maintaining a high level of saturation? In other words there is less color information in the file. Pushing the saturation back in ACR results in comb like histogram, and you know what that means as well as I do... the amount of post-processing doable from then on is very limited.
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Bernard,
I know the effect you are talking about. I noticed this with my first Canon DSLR, the D60. At ISO 400 and above, color suffered; reds were weak in addition to more obvious noise. When I later acquired a 20D, I was amazed that the saturation at ISO 1600 was actually better than the D60 at ISO 400.

The highest ISO (equivalent) I shot in this test with my 5D was ISO 32,000, estimated from the amount of EC correction need in ACR to push the histogram to the right. The D3 at the same exposure was slightly underexposed at ISO 25,000.

I honestly do not notice any loss in color saturation in the 5D image compared with the D3 image at the same exposure. In fact probably the reverse is true, but I'm not sure if this is due to the differences in the auto-WB rendering. In these shots, with WB 'as shot' in ACR, the 5D seems to produce richer colors but possibly not as accurate colors as the D3.

In the comparison below, I changed the temperature and tint of the 5D image to the same as the D3 'as shot'. No noise reduction, sharpening or saturation enhancement has been applied.

[attachment=4788:attachment]
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HarperPhotos

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« Reply #128 on: January 21, 2008, 02:53:57 am »

Hi Guys,

Here is a interesting article

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/vs-5d-180mm.htm

Cheers

Simon
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jjj

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« Reply #129 on: January 21, 2008, 09:25:04 am »

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Such unbiased commentary - it warms my heart :-) Lacking a viable alternative,
Nothing to do with bias, just simple facts. The 5D is full frame, Nikon did not even make a FF until a couple of months ago. Not only that the 5D was better than anything Nikon had to offer in terms of ISO performance as well. At the time the 5D came out, there was no chance I would buy a Nikon as there were useless for my needs [I do a lot of low light shooting using fast wideangles], I don't care about your needs or anybody else's. The 5D did what I wanted at the time and no Nikon could. I have no Canon shares or loyaty to them, I just use whichever tool is best.
Now if starting afresh, I would finally have a choice of cameras, which is good, though I would wait to see the 5DII or what ever it's called before deciding. I am very pleased that Nikon have produced some cameras to rival Canon.  I'd hardly think that if I was so unbiased.

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The 5D was a great sensor in its day, tho it was hobbled in many other ways. Now its been trumped by the 1DIII, 1DsIII, the 40D, and the D3 (also by the D300 on all around excellence, tho not on noise, obviously). I expect great things from the 5D II, however.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167372\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
BTW only an numpty would compare 2 year old cameras against recent releases and think a non FF is the same as a FF camera!  
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 09:30:19 am by jjj »
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jjj

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« Reply #130 on: January 21, 2008, 10:28:05 am »

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The biggest ding on Nikon bodies has been their higher noise at high ISOs, and that ding was largely deserved (tho highly overrated by the Canon community, in my opinion). [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168150\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Not overated, there was a big difference. A colleague using a D2X, when I was using a 5D struggled in the low light conditions we were shooting under, as not only I had a stop more usuable ISO, I had FF and faster lenses so I could get closer and shoot effectively 2 stops faster. 1/160th Vs 1/40th for action imagery!
 He nearly bought a 5D after seeing what I got compared to what he got. Again I'm not biased, I just use Canon [at present] and I'm certainly not a Fanboy as you admit to being.



It seems after reading some of these posts that the only way to compare camerasis to do so after post processing of RAW for 'ultimate' quality. As a RAW file is like an undeveloped film, you need to develop to a finished standard before comparing to make the comparison worthwhile/meaningful.
And if Noise Ninja or whatever NR method is used on both the NEF and CRW files and it makes the difference between the 5D and the D3 far less than the 'claimed' 2 stops difference, then Nikon have not lept ahead but merely caught up and slightly overtaken Canon. But as many people will shoot JPEGs [esp. busy photojournalists] then the claimed difference will be much more beneficial/obvious/usuable and then the D3 will be better. But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better.
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John Sheehy

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« Reply #131 on: January 21, 2008, 10:34:41 am »

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Hi Guys,

Here is a interesting article

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/vs-5d-180mm.htm

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168524\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It's nice to see someone use the same lens, but the RAWs should be made available.  We're still looking here through the veil of different conversions.  The D3 images are clearly treated to an aggressive chromatic noise reduction.
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Ray

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« Reply #132 on: January 21, 2008, 10:42:53 am »

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Hi Guys,

Here is a interesting article

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/vs-5d-180mm.htm

Cheers

Simon
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168524\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, it is interesting. I see Ken has started applying some noise reduction to see how that affect matters.

