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Old May 13, 2010, 6:31 PM   #1
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Been quite a while since I was here posting although I do visit to read other posts quite often.

I finally decided to test out a Nikon camera against a Pentax camera with the same sensor to make it fairly even.

I found the comparison interesting to say the least and did my best to keep the processing the same with each file in Photoshop so here they are. They were both taken at the same time of day using AF on both and a Monopod for support.

Pentax K10D, Pentax 300mm f/4.5 lens


Nikon D200, Nikon 300mm lens f/4.5


Tom
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Old May 13, 2010, 6:41 PM   #2
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Tom, thanks for sharing this. Which do you feel is the most accurate based on having seen the real scene?
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Old May 13, 2010, 7:30 PM   #3
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Interesting, Tom.
the biggest difference I see is a little more contrast from the Nikon.
As far as sharpness is concerned, they look very close.

Thanks for the comparison shots.
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Old May 13, 2010, 8:32 PM   #4
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Looking at the reeds in the foreground, the image taken with the Nikon looks sharper and clearer to me.
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Old May 13, 2010, 8:56 PM   #5
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I think the Nikon looks sharper due to higher contrast, but to my eyes the Pentax image looks more realistic color wise and the Pentax left a bit more detail in the white highlight areas. It was an overcast day and the loss of detail in white areas with the Nikon is very much more evident on a bright sunny day.

If I blow the original images up, they both look very close in sharpness, but the high contrast of the Nikon makes it look sharper. It is hard to tell from the posted images since they are only 3"x2.5" so blowing them up doesn't really show much difference.

When it comes to AF though there is really no contest, the Nikon locks on when the Pentax is hunting with fast moving objects.

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Old May 13, 2010, 9:20 PM   #6
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i hate to say it but the nikon seems to out rank the pentax. mainly look at the nest.
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Old May 13, 2010, 9:45 PM   #7
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Is it the cameras or the lenses?

The Pentax shot looks more realistic, but my preference would be somewhere in between - the Pentax shot looks to have a little softness or motion blur, while the Nikon one to me has a look of being somewhat oversharpened.
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Old May 13, 2010, 10:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penolta View Post
Is it the cameras or the lenses?
yea, this part is tough to tell. they are so close, and really vary only in the contrast that i would think the lens probably had more to do with anything in a scene like this.
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Old May 13, 2010, 11:03 PM   #9
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Interesting that people think it could be the lens influencing the contrast more than how the camera manufacturers process the picture. I've always thought that the Nikon sample pictures showed more contrast, just as they tend to add more noise reduction at higher ISO while Pentax tends to leave both the noise and detail in the picture, leaving it up to the individual to decide how much noise they want to take out. But I've seen how lenses can affect contrast, so perhaps that's the answer. There isn't much difference between them, but there is some (both would be acceptable as far as I am concerned). Did you have the Pentax set to natural or bright? I'm surprised that there's a bit more saturation in the Pentax, it often seems to me that Nikon pictures sometimes also seem more saturated, but that could have been either a difference in jpg settings or processing. Interesting comparison (though I'm not tempted - I'd want the features of the D300 but the size and shape of the K7).
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Old May 14, 2010, 12:33 AM   #10
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Hi Tom,

This is going to sound like fanboyism, but the Pentax shot looks more natural to me. Take a look at the area around the bird's bill -- especially the area above it. On the Nikon shot, there's a faint halo -- the color of the water directly adjacent is lighter -- which says sharpening to me. The first impression is that the Pentax shot is a touch softer, but then with the halo, I'd say the Nikon applied some sharpening in-camera.

Also, the Pentax shot was at ISO 200, 1/500, f5.6, and the Nikon was at ISO 100, 1/500, f5. This says to me that the Nikon shot should be about 2/3 stop underexposed compared to the Pentax shot, yet the water, at least, is a touch brighter. This means that there's almost a full stop difference in the way the two cameras meter and expose. I can't quite get my mind wrapped around everything that this might mean in overall practical use, but with the slightly higher contrast in the Nikon shot, I'd say that I'd have to do some mental gymnastics to prevent blowing highlights in brighter, higher contrast situations when shooting the Nikon after shooting Pentax for years. It would take some getting used to. . .

I wonder if this is just a difference in these two cameras, or if it's a difference between in calibration standards between the two mfgs?

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