Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?

Started 8 months ago | Discussions thread
John Sheehy
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Re: Nikon 1 is unparalleled
In reply to nunatak, 8 months ago

nunatak wrote:

Greg A A wrote:

You give up a great deal in IQ with a Nikon 1 with any lens. The 18-140 is almost twice as sharp on the D7100 than any prime you could put on a Nikon 1. Put a Nikon 1 zoom on the camera and you are not even one third as sharp as the above mentioned D7100 kit zoom combo.

Nikon 1 looks to be small and handy, but not a choice for good image quality.

the N1 format + FT-1's ability to take nikon's long glass is unparalleled by any other system. while the small sensor size may not offer the BEST image quality possible, for many purposes, like publishing, it's better than "good enough".

should the IQ call for 16-bit tonal gradients, and enlargements the size of a movie screen, i agree they'd be better served plopping down >$50K on medium format digital gear, or

Even then, you'd have to equalize the FOV with a longer lens for the larger sensor. The fact is, most small sensors these days, even the 1/2.3" ones in compact sensors, have SNR as good or better than DSLRs or medium format cameras at base ISO, and almost as good as the best DSLRs, and better than the medium formats at high ISOs, when measure in a noise spectrum based on absolute sensor dimension, AKA "noise per unit of sensor area".

IOW, if you have a given lens, use a fixed shutter speed and aperture, and put a variety of digital camera bodies on it, and are only interested in the part of the focal plane used by the smallest sensor, the best performer for pure resolution (assume base ISO) is the one with the smallest pixels, and the best camera for base-ISO noise and DR is also the camera with the smallest pixels. The best high-ISO noise performance (at this point in time) will be the best DSLRs (like the D4, D600, 1Dx, and 6D), with compact camera sensors being only 1/2 to 2/3 stops behind at very high ISOs, and medium format cameras behind the compacts. In fact, for focal-length-limited work, the medium format cameras and backs will be the worst at both resolution and noise and DR at all ISOs.

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