Nikon D3200...really really good sensor (not Sony)?

Started Apr 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
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chlamchowder Senior Member • Posts: 2,083
Nikon D3200...really really good sensor (not Sony)?

I've heard rumors about the D3200 sensor being manufactured by Sony, and plenty of rumors to the contrary. Out of curiosity, I decided to check the dpreview studio comparisons. As I moved up the ISO range (in raw), the D3200 images seemed noticeably cleaner than the a65 images. In addition to having less color noise, the D3200's grain structure was much finer.

I was about to attribute the difference to the translucent mirror when I checked the EXIF data for the studio shots, and was amazed to see that the D3200 received 2/3 stops less light than the a65. In the ISO 3200 image, the D3200 was set to f/8, 1/1250s, while the a65 was set to f/8, 1/800s. That more than makes up for the SLT light loss, but the D3200 still looks better.

Then, I compared the D3200 shots to studio shots from the a580, and it was pretty much a wash. At the pixel level, the a580 might be slightly cleaner in some areas, but resizing would easily make up for the difference. The a580 also got 2/3 stops more light than the D3200, but was still unable to beat it.

On the other hand, at ISO 100, the a580 is cleaner than the D3200 in the deep shadows, but the D3200 also got less light. I think I'll call it a wash there as well, since the higher contrast on the a580 image hides some shadow noise, resizing will reduce the difference, and matching exposures will make the D3200 image look better in comparison.

So anyways, I think the D3200 sensor definitely isn't from Sony. I see several possible conclusions:

1. The D3200's sensor is 2/3 stops better than the current 16 MP sensor at high ISO. That would make for a DxO ISO score of > 1500, which is ridiculous for a crop sensor.
2. The D3200 might be marginally noisier in the shadows at base ISO.

3. The D3200 might be using noise reduction at high ISOs - but it'd have to be extremely good noise reduction because it's holding plenty of detail.

4. The DPR studio shots aren't done very well. ISO performance comparisons are nearly impossible because exposures aren't matched. Detail comparisons are also impossible because cameras are focused on different areas.

Any thoughts?

Also, has anyone noticed that some forum posts have negative times (like "-20 minutes ago")? It looks like dpreview's programmers have written some miracle code to fetch data from the future. I'm impressed.

 chlamchowder's gear list:chlamchowder's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Nikon D600 Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM +8 more
Nikon D3200 Sony SLT-A58 Sony SLT-A65
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