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Archive 2012 · D3 CROP MODE
  
 
DGC1
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · D3 CROP MODE


Do any of you D3 users see any real world quality difference in your images when shooting in DX crop mode vs FF? This assumes you are using top quality lenses.


Sep 16, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · D3 CROP MODE


Cropping will magnify any image defects, such as missed focus, softness, noise, etc. If your full size image has no defects, neither will the DX crop.

Kerry



Sep 16, 2012 at 05:50 PM
DGC1
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · D3 CROP MODE


Thanks Kerry. I totally agree with you but I want opinions from actual users.


Sep 16, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · D3 CROP MODE


I have a d700 and a d3s. That doesn't qualify as an actual user?


Sep 16, 2012 at 06:18 PM
MikeW
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · D3 CROP MODE


well he said D3, not D3S :P


Sep 16, 2012 at 06:25 PM
gugs
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · D3 CROP MODE


There are of course differences depending on the size you are using. You definitely don't have enough pixels to print clean A3 pictures in DX mode. This also depends on the ISO settings of course, but there is a visible difference. For normal use or web use there are no significant differences if you don't take things like DOF for a certain field of view into account...

Guy



Sep 16, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Paul_K
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · D3 CROP MODE


Though I've used cropped images shot my D3's more then often, I never liked the shots taken in actual crop/DX mode

Problem for me was that shooting sports (surf) I rarily if ever used the complete shot taken and ended up cropping it more or less.

The shots in DX crop mode already gave an lower IQ due to the lower Megapixels in DX mode compared to the FX, and cropping those did't really help

Problem is now solved with the purchase of the D800



Sep 16, 2012 at 07:51 PM
DGC1
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · D3 CROP MODE


I always hark back to my D1X with 5+ MP that produces stunning 20" X 30" prints. Because of this, I've never bought into the megapixel race. Thanks for the responses.


Sep 16, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · D3 CROP MODE


Ahh.... I see where you're coming from and for the most part, I agree. I had some stunning large prints from my 6mp d70. I assume that you want to crop the d3, because you're looking to the DX crop factor for reach. IIRC, that gives you about 5MP.

At the lower ISOs of the d3/d700, you'll have very clean images, so there won't likely be any difference between the full and DX crop, which is what I was getting at the first time. But, IME, AF is not as reliable as the noise performance of the sensor. I much prefer to use the full image, rather than cropping, simply due to focus inaccuracies that often come into play, especially at the higher frame rates on moving subjects. Those inaccuracies are magnified with DX crop, which is also what I was talking about earlier.

Given a choice, I'd much rather shoot a DX camera than try to use an FX camera in DX mode. That's why I still have my d300 to use with my d700 and d3s. In low light, high ISO situations, I'll use the d700 and d3s, with a 1.4x TC on the d3s. I also use the 120-300 Sigma, but it can also have misfocus issues. There are sometimes issues with the TC, but again, IME, I have more keepers, better shots with the TC rather than just cropping the image or using DX mode.

Perhaps that may not hold true for users with the 300 f/2.8 or the 400 f/2.8. Maybe those lenses get a much better focus lock than I can get with the 70-200vr or my other long lenses. I assume that they probably do and maybe that would give a higher DX crop keeper rate, but I don't know for sure.

I hope that is the information you're looking for.
Kerry



Sep 16, 2012 at 09:08 PM
DGC1
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · D3 CROP MODE


Kerry,

Now you getting it! I will use it in DX mode with my 300 AF-S 2.8 and my 500 AF-S with and without TC's. FX is reserved for my 14-24 and my old 20-35 2.8. Still keeping my D300 but the noise, even at ISO 200, drives me nuts. I expect a big difference with the D3.



Sep 16, 2012 at 09:16 PM
 

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dj dunzie
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · D3 CROP MODE


I tried the DX crop mode when I first got my D3 and D700 and didn't like the results at all, so stopped trying. Maybe that was premature, but I found the images looked much better shot in regular FX mode and cropped in post instead. I didn't do any serious experimentation with things except to give it a shot for sports shooting and not be as thrilled with the resulting IQ. Before the D3 I was shooting with a D2H, so it wasn't STRICTLY the lack of resolution that hurt my opinion, trust me. I have some great large prints from those measley 4MP images, there was just something more to it. It could have also been related to higher ISO results swaying my opinion though...


