DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)

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ishtar74
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DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
7 months ago

Hi all!

I've been itching to go to FX after reading many enthusiastic reviews of the D610, but I'm having a hard time justifying it...! I might just have GAS again, even though I just bought a SB-910 but HEY - it's my birthday! I read about the differences FX can make on IQ - better bokeh, low noise, better DR... I also came accross the DXO site and comparing the 24-120 (which I have my eye on, should I make the move), I see it scores so much better on a FX than a DX! I must admit, I'm a bit of a pixel-peeper and I like my pictures very sharp. Is sharpness that much better on FX? How are these tests done, really?

I'm currently using a D7000. I'm not especially into wildlife or sports, I shoot just about everything, mostly family/friends meetings, kids, travel photography, and some macro. My D7000 does the job, I don't feel limited in anything but I would like a more precise and fast AF (been struggling with AF fine tune on many of my lenses, but the body might not be the one to blame here). What should I expect by moving to FX, really? Would AF improve? I know the AF zone on the D610 is a bit limited and that scares me, to be honest. But if the AF is more precise than the D7000, that would still be a plus!

And finally, with the low prices on the D600 - is it crazy to consider it? Is the dust/oil issue so annoying, considering I rarely shoot low apertures? Could more recent units be better?

Thanks in advance!

Michele

 ishtar74's gear list:ishtar74's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR +2 more
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bobn2
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ishtar74, 7 months ago

ishtar74 wrote:

Hi all!

I've been itching to go to FX after reading many enthusiastic reviews of the D610, but I'm having a hard time justifying it...! I might just have GAS again, even though I just bought a SB-910 but HEY - it's my birthday! I read about the differences FX can make on IQ - better bokeh, low noise, better DR... I also came accross the DXO site and comparing the 24-120 (which I have my eye on, should I make the move), I see it scores so much better on a FX than a DX! I must admit, I'm a bit of a pixel-peeper and I like my pictures very sharp. Is sharpness that much better on FX? How are these tests done, really?

I'm currently using a D7000. I'm not especially into wildlife or sports, I shoot just about everything, mostly family/friends meetings, kids, travel photography, and some macro. My D7000 does the job, I don't feel limited in anything but I would like a more precise and fast AF (been struggling with AF fine tune on many of my lenses, but the body might not be the one to blame here). What should I expect by moving to FX, really? Would AF improve? I know the AF zone on the D610 is a bit limited and that scares me, to be honest. But if the AF is more precise than the D7000, that would still be a plus!

And finally, with the low prices on the D600 - is it crazy to consider it? Is the dust/oil issue so annoying, considering I rarely shoot low apertures? Could more recent units be better?

Thanks in advance!

Michele

A lot of the differences are quite subtle and down to how you use the cameras. As a working example, let's compare a D7100 and D610, both 24MP cameras with a similar spec. You asked about sharpness. Both cameras have 24MP so both can in principle produce equally 'sharp' images (though the D7100 doesn't have an AA filter, which maybe makes it a bit sharper). However, since the D7100's sensor is only 2/3 the linear size, any lens must project an image with 1.5 times the linear resolution to make the same sharpness. In practice, very few do (though the smaller pixels of the d7100 extract a bit more sharpness from the lens) , so the D610 will end up fractionally sharper. However, the D7100 can produce image quite sharp enough for most purposes.

The next question you ask about is noise and DR - well, the D610 does offer better noise and DR, but only if you are willing to sacrifice depth of field (or use longer exposure times) to get it. If you work in deep DOF, and set the two cameras up to produce the same DOF, with the same shutter speed, the noise and DR will be pretty much the same.

So, whether in IQ terms FX offers you anything depends on your photography. Since you say you 'rarely shoot low apertures' by which I assume you mean small apertures, on might assume that you are doing shallow DOF work, in which case FX might be a benefit.

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Horshack
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ishtar74, 7 months ago

ishtar74 wrote:

Hi all!

I've been itching to go to FX after reading many enthusiastic reviews of the D610, but I'm having a hard time justifying it...! I might just have GAS again, even though I just bought a SB-910 but HEY - it's my birthday! I read about the differences FX can make on IQ - better bokeh, low noise, better DR... I also came accross the DXO site and comparing the 24-120 (which I have my eye on, should I make the move), I see it scores so much better on a FX than a DX! I must admit, I'm a bit of a pixel-peeper and I like my pictures very sharp. Is sharpness that much better on FX? How are these tests done, really?

I'm currently using a D7000. I'm not especially into wildlife or sports, I shoot just about everything, mostly family/friends meetings, kids, travel photography, and some macro. My D7000 does the job, I don't feel limited in anything but I would like a more precise and fast AF (been struggling with AF fine tune on many of my lenses, but the body might not be the one to blame here). What should I expect by moving to FX, really? Would AF improve? I know the AF zone on the D610 is a bit limited and that scares me, to be honest. But if the AF is more precise than the D7000, that would still be a plus!

And finally, with the low prices on the D600 - is it crazy to consider it? Is the dust/oil issue so annoying, considering I rarely shoot low apertures? Could more recent units be better?

Thanks in advance!

Michele

FF has a good potential to be sharper due to the lower optical magnification required to achieve the same print/image vs APS-C. But with FF lenses it's generally harder to achieve sharp edges/corners vs DX, or at least the sharpness delta between the center and edges will be higher on a relative basis. If AF consistency is your primary motivation then I would look into a D7100 - I found its AF system to be much more precise than the D7000's.

