GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

Started Dec 11, 2009 | Discussions
ajmeeker Contributing Member • Posts: 893
GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

Since I was curious, I did a test with my D700/24-120/50mm f/1.4G and the GF/14-45/20mm f/1.7 on the Portland waterfront while the sun was still out.

In short, my original assumption was correct: The GF1/14-45 would outresolve the D700/24-120VR by a large margin. It was no contest in the final results, and it was so bad i'm not even going to post the results.

With the GF1/20mm and the D700/50mm things got a little more interesting though. Below is a 100% crop from each one, so you can be the judge. The Nikon is a little larger, because the 50mm lens has a narrower FOV.

Lightroom 3 beta, no sharpening, just import, than directly to export. Both shot at base ISO, manual focus with live view, on a tripod. This comparison is the center at the sharpest aperture of the lenses. So that's f/4 for the 20mm and f/5.6 for the 50mm.

Aside from overall having noise in the whole image for the GF1 (expected for 4/3rds anyway), it looks sharper to me. I'd really like to do this again but with the AA filter removed in the D700, but i'm not about to do that to my work camera.

Overall conclusions on the 14-45 and 20mm are below, but aside from stupid resolution tests, the more i use this camera, the more i just love it to pieces. It's just so much fun!

20mm – f/4-f/5.6 best results, center was stellar, sides were fine, borders were ok.

14-45 @ 14mm – f/5.6-f/8, similar results, 5.6 had better center resolution, but f/8 was more uniform. Overall even, except extreme borders never quite came in. f/22 was so soft the whole image looked out of focus.

14-45 @ 18mm - wide open was better than expected, 5.6 was better, f/8 is the place to be at.

14-45 @ 25mm – best at 5.6-f/8

14-45 @ 45mm – pretty good at f/5.6, little bit better at f/8, but you have to look hard.

So essentially, if you shoot the 20mm or 14-45 at f/5.6 the whole time, you can't lose in terms of sharpness

jiayaw Veteran Member • Posts: 3,443
I think to make it fair

you'd have to use an aperture on the D700 that gives you the same DOF under similar FOV of the two lenses, and in this case, since you used F4.0 on the GF1, I think it would be more accurate to use the D700 at F8.0. But nonetheless, the micro 43 bodies are definitely pretty good cameras for their size!
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stuntmonkey
stuntmonkey Senior Member • Posts: 2,735
Re: I think to make it fair

jiayaw wrote:

you'd have to use an aperture on the D700 that gives you the same DOF under similar FOV of the two lenses, and in this case, since you used F4.0 on the GF1, I think it would be more accurate to use the D700 at F8.0. But nonetheless, the micro 43 bodies are definitely pretty good cameras for their size!

+1. The GF-1's images looked a little more in-camera cooked, RAW notwithstanding. There looks like a lot more potential in the D700 with more curve-shaping in PP. (Low contrast details seem a little better) But yes, under daylight conditons, the Panny is good, and the extra depth of field will be useful for most of it's targeted audience.

Jogger
Jogger Veteran Member • Posts: 8,441
Re: GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

ajmeeker wrote:

Since I was curious, I did a test with my D700/24-120/50mm f/1.4G and the GF/14-45/20mm f/1.7 on the Portland waterfront while the sun was still out.

In short, my original assumption was correct: The GF1/14-45 would outresolve the D700/24-120VR by a large margin. It was no contest in the final results, and it was so bad i'm not even going to post the results.

Thats because its well known that the 24-120VR is a total dog; it hasnt been updated in years. Nikon doesnt really have any decent mid-range, non-pro/f2.8 zooms for their FX format.

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sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,615
Re: GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

Thanks for the comparison. I don't think anyone expects a GF1 to best a D700, given comparable glass; but the important thing is that it seems to hold its own in your opinion. The example photo doesn't really push the limits of either camera though. What is more significant to me is that you can enjoy using the GF1 without missing the D700.

I'm interested in a GF1 as a little buddy to my D200. Of course the image quality will be a little closer between the two than it is between your two. My problem with previous compact cameras has mostly been that they are terrible above base ISO and that they are so unresponsive compared to a DSLR. It's difficult to enjoy shooting with a small camera that has shutter lag and no optical viewfinder when you are used to the comfort and performance of a good DSLR. I'm tentatively planning to purchase a GF1 after the holidays, and I hope that it becomes the first compact-ish camera that doesn't make me long for my D200.

So which lens do you feel like you use more? I'm thinking of sticking with just the pancake prime at first, and perhaps adding the 14-45 later. The latter seems to make it not so compact anymore, but I'm sure it is still easier to carry on a daily basis than a D200 with a 17-55mm f/2.8.

Sean

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OP ajmeeker Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

Jogger wrote:

ajmeeker wrote:

Since I was curious, I did a test with my D700/24-120/50mm f/1.4G and the GF/14-45/20mm f/1.7 on the Portland waterfront while the sun was still out.