Ken's results seem pretty much in line with mine, except I'm drawing slightly different conclusions from the images in front of my eyes.

Take the ISO 25,600 shots for example. Ken says the D3 image is still sharp but the 5D is drowned in noise. The 5D is not drowned. It's still breathing and the curly texture of the fabric seems to be retained more vividly than in the D3 image.

What I see is severe chroma noise in the 5D image and coarse luminance noise. The D3 has finer luminance noise and less chroma noise, but this in-camera noise reduction seems to have fragmented the curly texture of the fabric resulting in an appearance of sharpness which in my opinion it's a false sharpness and is different in nature from the original subject.

To demonstrate this point, the following images show Ken's D3 ISO 200 shot in the middle of the two ISO 25,600 shots. The first image shows the two ISO 25,600 shots unfiltered and the second with them filtered using Noise Ninja with luminance NR set to a minimum and chroma set to its maximum. Sharpening at zero.

Does anyone else agree with what I'm seeing, or am I really biased   .

[attachment=4793:attachment]  [attachment=4794:attachment]
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NikosR

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« Reply #133 on: January 22, 2008, 01:31:53 am »

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. But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168564\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Surely, even you should be able to recognise that there are very many other points to justify the price difference apart from IQ differences. If it is justifiable for you is a personal matter, but making statements like this leave you open  to 'fanboism' accusations.
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jjj

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« Reply #134 on: January 22, 2008, 05:48:10 am »

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Quote
But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better.
Surely, even you should be able to recognise that there are very many other points to justify the price difference apart from IQ differences. If it is justifiable for you is a personal matter, but making statements like this leave you open  to 'fanboism' accusations.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168722\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Only by a paranoid fanboy who does not read posts properly. I've previously said I'm glad Nikon have made a camera that finally rivals some of Canon's offerings and only an ignorant fanboy would argue that Nikon were on a par before and are still lacking compared to the 1DsIII.

As for my saying "But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better." That's simply good business sense. To justify spending the extra money in business, a purchase has to have tangible [financial] benefits. IQ would be one major criteria, also lens choice/quality. Ergonomics is also very important, but the Canons are very good on that front anyway. I've never particularly liked Nikon's ergonomics [not even with film bodies], but then I never used to like Canon's that much either until they changed to the style they currently use. Which Nikon and other manufacturers have emulated.
So what other benefits should one consider that justify a doubling of price over another camera? Surely not the 'N' word?  


It seems that there are two main types of posts here, Canon users who agree that Nikon have made a very good camera and even more defensive than usual fanboys who are attacking these posters even though they are impressed with Nikon's new product.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 05:49:11 am by jjj »
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NikosR

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« Reply #135 on: January 22, 2008, 06:06:43 am »

Quote from: jjj,Jan 22 2008, 01:48 PM
Surely, even you should be able to recognise that there are very many other points to justify the price difference apart from IQ differences. If it is justifiable for you is a personal matter, but making statements like this leave you open  to 'fanboism' accusations.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168722\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Only by a paranoid fanboy who does not read posts properly. I've previously said I'm glad Nikon have made a camera that finally rivals some of Canon's offerings and only an ignorant fanboy would argue that Nikon were on a par before and are still lacking compared to the 1DsIII.

