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Are You Better Off With DX
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May 14, 2016 08:10:18   #
joer Loc: Northern Illinois
 
I've been wrestling with the decision to buy a D500 based on image quality. I know it has some great features but are they worth $2K to me since I already have the D800E and D810.

No expert compares DX to a greater FX pixel count camera cropped; they just say DX is better for reach with no data or images to support it. I have trouble with that.

So I devised a method of comparison. I selected images posted at Imaging Resources at 100 ISO from the D500 and D810. I then reduced the D810 image to 5568x3712, an equivalent crop to match the D500 image size. Then enlarged both to the same size. The results posted here.

I know naysayers will find fault with this comparison, and I'm open to objective evidence to the contrary but spare me the unsupported opinions.

It definitely answers the question for me and I will be saving $2K. The image on the right is from the D810.


(Download)

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May 14, 2016 08:40:20   #
Leon S Loc: Minnesota
 
Thanks for going through all the work of comparing the two formats. I would believe that substituting the D7100, or 7200 in lieu of the 500 would show similar results. Leon

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May 14, 2016 08:50:32   #
Steve Perry Loc: Sylvania, Ohio
 
If you frame a composition the same way with both cameras using the full imaging area of each, the D810 will win every time. It's capturing 36MP instead of 21 and there's simply more detail to work with - and that will even show up when you downsample the image (as you saw).

Where the D500 will outperform it is if you take the DX crop area of the D810 and then downsize the D500 to the same 15ish MP the D810 crop area has (Or upsample the D810 to D500 size).

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May 14, 2016 09:07:59   #
joer Loc: Northern Illinois
 
Steve Perry wrote:
If you frame a composition the same way with both cameras using the full imaging area of each, the D810 will win every time. It's capturing 36MP instead of 21 and there's simply more detail to work with - and that will even show up when you downsample the image (as you saw).

Where the D500 will outperform it is if you take the DX crop area of the D810 and then downsize the D500 to the same 15ish MP the D810 crop area has (Or upsample the D810 to D500 size).


Do you have examples?

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May 14, 2016 09:17:10   #
Kmgw9v Loc: Miami, Florida
 
joer wrote:
Do you have examples?


If you shoot with and 800E and an 810, why struggle about how a 500 might compare? Save your $2000 to help finance the next generation 810---if you need or want a better camera.

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May 14, 2016 09:37:23   #
joer Loc: Northern Illinois
 
Kmgw9v wrote:
If you shoot with and 800E and an 810, why struggle about how a 500 might compare? Save your $2000 to help finance the next generation 810---if you need or want a better camera.


I agree.

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May 14, 2016 10:39:57   #
Steve Perry Loc: Sylvania, Ohio
 
joer wrote:
Do you have examples?


Just this quick one - make sure you download the image to really see the difference.

I took each shot at ISO 100 @ 1/50th sec. mirror up, EFC, tripod, cable release, F4 with a 50mm 1.8G lens. Both were RAW and just defaulted through lightroom. I shot the D500 full frame and used the DX crop on the D810. I then upsized the D810 file so it was the same size as the D500. I wish I had a more detailed target because the differences would be even more obvious, but even with this simple setup, you can see the D500 is smoother and has finer detail than the 810 in DX mode when you read the lettering on the can. Look especially at the "no cfc" logo towards the bottom right.

Plus, the D500 is 10FPS, has an enormous buffer, and the AF is a step up from the D810 - so there's more to it than just superior image quality in DX. Of course, if you're not heavily cropping all the time and don't need the rest of what the D500 brings to the table, then the D810 is one of the best ever IMO. It's my go-to for landscapes and even some wildlife, so I'm not trying to disparage it, just pointing out the D500 has its place as well, especially if you're shooting in the DX area much of the time.


(Download)

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May 14, 2016 11:22:36   #
joer Loc: Northern Illinois
 
Steve Perry wrote:
Just this quick one - make sure you download the image to really see the difference.

I took each shot at ISO 100 @ 1/50th sec. mirror up, EFC, tripod, cable release, F4 with a 50mm 1.8G lens. Both were RAW and just defaulted through lightroom. I shot the D500 full frame and used the DX crop on the D810. I then upsized the D810 file so it was the same size as the D500. I wish I had a more detailed target because the differences would be even more obvious, but even with this simple setup, you can see the D500 is smoother and has finer detail than the 810 in DX mode when you read the lettering on the can. Look especially at the "no cfc" logo towards the bottom right.

Plus, the D500 is 10FPS, has an enormous buffer, and the AF is a step up from the D810 - so there's more to it than just superior image quality in DX. Of course, if you're not heavily cropping all the time and don't need the rest of what the D500 brings to the table, then the D810 is one of the best ever IMO. It's my go-to for landscapes and even some wildlife, so I'm not trying to disparage it, just pointing out the D500 has its place as well, especially if you're shooting in the DX area much of the time.
Just this quick one - make sure you download the i... (show quote)


Thanks for posting. Yes I see the difference.

