ISO Test, Old yet still new…

ISO Test, Old yet still new…

Recently I have been looking into the plethora of digital camera systems on the market and thinking where do you start in terms of an upgrade or sidegrade*?

I have for the past few years been using a Nikon D300 & 18-200mm VR, which has been a wonderful kit that produced great results. My thought process was to eventually upgrade to a full-frame sensor kit, either down the route of a Nikon D700 or a Canon 5D MKII, now there are all manner of newer models all with their targeted labels; Pro, Semi-Pro, Enthusiast… In the professional market you are governed by consumerism and your clients expectations into having the biggest, latest, shiniest and not forgetting the most expensive kit on the market to be deemed worthy.

Frankly most photographers hardly use their kit to its fullest potential in terms of its mega pixel quality and its destined final resolution; which nowadays the end product ends up on the web or in a magazine which rarely necessitates a 28MP image.

This got me thinking of an ISO comparison test I did in 2005 and the quality of the image produced at ISO 200 would probably be suitable for some of todays applications. The camera in question was a Nikon D70 with an old Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 AI-s. Both sets of images do exhibit some chromatic aberration and the focus fall off is quite sharp. Yet they still look good:

D70 ISO 200ISO 200

D70 ISO 1600ISO 1600

Crop D70 ISO 200100% Crop ISO 200

Crop D70 ISO 1600100% Crop ISO 1600

So do you bow down to consumerism pressure and buy a particular camera because it is the latest model that is only marginally better than the previous years model? A slight nod to a popular fruit based brand that creates hoards of hipster zombies each year with their latest regurgitated model that only boasts slight improvements over the last. 
Are digital camera manufacturers following suit, where each year they will just add on some randomly generated suffix to last years designation and flaunt some techno-babble improvement? Or will the market just implode because we have reached the peak of what is required; then again they could just tweak the shutter components so they actually only last 25,000 actuations forcing you to upgrade as they no longer make the parts, I could go on, but I won’t. 
* I mention a side-grade. Well the logical route from a D300 would be either the D700, D800 or the D600 which to be honest annoys me; why can not Nikon just stick with a couple of models for a few years and even make the designations logical. Due to this I am moving away from Nikon and the idea of a FX DSLR and going down the route of a compact system with interchangeable lenses. This has led me to the Fuji X-Pro1… Watch this space


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