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j_photo
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ishtar74, 7 months ago

I moved from d7000 to d800 over a year ago. In my experience there is a big difference. The d800 image quality is significantly better. And as lighting gets more challenging the difference grows.

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CAlanS
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ishtar74, 7 months ago

Have D90, D7000 and added a D600 about a year ago. I see a substantial difference from the D7000 to the D600.  I have to add, that compared to most of these guys, I'm a relative newbie.  I've learned a lot so some of the difference may be due to improved technique.

D600 and dust.  I've seen it, but only got the courage to attempt to clean it within the last month.  Because I had taken so long (had the camera for a year) some of the dust/oil was pretty persistent.  I did manage to get it clean. Did it one more time after that.  Took less than 10 minutes. I would recommend Copper Hill simply because it is much less expensive than other systems.  Let me say that cleaning the sensor is not that big a deal once you get over the fear of doing damage, assuming you are careful and follow directions. As far as it being annoying, in my own mind (not yours or anyone else's) I compared it to cleaning a firearm. You need to do that every time you shoot, not so with the D600, not nearly, and cleaning a firearm takes much more effort.  i don't see the dust as a big issue.

Luck on your decision, D600 is fun.

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calson
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ishtar74, 7 months ago

There is not a difference in sharpness if you are using the same lenses. There will be cleaner edges with the use of a FX lens on a DX camera but that is beside the point.

FX lenses at the pro end will provide the best possible optics but at a price in money, size, and weight. Compare the DX Nikon 10-24mm lens to the FX Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens.

My DX D7100 provides better autofocus performance than my FX D800e in every situation. I was not expecting this but when the D800e is challenged I will put the lens on the D7100 and keep on shooting.

There are less expensive lens options with the DX cameras. A 85mm f1.8G lens on a FX camera is a lot less expensive than the 58mm f1.4 lens on a DX camera to get the same picture angle. On the flip side a FX 70-200mm f2.8 performs much like a 105-300mm f2.8 lens on a DX camera.

I doubt that one person in 100 could stand at a normal viewing distance from two 20x30 prints made using files created using the same lens on a D610 and a D7100 and say which was from each camera. They would be guessing.

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ishtar74, 7 months ago

If you go no faster than 1600 ISO and no larger than 20 inches wide I find no obvious practical difference between my D7100 and my D800.

If I want 400/420 mm at f2.8 as I cannot afford a 400 f2.8 my D7100 goes on the 300 f2.8 for better results than cropping the D800 down to equivalent 18 MP.

If I want a 30 inch wide print I choose the D800, plus a good tripod is nearly mandatory.

If I want 24 mm at f2.8 the 14-24 at 16mm has better corner quality on DX than the 24-70 at 24 mm on even the D800.

My approach is to use which combination of format and lens gives me the best result.

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Leonard Shepherd
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If they are great images does what lens, body or technique was used matter more than the skill of the photographer?

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Daniel74
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ishtar74, 7 months ago

Ishtar, people are very keen to spout their (often uninformed) opinions. Rather than waste your time with them, why don't you look for yourself? This very site has done the hard work oftesting the cameras you are talking about:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-d600/21

Just select D7000 and check how the two render various parts of the test image at different ISO settings. If you don't see much difference, then you don't need FX, I think.

Now dpreview is probably not infallible and errors can creep in even with high degree of professionalism. But I would rather trust them, if you ask me.

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falconeyes
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ishtar74, 7 months ago

Let me give you an unscientific answer which somebody may not expect from me

With my full frame D800E, I stopped caring about technical details. Eventually, I could focus on the artistic side trusting a photo's technical aspects won't let me down. There simply is enough headroom now, no reason to pixel peep anymore.

That was never really the case with APSC. I continued to check for image quality, did pixel peep on the rear screen. I didn't notice at the time but now I know it limited the creative half of my brain ...

It is a combination of everything actually, better AF accuracy (AF errors are MUCH more visible with APSC), better DR, better lens edge sharpness, shorter exposure times etc. In the end and for me personally, it marks the magical threshold of good enough to not worry. YMMV

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toomanycanons
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ishtar74, 7 months ago

Check out this vid from DigitalRev (D600 vs D7100):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oeLnzR7RKA

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ranalli
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to toomanycanons, 7 months ago

toomanycanons wrote:

Check out this vid from DigitalRev (D600 vs D7100):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oeLnzR7RKA

I sort of can't stand that guy but I must say that was a well done comparison and I was certainly enlightened around the topic of sharpness.

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toomanycanons
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Re: DX/FX sharpness: is there a real difference? (and other DX-FX questions)
In reply to ranalli, 7 months ago

ranalli wrote:

toomanycanons wrote:

Check out this vid from DigitalRev (D600 vs D7100):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oeLnzR7RKA

I sort of can't stand that guy but I must say that was a well done comparison and I was certainly enlightened around the topic of sharpness.

I know what you mean but he is entertaining and informative at the same time.  It's something that a guy that looks and talks like him gets access to all the gear he reviews and he gets to review it all in Hong Kong.  Sounds like a dream job.  There are plenty of sources of hard facts and specs, his vids are just another way of checking out new gear.

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