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May 14, 2016 11:35:03   #
blackest Loc: Ireland
 
Steve Perry wrote:
Just this quick one - make sure you download the image to really see the difference.

I took each shot at ISO 100 @ 1/50th sec. mirror up, EFC, tripod, cable release, F4 with a 50mm 1.8G lens. Both were RAW and just defaulted through lightroom. I shot the D500 full frame and used the DX crop on the D810. I then upsized the D810 file so it was the same size as the D500. I wish I had a more detailed target because the differences would be even more obvious, but even with this simple setup, you can see the D500 is smoother and has finer detail than the 810 in DX mode when you read the lettering on the can. Look especially at the "no cfc" logo towards the bottom right.

Plus, the D500 is 10FPS, has an enormous buffer, and the AF is a step up from the D810 - so there's more to it than just superior image quality in DX. Of course, if you're not heavily cropping all the time and don't need the rest of what the D500 brings to the table, then the D810 is one of the best ever IMO. It's my go-to for landscapes and even some wildlife, so I'm not trying to disparage it, just pointing out the D500 has its place as well, especially if you're shooting in the DX area much of the time.
Just this quick one - make sure you download the i... (show quote)


Thats not really fair to the 810 you can't create detail. Effectively you are enlarging the size of the pixels and the software is trying to interpolate. It is bound to be fuzzy.

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May 14, 2016 13:06:29   #
Steve Perry Loc: Sylvania, Ohio
 
blackest wrote:
Thats not really fair to the 810 you can't create detail. Effectively you are enlarging the size of the pixels and the software is trying to interpolate. It is bound to be fuzzy.


That's kind of the point. I wanted to demonstrate to the OP that you're better off with a D500 over a D810 in DX mode if you want to capture the maximum amount of detail at that crop level.

Comparing the images this way shows that it's better to capture with a dedicated DX body than to use a full frame body in DX crop mode. Now, if the next 8XX series is around 47MP, then the pixel density would be the same and so would the results in a test like this.

Think of it this way - if you were printing a 20x30, would you rather have taken the original image with a D500 or a DX cropped D810? Fair or not, I think everyone would choose the D500 in that scenario.

Of course, if you could shoot the image full frame with a D810, then that would be the better choice by far. Just gotta pick the right tools for the job.

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May 14, 2016 13:56:24   #
blackest Loc: Ireland
 
Steve Perry wrote:
That's kind of the point. I wanted to demonstrate to the OP that you're better off with a D500 over a D810 in DX mode if you want to capture the maximum amount of detail at that crop level.

Comparing the images this way shows that it's better to capture with a dedicated DX body than to use a full frame body in DX crop mode. Now, if the next 8XX series is around 47MP, then the pixel density would be the same and so would the results in a test like this.

Think of it this way - if you were printing a 20x30, would you rather have taken the original image with a D500 or a DX cropped D810? Fair or not, I think everyone would choose the D500 in that scenario.

Of course, if you could shoot the image full frame with a D810, then that would be the better choice by far. Just gotta pick the right tools for the job.
That's kind of the point. I wanted to demonstrate ... (show quote)


ken rockwells page for the 810 says

Professional 5:4

30 x 24 mm.

6,144 × 4,912 pixels (L, 30MP), 4,608 × 3,680 (M), 3,072 × 2,456 (S).



1.2x Canon emulation

30.0 x 19.9 mm.

6,144 × 4,080 pixels (L, 25MP), 4,608 × 3,056 (M), 3,072 × 2,040 (S).



DX

23.4 x 15.6 mm.

4,800 × 3,200 pixels (L, 15.4MP), 3,600 × 2,400 (M), 2,400 × 1,600 (S).


I make that to be
16 x 10.6 at 300 DPI in DX mode. Which should be pretty good quality, Not so great for 20 x 30 at 160 DPI

The frame rate at DX resolution is 7 FPS according to Ken.

Not a Nikon guy, but the 810 would still be my choice over the 500 in most situations.

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May 14, 2016 14:09:25   #
Macronaut Loc: Redondo Beach,Ca.
 
Steve Perry wrote:
Just this quick one - make sure you download the image to really see the difference.

I took each shot at ISO 100 @ 1/50th sec. mirror up, EFC, tripod, cable release, F4 with a 50mm 1.8G lens. Both were RAW and just defaulted through lightroom. I shot the D500 full frame and used the DX crop on the D810. I then upsized the D810 file so it was the same size as the D500. I wish I had a more detailed target because the differences would be even more obvious, but even with this simple setup, you can see the D500 is smoother and has finer detail than the 810 in DX mode when you read the lettering on the can. Look especially at the "no cfc" logo towards the bottom right.

