Unbridled Cynicism

less bullshit, more often?

Nikon D4 dynamic range and noise levels graphed, compared to older siblings

This comparison popped up a few days ago, I trust that their method was sufficiently scientific such that these values are representative of reality.

FX Read Noise Comparison

I own a D700, which has the same sensor as the original D3 - I’m not sure why there are data points all over the place between whole-stop points.

What I’m reading here is basically: an immediate 3-stop advantage at the D700’s base ISO, closing to 2-stops as you go up the scale.

Or in more practical terms:

  • ISO 200 on the D700 is great, there’s a tiny bit of luma noise to cleanup in Lightroom
    • ISO 100 on the D700 is, to my eyes, flawless. There is no noise to cleanup in Lightroom, you lose sharpness instead
    • ISO 100 on the D700 allegedly comes at the cost of slightly reduced dynamic range, it’s a bit of a hack
  • You can shoot ISO 1600 on the D4 and have only a tiny bit of luma noise to cleanup in Lightroom

For convenience, one of the comparison graphs (it’ll look weird due to alpha transparency):

alt-text placeholder for DR_vs_ISO_photosites_normalised_to_1micron.png

Caption: ISO values are full stops, starting at ISO 100 on the left side. You can see that most models’ base ISO is 200.