1Dmk4 obliterates D3s < ISO6400

Started Feb 7, 2010 | Discussions
Hipster Doofus Regular Member • Posts: 491
1Dmk4 obliterates D3s < ISO6400

Canon made compromises in pixel size for the benefit of having longer reach. And yet, most comparisons I've seen completely ignore this benefit by handicapping the 1D4. Inexplicably, almost all tests have either mounted a longer lens on the D3s, or moved the 1D4 backwards to reduce its reach. They've essentially defeated the very reasons for Canon's design compromises.

How do these cameras compare on a level playing field... same focal length for both? When the photographer is focal-length limited? After all, that's a very frequent situation for sports & wildlife shooters.

Fortunately, photographybay tested both cameras using the same focal length. I up-sized samples and compared the scene at the same size. The pixel density of the D3s is so low, that there are essentially 2 pixels in 1Dmk4 for every pixel in D3s. The D3s needed to upsize significantly just to catch up with the 1Dmk4, which explains the blurriness.
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Sample crops f/8.0 at ISO 200 : (Below, click to expand)

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Sample Crops f/8.0 at ISO 200 : (Below)

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Sample Crops f/8.0 at ISO 3200 (Below, click to expand)

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From low to moderately high ISO settings, the 1D4 utterly obliterates the D3s in image quality. The 1D4 maintains an advantage all the way up to ISO 3200. The D3s only pulls ahead at ISO 6400, with the margin widening at the über-extreme high ISOs. But the question is: How often do people really use images shot at über-extreme ISO settings? Is it more often than using images shot below ISO 6400, where the 1D IV clearly rules supreme?

The D3s would be an awesome camera for short or medium telephoto work. Anything longer... and its ridiculously low pixel density becomes more of a hindrance than an advantage.

Full size available at: http://www.photographybay.com/2010/02/04/canon-1d-mark-iv-vs-nikon-d3s-iso-comparison/

ssj1 Regular Member • Posts: 234
Re: 1Dmk4 obliterates D3s < ISO6400

I thought the detail was much better preserved in the 1DIV at 12800 ISO too. If you look at the lights in the building in the foreground, the steps, the writing on the buildings by the tower to the left side of the image - they are all clearer. With the D3S, they are blurred, but the noise is less too.

fxdog Forum Member • Posts: 92
Re: 1Dmk4 obliterates D3s < ISO6400

looks like the D3s has greater DR and smother highlight roll off... canon wins with resolution.. its a give and take situation... larger photosites equal greater DR and low light sensitivity while more photosites equal greater resolution... right tool for the job choose which work best for the job

ssj1 Regular Member • Posts: 234
Another interesting review/comparsion
OP Hipster Doofus Regular Member • Posts: 491
Re: 1Dmk4 obliterates D3s < ISO6400

ssj1 wrote:

I thought the detail was much better preserved in the 1DIV at 12800 ISO too. If you look at the lights in the building in the foreground, the steps, the writing on the buildings by the tower to the left side of the image - they are all clearer. With the D3S, they are blurred, but the noise is less too.

In the end, what's important is the detail-to-noise ratio . And the 1DIV has a better ratio at ISO 3200 (and below). Starting at ISO 6400, the D3s has the better ratio even if the 1DIV is still pulling in more details.

What irks me is that so many people are obsessed with absolute noise levels, with little regard to detail retention. For the same image area, there are essentially 2 pixels in the 1D Mark IV for every 1 pixel in the D3s. And while people are obsessing over the D3s advantage at uber-extreme high ISO levels, they've glossed over the huge, huge disadvantage the D3s has at capturing details at normal ISO levels.

Pixel Density comparison:

  • 1D4: 3.1 MP/cm²

  • D3s: 1.4 MP/cm²

OP Hipster Doofus Regular Member • Posts: 491
Not a very good test at all

ssj1 wrote:

http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/canon_1d_mark4_review_comparisons.htm

Canon chose small pixels, compromising noise levels for the sake of having longer reach. It was a design decision, with benefits and drawbacks. And yet tests like that one ignore the benefits of this decision, while highlighting only the drawbacks.

