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Old Dec 2, 2012, 4:49 PM   #1
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Default D800 Pixel Count Question

I am interested in upgrading to a FF and have been looking at the D800. However, 36 MP seems like it will hog a lot of memory on my hard drive as well as storage cards. I therefore have 2 questions:

1. If one were to set the camera to function at a lower MP resolution...say 15 MP's, will IQ be visibly impacted for images that are typically resized to 1600 pixels wide?

2. I've heard that high MP's only crowd more pixels on to the sensor. While a FF sensor is larger than the DX sensor, I had only heard of 30+ MP's on medium formats. Therefore, what is the advantage of having such a high MP count on a camera such as the D800?

Jehan

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Old Dec 2, 2012, 6:11 PM   #2
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Hi,

This is going to be a question that will be asked quite often as more and more users of cropped sensor cameras (me included) start to evaluate upgrading to a full frame camera-largely due to the pricing of both the D800 and the D600.

When the D400 is released, there will be even more casual shooters looking at full frame.

I'm as interested in this discussion as are you since we're both facing the same issues. I've been doing a fair amount of reading on the pros and cons of upgrading.

I've found many of my questions answered by a D800 review written by Thom Hogan. Doesn't mean I'm more convinced that I'm going full frame. In fact, I'm
less convinced that it is direction that I would like to go.

Anyways, here's a link to the article. Hope it helps.

http://www.bythom.com/nikond800review.htm
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 7:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingman View Post
1. If one were to set the camera to function at a lower MP resolution...say 15 MP's, will IQ be visibly impacted for images that are typically resized to 1600 pixels wide?
In general, downsampling twice is not as good as downsampling just once.
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Originally Posted by Wingman View Post
2. I've heard that high MP's only crowd more pixels on to the sensor. While a FF sensor is larger than the DX sensor, I had only heard of 30+ MP's on medium formats. Therefore, what is the advantage of having such a high MP count on a camera such as the D800?
1. That's not entirely true. Manufacturers don't just squeeze more, smaller photoreceptors onto the sensor. They also eliminate some of the dead space between the photoreceptors, putting to good use some of the space that goes to waste on other sensors.

2. There are "Medium Format" cameras with 20MP sensors, and there are "Medium Format" cameras with 80MP sensors.

3. Under the vast majority of circumstances, there's no such thing as too many photoreceptors. The more photoreceptors you have, the more detail you can capture. Of course, if you'll be downsampling all your shots to 1.6MP, then a lot of that detail will go to waste.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 8:51 AM   #4
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I've been downloading onto my harddrive for years and on of these days I'll get rid of the 90% of the shots that I'll never use or look at again. As well as the ones I've done PP on and saved under a different file name and kept the originals.

So I look at the properties on my C drive and get a pie chart with a little wedge marked in blue for used space. Am I worried about hard drive space, I don't think so. If I was I'd just go to Costco and get a plug in ext, hard drive just for photos.

For me, big files from my camera are the last thing I worry about.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 1:58 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback folks.

Zig: thanks for the link to the article. Was rather expecting a firm endorsement one way or the other.

Scouse: My concern with having a high MP file to work with is related both with storage as well as processing time. Just wondering if I need to consider the cost of an upgrade to my PC from 4 GB to 8 or 16 GB RAM.

My interest in FF is to get more dynamic range and improved (lower) noise.

Is the D700 (used) a still a good buy????

Jehan
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 2:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
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My interest in FF is to get more dynamic range and improved (lower) noise.
Jehan
If you want those benefits but the file size of the d800 is too great for you, why not consider d600?
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 9:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
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If you want those benefits but the file size of the d800 is too great for you, why not consider d600?
That is definitely an option John. However, for my aviation photography needs, I wonder if the 39 point AF system in the D600 would perform as well as the 51 pt system that is on the D800/D700 as well as on my current D300s? Is this an academic issue? I am very pleased with the AF system on the D300s and only have prior experience with a Pentax system which was woefully inadequate.

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Old Dec 4, 2012, 6:14 AM   #8
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If you're happy with your D300s, why upgrade? A 'Full Frame' system won't give you anything you don't already have.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 12:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
If you're happy with your D300s, why upgrade? A 'Full Frame' system won't give you anything you don't already have.

My aviation shooting buddy uses a Canon FF and at 1600 pix wide, his images have less noise/grain than my images taken with the D300s. Both of use 70-200 mm f2.8's, shoot at ISO 200, F8 and from about the same location in under the same lighting. I am therefore thinking that FX vs DX accounts for the difference. For my purposes, I have images rejected at airliners.net for noise and grain.

Other than this issue, I have no complaints with my D300s.
It produces some A+ images.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 6:41 PM   #10
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You're capturing 12MP images with your D300s, downsampling them to 1600x1067, and you still have visible noise?

Or are these 1600x1067 crops from the 12MP original?
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