GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Started Jan 2, 2010 | Discussions
travelinbri_74
travelinbri_74 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,367
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

This is a great post!

And for the record, while the D700 is clearly (and clearly should be) better, this shows that in the right hands the M4/3 is still a very capable tool.

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sinophilia Forum Member • Posts: 57
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Honestly, I like the GF1 shots better... of course there is much more detail and contrast in those taken with the D700, but the former look more natural in contrast and color, probably closer to what you can actually see with your eyes.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,915
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Awesome post! I enjoyed the comparison, and it shows that one can do so much with today's entry-level systems. I don't think I will ever buy pro gear, given the cost, size, and the fact that this is just a hobby for me. One reason why I chose M43 over a crop DSLR is small size and ease of use. The biggest upgrades I have made are buying and reading books and internet tutorials to improve the noisy, 12 inches of grey matter behind the e-viewfinder. Not that gear doesn't matter. Good, appropriate tools are necessary, and each photographer has different objectives, vision, needs, etc. This post makes a honest, realistic case about what that extra $4K in gear is actually getting you.

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

Joesiv wrote:

Mountain Joe wrote:

I think the ability to shoot handheld is an advantage to m4/3 being lighter and agree the 45mm lens is a very good lens - but I would say the Nikon 105mm Macro is better at the same price with similar features - f2.8, macro, and IS.

Have you considered the 50mm f2? for landscapes, manually focusing seems like it would be an ok option. It seems like a smokin lens.

I assume you mean the Oly macro - I did consider it and almost pulled the trigger but a couple of things held me back - AF speed and size (extended) but I may still try it out.

Also I get a significant discount on Panasonic products so I was able to purchase the 45mm for practically the same price as the 50mm f2 - that helped a lot

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

marcusaxlund wrote:

Hi

I think this shows why the 2 systems should not compete against each other, but complement each other...

Well said - that's exactly how I look at it - cameras are tools - I have four different hammers and I never say one is better than the other - they serve different purposes and they each work well for what they are suited

br

Marcus

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

sinophilia wrote:

Honestly, I like the GF1 shots better... of course there is much more detail and contrast in those taken with the D700, but the former look more natural in contrast and color, probably closer to what you can actually see with your eyes.

That's probably on me - I struggled with the WB on the D700 - I took a local grey reference but the light where I was standing was not indicative of the light in the scene.

I like Nikons because I find they have very accurate and natural looking colors - but agree the G1/GF1 is also excellent in that regard and the output is very pleasing to me.

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rrr_hhh Veteran Member • Posts: 6,023
Re: Thanks everyone for your comments -

Mountain Joe wrote:

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

I've ordered a Nodal Ninja 3 quite a number of years ago and it is perfect with the E-P1 : very light and at the same time very well built; plus it is really cheap compared to other offers.

I first used it with the 5D + a small lense, but the camera is a little big for it (it is better suited for entry level DSLRs or compact bridges like the Canon G), MFT bodies are perfect on it; now they have a new version which should be even better than mine and several other versions better suited for the pro DSLRs.

On the E-P1, the tripod thread isn't centered on the lense axis, so you have to use an offsetting part and to adjust the position of the camera so that it is well positionned in the two dimensions.

Here is a link to their http://www . site : http://store.nodalninja.com/category_s/32.htm (I got the complete package with the little case and different wheels which allows you to change the number of shots needed for a pano, depending on the focal length you are using. Price of the whole : about 230.- $ (I'm quite sure that I paid less, but it was 3-5 years ago, for the older model).

And by the way, many thanks for you comparisons, I really enjoyed the spirit in which it was made : comparing real situations on the field is exactly what is needed. Concerning the results, I really preferred the D700 results, I wonder whehter the more punchy E-P1 would have delivered results nearer to the D700, not in term of details, but in terms of colors and contrast. Thanks again.

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

Thanks for the tip rrr_hhh - these look interesting.

