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Author Topic: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?  (Read 5491 times)

luxborealis

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Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« on: January 06, 2014, 12:47:38 pm »

Background: I'm heading to the Everglades in March and am hoping to venture into the realm of photographing the amazing bird life found there. I'm very comfortable with larger game, mostly from my experiences in Tanzania, but am new to smaller things like birds. I have greatly admired Glenn Bartley's work with the smaller sensor Canon so am familiar with what's possible (humbly realizing that I'm no where near to Glenn's superb work).

Situation: I have a D800E with a Nikkor 300/4 AF-S and am greatly pleased with the tack sharp results as is. I realize, though, that 300 won't be long enough for much of the bird life, so, do I.....

A. Shoot in DX mode on the D800E to achieve the equivalent of 450mm at 15mp (or simply crop from the full frame capture as is always possible); OR

B. Do (A) and purchase a TC-14E II to extend my reach to 630mm in DX mode at 15mp; OR

C. Purchase a D7100 and have 24mp with a 450mm reach and crop from there as is necessary; OR

D. Purchase a D5300 for the same reasons as (C) but with an ever so slightly better sensor (according to DxO) at a few hundred dollars cheaper.

I guess it boils down to the question: Will the 15mp from the D800E in DX mode be of higher quality than 24mp from an APS sensor? I understand that resolution may be a moot point as the lens itself, despite its excellence, may not be able to resolve the "extra" resolution of the 24mp APS sensor.

What are your experiences and thoughts based on those experiences?
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Colorado David

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Re: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 04:46:47 pm »

I have shot Lesser Prairie Chickens on the lek from a blind with an APS-C camera and the excellent Nikon 200-400 f4 WITH the TC-14E II and felt I didn't have the reach I needed.  I think bird photography lenses start at 500mm and go up from there.  I have photographed larger, less secretive birds from plain sight with the same set-up and done okay, but I came to realize that I can shoot moose and bears pretty well, birds, not so much.

Larry Heath

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Re: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 10:19:01 pm »

If it was me, I'd go get the TC-14E II and stick  with the D800E. The sensor is better in all round IQ. You can use it in 1.5 or 1.2 (4x5) crop mode if desired. The D5300 has a high ISO of about 1300 and the D800E is nearly 2800 per DxO specs. So the hi ISO sensor noise is a good bit less in the D800E, helpful in getting shutter speeds up where they need to be even using slower lenses, and in the case of that the 300 afs F4 that is not a VR lens if I am not mistaken, or for more depth of field. The D800E view finder is larger by around 80% and brighter, and works faster and better in low light conditions, plus 51 focus points as opposed to 39 plus a larger number of AE modes and areas. The shutter delay is about three times longer for the D5300. The D800E has an on board drive motor for non-motor AF lenses, allowing the option of there use if available, the D5300 doesn't. D800E has two memory card slots and the very Fastest write CF cards can be a useful feature if you get in a situation where you bang off a bunch of frames, faster recovery, plus I would guess the buffer memory is larger in the D800E as opposed to the D5300. Battery life is a good bit better in the D800E and far superior if you have/use the MB-D12 battery pack, I've shot over 1600 frames and not even got close to running out of juice. Seems 600 frames is the number that the D5300 will do on a single battery.

About the only thing that is better for the D5300 is that it is lighter, and if you are really concerned about IQ then I'd be shooting on a gimbal headed tripod or a monopod at least and then camera weight is much less of a consideration.

Later Larry
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950

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Re: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 02:49:45 am »

I shoot Canon, so I won't be able to comment on the specific bodies that you have listed. I will tell you that you'll want reach. I shoot a 500, typically with a 1.4TC, on full frame. I went away from the crop bodies as I gained more experience on how to work myself closer to the birds. The crop bodies on the Canon side were susceptible to noise and having to run at lower ISO was frustrating, and they didn't hold a candle to the IQ I was getting from a cropped photo on the full frame. Fast focus is another item to look for, the newer Canon bodies when paired with the version II long lenses are tough to beat. The only downside to the longer lenses are the obvious, heavier, and tough to hand-hold. Do you have specific targets in mind? Will you be hiking it in, or set-up and observing?

