D80 x D7k IQ tests

Started May 28, 2011 | Discussions
rhlpetrus
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D80 x D7k IQ tests
May 28, 2011

Eduardo (eNo) asked about a comparison between the D80 and the D7k, so here it is. It'll be in 3 posts. This one has settings, and whole images 1000 pixels wide. Second has detail analysis with 3 images at D80's resolution and 100%. Third shows how each fares in shadow recovery (not fair ...).

I used the 105mm f/2.8 Micro VR at f/8, very good acoording to Photozone ( http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/224-micro-nikkor-af-s-105mm-f28g-if-ed-vr-review--test-report?start=1 ) and slightly more DoF for detail analysis.

Both cameras set with WB in daylight setting, since I was getting light through a balcony door open. ISO at 100. Day slightly overcast but bright.

I chose a variety of targets, see images below. Set tripod and shot like 20 images for each camera, varying focus points around the cameras' choices. Both did a good job getting good focus point which was right in the middle of taxi cab toycar.

Imported all images and chose the best from each. Chose Standard Mode and turned sharpening off, since the default (3) may mean different things for each camera. Adjusted luminosity with histograms, there was a slight difference of about 0.15 stop, even though I used same exposure settings, maybe just a slight change in lighting as I changed cameras.

Here are the two best images, resized to 1000 pixels across, USM=(30,2,0) in CNX2.

D80

D7k

Maybe some will already be able to see detail differneces, but one notable is is color. The D80's produced a slightly warmer tone, but the doll's colors are more accurate for the D7k's image, in particular the dark pink part, on my monitor. Also, D7k tone curve seems a bit less agressive, there is more info in the shadows for it.

But both look goos at this size, very usable, the lens is outstanding for such a subject. Both rendered the old ivory piano wood pretty well, with a slight edge for the D7k. Next, details.
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rhlpetrus
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Details Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 28, 2011

First pair of crops is of doll, w/o any sharpening, second with USM=(30,2,0).

No USM

USM=(30,2,0)

Third is a horizontal crop already with same USM as second.

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Renato.
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rhlpetrus
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Shadow recovery Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 28, 2011

I used same settings for the horizontal crops in the Details post and added a +70 recovery of shadows with CNX2. I know this is not fair, the D80 is likely one of the porres cameras in that regard, but I think all 10MP CCD sensor users will appreciate this if they are thinking of updating their gear. I forgot to mention, both were at ISO 100 for all images.

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Kopend05
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Re: Details Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 28, 2011

To be honest i can't see the differnce between my D40 and D80 other then slightly more crop potential from the D80, i suspect the D7000 would excell at 8oo iso and above , also better RAW latitude if you have decent software and some decent skills to extract it.

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Mako2011
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Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 28, 2011

Again sir, excellent examples done in a very informative and unbiased manner. Thank you for providing a proper comparison.

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Robert Palmqvist
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Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to Mako2011, May 29, 2011

+1, thanks for taking the time.

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eNo
eNo
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Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 29, 2011

Renato - thanks for doing these! Quick impression, not a "big deal difference", but...

rhlpetrus wrote:

Both cameras set with WB in daylight setting, since I was getting light through a balcony door open. ISO at 100. Day slightly overcast but bright.

I think this won't work as well as using a common reference white or gray card. I discovered that the biggest differences in color rendition happened when I forced the same temperature or default/pre-programmed WB setting. Auto-WB and gray card reference methods actually matched color better. My theory here is that the Auto-WB algorithm seeks to compensate for inherent color casts in the image chain. The gray/white card method does the same, by definition (except for metamerism, which muddles things).

You saw my post already, but for others, see my findings here:
http://imagesbyeduardo.com/main/2011/05/28/d7000-color-matching/

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eNo
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Re: Details Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 29, 2011

Based on these samples I'd say it's pretty obvious the D7000 has the edge. But not by much! Which is why people tell us not to sweat this, just shoot good solid photos, and our prints will look great.

