GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Started Jan 2, 2010 | Discussions
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.

-- hide signature --

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

morepix
morepix Veteran Member • Posts: 9,576
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Seeing these shots perched one above the other (and what else could you do?), it takes a lot of image memory / imagination to appreciate the differences.

Thanks for all the work.
--
http://www.pbase.com/morepix

 morepix's gear list:morepix's gear list
Ricoh GR Sony RX100 VA
mpgxsvcd Veteran Member • Posts: 8,094
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Damn, you got some nice shots with both of the cameras. Honestly, there is no question that the GF1/M4/3s can do amazing things. Sure it can't equal a "PRO" DSLR. However, no one expects it to at 1/5 the cost.

Great shots. Keep posting. Still waiting for the good rock climbing pics though? EL Cap maybe?

-- hide signature --
 mpgxsvcd's gear list:mpgxsvcd's gear list
Panasonic LX100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 +5 more
plevyadophy Veteran Member • Posts: 4,258
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Thanks very much for the comparison shots.

I dunno whether it's coz you are doing something wrong, or because LR doesn't have a good profile for the GF1, or simply because the GF1 shots are being shown side-by-side with a vastly superior camera/lens combo but the GF1 output looks really bland and horrible. I have seen GF1 images that looked far more punchy and contrasty than what you have shown here, but then again they may have looked punchy and contrasty because they were shown in isolation from other camera images (in your other Yosemite thread, to which I responded, the images looked nice and punchy).

I did note something though. To my eyes the Panny Macro's mediocre MTF50 performance in the DPReview review reveals itself in your shots, as the Macro images don't look to have any more "bite" (contrast and sharpness) than the Pancake lens.

Regards

Gary_Oz Regular Member • Posts: 154
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

yep, great shots with both, thanks for taking the time to do the comparison and share them with us.

I think it confirms that for the majority of photographers, the compact size of Micro Four Thirds easily outweighs any compromise in image quality when compared to much heavier and more expensive kits which you may not take with you, or may allow you to walk that extra bit further to get shots that others won't be taking their tripods to.

Of course, those wanting the very best quality should still consider a 20+mp full frame, or better a medium format with a very good tripod to ensure those extra pixels gets used.

 Gary_Oz's gear list:Gary_Oz's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5
aroundomaha
aroundomaha Senior Member • Posts: 2,275
Holy smoke

GF1, D700 or an old Brownie... I'd be jealous of that scenery regardless of the camera.

That being said, it is a nice comparison of the cameras. I enjoyed my EP1 during my vacation in the western U.S. last summer. The differences were visible between it and my D90 for most shots, though the D90 is quite a bit cleaner.
--
Aroundomaha
http://www.aroundomaha.com/
http://aroundomaha.smugmug.com/EP1

 aroundomaha's gear list:aroundomaha's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 O.I.S Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH +2 more
chekist
chekist Senior Member • Posts: 2,418
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

I have EP1 and D700 and use both and to me there is no question D700 is ahead... But who cares. What I wanted to say is that I love your images though. It is a great site and I would live to go there in the winter at some point.
--
--
Eugene
http://picture.stanford.edu/Photo

 chekist's gear list:chekist's gear list
Lytro Light Field 8GB Sony RX1 Ricoh Theta S DxO One (2016) Olympus PEN E-PL5 +5 more
compositor20 Senior Member • Posts: 1,655
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

i agree about the sharpness and contrast of lightroom i was expecting more from the 20mm lenses and i think that aperture was not a good choice since you shouldhave chosen f4 in the gf-1 photo

if you have some low aperture photos (lower than f6.3 which is becoming the spot where the lenses starts to shine) from the gf-1 please post them processed with lightroom beta 3

the zeiss at f11 would be equivalent tothe 20mm at f5.6 in depth of field

great photos and the d700 looks more like film and has good tonality (probably the earmer wb)

TEBnewyork
TEBnewyork Forum Pro • Posts: 11,337
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Thanks for posting the side by sides. Very interesting.

