Rock + Hard place: D3x v. D300 noise comparison?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shacklebolt, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a

    Shacklebolt

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    #1
    So, I was planning on renting a D700 to shoot a concert tonight, but all that's available is a D3x - no D3, no D3s - which is annoying (though my own fault for reserving late). After all, I'm not wild about the prospect of throwing down an $8k deposit, and low noise at high ISOs (I typically stay between 1600-3200 in bad lighting) is far more important to me than a 25MP sensor.

    However, the lighting at the place I'm going is sure to be terrible, and my current camera (D300) is woefully weak in high ISO settings. Does the D3x's high ISO noise reduction, though inferior to the D3/D3s, outstrip the D300's by enough for me to merit renting it?

    Any thoughts are most welcome.
     
  2. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    You won't gain much with a D3x over a D300.

    Also, be sure to turn in-camera NR off. It does a lousy job and smears everything. I never use NR for any of my D700 images, in camera or otherwise.
     
  3. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #3
    If you want to split hairs about it, you can downsample the 24MP output of the D3x to a smaller size (12MP), and in doing so you will be averaging some of the noise out.

    I think it's funny how you say the D300 is "woefully weak at high ISO" because when it came out the D300 was hailed as a pretty major advance in high ISO shooting. :) Obviously technology has advanced but if it was pretty good then, why is it so much worse now

    Ruahrc
     
  4. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Shacklebolt

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    #4
    Ha - yeah. I definitely thought the D300 was awesome when I got it, because it was leaps and bounds better than my D80. However, as time has gone by the light at the shows I shoot has gotten crappier and crappier, and I made the mistake of renting a D700 earlier this year. Almost impossible to go back. ;-)
     
  5. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Shacklebolt

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    #5
    But the question here is just, how much better is the D3x's low-light performance than a D300?
     
  6. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #6
    It's not much better. If you want low-light performance, go with a D3(s) or D700.
     
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #7
    the D3x stops at ISO 1600, so I would look elsewhere if possible. DPReview says it's pretty close to the D3 at 3200 (and because the D3x resolves more detail, you could afford to smear some with luminance NR), but I'd be more concerned about clumpy shadows, especially after post-processing.

    if it's not possible to get anything else, I'd go for it, though.
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #8
    I've never shot my D3x above ISO 720, so I really can't be too helpful, but if you have Neat Image, Noise Ninja, or something similar, I'd expect to be able to go with 2-3 stops of noise if you're not significantly under-exposed.

    http://www.pbase.com/chipscar/image/107322492

    Note that the tester in question uses in-camera noise reduction combined with NN and the output at 1600 looks acceptable to me for any usage.

    Here is another article, pre-release camera, but well, I may actually start bumping up my ISO to play:

    http://www.stillephotographie.at/NikonD3xENG

    The conclusion I draw from this is that you should be fine up to ISO3200 and could probably go to 6400 for most usage, but you'll have to add noise reduction software after 1600, which is very clean for a high-resolution sensor. Downsampling will also help.

    Paul
     

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