Image quality - EM1 MK II / EM1X vs Nikon D500

Pluttis

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Hi guys. Thanks all for the discussion. The reason for asking is that I’m doing a bit more birding, and here in the UK in the autumn and winter it gets very dark and gloomy (even at midday). Quite often with my Olympus cameras I find myself at ISO 3200-6400 just to get a shutter speed of 1/100 at times.

It just got me wondering if under the same circumstances the D500 would serve better, and it seems from the discussion above, it would but not by a significant amount. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought the OMD cameras punched above their weight in the high ISO stakes, but as usual we always want more.

I also have a Nikon Z6, but my longest glass is the kit 24-70 :biggrin:, so if I was going to use that for birding I guess I would have to stump up for the 200-500 to get me anywhere near long enough or the Tamron 150-600 II (but I’m not sure if the Tamron plays nicely with the FTZ adapter ?

Hmm...things to ponder.
D500 will serve you better at those ISO, not only in noise but it will probably also give you more keepers due to better AF performance.
 

masayoshi

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Hi guys. Thanks all for the discussion. The reason for asking is that I’m doing a bit more birding, and here in the UK in the autumn and winter it gets very dark and gloomy (even at midday). Quite often with my Olympus cameras I find myself at ISO 3200-6400 just to get a shutter speed of 1/100 at times.

It just got me wondering if under the same circumstances the D500 would serve better, and it seems from the discussion above, it would but not by a significant amount. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought the OMD cameras punched above their weight in the high ISO stakes, but as usual we always want more.

I also have a Nikon Z6, but my longest glass is the kit 24-70 :biggrin:, so if I was going to use that for birding I guess I would have to stump up for the 200-500 to get me anywhere near long enough or the Tamron 150-600 II (but I’m not sure if the Tamron plays nicely with the FTZ adapter ?

Hmm...things to ponder.
It may or may not be relevant for you, but I was surprised when I had a test shot of sparrow in the shade of the tree in my backyard with D850, and the file (ISO3200) came out very clean. DSC_5124_cropped
I think 200-500 with Z6 would be the best bet in your scenario. I do have Tamron 150-600 G2, but F6.3 on the long end makes it 'bright light lens', in my experience. And 200-500 is a little bit sharper.
 
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Hi guys. Thanks all for the discussion. The reason for asking is that I’m doing a bit more birding, and here in the UK in the autumn and winter it gets very dark and gloomy (even at midday). Quite often with my Olympus cameras I find myself at ISO 3200-6400 just to get a shutter speed of 1/100 at times.

It just got me wondering if under the same circumstances the D500 would serve better, and it seems from the discussion above, it would but not by a significant amount. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought the OMD cameras punched above their weight in the high ISO stakes, but as usual we always want more.

I also have a Nikon Z6, but my longest glass is the kit 24-70 :biggrin:, so if I was going to use that for birding I guess I would have to stump up for the 200-500 to get me anywhere near long enough or the Tamron 150-600 II (but I’m not sure if the Tamron plays nicely with the FTZ adapter ?

Hmm...things to ponder.
Will you see an improvement at ISO 3200-6400 with the D500 over the E-M1 II? Yes.

Will it be a big improvement like what you see with your Z6? No.

Does the Tamron 150-600 II work nicely on the Z6 via the FTZ? Yes, so long as you update the FW that Tamron released a few months back. The 200-500 works flawlessly with the Z6, as its a Nikon lens.
 
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This is really around where Olympus should have priced the camera. It's a good $2200-2300 camera, but it's an awful deal at $3000.
Yeah, it's a tough sell at $3k (the same way the E-M1 II was a tough sell at $2k).

I felt really bad for the guy that lost $1k (33% :eek:) in the span of what was likely a month of ownership. He's a nice guy, I sold my 150/2 SHG to him. He didn't own that lens very long either before I saw him selling it...
 

