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

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
nunatak
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Re: Nikon 1 is unparalleled
In reply to Greg A A, 11 months ago

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 <$1K for the equivalent film gear. JMO.

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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to David A. Hamments, 11 months ago

Nice photo. Nikon 1 does better than I expected. With good light and a situation with moderate dynamic range it appears to be an acceptable method to get more range out of a good lens.

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Sonyshine
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Re: I use this
In reply to TrapperJohn, 11 months ago

That looks a fun set up TJ!

 Sonyshine's gear list:Sonyshine's gear list
Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm F2.8 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 Nikon 1 V2 Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 +6 more
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nuke12
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to LifeIsOnTheWire, 11 months ago

The Nikon 1 + FT-1 is a great alternative for people that can't afford a D800 + 800mm f/5.6.

Sure, I'd prefer the second setup but no one is offering the $18k to buy the lens.

Don't forget that the FT-1 offers auto focus and exposure with Nikon's AF-S F-mount lenses. This is not to be taken lightly when doing bird/wildlife photography.

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 nuke12's gear list:nuke12's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD +19 more
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John Sheehy
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Re: Nikon 1 is unparalleled
In reply to nunatak, 11 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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Sonyshine
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to nuke12, 11 months ago

The whole package is a lot smaller and lighter too and is fine for handholding like this shot:

 Sonyshine's gear list:Sonyshine's gear list
Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm F2.8 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 Nikon 1 V2 Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 +6 more
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John Sheehy
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Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?
In reply to nigelht, 11 months ago

nigelht wrote:

John Sheehy wrote:

Greg A A wrote:

John Sheehy wrote:

frank-in-toronto wrote:

i use the v1 along with my d600. the difference in iq is HUGE. however, for small web posts, the v1 is fine. for anything large, printed or cropped, it's junk.

You know what's really junk? A v1-size crop from a DSLR, compared to the same lens using a v1.

Huh? In no circumstance is a Nikon 1 comparable to a D4, D800, D600, D7100, D3S ...

Wrong. Exactly in the circumstance I described, the larger area of a larger sensor is of ZERO value. Sensors are not like dish antennas, where you get more signal with a bigger antenna. They are bigger surfaces that can capture a larger area of the image projected by the lens.

What? No.

Yes.

The V1 isn't bad in good light but in low light a larger sensor does get more signal (number of photons) than a smaller one because generally each pixel is individually larger.

The larger sensor does not get more signal from each item in the scene, with the same lens and exposure. It gets more items in the scene; that's all. The larger sensor does not help with any given item in the scene.

There are diagrams and articles all over the place to illustrate this even in a crop situation since your scenario doesn't describe the lighting level. A D4, D800, etc x2.7 crop in low light is generally better than a V1 shot especially given the noise our sensor has at higher ISO.

That's elementary, but irrelevant. The FF sensor always collects more total light than a smaller sensor given the same average exposure over the frame, low light or high light. The light collected in the parts you crop away, however, is totally worthless, as far as noise is concerned.

In terms of whether a V1 is better than a D4, D800, etc crop goes in good light depends on the lens.

If it's the same lens (the context of this discussion), then the denser sensor is going to get more subject detail, and collect about the same amount of subject light with the same f-stop and shutter speed.

This chart here:

from this thread by rob_b illustrates the pixel density difference and potential advantages of the V1/V2 for very long shots.

The system does lack for fast native telephotos and zooms. A native 300mm f2.8 would be killer for the N1 birders although it would be expensive. Not as expensive as a 810mm lens would be though...

Once you buy that longest lens available that you are willing to pay for or carry, you may still want to put distant subjects over more pixels; the need for more does not necessarily end with the next upgrade. I've tried the Q on a 600mm lens (equivalent FOV to 3300mm FF), and at the sweet spot, f/9, the output is not bad, a little soft at the pixel level, but very realistic rendering of details without aliasing.

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nuke12
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Re: Nikon 1 is unparalleled
In reply to nunatak, 11 months ago

I think there is something else that should be mentioned.

We all know the Nikon 1 cameras are not low light cameras. I don’t think anyone will argue with that?

There is a somewhat redeeming point. I’m going to pick probably the best case but to a lesser degree, it works with other examples. Say we place a Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 on the N1. It’s an equivalent 1080mm f/2.8 lens. So if you tried to get that focal length on a FF camera, you’d be looking at probably a f/8 lens, considering the Nikkor 800mm is a f/5.6 lens. That gives back 3 full f-stops of light.

Yes, badly needed on the N1s but you get the idea.

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I'm a photo hacker. I use my expensive equipment to destroy anything in front of my camera. This is a special skill that can never be realized by low life photographers. A nurtured skill since the 1970's.

 nuke12's gear list:nuke12's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD +19 more
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TrapperJohn
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And the best part about this setup is...
In reply to TrapperJohn, 11 months ago

the price.

Got the 400 3.5 for $700 on ebay - it's a bit scuffed up in a couple of places, but the optics are pefect. TCON301, which is optimized for lenses 300mm and over, was $100. Add a soft case for the lens for another $50.

My introduction to a supertele. What I found is - when you need it, there's no substitute, but you have to really need it. Given it's size and weight, plus the all but mandatory tripod, it really dominates your day.

The EM5's IBIS actually works quite well with this lens (you manually set the focal length when using non 4/3 glass on the EM5), but with the weight and magnification, this isn't really a lens you can shoot handheld and get good results. Not consistently, anyway.

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