FF/APS-C/Nikon 1 comparison - is my maths flawed?

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
rob_b
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FF/APS-C/Nikon 1 comparison - is my maths flawed?
10 months ago

I posted this in the wildlife forum, and the answers have been interesting and helpful, but I thought that this forum might also have insight. Hence, the repetition. Apologies for double posting..

I have a Nikon D800E, with my main lens a 300mm f2.8 (+/-, mainly +) TC2III

I'm still contemplating a second body for backup, and started to 'do the math' as you say in the US

Given a major challenge in shooting small birds is the difficulty of getting enough of the bird in the frame, then the more pixels per mm^2 of the sensor, the better.

Plus, the APS/C cameras turns my 300mm lens into an 'effective' ~420mm lens - more reach?

The V2 turns my 300mm lens into a 'effective' ~800mm lens, and has more pixels per mm

So, for distant shots, the V2 could be a good choice - no need for TC, thus f2.8 = faster shutter speed = sharper.

Of course, this presupposes the image quality is identical, which is demonstrably not true. But a major problem for me is the need to crop hard with small, distant birds. It seems to me that the V2 will put more of the bird onto the frame (occupying more mm^2, therefore, and therefore, many more pixels per bird?

Where's the flaws in my logic? Would I have been better advised not to buy the D800E, and get a D7100 instead?

Rob

p.s I can't follow the advice of buying a 500mm f4! I am anchored to the 300mm f2.8 as my starting point. Also, I shall keep the D800E whatever - wonderful camera.

p.p.s Incidentally, I have a Benro gimbal head on a Gitzo tripod. I have no problem balancing the 300mm 2.8/2.0TCIII/FT1/V2 combination. It looks a bit odd, but works fine! The sliding mount of the Benro allows me to put to COG where it needs to be.

Nikon 1 V2 Nikon D7100 Nikon D800E
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Vlasty
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Re: FF/APS-C/Nikon 1 comparison - is my maths flawed?
In reply to rob_b, 10 months ago

Your math appears correct.

V2 12.23 MP/cm²

D800 4.22 MP/cm²

The V2 has nearly 200% higher pixel density than the D800

A D800 would have to be more than a 100 megapixel sensor to equal the V2, as far as pixel density is concerned.

 Vlasty's gear list:Vlasty's gear list
Sony Alpha 7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon 1 V2 +11 more
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wornish
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Re: FF/APS-C/Nikon 1 comparison - is my maths flawed?
In reply to rob_b, 10 months ago

Your math is correct.

If the only criteria is to take pictures of small birds and get more pixels per bird then the (V2+FT1) beats the 7100 which beats the D800.

Many people use the N1 system as there teleconverter replacement to get more reach.

There are lots of posts on here that show the quality that can be achieved.

 wornish's gear list:wornish's gear list
Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +2 more
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MPg1
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Re: FF/APS-C/Nikon 1 comparison - is my maths flawed?
In reply to rob_b, 10 months ago

I think your math is correct.

As additional considerations, the V camera lacks mirror slap and provides electronic shutter, two nice advantages reducing vibration blur. But all that pixel density is very demanding on the lens, so more pixels per bird could not translate in proportional more real information per bird on the shot.

The ability to shoot from a greater distance has the benefit to reduce the inevitable disturb to the subject, something we should always keep in consideration when shooting wild birds!

DX and more so FX would offer you the ability to shoot at much higher ISo which is a big advantage.

Having both a D800 and a V2+FT1 in the bag would cover a lot of different situations. But if I had to have only one camera for birds it would probably be a DX D7100.

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cyuill2007
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Re: FF/APS-C/Nikon 1 comparison - is my maths flawed?
In reply to rob_b, 10 months ago

I think your maths are okay regarding pixel density. Whether this works out in practice is another matter.

I have been using both a D7000 and a V1 for a while, and taken a fair number of bird photos with both. Operationally, the D7000 is generally the better camera for bird photos because it is more compatible with F-mount AF and AF-S lenses. My V1, like the V2, can only autofocus using AF-S lenses. (You didn't mention which model of 300mm f/2.8 lens you have.) Also, it can only autofocus in the center part of the image, not out towards the sides, if that is important to you. Your D800e's sensor has a pixel density similar to my D7000's. I find the D7000 is able to capture images with plenty of detail that can be cropped a fair amount. Your D800e's AF system, however, is supposed to be better than my D7000's. The D7100 might be better for birding in some ways, cropped photos from your D800e should get you similar results.

That said, my V1 is able to capture good bird images too, especially if the birds are relatively still. Birds-in-flight shots with non-1 Nikkor lenses don't seem to be its forte. (Sadly, the 30-110mm lens has the longest focal length of any of the 1 Nikkor lenses.) My V1, like the V2, needs sharp lenses. My 70-300mm G AF-S VR lens is pretty good up to a point, but my old Tamron MF 300mm f/2.8 lens is definitely better than the zoom lens at 300mm. I am assuming you have a newer 300mm f/2.8 lens, it should be better still.

If you are satisfied with taking shots of fairly-still birds then you can expect to capture something like the following with a V2 + 300mm f/2.8. All of these were taken with my old 300mm f/2.8 at around f/5.6, with the ISO set to 400. The first two are uncropped and unsharpened. The last one had a mild/moderate amount of sharpening and definition/clarity added in post processing.

Good luck with making a decision.

Red-winged Blackbird, Perched

Spotted Towhee, on the Ground

Spotted Towhee, Perched

 cyuill2007's gear list:cyuill2007's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 +4 more
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vkyr2
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Pixel density + reach vs pixel size, noise and dynamic range ...
In reply to rob_b, 10 months ago

rob_b wrote:

...

Given a major challenge in shooting small birds is the difficulty of getting enough of the bird in the frame, then the more pixels per mm^2 of the sensor, the better.

Plus, the APS/C cameras turns my 300mm lens into an 'effective' ~420mm lens - more reach?

The V2 turns my 300mm lens into a 'effective' ~800mm lens, and has more pixels per mm

So, for distant shots, the V2 could be a good choice - no need for TC, thus f2.8 = faster shutter speed = sharper.

Of course, this presupposes the image quality is identical, which is demonstrably not true. But a major problem for me is the need to crop hard with small, distant birds. It seems to me that the V2 will put more of the bird onto the frame (occupying more mm^2, therefore, and therefore, many more pixels per bird?

Where's the flaws in my logic? Would I have been better advised not to buy the D800E, and get a D7100 instead?

...

Well this is just for the crop factor aka reach/distance wise and plain math correct. With a N1 sensor cam you can gain a lot of reach advantage at lower cost due to it's 2.7x crop factor size.

But overall just taking a sensors pixel density into account isn't the whole story here. Pixel size, noise and dynamic range also play a very important role here when it comes to overall IQ and larger sensors usually have larger pixels, thus producing lower pixel noise, they also have much more dynamic range. The later are the points (less noise, better dynamic range etc.) why for example bigger FF sensor images look in contrast overall mostly cleaner and better here.
However for gaining a lot of reach the cheaper way, a V2 may be ideal when combined with good glass.

Valentino

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