I have read some comments about how photos from FX cameras somehow look better than DX. I've seen it described as "something special" about full frame photos. If you take depth of field and high ISO out of the comparison and looked at two identical, well exposed, ISO 100, 24 megapixel photos (D600 vs D7100, for example) would there be a difference you could see? Most of my photos are landscapes shot in good light, would I see a noticable difference. I am tempted by the D600, but replacing my DX lenses adds a lot of additional cost. Thanks for your opinions.
You might notice the difference at base ISO where you would be shooting landscape images with the ability to recover more shadow detail in high contrast scenes.
Other than that, if you carefully prepare for your images as most landscape photographers do, I think a D7100 would deliver all you want - I see myself having the D7100 to go along with my D600, for different types of shooting situations.
"Sawed that board three times and it is still too short... "
When I hear those kinds of qualitative comparisons ("something special" and the like), I can't help but wonder whether part of the speaker's reaction is due to inherent bias. Generally, they know that they are viewing an FX image and expect it to look better. So, they attribute a great image's greatness in part to the fact that it was shot on an FX body when that may not actually have had anything to do with it.
I'd love to see a double-blind test where viewers were presented with a large selection of quality prints and were asked to separate them into taken-with-FX and taken-with-DX piles. I bet the results wouldn't much beat random selection.
Of course, in situations where the ISO has to go up to stop motion, FX has a substantial inherent advantage. But your question doesn't include that particular case.
I agree completely. When I have compared similar photos, taken in good light, I can't see any difference. At high ISO settings, the differences are noticable; but low ISO, well exposed photos are really hard to tell apart.
#7. "RE: FX vs DX" In response to Reply # 6 Mon 11-Mar-13 06:11 PM by sirraj
That is a very good point and the main reason that I have not bought a D600. My favorite lens is my 17-55mm f2.8 DX and I don't think the D600 kit lens is nearly as good as the 17-55mm. I also have a Nikon 12-24mm F/4 DX that I would have to replace. Once I start adding up the cost of lenses, switching to FX becomes very expensive. But it is very tempting.
#8. "RE: FX vs DX" In response to Reply # 7 Mon 11-Mar-13 07:37 PM by dagoldst
Little Rock, US
>That is a very good point and the main reason that I have not >bought a D600. My favorite lens is my 17-55mm f2.8 DX and I >don't think the D600 kit lens is nearly as good as the >17-55mm.
Kind of tough to evaluate the two against each other IMO.
Interestingly enough, in the comparison below, the 24-85mm VR is sharper on DX than the 17-55mm, (see links below), even when the 17-55mm is stopped down. Alternately, the 17-55mm doesn't work on FX except in crop mode and doesn't have VR, so it's best place is on a DX camera where it can be a bit faster and wider but not as long.
One thing undebatable is the 17-55mm has a great build quality while the 24-85mm is a consumer lens, (though it seems quite well built in my example).
My experience is these statements are often made about all types of photography equipment when one is unable to point to some real measurable factor that makes the idolized equipment 'better'.
I would think if there is any advantage in your example, it would be that diffraction will set in earlier on the DX sensor. So if you are shooting landscapes at smaller apertures this may result in actual noticeable differences.
Other than that, many landscape shooters prefer FX due to the availability of FX prime wide angle lenses, which have no DX equivalent.
It is definitely possible to see the differences, but they are in the relative margins. I routinely shoot an FX and a DX camera at some events, and most of the time one would be very hard pressed to tell the difference between them. I'd post a couple of examples but I'm traveling and don't have access to my archives. However, in some other cases, it's apparent which is which. I have some B&Ws taken at night, and the ones from the FX camera are, as one viewer put it, just leaping off the page; the ones from the DX camera are just not as nice in contrast and dynamic range. Since in that case I was also using both an FX and a DX (and with physically the same lenses), I'd say that the difference was mostly if not completely down to the camera. Now that does NOT necessarily mean FX or DX - my cameras are from two different generations, and things clearly did advance all 'round from the D2x to the D3. But one can see the differences there.
The question is often posed as you have - FX vs DX - but just as an example, I am pretty sure that a D7100 will look better than a D3 in most regards other than maybe in high ISO and extreme AF performance. Yes, in that case, I think a DX outperforms FX. OMG, how heretical! I would like to replace my DX camera; not because I want to "go all FX" but simply because I want a more modern camera in the larger body style that likely will not see another DX sensor.