Plus, the D500 is 10FPS, has an enormous buffer, and the AF is a step up from the D810 - so there's more to it than just superior image quality in DX. Of course, if you're not heavily cropping all the time and don't need the rest of what the D500 brings to the table, then the D810 is one of the best ever IMO. It's my go-to for landscapes and even some wildlife, so I'm not trying to disparage it, just pointing out the D500 has its place as well, especially if you're shooting in the DX area much of the time.
Just this quick one - make sure you download the i... (show quote)
Steve, thanks for taking time to do this comparison. I was just wondering if you would expect similar results if you compared the D500 to the D7100? Though the 7100 is capable of "more" detail than the 810, I find the 810 seems to have "better" detail. So, I was thinking that slightly less pixel density of the 500 would be of some advantage over the 7100.

If you could do the same comparison of the 7100 and 500, I would be very appreciative

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May 14, 2016 15:06:15   #
Steve Perry Loc: Sylvania, Ohio
 
blackest wrote:
ken rockwells page for the 810 says

Professional 5:4

30 x 24 mm.

6,144 × 4,912 pixels (L, 30MP), 4,608 × 3,680 (M), 3,072 × 2,456 (S).



1.2x Canon emulation

30.0 x 19.9 mm.

6,144 × 4,080 pixels (L, 25MP), 4,608 × 3,056 (M), 3,072 × 2,040 (S).



DX

23.4 x 15.6 mm.

4,800 × 3,200 pixels (L, 15.4MP), 3,600 × 2,400 (M), 2,400 × 1,600 (S).


I make that to be
16 x 10.6 at 300 DPI in DX mode. Which should be pretty good quality, Not so great for 20 x 30 at 160 DPI

The frame rate at DX resolution is 7 FPS according to Ken.

Not a Nikon guy, but the 810 would still be my choice over the 500 in most situations.
ken rockwells page for the 810 says br br Profess... (show quote)


Those numbers are correct, however, note that the D810 can only do 7FPS with a grip, otherwise it' just 6FPS.

To compare, the D500 is 5568 x 3712 vs the D810's 4800 x 3200, so it is capturing more detail in the DX area.

For a print @300 PPI, it's 18.6 x 12.37 vs the D810's 16 x 10.6. At 240PPI (which is indistinguishable on my inkjet from 300PPI), it's 23.2 x 15.4 vs a 20 x 13.3. I'd feel better about pushing the D500 to a 24x16 than the D810.

All that said, I do agree that the D810 is a better camera for most general use than the D500. In fact, since I shoot more than just wildlife, if I could only have one camera it would be a D810. However, since I can use multiple bodies, I'm not going to try to dismiss the very real benefits the D500 brings to the table.

For me, I see the D500 as an action camera you use when you're focal length limited and would have to crop heavily on a full frame body or when your full frame camera isn't fast enough. I think it's more of a specialized camera than most people realize, but when you need it (like I do with wildlife photography), it's a nice body to have in the bag.

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May 14, 2016 15:18:09   #
Steve Perry Loc: Sylvania, Ohio
 
Macronaut wrote:
Steve, thanks for taking time to do this comparison. I was just wondering if you would expect similar results if you compared the D500 to the D7100? Though the 7100 is capable of "more" detail than the 810, I find the 810 seems to have "better" detail. So, I was thinking that slightly less pixel density of the 500 would be of some advantage over the 7100.

If you could do the same comparison of the 7100 and 500, I would be very appreciative
Steve, thanks for taking time to do this compariso... (show quote)


I don't have a comparison for that yet, however, in doing some ISO tests between the D7200 and the D500, I found the D7200 does capture just a touch more detail (BTW - they are neck and neck for noise with normalized files, the D500 may be 1/3rd of a stop better). The resolution difference isn't huge (less than 500 pixels on the long side), so it will be about half the difference you see between the D810 in crop mode vs the D500. It really is close.

However, there's more to a camera than just sheer resolution and the D500 brings a lot to the table to help you capture a higher number of quality images. The AF is far better then the D7100 and the buffer is virtually unlimited compared to the 1 second or so of RAW shooting the D7100 has. Plus the fast frame rate gives you more opportunities in each burst to capture a perfect moment. Oh, and there are a lot of customizations that are new to this camera as well, including some really cool features with switching AF modes that will make a huge difference in getting the shot. I'm going to have a video review out in a couple weeks, so keep an eye out :)

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May 14, 2016 15:42:01   #
jethro779 Loc: Tucson, AZ
 
Kmgw9v wrote:
If you shoot with and 800E and an 810, why struggle about how a 500 might compare? Save your $2000 to help finance the next generation 810---if you need or want a better camera.


Or get some better glass.

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