Why did they handicap the 1DIV by using a shorter focal length?

It's ridiculous. As I wrote in the original post, almost all tests out there are exactly like the juzaphoto test. They handicap with 1DIV with shorter lenses, essentially castrating it. That is precisely why I posted the photographybay samples. They were the only ones rational enough to compare both cameras on a level playing field.

Rich Dykmans Senior Member • Posts: 2,543
Re: Not a very good test at all

One could carry your argument a bit further like Juza did and say that the 7D is superior to the MKIV given it's reach and greater pixel count but it's not just the number of pixels but the quality of those.

1 series bodies have always maximized the IQ of their sensors regardless of the number of pixels and the MKIV is no exception. That's why I sold the 7D the minute Canon announced the MKIV and in the tradition of the original 1D, the 1D2 & 3 it does not disappoint when it comes to overall file quality.

teodorian2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,870
Re: 1Dmk4 obliterates D3s < ISO6400

Hipster Doofus wrote:

Canon made compromises in pixel size for the benefit of having longer reach. And yet, most comparisons I've seen completely ignore this benefit by handicapping the 1D4. Inexplicably, almost all tests have either mounted a longer lens on the D3s, or moved the 1D4 backwards to reduce its reach. They've essentially defeated the very reasons for Canon's design compromises.

How do these cameras compare on a level playing field... same focal length for both? When the photographer is focal-length limited? After all, that's a very frequent situation for sports & wildlife shooters.

Fortunately, photographybay tested both cameras using the same focal length. I up-sized samples and compared the scene at the same size. The pixel density of the D3s is so low, that there are essentially 2 pixels in 1Dmk4 for every pixel in D3s. The D3s needed to upsize significantly just to catch up with the 1Dmk4, which explains the blurriness.
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Sample crops f/8.0 at ISO 200 : (Below, click to expand)

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Sample Crops f/8.0 at ISO 200 : (Below)

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Sample Crops f/8.0 at ISO 3200 (Below, click to expand)

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From low to moderately high ISO settings, the 1D4 utterly obliterates the D3s in image quality. The 1D4 maintains an advantage all the way up to ISO 3200. The D3s only pulls ahead at ISO 6400, with the margin widening at the über-extreme high ISOs. But the question is: How often do people really use images shot at über-extreme ISO settings? Is it more often than using images shot below ISO 6400, where the 1D IV clearly rules supreme?

The D3s would be an awesome camera for short or medium telephoto work. Anything longer... and its ridiculously low pixel density becomes more of a hindrance than an advantage.

Full size available at: http://www.photographybay.com/2010/02/04/canon-1d-mark-iv-vs-nikon-d3s-iso-comparison/

The problem with your reasoning is that reach and pixel density alone are your determining factors for Image Quality. With the same logic my D300 (APS-C with 1.5x crop factor) and 12 MP would beat my new D3s, also 12 MP, since the corresponding MP at the same focal length is only 5,1 MP for the D3s crop. Few would however claim the D300 to be superior to the D3s for anything but reach at lower ISOs.

Indeed in all situations where reach is important, if all cameras have the same MP, a FF DSLR will be inferior for resolution to a APS-H DSLR which is worse than a APS-C DSLR which is worse than a FourThirds which is worse than a digital compact.

In reality there are often room for compensation of the lower inherent reach in the larger sensor DSLR by a longer focal length, for obtaining the same FOV, or at higher ISOs a better actual IQ. Of course many photographers will use a crop DSLR for use when reach is the priority. Others, which are not focal length limited, set the IQ, the higher MP (5D MKII, D3x) or the shallow DOF of a FF DSLR first. I also do believe many photographers, me included, are aware of the benefits and flexibility of owning and using both a FF DSLR and a crop DSLR for different situations.

In comparing the performance - IQ, reach and AF - for sports shooting with the 1D MkIV and D3s I am confident that most professionals will find practical ways to fulfil their (clients) needs with either of them. When the images are shot and published very few viewing them would be able to find out which camera was used in the capture.

