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Nikon D610 Ken McMahon, December 2013
 
 

Nikon D610 vs D7100 Noise RAW

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  Nikon D610 results
1 Nikon D610 vs D7100 Quality JPEG
2 Nikon D610 vs D7100 Quality RAW
3 Nikon D610 vs D7100 Noise JPEG
4 Nikon D610 vs D7100 Noise RAW
5 Nikon D610 Sample images

To compare RAW noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100, within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

Both cameras were fitted with their respective kit lenses. The D610 was fitted with the AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G ED VR kit lens and the D7100 with the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR kit lens.

Aperture priority was set on both cameras and the aperture was set to f8 on the D610 and f5.6 on the D7100, that having previously been determined to produce the best quality results. ISO sensitivity was set manually.


Normally we'd compare the 'entry level' full frame D610 against the equivalent model from Canon, the 6D. If you want to see that comparison head to my Canon 6D review, where you can see a comparison with the D600, which has the same sensor as the D610. Or if you want to see the D600 compared to the D800, take a look at my Nikon D600 vs D800 RAW Noise page.

The above shot was taken with the Nikon D610 with the AF-S 24-85mm f3.5-5.4 kit lens. The camera was placed on a tripod and the VR turned off. Active D-lighting was turned off and other default settings were used; Long exposure NR was off, High ISO NR was normal and the white balance was set to Auto. Image quality was set to NEF (RAW) + JPEG Fine and JPEG compression was set to optimal quality. The lens was zoomed to approximately 27mm to provide an equivalent field of view to the 18-105mm (27-157mm) kit lens on the D7100 at its widest setting.

In Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f8 the camera metered an exposure of 2.5 seconds at 100 ISO. The original large fine JPEG file size was 11.44MB. At its base 100 ISO setting the D7100 metered an exposure of 1.3 seconds at f5.6. As always, the red square in the image above shows the cropped area, which is shown below at 1:1.

I processed both sets of files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. To reduce white balance differences I set both sets of files to 4150K with +7 tint. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes - as such the visible noise levels at higher ISOs will be much greater than you're used to seeing in many of my comparisons, but again it's an approach that's designed to show the actual detail that's being recorded before you start work on processing and cleaning it up if desired.

As with the outdoor results, these RAW crops confirm what the JPEG noise results suggested - the D7100's smaller sensor is noisier than the D610's full frame one, but the gap between the two is narrower than you might have thought. The D7100 is very marginally noisier at its base 100 ISO setting and the gap widens a tiny bit with each step up the sensitivity range. So it's not until around 800 ISO that there's a really significant difference. From there on up, though, there's no question that the D610's bigger sensor has the upper hand.

If high ISO performance is a critical factor for you, then making the jump to a full-frame FX body like the D610 will give you a significant improvment in 1:1 image quality and noise perfomance at the upper end of the sensitivity scale. Not only does the larger sensor area deliver lower noise and higher dynamic range, but it places fewer demands on the lens resolution, adding up to a cleaner, more detailed image. That said, if you shoot at lower sensitivities, models like the D7100 deliver very similar output at a much lower cost.

Now head over to my Nikon D610 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.


Nikon D610 RAW
 
Nikon D7100 RAW
50 ISO
50 ISO Not available
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
     
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
     
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
     
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
     
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
     
25600 ISO
25600 ISO


Nikon D610
results : Quality / RAW / Noise / RAW Noise


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