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Joesiv Veteran Member • Posts: 5,497
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Mountain Joe wrote:

Joesiv wrote:

Mountain Joe wrote:

I think the ability to shoot handheld is an advantage to m4/3 being lighter and agree the 45mm lens is a very good lens - but I would say the Nikon 105mm Macro is better at the same price with similar features - f2.8, macro, and IS.

Have you considered the 50mm f2? for landscapes, manually focusing seems like it would be an ok option. It seems like a smokin lens.

I assume you mean the Oly macro - I did consider it and almost pulled the trigger but a couple of things held me back - AF speed and size (extended) but I may still try it out.

Yeah, not to mention the adapter cost + size

Also I get a significant discount on Panasonic products so I was able to purchase the 45mm for practically the same price as the 50mm f2 - that helped a lot

Can't argue with that!
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rrr_hhh Veteran Member • Posts: 6,023
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Mountain Joe wrote:

sinophilia wrote:

Honestly, I like the GF1 shots better... of course there is much more detail and contrast in those taken with the D700, but the former look more natural in contrast and color, probably closer to what you can actually see with your eyes.

That's probably on me - I struggled with the WB on the D700 - I took a local grey reference but the light where I was standing was not indicative of the light in the scene.

I like Nikons because I find they have very accurate and natural looking colors - but agree the G1/GF1 is also excellent in that regard and the output is very pleasing to me.

I prefer the Nikon colors on pictures 1 and 3 and the GF1 colors on picture 4. Picture 2 seems to be a special case : or the sky changed and was overcast during the Nikon shot, or the sky is overexposed and so looks washed out, so it becomes difficult to compare the colors. In all the shots, the Nikon shows more vibrance and details and I prefer the way the light is modelling the details in the Nikon shots.

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millsart Senior Member • Posts: 2,771
The m4/3rds really needs the ND Grads more than the D700

Joe, I think in an attempt to better level the playing field so to speak, making use of a ND grad on the m4/3rds system rather than the D700 would of made a bit more sense given the FX sensor has a bit more dynamic range. For tunnel view you sort of gave the D700 the best possible setup, with good glass, best aperture, tripod, nd grad and timing with the fog, but then with the m4/3rds it was shot handheld, past diffraction, with the fog in a less than ideal place (not that you had much control over that of course) and shooting a scene that really challenged the dynamic range of any sensor, much less a very small one.

I've got a D3 and had a D700 (sold after getting m4/3rds) and I really found that the only real difference I would see between the systems was the dynamic range. I really stopped using ND grads on my FF shooting because it many cases I could process a single raw file and get the exposure latitude I needed. Which was great because it made shooting a bit easier in the field. With the m4/3rds, its a bit of a step back in a sense because you just don't have as much latitude and end up having to bracket and blend or use a grad.

In exchange for much less work carrying the gear, you have to spend a few minutes more making sure you've nailed the exposure and handling the limits of dynamic range.

As someone else mentioned as well, panos with the m4/3ds gear really work great as well. Even a really simple 3 frame pano will blow you away with its 20+ meg resolution thats per pixel sharpness that will out resolve even a 5D mkII. Similar file size but the resolving power of the m4/3rds sensor really renders great fine detail.

Whats really nice is that its such a small system that there are tons of affordable pano setups.

When I was using my D700 and heavier lens like the pc-e line of tilt shifts, 24-70 zoom etc, I had to use the Nodal Ninja 5 (also tried the RRS system) Those things work and are well made, but they are expensive, over $800 for the RRS system (do I really like pano's that much ? lol) and add a few pounds to an already heavy bag. Added up quick, about 8 extra pounds in glass, 2 extra pounds in heavier tripod/head, and 2 extra pounds for the pano rig. 12lbs is a alot of weight on a longer hike, not to mention the expense of $12000 extra dollars are so in gear.