JimT49 Forum Member • Posts: 69
Re: Not a very good test at all

Perhaps some one can correct me if I'm wrong but it is my understanding that the Nikon D3S does some in camera noise reduction even in RAW and the Canon 1D4 does not. Maybe a more real life ISO comparison of D3S and 1D4 would be to compare the results of both cameras after both have been processed in a good noise reduction program. Normally if a person was to use the high ISO images from either camera they would likely do some noise reduction in editing. This would be a more of a real world example of what each camera could produce.

I think all of the comparisons I have seen are straight from the camera. Has anyone seen a ISO comparison after good editing?

Jim

BMinton Regular Member • Posts: 146
Apples to Oranges

The field of view is different on the two photos because of the crop vs. full-frame sensors. If whoever had taken the photos had used a shorter lens on the 1d4 (or a longer lens on the D3S) to keep the FOV identical, then the comparison would be more meaningful. The D3S photo has to be enlarged to a higher degree to make the FOV match that of the 1d4, making the picture quality suffer.

I'm not saying one outperforms the other because I'm not interested in a brand debate, just saying that the test isn't all that relevant because of the way the two photos were taken.

mailman88
mailman88 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,081
Re: Thanks for the 200% ,pixel-peep and...

...worthless test comparison.

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changas2188 Regular Member • Posts: 217
Re: Thanks for the 200% ,pixel-peep and...

like all tools, it's not what you use but how you use it.

mailman88 wrote:

...worthless test comparison.

Fernando Hepp Weberich Regular Member • Posts: 496
Finally someone with a brain. Good comment (nt)
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jim stirling
jim stirling Veteran Member • Posts: 7,356
Re: Not a very good test at all

JimT49 wrote:

Perhaps some one can correct me if I'm wrong but it is my understanding that the Nikon D3S does some in camera noise reduction even in RAW

This is on exposures longer than 1/3 second with the D3s and 10seconds with the D3x so not to much of an issue for these shots
Jim

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gigamel Regular Member • Posts: 178
D3s obliterates 1Dmk4 at ISO100-ISO102400

Just to take a look at the other side of the medal.

The 1Dmk4 reduces your precious Ultra-Wide 14mm to an average Wide 18,2 mm.

And you can do absolutely nothing about it!

Stepanfo Senior Member • Posts: 1,232
Manipulative post

You are prime example of a fanboy in action. Let me comment what you wrote:

Hipster Doofus wrote:

Canon made compromises in pixel size for the benefit of having longer reach. And yet, most comparisons I've seen completely ignore this benefit by handicapping the 1D4. Inexplicably, almost all tests have either mounted a longer lens on the D3s, or moved the 1D4 backwards to reduce its reach. They've essentially defeated the very reasons for Canon's design compromises. How do these cameras compare on a level playing field... same focal length for both?

You completely forgot that having a crop sensor is not just a benefit, it is a disadvantege too when you want to shoot wide.

To obtain same field of view, you need to use different focal lenght lenses on these cameras. That is a simple fact. It makes a weight and price disadvantage for nikon when you are doing a telephoto work. It creates a real problem for Canon in wide work, because at telephoto work you still by using longer lenses and teleconverters and by cropping get there somehow with Nikon, in wide end with Canon you are screwed and you cannot fix it in any way, if you cannot step further.

Having the same focal lenght lens on cameras with sensors of different size creates different field of view. If photographing some subject, you need to have the same field of view. If two photographers with these two different cameras had zoom lenses, photographer with full frame would be more zoomed in. It is simply nonsense to compare cameras with different field of view.

From low to moderately high ISO settings, the 1D4 utterly obliterates the D3s in image quality.

You forgot to write "Hooray" there. But do not forget, that author of the test forgot to zoom in more with Nikon. So your joy is partly caused by error the reviewer made. But it seems you do not think it was an arror at all.

But the question is: How often do people really use images shot at über-extreme ISO settings? Is it more often than using images shot below ISO 6400, where the 1D IV clearly rules supreme?

