24mp in our future for d300 replacement?

Started May 26, 2012 | Discussions
Kerry Pierce
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24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
May 26, 2012

Others had mentioned this possibility and, to be honest, I wasn't overly thrilled at the prospect. I just didn't see how Nikon could cram that many pixels into a DX sensor and still have decent high ISO performance. Of course, it would also likely be much more expensive to pipeline and buffer 24mp at 8fps than 16mp. So, I was really hoping that the d300 replacement would be a tweaked 16mp sensor out of the d7000.

Today, I saw a review of the d3200, which is 24mp at http://www.techradar.com/reviews/cameras-and-camcorders/cameras/digital-slrs-hybrids/nikon-d3200-1076574/review . This review states that their RAW tests show that the 24mp sensor is on par with the Canon 1100d, a 12mp sensor. A quick look at the 1100d review here seems to indicate that the 1100d doesn't perform as well as the d300s at ISO3200. If that is so, then a 24mp d300 replacement isn't going to give us better high ISO performance than we already have, perhaps even worse.

Still, I'm quite interested in Dpreview's full review of the d3200. I hope that their review will show that the 24mp sensor is a better performer than it seems based on the above test..... Otherwise, I'm going to hope for a 16mp d300 replacement.

Kerry

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JimPearce
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I'm not sure that's a concern Kerry...
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 26, 2012

Bill Claff has already run some numbers on the D3200 and it seems to narrowly outperform the D7000. http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/

What I don't think Nikon can do is go beyond 7 fps at 24 MP. Personally, I'd like to see a D7000 successor at 24 MP and a speed demon D300 successor at 16 MP. But if, as is likely, there is only one camera in the offing I fear it will be a $1200 24 MP camera.
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Kerry Pierce
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Re: I'm not sure that's a concern Kerry...
In reply to JimPearce, May 26, 2012

I'm not familiar with that body of work and I don't understand what the charts are actually telling me.

Seems as though the d800 has better high ISO performance than the d3s, according to those charts. That's something that I find very hard to believe and I've yet to see anyone else make that claim or even close to that. So, it would appear that I am not able to see what you are seeing and understanding.

The d3200 has, by far, the highest pixel density of any nikon dslr so far. Do you think that it will actually perform better than the d300 at ISO 1600 and above?

Kerry

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JimPearce
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Hmm...
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 26, 2012

This is unfamiliar territory for me. As far as I'm concerned my D300 dies after ISO 800. Switching to more familiar sources, I think dxomarks will rate the D3200's low light capability at around ISO 1250 versus the D300's approx. ISO 800.
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Antony John
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 26, 2012

I'd rather Nikon use 16 Mp with great Hi-Iso performance than 24 Mp and mediocre performance.

Nikon have done a good job at keeping the noise performance constant whilst they've decreased the per pixel pixel size but the noise performance is still no better than it was 4 or more yeras ago.

If you look at DXO and compare the ISO perfrmance in 'Screen mode' the noise performance is basically identical between the D7000, D800 and even the D90/D300 with ISO other than at base ISO.

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jfriend00
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 26, 2012

I rather doubt Nikon will release a D300 replacement that has worse high ISO performance than the D7000, so I don't think you really need to worry about that. Nikon has a history of improving high ISO performance as they raise the number of pixels and certainly one of the main reasons that D300 users want an upgrade is for improved high ISO. So, perhaps one of the reasons, we don't have the D400 yet is that Nikon is indeed making sure the camera is the right when when it ships.

I personally don't need more than 16MP myself and am hoping for a speed demon D400 which seems more likely at 16MP than 24MP. But it wouldn't surprise me if Nikon went with 24MP just because there are enough dumb consumers that think 24MP is always better than 16MP without even considering all the other things that affect IQ or the impact on their own workflow.

The other thing to keep in mind is that more pixels does not automatically mean worse high ISO performance. We used to think that, but these days, that has not proven to be the case (look at D800 vs. D4) as one of the advantage of more MP is that some noise effects are smaller and more random and thus less visible when there are more pixels.