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Cytokine
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Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to eNo, May 29, 2011

Looking at both threads: Eno and rhlpetrus there appears to be very little difference in colour between the D80, D300, and D7000.

The biggest difference is the larger tonal and dynamic range of the D7000 which I think sees things much closer to the way our eyes see them. We are used to seeing a more compressed tonal range in photographs which ironically can make the D7000 images seem slightly less contrasty. So they look better and worse at the same time. Something that has been confusing me. In fact we are seeing images that are so real they make us question what actually is a creative image.

Thanks to both for hard work in doing these tests.

John

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eNo
eNo
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Re: Shadow recovery Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 29, 2011

You're right: not fair, but a good comparison.

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eNo
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Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to Cytokine, May 29, 2011

I think you're right: some differences, but nothing to lose sleep over, and yes, the D7000 is an amazing camera.

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Mr Physics
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Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to eNo, May 29, 2011

It's really difficult to isolate all the variables and hold them still for this type of comparison. The OP did a good job at it. It kind of helps support a point I was making in another similar post:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=38538306

Clearly the D7000 is a great tool (probably not so great in my hands) but it bugs me when posters state "..it blows away the Dxxx" and "...I can't wait much longer for the D400 or the D800" and other such nonsense. Camera technology isn't evolving the same pace as other electronics. Moore's law doesn't apply. In fact, the historical record seems to suggest that besides the jump to digital at the beginning of the millennia, it is progressing as fast as it ever was.
I think it's possible the eNo was a valid point with respect to WB.
Best regards,
Tony

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rhlpetrus
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Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to eNo, May 29, 2011

I was using A for WB and each camera was doing something different, D7k closer to real colors but still a bit too cold. At 5200, even though not exact, gave pretty good white on D7k and a slight warm cast on D80. I thought they would produce very close colors, not exactly. The lens, a good black, turned out a bit on the green side on the D80. This is pretty common for Nikons actually, I tried changing temperature in CNX2 but could't really change that into a neutral white, it just changed but never got like D7k.

Looking at the RGB histograms one sees the difference in color balance. I was able to match them, but had to reduce temperature for D80, then increase a bit for D7k and reduce green for D80 to get white to be neutral.

But see below a real life example of tone gradation, color depth and DR.

eNo wrote:

Renato - thanks for doing these! Quick impression, not a "big deal difference", but...

rhlpetrus wrote:

Both cameras set with WB in daylight setting, since I was getting light through a balcony door open. ISO at 100. Day slightly overcast but bright.

I think this won't work as well as using a common reference white or gray card. I discovered that the biggest differences in color rendition happened when I forced the same temperature or default/pre-programmed WB setting. Auto-WB and gray card reference methods actually matched color better. My theory here is that the Auto-WB algorithm seeks to compensate for inherent color casts in the image chain. The gray/white card method does the same, by definition (except for metamerism, which muddles things).

You saw my post already, but for others, see my findings here:
http://imagesbyeduardo.com/main/2011/05/28/d7000-color-matching/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Seeking the heart and spirit in each image

Gallery and blog: http://imagesbyeduardo.com
Flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22061657@N03

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Renato.
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Good shooting and good luck
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rhlpetrus
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Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to Cytokine, May 29, 2011

Cytokine wrote:

Looking at both threads: Eno and rhlpetrus there appears to be very little difference in colour between the D80, D300, and D7000.

The biggest difference is the larger tonal and dynamic range of the D7000 which I think sees things much closer to the way our eyes see them. We are used to seeing a more compressed tonal range in photographs which ironically can make the D7000 images seem slightly less contrasty. So they look better and worse at the same time. Something that has been confusing me. In fact we are seeing images that are so real they make us question what actually is a creative image.

Thanks to both for hard work in doing these tests.

John

Check below for a more dramatic example of better DR, tone and color gradation on the part of D7k.
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rhlpetrus
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A real life example of DR, tone and color gradation
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 29, 2011

This is a crop of the Bottles. I matched carefully the whites in the doll, including color and luminosity. Now observe the bottom part of these, in particular the right part. D80 looses control of both color and tone gradation, D7k presents a superb rendition of the whisky tones.

