Nikon D700 - Nikon D700 Studio resolution / JPEG and RAW results

Nikon D700 Studio resolution / JPEG and RAW results

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  To measure and compare the Nikon D700’s resolving power we photographed the Enhanced Digital Camera Resolution Chart with it and a number of rival models, each using their best quality JPEG and default image tone and sharpening settings. We tested the Nikon D700 with the Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8; note this was the only standard prime Nikon had available for our review. We tested it at all apertures and selected the sharpest result.

The crops are taken from the original images, saved as High Quality JPEGs in Photoshop CS2 and presented here at 100%. Each number represents 100 lines per picture height (lpph), so a figure of 20 means a resolution of 2000 lpph.

Note: we performed this test with both Nikon bodies set to their base sensitivity of 200 ISO. We also repeated the test at 100 ISO, but the results were the same.

Fitted with the Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8 lens, the Nikon D700 resolved 2400 lpph of horizontal and vertical resolution. This score matches what we measured for the Nikon D300 equipped with the same lens (although note this is a higher figure than previously recorded for the D300 with the AF-S 17-55mm DX lens). The actual images delivered by both cameras with the same lens seen below also have a very similar appearance.

So from the results below, the full-frame D700 has no visible advantage over the cropped-frame D300 when using the 50mm f1.8 at the same low sensitivity. The real advantage of full-frame comes when shooting at higher sensitivities as you’ll see on the next two results pages.

We’ve also shown results from the Canon EOS 5D and Pentax K20D here, both cameras again scoring 2400 lpph, although with different characteristics. The Nikon samples look quite soft in comparison, especially compared to the crisp output of the EOS 5D. While there were differences in optics not to mention the sensor’s anti-aliasing filter, much of this is down to default image processing.

Shoot in RAW with the D700 and even with the default conversion settings you’ll end up with a much crisper result – scroll down to the bottom of this page to see an example, or head straight over to our Nikon D700 High ISO Noise results page where we’ll see how it performs across its sensitivity range next to the Canon EOS 5D and Nikon D300.

Nikon D700
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
Nikon D300
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
2400 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO
2400 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO
Canon EOS-5D
with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM
 
Pentax K20D
with Pentax DA 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 AL
Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM horizontal resolution
2400 lpph, 85mm, f8, 100 ISO
2400 lpph, DA 18-250mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
Nikon D700
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
Nikon D300
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
2400 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO
2400 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO
Canon EOS-5D
with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM
 
Pentax K20D
with Pentax DA 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 AL
Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM vertical resolution
2300 lpph, 85mm, f8, 100 ISO
2400 lpph, DA 18-250mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO

Nikon D700 Studio resolution: JPEG versus RAW

We photographed the test chart in the Nikon D700’s 14-bit RAW plus Large Fine JPEG mode, allowing us to directly compare images created from exactly the same data. Below are crops taken from the original JPEG file alongside the RAW version, processed in Nikon Capture NX 2.0.0 using the default settings.

The RAW conversion looks much crisper than the default JPEG output, as if a veil has been lifted. It’s allowed the D700 to deliver a comfortably higher score in this test of 2550 lpph. It may be possible to improve the JPEG resolution results by tweaking the in-camera settings, but it’s clear that shooting in RAW can deliver significant resolution benefits.

Now let’s check out the camera’s performance at different sensitivities in our Nikon D700 High ISO Noise results page.

Nikon D700 JPEG
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
Nikon D700 RAW
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
2400 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO
2550 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO

Nikon D700 JPEG
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
Nikon D700 RAW
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
2400 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO
2550 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO
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