A D300 vs D700 ISO comparison

Started Dec 28, 2008 | Discussions thread
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EdFab
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A D300 vs D700 ISO comparison
Dec 28, 2008

I've been researching a camera to buy, strongly favoring the D300, mainly because I don't want to go to FX yet. I've also been considering the D90, but almost as a duty, to consider all options, rather than a real preference.

Please look at this DxOMark comparison of the Nikons:

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Nikon

At first glance, the overall numbers for the D90 and D700, 72.6% and 80.5% respectively, vice 66.6% (the beast!) for the D300 make it seem as if the D90 and D700 are better cameras for image quality. BUT, on futher investigation, one discovers that these DxOMark Sensor values are derived from the three categories of Color Depth, Dynamic Range, and Low-light ISO. Except for Low-light ISO, the D90, D300, and D700 are all very comparable. It is the Low-light ISO edge that give the D700 and D90 such high Sensor marks compared to the D300.

Now please take a look at these two charts of Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), one for the D300, the other for the D700:

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Nikon/D300

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Nikon/D700

A comparison shows about an average of 3-4 DB higher signal-to-noise ratio for the D700 over the D300, throughout the 200 - 3200 range, which is equivalent to about one F-stop, according to the note on that page.

It is easy now to see how heavily weighted the SNR is in deriving the low-light sensitivity ratings for the cameras. Perhaps weighted a little too much? One f-stop's worth of SNR advantage for the D700 creates a low-light ISO sensitivity number of 2303 for the D700, while giving the D300 a 679? I'm sorry. My BS flag is flying high on that one.

I'm thinking this low-light ISO advantage that the D700 has is quite a bit overhyped. It certainly lookes overweighted in DxOMark's comparison numbers.

On a side note, shouldn't any decent noise reduction program compensate for the noise introduced into the D300 photos during high-ISO night shooting?

Could someone point me to some sample galleries of night shooting with the D300?

Ed

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