Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (RAW)

For a (more) level playing field for comparison we also shot our studio scene in RAW mode with each camera and converted it using Adobe Camera RAW 3.3 Beta. Because Adobe Camera RAW applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we had to use the following workflow for these conversions:

  • Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW 3.3 Beta (Auto mode disabled)
  • Set Sharpness to 0 (all other settings left as default)
  • Open file into Photoshop
  • Apply a Unsharp mask: 80%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 0
  • Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download

Canon EOS 5D (RAW) vs. Nikon D2X (RAW)

Camera settings:

  • Canon EOS 5D: Canon EF 85 mm F1.8 lens, Aperture Priority,
    ISO 100, RAW, Manual WB, Self-Timer
     
  • Nikon D2X: Nikkor 50 mm F1.8 lens, Aperture Priority,
    ISO 100, RAW, Manual WB, Self-Timer
Canon EOS 5D (RAW)
Nikon D2X (RAW)
3,509 KB JPEG (4368 x 2912)
3,520 KB JPEG (4288 x 2848)

Using the same RAW conversion workflow we see that there is in actuality very little difference between the EOS 5D and D2X as far as resolution and detail. Some may argue that they can see a little more detail here or there but you would never be able to see that in any output medium (print). This result is in contrast to the difference between JPEG from the camera which does beg the question as to why Nikon apply such little sharpening in-camera (or at least perhaps should provide a wider range of sharpening).