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Andrew Reid

Nikon struggling to match Samsung NX500 stills quality with 2 year head start

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Andrew, for as much as I agree with you on most things, the fact of the matter is that Nikon is still in the camera business despite a soft market and Samsung isn't. Would I love it if Samsung continued NX? Yes, I almost bought a 1st Gen one. But clearly image quality doesn't matter as much as we all here think, the proof is in the pudding. 

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The D5's low ISO dynamic range is obviously a trade-off for it's ability to maintain good dynamic range at very high ISOs. It's one of the very best on the market in that respect. Don't like it, don't buy it.

As far as the D7500 is concerned, don't take Dx0marks scores for gospel. The larger pixel pitch of the D7500 gives it much better dynamic range from ISO 400 onwards than the SAMSUNG.

Dx0mark's maths is massively biased towards high res sensors. And doesn't take into account DR at high ISOs. The sports score is also effectively meaningless as a result

What's the difference between a score of 1300 ISO and 1400 ISO. less than 1/6 of a stop??? how is that a  useful metric? When the d7500 is a full stop ahead of the SAMSUNG in dynamic range at high ISOs. They've gotten their maths all muddled up in the color depth scoring (which is heaving biased to high res camers), which has a big effect on the sports score.

We're talking about difference here of 1/3 to 1/6 of a stop in DR, and about APSC sensor that are closing in on their theorital limits between trade-offs of SNR and pixel pitch. This is a pointless discussion. When all APSC nikons have been more than good enough since the D7000,

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deciding which camera to buy based on a DXOmark score is as sensible as a mixed metaphor on a bull.  

and as td^ says I agree with you on most things, but not this. I dont agree with him either. Clearly image quality is not determined by dxomarks.  Surely you know better than most: horses for courses.  D5 is about speed.  

according to dxo my d5500 has better dynamic range than my d800. It just doesn't. Maybe in the testormatic-dynamic-rangifier2000 it does, but in lightroom and photoshop - in a picture of an actual thing - it does not. Similarly my canon 7d would get near the 5dmk2 in theory, bit in practice the shadows were a mushy purple and green nightmare.  

Anyhoo, IMHO the d800/d810 still has the nicest image on the market: and that's not bad for a 5 year old camera. 

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@tdonovic  Sorry, I have to disagree with your "image quality doesn't matter" line.  

I have an NX and, from time to time, think maybe I should upgrade or get rid of it.  Everytime I have taken shots with a recent Nikon camera I walk away disappointed (and still the owner of an NX1).  

Nikon has a reputation for great cameras, whereas, Samsung has a reputation for phones that blow up and overpriced washers and dryers.  Is it too much to ask that the one with the "great camera" reputation actually produce cameras that are great? 

Lastly...Samsung in their mind, still own 26% of the camera market...since most people just take shots with their smartphones.

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there are so many reasons to criticise nikon: In no particular order:  Their marketing, product strategy, blinkeredness with video, nikon 1, DL debacle, those embarrassing action cams, their locked down firmware, their corporate culture, lack of imagination, inability to listen to their users... the list goes on. But rarely do you hear nikon shooters go *sigh, I wish I could take photos like wot that samsung smartphone does* hee hee

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"and is still about 8MP short on resolution"

A 16 percent linear resolution increase is effectively nil. And pushing beyond 24mp at APSC will decrease your high ISO dynamic range - which is one stop less than D7500.

It's all about tradeoffs

Quote

"First the D500 came out with 2x crop 4K. Nobody really wanted that. Clearly the sensor limitations played a role in that silly decision."

Do you know why the d500 has a 2x crop? Because it reads the 3840 lines from it's center section, which eliminates aliasing and moire.

Do you know what doesn't eliminate aliasing? Pixel binning 5568 into 3840 lines.

Do you know what causes the a6300 to overheat? Downsampling 6000 lines to 3840.

You cannot cheat maths and physics. Everything is a tradeoff. You can say I WANT THIS and I WANT THAT. But these aren't 8mp video cameras. You're complaining about one of the best APSC sensors in the history of photography in the D500 - a true marvel of high and low iso tradeoffs and autofocus speed. A truly professional APSC body for a low low price.

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But what can Nikon "really" do? They are a total contractual SLAVE to Sony. Sony does NOT sell its image sensors to anybody "blindly". You just cant call up Sony and say "how much for your IMX269's??...I want 50,000 of them".

