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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    14

    Reviews seem inconsistent, what am I missing?

    Maybe I'm misreading something somewhere, but the dcresource review comparisons of the a700 seem inconsistent as to the camera's low light performance.

    The Sony a700 review says (in part):
    At the highest ISO settings, I think the Canon EOS-40D does slightly better than the A700, though shooting in RAW could negate this.

    The Nikon D300 review says (in part):
    NIght shots are hard to compare (since conditions are never consistent), but I'm thinking that the D300 did better than the Canon EOS-40D in this test. Both the D300 and the 40D wiped the floor with the Sony Alpha DSLR-A700, which isn't so hot in low light at high sensitivities.

    "Slightly better" and "wiped the floor" are not equivalent in my book. Which is it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    9,546

    Red face Which one? I shutter(-speed) at the thought ...

    The fact is that any of the three manufacturers are now a far cry from the earlier releases. The low light capability between the current three is nit-picking free-for-all, so you can get one or the other or the other ... and probably do just fine in your choice.

    For argument sake ... you can probably assume its a level playing field, at the moment. They are all REAL good for what they can now do.

    What you need to consider is what you are planning on doing with the system you select and what system you may already have legacy hardware to use with it.

    Canon and Nikon are huge ... and have a quite a variety of lenses and items to select from.

    The SONY has in-the-body-Image-Stability ... and that is the big attraction for low-light shooting, because you can possibly leave the shutter open a bit longer with ANY lens you put on the front of it and not get "shake." Otherwise, with the other two ... you would need a lens equipped with image-stability and that represents added cost.

    Once ...

    sTaBiLiTty

    Name:  shakin it.JPG
Views: 214
Size:  57.0 KB

    ... is built-in the camera, it is "FREE" from that day on, no matter what lens or whatever moves ya. (Makes perfect sense to me.)

    Flip a coin ... then flip again!
    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-15-2007 at 10:47 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    8,163
    Quote Originally Posted by DonSchap View Post
    The fact is that any of the three manufacturers are now a far cry from the earlier releases. The low light capability between the current three is nit-picking free-for-all, so you can get one or the other or the other ... and probably do just fine in your choice.
    I can pretty much go along with this.
    Ouch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
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    2,225
    Quote Originally Posted by rhodeislandguy View Post
    Maybe I'm misreading something somewhere, but the dcresource review comparisons of the a700 seem inconsistent as to the camera's low light performance.

    The Sony a700 review says (in part):
    At the highest ISO settings, I think the Canon EOS-40D does slightly better than the A700, though shooting in RAW could negate this.

    The Nikon D300 review says (in part):
    NIght shots are hard to compare (since conditions are never consistent), but I'm thinking that the D300 did better than the Canon EOS-40D in this test. Both the D300 and the 40D wiped the floor with the Sony Alpha DSLR-A700, which isn't so hot in low light at high sensitivities.

    "Slightly better" and "wiped the floor" are not equivalent in my book. Which is it?
    If you have the latest internet exploder (7) or another model with tabbed windows, open all three reviews side by side and look at the night photos at ISO 3200. I think Jeff was trying to be "diplomatic" during the A700 review. Frankly, there's a huge difference, both in noise and color fidelity.

    This does not mean the A700 could not do better. It means that on this test, when you look at all three side by side, the A700 comes up well short.

    Shooting RAW and with good exposure and post processing technique, I think you could still use the A700s ISO 6400, where Jeff says leave it alone. Shooting Nikon, I've never had to deal with the amount of chroma noise I see in Jeff's shots with the A700, so I don't know how difficult it is to deal with. OTOH, Canon's have traditionally had more chroma noise where they did have noise, and they clean up well, so I suspect you would be OK.
    Eric Lund
    Nikon D200
    Nikkors: 17-55mm f2.8, 18-200mm f3.5-f4.5 VR, 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR, 35mm f2, 50mm f1.8, 55mm f2.8 AI-S micro, 105mm f2.8 VR micro
    Other Lenses: Tokina 12-24 f4, Tamron 75-300mm f4-5.6 LD macro
    Stuff: Nikon SB800, Nikon MBD200, Gitzo 1327 Tripod w/RRS BH-55LR Ballhead, Sekonic L-358 meter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Oakland, CA
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    1,202

    For the record

    I have reworded that paragraph a bit to make it a little less offensive to A700 owners
    Jeff Keller
    Founder/Editor, Digital Camera Resource Page

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    6

    That's a start Jeff, but...

