Yikes! The rumored Nikon D800.

Started Oct 5, 2011 | Discussions thread
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 60,672
Part 1

orpheo wrote:
Thanks for your answer.

bobn2 wrote:

As it was, putting this excellently efficient sensor in the existing D3 allowed Nikon to build a 'mid life kicker' which stole much of the 1DIV's thunder.

That sounds reasonable (although I thought D7000 is a Nikon-sensor as well?)

It's a Sony

The pixel size of the D3s was way above what was needed for that technology, it was dictated by the speed consideration, above.

So you say they ended up with way the best low-light-performance so far ONLY as a byproduct? I doubt that a little...

See what you've done there? You've got pixel size and low light performance so linked in your mind that when I say pixel size was dependent on speed, you just assume that low light performance is a byproduct. That's not the case, Nikon was designing for high quantum efficiency and low light performance, but that has little to do with pixel size. My guess is that Nikon had a QE enhancement programme for the 1 series (which they say they started 4 years ago) and the D4, it produced results early, and they decided quite late to build a new 12MP sensor with that tech for the D3 to give them something to compete with the 1DIV.

The Nikon 1 series has pixels with 1/4 of the area and much the same performance.

I suppose you're referring to quantum efficency and read noise NOT the low-light-performance of the finished J1/V1cameras? And isn't pixelsize 1/6th of the D3s?

I'm talking about pixel performance. Of course a larger sensor always picks up more light at the same exposure, so an FX sensor will always have better low light performance than a DX or CX sensor of the same efficiency.

Give an example - I doubt you'll actually find one,

I look at things more in a consumer-way, yet one that doesn't want the most MP but the best low-light-performance in RAW-Format. So I look at tests of the RAW-Formats, for example at DxO. There I look at the "Sports"-Score or at the SNR18% measurement computed for "Print". Furthermore as a consumer I can only guess that Cameras launched at aprox. the same time and in the same league are also technologically cousins...

So first example: Canon 40D - Nikon D300 (not exactly the same league alltogether). Pixelsize very close and the smaller ones of the D300 end up with a little lower score.

But completely different sensors produced by different manufacturers. You can't really base anything on that, any difference due to pixel size will be swamped by the differences in design and manufacture.

Next came the Canon 50D - Nikon D90 pair: the Nikon with the bigger pixels about half a stop better.

Same again

And so on, the Nikon Models always have the bigger pixels and the better low-light-performance. Up to the D7000 - 60D pair.

And again

Now you will propably say I can't compare these like that because of sensor-tech etc.

That's exactly what I'd say.

But I can't help wondering what low-light-performance a 60D would have with the pixelsize of a D7000. From what you say, I guess it would still be worse, but wouldn't it come closer?

No, it will be about the same as it is. Its QE is 40%, the D7000's 48%, that's what makes the difference.

Or let's compare closer to "sensor-home": D700 and Sony Alpha 900. If pixelsize wouldn't matter at all, they should be about the same in low-light-perf, or does Sony not use its best sensors for their own cameras??

One's a Nikon sensor the other is a Sony sensor. Again it is mainly a QE issue, D700 38%, A900 27%. Nikon is very good at QE, and until recently Sony CMOS wasn't. I suspect there might have been some IP travel that way.

Do you have an example of that sort?

It's a bit harder, because pixel size tends to shrink as new generations come out, there are many examples of newer, high res sensor outperforming old ones in low light, sat D7000 - D90, 1DIII - 1DIV. You'll say that it could be due to technological improvements besides pixel size, I'll say shrinking the pixels is one of the improvements that yields the results.

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