The true relevance of comparing the D3X to the D3 in IQ and low noise

Started Dec 28, 2008 | Discussions thread
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The true relevance of comparing the D3X to the D3 in IQ and low noise
Dec 28, 2008

I know it's early in the game and I know some people are trying hard to be helpful, but almost all the comparison tests uploaded so far are inconclusive, biased and misleading in terms of comparing the IQ and low noise ability of these two cameras.

At this point, I would listen to working pros opinions only based on real world use
and would take all web based samples with a grain or two of salt.

On a computer, viewing from the internet, comparison images make no clear sense unless you want to believe the D3X is exactly the same as the D3 in IQ and noise except it's a much bigger file, double in fact. But, in a sense, doesn't this mean the D3X is twice as good in terms of IQ and low noise at all ISOs than the D3? But these tests don't, and can't show that, simply because they are too small. The blowup sections are also misleading because that is taken out of context. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the effort, but let me explain the problem with comparisons like this.

In all real world cases, the end use would be the only way to judge this or make the claim one is "better" than the other. In other words, if you shoot exactly the same scene with both cameras and end up using them on a website at 5x7 and 72 dpi they will look identical. But if you go to press with the same scene and print a 30x40 inch poster, or a 60 inch poster, for an in store ad, then the D3X will be clearly better in IQ and low noise whether you shot it at ISO 200 or ISO 800 or ISO 3200, simply because it's file size is double to start with. Of course, this is why it costs 8K, right?

Ultimately, isn't a simple matter of relevance to end use, and when the end use is very large, the D3X is far superior? Doesn't it also mean that everyone who thinks the D3 is the same or better than the D3X at high ISO low noise is probably someone who doesn't need very large end use, and doesn't this actually render the argument and comparison moot? Yes, they are the same if your end use is small, and no they are very different if your end use is large. Are you starting to see why these tests are irrelevant?

Tell me if you agree here: if you shoot the D3 for jobs or images where the end use is web or small reproduction or small jpeg (11x14 and under) , and if you only occasionally make large prints and these are never scrutinized by working pro art directors and the like, and never held up against MF for example, then in your eyes and in your line of work the D3 is as good as or even a little better than the D3X (because it's also a lot cheaper). You may even make very large prints that you love and make yourself believe it more, and those prints may be pretty good too, but not when they go up against the D3X in an art gallery with a dealer's eye on it and his reputation at stake.

But if you are a working pro or a fine artist or someone who shoots for a premier stock agency, and you work with people who are familiar with MF quality and you often blow up images to print or to go press at over 30x40 and even much larger sometimes, then the D3X is clearly superior to the D3 in every IQ category and in high ISO low noise.

Small reproduction and web use, the D3 and D3X are the same in all IQ categories and all ISO settings.

Medium size reproduction and some pro use, the D3X will start to show better DR and IQ to a discerning eye. If you don't use both, and are not familiar with MF quality, and are not a pro or very advanced in lighting and PP, you might not see any difference. Sorry, but if you don't see it, and a pro AD does, it doesn't mean it's not there.

Large size reproduction, agency type work, shooting for the printing press, posters and POP use, crops for double page magazine spreads, giant posters and very large museum reproductions, stock agencies that require over 60 meg files, trying to use 35mm when you really should be using MF (that's me), then the D3X is clearly superior in ever category, and maybe even worth 8K (that's a big maybe).

So, I'm not saying stop testing, I'm saying... get real.

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