Before Sony will sell its sensors to another camera company, that company must state ALL of the planned specs that their future camera will have. Sony forces and negotiates those specs BEFORE any sensor is sold to that company. These specs are placed into the contract of sale so the competitor CAN'T change them at ANY time without Sony's permission.

So....when Nikon or another company buys Sony sensors, they are legally locked in to the cripples that Sony has FORCED on them. The only way arround it is for Nikon to buy from Samsung/Toshiba/Aptina/Cmosis or another fab plant. This of course will be a lower class chip and will hurt Nikon's brand....and Sony knows this very well.

Sony's reputation is that they are a real pain in the butt to buy from. Sony is VERY strict on its contracts of sale. The cripples added into the contracts are very detailed. If you want to open your features up, you must pay Sony more and more for each sensor. 

This is why Nikon is a slave to Sony where Canon is not for FF sensors.

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Actually the message of this article is not true. One may have the impression, that based on those four scores all three cameras are more or less on the same level.
But the scores only give a glimpse of the sensor's capabilities, because they are obtained at ISO 100 and that is where almost all camera sensors of the same size produce very similiar quality.
As soon as you have a look at the entire test you will realize very quickly, that concerning dynamic range at higher ISO than 200, the two Nikon cams have an advantage of about 1 stop over the Samsung sensor. Keeping in mind that all three sensors share the same size this looks really impressive to me.
Maybe a little bit of this is due to the fact that the Nikon sensor does have a lower resolution, which also leads to a little better lowlight behaviour, though I doubt this is the only reason.

For me the clear winner is the Nikon(Sony) sensor, because in my opinion it is very unlikely to shoot exclusively using ISO less than 400, even if one always has perfect lighting conditions.
Thus it is not correct to claim the sensor quality of recent Nikon cameras would still not be better than Samsung's sensor from late 2014.

However things can get nasty with video, as it's not only the sensor capabilities which are of importance but also the signal processing chain and the fact that Nikon cameras still have to crop their picture (just like the unhacked NX500), whereas the NX1 for example does not. This is something the dxomark test fordn't take into account, as it only measures the sensor quality itself.
More sensor area means more light and more information. So I would say it really depends on what you want to do with your camera. Video or stills.

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1 hour ago, tugela said:

Nothing "lower class" about Samsung's sensors.

This is true. Samsung does have a great APS-C sensor. Dont think they make a FF sized chip though. Its funny....even Samsung buys Sony sensors for their Galaxy phones. Im sure Sony is grinning about that!  ;-)

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DxO score can't even represent their own testing. Here is actual DR comparison:

IMG_20170715_002156.thumb.jpg.c6b07a136fef96273c72296bd071c015.jpg

The difference is more than one full stop, but not at base ISO. Something happens at ISO 400 that needs a IP licence Samsung didn't have. 

CMOS is a matured tech, read noise on these new sensors are ridiculously low, so we are limited by noise generated by randomness of light. which we can't do much about that. 

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The big question for me is can a camera company compete and survive when competing with a diversified electronics company and all the economies of scale and research dollars needed in so many different areas of expertise?   Nikon still makes great cameras, but I do wish they would get serious about mirrorless.  Maybe they need to team up with Samsung for this. 

 

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Well, what does a D7500 compare to... a Canon 80D? And how are they doing again in comparison? You want to talk smack, have a go at Canon. Nikon might be a little traditional and late to the party, that's because they're like parents: oldschool and need a while to catch up to the new age things. Once they do, they actually try to implement that shit. Really doesn't make that much sense to compare a system or camera based on a few little numbers on DxOMark if you're asking me.

