D300 versus 20D continued analysis

Started Dec 5, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Arash Hazeghi Contributing Member • Posts: 967
D300 versus 20D continued analysis

Hi,

I posted some pics last night, comparing my new D300 to my old Canon 20D. First thank you all for your helpful and nice comments, trying to explain your concerns and thoughts, I did get a few rather unhelpful and rushed resposes but the majority liked the test and provided useful comments, especially in terms of AF and I appriciate it. This morning the weather was nice so I did more tests, I am sharing them in case you are interested. all the shots were take at f/8 with tripod and self timer. I am using the Nikon 17-35 f/2.8 AF-S which is Nikon's top of the line wide angle and the Canon 17-40 f/4L which is also an excellent lens in terms of sharpness. having had the D300 for three days now, I have to report that Nikon meter is VERY VERY accuarte, it doesn't get fooled by sky (as yesterday's overcast shots showed) and nor does it get fooled with brigh objects, as today's shots showed. Canon 20D/30D/40D meter is less consistent and accurate compared to that of Nikon, I used Nikon meter for all of the shots, no exposure compensation was needed. Again I am using Nikon Capture to convert NEF files, no NR in camera or during conversion, no NR for 20D either, as you have noticed I am not a fan of NR. sharpening was set to ideal value for Nikon 4~5/9 (beynd this value pictures looked like unnatural) and also for Canon 3/9 (aliasing will occur for higher values), further sharpening will not deliver better images for either camera. I did a couple of different scenes, in door with natural light, and out door high contrast scenes which are often more challenging than flat overcast lightning.
first inside high-contrast scene
20D

D300

20D iso 400 100% crop

D300 ISO 400 100% crop

20D ISO 800 100% crop

D300 ISO 800 100% crop

outdoor scene high contrast, again note how the metering has kept the highlight detail, 20D default meter would blow up all the leaves.
20D

D300

20D ISO 800 100% crop

D300 ISO 800 100% crop

20D ISO 1600 100% crop

D300 ISO 1600 100% crop

D300 ISO 1600 reseized to 20D sample (although I do NOT believe in this method)

As you see, Canon sesnor has lower noise and better per-pixelsharpness/resolution. there is not much extra detail in D300 shot. At ISO 1600, D300 is considerably noisier, even resized to 20D size, however, the combination of D300/17-35/Nikon Capture deliver a better image in terms of colors and tones, contrast and DR seems better there is less fringe and blowup, leaves look much better and natural.
Here is another outdoor shot
20D

D300

again 20D standard meter would have caused blow up on the buildings, D300 meter got the scene with no EV compensation needed.

20D ISO 400 100% crop

D300 ISO 400 100% crop

20D ISO 800 100% crop

D300 ISO 800 100% crop

20D ISO 1600 100% crop

D300 ISO 1600 100% crop

again, from a detail and sharpness point of view the Canon 8 mpixel sensor is superior to the 12 mpixel Sony sensor, however from a photographic point of view D300 tones, colors and even look of the grain, produces a more film-like image.

Well, in my oponion Nikon D300 image quality is a step froward from D200 and D100 which I had almost five years ago, at that time there was nothing to compare between the Canon D60 and Nikon D100 in terms of noise and sharpness, now difference is smaller. yet I would have prefered Nikon use a 10 mpixel sensor of their own, similar to that of D3 instead of the Sony sensor, with a weaker AA filter. This would have lead to cleaner images, better per-pixel-sharpness and resolution as well as smaller file size which would have meant a faster camera with more buffer capacity. Nevertheless, everything in our world is a compromise, combination of Canon cameras/lenses/DPP software deliver superior per-pixel-sharpness and lower noise accross the range which Nikon with the exception of D3 can not match at this time. However Nikon cameras/lenses/Nikon capture deliver a fine, accurately exposed image accross the range while, despite having a more noise, have better tones and colors and most likely will please the viewer more, once they are resized for web or even printed. with this I would like to end the image quality tests and here are a couple of random D300 shots from this morning. Thank you for your attention.
A

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