In short, my original assumption was correct: The GF1/14-45 would outresolve the D700/24-120VR by a large margin. It was no contest in the final results, and it was so bad i'm not even going to post the results.

Thats because its well known that the 24-120VR is a total dog; it hasnt been updated in years. Nikon doesnt really have any decent mid-range, non-pro/f2.8 zooms for their FX format.

No kidding! it's really horrible.

stuntmonkey wrote:

jiayaw wrote:

you'd have to use an aperture on the D700 that gives you the same DOF under similar FOV of the two lenses, and in this case, since you used F4.0 on the GF1, I think it would be more accurate to use the D700 at F8.0. But nonetheless, the micro 43 bodies are definitely pretty good cameras for their size!

+1. The GF-1's images looked a little more in-camera cooked, RAW notwithstanding. There looks like a lot more potential in the D700 with more curve-shaping in PP. (Low contrast details seem a little better) But yes, under daylight conditons, the Panny is good, and the extra depth of field will be useful for most of it's targeted audience.

I did the whole range of apertures with each lens, this is just the two from the sharpest ones. I totally agree though about DOF and all, but when both are focused to infinity and it's easy to get everything in focus, it becomes somewhat moot. nontheless, this was not a DOF test. just what has the potential of being sharper.

sean000 wrote:

Thanks for the comparison. I don't think anyone expects a GF1 to best a D700, given comparable glass; but the important thing is that it seems to hold its own in your opinion. The example photo doesn't really push the limits of either camera though. What is more significant to me is that you can enjoy using the GF1 without missing the D700.

I'm interested in a GF1 as a little buddy to my D200. Of course the image quality will be a little closer between the two than it is between your two. My problem with previous compact cameras has mostly been that they are terrible above base ISO and that they are so unresponsive compared to a DSLR. It's difficult to enjoy shooting with a small camera that has shutter lag and no optical viewfinder when you are used to the comfort and performance of a good DSLR. I'm tentatively planning to purchase a GF1 after the holidays, and I hope that it becomes the first compact-ish camera that doesn't make me long for my D200.

So which lens do you feel like you use more? I'm thinking of sticking with just the pancake prime at first, and perhaps adding the 14-45 later. The latter seems to make it not so compact anymore, but I'm sure it is still easier to carry on a daily basis than a D200 with a 17-55mm f/2.8.

Sean

If you want something pocketable, you have to go with the 20mm, but this is a small kit i carry in my messenger bag, so I can carry both lenses with no problem. both together are still smaller and lighter than my F100 or D700 with the 24-120 or 50mm on them, so it's a win-win for me, your mileage may vary.

BJN
BJN Veteran Member • Posts: 5,089
Re: GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

The point is, you don't compare what the D700 can do with the exceptional lenses that are available for it, you shoot a vanilla daylight scene to compare cameras with vastly different ISO performance, you don't acknowledge that subject isolation at wide apertures is much easier to do with the larger format, yet you call this a GF1 vs. D700 comparison.

My Honda Civic and a Ferrari can both drive in a straight line at 50 miles per hour, therefore they're equivalent.

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BJ Nicholls
SLC, UT

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sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,615
Re: GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

ajmeeker wrote:

If you want something pocketable, you have to go with the 20mm, but this is a small kit i carry in my messenger bag, so I can carry both lenses with no problem. both together are still smaller and lighter than my F100 or D700 with the 24-120 or 50mm on them, so it's a win-win for me, your mileage may vary.

I would usually be carrying it in a messenger bag, or a smaller bag, as well. I sometimes carry my D200, or older D70, in there with one or two lenses... so the size weight doesn't bother me that much. Where it becomes a major convenience is when I want to head out with something I can just hang around my neck or put in my coat pocket. I can wear a D200 with 35mm f/2 around my neck just fine, but it's not really coat-pocketable, and I don't really want a big camera around my neck all of the time. With the GF1 it looks like I could at least zip up my jacket over the top of it (at least with the pancake on) or stuff it into a pocket if I had to. But yeah... it still looks like a small bag or belt pouch camera to me, regardless of the lens. I would rather wear a small bag than have an unsightly bulge in my jacket pocket.

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millsart Senior Member • Posts: 2,771
And what if subject isolation or high ISO is meaning to you ?

What if you don't give a darn about subject isolation or high ISO?

I shoot a D3 and D700 and have some very fast glass for it such as the 200mm F2.0 and the 85mm f1.4, and yes it gives amazing bokeh and subject isolation but you know what ? Thats not what I bought into m4/3'rds for. I actually wanted more DOF

I have the 24, 45 and 85 tilt shifts as well and use tilt to help increase the apparent DOF on the plane of focus specifically because I needed more DOF. A full frame DSLR often has too little DOF unless your stopping way down.

