Full frame lenses resolution on smaller sensor question.

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by ttdaomd, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. ttdaomd

    ttdaomd Guest

    I have a bunch of top quality 35mm AF fixed-aperture Nikkor lenses
    which I use on my F4. They vary from a 20mm f2.8 to a 600mm f4. I
    would like to purchase a DSLR and would prefer a full-frame digital
    Nikon for lens compatibility but until that time, I am seriously
    considering the new D200.

    Question 1:

    Would using the smaller sensor on the D200 limit the potential
    practical resolution obtainable by these pro lenses even though we are
    using the central portion of the field where the resolution is best?
    Of course, the actual resolution of a lens is independent of the sensor
    size, but a full frame would squeeze in the most line-pairs of
    resolution into a frame. Cutting the sensor size would reduce the
    number of line-pairs of resolution you can pack into your image. Do
    you get what I am saying?

    Question 2:

    Is the low light sensitivity better on full frame sensors like those of
    Canon or is the D200 noise levels at corresponding higher ASA, say 400,
    comparable? Is this a real factor or can software image processing
    correct for these differences between these models?

    Question 3:

    Should I wait and pray Nikon will come up with a full frame DSLR???


    ttdaomd, Jan 13, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  2. ttdaomd

    Deedee Tee Guest

    Probably you are already aware that switching from film to digital
    means a lot of changes in your workflow, and any DSLR body will to
    some extent make you change the way you work with respect to a SLR
    body. So there are a lot of other factors involved in this switch than
    lense performance. Also, do you prefer to shoot pictures or count
    line pairs? On to your questions:

    I don't know about your specific lenses, but the D200 sensor probably
    allows a resolution close to that provided by good Nikkors (especially
    long tele). On extreme wideangle Nikkors, resolution should be limited
    by the lense itself. Of course, a smaller sensor area gives you a
    smaller number of line pairs across the image. However, most DSLRs
    have a lowest sensitivity of 200 ISO, while high resolution colour
    film is around 50 ISO. So, if you compare the resolution and
    noise/grain of a D200 with 200 ISO colour film, the D200 wins hands
    down. Diffraction at small apertures is more of a problem with a small
    sensor, but this is offset by the apparent increase in FL and DOF of
    the lenses. So it all becomes a matter of changing the way you work,
    rather than a clear better/worse judgement. You might even find that
    you need to keep both film and digital, and choose between these
    depending on the job at hand.
    A full frame sensor receives twice the amount of light, compared to
    current Nikon DSLR bodies. This difference does matter, but probably
    its effects are within the range of variation of different sensor
    types and models. In-sensor and in-camera post-processing also plays a
    role. So a precise answer is possible only if you compare specific
    models in a lab. Whether the lab results matter in practice is also
    open to question.
    My recommendation: if you wait for the perfect DSLR body, you will
    wait forever. The D200 is a very good body. If it gives you what you
    need today and in the near future, go for it. The only extra thing to
    get is an extreme videangle prime or zoom, because all your present
    lenses in practice will increase their focal lengths 1.5 times,
    compared to film (which is good for teles).
    Deedee Tee, Jan 14, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  3. ttdaomd

    Buy_Sell Guest

    It is my opinion that if you desire the maximum depth of field in your
    photography, then the smaller sensor sized digital cameras appear to
    have an advantage in low light. Many folks may disagree with my
    opinion but after owning several digital cameras and wondering why the
    smaller sensored cameras perform better in low light, I have come to
    the conclusion that there is a tradeoff between depth of field and low
    light photography. If you are going to be shooting landscapes, then
    this would not be a problem but if you are trying to shoot subjects at
    close range in low lighting conditions, then I suggest you make a few
    tests for yourself. Purchase a memory card and test the various
    cameras before you purchase them. Memory is getting cheaper but the
    cameras can put a serious dent in your wallet. Once again, this is my
    observation. Test it for yourself.

    Question 2:

    Is the low light sensitivity better on full frame sensors like those of
    Canon or is the D200 noise levels at corresponding higher ASA, say 400,
    comparable? Is this a real factor or can software image processing
    correct for these differences between these models?
    Buy_Sell, Jan 14, 2006
  4. Here is a detailed review showing that the D200 has no significant
    extra noise over the 5D up to ISO 800:

    I was in a similar position and bought a D200 together with a 12-24DX
    zoom to regain the wide end of the range and have not looked back. You
    will also gain an effective 900mm f/4 lens. I would not wait for a FF
    Nikon as there will not be one for a while and the only difference is
    in >ISO800.
    keith.richardson, Jan 14, 2006
  5. ttdaomd

    Skip M Guest

    That would be up to ISO 400. There is significantly more noise at 800 (and
    the text notes that), but I also notice that either they shot a different
    target with the Nikons, they underexposed the Nikon shots or they
    overexposed the Canon shots, since the Canon shots are significantly
    lighter, thus showing more noise. And the 5D, although the captions show it
    to have only a 100 lpph advantage over the D200, seems much, much sharper in
    the ubiquitous "ruler test."
    Skip M, Jan 14, 2006
  6. ttdaomd

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    That's not how I read that test at all.

