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Thread: D50 v. D70s

  1. #1
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    D50 v. D70s

    I am looking to purchase my first digital SLR, after many years of film use.After a great deal of reading and research, I have finally narrowed down my choice to either the Nikon D50 or the D70s. I am aware of the differences in function etc, between the two. Those which cause me the most concern are the lack of depth of field preview and a backlight on the LCD display on the D50, although I am not sure these are absolutely essential.
    What I am finding more puzzling are the references I have read in various reviews to the sharpness of images and image quality generally. I have read contradictory reviews as to which camera produces the sharpest images, although it seems to be generally agreed that the D50 has better noise reduction and fewer problems with things like moiré.
    Does anyone have any views as to which is the better, in terms of image quality and generally?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by a.pattison@ntlworld.com
    I am looking to purchase my first digital SLR, after many years of film use.After a great deal of reading and research, I have finally narrowed down my choice to either the Nikon D50 or the D70s. I am aware of the differences in function etc, between the two. Those which cause me the most concern are the lack of depth of field preview and a backlight on the LCD display on the D50, although I am not sure these are absolutely essential.
    What I am finding more puzzling are the references I have read in various reviews to the sharpness of images and image quality generally. I have read contradictory reviews as to which camera produces the sharpest images, although it seems to be generally agreed that the D50 has better noise reduction and fewer problems with things like moiré.
    Does anyone have any views as to which is the better, in terms of image quality and generally?
    I wrote about this in another thread, so with some creative cut and paste, here it is again:

    Nikon D50 with f2.8 60mm Micro D:
    ISO 200, line pairs per image height 983
    ISO 400, line pairs per image height 975
    Noise at ISO 200: 74.8 dB S/N

    Nikon D70 with f2.8 60mm Micro D:
    ISO 200, line pairs per image height 1118
    ISO 400, line pairs per image height 1090
    Noise at ISO 200: 64.1 dB S/N

    Nikon D70s with f2.8 60mm Micro D:
    ISO 200, line pairs per image height 1072
    ISO 400, line pairs per image height 985
    Noise at ISO 200: 71.5 dB S/N

    All have the same sensor, Nikon is just playing with the processing of the CCD data.... As you can see Nikon decided to less overprocess with the D70s compared to the D70 after all the critisizm of moire and artifacts, their over processing to gain detail pre post processing blew up in their face. (Yes, Nikon does process quite heavily in the D70(s)/D50, thats why they seem to gain such a resolution advantage... but gaining artifacts in the process).

    For comparison the same figures for 2 cameras with the same Sony CCD:
    Konica Minolta 7D with AF f2.8 50mm Macro:
    ISO 100, line pairs per image height 835
    ISO 400, line pairs per image height 798
    Noise at ISO 100: 72.3 dB S/N

    Pentax *istDS with SMC-S-FA f2.8 100mm Macro:
    ISO 100, line pairs per image height 822
    ISO 400, line pairs per image height 823
    Noise at ISO 100: 69.4 dB S/N

    And the 20D with 8mp CMOS:
    Canon 20D with EF f2.5 50mm Macro:
    ISO 100, line pairs per image height 1010
    ISO 400, line pairs per image height 1017
    Noise at ISO 200: 73.7 dB S/N

    The Pentax and Canon do NOT show the artifacts the Nikons (and especially the D70) show, and as you can see in these figures, the Nikons really DO process a lot to gain resolution in-camera (also in RAW) to give the idea of higher resolution than competitors (who leave the CMOS/CCD data "soft" to allow for post processing without the artifacts).


    Also on that other thread posted this comparison, showing how in worst cases the D70s will show more artifacts than a D50:

    http://www.dcresource.com/forums/sho...7&postcount=64

    That being said, both are good cameras, but the D50 has the edge in overal image quality.
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

  3. #3
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    could u help explain the numbers a bit bro....cause at a quick glance it appears the numbers are close on the d70s and 20d.....im guessing the smaller noise number is what u want?

    you mention gaining artifacts??? i imagine this can be dealt with post processing too??

    thanks

    cory
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  4. #4
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    What is not mentioned in the above is that the large majority of the time you will not see any of the artifacts mentioned unless you are either a pixel peeper or you are into a lot of modern, steel and glass architecture or patterned textile photography. If the photos you want to take are primarily in these or similar categories, then perhaps another camera is for you.

    The other thing is, what is said as extra processing is actually less processing, because it's the very weak anti-aliasing filter that is the culprit in allowing greater noise and as a result getting more moire AND sharpness.

