D600 vs d7100

Started Apr 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
chlamchowder
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In reply to MikeInIndy, May 4, 2013
  1. Should I get a D7100 or D600?
  2. Getting the same IQ with the D600 costs less?
  3. What does equivalent IQ mean?
  4. Both cameras are "good enough" at ISO 1600 and below (how did we get here?)

It's not irrelevant, it's just not nearly as relevant as you want it to be to prove your arguments.  Below ISO 1600 the output of these two cameras is indistinguishable using a reasonable metric to assess them.  Specifically, I base that on DXOMarks results, their ISO score is based on an ISO standard for assessing noise and ISO rating of sensor or film speed and a bar that is set for visually acceptable based on a 12x8 300 dpi print.  The D7100 scores 1256, the D600 scores nearly 3000, that's where your stop of "better" comes into play.  Until you get to ISO 1600 the D7100's image quality would still be considered excellent by normal people.  To put it another way, pictures taken with both cameras with the same settings up to ISO 1600 will be for all purposes indistinguishable other than a difference in DOF, presuming one uses a 50% longer lens for FX.  So again, your argument can only hang its hat on performance above ISO 1600, and DOF.  You can beat the horse dead all you want, and point to numbers and formulas all day, but photography is still all about output.  And again, I point you to the proof in the pudding, which is use THIS SITES STUDIO COMPARISON TOOL and compare the cameras at ISO 1600.

Yes, there's little difference between DX and FX at ISO 1600 and below, especially if you're downsizing for the web. But situations don't always permit you to stay at ISO 1600 and below, especially if you want to freeze action indoors. In a not-so-brightly-lit indoor room, you can easily hit ISO 6400 just to get 1/250s with a f/2.8 lens.

I find that about half my shots are taken above ISO 1600, and about half below. The D600 might only be slightly superior below ISO 1600, but above that, it really starts to pull away.

I used to use (and still have) a Sony a580 - an APS-C DSLR with a reputation for very good high ISO performance. It was pretty much clean up to ISO 1600. After that, files from the a580 became increasingly difficult to work with. When I got the D600, ISO 6400 on that camera pretty much moved to where ISO 1600 was before. In other words, an ISO 6400 file from the D600 felt as easy to work with (in terms of noise) as an ISO 1600 file from the a580. It's hard to describe how incredibly useful it is to have relatively clean images up to ISO 6400.

But anyways, bringing it back to the original point - I think the OP should go for a D90. Here's why:

  • Decent AF performance - will probably track little kids very well. Hit rate might be lower than what a D600 or D7100 will deliver, but I've used a D3100 to photograph sports before, and it wasn't unusable.
  • Decent IQ - that old sensor still delivers usable IQ even at pretty high ISOs, as long as you carefully process in raw and don't try to crop or view at 100%.
  • Low price on used market - $500 or so. That really changes the cost equation, because the difference between $1200 and $1600 doesn't seem like enough to separate the D600 and D7100. With the D90, in some cases you can get FX-equivalent IQ (at least DOF wise) for the same price. (D90 + 17-55/2.8 ~= D600 + 24-85/3.5-4.5)
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Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Nikon D600 Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM +8 more
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