I use my D300 primarily for nature photography (landscape, close-up, and wildlife). I'm considering the D700 but wonder if the larger sensor size will improve the quality of images printed on my Epson 2200. Side by side, would you notice a difference in the prints up to 13 x 19?
I shoot from a tripod most of the time with high-quality non-DX lenses. I meter in manual/spot and manual focus. So I'm not highly concerned with most of the high-tech features even my D300 offers, although the quality of images at higher ISOs is sometimes important. My primary concern is the resolution and color fidelity of printed images.
Sun 31-Aug-08 11:11 PM | edited Sun 31-Aug-08 11:18 PM by TEITZY
I'd be surprised if you noticed any difference in prints of any size at ISO's up to 800. The higher pixel density of the D300 is probably better suited to most of your current needs IMO. If you were regularly shooting at ISO1600 or above then the D700 would be the better option. Edges might be a bit better with wide angle lenses on the D700 as well. Some say that files from the FX sensor have more of a 3D look to them but not sure if this translates to prints. Any way you can borrow a D700/D3 and do a direct comparison?
>I think he might have been referring to the fact that the he >also shoots wildlife (crop factor).
Yes, I understand. However, since both cameras have the same resolution, the key issue is really cost, because if you spend enough money, you can buy lenses for the D700 that will fill the frame with the subject, and that's the ultimate objective. It's just that buying that kind of glass for the D700 is VERY expensive - much more than the glass to fill the frame for the D300. In fact, in some cases lenses for the D700 that will fill the frame, may not be even available, and that could be the real advantage of the D300.
I'm just trying to understand some of this myself, so bear with me here.
In the case of the D700, aren't there more bits per pixel, meaning a greater number of colors? If that is the case, then wouldn't there be some difference in the pallet available from the D700 (pallet may be the wrong term, sorry)? It is 16 bit vs. 14 bit, right?
Seems to me for a nature photographer, having the greatest depth of color rendition would be a key factor. Given that both will yield similar print results as far as visual grain goes.
I could very well be wrong, so please chime in and correct me.
Based on the D300 and D3 my findings are the same as technical reviews i.e. resolution and sharpness are equal. For the same viewfinder crop the D3 has a stop less depth of field than the D300 so you either get less dof or use 1 shutter speed slower to get comparable to D300 results. The D3 has about half a stop more dynamic range below about 800 ISO, and a bit more above 800. Extra DR is useful when (and only when) the scene DR exceeds the good DR of the D300. Noise on the D3 becomes progressively better above 800 ISO. Nikon say the D700 has the same sensor as the D3 and user feedback is results are identical. So back to your question about printing - except above about 800 ISO the D700 is rarely going to improve your prints.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
There is one difference that I didn't see noted in the responses here. The pixel size of the D700 sensor is bigger than the D300. If fact, I believe it's the biggest pixel size out there in that class. It has to be if you do the pixel math. Since you are correct that both D300 & D700 sensors have about the same number of pixels (approx. 12.1M), yet the D700 is a full 36x24 sensor, the pixels have to be bigger to fill the screen. I've read some research that says the larger pixel size will allow for greater color depth, higher dynamic range, etc. Makes sense.
I just upgraded from D300 to D700. I can say, unscientifically, that with the same FX lenses (12-24, 24-70, 70-200) I would swear I get noticeably better images and colors on the D700. But that could just be my subconscious justifying the expense!
I have shot extensively with the D300 for the last year and just recently made the move to the D700 . As a result of reading many posts discussing the reduced pixel density on the D700 , I fully expected to see some form of "loss" in resolution compared to the D300 . In short , NOT !! I have found the D700 to be superior to the D300 in EVERY regard . Not just high ISO ( where it is truely in a different league ) . My 200mm f2VR and 85mm f1.4D lenses are producing images that look a LOT better to my eyes . Image quality is simply fantastic and noticeably better . I like the D300 a lot but from what I've seen so far , there is ( for me ) absolutely no way I would ever go back under any circumstance . The gap between the D300 and the D700 is a lot bigger than I ever expected .
The sensor size is different in the D300 (23.6 x 15.8mm)and D700 (36 x 24mm). This means to get the same size print with images from the two cameras you have to enlarge the D300 image 1.5x more than the D700 image. The sensors have approximately the same number of pixels - 12.3 megapixels for the D300 and 12.1 megapixels for the D700. The resolution of the sensor is approximately the same, but to get the same field of view in the final image you have to move further from the image with the D300 if using the same focal length lens on the two cameras or use a shorter focal length lens on the D300. I think either of these will result in a less sharp image for the D300. which will show up in large prints. I think the differences are due to lens limitations. This occurs even if shooting in sufficient light so the better noise capabilities of the D700 are not an issue.