> replacing my DX lenses adds a lot of additional cost.
No kidding. I had it relatively easy since I had a whole stable of 35mm film lenses, and by accident I had picked up an FX ultra-wide early in my digital career. (Ie the Sigma 12-24 FX, which was my original choice for wide angle on DX.) My only real DX losses were an all-around 18-200VR and a fisheye. But for many people, the FX body is just the tip of the iceberg. At the time I bought FX, it was the only way to get a decent ISO 6400 and it was before Sigma came out with the DX circular fisheye. Now there are many more choices, and spending FX money seems relatively less necessary, even as the market has clearly voted that FX "is superior."
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
I have appreciated reading these comments. I also have a D7000 and I am trying to decide if I want to add the D7100 or the D600. It is a difficult decision. I have a mix of FX and DX lenses so I could go either direction fairly easily. Like the OP I shoot mainly landscapes, shoot from a tripod, don't need high ISO or fast burst rates. I just want good image quality. Like I said, I appreciate the views of more knowledgeable folks that are being expressed here.
It's really hard to decide between the D7100 and the D600. Lens cost is my biggest concern. I have all the lenses I need for DX, but no wide angle FX lenses. I think the smart thing to do is to stay with DX.
And as a side note to this comparison between the 17-55mm DX and the 24-85mm VR: for me the 24mm on DX simply isn't wide enough to cover events. I tried both the 24-70 as the 17-55 lens, and strangely enough, decided as long as I am on DX, I needed to go with the 17-55 (which I love).
>It's really hard to decide between the D7100 and the D600. >Lens cost is my biggest concern. I have all the lenses I need >for DX, but no wide angle FX lenses. I think the smart thing >to do is to stay with DX.
I like the 1.5x effect on the long end, and I have great DX super-wide and wide-angle zooms (Sigma 8-16mm; Tamron 17-50mm).
The results on my D7000 are just what I'm looking for, and to achieve the same things with FX lenses would cost quite a bit.
There is the law of diminishing returns, plus I'd lose the 1.5x factor added to my Nikon 300mm.
#17. "RE: FX vs DX" In response to Reply # 16 Wed 13-Mar-13 11:39 PM by JPJ
>You can still crop a frame taken with a D600.
But you can frame at 450mm on the DX vs. 300mm on FX. Having the items appear both closer and as they will appear(or at least closer to what they will appear like) in your final photo can both be advantages. Plus you would already have to crop 33% to get the equivalent DX FOV. What if that is not enough? That is, what if you wanted to crop the DX frame, ever crop you are losing quality and potential print size.
>Or you can shoot in DX mode.
at 10.5 MPs. Plus not many are fans of shooting FX in DX mode and trying to stay in the lines. In fact, I don't know any FX shooter who ever uses their DX crop mode.
I wouldn't say that either of these solutions are better than just shooting a DX camera if the extra reach is very important to your shooting and you can't afford a lens based solution.
#18. "A failure to understand equivalence..." In response to Reply # 13
Yes, diffraction sets in earlier with DX, but a one stop wider aperture gives the same DOF as FX. Taking that into account, the diffraction effects are the same. The same is true of the high ISO comments. Shoot the DX camera at one stop lower ISO with a one stop wider aperture and with equally developed sensors there will be no difference.
I hate to hijack this thread but Jim Pierce brought up the DOF difference between FX and DX, and I've been wondering about and discussing this with a couple of friends.
We always hear about the shallow DOF from an FX sensor but a look at a DOF calculator shows a greater DOF with the FX sensor. I can only attribute this shallow field to getting closer to the focus point, to frame the scene in a like manner to a DX sensored body, considering the wider field if view.
I don't know if I've expressed myself very well, but I would appreciate hearing from all you Nikonians whom I respect so much.
#21. "Very briefly Bryan..." In response to Reply # 20
Equivalence refers to taking the "same" picture with FX and DX. By the same we mean from the same position (perspective) and with the same FOV (framing). Okay, let's say we're taking a portrait. We shoot with the D800E at 105mm f4 and our subject is 10' away. We get a total DOF of .64 feet. Now we shoot the D7100 at 70mm at f2.8. Our total DOF is now .69 feet - close enough for rock. Note that assuming the same shutter speed, we'd shoot the DX camera at one stop lower ISO. Diffraction, it turns out, is precisely correlated with DOF and will also be the same here.