OK, so now you are trying to persuade that high ISO is not that important and having ability to use higher shutter speed in sports shooting is not that important at all, so Nikon has no advantage over Canon (because nobody uses these extreme ISOs) You know, ISO 12800 or even 25600 is not THAT extreme in Nikon...

BTW, if you use proper tests (for example imaging resource samples), you will find out, that canon looses its resolution advantage way sooner than at ISO 6400. At ISO 1600 noise starts to eat fine details and at 3200 true fine details are already transformed into camera generated details.

The D3s would be an awesome camera for short or medium telephoto work. Anything longer... and its ridiculously low pixel density becomes more of a hindrance than an advantage.

Anything longer... what? What terrible thing are you afraid to mention? Using longer lens? Using teleconverter? Is this really THAT frightening that you are afraid to speak about it?

So the low pixel density of Nikon is ridiculously low? No advantege? Hmmm, if you think so...

Manipulative and unrational style in which you wrote it is really disgusting. You could get a nice job is propaganda office of some dictator or communist regime.

BMarc Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: 1Dmk4 obliterates D3s < ISO6400

Thanks for sharing, interesting point of view.

IMHO, an interesting comparison should consider two combos of approx. same prices, one based on the 1D4 and the other on the D3s in a given assignement (say, sport or wildlife).

For instance, I'd like to see a comparison between :
1) those two 9000 euros combos :

  • 1D4 + 300F2.8

  • and : D3s + 300F2.8 + 1.4TC

2) or a comparison between those two 12000 euros combos :

  • 1D4 + 400F2.8

  • and : D3s + 500F4

I guess it will be hard to see huge IQ differences at all ISO under 12800

Just my 2 cents.
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Regards,
Marc

Slideshow Bob Senior Member • Posts: 1,750
Re: 1Dmk4 obliterates D3s < ISO6400

Simple facts...

People can be focal length limited at either end of the scale... wide, or telephoto. Like so many fanboys, you assume that people are only ever limited at the long tele end, and that everyone needs a crop factor because they don't own appropriate lenses for what they do. Basically, it's a bunch of assumptions based on fanboy logic.

The Canon shots in that review show huge amounts of sharpening. Look at the lamp post on the right of the first crop you posted - did it really have a huge black halo around it in real life? It's actually so over-sharpened that it looks rather ugly, which is not a reflection on the camera, but on the person who conducted the test.

All these test images were shot as JPEGs. The only way to compare relative merits of cameras is to shoot raw, and process correctly for each cameras output. Don't upsize one to match the other, just take the best output from each and compare that. All you want to do is cripple one camera over the other. The D3s's noise advantage is real, as is the 1DIV's 3mp resolution advantage, but in a fair test, neither advantage is enough for one camera to "obliterate" the other.

Lastly, if you're always focal length limited at the tele end, and you're not going to use "über-extreme ISO settings", then a 7D has an even bigger crop factor and more megapixels, so it would "obliterate" the 1DIV according to your criteria.

SB

Bernard Languillier Veteran Member • Posts: 4,672
Well...

Hipster Doofus wrote:

But the question is: How often do people really use images shot at über-extreme ISO settings? Is it more often than using images shot below ISO 6400, where the 1D IV clearly rules supreme?

Talk with the sports shooters these cameras were designed for... the answer is likely going to be "all the time".

Considering that these guys always have 2 bodies at least, they will probably use a D3x as backup for these times where lower ISO image quality matters more.

Cheers,
Bernard

bensherman Contributing Member • Posts: 572
Re: 1Dmk4 obliterates D3s < ISO6400

I see more noise in 1DMK IV at 3200ISO than I could see in D3s at 6400ISO.I think you should lay off the comparison between these two DSLR's.These are totaly two different cameras for different purposes.No matter how hard you try to compare them it will still be clear ID MK IV fall short of D3s in image quality-sharpness,shadows etc- and high ISO performance.When paying over 5k for a camera it highly expected to perform according to its price point,when this is not the case then owners generally come up with funny reasons/logic to justify their purchase.

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