Nikon D3, D700 and D300
As we say in racing, the BS stops when the green flag drops.
Let's see which camera is the sharpest. All three of these cameras have the same 12 MP resolution. The D3 and D700 have larger FX sensors, and the D300 has the smaller DX-sized sensor.
Here are crops from 100% images directly from each camera.
Analysis back to top
As expected, I've confirmed that the D3, D700 and D300 look identical when shot under identical conditions and settings. Online experts will go on and on trying to compare different cameras shot under different conditions, but if you actually shot these sorts of things for yourself, even I'm amazed at just how identical these three crops look. Things never match this well between cameras, and heck, I didn't even bother to pull the cameras out of Auto WB!
Even though the D300 is inferior at ISO 3,200 for blowing up to insane levels, shot properly in daylight, all three cameras are not just similar, they are visually identical. OK, maybe I can make myself see some very slight differences in the D300 image, but ask yourself: if you had just one of these images in your hand, could you tell which was which? I couldn't, and you always can tweak the sharpness settings up or down in each camera. Shoot as many of these comparisons as I do, and things never look this close.
Technik back to top
These are crops from the center of each image. The full image at this magnification would print 40 inches (1 meter) wide.
I use specially grown reference trees at a regional arboretum (tree museum) instead of man-made objects like star targets, classified ads or buildings precisely because an educated eye can see far more with natural targets. Trees have a fractal nature, meaning that there is detail at every level, every resolution, every amplitude and in every direction. Artificial target edges only have detail at odd-harmonic series, at discrete amplitudes and only in some directions. Test targets miss a lot of things that become obvious with appropriate natural targets. There was no wind and no heat shimmer.
Manual exposure, 1/500 at f/8, ISO 200.
Slightly hazy daylight. Auto A3 WB. Sharpening set to 5, saturation set to +3. ADR set to NORM for D3 and D300, set to AUTO in D700.
Nikon Zoom-NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 AF-S set to 36mm for D300. Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 AI-s on D3 and D700. Each is the sharpest possible lens I could scrounge up for each format, and having done so many of these tests, any of these lenses is better than any of these cameras. I also shot a 35mm f/1.4 AI-s on the D300 and the results were the same, but size didn't match as closely.
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