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Author Topic: "The Nikon D3x offers the finest image quality in a DSLR the world has yet seen"  (Read 122879 times)

madmanchan

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The differences between the A900 and D3X raw output are sufficiently different that it is highly unlikely that the changes are only due to different CFA and low-pass filters.
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JohnKoerner

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Quote from: NikosR
How many times must this be said to register? Canon (or Nikon) do not do most of the price reduction. Dealers and to a lesser extent the local distributors (i.e. the market) is doing it by lowering their margins. At least this is what industry watchers are maintaining. Does it make a difference? Well, yes in the context of these fairly useless discussions cum speculations, no if you're making your research as a prospective buyer.


I am not sure if that's true. I just bought a Canon body and lens and when I registered my products online, Canon automatically emailed me a 15% discount coupon for my next lens purchase from their e-store.

When I asked B&H about their pricing on the Nikon D300, and why the price went up a bit when before it was down, B&H told me Nikon sets the price they (B&H) can advertise the camera for ... so I think there very much IS manufacturer control and dictation of what any dealer can advertise the company's products for.

My understanding is it's the advertised price that is controlled, but that (in private) a dealer can sell the camera for what he wants. But he is forced to keep the advertised (seen-by-the-public) price within very strict parameters.

Jack
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 10:43:21 am by JohnKoerner »
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douglasf13

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Quote from: madmanchan
The differences between the A900 and D3X raw output are sufficiently different that it is highly unlikely that the changes are only due to different CFA and low-pass filters.

Are you talking in terms of color, tonality, resolution, noise or what?  I know that one major problem for the A900 is it's gaining up. The D3x leaves it behind in noise after ISO 800, and part of what's to blame may be Sony's amps. Non-A900 users would be surprised at how much better noise perfeomance is on the A900 if say, rather than shooting ISO 1600 at f4 1/200 for some scene, you shoot f4 1/200 and lower the ISO to 100 and then boost the exposure in a good RAW program (ie not ACR or IDC.)

IMO, the differences Ive seen so far between the A900 and D3x could be down to CFA, AA, Nikons processing and non sensor hardware differences, but I'm not betting on it  Itll be interesting to see if the expected Sony firmware upgrade narrows any differences, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on what one shoots.  
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mcbroomf

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Quote from: dwdallam
....
I wonder why one poster thinks the DS3 will be around for another year and maybe two? I'll bet it's gone with spring when Canon announces their new 1DS4 model at 25+MPs. There is no way Canon is going sit around and have the top end line suck second to Nikon, not even in pixels. Canon hasn't even worked on the 1DS3 anymore as far as firmware or anything else, plus the 1D model was from what I've read, a disappointment.  Canon has some catching up to do.
......
I think we'll see the release of a 30sih MP 1DS4 this spring.
......

I have been tracking the release date and number of pixels/sensor on Canon DSLRs for some time.  Here's the latest snapshot.  I'll add Sony and Nikon to it at some point.  If Canon hold to their current 1DSx release frequency we won't see a new version until 2010 and it will be ~28MP.  It could well be that Sony will force a change from Canon's normal cycle, but I'm in the semiconductor manufacturing business and although I'm obviously not privy to Sony's turn around time from design to final qual of a new chip I can say that it's measured in 10's of months.  If they figured out that Nikon had a 1ds3 breaker any time in 2008 and decided to change their design in response, I hardly see a 1ds4 coming out any time in 2009.  Based on the design teams I've worked with, and the observation of when Canon released the 1ds1, 2 and 3 I figure that as soon as the latest 1ds is released they are putting together the specs for the next product to give to the designers.

But hey, it's all speculation...and fun  

Cheers

Note, the red circles that are joined together indicate pixel size in um for the relevant camera.  It uses the same Y scale though.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 02:00:39 pm by mcbroomf »
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NikosR

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Quote from: JohnKoerner
I am not sure if that's true. I just bought a Canon body and lens and when I registered my products online, Canon automatically emailed me a 15% discount coupon for my next lens purchase from their e-store.