    Did you notice that the Nikon noise samples are all darker than the
    Canon ones? That hides their noise. The average *DISPLAYED* levels
    have to be the same, with the same manual exposure settings, to
    accurately compare noise between two cameras.

    It seems they are JPEGs out of the camera as well; the Nikons have a
    noise reduction option, and they don't tell us if it is on or not.
    JPS, Jan 14, 2006
  7. ttdaomd

    JPS Guest

    In message <[email protected]>,
    Yeah; I don't know how they made those decisions; I drew the line at
    very different points than they did. I draw the line where the lines
    and lightness between them show any aliasing or weighting problems at
    JPS, Jan 14, 2006
  8. The text says they used default sharpening. I don't know how the
    default compares between the 5D and D200. 100 lpph is consistent with
    the difference in the number of pixels.

    Popular Photography described the D2X saying "no other DSLR we've
    tested controls its noise at higher ISO's as well as the D2X" and this
    test says the D200 is better than the D2X up to ISO 800. I maintain the
    the noise benefits of FF sensors are limited unless you do a lot of low
    light shooting.

    The original question was whether someone with a range of pro Nikkor
    glass should get a D200. My answer is a solid "yes".
    keith.richardson, Jan 14, 2006
  9. ttdaomd

    ttdaomd Guest

    I reviewed this website and thank you all for your input. Having
    invested a small fortune on quality glass, it offends my sensitivities
    that the APS size sensor cannot take full advantage of that investment.
    The review above demonstrating the obvious superiority of the 5D just
    makes me long for a full-frame Nikon even more. It appears to me that
    in the end, the number of photons is important and, as my wife keeps
    telling me, size does matter. :((

    ttdaomd, Jan 14, 2006
  10. ttdaomd

    Skip M Guest

    IIRC the 5D sharpens less, but needs it less because of a weaker AA filter.
    This was also the issue that named the Canon 5D "Camera of the Year," wasn't
    it? But, I agree, the noise benefits are limited at ISO 100-200, but 400
    isn't all that unusual, nor is 800 where the difference starts to show.
    And I can't argue with that, either... ;-)
    Skip M, Jan 14, 2006
  11. ttdaomd

    RichA Guest

    Not here. Looks like they have to refine their methods.

    Also, what kind of noise reduction option does Nikon have?
    Is it the kind of overall noise reduction at high ISO, or is
    it for noise reduction with exposures longer than 1 second?
    RichA, Jan 15, 2006
  12. ttdaomd

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    It has both, AFAIK; the former, an option for JPEGs; the latter, an
    option for all files.
    JPS, Jan 15, 2006
  13. ttdaomd

    wilt Guest

    Q1...yes, in history of photography, smaller frame size always puts
    more demand on higher resolution per mm to be provided by the lens.
    But at the same time, larger format frames provided better total image
    performance because the subject occupied more space on the film (for
    better tonality) and the film image had to be magnified less to achieve
    final size,
    so that larger format lenses could beat 35mm on ultimate detail and

    Q2...a smaller pixel is inherently more noise prone than a larger
    pixel. But software plays a real role in noise, which is why Canon
    images are so superb in low noise at high ISO compared to other brands.

    Q3...your guess is as good as ours about how soon Nikon can find a
    source of large sensors. There are only a handful of manufacturers who
    can make them larger than crop format sizes, and some of them are power
    consuming technologies vs. the relatively low power requirement of
    Canon CMOS sensors.
    wilt, Jan 15, 2006
  14. ttdaomd

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    Where did you find out about this alleged software (firmware?) noise

    Don't you think they'd have removed the banding if the were cleaning the
    images in firmware?
    JPS, Jan 15, 2006
  15. ttdaomd

    Alan Browne Guest

    Yes and don't sweat it. Unless you regularly make to the limit blowups
    of your images, this won't matter much. If you intend to go no further
    than about 21.5 x 14.5 (180 dpi printed or upsampled to 300), then it
    won't matter at all.
    Look at the graphs at dpreview regarding noise for the various sensors
    of the cameras. Generally, in a given generation of sensors (a 1 or 2
    year cycle), the least dense sensor arrays have the least noise.
    One definition of God is that he is the guy who ignores your prayers.
    (All indications are that Nikon will not go FF).

    Alan Browne, Jan 15, 2006
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.