    BTW, AFAIK all dSLRs have an anti-aliasing filter. It's a piece of glass that attempts to keep light in order so that the correct light goes to the correct pixel, and, more importantly, that light that cannot be resolved is eliminated (filtered out). The stronger the filter, the less crossover you get, resulting in less noise and artifacts, but at the cost of some sharpness of the image. Canon cameras generally yield a very smooth look and with very low noise. If you like the look, then you like a strong anti-alias filter. Some people call this plasticky, but to me it's just smooth and may very well appeal to a majority of photographers (hence Canon's domination of the market, or perhaps that's just better marketing). I think the word plasticky comes from Nikon Nazis, who want a word that seems to imply something negative. In contrast, photos from a Nikon look more raw, more messy, more hard edged, and it's up to the photographer to get the most out of the photo in post processing (or, to trust the camera and use SETTINGS which get the results they want).

    Of course, anti-aliasing can also be done with software, and I don't know how much is done by the various camera manufacturers, but the fact is that the total anti-aliasing done on Nikons is less than other manufacturers, which means less processing rather than more.

    This also applies to the IR filter. The D70 has a very weak IR filter, allowing the camera to be used by those who enjoy IR photography. With most dSLRs, I suspect you have to remove the IR filter to use it for this type of photography, and this voids the warranty. I know the D200 has a much stronger IR filter, and so is not a good camera for IR photography (unless you have an extra $1700 lying around to get a dedicated IR body with the IR filter removed).

    Cheers,
    Eric

  5. #5
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    I do not agree with Eric that the artifacts and the high resolution for a 6MP camera are the result of WEAK processing. In fact, a number of professional publications time and time again point to Nikon's high processing, resulting in unusually high resolution and resulting artifacts. With Nikons professional cameras like the DX2 they use LESS processing, less lifting of contrast and sharpness (that is what the D70(s) actually does), resulting in a softer image, which yields a better image for post processing (like Canon, Olympus and Pentax cameras).

    You can actually make the sharpening a D70's processing does visible by shooting a black circle on a white background, you will see a tell tale whiter edge around the black.

    The Nikon D70(s) does indeed apply some aggressive processing. You will always keep some softness and noise no matter what camera, because a pixel only captures either red, green or blue, and the rest is "guessed" from neighbouring pixels. The only camera that does better in this respect is the Sigma SD10. Not only does it approach a resulting resolution that comes close to 6mp DSLR's with its 3.1mp sensor, it also produces astonishingly clear photos. A shame it does not perform so well consitently.
    Sample of the SD10:
    http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/si...w/IMG00868.jpg
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

  6. #6
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    From the german photo magazine 'foto magazin', from a test of Nikon lenses, tested on the D70s and the D2X, explaining why some lenses perform seemingly well on the D70s and less on the D2X, a scan of a print displaying on the left the D70s, on the right the D2X.
    Translated (trying to find the correct words for things in English, when you are reading German, is hard):
    "The left image half shows a distortions mark from the D70s. The contrast enhanching sharpening is clearly visible at the black circle, and easily to make out on the outer circle. The D2X reproduces edges in contrast very neutral and without artificial enhancement."
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

  7. #7
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    From the same september 2005 foto magazin:

    "The left half of the picture shows artifact rich, offensive processing of the D70s, which enhances the structure contrast and which can get a lot out of simpler lenses. The D2X on the right side delivers more neutral exposures and more detail, when the optics are right. The higher resolution also shows more fine detail."
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by phatkid77
    could u help explain the numbers a bit bro....cause at a quick glance it appears the numbers are close on the d70s and 20d.....im guessing the smaller noise number is what u want?

    you mention gaining artifacts??? i imagine this can be dealt with post processing too??

    thanks

    cory
    Exactly, the D70s' results are close to that of the 20D, but the 20D has a higher resolution sensor. The Pentax and KM with EXACTLY the same sensor as the Nikon score a lot less in resolution. This shows what is going on in the D70s, the contrast and sharpness are upped to give the impression of higher resolution photos.

    Thing is, you can not make artifacts undone, you can only mask them out. This means detail that was supposed to be under there will not come back. DSLR's usually keep processing low (and images seemingly soft) to give artifact free photos ideal for post processing. That Nikon does no oblige to this with the D70(s) and D50 is not bad, just something to take into account. The high resolution for a 6mp camera is gained by processing, which has its drawbacks at times.

    The discussion was about the D70(s) having a lot of processing done to what comes from the sensor, not about whether or not on the whole it is a good camera. On the whole it is a good camera.
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

  9. #9
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    killing me!!! you are just killing me!!!!

    xt, 20d stay with the d70s......this sucks....lol
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  10. #10
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    If you like how the camera handles, do not mind USB 1.1 and you like the quailty of the photos you are making, why not just be happy with your D70s?

    If on the other hand you like the 20D to feel better in your hands, you should maybe consider the 20D.
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

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