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S2 versus D100


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#1 emeraldseadiver

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 03:51 PM

I have been shooting with an F90 in an Aquatica housing, I am almost ready to take the plunge to digital!I am trying to decide between the S2 and the D100 for use underwater. I understand that TTL is not available for the D100. Are there any other options or issues that should be considered? :freak:

#2 james

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 04:14 PM

The D100 is slightly smaller and has a better battery system. There are more housings for the D100, but this is a moot point if you are going to use an Aquatica housing - they are identical.

The S2's image quality is acknowledged to be better and it has slightly better resolution and noise performance.

Software support for the D100 is better.

Whew! Well that answer only took me 30 seconds. Probably because I've answered this one so many times.

W/ that said, BOTH are great cameras.

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#3 davephdv

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 04:31 PM

The image quality of the S2 is acknowledged to be better by S2 owners. Engineering types will point out that the S2 has lower noise. The images from the D100 look better.
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#4 james

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 04:35 PM

You know what? It's just a camera - and a camera is a tool. Use the one that you like and that feels right to you.

Your mileage may vary.

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#5 craig

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 02:38 AM

The images from the D100 look better.

Up 'til now I haven't seen anything that suggests either image looks "better". Any references?

I'm aware of reviews that state that S2 noise performance is better and it provides somewhat higher resolution in 12MP mode. I've assumed the reviewer was correct in producing those numbers. I haven't seen any subjective comments on image quality that are consistent and definitive. Most express a preference based on ergonomics. In any event, the big three cameras are vastly more alike than different.

Just to throw a wrench in the works, has anyone looked at the revised Sigma SD9 results at dpreview? The Foveon camera now significantly betters the D60 in noise performance in the red channel and its overall noise is better than the D100 (using ISO 100). The updated Kodak 14n looks pretty good, too.
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#6 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 10:59 AM

Although it has been stated many times on wetpixel none of the guys has confirmed what you say about TTL. So I will.

The S2 will TTL with standard Nikon/Nikonos strobes. The D100 will not - and has to be used in with manual flash. The D100 will perform TTL (well DTTL) only with Nikon's latest DX range of flashguns, which can be housed but do not have the coverage for wide angle UW.

I am a D100 owner and think that the S2 is better because it can TTL with existing UW strobes. But I do not think that this differences warrants trading in a D100 for an S2. Many/most S2 users who post on wetpixel seem to use manual flash for much of their photography, anyway.

What is the real world battery perfomance like with the S2. With my D100 a battery charge always lasts for a full day of UW shooting (and I like being in the water). If the S2 can do this too I can't see an issue on the battery front.

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#7 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 11:13 AM

I decided to move this post to Tips and Techniques! Alex

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#8 Kasey

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 02:53 AM

Just to throw a wrench in the works, has anyone looked at the revised Sigma SD9 results at dpreview?  The Foveon camera now significantly betters the D60 in noise performance in the red channel and its overall noise is better than the D100 (using ISO 100).  The updated Kodak 14n looks pretty good, too.

I couldn't find a revision for the 14 N review. Where can I learn more about it?
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#9 craig

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 03:08 AM

I recall the initial reviews of the 14n were very negative, especially the noise performance. The dpreview article was not nearly so bad. I assumed the article had been updated but apparently not. The 14n doesn't appear to be the disaster that was initially predicted though.
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#10 HulaMike

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 05:03 PM

"I'm aware of reviews that state that S2 noise performance is better and it provides somewhat higher resolution in 12MP mode. I've assumed the reviewer was correct in producing those numbers. I haven't seen any subjective comments on image quality that are consistent and definitive. Most express a preference based on ergonomics. In any event, the big three cameras are vastly more alike than different."

You really can't make a subjective definitive analysis, can you. That's an oxymoron like 'same difference' or 'living dead'. But I'll offer a subjective opinion based on making large format fine art prints professionally for the past 8 years. Up to 20"x30" prints from the Fuji S2 smoke almost every other DSLR in existence. Period. That includes the Kodak 14N, D1x, D100, Canon D60, 10D, Sigma....fill in the blank. That's not to say output is poor from any of the other cameras mentioned, just that output from them pales when compared to the Fuji S2.

There's a clarity and dimensionality with S2 imagry that's far better than what I've seen from other cameras in this price range. Plus, if you've ever shot Fuji film and liked the color, you'll love the S2.

Just an opinion. You asked for subjectivity, this is mine.

#11 craig

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 05:52 PM

I think if every reviewer out there said they strongly preferred the subjective image quality of one camera over another then that would be pretty definitive. I didn't say a single subjective analysis would be definitive, I was referring to the reviewers collectively not expressing subjective impressions consistently the same. Here is a "definitive" definition of the word "definitive". From it you can see that subjective opinions can certainly be definitive, so it's not an oxymoron at all. If you like you can leave it at "consistent".