When I asked B&H about their pricing on the Nikon D300, and why the price went up a bit when before it was down, B&H told me Nikon sets the price they (B&H) can advertise the camera for ... so I think there very much IS manufacturer control and dictation of what any dealer can advertise the company's products for.

My understanding is it's the advertised price that is controlled, but that (in private) a dealer can sell the camera for what he wants. But he is forced to keep the advertised (seen-by-the-public) price within very strict parameters.

Jack

First, these are not only my observations from my small local market, the same thing is being said by people like Thom Hogan  for the US market..

Secondly, allowing a lesser advertised price does not mean the margin loss is absorbed  wholly by the distributor. This is solely controlled by the distributor price to the retailer. (BTW, AFAIK but I maybe wrong, control of the advertised price by the distributor / importer / manufacturer is something not practiced in the EU)

Thirdly, distributor companies are not the manufacturers. Even when they are subsidiaries or JVs they buy their stuff at the 'warehouse' prices from the factory adding their own flexible margin. If you take a look at the D3x vs 1DsMkIII pricing in markets other than the US you might be surprised with what you'll find.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 02:14:46 pm by NikosR »
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JohnKoerner

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Quote from: NikosR
First, these are not only my observations from my small local market, the same thing is being said by people like Thom Hogan  for the US market..
Secondly, allowing a lesser advertised price does not mean the margin loss is absorbed wholly by the distributor. This is solely controlled by the distributor price to the retailer. (BTW, AFAIK but I maybe wrong, control of the advertised price by the distributor / importer / manufacturer is something not practiced in the EU)
Thirdly, distributor companies are not the manufacturers. Even when they are subsidiaries or JVs they buy their stuff at the 'warehouse' prices from the factory adding their own flexible margin. If you take a look at the D3x vs 1DsMkIII pricing in markets other than the US you might be surprised with what you'll find.


Well, I don't know a thing about the intricacies of Canon's/Nikon's distribution rules and practices, as I am a greenhorn camera owner, but I am not sure anyone else here does either.

But what I do know is that (for instance in the automobile industry) there is the concept of perceived value that is crucial to a company's image and sales. The company spends x to make the product, and sells the product to the dealer for y, under the stipulation that said product be advertised at z price. Auto dealers can't just come out with TV commercials advertising Car A at whatever price they want to, they are forced by dealer contract to maintain the perceived value of the vehicle in their advertising.

If a particular car isn't selling well, you may see commercials with "Factory Rebates" of $x,000, but said rebates are all orchestrated by the automotive manufacturer, NOT the dealer. Dealers can't just make up whatever rebates they want, ALL rebates are manufacturer-set and manufacturer-controlled. So it is with rebates at B&H or at Adorama, when they show rebates on cameras, these online sellers can't just make them up, it is Canon and Nikon who are orchestrating said rebates.

Now, with new automobiles, there is the "advertised" price that the dealers are forced to comply with on TV and billboard advertisements, but we all know that once you get to the lot there is plenty of room for haggling. What the "advertised" price is, and what you wind up paying for a car, aren't going to be the same thing. You usually have between $500 and $4000 negotiating room on a vehicle, depending on make/model/etc. But NO dealer is authorized to just "advertise cheaper prices" than everyone else. And the reason is such advertising would lower the perceived value of the vehicle in the public eye, which is taboo. And it would ultimately generate mutually-destructive price wars amongst dealers of the same make, which would cripple sales not help them.

However, what can happen in the industry is you can get upstart companies (like Hyundai) who enter the fray with very inexpensive automobiles and THEY now lower their own price point, which makes it uncomfortable for everyone else. At first such cars basically suck (as Hyundai pretty much did at first), but after awhile (if they endure) such upstart companies eventually make everyone else drop their prices too.

Such is the case with Sony vs. Canon and Nikon. I would imagine that Canon and Nikon had some sort of "mutual agreement" to keep their price points high ... so each could enjoy the spoils ... but Sony slapped them all in the face with the A900. Sony cameras were like Hyundays to Nissan and Toyota ... they were no real qualitative threat at first. Sony cameras didn't mean much for awhile, and the fact was if you wanted top professional gear you had to go to Canon or Nikon. And if you wanted 15-24 mpx in a pro camera, you had to pay $$$$$$ for them.