Growltiger

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Here's what I would do, I guess.
Set up a tripod (got a Gitzo series 3), and turn off any IS (both lens/body IS for Olympus, and lens IS for Nikon). Find out a subject in the shade. Something like a pine tree branches and pine cones, which allow analysis of details, and the noise. Maybe place a Bald Eagle (a stuffed animal, I have) in the shade:blush:. Center spot metering, F5.6 fixed, keep EC +/- zero, and change ISO 1600, 3200, and 6400 (by changing SS) and shoot RAW. Maybe use remote release to eliminate any effects by shutter shock. Are there any flaws in this test design?
Comments/criticisms/suggestions highly welcome, because I don't want to waste time to go back and forth to redo testings.
Now I feel like I'm becoming Tony ....somebody:cool:.
I think what you describe makes very little sense. You are not, in real life, going to be turning off IS, and photographing a stuffed bird!
When designing a scientific test you would need to decide exactly what you are testing, and design each test around that? The sensor? The lens? Usability (e.g. can you handhold a Nikon 600mm lens to get a bird in flight)? The post processing? And what about "equivalence"?

For almost all photographers they will gain more from a practical test doing what they normally do with a camera, which is to go out and take some photos. Why not put both cameras around your neck, go out and take the same photo at the same time with both cameras, using all the features available, and the best settings for each camera. So don't turn off IS. For example Olympus will do better in low light with a static subject because of the excellent IS. The D500 will do better taking moving objects in near darkness.
 

whumber

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Yeah, it's a tough sell at $3k (the same way the E-M1 II was a tough sell at $2k).

I felt really bad for the guy that lost $1k (33% :eek:) in the span of what was likely a month of ownership. He's a nice guy, I sold my 150/2 SHG to him. He didn't own that lens very long either before I saw him selling it...
That's a very frustrating lens, I had mine for about 9 months before I finally sold it. The optical quality is truly superb and the build quality is great but the AF motors Olympus used just do not do the optics justice at all. It's like if Canon took their 400 2.8 and put the focus motor from the old 50mm f/1.8 in it. The PL 200 2.8, on the other hand, is what the 150 could have been if it had non-garbage AF motors; just a bit longer and slower.
 

masayoshi

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I think what you describe makes very little sense. You are not, in real life, going to be turning off IS, and photographing a stuffed bird!
When designing a scientific test you would need to decide exactly what you are testing, and design each test around that? The sensor? The lens? Usability (e.g. can you handhold a Nikon 600mm lens to get a bird in flight)? The post processing? And what about "equivalence"?

For almost all photographers they will gain more from a practical test doing what they normally do with a camera, which is to go out and take some photos. Why not put both cameras around your neck, go out and take the same photo at the same time with both cameras, using all the features available, and the best settings for each camera. So don't turn off IS. For example Olympus will do better in low light with a static subject because of the excellent IS. The D500 will do better taking moving objects in near darkness.
OK, point taken. I can certainly do the real life tests but low light, high ISO is just tough now, because sunlight in Utah is too strong. It will take some time.;)
 

Robstar1963

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Hi guys. Thanks all for the discussion. The reason for asking is that I’m doing a bit more birding, and here in the UK in the autumn and winter it gets very dark and gloomy (even at midday). Quite often with my Olympus cameras I find myself at ISO 3200-6400 just to get a shutter speed of 1/100 at times.

It just got me wondering if under the same circumstances the D500 would serve better, and it seems from the discussion above, it would but not by a significant amount. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought the OMD cameras punched above their weight in the high ISO stakes, but as usual we always want more.

I also have a Nikon Z6, but my longest glass is the kit 24-70 :biggrin:, so if I was going to use that for birding I guess I would have to stump up for the 200-500 to get me anywhere near long enough or the Tamron 150-600 II (but I’m not sure if the Tamron plays nicely with the FTZ adapter ?