On round 2 I can see where there is more detail from the D700 when I study it but at first glance, I actually like the color rendition of the GF1 better in the sunny areas.

I feel the same way about my A900 with the Zeiss glass. There is something above and beyond and if there wasn't the I also was sure what $4,000 plus cost difference would be all about.
--
terry
http://tbanet.zenfolio.com/

novetan Senior Member • Posts: 1,578
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Thanks for sharing. At this image size, there is really very subtle difference and I'm happy with both though there is slight difference in tonality. In fact I prefer the colour of GF1 because i haven't been there to see the real thing. Try next time a blind fold test, I'm sure 50% will go wrong. Once you put in the camera made, people tends to have a mind set and judge differently and however bad a D700 produce, they will say its better.

To me really, such stunning pic produced by GF1, being pocketable and 1/5 the price, its the real deal.

Look forward to a blind fold test and see how mind set will react.

-- hide signature --

David I used to rely on divine appointment with the subject.
Main Arsenal: GH1
My Gallery: http://david-low.smugmug.com/

Dohmnuill Contributing Member • Posts: 790
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Many thanks for your comparison shots - incidentally, all magnificent. And I liked your philosophy of comparing your best final outputs.

The outstanding differences seemed to be in shadow details, and in contrast, with the D700 superior in both respects.

However, the GF-1 seems to have great sharpness and a certain attractive tonality which allows its images to stand very tall alongside the much more expensive and bulkier D700.

A fantastic post.

OP Mountain Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,451
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

plevyadophy wrote:

Thanks very much for the comparison shots.

I dunno whether it's coz you are doing something wrong, or because LR doesn't have a good profile for the GF1, or simply because the GF1 shots are being shown side-by-side with a vastly superior camera/lens combo but the GF1 output looks really bland and horrible. I have seen GF1 images that looked far more punchy and contrasty than what you have shown here, but then again they may have looked punchy and contrasty because they were shown in isolation from other camera images (in your other Yosemite thread, to which I responded, the images looked nice and punchy).

I was surprised as well when I stacked these side by side - just goes to show you cannot trust image memory for comparisons - you have to look at things side by side in order to get a proper comparison

I even went back to my GF1 pics to see if I could boost the contrast or sharpness but that only produced more noise so I think I took the GF1 files as far as they will go. You could of course boost saturation but I wasn't after punchy colors as my primary goal.

I did note something though. To my eyes the Panny Macro's mediocre MTF50 performance in the DPReview review reveals itself in your shots, as the Macro images don't look to have any more "bite" (contrast and sharpness) than the Pancake lens.

I like the 45mm Elmarit but agree it could be better in sharpness - though I think the contrast is adequate. The Zeiss is a beast when it comes to contrast - you have to be careful with it or it is very easy to blow out your highlights

Here's an example of the Zeiss - no pp other than levels and sharpening:

The color contrast is insane!

Regards

-- hide signature --

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

OP Mountain Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,451
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

novetan wrote:

Thanks for sharing. At this image size, there is really very subtle difference and I'm happy with both though there is slight difference in tonality. In fact I prefer the colour of GF1 because i haven't been there to see the real thing. Try next time a blind fold test, I'm sure 50% will go wrong. Once you put in the camera made, people tends to have a mind set and judge differently and however bad a D700 produce, they will say its better.

Good idea - I will post some pics without saying which camera it came from - but I still think the differences will be obvious.

To me really, such stunning pic produced by GF1, being pocketable and 1/5 the price, its the real deal.

Agreed - I am even more satisfied with my G1 & GF1 now that I have done this comparison (though I was happy with them before or I wouldn't have invested so much $ ).

Look forward to a blind fold test and see how mind set will react.

Thanks for the good suggestion.