Sep 16, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · D3 CROP MODE


Given that info, I think that you'll likely be happy with the d3 and happier with the d3s, especially if you're really sensitive to noise. The d700 sensor is the same as the d3 and it's much cleaner than the d300 files, not too much at low ISO, but more so at higher levels, starting around 800 or so. But, you can see a difference even at 200, not a lot, but it's there.

The same applies to the d3s and d700. They're very close at 200, but IME the d3s is increasingly a little better with every step up to about 1600 and more so beyond that. Same with color fidelity. The d700 AF may not be as fast as the d3/d3s, because it doesn't have the computing power that the D3 bodies have. I've never tried to pin down a difference, so I can't say for sure.

If you're shooting birds at long distances, I don't know if 5mp will give you the feather detail that would make you happy. Might be something to think about. Maybe the d600 would work much better in the long run, with its ~10mp DX crop.

Assuming that your lenses will AF more precisely than mine, you'll get more keepers than I would, with any DX crop. If you can afford it, I'd suggest renting both the d3/d700 and d3s, so you'll know exactly what you're getting and where you'd want to go.

OTOH, if you're planning a trip to the Detroit area, I'd be happy to let you test your lenses on my bodies for a cup of coffee.

Kerry



Sep 16, 2012 at 09:35 PM
asiostygius
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · D3 CROP MODE


As others here I normally prefer to crop at PP the full frame image, but at the times I used the D3 DX crop mode - obviously not cropping too much at PP - I never was disappointed.
Some samples at DX crop mode and no or minimal PP cropping.


Cock-tailed Tyrant (Alectrurus tricolor) female x katydid IBC by labecoaves, on Flickr

Taken in cloudy morning at a grassland savannah.
Nikon D3 camera (in DX crop mode) + TC17EII teleconverter + Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 D AF-I (= 680mm f/4.8), f/8 at 1/200s + tripod, ISO 800. No flash used.



Neotropic Cormorant with Nikkor 400mm/2.8 af-i + TC20EIII = 800mm f/5.6 AF by labecoaves, on Flickr

D3 (crop mode) + 400mm f/2.8 AF-I. This old and heavy (6.5kg!!) telephoto works very well with teleconverters. The combo here is an effective 800mm f/5.6.





Even an excessive crop (40%) in PP (of a D3 - DX crop mode) can deliver acceptable results:



Squirrel Cuckoo by labecoaves, on Flickr

Squirrel Cuckoo at 10m away, ~ 40% crop.
D3 (DX crop mode) + Nikkor 200mm f/4 ai-s, hand held, ISO 2000, 1/125s, f/5.6;
The bird was searching for bugs not fruits!

Edited on Sep 16, 2012 at 11:10 PM · View previous versions



Sep 16, 2012 at 09:54 PM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · D3 CROP MODE


What is the viewfinder experience in DX mode?


Sep 16, 2012 at 10:07 PM
asiostygius
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · D3 CROP MODE


The area outside the DX crop will be darkened in the viewfinder to aid the composition.


Sep 17, 2012 at 12:16 AM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · D3 CROP MODE


Hmmm...I'll borrow a buddy's D800 and have a peek...


Sep 17, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · D3 CROP MODE


M635_Guy wrote:
What is the viewfinder experience in DX mode?


I dislike it a great deal. For me, it's distracting and more difficult to put the AF point precisely where I want it. That's especially true on moving subjects, IME and is the reason I prefer to use a DX camera or a TC on FX, rather than use DX mode.

It would be different, I suppose, if the DX crop were magnified in the viewfinder, to make the image look like it would appear in a DX camera's viewfinder. But, it isn't magnified.

Having said that, I also recognize that it's a subjective item that will affect different users in different ways, depending on the scenes and what they're trying to do. I suspect that the experience would be much better on a static target in good light, for example. I have never used it that way. I tried to use it for low light, action shooting.

Kerry



Sep 17, 2012 at 02:10 AM
DGC1
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · D3 CROP MODE


asiostygius wrote:
The area outside the DX crop will be darkened in the viewfinder to aid the composition.


Is it totally black or just darker?



Sep 17, 2012 at 03:14 PM
asiostygius
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · D3 CROP MODE


Just darker, at least my D3 copy with the latest firmware 2.02.


Sep 17, 2012 at 03:46 PM





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