Trying to decide between DF and D610, IQ differences

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
Luke Kaven
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Re: Trying to decide between DF and D610, IQ differences
In reply to fwellers, 5 months ago

fwellers wrote:

[...]

I'm an amateur who rarely uses autofocus. As a matter of fact, for the past 6 months the only lens's I've used are a 50 1.2ais, and a 105 2.5ais.

Good for you!  The odds are very small that your subject will "just happen" to coincide with one of the autofocus points.  Subjects go wherever they suit the artistic purpose.  Autofocus is a distraction for anything but action photography.

[...]

Recently, with all the threads about the 610 everywhere it seems that the IQ on it may even be better than the DF at ISOs below 6400.

They are actually different animals with a different look and character.  The Df has a sensor that is enhanced (full well capacity 120k e-, multiplexed readout circuits) to provide much better performance at base ISO than any of its predecessors (D3/D700, D3s).  It has good DR at base ISO and clean blacks.

The D4/Df makes an excellent all-around camera.

The D610/D800 has emergent thermal noise at high gain settings, even at handheld shutter speeds.  You can mitigate this, but you have to be willing to do things like dark frame subtractions, and that takes extra time.  But, the D610/D800 has some beautiful colors.

If that is the case, I may need to rethink, because then, to get the DF, I would truly be paying a $1000 premium for mostly just the style of the body and better files at very high ISO's ( which I don't use ). I always try to maintain the lowest ISO, because I believe even if the pic looks clean, DR , tones and colors may suffer at any ISO above 100 or 200.

The D800 is out for me, because I just don't want that may MP.

I guess the biggest question I want to answer, and I'm hoping someone has some empirical or anecdotal knowledge of, is whether at normal ISO's (6400 and below ) , which camera has better IQ attributes ( DR, tonal gradation, color depth, clean files, sharpness etc... )

Yes, the 24MP sensor is noticeably enhanced over the 16MP sensor, even at reduced print sizes.  There is detail retained even after downsampling.  At the 16MP level, things like skin and hair are much improved over 12MP.  At the 24MP level, hair, skin, foliage, and other fine detail really start to pop.  Local contrast enhancement tools can really pick that up.  You can do very nice fashion work with 24MP.

At base ISO, the D610 is a superior sensor.  The colors are better by a bit.  There's another stop or so of dynamic range over the Df.  And you can really lift shadows a long long way.

Also, can my AIS lenses even take advantage of 24mp of the D610 ?

Definitely, the better AI lenses will show up a bit better.  Those lenses transmit a lot of fine detail, but somewhat less in proportion than their modern equivalents.  My 28/2AI will pick up single pixel details on a D800.  But then, almost any lens is improved by more resolution.

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