-- hide signature --

David I used to rely on divine appointment with the subject.
Main Arsenal: GH1
My Gallery: http://david-low.smugmug.com/

-- hide signature --

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

OP Mountain Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,451
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

chekist wrote:

I have EP1 and D700 and use both and to me there is no question D700 is ahead... But who cares. What I wanted to say is that I love your images though. It is a great site and I would live to go there in the winter at some point.
--

Thanks Eugene - I agree the subject and the photographer are much more important than the camera - but being an engineer I am a gear-head by nature and love to play with different equipment

-- hide signature --
-- hide signature --

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

OP Mountain Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,451
Thanks everyone for your comments -

I am glad to see everyone is taking this comparison in the right spirit and I think the conclusions are similar - the m4/3 system is a serious system that can provide great results given the cost/performance ratio even compared to a Pro DSLR and at a much lower size and weight of equipment.

I have to be honest that this has me thinking about giving up my Nikon gear entirely for the portability of the m4/3 system now that we have some decent AF primes (and more coming). Of course I am forced to consider this every time I have to pack all that gear and hoist it onto my back ;-)...

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

rlpruitt Contributing Member • Posts: 928
Thanks, Joe!

Joe,

I appreciate the time and effort it took to put these together.

And what I really appreciate is how well the µ4/3 camera stacks up against the FF alternative.

After downloading the images and exploring them side-by-side, I notice very little difference between the images from two bodies.

Panasonic images tend to be a little cold in color cast, but that's a feature of Panny's routines. The Olys bodies that use basically the same sensor create images that are noticeably "warmer" richer (the famous Oly colors).

Even in the last color image where you see the most difference, it looks like the D700 photo had a little help from cloud cover (note the shadows which are much less harsh in the D700 photo). That alone accounts for the:

  1. "opening up of the shadow detail" - since with the slight overcast the contrast/DR of the scene is lessened.

  2. Different WB - causing the slightly warmer cast

So, in my book, these two are as close in final image quality as you could expect - closer than their relative prices would indicate and much closer than most small-sensor "detractors" would have us believe.

Thanks for the effort... and for some really inspiring 'scapes.

Ralph

Teski
Teski Forum Pro • Posts: 13,060
Hey Joe...

Great job on the comparison. The GF1 held up quite well especially given the difference in lenses and sensors.

I can't get rid of my DSLR gear due to my work, but I won't be traveling with it at all. It's all m4/3 for me.

-- hide signature --
 Teski's gear list:Teski's gear list
Sony RX100 III Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Canon EOS-1D X Leica M Typ 240 Sony a7R II +8 more
Diane B Forum Pro • Posts: 20,694
Re: Thanks everyone for your comments -

Joe, another thought for shots like these--perhaps stitched shots for more resolution. Sometimes it would be harder if clouds, fog were moving quite a lot, but its worth trying with the right lens. I did a comparison for myself with mountain landscapes with foliage last Spring with my 5D--and I was really surprised with my 16 x 24 prints with the stitched G1's vs. the unstitched 5D. That was perhaps when I decided that, though I won't get rid of my 5D kit, I am a lot more comfortable carrying the G1/GF1 with the right lenses.

Diane
--
Diane B
http://www.pbase.com/picnic
G1 gallery http://www.pbase.com/picnic/temp_g1

 Diane B's gear list:Diane B's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Apple iPhone XS Max +1 more
Mark Weston Senior Member • Posts: 1,051
Beautiful Shots

Thank you for posting.
--
http://www.markwestonphotography.com

OP Mountain Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,451
Re: Thanks everyone for your comments -

Diane B wrote:

Joe, another thought for shots like these--perhaps stitched shots for more resolution. Sometimes it would be harder if clouds, fog were moving quite a lot, but its worth trying with the right lens. I did a comparison for myself with mountain landscapes with foliage last Spring with my 5D--and I was really surprised with my 16 x 24 prints with the stitched G1's vs. the unstitched 5D. That was perhaps when I decided that, though I won't get rid of my 5D kit, I am a lot more comfortable carrying the G1/GF1 with the right lenses.

That's a good suggestion Diane - I have been wanting to do some vertical pano's of trees but my ballhead setup isn't really up to the task.

I've been looking at some some pano setups but they tend to be pricey - what do you use?

Diane
--
Diane B
http://www.pbase.com/picnic
G1 gallery http://www.pbase.com/picnic/temp_g1

-- hide signature --

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

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads