Sat 09-Jun-12 09:23 AM | edited Sat 09-Jun-12 09:32 AM by nrothschild
>> again, I think you make a a number of assumptions here...
OK, Perrone, let's recap.
You and I are having a discussion about the specific details of your sports problems. I can assure you I have a very firm grasp on what you are trying to do.
How deeply you want to crop into that candle light soccer picture is not very material to what I told you. In fact, the deeper you want to crop the more you should be listening to what I am telling you and others here about Light Gathering Power because the deeper you crop the more you care about that.
That is a fact ; that is basic physics.
Jim interrupts our conversation with a rant about how he has a problem with Nikon giving us the option of an FX camera for the price of a D400. Twenty million people will jump on that camera but Jim has a problem with that idea because it doesn't happen to be the camera he wants.
And he has a problem with a much needed low priced FX mid-range zoom update to go along with that camera. Many of those (20 million) people will want it, but not Jim. And not you or me, at least in the context of the conversation he interrupted.
So I respond to his strictly wildlife context rant with just one reason I desperately want a high res FX camera for my wildlife work, and suddenly I am making bad assumptions about your needs?
Maybe this is the ultimate moving target. Give me a second to catch up.
For you, I know exactly what you need and want, and everything I said to you applies to you in exactly the context you said it.
You showed me a dark grainy image that, as it stands, has issues. But it is too loosely framed, just making things worse.
You suggested you would be better off with a smaller sensor and a shorter lens, and somehow that's going to fix your problems.
I explained to you that if your image is too noisy, and too small, you need a bigger lens. Period. Nothing else will solve your problems with that image. And I went into great detail explaining why.
I also explained that if you want the opportunity to get the finest low light image possible, you will shoot it on the biggest sensor you can, with the biggest lens you can find/afford/drag onto the field, whatever. That's physics. It is undeniable and inarguable.
How you crop your images to satisfy your editor has little to do with this, except to the extent that the deeper you crop, the bigger the lens you need.
The right way to shoot that soccer image is on FX, with the biggest lens you can find. If you can't afford that lens, or you don't want to manage it on the field, the physics doesn't know or care, nor does that make the physics tell you that a small lens and/or a smaller sensor is the solution.
If you can't fill an FX frame with your subject then you simply can't shoot the image the best way possible. You need to shoot the next best way possible, which is either FX in DX crop mode or DX; either will deliver the same image (using the D800 for the FX body).
Your main problem with that image is not resolution. It is noise.
You could shoot that image, in good light, on DX or the D800, and get the image you want. If Nikon gave you a 24mpx DX sensor that might be better but you don't really need it, in good light.
Now, you are telling me I'm making the wrong assumptions but you have not told me precisely how deeply you actually want to crop that image nor how many pixels your editor demands from the final crop. Since I can't read your mind, or the editor's mind, and there is no one right way to present the final image, I am left making "wrong assumptions" because I don't read minds.
But that doesn't matter. If you need more *clean* pixels get a bigger and longer lens. It's that simple. I don't have to read minds to know that is the right answer.
You could shoot that image in low light with a 400/2.8 but you might have to get closer. If you have to crop very deeply into that image and your editor demands too many *clean* pixels, then you may have to get even closer. If you can't do that then you simply can't deliver the picture he wants. A zillion megapixel DX camera will not bail you out unless your editor is happier with more, noisier, pixels. That's physics.
If you can't do any of those things then that is what I call "an image that was never meant to be shot". I can't help you. No one can help you. What that image really needs is about a 600mm f/2 lens. Good luck finding it, and if you do, you will need 2 assistants to carry it and a government loan to fund it.
Your D800 will shoot that image at the equivalent of 15mpx DX, with virtually the finest low light noise performance Nikon can manage. Maybe the D3s will do a marginally better job. You say it is much better, but Bill Claff and DXO says you will barely see a difference.
If Nikon handed you a 24mpx DX camera today you could crop deeper into the image but you would end up with more, noisier pixels than you get with your D800. That will not solve your problem.
If you really want to solve the problem, you need something more like this but then you need to build the soccer field next to the lens. And I'm not sure if they make that in f/2.8.
If you want a great low light camera, you can have it. You already own it; both of them. If you want the highest resolution camera possible, then Nikon can make you a 24mpx DX camera and if that isn't enough, Nikon will make you a 36mpx DX in a couple of years. It's coming. But you will never be able to combine the two into a camera that can shoot sports at 300 feet in candle light such that you can crop endlessly into it. It will never solve the problem you posed here any better than what you have now.
The problem is not my assumptions. The problem is that you presented me with an impossible picture, in the context of how you want to shoot it. You can solve it as best you can with the biggest lens you can find. You can improve it if you can get close enough to frame bigger than a DX frame with that biggest lens you can find.
If you cannot do that then FX won't help you but your D800 won't really hurt you either. It is the best camera today to solve that problem as best it can. A D400 will not likely improve it.