But Sony basically "declared war" on Canon and Nikon by offering these kinds of capabilities in the A900 for only $3000. What Sony has done is universally lowered the perceived value of a 24 mpx camera ... in the same fashion that Nikon and Canon's solo efforts into 20+ mpx territory lowered the perceived value of the medium format camera. And what is really interesting is that Sony is making parts for one of the very companies they're hamstringing, Nikon  

Whether there is some agreement that Sony won't make sensors "as good" for themselves as they will Nikon, I don't know. But for Nikon to be entrusting its very lifeblood technology to what is now its own fierce competitor isn't too bright IMO. I guess it's already being done with Leica/Panasonic and with Ford/Mazda, where a major company makes parts (if not whole products) for a minor company, so maybe it's no big deal.

But I for one wouldn't want to be in Nikon's position of entrusting myself as a leader to a giant of a corporation that is seeking to dominate that very market I used to dominate ... but maybe I am just rambling on too much  

Jack
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 03:19:31 pm by JohnKoerner »
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Colorado David

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I think there is another factor in play with respect to these manufacturers that Americans, in particular, don't understand and that is national pride.  I believe that there is a degree of cooperation among Japanese manufacturers, even when they are competitive in the same markets, that we don't understand in the West.  At one time Nikon manufactured lenses for Canon even when they were competitors.  There are no order of magnitude advances in product among these companies, they are all incremental.

John Camp

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I think one of two things are about to be realized:

1. We have reached a plateau in performance and will never again see a separation like we saw between the last two generations of Canons and their Nikon competitors. That is, all the major systems will be more or less equal both in performance and price;

2. Or, performance issues will begin to break out in dimensions other than resolution. If the next Canon is ~28mp, who's going to jump systems because the older Nikon is only 25, especially given emerging questions about glass? On the other hand, suppose Canon came out with a system that simply matched Nikon in resolution, but said, 'Hey, we give you 12 full stops of DR, and Nikon only has eight, and this picture shows the difference?" Or suppose Nikon comes out with some super-premium glass and advertises that Canon can't match it at any price? Or suppose one of them comes out with a FF pro model about the size of an ME Super? There are some things that can be done, but I think the resolution/ISO wars are pretty much over.
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NikosR

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@JohnKoerner

There's no indication whatsoever that Sony is engaging in any kind of price war with Canikon. The A900s closest competitor, the 5DII is cheaper. Similarly with much of Sony's line including the lenses. You also seem to forget that Sony was KM in this market. And it was the 5D that introduced the 'cheap' full frame segment. Your analogy of Sony = Huyndai is faulted. You must be imagining things.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 11:46:30 pm by NikosR »
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ErikKaffehr

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Hi,

My two cents are that:

1) We may see an increase in resolution, because it allows to oversample the image and eliminate the need for the anti aliasing filter. That may actually cause prices to go down.

2) We may see some improvements on the sensor side. One would possibly be an unfiltered luminance channel. Sony has now a sensor which is illuminated from the back side, this is said to expose the photosites to more light.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: John Camp
I think one of two things are about to be realized:

1. We have reached a plateau in performance and will never again see a separation like we saw between the last two generations of Canons and their Nikon competitors. That is, all the major systems will be more or less equal both in performance and price;

2. Or, performance issues will begin to break out in dimensions other than resolution. If the next Canon is ~28mp, who's going to jump systems because the older Nikon is only 25, especially given emerging questions about glass? On the other hand, suppose Canon came out with a system that simply matched Nikon in resolution, but said, 'Hey, we give you 12 full stops of DR, and Nikon only has eight, and this picture shows the difference?" Or suppose Nikon comes out with some super-premium glass and advertises that Canon can't match it at any price? Or suppose one of them comes out with a FF pro model about the size of an ME Super? There are some things that can be done, but I think the resolution/ISO wars are pretty much over.
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douglasf13

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Quote from: NikosR
@JohnKoerner

There's no indication whatsoever that Sony is engaging in any kind of price war with Canikon. The A900s closest competitor, the 5DII is cheaper. Similarly with much of Sony's line including the lenses. You also seem to forget that Sony was KM in this market. And it was the 5D that introduced the 'cheap' full frame segment. Your analogy of Sony = Huyndai is faulted. You must be imagining things.