I'm waiting for a fast D400 (at least 8fps) with better high ISO and DR than the D7000. It seems likely that it will be somewhere in the 16-24MP range. To achieve 8fps, they may have to go 16MP in order to be able process the images at 8fps.
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Kerry Pierce
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Re: Hmm...
In reply to JimPearce, May 26, 2012

I dunno, Jim. I'm not a DXOmark fan and don't know what their stuff really means either. They seem to put way too much emphasis on MPs as a part of their numbers. So, of course, the higher the MP the body, the higher the scores. I don't believe that just adding MPs actually does anything to improve high ISO performance, if they didn't also program that into the fabrication.

I trust dpreview's methods and findings for ISO performance and I understand what they are about, so I use them as my benchmark.

I know that it's not fashionable these days, to actually look at the pixels, but I want to know what I'm getting if I need to crop heavily. Cropping is one of the big benefits of more MPs, IMO.

Kerry

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jfriend00
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Re: Hmm...
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 26, 2012

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I dunno, Jim. I'm not a DXOmark fan and don't know what their stuff really means either. They seem to put way too much emphasis on MPs as a part of their numbers. So, of course, the higher the MP the body, the higher the scores. I don't believe that just adding MPs actually does anything to improve high ISO performance, if they didn't also program that into the fabrication.

I trust dpreview's methods and findings for ISO performance and I understand what they are about, so I use them as my benchmark.

I know that it's not fashionable these days, to actually look at the pixels, but I want to know what I'm getting if I need to crop heavily. Cropping is one of the big benefits of more MPs, IMO.

When examining noise in a final output, an advantage of more MP is (if you don't have to crop heavily and can retain the extra MP) the noise is smaller and appears more random thus reducing the visual impact of noise on the final output. Because there are more MP going into the image, the noise is essentially scaled down some compared to an equivalent sensor technology image with fewer MP. This is far from the main determinant of noise, but is one extra noise benefit a system picks up when adding MP. This turns out to be counter to what we use to think where we used to think that larger pixels made less noise. As it turns out, you can't just look at the per pixel noise - you have to consider the whole image because there's a noise benefit when you have more MP going into a given image at a given final output (screen, print, whatever).
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Kerry Pierce
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
In reply to jfriend00, May 26, 2012

jfriend00 wrote:

I personally don't need more than 16MP myself and am hoping for a speed demon D400 which seems more likely at 16MP than 24MP. But it wouldn't surprise me if Nikon went with 24MP just because there are enough dumb consumers that think 24MP is always better than 16MP without even considering all the other things that affect IQ or the impact on their own workflow.

Hi John,

This is what concerns me, especially with the super hype over the d800. Now we have the 24mp d3200, with bright colors for the body. So, is that where Nikon dslr's are headed, really? Just dump more and more MPs into brightly colored bodies, just like the coolpix line? Does the bright red body really perform better than the black body?

The d800 is SOA and has a 15.x mp DX crop, IIRC. Is it likely that they can equal or better that sensor with the pixel density of a 24mp DX crop? Doesn't seem so but, I'd be happy if they could.

If they'd use the d800 sensor wafers to cut out the sensors for the d400, it would be a great way for them to lower costs of the d800, putting more profit in their pocket, while giving us a great DX camera.

The other thing to keep in mind is that more pixels does not automatically mean worse high ISO performance. We used to think that, but these days, that has not proven to be the case (look at D800 vs. D4) as one of the advantage of more MP is that some noise effects are smaller and more random and thus less visible when there are more pixels.

I don't care how many MPs they put in, IF there is a significant improvement in the high ISO performance and no loss of speed. If you want/need to crop heavily, the pixels are right back in your face, so it must be a real gain, not a hidden in the crowd, don't look/don't tell "gain".

I'm waiting for a fast D400 (at least 8fps) with better high ISO and DR than the D7000. It seems likely that it will be somewhere in the 16-24MP range. To achieve 8fps, they may have to go 16MP in order to be able process the images at 8fps.

That's what I'm waiting for as well. Honestly, I don't care how they get there, so long as they get there and soon.

