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June 10, 2007

Nikon D3 Rumors Are Driving Me Mad

I don't get a chance to write about photography as much as I'd like but all the recent rumors about Nikon's impending announcement of the D3 has inspired me. I will most likely end up buying one no matter what, but I hope, really hope, it won't have a full frame sensor or feature a 20 megapixel or larger sensor.

You maybe asking why..."isn't more better?" No, not for me. I appreciate the magnification factor of the 1.5x sensors and the smaller file sizes. Am I missing anything? Not in my experience. The prints are just as good. Only people that spend time looking at their images on their computers at a high magnification see a big difference. Since the cameras print the same does it matter they looked better blown up on your screen?

Also so much of the glass doesn't look as good with full frames, look at all the Canon users that had to switch to primes and get higher quality glass. The whole full frame sensor gimmick seems to be marketing hype and a way to get you to buy more equipment.

Stop falling for the marketing hype! The gear doesn't make a good picture. Nor does more megapixels. Larger file sizes do anything for me but fill my hard drives faster and I can live without that. So can you.

So, what do I want to see in the D3?

Mostly, I'd like more frames per second, in the region of 12 or more. Can that be achieved with a full frame sensor? It's doubtful.

Next up I'd love to see a camera that uses Solid State Drives in the region of 32-64GB. Imagine not having to change your memory card at all during the shoot. Also CF cards and their fragile pins have become outdated and their capacities are not keeping up with today's file sizes. There needs to be some drastic change when it comes to memory and storage but I know I'm dreaming here.

Make it weigh less without sacrificing its ruggedness or reliability. My biggest issue with my D2Xses are their size and weight. If they weighed less, their mass wouldn't bother me.

Lastly, improve the sensors so they're not as noisy in low light and I'll be happy.

Posted in Photography by usrbingeek at 2007-06-10 03:59 ET (GMT-5) | 3 Comments | Permalink


Nearly everything you have said is completely misguided.

Increasing sensor size will have bigger photosites, meaning more photons striking each pixel, and less noise on basically every setting, which seems to be something you desire. This is a case where better gear does make a better picture in the right hands.

Beyond that a full frame sensor allows for a greater ability to decrease depth of field. This is something I love about medium format, and can't even approach with DSLRs.

With a full frame sensor your lenses can go wider. You might need better glass to get the best effect from a full frame sensor, but the 1.5 magnification of the 1/4 sensor is only covering up flaws in your existing lenses. If you enjoy the 1.5 magnification factor of the smaller sensors and can afford this camera, you can pay for an extender ring which would cost a pittance compared to the camera. You can't buy a feature to add megapixels, if you want them. You can also get the 1.5 magnifaction effect by cropping the image while maintaining a reasonable resolution because of the added megapixels you seem to not want.

Just because there are more megapixels available doesn't mean you need to use them. Nikons have been fairly flexible in allowing the user to switch the resolution of the output photograph. Added resolution makes a huge difference in retouching areas of high detail, and also helps to avoid moire patterns in high frequency details. A lot of avoiding moire is owed to the DSP but starting with more shear resolution helps too.

Posted by: josh brown at June 13, 2007 04:58 PM

Just remember, 1.5 ratio isn't making your images bigger, it's just cropping it ! you can always do this with your full frame.

Nikon uniqueness IS in the quality of its optics. All i hope is that we will be able to use the full Nikkor lens range, including the manual focus (they're the best)

As for allowing mass storage, i wouldn't either, simply because it is a safer practice to use several "rolls" of small CF cards (2 to 4gb) so that you don't loose ALL of your shoot in the unlikely event of a CF crash.

Over 12 fps ? whoa !

Posted by: Laurent at August 6, 2007 07:58 PM

Personally, I am hoping for a full frame sensor because of the aforementioned reasons. Namely, more DOF and a MUCH cleaner image at higher ISO. I know that the latter is as much a part of the sensor's capability as its size, but as mentioned above if the sensor is physically bigger then by sheer physics noise levels will improve and to be frank, they had better in the next rendition of Nikon's pro DSLR. The new Canon Mk III is phenomenally clean at high ISO, as is the 5D and the Mk II ds. It's no accident, it is a better sensor - pure and simple. I love my D2x when I have good light and can shoot at ISO 100, but if I have to shoot at or above ISO 400 I am not satisfied with the results my camera produces - the images are just too noisy.

So give me full frame sensor, if you want 1.5x crop I can sell you my D2x (I will not , still a tank and a great sports/nature camera) - but you get my point. If noise doesn't bother you, more power to you, but it matters to me very much. To be honest, I am getting tired of a kid with a 30D shooting at ISO 800 getting better shots at a wedding than I can when flash is not allowed and my D2x images just look like crap (to me, at least) compared to this prosumer camera. Come on Nikon, enough is enough - fix the noise issues or I will be moving on to Canon.

Posted by: Jeff at August 19, 2007 01:38 AM

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