Hmm...things to ponder.
As I currently own one I feel I have to throw the Fuji XT3 in as an option
AF is very good if not up to the standard of the D500 and noticeably better than my experience with M43 in terms of having a higher number of keepers
My experience is also that the files from the XT3 are much better for cropping which is a frequent requirement in my case and perhaps with birding
The weight and size is a good compromise between the large (quality) lenses associated with using the Nikon and those of M43
I use the 50-140 f2.8 and the 100-400 both of which will accept the Fuji 1.4 TC for added versatility
Images are definitely not night and day better than M43 but they do have better colour rendition imo and a little more contrast
The 100-400 is reasonably sized (the only difficulty for me with its size is due to back injuries) and produces nicely sharp images
I haven’t tested it with the 1.4 TC as I’m not interested in testing for the hell of it and haven’t yet needed the extra reach
When I go to Silverstone MotoGP at the end of August I expect to use the TC if I still have the lens as I also have the Pana Leica 200f2.8 with TCs and may choose to forego one or the other for financial reasons (though I find making my mind up in such situations a real headache :shakehead:
I originally bought into the Fuji X System for low light improvement over M43 for Speedway which takes place under failing evening light especially at the beginning of the season
I find it about 1 - 1 1/2 stops better in terms of actual use-ability for low light stills and fast moving bikes/riders
I’m not into facts and figures with regard to the performance of one system over another but my experience is that the Fuji system has some worthwhile performance advantages but some degree of size / weight disadvantage compared to M43
I still keep hold of my M43 system as it is much better imo with regard to having a good range of affordable quality lenses and the IBIS in some shooting scenarios provides a significant advantage over the Fuji XT3
There is nothing in the Fuji range which would match the 12-100 or the 75 F1.8 for example at any where near similar pricing (as far as I know) so keeping hold of both systems is definitely a good option which is where I will be for the moment
I can certainly recommend the Fuji X system if you want to experiment with APSC
Regards
Rob
Edit imo if using the Fuji 100-400 you need to use the Fuji VGXT3 Battery Grip or a metal handgrip as the basic grip on the XT3 is not in the same league as that of the EM1/2 or G9 which In my experience do not need additional grips to enable the use of the larger lenses
 
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gryphon1911

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Sure the files from the D500 are a littler better and more maliability but i think its a little exaggerated to say they are far superior...have not yet seen any APS-C camera that produces fikes that are far superior those of the latest m43 offerings
You can have your opinion as I have mine... We don't have to agree.
 

whumber

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You can have your opinion as I have mine... We don't have to agree.
I think we're just bickering over what far superior means at this point. Is 1 stop far superior or does it need to be more than a stop difference?
 

gryphon1911

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I think we're just bickering over what far superior means at this point. Is 1 stop far superior or does it need to be more than a stop difference?
There is more to IQ than a 1 stop difference, or concentrating on a "one" characteristic. You have DR,. noise performance, how well the file can be part processed without talking apart. That's just for the sensor.

Next, I feel it is very short sighted to say you only care about the sensor performance and one stop of whatever on the sensor.

The whole system does matter and it is a fallacy to believe otherwise.

System performance, AF performance, battery life, ergonomics, handling all matter. If it didn't, then whoever had the largest sensor would be the only camera around.

Then we read need to consider subjectivity. I've been shooting with no issues, DSLRs with giant f/2.8 zooms for many years. Never an issue for me. Some people would get her palpitations just thinking about caring that around. To each their own.
 

whumber

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There is more to IQ than a 1 stop difference, or concentrating on a "one" characteristic. You have DR,. noise performance, how well the file can be part processed without talking apart. That's just for the sensor.
Those three are all very highly correlated though. Dynamic range is essentially just a measure of noise performance in the extreme shadows and predicts how much the files can be worked.

Next, I feel it is very short sighted to say you only care about the sensor performance and one stop of whatever on the sensor.
I never said anything of the sort and I'd appreciate you not making strawman arguments. The previous conversation was only talking about the image quality difference between m43 and APS-C and whether or not APS-C is "far superior" to m43.
 

gryphon1911

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Those three are all very highly correlated though. Dynamic range is essentially just a measure of noise performance in the extreme shadows and predicts how much the files can be worked.



I never said anything of the sort and I'd appreciate you not making strawman arguments. The previous conversation was only talking about the image quality difference between m43 and APS-C and whether or not APS-C is "far superior" to m43.
I didn't say you said it, I've simply expanded my point to a relevant conclusion. My point is that a lot of arguments want to pick one specific thing about a whole system and then use that as the litmus test. What people need to understand is the system as a whole. Doesn't matter if you have the best sensor specs in the world if your camera cannot AF worth a damn, you miss shots because the camera cannot power on or wake from sleep fast enough.

I posed this very point on why I abandonded Fuji in the early years for m43. At the time m43 was better in all aspects at the time over Fuji except IQ. Now, that is no longer the case and why I felt confident to sell off my m43 and go with Fuji as my secondary system.

