As I said earlier, my primary consideration for adding a Canon system to my arsenal was the noise of the Nikon, so I was eager to see what Nikon had done, and I was blown away. I had seen friends' samples, and even had my hands on a beta of the D3 a month or so ago, but I wanted to do a comparison.
So, I asked Barbie and Marcus to sit for a portrait session.
Here's the setting I used:
Here are the specs - both cameras are right out of the box. I made no adjustments to the camera's settings, beyond setting the iso and shutter and f-stops. Both cameras had a zoom. The Nikon had it's 28-70 f2.8, the Canon their 28-70 f2.8. Both cameras were zoomed in to 70mm.
The images were shot raw, and processed in Adobe's Camera Raw. I know many of you will suggest Capture One, Nikon's propriety software, and so forth. I am looking for a direct comparison using the same software. I could have used Capture One, I just didn't have it on my machine.
The files were converted to JPEG, and I wanted them to look their best so I made some nominal adjustments to brightness/color to get them close. Again, I am concerned about noise. Comparing the untouched result wasn't functionally of interest, since I expect that all photographers will not pull a raw file and convert it to jpeg without looking at it and deliver it to a client.
If you'd like to download the resulting JPEGs, I have a flickr group set up, feel free to click here and download the full rez files.
In order to give you a one-to-one comparison, I have cropped deep into the photograph, so that you are seeing native resolution on Barbie's eye, not anything up- or down-rezed. I'll save that point for the section on megapixels.
|First up is the Canon, at iso3200. This image is amazing in it's sharpness and clarity. The colors and blacks look sharp and crisp. I would be more than pleased to deliver a client an image at this previously verbotten iso.|
|Next up is the Nikon, at iso3200. Don't get tripped-up by the fact that the same crop delivers a smaller image, again, more on that in the megapixel section. Focus instead on the noise- or lack thereof. It's absolutely amazing. The color is smoother, and, as you'll see in the megapixel section, it up-rezzes better.|
|Next up is the Nikon, at iso12,600. Sorry, but Canon can't go that high. Look at the results! I would be comfortable delivering an image from a dark Congressional hearing, or a candle-lit church ceremony with this iso. The colors are more than fine, as is the sharpness. Moreover, the noise looks more like film grain than the noise of days gone by. The noise in the Canon above looks less like noise than it's predecessor, but it looks more like noise than the Nikon does.|
|Next up is the Nikon, at iso25,800. Yes folks, that's not a typo. And, again, sorry, but Canon can't go that high. Can you say "I can make an image in available darkness?!?!" Again, the colors are more than fine, as is the sharpness. Moreover, the noise here again looks more like film grain than the noise of days gone by.|
At 3200 and above, especially in Nikon's range, I would turn to my client and say "what do you mean I can't use flash for this assignment? I'll give you the best I can", and these would be my results.
One interesting benefit of Nikon's higher ISO's, is that if I can be at f2.8 at a 60th at iso3200 for Canon, I can be at f5.6 at a 60th at 12,800, and deliver a greater depth of field, with similar noise/grain issues. In addition, a nominal change to the sharpness in the camera's or Camera RAW's settings, and you'd have an even better image, I did not make those adjustments on any of these images shown. Thus, for ISO's, it's Advantage:Nikon.
I know my client would be more than pleased with these results from anything at 3200 and above from these cameras, when they previously didn't think they could get a usable image. Further, these crazy ISO's will be a nice differentiator when we can shoot without a flash (or a slight flash fill to give the subjects a pop) and the client will be saying "wow, I can't get that on my D80/5D, I can see what's happening in the background in yours, mine's all dark in the background - you're a great photographer, when can I hire you again?"
- Nikon vs Canon - Introduction
- Canon - A first look
- Nikon - A first look
- Nikon vs Canon -The Noise Issue
- Nikon vs Canon -The MegaPixel Issue
- Nikon vs Canon - Shooting Tethered
- Nikon vs Canon - The LCD Screen
- Nikon vs Canon - External Ports
- Nikon vs Canon - Buttons and Access
- Nikon vs Canon - Card slots
- Nikon vs Canon - The Future
- Nikon vs Canon - Conclusions
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.