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How many ISO stops better, is the D3 than the D300?

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by Triggaaar, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Triggaaar


    Jun 15, 2008
    I can't imagine this hasn't been discussed before, so sorry for the repetition, but the search facility doesn't work properly - doing an advanced search for 'ISO' in the title of the D3/D300 forum gets no hits, when there clearly should be some.

    So, how many ISO stops better, is the D3 (D700) than the D300? Main use will be indoor shots of kids, decent quality (rather than emergency only), so I guess around the 1600/3200 mark.

    I had a look at the dpreview of the D3, which compared high ISO shots to the D300 (amongst others), but the in camera noise reduction may have been responsible for making it difficult to know how much there was in it:
    Have a look at the D3 & D300 iso 1600 and 3200 - I'm not sure if it's just down to noise reduction, the grey looks decent on the D300. The black is better on the D3, and by iso 6400 the black is miles better. I assume the D300 has sacrificed more detail to keep the noise down (both were set to normal high iso NR), which you can see in the royal face, but that's not an easy image to compare as it even looks totally different at iso 200.

  2. Hokum


    Jun 20, 2006
    Pennines UK
    I thik this has come up a number of times, the advantage i have seen thrown about range from 2 stops to a stop and a third. IMHO it depends on the scene, but i'd err more toward the stop and a third. The issue is that the sensor is much better with the noise then the D300's is.

    It was the same with the D200 and D2X, D200 got chroma and lumiance noise and the D2X almost purely Lumiance noise.
  3. pforsell


    Jan 15, 2008
    It depends on who's tests you gonna trust. The subject, lighting and scene makes a big difference too.

    I've seen quoted numbers like 2 stops and 2.3 stops higher dynamic range, meaning that D300 at ISO 400 delivers about the same image quality as D3 at ISO 2,000.

    Noise I don't comment on since I've yet to see digital noise that bothers me, but perhaps the lower quoted numbers are about the noise performance? Thus the "average" value when both noise and dynamic range are considered could be in the 2 stops ballpark.
  4. I'd guess around 1 1/2 - 2 stops. But there's more to it than that for - D3 files hold together much better than D300 files as the high ISO increases. Add better tonality, 14-bit at any speed and (IMO) richer colours and the difference go beyond pure ISO ratings.

    I'd want to keep at 1600 or thereabouts for wedding work with a D300 and I'd want to keep at 6400 or below for the D3. Thpse are general figures of course, and I'd use higher on both if it was the difference between getting a shot or not.

    Regardless of which body you're using though, the key for me is to expose well in the first place.
  5. Triggaaar


    Jun 15, 2008
    Thanks guys.
    Yes I'm sure it has, so sorry for asking again - I did try to search on it though :) 
    It's always useful to have the ability to go an extra stop or two, so there will no doubt be various occasions where I would use it, but generally it will be for people shots indoors, with low natural light.
    I'm not sure what you mean Peter, I always think of dynamic range as max stops light to dark in 1 shot at a given iso, and dpreview actually says the D300 has slightly higher dynamic range than the D3 (not enuogh to worry about, lets just call it the same). Perhaps when using software to recover detail from RAW images more can be recovered from the D3?
    Yeah I've seen you comment that you prefer the skin tones from the D3 and for a wedding photographer I'd have thought the D700 would be the perfect choice. The small differences in colour may be beyond me, my current monitor isn't even calibrated.

    Yep, that's pretty easy in a non-stressed home environment (not so easy trying to capture everything at a wedding). So you're happy with 2 stops difference Guy, which is the kind of opinion I've stumbled across in threads, but doesn't stand out in a review like DPs. 2 stops is a lot.
  6. Agreed on all counts.
  7. Dennis Carter

    Dennis Carter

    Jun 29, 2007
  8. Tell me about it. I'm more than happy with the performance. I thought the 5D was good. The D3 is another step up, as well it should be for the cost.

    DPR are fine for technical detail but their ISO tests tell me little about real-life performance.
  9. DPR's review says a lot more about DR than just the standard shoot the chart thing. Read about how much detail can be accessed by using standard highlight and shadow recovery features or a less contrasty default curve.
  10. Gary Mayo

    Gary Mayo Guest

    The overall quality of the picture CAN be beyond just 1 or 2 stops. In low light, the D3 leaps past the D300.
  11. I agree with Guy for wedding work.
    D300 up to 1600
    D3 up to 6400

    I own both cameras.
  12. Triggaaar


    Jun 15, 2008
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