How much do megapixels really matter? (D3 vs. D3x)

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Chipotles088, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Chipotles088

    Chipotles088 TPF Noob!

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    If I were a Nikon fan looking to get one the best DSLR I could find (and, in some perfect world, cost was not an issue), would I spring for the D3, or wait for the D3x?

    I guess what I'm asking is: Would I miss those 12 extra megapixels between the two in day to day use, assuming I hardly ever print anything larger than 36x24? Is the D3's resolution adequate enough to print that large without problem?

    And furthermore, the thing that really attracts me to the D3 is the supposedly mind-blowing high ISO performance. Could I assume the same incredible performance in low-light out of the D3x, or will that be compromised by the more powerful camera? Are they cramming too many photosites into the chip?

    I know, my choice between the two largely comes down to what I'd use the camera for. I primarily do studio work, as well as weddings (which is where the D3's speed and ISO capabilities would really come in handy). I also would like to make some very large prints though, and just hope the D3 will allow me to, even after I crop my images some.

    So I'd really love some insight on these two areas specifically, and perhaps any other major advantages to one over the other that I may be overlooking.
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I'm wondering the same between the 5D and 5D mkII. I'm waiting until I can compare prints. At first I just assumed that they've figured out the issues with cramming more pixels onto a sensor, but the high ISO samples I've seen from the 50D are disappointing for all the hype. At 100% pixel peeping there's no doubt in my mind that the 20D/30D and 40D outperform the 50D at ISO 800+. Maybe the extra resolution allows for less enlargement, so the noise isn't so obvious? I need to see prints to decide.

    At low ISOs double the resolution is going to be very handy for large prints (assuming the lenses used can actually achieve that resolution). On the other hand 50% of my shooting is done at ISO 800+.

    In the end if the 5D price drops significantly I'll probably go that route, and if it doesn't then I'll go for the new model (I'll be waiting for it's price to drop too). I made a vow after my first 5D never to spend more than $2K on a camera body again, unless it's something cool like a 6x17 or something. ;)
     
  3. skiboarder72

    skiboarder72 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It sounds like you need both cameras, the D3X will not be as good with high ISO noise performance because of the extra photosites like you said. When printing 24x36" prints the extra megapixels are going to matter. If you are going to stay 18x24 or lower your probably not going to notice a big difference between 12mp and 24, but when you get much above that its going to matter more. That being said, for smaller prints or sports work your going to want the D3 because of its high frame rate and lower high-ISO noise. These are just speculations but I would expect them to be true based on history. We will have to wait for D3X results to be certain.
     
  4. Chipotles088

    Chipotles088 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info!

    Despite my saying "cost was not an issue", there is no way I could get both of those (but man, how heavenly would that be?)!

    This is going to be a very tough decision, me thinks.
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    I've been recently printing 20x30's off my D700 and they look stunning for 12mp, you can go up and look at them 2 inches away and find detail.

    If you know what to do to print big, then any camera will look great.
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Why not consider a D3 with an F5 loaded with Ektar 100 for the very large prints? I'll be posting some comparisons shortly.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. Chipotles088

    Chipotles088 TPF Noob!

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    Glad to hear you've been getting good prints out of the D700! But care to elaborate a little on this line, please?

    I mean, I'm not quite sure what I wouldn't know about printing big, exactly. What's the "trick" to it?

    Helen, not a bad idea! I look forward to your comparisons.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    So what happens when the D3x comes out are you going to wait just in case the D3XX has more:lol:
     
  9. frXnz kafka

    frXnz kafka TPF Noob!

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    The D3 will print at about 14x9 at 300dpi. If you don't mind printing at 150dpi you can do well over 20 inches wide (28x18).
     
  10. Chipotles088

    Chipotles088 TPF Noob!

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    And 150dpi is generally "passable", no?
     
  11. frXnz kafka

    frXnz kafka TPF Noob!

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    I would say so. Some might disagree, but I would guess those people are also inspecting every last pixel on the screen.
     
  12. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    I get my prints done at any of my local Ritz camera's for 2 reasons:

    1. Employee discount, I get 40% off all photo finishing.

    2. Quality that's backed up no matter what.

    One of the key's of printing big is a good printer and good paper. I can print at work for cheaper and better then most people I know can do themselves.



    The way that I get awesome enlargements that always make people go "wow" is through interpolation. I up-res my images a TON. Basiclaly in the photoshop image size box, I resize the image to a 20x30 @300dpi and then do a sharpening mask over that.

    That assures me that the enlargement will have the same amount of detail that I can see on my monitor when I view the images at 100%.

    I'm telling you, when I up-res, the D3/700 prints like it's a 16 or 18MP body, i've never seen anything like it. When you shoot RAW there's an incredible ammount of acuity.

    gah, I wish that I could show you on here, it's really that good.
     

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