I agree that this analogy is flawed in that Sony rarely, if ever, takes the affordable route in their endeavors. However, it should be said that had Sony not telegraphed their 24MP camera last January, it may very well have been the only 20+MP camera in it's price range.
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NikosR

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Quote from: douglasf13
However, it should be said that had Sony not telegraphed their 24MP camera last January, it may very well have been the only 20+MP camera in it's price range.

I somehow doubt that competititors (cum co-operators in certain things) were waitng for the development announcement to know... Sony had to pre-announce as they had no real existing line or market share to defend.
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eronald

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I know a tiny bit about semiconductor stuff. Design cycle length depends partly on the turnaround you need for prototypes. Canon has its own CMOS process for those sensors and its own factories, and I guess if they are really motivated they can schedule a really fast run if it is physically possible to set it up. Also, they have their own mask burning equipment. Also, the way the Japanese work, I'm fairly sure they have a leapfrog team predesigning and testing the sensor after the next, although I agree the camera team gets reconvened only after launch of the flagship.

Edmund


Quote from: mcbroomf
I have been tracking the release date and number of pixels/sensor on Canon DSLRs for some time.  Here's the latest snapshot.  I'll add Sony and Nikon to it at some point.  If Canon hold to their current 1DSx release frequency we won't see a new version until 2010 and it will be ~28MP.  It could well be that Sony will force a change from Canon's normal cycle, but I'm in the semiconductor manufacturing business and although I'm obviously not privy to Sony's turn around time from design to final qual of a new chip I can say that it's measured in 10's of months.  If they figured out that Nikon had a 1ds3 breaker any time in 2008 and decided to change their design in response, I hardly see a 1ds4 coming out any time in 2009.  Based on the design teams I've worked with, and the observation of when Canon released the 1ds1, 2 and 3 I figure that as soon as the latest 1ds is released they are putting together the specs for the next product to give to the designers.

But hey, it's all speculation...and fun  

Cheers

Note, the red circles that are joined together indicate pixel size in um for the relevant camera.  It uses the same Y scale though.

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madmanchan

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Quote from: douglasf13
Are you talking in terms of color, tonality, resolution, noise or what?

Noise.

(Colors are also clearly different, requiring a different color profile; but this is likely due to the CFA.)
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douglasf13

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Quote from: madmanchan
Noise.

(Colors are also clearly different, requiring a different color profile; but this is likely due to the CFA.)

The noise difference doesn't necessarily equate to different sensors, like I mentioned above. In fact, the D300 exhibited much better noise characteristics than the A700 until firmware V4 arrived for the Sony, and now they are virtually identical. Nikon clearly has the upperhand in regards to noise with their "special sauce."

NikosR, I wasn't implying that Canon was waiting around for Sony's announcement, but it seems possible that Sony forced Canon's hand. It seems like Canon wouldn't have been thrilled to undercut their flagship.
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JohnKoerner

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Quote from: NikosR
@JohnKoerner
There's no indication whatsoever that Sony is engaging in any kind of price war with Canikon. The A900s closest competitor, the 5DII is cheaper. Similarly with much of Sony's line including the lenses. You also seem to forget that Sony was KM in this market. And it was the 5D that introduced the 'cheap' full frame segment. Your analogy of Sony = Huyndai is faulted. You must be imagining things.


You raise some very good points sir, and you did raise some interesting flaws in my reasoning, and yet your conclusion is also flawed.

The simple fact is, the perceived value of a 24 mpx camera has now been diminished.