Light tripod, m4/3rds camera, nodal ninja 3, and a set of grad filters and you can make some landscape prints that really will blow people away, and the best part is that your doing in for only $1500 or less in gear, and with a rig that weights only 5lbs or so

Still lots of really beatiful shots though, regardless of gear used you posted

Cheers

Mountain Joe wrote:

Everyone should note these exposures from tunnel view were extremely challenging - bright sunlit fog and deep shadow in the fg trees. Even with a 2-stop grad ND filter on the D700 it was a challenge - the GF1 did extremely well given I had no graduated filter and relied solely on its DR for the shot.
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plevyadophy Veteran Member • Posts: 4,258
Gorgeous ....Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

Mountain Joe wrote:

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

Gorgeous!!

What one expects and hopes for from "sexy glass".

I am currently drooling over the new Leica Noctilux f0.95 as it too has insane contrast and sharpness but ........................ at around £7K I am either gonna have to have a lot of spare cash, marry someone wealthy or REALLY want it BIG TIME to shell out that kinda money on a manual focus lens.

Regards,

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 9,549
Re: GF1 + 20mm at f/11 and diffraction

That's the one flaw I see in an otherwise interesting comparison. All of the micro 43 and 4/3 lenses have their best performance at lower f-stops, significantly better sharpness and contrast at f4-5.6 for a lot of lenses than they do at f11. The only reason to shoot at f11 is to get a long exposure.

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OP Mountain Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,451
Re: The m4/3rds really needs the ND Grads more than the D700

millsart wrote:

Joe, I think in an attempt to better level the playing field so to speak, making use of a ND grad on the m4/3rds system rather than the D700 would of made a bit more sense given the FX sensor has a bit more dynamic range. For tunnel view you sort of gave the D700 the best possible setup, with good glass, best aperture, tripod, nd grad and timing with the fog, but then with the m4/3rds it was shot handheld, past diffraction, with the fog in a less than ideal place (not that you had much control over that of course) and shooting a scene that really challenged the dynamic range of any sensor, much less a very small one.

As I said I was there to shoot the D700 as my main setup - the 50mm and 105mm shots did not use an ND grad filter as the only one I have is for the 24-70mm, 77mm threads.

Besides I don't have any ND grads for my m4/3 setup - but am looking to get some now that I see some good results shooting this sort of landscape.

I wasn't thinking of any formal comparison while I was there shooting - only snapped off a few on the GF1 for my own sake to compare at home and when I didn't want to haul the D700 around.

I've got a D3 and had a D700 (sold after getting m4/3rds) and I really found that the only real difference I would see between the systems was the dynamic range. I really stopped using ND grads on my FF shooting because it many cases I could process a single raw file and get the exposure latitude I needed. Which was great because it made shooting a bit easier in the field. With the m4/3rds, its a bit of a step back in a sense because you just don't have as much latitude and end up having to bracket and blend or use a grad.

In exchange for much less work carrying the gear, you have to spend a few minutes more making sure you've nailed the exposure and handling the limits of dynamic range.

Agreed - the D700 DR is class leading but in some of the tunnel view shots I really liked the trees in the valley floor and the fog and wanted to be able to pull those out as much as possible.

As someone else mentioned as well, panos with the m4/3ds gear really work great as well. Even a really simple 3 frame pano will blow you away with its 20+ meg resolution thats per pixel sharpness that will out resolve even a 5D mkII. Similar file size but the resolving power of the m4/3rds sensor really renders great fine detail.

Whats really nice is that its such a small system that there are tons of affordable pano setups.

When I was using my D700 and heavier lens like the pc-e line of tilt shifts, 24-70 zoom etc, I had to use the Nodal Ninja 5 (also tried the RRS system) Those things work and are well made, but they are expensive, over $800 for the RRS system (do I really like pano's that much ? lol) and add a few pounds to an already heavy bag. Added up quick, about 8 extra pounds in glass, 2 extra pounds in heavier tripod/head, and 2 extra pounds for the pano rig. 12lbs is a alot of weight on a longer hike, not to mention the expense of $12000 extra dollars are so in gear.

Light tripod, m4/3rds camera, nodal ninja 3, and a set of grad filters and you can make some landscape prints that really will blow people away, and the best part is that your doing in for only $1500 or less in gear, and with a rig that weights only 5lbs or so

Thanks for the tips - I've only recently thought more about shooting panos and I agree it sounds much more appealing to me with the lighter m4/3 gear - another advantage of that system.