I'm really wondering why they are taking so long. It doesn't seem logical that Nikon would forfeit this market segment to the 7d, does it? Dunno, maybe so....

What will you do if the d400 doesn't materialize this year? I will stick with the d300 and d7000 as long as I can stand it. After that, I'll have to check my options and decide whether or not the long tele action work is really something I want to continue doing. I'd need to duplicate too many lenses to run a 2 system kit, I think, so the 7dii doesn't seem a good fit for me.

Kerry
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Kerry Pierce
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Re: Hmm...
In reply to jfriend00, May 26, 2012

jfriend00 wrote:

When examining noise in a final output, an advantage of more MP is (if you don't have to crop heavily and can retain the extra MP) the noise is smaller and appears more random thus reducing the visual impact of noise on the final output. Because there are more MP going into the image, the noise is essentially scaled down some compared to an equivalent sensor technology image with fewer MP. This is far from the main determinant of noise, but is one extra noise benefit a system picks up when adding MP. This turns out to be counter to what we use to think where we used to think that larger pixels made less noise. As it turns out, you can't just look at the per pixel noise - you have to consider the whole image because there's a noise benefit when you have more MP going into a given image at a given final output (screen, print, whatever).

Hi John,

Yes, I know the theory on this, which is why I mentioned heavy cropping. For me, the main benefit to having more MPs in both DX and FX, is the increased cropping ability. When I sell prints from low light action shoots, they usually aren't very large. Having the ability to frame more loosely and crop heavily, would be a boon to me, unless I needed to spend a lot more time on NR. I already need to waste time with NR on high ISO d300 shots. I don't want to pay more money to do the same thing.

My d3s removed wasted processing time from my short work. Most of the time, I can use OOC JPGs from the d3s. I need/want the same thing for my long work.

Kerry
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jfriend00
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 26, 2012

Kerry Pierce wrote:

This is what concerns me, especially with the super hype over the d800. Now we have the 24mp d3200, with bright colors for the body. So, is that where Nikon dslr's are headed, really? Just dump more and more MPs into brightly colored bodies, just like the coolpix line? Does the bright red body really perform better than the black body?

The D3200 is a consumer camera where fashion is part of the differentiation proposition just like in the coolpix line. This shouldn't concern you at all.

The d800 is SOA and has a 15.x mp DX crop, IIRC. Is it likely that they can equal or better that sensor with the pixel density of a 24mp DX crop? Doesn't seem so but, I'd be happy if they could.

They certainly are capable of equaling a DX crop of the D800 sensor in a D400 if they chose to without any further sensor development other than making a smaller version. Check out this chart that shows the DR of D300s, D7000 and D800 in DX crop mode: http://bit.ly/JEDkAE . They're improving things at the DX pixel density in every rev. No reason not to think that a D400 wouldn't continue on this path of improvement.

I don't care how many MPs they put in, IF there is a significant improvement in the high ISO performance and no loss of speed. If you want/need to crop heavily, the pixels are right back in your face, so it must be a real gain, not a hidden in the crowd, don't look/don't tell "gain".

You're king of trying to argue negatively on both sides of this one. You want more pixels to be able to crop more, but you won't give it any credit for giving you lower noise when you don't crop and use all the pixels. In both cases, it's way more capable than what we have now with the D300 sensor so it's a significant improvement. If you gave me a 24MP sensor that, when used as a 24MP sensor (no cropping) was substantially improved from the D300 sensor, I'd take that in a heartbeat, even if when cropped to 12MP it wasn't improved much from the D300. All of my images would be improved substantially because when I was cropping my 12MP images before, I was coming out even worse. The D300/D300s sensor is a really old design. Any sensor they put in the D400 is going to be significantly improved. I'm not worried about this one at all. The only thing I'm slightly worried about is that they might sacrifice speed when they go to 24MP. I still want 8fps.

I'm really wondering why they are taking so long. It doesn't seem logical that Nikon would forfeit this market segment to the 7d, does it? Dunno, maybe so....

Many possible reasons: natural disasters, lower internal prioritization vs. other products, shift of resources to expand the FX line, taking longer than anticipated to hit a home run with the D400 like they did with the D300, doing something revolutionary in the D400 that we haven't anticipated yet, etc...

What will you do if the d400 doesn't materialize this year? I will stick with the d300 and d7000 as long as I can stand it. After that, I'll have to check my options and decide whether or not the long tele action work is really something I want to continue doing. I'd need to duplicate too many lenses to run a 2 system kit, I think, so the 7dii doesn't seem a good fit for me.

My D300 still takes great photos. I know they could be even better with a newer sensor so I'd love to have one, but I'm not giving up on my D300 any time soon. I don't know how long I'll wait for the D400 - probably until some competitor blows me away with what they offer. I do have more than $20k of Nikon glass and three Nikon bodies that use it so I'll not be jumping quickly. Like a few others though, I'm not buying any more Nikon glass until I see that Nikon is doing a great D300 replacement.

I'm still holding onto the notion that consumers who shoot action/sports/wildlife want an action-capable DX body (not an FX body) and that Nikon wants to still aggressively compete in that segment. To continue to do that, they'll have to produce something that's better than both the D7000 and D300s (whether they call it D400, D7100 or D9000) and is pretty fast.
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Kerry Pierce
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement? n/t
In reply to jfriend00, May 26, 2012
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Radu Tenenbaum
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
In reply to jfriend00, May 26, 2012

But it wouldn't surprise me if Nikon went with 24MP just because there are enough dumb consumers that think 24MP is always better than 16MP without even considering all the other things that affect IQ or the impact on their own workflow.

I would hope Nikon recognizes that D300 level customers understand that it's not all about pixels.
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Barry Fitzgerald
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
In reply to Radu Tenenbaum, May 26, 2012

Radu Tenenbaum wrote:

I would hope Nikon recognizes that D300 level customers understand that it's not all about pixels.
--

We all hope that but the marketing people get over excited and know that a beefy mp camera will sell and big time. Nikon will sell a ton of D3200's (which is a bit sad as the camera is nothing special in any way)

But of course the average ill informed D3200 buyer is a million miles away from a D300 buyer.

Right now it's hard to know what to do other than shove some cash in the bank and wait for something to turn up from Nikon I'm certainly not keen on buying a new D300s if there is something else coming soon. A s/h D300 might be worth a look..

Right now Nikon are in no mans land for high end APS-C I hope they never again let their model range get so outdated and neglect it this much.

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jfriend00
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
In reply to Barry Fitzgerald, May 26, 2012

Barry Fitzgerald wrote:

Radu Tenenbaum wrote:

I would hope Nikon recognizes that D300 level customers understand that it's not all about pixels.
--

We all hope that but the marketing people get over excited and know that a beefy mp camera will sell and big time. Nikon will sell a ton of D3200's (which is a bit sad as the camera is nothing special in any way)

But of course the average ill informed D3200 buyer is a million miles away from a D300 buyer.

Nikon knew what they were doing with the D4. Obviously, they had the technology to take it to 24MP (D3x) or 36MP (D800) and chose to keep the D4 at 16MP, probably partly so they could still do the 10-11fps and partly because their photojournalist customers may not have wanted the impact on workflow, uploads, etc... of the bigger files. Let's hope they apply similar logic to the D400 DX kingpin.

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MichaelEchos
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Re: I'm not sure that's a concern Kerry...
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 27, 2012

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I'm not familiar with that body of work and I don't understand what the charts are actually telling me.

Seems as though the d800 has better high ISO performance than the d3s, according to those charts. That's something that I find very hard to believe and I've yet to see anyone else make that claim or even close to that. So, it would appear that I am not able to see what you are seeing and understanding.

The d3200 has, by far, the highest pixel density of any nikon dslr so far. Do you think that it will actually perform better than the d300 at ISO 1600 and above?

Kerry

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Once you downsample/upsample every thing to the same resolution, then the difference in noise performance will be similar. The gaps between photosites doesn't really affect much of the noise performance because microlenses have started to overcome that problem.

