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Why I Don't Upgrade With Each New Camera Model

October 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Source: DxO Mark

Source: DxO Mark

The two charts from the good folks over at DxO Mark that open this blog post provide the exact reason why I don't upgrade with each new model that comes out. Basically what you're looking at is a comparison of the signal to noise ratios (a measure of sensor noise at various ISOs) between the Nikon D800 and D810 and the Lumix GH3 and GH4. I'll insert the other DxO Mark charts after my commentary, but basically they tell the same story. The rate of improvement in camera sensor performance doesn't move steadily forward. True, there can be many valid reasons for upgrading that have nothing to do with sensor performance. For example, if video was critical to you and you wanted to shoot 4K video, then upgrading to the Lumix GH4 would make tons of sense. I shoot little video, so for me that is not a compelling reason. The better electronic viewfinder in the Panasonic Lumix GH4 is interesting, but that alone is not enough of a reason for me to upgrade.

The basic story that the DxO Mark charts tell is that if you're a stills shooter, there's little to no gain in sensor performance in moving from the Nikon D800 to the D810 and the Lumix GH3 to the GH4, my two primary systems. When I moved from my old Nikon D200 to the D700, I saw a huge improvement in low-light performance, dynamic range and color rendition. When I moved from the D700 to the D800 I realized a huge improvement in resolution, enabling large printing, and a significant increase in dynamic range at lower ISOs. Before I upgrade my D800 and GH3 I will want to see similar bumps in performance. In the meantime, I'm going to be happy shooting with what I have. That presumes though that Nikon fixes the focusing issues on my D800. I'm up for round two in sending it in for repair. I hope they get it right this time. If not I may be forced prematurely into getting a new camera. That would not make me happy.

Source: DxO Mark

Source: DxO Mark

Source: DxO Mark

Source: DxO Mark

Source: DxO Mark

Source: DxO Mark


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