Hopefully Nikon is going to get into mirrorless APS-C. A camera like my D5300 is great on a sensor and results level, but I just hate the friggin' flippin' mirror that clacks around taking stills in liveview and it doesn't have any of the mirrorless bells 'n whistles either for any type of shooting. From what I gathered it seems they might be aiming at a mirrorless camera that is fullframe. Shame, because mirrorless allows for downsizing and while I like the occassional 35mm image circle throwing glass, it's also nice to have more compact options and APS-C/S35 gives you just that without sacrificing too much performance. And let's not forget, there's still focal reducers to get you back to FF should that be your thing. Lenses really define the compactness of a system, not so much the body. That's why Sony would've been better off having a mirrorless APS-C camera that's more like a A7-series camera than an A6x00-series one. Not that their APS-C line-up is alive and kicking, but atleast they'd have the literal room for improvements that plagues their too crammed full A6x00 bodies. Wish Nikon would go the Fujifilm route. The X-T2 is such a dope camera, a camera like that with a few tweaks (I'm talking sensor stabilization, I'm talking frontfacing touchscreen, I'm talking headphone port on the body itself and all that Gucci fuego) could suck up the whole MFT market and former traditional DSLR shooters.

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2 hours ago, Cliff Totten said:

This is true. Samsung does have a great APS-C sensor. Dont think they make a FF sized chip though. Its funny....even Samsung buys Sony sensors for their Galaxy phones. Im sure Sony is grinning about that!  ;-)

Sony just manufacture some of them on contract. The sensors are Samsung's design, not bought off the shelf. Samsung make the same sensor themselves, but use Sony manufacturing to pick up the slack when building up stock for a new product release. It makes sense for them to do that because otherwise they would have production facilities sitting idle inbetween product releases.

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12 hours ago, akeem said:

The D5's low ISO dynamic range is obviously a trade-off for it's ability to maintain good dynamic range at very high ISOs. It's one of the very best on the market in that respect. Don't like it, don't buy it.

As far as the D7500 is concerned, don't take Dx0marks scores for gospel. The larger pixel pitch of the D7500 gives it much better dynamic range from ISO 400 onwards than the SAMSUNG.

Dx0mark's maths is massively biased towards high res sensors. And doesn't take into account DR at high ISOs. The sports score is also effectively meaningless as a result

What's the difference between a score of 1300 ISO and 1400 ISO. less than 1/6 of a stop??? how is that a  useful metric? When the d7500 is a full stop ahead of the SAMSUNG in dynamic range at high ISOs. They've gotten their maths all muddled up in the color depth scoring (which is heaving biased to high res camers), which has a big effect on the sports score.

We're talking about difference here of 1/3 to 1/6 of a stop in DR, and about APSC sensor that are closing in on their theorital limits between trade-offs of SNR and pixel pitch. This is a pointless discussion. When all APSC nikons have been more than good enough since the D7000,

I don't see anything factually incorrect in the article.       Some things are posed as questions and for others it says low ISOs.

If someone wanted a camera just based on stills image quality at or below ISO 400, the Samsung does hold up very well I think compared to the latest high end Nikon APSC cameras.

For many (maybe most) the Nikons would be better over all cameras but that the old Samsung is at the very least still competitive says a lot.   

I don't have a dog in the fight as I don't use any of these cameras.

As for DXO, I would argue the sports score is the MOST meaningful as that is a real measurable ISO score.       True, if you use higher ISOs than DXOs maximum standards (as I do every day) it doesn't necessarily follow that the "best" camera at their maximum high ISO will be the same as at ISO 25600 or whatever but it does seem to run pretty close.

If you have different standards to DXO (IE can live with a lower DR level or different noise level ETC), then you would get  different scores and positions on the various lists would change and the high ISO scores would alter.

Regards bias to high res sensors, I disagree and they actually say resolution doesn't count as far as their overall scores.    I think it is simply that many of the higher pixel count cameras are designed more for low ISOs rather than high and that the better low light cameras have larger pixels (generally) and therefore smaller pixel counts.        The better high ISO cameras tend not to have the absolute best image quality which is usually at lower ISOs.   

One exception may be the Pentax K1 which rates in the top ten cameras for everything on DXO (and top 4 for most).    I don't have one of those either.

https://www.dxomark.com/About/Sensor-scores/Overall-Score

"What does Sensor Overall Score show?

Sensor Overall Score shows a camera’s:

Sensor quality in terms of noise.

Ability to render high contrast.

Formation of colored noise.

Ability to shoot in low light.

Sensor Overall Score does not show a camera’s:

Resolution, i.e., its ability to render fine details.

Lens quality.

Optical aberrations.

How is Sensor Overall Score measured?

The Sensor Overall Score is an average of the Portrait Score based on color depth, the Landscape Score based on dynamic range, and the Sports Score based on low-light ISO."

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