Nikon D300S In-depth Review
ISO Sensitivity / Noise levelsISO equivalence on a digital camera is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the sensor. This works by turning up the "volume" (gain) on the sensor's signal amplifiers (remember the sensor is an analogue device). By amplifying the signal you also amplify the noise which becomes more visible at higher ISO's. Many modern cameras also employ noise reduction and / or sharpness reduction at higher sensitivities.
To measure noise levels we take a sequence of images of a GretagMacBeth ColorChecker chart (controlled artificial daylight lighting). The exposure is matched to the ISO (i.e. ISO 200, 1/200 sec for consistency of exposure between cameras). The image sequence is run through our own proprietary noise measurement tool (version 1.6 in this review). Click here for more information. Room temperature is approximately 22°C (~72°F), simulated daylight lighting.
Canon EOS 7D vs. Canon EOS 50D vs. Nikon D300s vs. Pentax K-7
- Nikon D300s: Nikkor 50 mm F1.4 G lens, Manual Exposure, Manual WB,
Default Parameters (Normal), High ISO NR (Normal), JPEG Large / Fine
- Canon EOS 7D: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, Manual WB,
Default Parameters (Standard PS), High ISO NR Default (Standard), JPEG Large / Fine
- Pentax K-7: Pentax 50 mm F1.4 lens, Manual Exposure, Manual WB,
Default Parameters (Bright), High ISO NR default (Medium), JPEG Large / Premium
- Canon EOS 50D: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, Manual WB,
Default Parameters (Standard PS), High ISO NR Default (Standard), JPEG Large / Fine
|Nikon D300s||Canon EOS 7D||Pentax K-7||Canon EOS 50D|
It will come as no surprise to discover that there's no huge difference between the strategies being used by the two big camera makers - they are both trying to reduce noise to similar levels. Pentax, meanwhile has allowed more noise to remian in its images (at the default noise reduction setting), with the result that the images look more noisy but also appear more detailed.
The D300S fares very well against the Canon 50D and, although the 50D's images are of higher nominal resolution (pixel count), they don't appear any more detailed than the Nikon's. The EOS 7D however, is not just capturing but also retaining more detail than the Nikon. The difference is extremely small but, given the noise measurements are so similar at the individual pixel level, the higher resolution 7D would also trump the Nikon in terms of overall image noise.
The D300S results remain amongst the best we've seen for an APS-C camera, with remarkably usable JPEGs even at high ISOs (and lets not forget that ISO 3200 is a very high sensitivity, regardless of how much further the boundaries are currently being pushed).
The graphs below confirm what we have seen in the sample crops above - both Canon and Nikon appear to have decided what is an acceptable level of noise and tuned their noise reduction accordingly. The key thing is that, up to ISO 1600, this does not require the destruction of too much detail (things get a bit smoothed and mushy beyond that point).
Finally let's take a look a the D300's RAW output next to the competition. Removing any in-camera noise reduction and processing the images using Adobe Camera Raw gives us the nearest thing to a 'level playing field' for assessing the relative noise levels of the four cameras' sensors.
With noise reduction turned off we get a more accurate idea of how noisy these sensors are and the image looks slightly different to what we've seen above in the JPEG section of this page. There's not a significant difference between any of these cameras - if anything, the most telling thing is how similarly the sensors of three different manufacturers perform.
|Nikon D300s RAW||Canon EOS 7D RAW||Pentax K-7 RAW||Canon EOS 50D RAW|
Raw Noise graphs
Using a common raw converter makes clear that much of the difference between the cameras' performances in JPEG are, unsurprisingly, down to decisions made by the manufacturers about noise reduction levels. In RAW, these differences are removed from the equation, giving a better impression of what the sensors are doing. As you can see, there's very little to choose between them visually - the Nikon and Pentax perform better in numerical terms at lower ISOs, at the pixel level, but are overtaken by the 7D at the really high ISO settings, comparing on the whole-image level, you'd be hard pressed to spot any advantage.
- 17 Photographic tests (DR)
- 18 Photographic tests
- 19 Movie Mode
- 20 Compared to
- 21 Compared to (JPEG)
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (RAW)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 28 Compared to (Resolution)
- 29 Compared to (Resolution)
- 30 Conclusion
- 31 Samples
|Moon 99% D55 C14 St-Zénon 20170806 DP by MarioSS|
from Best Picture of the Week
|Reeds on lake by kkardster|
from Abstracts in Nature
|Florence & the Machine by Dutch Newchurch|
from Second chances..
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.