Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 1, 2009, 9:06 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
Bynx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8,646
Default Price VS Photo Quality

Here is a list of American Photo's Editor Choices for 2009.
Nikon D3X $8,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark II $2,700
Nikon D700 $3,000
Sony Alpha 900 $2,700
Pentax K7 $1,200
Nikon D90 $1,000
Canon EOS 50D $1,200
Olympus E30 $1,050
Lumix GH1 $1,300
Nikon D5000 $730
Olymus E620 $700
Sony Alpha 330 $650
Canon EOS Rebel T1i $800
Each of these was awarded best in categories -- Pro, Semi Pro, Advanced D-SLR, Advanced D-SLR, and Entry Level D-SLR. Now what determines which of these categories the camera falls into? Obviously its the price so instead of saying Expensive and most durable to Least Expensive and least durable they relate it to the use by the photographer. Pros can afford to have the 'best'. While lowly amateurs are relegated to the 'cheaper' models. I should include in the list my Fuji Finepix S700 which sells now for $150. Now since the Nikon D3X sells for 50 times my Fuji, does it give 50 times a better picture? Under ideal conditions for the Fuji would a photo shot by both be noticeably different? To the tune of $7,850? Now obviously, the quality of both cameras have to be different. But is that difference really worth the money? The D3X is capable of low light shooting which the Fuji is not. If I could choose which camera Id buy, it would be the Nikon. But when I buy a camera its based on what I can afford for the best picture quality I can get. Its all about picture quality. How many are concerned with automatic features? Facial recognition and even if the eyes are open or closed. They sell cameras now that do everything themselves except choose their owner. I only want a camera which will let me take a picture all by myself. But nowadays you have to pay for all the auto features whether you will use them or not. Is having movie capabilities something a still photographer wants? Each year they offer a new bell or whistle to maintain the current price instead of dropping the price as production becomes cheaper to produce. Is there anyone who has a Nikon D3X who can tell me why it costs 50 times my Fuji S700? Or a Canon EOS 5D Mark II or Sony Alpha 900 costs 18 times? Is image quality directly related to the cost of the camera?
Bynx is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 1, 2009, 9:18 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Bynx-

No, the image quality of the camera does not need to be directly related to the cost of the camera. However, that is the basis on which digital cameras are currently being marketed, to the buying public, at least here in the USA. Perhaps that has fueled the public's move toward total automation in point and shoot digital cameras.

Actually, in large measure, it is the person behind the camera that much more directly has an effect on image quality. However, that is a difficult concept to sell to folks. Photography is a learned and progressively improving skill.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2009, 10:31 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 42
Default

The a lot of the cost is in the material used plastic vs. titanium. Why dose a Rolls Royce cost more than a Ford.
whitepass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2009, 11:27 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Photo quality comes from the photographer. The tools may be better for somethings than for others, and that's what distinguishes the Nikon D3X from your Fuji S700.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2009, 12:19 PM   #5
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

They don't have a test of your Fuji S700, but if you look at a DXOMark comparison of one of Fuji's non-dSLR models (the S100fs in this case, which is the only non-dSLR Fuji model they've tested this way) with a model like the D3x, you'll see a tremendous difference in a variety of areas when shooting in raw and measuring the results each model is capable of delivering. Click on each tab to see individual tests, making sure to read the description of what a chart indicates in the text at the bottom of each test page (Signal to Noise Ratio, Dynamic Range, Tonal Range, Color sensitivity, etc).

DXOMark measurements of Nikon D3x versus Fujifilm S100fs

I'd also consider other things like the ability to help larger subjects stand out from distracting backgrounds using a camera model with a larger sensor (due to the much shallower depth of field for a given subject framing and aperture), not to mention build quality, autofocus speed and tracking, buffer size and write speed to memory cards for continuous shooting, ability use a variety of lenses for different purposes, the availability of an advanced Nikon flash system using models like the SB-900 or SB-600 and much more.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2009, 12:27 PM   #6
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

The key, as with any other selection of a tool is to properly identify what tool features benefit the job you need done. Absolutely, certain features are beneficial to certain jobs. They don't guarantee success, but they do make the job easier. Ask a carpenter if a nail gun is more beneficial than their hammer for rough framing. Or if a compound table saw helps them do their job better than an old-fashioned hand saw. Or if a battery powered drill makes their job easier than a corded drill or a hand drill. Yes, the carpenter still needs to be skilled, but technology aids them in achieving a high quality product. Photography, in some instances, is no different.

