Assuming the same number of pixels and all else being equal, since the physical area of an FX pixel is about 2X that of a DX pixel, I would expect about 1 stop improvement in noise. So what's with all these nice images that I see posted with ISO's of 3200 and 6400?
#1. "RE: FX and High ISO" | In response to Reply # 0shutterpunk Registered since 04th Jul 2006Mon 15-Nov-10 07:29 PM
Having recently moved from a D300 to a D700, I'd say the noise improvement is closer to an equivalent of three stops. The noise performance of the sensor is nothing short of incredible!
Just last week, I was shooting in near darkness at I@) 6400, and other than a little of light noise that cleaned up easily in Lightroom without muddying the image or losing detail, it looked like a shot from my D300 at ISO 400 or 800.
I find myself having to lower my ISO as I walk around, because I see no need to shoot below ISO 1600. The Hawaiian sun, however, sometimes requires me to drop down to 200 or 400. It really is an amazing tool.
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#2. "RE: FX and High ISO" | In response to Reply # 0briantilley Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Mon 15-Nov-10 09:02 PM
I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but in my experience the D700 gives about 1 to 1.5 stops benefit in high-ISO performance.
Shooting both cameras together for low-light theatre productions, I get similar results in terms of noise at ISO 800 on the D300 and ISO 2000 on the D700. When necessary, I'm happy to go a stop beyond those figures and still get quite usable results.
#3. "RE: FX and High ISO" | In response to Reply # 2BR Registered since 17th Nov 2006Mon 15-Nov-10 09:35 PM
If my question was not clear, what I am asking is why the improvement over DX appears to be several stops (judging by photos and enthusiastic commentary I have seen posted, such as reply #1) when the mathematics of light collection area would seem to predict "only" one stop.
#4. "RE: FX and High ISO" | In response to Reply # 3blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 15-Nov-10 10:22 PM
There's WAY more in play than simply the size of the photo receptors. If it were purely the size, the D3s would definitely NOT be the best low-light Nikon DSLR - that crown would go to the D1h, whose photo receptors are more than 2.6 times the area of the D3s.
And to be frank, I find reply #1 to be overly enthusiastic. The D3 is only slightly more than three stops better than the D2x, and the D300 is very obviously streets ahead of the D2x.
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#5. "RE: FX and High ISO" | In response to Reply # 0
>Assuming the same number of pixels and all else being equal,
>since the physical area of an FX pixel is about 2X that of a
>DX pixel, I would expect about 1 stop improvement in noise. So
>what's with all these nice images that I see posted with ISO's
>of 3200 and 6400?
Keep in mind that sensor technology is a moving and improving target. Take into account the significant improvements that Nikon is making (with its development partners) in reducing noise at the hardware level. As technical improvements in sensor technology occur (more electrically discrete photosites, better shielding of processor channels among other things), as CPU power and on-board RAM increases, and as image capture programming improves, we're seeing better high ISO/low noise performance despite higher pixel counts and linear resolution increases on the APS-C sensor.