GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Started Jan 2, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Mountain Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,451
GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

So as discussed in my previous thread ( http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1041&thread=34118921 ) I went to Yosemite this week with my D700 and GF1 - here are some comparison shots.

But first a few notes - I tried to compare shots with similar focal lengths and perspective though could not always do a precise match. This is by no means intended to be a scientific comparison - my intent is to see if in the future I would be as satisfied with the GF1/G1 output as I am with the D700 if that was all I took with me.

Also I am not comparing unprocessed RAW images as that is not interesting to me given that my criteria for the comparison is getting similar final output. I have processed the RAW files of each camera to the best of my ability and to match as closely as possible to my eye. Please forgive me if some of the photos do not match exactly in terms of WB or other factors - I gave it my best shot. Also I did push the sharpening on the D700 as it can take a lot without bringing up noise.

The shots were all taken at the base ISO of each camera - 100 for the GF1 and 200 for the D700 so shutter speeds will not match for equal apertures (assuming light levels did not change). At base ISO 200 the D700 has no noise so no NR was applied whereas the GF1 output at ISO 100 does have noise so NR was applied but with an eye towards maintaining resolution as much as possible.

Lastly, the D700 shots were all shot on a tripod whereas the GF1 shots were handheld for the most part.

All RAW files were processed in LR2.6 with most contrast, noise, and sharpening applied with the Nik SW tools (as plugins to LR). All work was done in ProPhotoRGB color space until final jpeg conversion (using LR) which was set to sRGB for web viewing (though color space aware browsers like Safari will display AdobeRGB properly).

So here we go - Round 1: this one is from the tunnel view - the GF1 with the 20mm f1.7 @f11 (40mm EFOV) and the D700 is with a Zeiss 50mm f1.4 also at f11 - these were taken less than 5 minutes apart.

First the GF1:

And the D700:

I think here the advantage of the D700/Zeiss combination is clear - the Zeiss has great color rendition and very high contrast and is quite sharp stopped down. Also the greater latitude I have with the D700 RAW files shows where I was able to boost shadow detail and contrast without introducing a lot of noise. That said - the GF1 is no slouch and with proper exposure bracketing and pp such as HDR or blending, I think you could achieve similar quality of output. The 20mm f1.7 is also quite sharp though not as high contrast as the Zeiss (which is not necessarily a bad thing - just different).

Round 2: same perspective as above but shot with longer focal length - the GF1 with the 45mm Elmarit at f8 and the D700 with the 24-70mm zoom at 70mm, f11. The D700 shot is cropped to show similar FOV as the GF1.

GF1:

D700:

Here again results speak for themselves - of course the D700 & 24-70mm lens are close to $5k together compared to ~$900 for the GF1 20mm combo (and several pounds lighter)...

Round 3: again the 45mm Elmarit on the GF1 at f8 and the Nikon 105mm VR Macro on the D700 also at f8 - I did not crop these to match but you can compare them just the same. Note that the 105mm lens is the same cost as the 45mm Elmarit - $900.

GF1:

D700:

Not much difference in these two shots - though I would say the tonal range of the Nikon setup is superior.

Round 4: a very different shot to give some variety. This time the GF1 with 20mm at f7.1 and D700 with 24-70mm at 36mm, f8. Shot does not cover the same exact areas but close enough for comparison - again the WB is warmer on the Nikon.

GF1:

D700:

I think this one shows better foliage detail and micro contrast in the D700 but the GF1 is almost as good.

I'll close with a B&W for those of you who fancy these (I do) and to show off the tonality of the two cameras. These are the same as above processed in Silver Efex Pro with the exact same settings.

GF1:

D700:

Again I prefer the D700 output as the tonality is superior imo, but I would be very happy with the GF1 results as well.

Please don't flame me for this - I know there are so many variables at play here and the intent is not to bash the GF1 - quite the contrary as I think in terms of cost/size/weight/IQ, this combination cannot be matched (and I would include other m4/3 cameras in this conclusion). Nevertheless I think these comparisons are still useful to illustrate how far each camera can be pushed (and my still evolving pp skills) and what you give up with the size and weight advantage of the GF1.

Please feel free to comment - this took a fair amount of work but I would be willing to play with these or add more if there is a specific request as long as it is in the spirit of this comparison - I own both cameras and like them both.

Cheers and thanks for looking.

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Joe
http://mountainjoe.zenfolio.com/
Chop wood, carry water...

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