As an example, I shoot sports photography. I do so with a $4000 Canon 1dmkIII. I shoot basketball with that camera and a $1200 Canon 70-200 2.8. I can promise you, I can produce better photos with that than I can with a Fuji S700. Throw in a couple of Strobes and the results will be 100000x better than what a photographer could get with the S700. Let's talk about what that money got me:
A camera body built like a tank - heavy construction, fully weather sealed with tight tolerances. A shutter that lasts 300,000 clicks. A 45 point auto focus system with 19 focus points that are cross-type as well as all 19 having higher precision when used with an f2.8 or better lens. So, I have 19 points to choose from to get ultimate precision on focusing. No other camera below the 1-series offers that in Canon (the new 7d has 19 cross type points but only center point is high precision). THe fuji certainly doesn't. I also get a chipset that is solely responsible for focus performance and advanced algorithms for tracking moving subjects. Does the Fuji offer that? I also get custom functions that help me fine tune how my focus system operates - so the craftsman doesn't have to let the computer decide everything - I can change options to customize the behavior for my shooting style. Combined with a lens with some of the fastest focus-motor performance out there. All of this means when I take photos of those basketball players moving I get more in focus shots. Add in 10 frames per second and I can take 3 shots all at peak action and be able to choose the best of the 3, whereas someone with an entry level DSLR has a single shot to choose from at peak action. Then, of course, there's the fact that I have very usable ISO 3200 and 6400 photos. And the quality of those photos are dwarfed by the quality of ISO 6400 coming from the 12mp full frame sensor used in the Nikon D3 and D700.

Now, also making my job easier is the ability to save 5 custom white balance settings. So, when I shoot in several different gyms I only need to record a custom WB once in each. Saves time when I return. I also get the benefit of recording voice tags with an image. As a journalist I can record a cut line right then and there - I don't have to write it down on paper or use a separate recording device and have to say what image number the recording belongs to. I also have a built-in vertical grip - less failure points and less room for elements to damage things. And the battery in that grip gives me about 3500 photos per charge. Spending all day shooting a tournament that makes a difference.

Did sports photographers capture usable images 30 years ago? Yep. Are they as good as what sports photographers today can capture? No way. A great captured moment will always stand the test of time. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that if that same moment were captured with the pro equipment of today it would be even better. Try capturing this basic photo with Tri-X 1600 film pushed 2 stops and manual focus (1/640 f2.8 ISO 6400):
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2009, 12:27 PM   #7
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

P.S.

But, you'll have to decide if it's worth what they want for it. :-)
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2009, 12:46 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Bynx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8,646
Default

I realize you pay for features and construction, but when it comes down to the print you are holding in your hand, given optimum conditions, for my Fuji for example, would the difference between the $8,000 Nikon and the $150 Fuji be that noticeable? I have priorities for an $8,000 purchase and a Nikon isnt on the top of the list. Close, but not #1. As I move down the price list, Im giving up features, but is the quality dropping at the same rate? The quality of shots I get with my Fuji far exceeds any shots I could take with my Pentax 35mm. But under low light conditions the Fuji sucks. I dont specialize in any aspect of photography. Im always trying to shoot something different so Id like a camera which can keep up and give me the best shot possible under any condition. Does it have to be the $8,000 Nikon or would an $800 Lumix G1 do just as well? And does a movie function play a big part in your purchase? That boosts the G1 price up to $1300 and gets called a GH1.
Bynx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2009, 1:06 PM   #9
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

That would depend on what you're shooting, even if it is good light. You're going to have much better Dynamic Range with a model like the D3x, so you can capture a much greater range of bright to dark without losing shadow and highlight detail. It's really quite amazing in that area (see the measurements using DXOMark). Sure, you could try to use HDR Techniques instead. But, that may not always be practical to bracket exposures with more than one frame, especially with non-stationary subjects.

Print size would also come into the equation (as differences in areas like detail captured and noise levels will be more noticeable at larger print sizes).

You also have depth of field considerations. You can isolate larger subjects from distracting backgrounds using a dSLR with a larger sensor size with a bright lens that you couldn't isolate with a non-dSLR model without using an editor. For people type photos, you can see a huge difference in that area between models with smaller sensors (and shorter focal lengths for a given angle of view) like your Fuji.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2009, 1:24 PM   #10
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
You also have depth of field considerations. You can isolate larger subjects from distracting backgrounds using a dSLR with a larger sensor size with a bright lens that you couldn't isolate with a non-dSLR model without using an editor.
Yep - try to get this shallow depth-of-field (about 3/4 inch) from 4 feet away with a digicam:


Or, how 'bout shallow DOF as well as high ISO for available light - ISO 1600:

Last edited by JohnG; Nov 1, 2009 at 1:27 PM.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:08 AM.