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Why is the new Nikon D4 = 16.2MP; but the new D800 / D800E = 36.3MP ?

mvheystmvheyst Member
edited February 2012 in Nikon
Why is the new Nikon D4 camera only16.2MP; but the new D800 / D800E is 36.3MP ?



  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Different markets, different cameras.

    Which is also why the D700 is going to remain in production
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    As for "only" 16 megapixels ... this makes the D4 more attractive to me.
    I simply don't need that kind of resolution for the work that I do ... 36 Megapixels would be a disadvantage, compared to 16 megapixels.
  • Recently Tom Hogan post a few articles about this subject. Interesting reading. I remember his quote: "Amateurs need more pixels, pros probably don't." If you google this quote you find a lot of info about this subject.
  • mvheystmvheyst Member
    edited February 2012
    Earlier, I asked a question "why mobile phone cameras are inferior to compact cameras", and Stronoob referred me to an article in Clark Vison.
    This info may also be relevant to this question:

    "Noise in modern digital cameras is largely determined by how many photons (how much light) each pixel can collect. An analogy is collecting rain drops with a bucket in a rain storm. You collect more rain drops with a larger bucket. It is the same with pixels: larger pixels collect more photons and thus produce images with less noise. So cameras with larger pixels can produce nicer looking images than cameras with more but smaller pixels. The top end digital cameras have high megapixel counts and large pixels. Such cameras cost more because the imaging devices cost more to produce."

    **** The problem with such small pixels is that they do not gather much light, and that leads to visible noise in images.**** Therefore, a lower MP sensor may be better.

    " How many megapixels do you really need?

    It depends on how large a sharp print one wants to make. For sharp prints use the formula: print width x 300 x print length x 300. You can relax the quality by changing the 300 value to 240. Much below 240 and the perceived print quality drops rapidly. Megapixel needs are shown in the table

    Number of megapixels for given print quality
    Print size (inches) ---- 300 pixels/inch ---- 240 pixels/inch

    4 x 6 ----------------- 2.2 ------------1.4
    5 x 7 ----------------- 3.2 ------------2.0
    8 x10 ---------------- 7.2 ------------ 4.6
    11 x14 ---------------13.9 ------------8.9
    16 x20 ---------------28.8 -----------18.4 "

    ## The RAW file of a 36.3 MP camera can be 76 MB large, compared to 10-15MB for a 16 MP camera. It has advantages and disadvantages.

    ## Therefore, will the D800 make pictures with more noise than the D4?
  • StroNoobStroNoob Member
    edited February 2012
    At low light levels, yes. Technically at high light levels as well, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it will make a perceivable difference in end image quality. If noise isn't an issue, and you're using good glass, the D800 would be able to provide more detail in photos, but depending on your application you may not even see that detail. Your friends viewing your photos on their computer certainly won't.

    There are downsides to high counts which most the public doesn't pay attention to. High-ISO performance is one and it is an important factor to many. These larger files also limit burst capture rate, something important to sports photogs, though technology will eventually make that argument obsolete. The file size is also huge, and that adds up if you're a wedding/sports photog and coming back with thousands of shots.

    As someone said in the other thread discussing the D800: if you're a landscape photog shooting outdoor photos of large areas with a ton of detail, it could be a good fit for you. Or perhaps shooting for big billboards or advertisements in a studio setting. But the image quality coming out of at 15MP full-size or cropped sensor camera is plenty good for my uses, and I'd rather have a camera that can perform well at high iso than a huge pixel count.
  • There was a time when more MP in a DSLR translated directly to a better opportunity for increased image quality and detail. Like Neil, I think the D4 offers more than enough data to create stunning images ... while I can't find fault with Nikon offering 36MP in the D800 ... and that much image data will benefit a few genres ... for the average photographer shooting portrait, wedding, events and photojournalism ... 16MP is more than enough ... in fact we were doing quite nicely when the best DSLR's were only offering 6-8MP.

    With the world moving to less use of the printed medium, the need for more image data will be less and less. I have noticed just in the past two years how many more requests I am receiving from clients to purchase digital files for use in their digital frames and online social uses ... If the originals were captured on a D800 ... that's a lot of wasted data ... even if we hit a point where all of our digital devices and computer monitors hit the level of Retina/HD pixel counts ...