As for the S2 image quality, I'm certain it's a fine camera but I don't believe it's the last word in digital SLR's. I'm confident the 1Ds can outperform it given the right lens. I believe the 14n would as well, and there's certainly digital backs for medium format cameras that had better or people wouldn't be ponying up the dough for them. You're entitled to your opinion, though. Others prefer Nikon or Canon.

In what way does Fuji's experience with film make their S2 better? Frankly, I don't concern myself with the minor differences in color performance between cameras underwater. It's all overwhelmed by what's happening to the light anyway and you don't really have any idea what the color should have been (if there even is such a thing). Digital is much different than film, so anyone's experience with certain films is irrelevant. Experienced shooters will tell you film works much differently than digital underwater.
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#12 HulaMike

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 10:57 PM

To Craig...

Take a look at images off some sort of printing device, not on-screen. Maybe then you'll be able to understand what I'm refering to.

I was comparing pro-sumer DSLR camera's in the $2000 range, not medium format digital backs for God's sake! And I'm sure the 1Ds is a fine DSLR at what, $8000? Even so, from what I've seen I'd pick the S2 image over the 1DS given the right lens. You might feel differently.

As far as your other comments go, light is light; underwater or above. If your preference of DSLR has a hard time imaging UW maybe you should look for another camera to dive with or learn how to maximize the one you own.

As to color, there is a decided difference among the competing DSLRs out there. Honestly, haven't you noticed the difference? Nikon DSLR color looks flat to me. Canon so-so. I intentionally compared the Fuji S2 color gamut to Fuji film. There is a correlation. The S2 has three color settings. One looks like Astia (flat and unemotional) One looks like Velvia (DisneyLand Punch) and one looks like Provia (Nice balance between the other two). In other words these settings look exactly like Fuji film; IE: deeply saturated greens and reds. Some like that (I know I do) and some don't.

One thing that's generally accepted by the professional photographic community is that the S2 renders flesh tone better than any other DSLR on the market, it was designed for the wedding/portrait shooter afterall. To me that translates to more natural color thoughout the camera's dynamic range. You can see it in large format prints from a carefully edited RAW file. Please take the time to look at such output. If your only experince in comparing camera systems is looking at images on-screen you're not approaching the subject correctly.

#13 tshepherd

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 03:47 AM

If your only experince in comparing camera systems is looking at images on-screen you're not approaching the subject correctly.



And why is this? If you are working with a properly color managed system, then the output should look the same for a print as it does on screen, at least in terms of colors. After all, isn't that one of the major benefits of digital imaging, to be able to tune the print to look the way it should before it's printed? Isn't that why people spend tons of money buying color profiling systems, to ensure that the image is consistent across all mediums?

As for everything other than the S2 being "flat" in color, that's just color management as well. Ok, so maybe the S2 has a choice of color space that is similar to Velvia, but isn't Velvia known and loved because it somewhat oversaturates colors? Bob (cybergoldfish) made a good point in a different thread on film here that the choice of film should be based on the type of work and effect you want to get from it. Same thing could be said of the color space chosen, as well as the parameters for saturation, contrast, etc.

I'm not saying the S2 isn't a great camera, there are plenty of examples of people just in this forum that can make it sing (james, marriard, etc). But to say the S2 is the best hands down is silly. Each of the three current comparable dSLRs have strengths and weaknesses, and there really is no clear "best".

#14 craig

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 06:49 AM

I was comparing pro-sumer DSLR camera's in the $2000 range, not medium format digital backs for God's sake! And I'm sure the 1Ds is a fine DSLR at what, $8000? Even so, from what I've seen I'd pick the S2 image over the 1DS given the right lens. You might feel differently.

Actually, you weren't. You said "prints from the Fuji S2 smoke almost every other DSLR in existence. Period. That includes the Kodak 14N, D1x, D100, Canon D60, 10D, Sigma....fill in the blank." So I filled in the blank. You did include, after all, the 14n and the D1x. Hardly $2000 DSLR's.

Light is not light once it gets underwater. Light you take for granted above water you'll never see below. Strobes approximate daylight but are not perfect (<100 CRI) and are also effected by water. You either get bad light (ambient), mixed light, or pure strobe (maybe close to daylight). Since you never know precisely what you get, what you don't know is far greater than the differences between cameras. That is my opinion. When did you ever see perfect flesh tones in an underwater photo (or great flesh tones on a fish)?

I also don't understand why I need to look at prints to evaluate color. CRT's have very wide dynamic range and superior gamut when compared to many print processes. Besides what make you think I haven't?

The rest reads more like Fuji worship than anything objective. I'm glad you like the S2 and know others who like it as well. I have every reason to believe the S2 is the equal of the D100/10D, but I don't believe the S2 is the choice of professional photographers and pros frequently don't choose cameras with the best image quality anyway. Better flesh tones don't translate into "more natural color thoughout the camera's dynamic range" unless you define natural as whatever fleshtones the S2 produces. Since my interest is underwater, fleshtones as not high on my priority list.

