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Author Topic: I assume nobody's seen D3x vs. MF samples  (Read 4191 times)

Dan Wells

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I assume nobody's seen D3x vs. MF samples
« on: December 02, 2008, 11:14:43 am »

Of the same or similar subject? Large prints instead of JPEGs?  Nikon's claiming that the D3x is a competitor to the medium format market, not the Alpha 900 market. I assume they mean the low end of the MF market, where any resolution advantage is modest, not the $40,000 end of the MF market where they are competing with 60+ MP cameras... I have seen large (24x36+) prints from the Alpha 900 and H3DII/31 under comparable viewing conditions at PhotoPlus, and there is a very significant difference in favor of the Hasselblad (both were manufacturer samples taken by the manufacturer's sponsored photographers - similar to the John Shaw, etc... jpegs we're seeing from the D3x). Actually, a really large print of one of the John Shaw images would be an interesting comparison - has he made any prints from the NEFs of those shots that have shown up at any of the press conferences? They were less than 50 yards apart on the show floor, so I could (and did) go back and forth between them easily. Of course, they weren't the same image, but I tried to pick subjects as comparable as possible (landscapes in similar light in my case, as that is what I am interested in). The Hasselblad won easily in a couple of areas - primarily shadow dynamic range and the smoothness of transitions. That said, the Alpha 900 was itself impressive - as good or better than anything I've seen that wasn't MF - beat my 1Ds mk II (not mk III) by a significant margin, and looked as good as Canon's mk III samples (although Canon didn't have a comparable subject). Of course, part of the problem with the Sony could have been that it is supposed to not like its OWN raw converter (or Adobe Camera Raw) - people get better results with Capture One! I wish I had seen a Sony/Capture One print to eliminate that variable.
     If the D3x closes the gap between the Sony and the Hasselblad completely, it's worth every penny Nikon's charging to a certain group of photographers who would otherwise shoot Hasselblad. If it has image quality similar to the A900, good as that is, it's certainly not worth two and a half times as much! The market that is OK with A900 image quality, but insists on the Nikon body is vanishingly small, especially because one can buy a nice kit of Zeiss lenses with the difference in price! Every test I've seen says that the Zeiss lenses for the Sony are easily the equal of any Nikkor, if not better. The only remaining D3x buyer if the IQ is not substantially better than the Alpha is someone who has a need for some specialized Nikkor (extreme telephoto or tilt/shift lens), and doesn't want either a crop body with higher pixel density (wildlife photographers may well prefer the D300) or a much faster body. There may be a few, but there aren't many - most landscape and studio shooters will be content with the Zeiss and G lenses (especially if Sony gets the 16-35 Zeiss, and to a lesser extent, the 70-400 G out there). There's always Sigma for an extreme telephoto (which I don't need, but others may well) in Sony/Minolta mount (beyond a 300 f2.8, where there is a superb G lens) - the 500 f4.5 Sigma is well reviewed, plus they have a couple of exotic zooms. The body features of the Nikon are better, but they aren't $5000 better. It will be an interesting choice if Nikon splits the difference - clearly superior to ANY other 35mm type DSLR, but just as clearly inferior to medium format.  Nikon has made the argument that they're going after Hasselblad, not Sony, both in their pricing and in their marketing materials - that only works if they can show Hasselblad quality images!
     I have ignored the 5D mkII here, because I'm not interested in it (personally) due to the body not fitting my hand at all. Most importantly, the depth of field preview is in a place I can't reach. I considered the 1Ds III, but prefer the Alpha 900 over it (the expense of selling Canon and buying (superior) Zeiss lenses is actually much less than the difference in body pricing, plus the Alpha produces a better image as far as I can see). I was debating Alpha versus medium format (either offers quite a bit more quality than I have now, plus both fit my hand better), when the release date of the D3x was announced. I decided to hold up until the D3x appeared and see what Nikon (whose cameras have always fit me very well - I'm shooting Canon now because Nikon had no high-resolution body) turned up with. Given their pricing, it has to beat the Sony's image quality by quite a bit to be interesting, bu if it does, it could be very interesting indeed...


                                                                      -Dan
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BernardLanguillier

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I assume nobody's seen D3x vs. MF samples
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2008, 11:33:29 am »

No sample based comparion I am aware of at this point of time.

My view is that most MFDB users are looking for a look they think only MF can deliver. Those who don't already mostly own a 1ds3 that will end up being seen as being close to the D3x while being 25% cheaper.

Current Nikon users should have been the main target popullation for the D3x, but its current price point will make this a very hard sell.

It appears that Nikon has been trying to kill 2 birds with one bullet but I fear that they will mostly end up shooting themselves in both feet.

Future will tell.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: December 02, 2008, 11:40:03 am by BernardLanguillier »
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Dan Wells

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I assume nobody's seen D3x vs. MF samples
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2008, 01:49:17 pm »

There are two parts to the MF look Bernard mentions - one is shallow depth of field (where the larger sensor really does matter, although you can come close with a very fast lens), and the other is wide dynamic range and very smooth transitions. So far, nobody HAS designed a 35mm-style camera that can do the dynamic range and the transitions (unless the D3x does), but that doesn't mean it's impossible. The D3 is actually said by many to come close, but with low resolution - if the D3x has the same file quality as a D3 at twice the resolution, it might be very close or even there (or it might not be - only large prints will tell). D3x files look promising to me, but a JPEG on a laptop (I'm away from my calibrated desktop) is no way to tell these things...




         -Dan

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