Based on the sensor performance and what you can do with the images and throw in the overall system performance and I still feel that the Nikon D500 APS-C sensor is far superior to the m43 offerings - based on my specification of what I think is far superior - which I have already outlined.

Y'all m43 people need to not be so sensitive when it comes to comparisons to your gear. It's not like I don't know m43. Hell, I considered switching to it for all my paid work, but it had a significant number of shortcomings in imaging and AF performance that could not be ignored. m43 is a great system, but like anything, this is not a one size fits all scenario and just because one person "thinks" it "might" be the fit for everything doesn't make it true. And just so you don't think I'm picking on you - the D500 and APS-C is not that either - regardless of what I think. I can only speak to my experience and my needs. That conclusion for anyone who wants to hear it from me and see my evidence/experience with the system can be discussed.
 

whumber

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Based on the sensor performance and what you can do with the images and throw in the overall system performance and I still feel that the Nikon D500 APS-C sensor is far superior to the m43 offerings - based on my specification of what I think is far superior - which I have already outlined.
Ok, that's fine, but you should understand that it's kind of like you were having a separate conversation with yourself and then suddenly jumped back in as if that was the conversation going on in the rest of the thread. Everything up until that post was just a question of whether or not APS-C image quality was far superior. Nobody was talking about AF, handling, etc. Clearly though you feel that 1 stop of performance classifies as far superior and that's fine; my whole point was that you guys were bickering over the definition of far superior. I don't think anyone is going to deny that APS-C IQ is better than m43. At least not on this forum, some of the DPReview people are straight up crazy ;).

Y'all m43 people need to not be so sensitive when it comes to comparisons to your gear. It's not like I don't know m43. Hell, I considered switching to it for all my paid work, but it had a significant number of shortcomings in imaging and AF performance that could not be ignored. m43 is a great system, but like anything, this is not a one size fits all scenario and just because one person "thinks" it "might" be the fit for everything doesn't make it true. And just so you don't think I'm picking on you - the D500 and APS-C is not that either - regardless of what I think. I can only speak to my experience and my needs. That conclusion for anyone who wants to hear it from me and see my evidence/experience with the system can be discussed.
I feel like you're having a completely separate conversation all by yourself here.
 

masayoshi

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High ISO image test
So, I found marguerite shrub in the shade in my backyard, and took shots with three cameras, EM1X+300mmF4+MC14, D500+200-500 (all at 500 end), D850+500PF.
All shots in M mode, F5.6, and EC set to +0.3, center point metering. I changed SS to get different ISO. IS was ON;). Interestingly, Olympus files required +0.61 to +0.69 exposure compensation in LR to get the similar exposure, even EC in each camera were all set to +0.3. All the shots were from the same location, which yielded different FOV, so I cropped the image to get similar perspective. My Flickr album linked above contain all the images (JPG), and you can scroll over the image to find out which one is which. ISO numbers do not exactly match, because ISO was floating, while changing SS, not necessarily end up the same ISO with a given SS.
I think I can see the difference between Olympus and D500, but the difference between D500 and D850 was not so obvious once the image was cropped. I believe, if I stepped ahead to get the same FOV with D850, I would get better IQ, but that's not the point of the test. Essentially, D850 and D500 have the same pixel pitch, so no-or-little difference is understandable.

[Edit] One big thing that's different between D850 (FF) versus D500 (APS-C) was the shutter speed that is sufficiently fast to shoot at high ISO, like 2500 or 3200. D850's SS was 1/4000 when ISO was 2000, while D500's SS was 1/3200 when ISO was 2000.
 
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gryphon1911

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Ok, that's fine, but you should understand that it's kind of like you were having a separate conversation with yourself and then suddenly jumped back in as if that was the conversation going on in the rest of the thread. Everything up until that post was just a question of whether or not APS-C image quality was far superior. Nobody was talking about AF, handling, etc. Clearly though you feel that 1 stop of performance classifies as far superior and that's fine; my whole point was that you guys were bickering over the definition of far superior. I don't think anyone is going to deny that APS-C IQ is better than m43. At least not on this forum, some of the DPReview people are straight up crazy ;).



I feel like you're having a completely separate conversation all by yourself here.
I'm not, but it's fine if you don't follow my train of thought.
 
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