Still lots of really beatiful shots though, regardless of gear used you posted

Thanks!

Cheers

Mountain Joe wrote:

Everyone should note these exposures from tunnel view were extremely challenging - bright sunlit fog and deep shadow in the fg trees. Even with a 2-stop grad ND filter on the D700 it was a challenge - the GF1 did extremely well given I had no graduated filter and relied solely on its DR for the shot.
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OP Mountain Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,451
Re: GF1 + 20mm at f/11 and diffraction

jkrumm wrote:

That's the one flaw I see in an otherwise interesting comparison. All of the micro 43 and 4/3 lenses have their best performance at lower f-stops, significantly better sharpness and contrast at f4-5.6 for a lot of lenses than they do at f11. The only reason to shoot at f11 is to get a long exposure.

In retrospect I should have shot at some wider apertures but again I wasn't that focused on my GF1 shots so I didn't bracket apertures as I usually do and my mindset was stuck on FF settings for DoF.

I also shot the D700 at f16 and f22 - well into its diffraction range (though I posted the f11 shots).

In fact, the ideal setup would have been a tilt-shift lens but lacking that I used what I thought was an appropriate aperture.

That said I am putting together some wider aperture shots with the GF1 20mm and will post those in a separate thread - stay tuned.

I can also post some f8 GF1 shots with some f16 D700 shots - those would have equivalent DoF and diffraction effects (give or take) but I didn't want this to devolve into a tit-for-tat argument and auger into the details of the comparisons. My intent was not to make any critical assessment of these systems - only looking at "will the GF1 output generally satisfy my needs for this type of shooting" - and I think the answer is clearly yes for me . YMMV.

For my non-landscape shooting I do stay in the sweet spot range for each lens as much as possible - but what's the point of having a range of f-stops if they are never used?

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

Steven Wandy wrote:

Hi Joe,

Firstly - the shots (all of them) are spectacular and I would be VERY jealous if my wife and I had not finally traveled to Yosemite this past September.

Glad you got a chance to see it - it's a very special place indeed!

And I agree with your basic conclusion that the GF1 did a very admirable job considering it's size/weight/cost compared to the Nikon outfit. (BTW - I had the EP1 when we went and was also very happy with the results.)

I would expect the EP1/2 to do as well as the G1/GF1 based on the samples I have seen - I wish more companies would jump into the m4/3 format as we could only gain from increased competition in this space.

Enjoyed the shots,
Steve

Thanks Steve.

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marcusaxlund Contributing Member • Posts: 701
Re: GF1 vs D700 Yosemite Smackdown!

This is what I miss here sometimes.

Different tools for different purposes...

Why mend a fragile antique chair with a sledgehammer??

BTW: It's interesting how I wanted my E-P1 for street photography...

The 5d2 with the white 70-200 and extender is so very visible, however it makes me "just another photo-guy.

With the E-P1 I am approached and people ask me about the camera and lenses quite often. Never happens with the 5d2...

br

Marcus

Mountain Joe wrote:

marcusaxlund wrote:

Hi

I think this shows why the 2 systems should not compete against each other, but complement each other...

Well said - that's exactly how I look at it - cameras are tools - I have four different hammers and I never say one is better than the other - they serve different purposes and they each work well for what they are suited

br

Marcus

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GoldRingNikkor Senior Member • Posts: 1,841
D700 shadows

Am I the only one to see a weird pink color cast in the D700 shadows?

frieder schnabel Contributing Member • Posts: 889
Re: D700 shadows

no i can see it very well on my calibrated monitor and it looks horrible. So i prefer the colours of the GF1, although the D700 is much more detail.
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GoldRingNikkor Senior Member • Posts: 1,841
Re: D700 shadows

frieder schnabel wrote:

no i can see it very well on my calibrated monitor and it looks horrible. So i prefer the colours of the GF1, although the D700 is much more detail.

I'd wonder how much of this could be changed by simply setting a warmer white balance (since the GF1 shots seem to be much warmer indeed).

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