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D4/Df High ISO vs D600/D800

Started Nov 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
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D4/Df High ISO vs D600/D800
Nov 8, 2013

The D4/Df's High ISO performance is better than the D600/D800 but in my testing the difference was only noticeable starting at ISO 12,800, where the D3s's shadows are much cleaner due to its better High ISO DR and lack of sensor amp noise. You can see those results here.

I owned a D3s for its High ISO performance but didn't need its FPS or deep buffer and disliked it's enormous size/weight. So when the Canon 6D came out I sold my D3s since the 6D is a much smaller and lighter body whose Ultra High ISO performance is nearly indistinguishable from the D3s (in my testing. noise was nearly identical and the 6D had less banding). Color saturation is much lower on the 6D but with a simple PP workflow I'm able to match the D3s saturation while keeping the luma/chroma noise about the same between the two. I'm mentioning this for anyone who is interested in the Df solely for its High ISO improvements, since the 6D offers a much cheaper alternative for those who either already own Canon lenses or only need to use one or two lenses on such a body (I use a 50mm f/1.4 on mine).

For those considering the Df for High ISO and wanting to stay in the Nikon system, here is a D600 vs 6D comparison at ISO 25,600, to demonstrate the IQ difference you can expect to see with the Df (6D as proxy)

D600 on left, 6D on right. 6D image is a little backfocused relative to the D600. Both were shot raw using same absolute exposure and same F-mount lens, processed in LR4 using defaults except for WB.

Canon EOS 6D Nikon D3S Nikon D4 Nikon D600 Nikon Df
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