beeb wrote:I don't know how controlled the lighting was, but I much prefer the more open shadows of the D610 shot - I didn't really look into it more than that though. This test won't do much to push either lens or sensor anyway.
In a perfect world we'd all love the best lens and camera combination, but I've seen plenty of amazing shots from some very basic camera gear.
what would you recommend as the test image and conditions ?
The shadows were because of the window and early morning light. The difference was the F8 aperture and F5.6 .. the D610 at F8 removed much of the light and shadow from the window and the main source of light was from the flash.
The shutter was 1/60 for both I probably should have increased that to 1/250 to further reduce the ambient light input..
Of course most of an image is the result of the software in a cranium
but its fun to do these sort of tests to show if there are any technical differences in the gear's ability to image a scene.
If you really want to test the two setups, then consistent lighting is key. As in seal off all natural (variable) light and use constant (ie: filament bulbs, not flashing lights like energy saver "bulbs" or flourescent tubes) lights or speedlight/strobe flashes (and the same shutter speed) to light the scene for consistency between shots in the comparison. IMO, Make the light harsher also to really test dynamic range, shadow detail/noise, fine detail resolution (particular edge detail), CA, etc... And shoot at a consistent aperture also. Then the only variable left are the bodies and focal length, which with a decent quality tele-zoom, should vary very little on the optical side of things.
It's worth noting though that if you're using SOOC jpegs for the comparison - you'll probably see very little difference between cameras, as each camera will automatically compensate for all sorts of "flaws". Most modern cameras automatically detect the lens attached and correct CA and vignetting in jpeg, and with some fast-aperture primes - some cameras will slightly boost the ISO to make the OEM brand lens seem "faster" than their competitors, Canon bodies coupled with the 85mm f/1.2 L II spring to mind. Take a shot with a Sigma lens and then the Canon lens at the same aperture, and all lighting/settings being consistent the Canon combination can be shot with a faster shutter speed for the same exposure. Sneaky buggers 'ey?
But then RAW is also difficult to compare directly, as both images have to be set up to the same settings/adjustments, and depending on how well developed the RAW data interpreting is carried out by the software it can effect the consistancy of the results. ie: Adobe is (or at least was...) notoriously poor when working with images from Fuji's X-series cameras with the X-trans sensor. Often it was preferable to open a full-size jpeg as a mock-RAW image and work from their as the Fuji in-camera jpeg processor did a much better job of maintaining (faking?) better dynamic range and fine detail.
On the flip side of the coin, it's worth nothing that some folk prefer cameras or lenses with features that others would consider "flaws" as they better suit their creative visions. Less dynamic range = more contrasty/"punchy" images. Poor ISO performance can create a "gritty" look. Some old lenses create some weird effects in their bokeh (the famous Biotar/Helios swirl effect for example). Some like crop sensor bodies because they're generally smaller and lighter than the 35mm sensors. Etcera, etcera, etcera...
So in conclusion I'd say, don't worry too much about it.
Pick up whatever camera you feel comfortable with, and enjoy shooting, and as long as you feel happy with the results, that's all that really matters IMO.
At the end of the day, the camera makes very little difference - it's got more to do with being in the right place, at the right time (generally falls under "luck"), to capture the right light the best way - or to know how and when to 'break the rules' and create something fresh and innovative (this comes under "skills/practice"). If the light's amazing, the scene is beautiful, and everything's falling into place, a manual control-enabled compact camera will get surpringly close to a D-SLR if the operator knows how to subtly hide the flaws of the system...