Nikon finally gets the noise down.

Started Nov 17, 2007 | Discussions thread
Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,188
Interesting! A few questions ...

Thank you John for taking the time to dive in to this kind of research, and for taking the time to share it. I hope you have a few moments to elaborate somewhat for someone trying to get a grip on this

John Sheehy wrote:

Well, I've finally found a way to look at D3 RAWs, thanks to Emil
Martinec.

This might be a lot of explaining, but could you give any short version on how the measurement of photo collection capabilities is done? Does it involve any special software for example?

The D3 seems to collect about twice as many photons as the Canon 5D
at the same ISO, and has slightly lower read noise at ISO 1600. I
haven't looked at low ISO files yet.

From what I have read, it seem like the approximate photo site sizes of the 5D and the D3 are about 8,2 and 8,4 microns respectively. Anyway, not a significant size difference. So if the light gathering capabilities of the D3 is about twice as high, that to me sound like they done a very good job with the microlenses on each photosite.

Which other factors (other then physical size of photo sites and microlens efficeiency) are there that would affect the photon gathering capabilities?

Anyway, it looks like the D3 does what Canon has been failing to do;
maintaining high QE and low high-ISO read noise at the same time.
None of Canon's APS-H and FF digitals have been very efficient in
capturing photons; Canon's high-ISO performance has been due mainly
to low read noise.

Now I really feel stupid to ask, but I guess thar QE in this context mean quantum efficiency? And also, by read noise, you mean noise induced in the process of translating photon amounts into a signal, and in digitizing that signal?

Anyway, that leaves me with an impression that combining the QE of Nikon D3 and Canons ability in handling read noise would mean kick ass low light capabilities ...

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