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D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?

Kennebunk Larry

Westford, US
107 posts

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Kennebunk Larry Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2003
Sat 30-Mar-13 08:21 PM

I love my D800. With my lenses, the longest focal length I can get is 600mm using my wonderful Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII with the TC-20EIII. I believe that cropping the image or using the DX crop mode is equivalent and results in a 15+ megapixel image with an 'equivalent' 900mm focal length. But, if I instead used a D7100 DX camera with the same lens combination to capture the same subject area, I'd have a 24 megapixel area. I realize noise levels may be better with the D800 because the pixels are bigger but the D7100 also has the advantage of no anti aliasing filter. It almost seems like a no brainer to me that the 7100 will be better for telephoto shots at a relatively cheap price. What might I be missing in my simple analysis?

Thanks,
Larry

stappy

Alexandria, US
225 posts

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#1. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 0

stappy Gold Member Nikonian since 06th Aug 2009
Sat 30-Mar-13 08:24 PM

To first order, I'd say your analysis is correct. As you point out, there would be some loss in noise. Plus, perhaps dynamic range, but basically all second order things. With a DX camera you'll also get the benefit of the subject being larger in the viewfinder.

My view is that this is all good as long as your subject is pretty much always too far away. That is, your always thinking you wish you had a bigger lens. When you put your 300 + 2x on a DX camera you've got an equivalent 900mm as you say. If your subject comes closer your going to have to cut something off. With the D800 you just keep shooting. In some ways you can think of it has having a 600-900 zoom compared to having a fixed 900.

Brian

Kennebunk Larry

Westford, US
107 posts

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#2. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 1

Kennebunk Larry Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2003
Sat 30-Mar-13 09:30 PM

But, with D7100, I'd be getting a 24 mp image compared with 15 mp with the D800 for same photo, right?
Larry

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stappy

Alexandria, US
225 posts

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#3. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 2

stappy Gold Member Nikonian since 06th Aug 2009
Sat 30-Mar-13 09:41 PM

>But, with D7100, I'd be getting a 24 mp image compared with
>15 mp with the D800 for same photo, right?

Yes. For a image that fits within the DX size, it will be 24 for the 7100 and 15 for the 800.

Reach is all about photosite density. The concept of equivalent mm lens was useful with the D3, D700, D300 when everything was 12MP but now with different photosite densities, it can often be more confusing than helpful.

Brian

Clint S

Chula Vista, US
460 posts

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#4. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 3

Clint S Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011
Sat 30-Mar-13 11:43 PM

I agree with your thinking. I think the only difference would come from how much more resolution the D800E can pull from the lens than the D7100. With the D800 and D7000, that can be considerable in the case of some lenses.

When cropping a D800 to DX format the image is slightly better than the same frm a D7000, and I belive it is to the differnce of wha the D800 can use form the lens.

My D700 was stolen and I'm not sure about replacing it, however I was thinking the along the same lines. This is an idea I like better than purchasing a super telephoto prime lens - I just don't shoot enough to make a $5000 lens purchase effective.

If you test this post some comparison photos, it would be interesting to see the results.

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PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2817 posts

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#5. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 4

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Sun 31-Mar-13 02:33 AM

Wow. This has not been my experience at all. The D800 does have superior noise handling and dynamic range. If shooting in an environment where those two things are not significant factors, I've found the the D7000 holds it's own very nicely. The D7100 is a generation newer and I would expect it to trump the D800 cropped to DX (aka 15MP).

Mind you, I am fresh off an experimental shoot where I shot my D2x, D7000, and D800. I was VERY pleased with the results from the D7000 and was reminded of just how much I like the images from that camera... if only it came in a full sized body. I hate the hand cramps I get when I have to shoot it in hand.

I am thinking VERY hard right now about dumping my D7000 and going to the D7100. If I don't see a D400 by August, I may well just do that.



>When cropping a D800 to DX format the image is slightly better
>than the same frm a D7000, and I belive it is to the differnce
>of wha the D800 can use form the lens.

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Kennebunk Larry

Westford, US
107 posts

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#6. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 5

Kennebunk Larry Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2003
Sun 31-Mar-13 09:41 AM

Another way to look at the comparison of the D7100 sensor to the D800 is that if the D7100 had a full frame sensor, given its pixel density, it would be around 54 MP in size because Nikon's DX sensor is 24mm x 16mm or 384 mm2 in area. A full-frame sensor is 24mm x 36mm (same size as a 35mm negative) or 864 mm2 in area. The full frame sensor is then 864/384 or 2.25 times greater in area. So multiplying the MP in the 7100 sensor, i.e., 24, by 2.25 times gets you the 54 MP.