    I really have to question the validity of this "test". It seems you're trying to use it as a (at least relatively) scientific test, but there are way too many variables that are different from test to test.

    For example, the level of light on a given night can vary greatly (you even mention this in your review), along with air conditions. Second, they are taken at slightly different angles, and finally, there's a huge difference in aperture/shutter speed on these shots.

    For the a700, you used iso3200, 0.2s, f5.6, while the d300 was at iso3200, 0.76s, f/13. Can you explain why you'd do this?

    What's the point of a test if you have so many variables - you're supposed to keep everything constant, and just change one parameter (the camera in this case).

    Not to mention, that no one would actually shoot high ISO for this type of scene - you'd use a low ISO and a long shutter speed, along with a tripod, or something to steady the camera.

    Given that the atmospheric conditions are never going to be constant, what's the point of this test? Why not use a controlled room with constant lighting, and photograph something with fine texture, text, etc to really compare low light levels and high ISO? Seems that would be much easier to keep consistent, and be a much more accurate reflection of high ISO capabilities.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by themitty View Post
    I really have to question the validity of this "test". It seems you're trying to use it as a (at least relatively) scientific test, but there are way too many variables that are different from test to test.

    For example, the level of light on a given night can vary greatly (you even mention this in your review), along with air conditions. Second, they are taken at slightly different angles, and finally, there's a huge difference in aperture/shutter speed on these shots.

    For the a700, you used iso3200, 0.2s, f5.6, while the d300 was at iso3200, 0.76s, f/13. Can you explain why you'd do this?

    What's the point of a test if you have so many variables - you're supposed to keep everything constant, and just change one parameter (the camera in this case).

    Not to mention, that no one would actually shoot high ISO for this type of scene - you'd use a low ISO and a long shutter speed, along with a tripod, or something to steady the camera.

    Given that the atmospheric conditions are never going to be constant, what's the point of this test? Why not use a controlled room with constant lighting, and photograph something with fine texture, text, etc to really compare low light levels and high ISO? Seems that would be much easier to keep consistent, and be a much more accurate reflection of high ISO capabilities.
    If you want hardcore measurbator test results, look at dpreview.com or start your own infallible website.

    If you want some realistic samples, look at dcresource.com.

    Both are valid.
    Ouch.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by cdifoto View Post
    If you want hardcore measurbator test results, look at dpreview.com or start your own infallible website.

    If you want some realistic samples, look at dcresource.com.

    Both are valid.
    No, they're not both valid. Jeff is clearly using this test to compare (or measurbate, as you call it) the same shot with different cameras - it's not a sample shot at all. It's passed off as a standardized test, and it's a very flawed test. What's valid about a test with so many variables? Do you understand that by using different apertures and shutter settings you're getting very different exposure values. This clearly has an impact on noise performance - I would hope you're not ignorant of that (I know Jeff isn't, which is why it is so disappointing to see these inconsistencies).

    To your childish response about me starting my own infallible website, no thanks. But this is an open forum, and Jeff asks for comments on his reviews, so that's what I'm doing.

    What's wrong with making a constructive suggestion that it would be a much better, more realistic, and more valuable test if the cameras used the same settings? We're not talking about point and shoots where the user would let the camera make the decisions. These are $1400 plus cameras, and should be tested accordingly.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by themitty View Post
    No, they're not both valid. Jeff is clearly using this test to compare (or measurbate, as you call it) the same shot with different cameras - it's not a sample shot at all. It's passed off as a standardized test, and it's a very flawed test. What's valid about a test with so many variables? Do you understand that by using different apertures and shutter settings you're getting very different exposure values. This clearly has an impact on noise performance - I would hope you're not ignorant of that (I know Jeff isn't, which is why it is so disappointing to see these inconsistencies).

    To your childish response about me starting my own infallible website, no thanks. But this is an open forum, and Jeff asks for comments on his reviews, so that's what I'm doing.

    What's wrong with making a constructive suggestion that it would be a much better, more realistic, and more valuable test if the cameras used the same settings? We're not talking about point and shoots where the user would let the camera make the decisions. These are $1400 plus cameras, and should be tested accordingly.
    There are different types of reviews for a reason.
    Ouch.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    14

    I was ok with the wording

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Keller View Post
    I have reworded that paragraph a bit to make it a little less offensive to A700 owners
    Jeff--I was simply confused by the two reviews. Certainly most all of this is subjective and you absolutely have to write what YOU think and see. That's what makes your reviews a great resource.

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