> I also have a D7000 and I am trying to decide if I want to add the D7100 or the D600.
My advice: make a list of your priorities. See if the either of the cameras meets all of them. Choose the less expensive of the ones that meets all of them. One of those priorities might be to keep total system cost within some budget $X.
> I just want good image quality.
They both deliver EXCELLENT image quality. The differences are in the margins, and those margins are diminishing with each generation. FX has an inherent advantage in that for a given pixel density it necessarily uses large photosites. For example, both the D300 and the D3 offer 12mp output; since the D3 is FX and thus 848 sq mm vs 345 sq mm, the photosites on the D3 are larger. Similarly for the D7100 and D600. But that advantage is only manifested when the photosite size makes a difference, ie at high ISO. Don't shoot at high ISO? It won't make much if any difference. As I noted above, I often shoot with a DX and FX of similar output size (12mp, D2x and D3). I import those files into a single directory with LR4, and since of course I cannot literally shoot them at the same time they are sorted by time and are interleaved on the Library display. I normally have to literally look at the metadata to see which camera took which frame. (All of the lenses I would use in this context are FX, for example 24-70, 70-200, 400/f2.8 and TC-20eIII, so that doesn't give it away at a glance.) I'm traveling and don't have my archives with me or I'd post a few.
There are other differences, but they're NOT down to FX or DX. The D3 is laughably better AF than most of my DX cameras - but that's because it's a D3 with CAM3500, the others are old, perhaps much older and equipped with less capable systems. The D7100 and D600 are pretty close in capability here, unlike my inventory. For example, fast burst rates are also not something that is format dependent; from a technical point of view, 24mp is 24mp and getting those data cleared out of the buffer to the card is the same problem regardless of format. Perhaps getting the mirror out of the way at high rates is a little different - but that would be because the DX format has a physically smaller mirror that might be a tad easier to damp, and the DX frame is physically smaller so can be recycled slightly more quickly. It's not an inherent FX advantage at all! The fact that the D3 and D4 run at higher frame rates is actually a greater challenge to Nikon's engineers in FX than DX.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#23. "RE: Very briefly Bryan..." In response to Reply # 21
Jim is right that an apples-to-apples comparison of FX to DX means keeping the same distance and changing the lens, but other examples will show where the DX format hits the wall. Say, for example, that you are shooting a portrait with an FX body at 85mm, f/1.4 and a distance to subject of 4 feet. You're getting that nice, razor thin DOF of 0.05 feet. (You know, where the near eye is in sharp focus and the far eye is slightly OOF.)
Now you pick up your DX camera to get exactly the same shot. Well, not exactly because you would need a 56.7-mm lens, but let's call 50 mm close enough since that's all we have available. Now, I still want that 0.05-foot DOF, so let's just open up the aperture on that 50-mm lens. Let's see... according to the DOF calculator I need an f-stop of... something wider than f/1.0. Whoops!
Of course, if that kind of extremely narrow DOF isn't something you shoot, the ability of FX to get there isn't important to you. But if it is important to you, DX isn't an option.
Jim is also right that what DX may taketh away with respect to diffraction, it giveth back in using a wider aperture for a particular DOF. Example: You are shooting a landscape using FX at 24mm with a foreground subject 4 feet away, and you want the DOF to extend from 4 feet to infinity. You select an aperture of f/8 to get a hyperfocal distance of 8 feet. Switching to DX, we find that the 18-mm lens that gives us the same FOV can achieve that hyperfocal distance at f/6.7, reducing diffraction.
But it's not a one-to-one tradeoff. In this example, if both sensors are 24-megapixel, the FX sensor's diffraction limit is f/11.3. That's about 1-1/8 stops below the f/8 we are shooting at, and we are unlikely to suffer diffraction effects. But the DX sensor's diffraction limit is f/7.4, less than 1/3 stop from the f/6.7 we are using, and diffraction effects are likely to be creeping into visibility when the image is viewed at 100% or printed very large.
The bottom line is that FX has some advantages at the margins. Whether those marginal cases are important and worth the price of FX, only you can decide.