Since this is a trip, I would consider renting a long lens, and perhaps have your 300 on another body for the "close-ups", or a quick switch to hand hold when needed.
I realize this may not transfer to the Nikon line, just food for thought, and hope it helps.

I'm no Bartley but here's some I've thrown on a page for my Dad.
Birds

Ken
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hjulenissen

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Re: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 08:45:13 am »

...The crop bodies on the Canon side were susceptible to noise and having to run at lower ISO was frustrating, and they didn't hold a candle to the IQ I was getting from a cropped photo on the full frame.
These images appear to compare the 5Dmk3 to a 7D using the same lense/settings. I think that the 7D compares well on a per-area basis.
http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/4999/iso100c.jpg
http://imageshack.us/a/img593/3185/iso800.jpg
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luxborealis

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Re: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2014, 10:48:05 am »

These images appear to compare the 5Dmk3 to a 7D using the same lense/settings. I think that the 7D compares well on a per-area basis.
http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/4999/iso100c.jpg
http://imageshack.us/a/img593/3185/iso800.jpg


I'd say the one on the right (7D?) has much better resolution - no "blurring" of details.
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Terry McDonald - luxBorealis.com

950

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Re: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2014, 12:59:24 pm »

These images appear to compare the 5Dmk3 to a 7D using the same lense/settings. I think that the 7D compares well on a per-area basis.
http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/4999/iso100c.jpg
http://imageshack.us/a/img593/3185/iso800.jpg

Stand corrected. Guess I shouldn't have sold the 20 nor 7D.
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JohnBrew

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Re: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2014, 02:35:55 pm »

lux, I have same setup - went for the TC14. Works great!

bdosserman

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Re: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 12:36:17 am »

I'm no Bartley but here's some I've thrown on a page for my Dad.

These are really nice!

I don't have any knowledge about FX versus DX image quality, but I've been shooting
a fair number of birds with a 300mm on a MFT camera lately (so 600mm equiv), and
I'd say one can often get reasonable reach with that, but even more reach would
be nice (so would better autofocus, but that's another story). One consideration is
the size of birds you're talking about. My setup does quite well with larger birds
(even down to around duck size), but for smaller birds it's a lot more hit and miss.

Brian
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Pete Berry

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Re: Pixel-peeper Q: D800E in DX mode vs. D7100 or D5300?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 09:20:07 pm »

These are really nice!

I don't have any knowledge about FX versus DX image quality, but I've been shooting
a fair number of birds with a 300mm on a MFT camera lately (so 600mm equiv), and
I'd say one can often get reasonable reach with that, but even more reach would
be nice (so would better autofocus, but that's another story). One consideration is
the size of birds you're talking about. My setup does quite well with larger birds
(even down to around duck size), but for smaller birds it's a lot more hit and miss.

Brian

I've had reasonable success with the Panny m4/3 GH3/100-300 OIS, but need more reach and tripod for best results. The pinpoint focus option works well. But what I really miss is my Oly 4/3 50-200 2.8-3.5 w/EC-20 2X TC, for 800mm EFL @ f/7.1. It's a wicked sharp lens that degrades very little with the 2X TC. Sold it because it wouldn't AF on my then 12MP GH1 - the first "quality" m4/3 body. The attached image with this rig brought me $500 and 2nd overall in a quite competitive Carmel Art Inst. "Point Lobos" competition a couple of years ago.

The Oly E-M1 is a game-changer with is  unsurpassed 5-axis IBIS and hybrid AF system, though, and can now efficiently AF the Oly 4/3 legacy lenses, which include the superb 300mm/2.8 if you've got $8000 to spare. The relatively affordable 50-200/EC-20 with it might be a fine rig, which I plan to check out at Keeble & Suchat in Palo Alto soon.

Pete
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