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Cytokine
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Re: A real life example of DR, tone and color gradation
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 29, 2011

rhlpetrus wrote:

This is a crop of the Bottles. I matched carefully the whites in the doll, including color and luminosity. Now observe the bottom part of these, in particular the right part. D80 looses control of both color and tone gradation, D7k presents a superb rendition of the whisky tones.

Apart from the DR which is better the shadow noise is also smoother on the D7000 (higher pixels?) though the D80 seems less sharp.

John

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eNo
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Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 29, 2011

rhlpetrus wrote:

I was using A for WB and each camera was doing something different, D7k closer to real colors but still a bit too cold. At 5200, even though not exact, gave pretty good white on D7k and a slight warm cast on D80. I thought they would produce very close colors, not exactly. The lens, a good black, turned out a bit on the green side on the D80. This is pretty common for Nikons actually, I tried changing temperature in CNX2 but could't really change that into a neutral white, it just changed but never got like D7k.

Sounds like you had similar issues to what I had back in the day trying to math D80 and D90 colors. I eventually gave up, but I think today with gray card reference shots I might get closer (see this article for an example: http://imagesbyeduardo.com/main/2011/05/25/capturing-2d-art-color/ ).

Auto-WB on the D80 is often flaky (never trusted it any more than I trusted its matrix metering), so I'm not saying rely on it. I am seeing that the D300 and D7000 are much better at Auto-WB for the situations I showed in my post today (overcast window light, mixed window light and flash, predominant flash) -- though I'm sure other situations may not be as reliable. The gray card trick (insert one in one of the photos in your shoot, for each camera, and use it to balance shots for that camera) is a pretty good one. Ultimately, I fear I'm going to have to dive into the complications of using a Colorchecker with color profiles in Adobe Camera Raw. Just got done installing LR3 and CS5...

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Craig49
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Re: Details Re: D80 x D7k IQ tests
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 29, 2011

My eyes have a difficult time seeing any effect from the sharpening....

To perhaps put it more clearly, it's likely I don't know how to see the effect of the sharpening you did.

Any tutorial thoughts (or favorite links) about sharpening greatly appreciated.

Craig

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Mr Physics
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Re: A real life example of DR, tone and color gradation
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 29, 2011

rhlpetrus wrote:

This is a crop of the Bottles. I matched carefully the whites in the doll, including color and luminosity. Now observe the bottom part of these, in particular the right part. D80 looses control of both color and tone gradation, D7k presents a superb rendition of the whisky tones.

Is not the D80 presenting a good rendition of the whiskey tones? The D80 looses control? Isn't that overstating the result, sir? I can barely see the better DR in the "aged 18 years" label and that is because I'm looking real hard for it. The differences in the whiskey tones may or may not be related to the superiority of the "light writing" hardware/firmware or may simply be due to a small, subtle difference in lighting (perhaps someone shifted the lightstand every so slightly when bumping into it?).

rhlpetrus (sorry I didn't pick up your name yet), you've done a good comparison here. I'm learning somewhat from your efforts. Thank you. But I really have to struggle to see the subtle performance differences between these two machines. It is hard to present a good test to highlight the the differences (to hold all of the necessary variable constant) and you've done a good job at it. But the fact that we have to really struggle hard to find the IQ difference says a lot to me.
Kindest regards,
Tony

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ZorSy
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Re: A real life example of DR, tone and color gradation
In reply to rhlpetrus, May 29, 2011

It would be rather pathetic if D7000 did not show superiority in resolution and tonal response compared to D80 - there are more than 4 years apart and technology has changed a lot in meantime.

Unfortunately, some of us have other priorities in life than to upgrade camera, so we (I am) are stuck with D80. And I well know how it compares to D7K. But for money, it still doesn't grow on trees...

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