It seems counter-intuitive that 12MB of pixels spread over a full frame sensor would yield better and sharper shots than 12MB on a DX sensor. I can see that the D700 sensor might yield a broader dynamic range but it seems the D300 would, in effect, offer 'finer grain' and sharper images.
I suppose it depends on what you mean by "better", and which lenses are being used.
The main advantage of the D700 sensor over that in the D300 (and D300s) is in Dynamic Range and hence in the noise performance at high ISO settings.
There is no reason why "sharpness" as such would be any different between the two. Outright Resolution (in terms of Line Pairs per Millimetre) differs, because as you say the D300 has roughly the same number of pixels packed into a much smaller area. But then again, resolution in terms of Line Pairs per Picture Height is pretty much the same, so if you compare a shot with a 200mm lens on the D300 and one with a 300mm lens on the D700, it would be difficult to tell which was which visually.
Sat 25-Sep-10 11:47 AM | edited Sat 25-Sep-10 12:32 PM by mhutchinson002
When you get down to a really technical level, the larger photo buckets will catch more photons per exposure time and that is what gets you lower noise. That's what dynamic range is about, counting photons and generating voltage.
As for sharpness, the FX sensor allows lower resolution lenses to give better results because there are fewer pixels per ince at the image plane. The same amount of chromic abberation will cover fewer pixels on an FX sensor as well. The DX sensor however will hide the edge softness and distortion of your lenses by not showing that area of the image circle (assuming full-frame lenses).
The "worst" of both worlds is the D3x which, due to it's full-frame sensor and high pixels per inch will show all the faults of your lenses...
I have both D300 and D700 bodies. The D300 is great and I use it when I want my 80-200 / TC-14 to give me more effective focal length -- like sports and whale watching. I also use the D300 when I shoot for hire (high school band events where I shoot 1000's of images per hour) since is has a lower cost per click and when I don't want to risk my D700 on non-photographic business travel.
I use the D700 for most everything else and especially when I need to shoot action at higher ISO -- like dance performances.
Random thoughts: * The D700 shows dust less than the D300 considering that the same dust particle covers fewer pixels on the larger sensor. * D700 with 18mm lens is fantastically wide * D300 with 80-200 / TC-14 gives an effective 170-420mm f4 lens at a small fraction of the cost of a 200-400mm f4 * when I only had 1 body it was a D300. I later sold it and upgraded to a D700 and even later got a D300 for backup when I started my business. * A D300 and 28-70 f2.8 (both used) can be had for the price of a D700 body alone * Stop worrying about this sensor or that sensor (like I used to do) and get out there and shoot * Pro quality lenses are always a better investment than any dSLR body so put your money there first * The D300 and D700 together make an excellent pair. Same resolution, same controls, same size, same menus, same battery grips, same accessories... Yes, there are few minor differences but after a few shoots you won't notice the difference.
IMHO, the bottom line is if you really need decent images at ISO 6400, then the D700 is the only choice under $2500. If you don't, then the D300 is a more economical choice (I paid $800 used on ebay for mine).
The two main advantages of the D700 over the D300 are the better high ISO capability and the slightly better dynamic range. Other than that the two bodies provide images that are very similar in quality. In fact without pixel peeping it is difficult to tell which camera captured which image. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
Sun 26-Sep-10 12:40 AM | edited Sun 26-Sep-10 12:41 AM by jpFoto
Reilly, I think that what others may have implied, but may not have said, is that the pixels on the D700 sensor are larger than the pixels on the D300 sensor. As someone else has said, "not all pixels are created equal."
>Quick - which NikonDSLR has the biggest pixels? Hint: no FX bodies need apply.
Probably the D1 or D1h.
But, given the same technology, D300 vintage CMOS for instance, a larger pixel (really the photobucket) will have more dynamic range than a smaller photobucket. At the most basic level it's the sensor's ability to convert photos into voltage.
But we could argue this indefinitely. The bottom-line is that both are great dSLR's, light years ahead of their predecessors (which, by the way, everyone raved about in the day).
I don't understand why people who use a D700 only think the high ISO is the only improvment. I have found DOF to be slightly more shallow, with better object isolation. Also, I have found the D700 pictures to be much easier in post process. IMHO, there are images, mostly in regard to fast lenses(ie 85 1.4 or Sigma)that the D700 renders differently than a DX sensor camera.
The DOF anomaly is due to the change in the sensor sizes when all other factors remain the same. So if you have a 55 mm focal length, f16 aperture, and a 10 foot focused distance,
For the D700:
Near focus distance: 6.78 ft
Far focus distance: 19.00 ft
Total DOF: 12.3 ft
For the D300 (FX equivalent focal length 77.5mm):
Near focus distance: 7.6 ft
Far in focus distance: 14.6 ft
Total DOF: 7.04 ft
This difference may account why professional portrait and landscape photographers want the larger media recording area whether film or digital. You will also get differnt answers if you adjust the D300 lens for the sensor crop size.
The D300 with a 45mm focal length (FX equivalent focal length 67.5mm):
Near focus distance: 6.78 ft
Far focus distance: 19 ft
Total DOF: 12.2 ft
The cameras have different sensors sizes and that makes them different. In general, neither one is better than the other, but for a given assignment, one may work better than the other because of this difference in sensor size and other specifications.
Thu 30-Sep-10 10:38 PM | edited Fri 01-Oct-10 09:43 AM by Bart B
It's interesting to me that DXO's tests show a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF D lens produces 49 lp/mm on a D700 with about 120 pixels per millimeter and 45 lp/mm on the D300's with about 180 pixels per millimeter.