So, you should expect much higher resolution from the D7100 or even the 24MP D3200 and D5200 everything else being equal. Of course, "everything else" is a lot. The field of optics is very complex. The resolution, i.e., ability to resolve detail, which is what I am interested in while taking telephoto shots of birds or other wildlife, depends on a lot of other factors besides pixel density.

Clint S

Chula Vista, US
460 posts

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#7. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 5

Clint S Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011
Tue 02-Apr-13 02:22 AM

Yes the D800 has superior noise handling and dynamic range. I was banking on that and the extra resolution the D800 cold pull from the lens when cropping a D800 photo to a DX size, that the crop would have obvious better IQ than the D7000.

With over hundred photos that I did comparisons of, the cropped difference just was not as great as what I had hoped. I never made a comparison where noise would be factor and I believe all of the situations were within the dynamic range of the D7000. So I contributed the better IQ to the extra resolution the D800 could pull from a lens over the D7000.

I would have been happy if the D7000 had come in a full sized body but we got the phenomenal D800 instead. And I’m kind of like Larry, waiting to see how the D7100 factors add up to see if it can well exceed the D800s DX crop IQ.

It was my D7000 that was stolen not the D700 – so the D7100 maybe the replacement, but I’m waiting as long as through September to see what else Nikon might do.

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Antero52

Vantaa, FI
2685 posts

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#8. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 0

Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009
Tue 02-Apr-13 04:06 AM

There's one issued that hasn't been discussed in this thread, and that's the apparent size of the image in the viewfinder. On a DX body, what is in the viewfinder appears bigger than on an FX body, assuming that you'll have to crop to DX size eventually. The flip side of the coin is that if/when you lose your subject from the DX viewfinder, you may have a hard time getting it back in the frame.

So, with a DX body you will see better what's happening in the viewfinder but with an FX body it will be easier to track an erratically moving subject.

Also, the focus sensor is the same on both bodies, with absolute dimensions, so the focus points cover a larger relative area of the DX frame than of the FX frame. This may or may not be an advantage, depending on what you plan to shoot.

Regards, Antero

RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3373 posts

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#9. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 8

RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter Member
Sun 07-Apr-13 12:57 PM

I have both and can say the D7100 is the camera to go to if you need the extra reach.
In fact, I prefer the additional 1/3 crop for that.
But I still have a lot of trouble taking a picture of little birds in flight.
And, the D800 is better in low light.
So, if I only kept one, it would be the D800 for me.

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InsaneO

Encino, US
395 posts

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#10. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 0

InsaneO Registered since 09th May 2012
Sun 07-Apr-13 04:17 PM

Technically you are correct but in real life not everything seems as on the paper. First of all any actual subject has to in the viewfinder of 7100 with the lens of maximum FL you have to get the benefit. Second of all for the very distant objects you have to consider atmospheric distortions too.
And finally crop cameras do just that, they crop the center of your lens so lens quality is more demanding.
You will also have harder time with fast moving objects because viewfinder is smaller.

Where crop cameras are at it's best is in macro photography.
You subject is close and all your macro lenses automatically increase in FL. Think of it this way, 24mp times 2.25 is 54mp pixel density of D800e. In other words is like having 54mp D800e and all those pixels are on your object.

Where you might not see much difference is if your pixel density is closer to 40mp-45mp because of increased noise and lens imperfections.


jamesvoortman

Durban, ZA
1480 posts

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#11. "RE: D800 owners, do you think the D7100 will give us higher resolution 'DX' images?" | In response to Reply # 6

jamesvoortman Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Sep 2004
Sun 07-Apr-13 04:21 PM

When shooting same subject with same lens combo from the same distance the D7100 will place more pixels on the subject than the D800 as you have pointed out.

the size and resolution of image projected onto the sensor by the lens and TC combo is the same for both so consider the trade-offs:
1) D800 has larger photosites, better sensitivity, possibly better dynamic range (by a small margin). It will probably be superior as the light fades.
2) D7100 has more pixels under the subject, potentially capturing more info if the lens+TC combo can resolve finer details than can be captured by the slightly "coarser" sensor of the D800. Probably superior in good light.

The 300 f2.8 is likely sharp enough to take advantage of the D7100's extra pixels but when a TC is fitted does this still apply?

The next issue to consider is handling. Both cameras share a similar 51 point AF module (CAM 3500) but the implementation is a little different, the D7100 has greater viewfinder magnification and the 51 AF points are more widely distributed over the VF. Which is easier to use? there are comfort issues based on size and weight of the camera body and differences in controls to consider. Bear in mind the D800 has 15 AF sensors that will work at f8 so although the Af modulle is similar between these two cameras, the AF sensitivity of the D800 is probably better in all conditions.



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