Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (RAW)

In order to achieve as near to a level playing field for comparison as possible, we also shot our studio scene in RAW mode with each camera and converted it using Adobe Camera RAW (in this case ACR 5.6). Because Adobe Camera RAW applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we use the following workflow for these conversions:

  • Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW (Auto mode disabled)
  • Set Sharpness to 0 (all other settings default)
  • Open file to Photoshop
  • Apply a Unsharp mask: 80%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 0
  • Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F). Camera settings as per previous pages.

Nikon D3S vs. Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

Nikon D3S
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
4.1MB JPEG (4256 x 2832)
5.0MB JPEG (4896 x 3264)

It's the same story here as with the JPEG files - the extra resolution of the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV's sensor pays off in slightly better detail capture, although the advantage is only slight in practical terms. The only area of this scene in which the Canon has unequivocally managed to capture more detail is in the finest engraving lines in the third crop from the top, which are undoubtedly better defined (though softer) than the D3S, which simply lacks the pixels to render the finest lines accurately. At their respective pixel counts, it is debatable whether either camera could perform any better. In both cases, pixel level image quality is excellent.