I chose the D100 because I wanted to use the 70-180 macro lens and the best port for that lens is made by Nexus. Nexus doesn't offer an S2 housing. Aquatica does and now has a port for that lens but I'm happy with my Nexus setup. My camera never leaves the housing. If I want land shots I use something else.
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#15 Mega1Gator

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 03:32 PM

S2

#16 HulaMike

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 06:36 PM

"And why is this? If you are working with a properly color managed system, then the output should look the same for a print as it does on screen, at least in terms of colors."


The simple answer is color luminescence (monitor) versus color reflectivity (print) are not the same. If all you want is a good image on screen for your website you could just as well use a Nikon Coolpix 950 and save several thousands of dollars. But most photographers make prints of their images at some point in time. Due to various issues ranging from color management to dot gain in the printed image the two are decidedly not equal.

Another way to look at it would be this. Suppose 10 of us could transport our computers and monitors to a single location. Then we'd all open up the same image on screen. I'd bet $1000 that we'd have 8-10 different looking images. How do we then determine ultimate image quality? The only way would be to have images printed by a common means. That's where definitive, objective analysis could be made.

#17 HulaMike

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 07:10 PM

Craig,

Don't make this personal. I'm glad you like your D100 and are getting acceptable images from it UW. Congrats!

I was comparing current 6mp $2000 DSLRs, not $25k digital medium format camera backs or the 1Ds. The D1x is OLD technology as digital goes and it's 4+mp image not up to current standards. I don't care if Nikon still charges $3500 for it, it's past tense. Same could be said for the failed Kodak 14N, failed Contax, lackluster Sigma Foveon and lackluster Canon 10D. In my original post I mentioned, "almost" every other DSLR in existence, not all; but I'd challenge you or anyone to prove me wrong with any image from any 35mm DSLR. Show me your best image and I'll show you mine. We'll let the readership here decide.

I am not a Fuji worshiper. I am a fan of image quality however. The fact that I've spent 30 years with Nikon systems means only that I'm reluctant to jump ship for Canon, Sigma or Pentax; I have too much invested in Nikkor glass. Right now I honestly believe that the S2 offers a superior image in the digital 35mm realm. Its a subjective opinion (wasn't that the impetus of this thread?) based on professional analysis of many thousands of images. Tomorrow, maybe the D2h will smoke the S2, next year the D2x. After that the Canon 2Ds. Who knows? Right now I think the S2 is at the top of the heap. Just a personal observation. Your mileage may vary.

#18 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 12:42 AM

Wednesday night at a BSoUP meeting I gave a talk on shooting medium format UW. I projected my original slides and in a dark room on a large screen & they looked very nice indeed. They were followed by a 35mm competition and a digital SLR presentation - and to use the wetpixel vernacular - the medium format shots smoked the others in quality terms!

After the talk the Chairman of BSoUP remembered that he had wanted to use one of my Hasselblad shots in an article he writes for a diving mag. And he asked me to email a jpg to the editor. The editor replied saying that he didn't see the point in using medium format in the mag, where the extra quality of the original could not be translated and would rather use one of my recent pictures that would be more of an attention grabber.

The world is changing. Digital preferred to medium format! I'm only joking, of course, but the point is that editors are more interested in wow factor of the image than the image quality of the camera. I guess the lesson I learned is that the most important component in your system is the nut that holds the camera.

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#19 scorpio_fish

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 05:19 AM

the medium format shots smoked the others in quality terms!



Medium format is for wimps. Large format rules!!!! :rolleyes: I need a large format housing. So what I can only take one shot during the dive. So what I will need a minute or two exposure (hold still fishies). The quality will make MF look like a crayon drawing. Huh? You mean that's not the point? Oh well.

Gee, I'm not sure there is a consensus that thinks the S2 provides a far better image than any other D-SLR out there. I do like the out of camera images results better than the D100 myself. Is it demonstrably superior? I didn't think so. It's just different. Different firmware. Differant tone curve. It's almost analagous to which film. Some like Velvia pop. Others prefer a different color response curve.

If I didn't own Photoshop and only used my images as is, JPEGs or TIFFs based on camera settings, I'd definitely go for the S2.

Alas, so many factors. When I go shoot on land, I've got my D100 with MB100 grip and two lith-ion batteries. It has an L bracket quick release plate for quick orientation changes on my tripod. I can fire off 500 shots in a sunrise or sunset, reviewing the histogram overlay and adjusting exposure either on the camera or grip. I can't do this on an S2.
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#20 james

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 05:29 AM

Believe it or not, the MB-16 will fit on the S2 - but the vertical release won't work.

But you up your battery power from 4x AA's to 8x AA's - enough to shoot 5 or 6 hundred shots.

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