As for my saying "But as it's currently more than twice the price of the 5D, it damn well should be better. A lot better." That's simply good business sense. To justify spending the extra money in business, a purchase has to have tangible [financial] benefits. IQ would be one major criteria, also lens choice/quality. Ergonomics is also very important, but the Canons are very good on that front anyway. I've never particularly liked Nikon's ergonomics [not even with film bodies], but then I never used to like Canon's that much either until they changed to the style they currently use. Which Nikon and other manufacturers have emulated.
So what other benefits should one consider that justify a doubling of price over another camera? Surely not the 'N' word?  
It seems that there are two main types of posts here, Canon users who agree that Nikon have made a very good camera and even more defensive than usual fanboys who are attacking these posters even though they are impressed with Nikon's new product.
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[/quote]

Although I suspect I'm wasting my time replying to you, would top-notch AF, top-notch fps, rugged build and a host of little (and some not so little) functionality features justify the difference in price for you. Well, actually, nobody really cares if that would justify the difference in price to you, since very many pros, obviously lacking your sense of value, are flocking to buy one. Jeez...
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John Camp

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« Reply #136 on: January 22, 2008, 06:14:11 am »

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That sounds like a lot of superstition about what makes an image; most of the things you mention are directly related to noise.

There are so many variables available for people to ignore when making comparisons.  People are easily fooled.  Most people don't realize that small prints and monitors give an unfair advantage to images with less pixels, and they attribute that to "better image quality because of lower pixel density", which isn't true at all. <snip>
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John,

One problem with all of your analyses is that you seem to assume that the purpose of a camera is to gather photons, or some such, and continue to disparage people who simply look at prints and say,  "This one is better." (Sharper, cleaner, whatever.) Michael shoots thousands of frames at a time and publishes and sells his work, James Russell's livelihood, which seems reasonably expansive, is based in shooting. Most of us know Bernard's work. All of these guys take this stuff seriously, they've done a lot of work in the field, and they have very trained and critical eyes. What's this superstition business? Again, it seems like the engineers and the bumblebee story -- you are trying to prove that the bumblebee can't fly because your numbers say so, while the village idiot can see that the bumblebee is, in fact, flying. I am a lot more humble photographer than any of these guys, but I have been shooting for almost 50 years now, and the D3 astonishes me. The D2x did not, the 1Ds3 (which I've looked at and shot with a bit) did not. I have an M8 and a collection of excellent glass for it, and it does not astonish me. Whatever's going on with the D3 is a hell of a lot more than sneaky noise reduction. It's plain to the eye. It might not be in the numbers. In which case, the eye is right.

JC
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jjj

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« Reply #137 on: January 22, 2008, 12:09:32 pm »

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Although I suspect I'm wasting my time replying to you, would top-notch AF, top-notch fps, rugged build and a host of little (and some not so little) functionality features justify the difference in price for you. Well, actually, nobody really cares if that would justify the difference in price to you, since very many pros, obviously lacking your sense of value, are flocking to buy one. Jeez...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168753\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I'd be surprised if they weren't. All the pros I know who use Nikon are now upgrading as finally they have a decent camera to go with their lenses! Duh!
It's not as if all the Canon users are suddenly chucking in their kit and buying Nikon. Michael can afford to buy Nikon as well as have Canon, as his business is different from  that of a pro photographer. But it's interesting that it's only now with the new cameras, he's decided to buy Nikon again.
But as I said above and if you had paid attention, you would have already read this - If I were buying all new kit, I would finally have a choice of camera to purchase and not just Canon.
Not sure why you are getting so wound up. You'd have probably burst a blood vessel if I'd actually slagged the camera off.

The other minor differences you mention are indeed minor with regard to the vast price difference and even if they aren't, it's not as if they don't apply to Canon as well. After all as more pros use Canon than Nikon,  they're hardly rubbish/poorly made cameras.

As more more FPS being a selling point, I'm kind of old fashioned in that I take a picture at the right moment rather than resorting to the machine gun photography that seems to be in vogue these days - and I'm not talking about sports photographers either. I had a camera a few years back that did 5 fps, out of curiosity I tried it and decided I could get a better shot by taking the one shot at exactly the right time instead.
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Mort54

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« Reply #138 on: January 22, 2008, 12:45:05 pm »

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Nothing to do with bias, just simple facts.
If all this helps you sleep at night, then more power to you  
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jjj

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« Reply #139 on: January 22, 2008, 12:58:55 pm »

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If all this helps you sleep at night, then more power to you 
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Patronising and ignorant fool. I don't care what the label on my camera is.  I'll simply use what ever is best for my needs.
Nikon were useless for my needs, now they aren't.  There was no bias in the decision, just a list of abilities the Nikon did not have compared to the Canon.
Fanboys are so pathetic.
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