I just see everyone going on and on about isolation as if its something that you want in each and every picture. It gets old. How many thousand post have I seen where people have that razor thin DOF shot from the 85mm of a model where only the eyeball is sharp ?

Same goes for high ISO. Sure when I'm shooting a sporting event in a dark gym or arena I love the D3's ISO3200 setting, but when I'm doing landscapes, I actually put ND filters over my lenses to get longer shutter speeds at base iso because I'm working from a tripod and want to blur water etc

The D700 is still a great all around camera, and its certainly got some amazing things it can do that the GF1 can't come close to doing, but you have to remember that those things while important to some, perhaps most people who buy a FX sesnor DSLR, aren't going to matter to everyone.

BJN wrote:

The point is, you don't compare what the D700 can do with the exceptional lenses that are available for it, you shoot a vanilla daylight scene to compare cameras with vastly different ISO performance, you don't acknowledge that subject isolation at wide apertures is much easier to do with the larger format, yet you call this a GF1 vs. D700 comparison.

My Honda Civic and a Ferrari can both drive in a straight line at 50 miles per hour, therefore they're equivalent.

dennis tennis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,783
Re: the most important thing about mFT

is that it is small and light.

A real man these days can't be bother with a big heavy camera with heavy lenses.

He needs a small camera, preferably silver with matching lenses that will fit into his man purse.

Last year, it was acceptable for a real 21st century man to sports an E420 or E6720 but now those are positively Cro-Magnoniod. He needs to clear up some real estate in his man purse for his AXE bodyspray and hand sanitizer.

What I really want is an ILC based on the 2/3 sensor, with 6MP. 6MP is plenty to take snaps of my french poodle as it waits for me in doggie care, while I do my yoga. Afterwards, I can upload his pics to Facebook and MySpace while we both get our pedicures and summer highlights.

Yes, I'm serious about only the sensor part.

millsart Senior Member • Posts: 2,771
You must never hike or have to travel for a living

Maybe if you had to travel for a living or did a lot of hiking you'd be able to appreciate the benefits of having a small and lightweight system with decent performance.

My Nikon gear with a D3, 14-24, 24-70, 70-200, kirk bh1 ballhead, dovetail plates etc weights over 10lbs and there is simply no way to pack it all into my carry on. Its fine and good when I'm going on a specific photo assignment but when traveling having a couple of lightweight lens and a compact body that together weights less than one of my zoom lens alone is a real blessing.

It means I can have a camera with more more times and due to the lightweight lenses, I can carry more glass as well.

Normally on a 5 mile hike I might not take a longer tele because I probably wouldn't need it with my 35mm rig. With the 45-200 weighting about 1/5th the weight and about a quarter of the size, I can throw in in and if I want to shoot a highly compressed sunset, I've got a lens for it.

Same with the 7-14mm, its brilliant because it fits into my jacket pocket but can give me UWA if I might need it. Think I can do the same with my 14-24mm ? Not hardly and as a result I often don't take it.

So you can stick to your french manicures and poodles there cupcake, all the while putting down anyone you don't think is a "real man" but there are some very valid reasons why some people prefer the option of having a lightweight travel option and thats exactly why you'll find plenty of people with larger camera rigs also buying into the m4/3rds systems

dennis tennis wrote:

is that it is small and light.

A real man these days can't be bother with a big heavy camera with heavy lenses.

He needs a small camera, preferably silver with matching lenses that will fit into his man purse.

Last year, it was acceptable for a real 21st century man to sports an E420 or E6720 but now those are positively Cro-Magnoniod. He needs to clear up some real estate in his man purse for his AXE bodyspray and hand sanitizer.

What I really want is an ILC based on the 2/3 sensor, with 6MP. 6MP is plenty to take snaps of my french poodle as it waits for me in doggie care, while I do my yoga. Afterwards, I can upload his pics to Facebook and MySpace while we both get our pedicures and summer highlights.

Yes, I'm serious about only the sensor part.

WayneRT Regular Member • Posts: 165
Re: GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

You might be surprised (maybe not, since D200 is old), but I've found GF1/20mm is better than the D200/50mm in both sharpness and ISO performance.

sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,615
Re: And what if subject isolation or high ISO is meaning to you ?

millsart wrote:

I just see everyone going on and on about isolation as if its something that you want in each and every picture. It gets old. How many thousand post have I seen where people have that razor thin DOF shot from the 85mm of a model where only the eyeball is sharp ?

I think it depends on where you're coming from. If you are a full frame DSLR shooter, then you appreciate being able to get more DOF from a camera that you will typically be using handheld (which prevents you from stopping down since you need fast enough shutter speeds to handhold). But if you're coming from a compact P&S camera you will appreciate being able to get less DOF when you want to. For many photographers, m4/3 might be the happy medium... just enough control over DOF.