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MichaelEchos
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Re: Hmm...
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 27, 2012

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I dunno, Jim. I'm not a DXOmark fan and don't know what their stuff really means either. They seem to put way too much emphasis on MPs as a part of their numbers. So, of course, the higher the MP the body, the higher the scores. I don't believe that just adding MPs actually does anything to improve high ISO performance, if they didn't also program that into the fabrication.

I trust dpreview's methods and findings for ISO performance and I understand what they are about, so I use them as my benchmark.

I know that it's not fashionable these days, to actually look at the pixels, but I want to know what I'm getting if I need to crop heavily. Cropping is one of the big benefits of more MPs, IMO.

Kerry

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There's no emphasis in MP for DxOMark.

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MichaelEchos
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Re: I'm not sure that's a concern Kerry...
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 27, 2012

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I'm not familiar with that body of work and I don't understand what the charts are actually telling me.

Seems as though the d800 has better high ISO performance than the d3s, according to those charts. That's something that I find very hard to believe and I've yet to see anyone else make that claim or even close to that. So, it would appear that I am not able to see what you are seeing and understanding.

The d3200 has, by far, the highest pixel density of any nikon dslr so far. Do you think that it will actually perform better than the d300 at ISO 1600 and above?

Kerry

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Problem is, I can't find anything about noise performance there, I only see dynamic range and read noise. Read noise is not normal noise, read noise is shadow noise. Noise is normally measured at 18%, so those charts are just for checking dynamic range.

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MichaelEchos
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
In reply to Kerry Pierce, May 27, 2012

Kerry Pierce wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

I personally don't need more than 16MP myself and am hoping for a speed demon D400 which seems more likely at 16MP than 24MP. But it wouldn't surprise me if Nikon went with 24MP just because there are enough dumb consumers that think 24MP is always better than 16MP without even considering all the other things that affect IQ or the impact on their own workflow.

Hi John,

This is what concerns me, especially with the super hype over the d800. Now we have the 24mp d3200, with bright colors for the body. So, is that where Nikon dslr's are headed, really? Just dump more and more MPs into brightly colored bodies, just like the coolpix line? Does the bright red body really perform better than the black body?

The d800 is SOA and has a 15.x mp DX crop, IIRC. Is it likely that they can equal or better that sensor with the pixel density of a 24mp DX crop? Doesn't seem so but, I'd be happy if they could.

If they'd use the d800 sensor wafers to cut out the sensors for the d400, it would be a great way for them to lower costs of the d800, putting more profit in their pocket, while giving us a great DX camera.

The other thing to keep in mind is that more pixels does not automatically mean worse high ISO performance. We used to think that, but these days, that has not proven to be the case (look at D800 vs. D4) as one of the advantage of more MP is that some noise effects are smaller and more random and thus less visible when there are more pixels.

I don't care how many MPs they put in, IF there is a significant improvement in the high ISO performance and no loss of speed. If you want/need to crop heavily, the pixels are right back in your face, so it must be a real gain, not a hidden in the crowd, don't look/don't tell "gain".

I'm waiting for a fast D400 (at least 8fps) with better high ISO and DR than the D7000. It seems likely that it will be somewhere in the 16-24MP range. To achieve 8fps, they may have to go 16MP in order to be able process the images at 8fps.

That's what I'm waiting for as well. Honestly, I don't care how they get there, so long as they get there and soon.

I'm really wondering why they are taking so long. It doesn't seem logical that Nikon would forfeit this market segment to the 7d, does it? Dunno, maybe so....

What will you do if the d400 doesn't materialize this year? I will stick with the d300 and d7000 as long as I can stand it. After that, I'll have to check my options and decide whether or not the long tele action work is really something I want to continue doing. I'd need to duplicate too many lenses to run a 2 system kit, I think, so the 7dii doesn't seem a good fit for me.

Kerry
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Problem is, you can't even crop if the MP is lower. And when you crop the one with less MP, the noise increases too. Only that the grain is larger.

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azguy
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Re: 24mp in our future for d300 replacement?
In reply to jfriend00, May 27, 2012

I also need improved high ISO, rather than high MP. I am missing low light opportunities w my D300, which I max at ISO 1200.
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