This is why we had a 13,000-hit post about Nikon being "on crack" for even suggesting an $8000+ price on its new camera.
This is why Michael himself, in his very own review, compared the A900 not to the 5DMkII, but to the D3x, and in his own words refused even to buy the D3x because of HIS perceived value that the D3x was not worth the money, when it doubtless would have been even more expensive 1.5 years ago.

The perceived value of super high-tech cameras simply has been reduced.

They are no longer rare and exclusive, they are becoming a dime a dozen. While the 1DsMkIII and the D3x can talk about their superior build quality and such, as reasons to fork-out an extra 4-5 grand, at the end of the day they are no longer perceived as being worth "that" much more than a 5D MkII and an A900. You were correct in pointing out the 5DMkII, but I think that (as someone pointed out) that was Canon's quick response to getting a whiff of the A900 pre-release. And you had people very angry at their recent 1dsMkIII purchases right after the 5DMkII came out. You also had Michael refusing even to buy and look at the D3x because of its price compared to the A900.

The perceived value of high-tech cameras is simply on the decline.

However, the main thrust of my post wasn't even about that, it was about the simple fact that all advertised price drops are manufacturer-controlled, not dealer-controlled, same as in the auto industry. There may be room for private haggling while standing next to the cash register, as you can haggle before buying a vehicle, but authorized dealers of a manufacturer's goods MUST advertise within strictly-controlled parameters. Or they will lose their dealer's license.

Jack
« Last Edit: January 09, 2009, 11:16:30 am by JohnKoerner »
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Leping

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FYI: Lloyd Chambers has just published sample crops out of his paid DAP D3x/D3/1DsIII/5DII reviews, and I invite all to go there take a look:

http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/2009-01-blog....0090109NikonD3x

One of the key interest is that more pixels may not neccessarily downgrade SNR when down sampled to match the lower MP cases, but for the Bayer type sensors the demosiacing artifacts are greatly reduced.  This may make D3x the only camera one needs, up to a point (no high ISOs above 3200, for example).
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ErikKaffehr

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Hi!

I like the Lloyd Chamber's reviews, but we need to keep in mind that he is very meticulous in hist testing. Using live view for focusing and that "Coastal Optics" lens.

I posted a question regarding the "antialiasing filter" on this forum and I think there seemed to be some agreement that there was a good reason for the use of those filters and that oversampling was probably the best way to eliminate the need for AA filtering, this is a bit similar downsampling high resolution images. So the "pixel race" may in the final outcome be a good thing.

Seems that Nikon makes excellent use of the new 24.5 MPixel sensor.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: LEPING
FYI: Lloyd Chambers has just published sample crops out of his paid DAP D3x/D3/1DsIII/5DII reviews, and I invite all to go there take a look:

http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/2009-01-blog....0090109NikonD3x

One of the key interest is that more pixels may not neccessarily downgrade SNR when down sampled to match the lower MP cases, but for the Bayer type sensors the demosiacing artifacts are greatly reduced.  This may make D3x the only camera one needs, up to a point (no high ISOs above 3200, for example).
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Leping

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With the Bayer type sensors, the extra MP is not wasted, even the optics is not up to the task to reach per-pixel level spatial frequency sharpness everywhere.

Putting more Bayer pixels into the SAME optically projected image on the sensor plane is always better, for smoother toner transitions, better guessed colors (colors out of the Bayer sensors are almost always guesses), and much less (demosiacing) artifacts.

Remember that the chroma resolution of the Bayer sensor is only half of that for the luma. So untill the MP/4 pixel counts reaches the optical resolution, we are not done yet.
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Ray

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Quote from: LEPING
One of the key interest is that more pixels may not neccessarily downgrade SNR when down sampled to match the lower MP cases, but for the Bayer type sensors the demosiacing artifacts are greatly reduced.  This may make D3x the only camera one needs, up to a point (no high ISOs above 3200, for example).

These results are very similar to my own tests using Imaging Resource jpegs I downloaded from their Comparator. The D3X image after downsampling to the D3 size is still slightly sharper than the D3 image and, even at ISO 6400, hardly noisier. I got the impression that a D3 would be completely redundant for anyone who owned both cameras.
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