Same goes for high ISO. Sure when I'm shooting a sporting event in a dark gym or arena I love the D3's ISO3200 setting, but when I'm doing landscapes, I actually put ND filters over my lenses to get longer shutter speeds at base iso because I'm working from a tripod and want to blur water etc

Same here... I prefer using a tripod, neutral density grads, and even a 9-stop ND filter when I shoot landscapes and architecture, but the reason it is good to have high ISO capability on a compact camera like a GF1 is because it is precisely the kind of camera you carry when when you don't plan on bringing a tripod and a kit of lenses and filters. But yeah... I certainly don't expect to be using a GF1 to shoot at 3200. For the types of photos I will take with it, I doubt I will be over ISO 400 very often, and 800 or 1600 would be the max.

I think it just depends on why someone buys a camera like this. I'm thinking about buying one as a family camera. My wife and I are expecting a baby next year and I want something easy to carry that will allow me to capture available light shots and the occasional video. Artsy shallow depth of field a plus in some shots, but certainly not all. At home I will reach for my DSLR and one of my primes or f/2.8 zooms. I might also reach for the GF1 to shoot video. While we are out and about I will probably pack the GF1 along with the baby supplies... unless I can find a diaper bag with a compartment big enough for a D200 and 17-55mm f/2.8. Geez... nobody will ever buy used gear from me after reading this thread.

I will also use a camera like the GF1 for landscape shots and street photograph during my bicycle rides to and from work. Even with a compact I prefer to use a stable platform (gorillapod, fencepost, etc.) and the timer rather than handheld.

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simonclivehughes Regular Member • Posts: 233
Re: You must never hike or have to travel for a living

Some people just don't understand tongue-in-cheek, do they?
--
Cheers,

Simon

Website: http://web.mac.com/simonchughes/

sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,615
Re: My man-purse would love a GF1...

dennis tennis wrote:

He needs a small camera, preferably silver with matching lenses that will fit into his man purse.

Last year, it was acceptable for a real 21st century man to sports an E420 or E6720 but now those are positively Cro-Magnoniod. He needs to clear up some real estate in his man purse for his AXE bodyspray and hand sanitizer.

I only carry my camera, phone, and sunglasses in my man purse

Seriously...I've got a cool gray canvas murse from Lomography. And yes... I'm secure enough in my masculinity to carry it proudly! For my DSLR gear I tend to carry larger camera bags, but the murse is for everyday/compact camera use. Next year I will probably be carrying a diaper bag. I'm hoping to find a really cool one with a completely waterproof camera pocket. Actually the baby strollers I've seen around the neighborhood these days look like they hold more gear than our Subaru Forester. I should be able to fit my D200, tripod, and a half dozen lenses in there somewhere. Of course my wife will probably make me push it up our hill on the way back from the park since my camera gear will likely outweigh the baby. After pushing it all up 300 feet in elevation over six blocks, I'll probably start carrying the GF1.

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sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,615
Re: GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

WayneRT wrote:

You might be surprised (maybe not, since D200 is old), but I've found GF1/20mm is better than the D200/50mm in both sharpness and ISO performance.

I guess I'll be happy then! I'm still very satisfied with what I can get out of the D200, and from what I've seen in the samples the high ISO performance of m4/3 is pretty similar. That's good enough for my personal needs. I often walk around with my D200 and a 35mm f/2, so I could see the GF1+20mm becoming my go-to combination on most days. I'd still use the DSLR, tripod, and lenses for times when I go out specifically to shoot; but the GF1 sounds better for dog walks, urban hikes, and daily carrying.

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nugat Contributing Member • Posts: 699
Re: GF1 vs. D700 (with pics!)

I did tests (posted couple of months ago) of 20/1.7 vs summilux 25/1.4 vs summilux 35/1.4 M-mount. Wide open they are all three comparable in sharpness. 20/1.7 has the best control of CA thanks to software corrections.

Comparing lenses at 5.6-8 is a great sharpness equalizer. A 50$ Russian Jupiter is as good as best Leica (tested).

dennis tennis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,783
Re: You must never hike or have to travel for a living

It is painful isn't it

I guess some people must have "pride" in everything they own, he he.

simonclivehughes wrote:

Some people just don't understand tongue-in-cheek, do they?
--
Cheers,

Simon

Website: http://web.mac.com/simonchughes/

dennis tennis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,783
Re: I can fit my 420 and 25mm in a small fanny pack

I know the fanny back is very 1990's but I'm old enough now that I can sport a mullet to go along with the whole retro look

OP ajmeeker Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: I can fit my 420 and 25mm in a small fanny pack

dennis tennis wrote:

I know the fanny back is very 1990's but I'm old enough now that I can sport a mullet to go along with the whole retro look

LOL

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