#24. "I don't follow your landscape calculations Jon..." In response to Reply # 23
The DX equivalent is rather 16mm at f5.6. In both cases - FX and DX - a 36" print would be diffraction limited, a 24" print would not be. Anyway, the practical advantage of DX comes on the supertelephoto side. I'm currently shooting a particular red morph screech owl, and can't get closer than 50'. With the D7100 I'll shoot with my 500 f4 and TC-17E at f7.1 using the 1.3x crop mode. This gives me the equivalent of a 1600mm lens shot at f14 on FX. Well, as it happens that could just be done with the new 800 f5.6 and TC-20III converter, but the viewing would be really dark (f11 versus f6.7 on the D7100) and I'd be restricted to manual focus.
Anyway, in theory FX is a superset of DX - anything you can do on DX can be done on FX. In practice DX has a real reach advantage at supertelephoto. FX has the theoretical and practical advantage of allowing for a one stop shallower DOF, should your photographic practice require it.
#25. "RE: I don't follow your landscape calculations Jon..." In response to Reply # 24 Thu 14-Mar-13 07:14 PM by elec164
>The DX equivalent is rather 16mm at f5.6. In both cases - FX >and DX - a 36" print would be diffraction limited, a >24" print would not be.
I would think that softness due to diffraction, as is DOF, would be dependent upon amount of enlargement and viewing distance. The often quoted f/16 for FX and f/11 for DX is dependent on an 8x12 viewed at about 18".
Assuming the 24" and 36" measurements are the long side maintaining the 3:2 aspect ratio and keep the viewing distance relatively normal for the enlargement size, then the f/16 and f/11 would still define the relative sharpness. But if you view the 36" enlargement from the normal viewing distance of the 24", or the 24" from the 12" viewing distance than the affect of diffraction would be evident,as well as a change in appearent DOF.
On the other hand, a diffraction limited system is dependent on the pixel pitch and as such is format independent. For example most telescopes are diffraction limited. If you want more detail for a given focal length you need a bigger opening. On the other hand a good number of lens are aberration limited and that's why they generally perform better stopped down a bit. But at some point stopping down further causes lower contrast so the diffraction spot becomes the limiting factor. And if the spot size becomes three times the pixel pitch, the system becomes diffraction limited in ability to resolve detail. We can correct the softness due to enlargement of the Airy Disk through deconvolution. But resolution lost through diffraction cannot be regained.
But honestly the difference is really small, and due to the limits of human acuity, I can't help but wonder if this all doesnt to some extent or another fall under the old adage "How many angels can fit on the head of a pin".
The D7100 will do a very good job for you. The D600 produces better images, period. You can't change the laws of physics, which you would have to do to obtain equal performance from the two cameras.
The D7100 is at the top end of the DX format. The D600 is at the entry level of the FX format. If you look at your own goals and needs and what you want to do in photography, I should think the choice between the two cameras would be pretty easy. I found that the top end of the DX format was not sufficient for what I wanted to do, and I bought a D600. I'm completely sure that it was the right move for me.
Firstly, detailed tests of the D7100 are not available right now. Secondly, whether a "better" image can be detected in normal everyday use is a matter of perspective and opinion. It is perfectly possible that a D7100 will produce images that meet many photographer's needs just as well as a D600
#31. "RE: FX vs DX" In response to Reply # 29 Fri 15-Mar-13 03:08 PM by JPJ
> The D600 produces better images, period.
Until someone compares the two I don't see how anyone could make that statement even if we are basing this on a pure issue of measurable things, such as dynamic range (which the D7100 may have as much as or more than the D600).
I may add that the removal of the AA filter from the D7100 will produce sharper images out of camera than the D600. Can D600 images be sharpened post processing to match, probably, if done correctly. This is but one example though of how blanket statements claiming camera supremacy are highly debatable. What if you are poor at sharpening or don't want to have to do it to every image?
Further, technology does not often tell the story: 'better images' are normally produced by 'better photographers' not 'better cameras'. I shoot FX now, but other than better noise suppression it doesn't do anything really 'better' than my D7000 did, just different at times.
p.s. Also if the D7100 doesn't spew debris and lubricant all over the sensor constantly it will definitely be the better camera
>The D7100 will do a very good job for you. The D600 produces >better images, period. You can't change the laws of physics...
That's just funny. Without bringing Captain Kirk into it, one would have to assume that Nikon has gone to the edge of natural law in their development of the D600 sensor. Perhaps they have... But, in all likelihood, they have not.
