Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?

Started Jan 28, 2014 | Discussions thread
John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 21,132
Re: Small-sensor + Long lens combo, is the Nikon 1 the best choice?

nigelht wrote:

John Sheehy wrote:

Greg A A wrote:

John Sheehy wrote:

frank-in-toronto wrote:

i use the v1 along with my d600. the difference in iq is HUGE. however, for small web posts, the v1 is fine. for anything large, printed or cropped, it's junk.

You know what's really junk? A v1-size crop from a DSLR, compared to the same lens using a v1.

Huh? In no circumstance is a Nikon 1 comparable to a D4, D800, D600, D7100, D3S ...

Wrong. Exactly in the circumstance I described, the larger area of a larger sensor is of ZERO value. Sensors are not like dish antennas, where you get more signal with a bigger antenna. They are bigger surfaces that can capture a larger area of the image projected by the lens.

What? No.


The V1 isn't bad in good light but in low light a larger sensor does get more signal (number of photons) than a smaller one because generally each pixel is individually larger.

The larger sensor does not get more signal from each item in the scene, with the same lens and exposure. It gets more items in the scene; that's all. The larger sensor does not help with any given item in the scene.

There are diagrams and articles all over the place to illustrate this even in a crop situation since your scenario doesn't describe the lighting level. A D4, D800, etc x2.7 crop in low light is generally better than a V1 shot especially given the noise our sensor has at higher ISO.

That's elementary, but irrelevant. The FF sensor always collects more total light than a smaller sensor given the same average exposure over the frame, low light or high light. The light collected in the parts you crop away, however, is totally worthless, as far as noise is concerned.

In terms of whether a V1 is better than a D4, D800, etc crop goes in good light depends on the lens.

If it's the same lens (the context of this discussion), then the denser sensor is going to get more subject detail, and collect about the same amount of subject light with the same f-stop and shutter speed.

This chart here:

from this thread by rob_b illustrates the pixel density difference and potential advantages of the V1/V2 for very long shots.

The system does lack for fast native telephotos and zooms. A native 300mm f2.8 would be killer for the N1 birders although it would be expensive. Not as expensive as a 810mm lens would be though...

Once you buy that longest lens available that you are willing to pay for or carry, you may still want to put distant subjects over more pixels; the need for more does not necessarily end with the next upgrade. I've tried the Q on a 600mm lens (equivalent FOV to 3300mm FF), and at the sweet spot, f/9, the output is not bad, a little soft at the pixel level, but very realistic rendering of details without aliasing.

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