Serious doubts on the D7100 at high ISO

Started Mar 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
mosswings
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Re: Another picture for your comments
In reply to edo21, Mar 25, 2013

edo, those websites you've built include some very nicely done photographs but they're done under much better conditions that the snapshots you originally posted.  Only your 3rd shot comes anywhere close to having those sort of lighting conditions, and it looks significantly better than the other 2. The image of your son is similarly dark and murky, for whatever reason.

It sounds like what you're looking for is two stops better per-pixel noise floor.  We can look at others data on the DR of the various generations of cameras: we find that there's less than 0.8 stop separating the DR of the D300 from the D7100 at a per-pixel level.  But in the process, the QE went way up - from 30% to about 60% - and the well-capacity nearly doubled.  This in a sensor whose pixels dropped in area significantly.  Another way of looking at this is how low the read noise has gotten.  It hasn't gotten 2 stops better; maybe 1 stop and a bit.  But the well capacity has gotten almost a stop larger, so the result has been a hugely competent ISO 100 on the D7000/7100 generation.  At higher ISOs, not as much.  When you go to higher ISOs, you're underfilling the sensel wells, so the noise floor (e-) is going to be the determining factor in your image quality.  So you're only getting a stop improvement there...and the pixels got a stop smaller, so...bang, no big difference in per pixel noise performance.

For us to get 2 stops of noise floor performance, we'd have to go from the 5e- of the D300 to just about 1.2e-. We got to around 1.9e- in the D7100. That's still pretty fabulous, but it doesn't help when looking at 100% crops of a 100% denser image.  To be fair, we have to downsize (not crop) to the same image size before comparing.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +1 more
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