That leaves the D7100, and successive cameras, to "change the laws of physics..."
As are many others in these forums, I am looking for your expert input regarding choice of equipment. I fully understand the physics regarding sensor size, pixel count, and photosite size as they relate to IQ i.e. noise and resolution. Although I have been keeping current on the latest discussions, I find that I am unable to come to a decision regarding purchasing the D7100 DX (assuming user experience is good), or another FX body.
Here is my situation. Among other bodies, I have a D2x, and a D700 which is my primary body at this time. I have a mix of DX and FX glass. I intend to sell my present DX bodies and purchase a new body to backup or at least compliment my D700.
My widest lens at this time is the DX Nikkor 12-24 which may or may not work on my D700. I have a Nikkor 300 f2.8 and a Nikkor 600 f4.0, which I use when out to shoot wildlife, and which accept some of the numerous TCs I possess. However, these two beasts are too much to carry around when hiking along trails to shoot landscapes. Thus, my longest carry-around glass right now is the FX Nikkor 70-300 f4.5-5.6, which doesn't accept Nikon TCs.
I'm sorry for being so verbose, but after all that, here is the question: Do I opt for a D7100 24mp, which gives my the DX 1.5 crop factor plus the option to use the additional 1.3 crop factor giving me extra reach and a higher resolution image even at the larger crop factor than I can get with the D700 12mp, and without the need of the use of TCs (I frequently print at 19x13), but sacrifice the wide angle range, or do I go with another FX body and purchase a Nikkor such as the 17-35 f2.8 or the 16-35 f4 VR? The f2.8 max aperture is not essential, the VR would be nice, and the price differential is substantial. Budget is a major consideration.
Again, I apologize for the length of this post, but is the best I could do to explain my predicament.
What you say about sensor he size is correct if you are the same generation of technology. If you compare the D700 to the D800/e you will find the photo site receptor of the D800/e is smaller. Sorry I do not have the exact specs at my fingertips. Just Consider that the D800/e has 3X the photosite receptors in the same FX area as the D700. By the way, I have a D700 and love it, just getting better glass at this time myself.
>What you say about sensor he size is correct if you are the >same generation of technology. If you compare the D700 to the >D800/e you will find the photo site receptor of the D800/e is >smaller. Sorry I do not have the exact specs at my fingertips. >Just Consider that the D800/e has 3X the photosite receptors >in the same FX area as the D700. By the way, I have a D700 and >love it, just getting better glass at this time myself. > >
Ditto regarding the D700. I haven't seen any complaints about the IQ of the D800/D800e, so it appears that Nikon may have solved the problem of cramming 36mp onto an FX sensor. If they have done that, then perhaps there will be no problem with the 24mp in the D7100. I'll wait for some reviews of the D7100 in these forums before taking the plunge. We'll have to wait anyway, as the camera is currently out of stock at B&H.
Keep the DX glass, and get a D800.. With DX glass attached, the D800 turns itself it to quite a formidable "DX" camera at resolution that equals that of a D7000. It literally is both systems in one all in a package that delivers where the D600 does fall short in a few areas (build quality, flash shutter sync, etc, etc).
>>The D600 produces better images, period. > >We can't say that (yet). > >Firstly, detailed tests of the D7100 are not available right >now. Secondly, whether a "better" image can be >detected in normal everyday use is a matter of perspective and >opinion. It is perfectly possible that a D7100 will produce >images that meet many photographer's needs just as well as a >D600
I agree. I think for the above to state it's a fact that the D600 produces better images needs to be clarified. We certainly don't know what the D7100 can/will do but I think it's pretty safe to say, at this point, both having modern sensors that the only thing safe I feel saying is that both will produce stellar images under ideal conditions and that the D600, due to it's larger sensor, is going to provide better images under the strain of low light (higher ISO's).
How much better is going to probably always be up for debate. Let us not forget the D600 is a $1900 camera compared to a $1200 camera in the D7100. There is a reason it costs more.
I have a D7100 on order (own the D700 & D7000). Myself, I think when the dust settles the D7100 will, for it's price, represent the best camera for the buck without question.
It's a good time to be passionate and in love with photography. The last 10-15 years has been a long haul to get switched over to digital, but I think we've finally arrived with IQ quite easily matching/besting film now.