    I think the D800 offers a great deal with it's native capabilities ... but I don't think that pixel count is indicative of superiority ...
  • Nikon D800 criticisms refuted

    Nikon D800
    •24 X 35.9mm sensor hosting 36.3 mega pixels
    •Sensor is 861.6mm squared
    •Pixel Pitch is 4.88 microns

    Nikon D800 in DX shooting mode
    •16 X 24 sensor hosting 15.4 mega pixels
    •Sensor used is 384mm squared
    •Pixel Pitch is 4.88 microns

    Nikon D7000
    •23.6 X 15.6mm sensor hosting 16.2 mega pixels
    •Sensor is 368.16mm squared
    •Pixel Pitch is 4.78 microns

    It appears to me if the pixel size (4.88 microns) of the new D800 is approx the same as the pixel size of the D7000 (4.78 microns). The sensor of the D800 is larger, therefore the higher number of mega pixels.
  • mvheystmvheyst Member
    edited March 2012
    Cliff Mautner on the Nikon D800

    The pixel counters who left some blog comments need to understand that this camera is not gong to replace a D4. It’s it’s own beast. It does things the D4 wont do. The D4 will do things the D800 wont do. My camera of choice for capturing weddings will be a combination of the two new pieces of technology. The D4 will be the primary camera. It’s low lighting capabilities, responsiveness, and the overall nature of the camera is ideal for what I do. However, we now have old world, medium format image quality inside a phenomenal, incredibly responsive Nikon body. At 36 megapixels, the D800 produces unprecedented image quality and resolution within a body that boasts revolutionary technological advances.
  • mvheystmvheyst Member
    edited March 2012

    Comments from D800 sesigners @ Nikon Japan:

    Shinya Hara: "In terms of high-resolution cameras, Nikon's flagship is the D3X, a 24-megapixel model released in 2008 and since highly evaluated in the marketplace. That was our product to beat in developing the D800: our goal was image quality a step above – far superior to any existing D-SLR camera –

    compressed into a compact camera body. We weren't competing with D-SLR cameras; when it came to image quality our rivals were, to put it bluntly, high-resolution medium-format digital cameras or digital camera backs. One of our main design concepts was a camera with image quality, tone reproduction, and sharpness that were a match for high-resolution medium-format cameras."

    36.3 megapixels is a pretty incredible spec. When did you realize you could meet it?

    Yoshimatsu: "It's not as though we were just designing to specs. Originally we were developing the camera using proven sensor technology, a sensor with an established reputation that allowed us to visualize the kind of image we wanted. We could picture what could be achieved if that level of image quality could be combined with higher resolutions, and that provided us with a clear motivation."

    Murakami: "That's right. We didn't see 36.3 megapixels as some astronomical number; we could proceed with confidence because we expected to reach our goal gradually through a series of building blocks: for example, increasing the precision of the image sensor, improving the performance of the optical low-pass filter to match that of a 36.3 megapixel sensor, and developing the high-speed processing technology for the EXPEED 3 image-processing engine and the image-processing software to support high resolutions. In addition, given that Nikon boasts NIKKOR lenses with superior optical performance, we thought that they could be combined with the D800 to get the most from the lenses and camera."
  • mvheystmvheyst Member
    edited March 2012
    A month with the Nikon D800: Interview with Jim Brandenburg (abridged)

    Selected extracts from What Digital Camera's interview with National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg, who spent a month with the Nikon D800 last year. In the interview he discusses his first impressions of the camera. NOTE: This is NOT a technical review of the camera. A video review will be posted once the full lab test has been completed To watch the full 20 minute interview visit: whatdigitalcamera.com/jimbrandenburg

  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    And nearly two years later, I am still very happy with my Nikon D4 bodies, and have no regret about buying them over the D800 mega-monster-pixel camera.

    For my work, I still don't want or need more pixels than the D4 offers.

    All of which makes the new Nikon Df that more interesting, despite some limitations:

    The sensor is awesome.
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