Nikon D200 and Nikon D40 comparison shots – testing for color quality

An open book laying in long grass is a good subject for a test of sharpness in the lettering on the page and of the tonal values and color quality of the plants and leaves.

I shot the scene with the D40 with the 18-55mm kit lens, with the focal length set to 24mm, and at SO 200.

I then took a similar shot with the D200 with the 12-24mm lens, with the focal length set to 24mm, and again at ISO 200.

I shot both images hand-held as I was primarily interested in the overall image quality and the fact is that I shoot almost all my images hand-held. The rare occasions when I use a tripod substitute is when I find a convenient wall or table for low-light shots.

Moreover, I have already tested these two camera and lens combinations for sharpness (see earlier posts) and I have determined that for all intents and purposes the differences in sharpness are so small as to be ingnored.

Of course the 10 megapixels of the D200 as against the 6 megapixels of the D40 determine how large a print can be made before the appearance of the image starts to degrade. But there are such good image-upsizing products on the market now that even the maximum size one can print to is no longer written in stone.

I shot both images in RAW and opened them in CameraRaw 4.1 in Photoshop CS3. One of the nice things about Camera Raw 4.1 is that you can open two images at the same time and apply the same settings and go back and forth between the two images to see what the effects are. The settings I applied were to increase exposure by a little under half a stop, and to increase sharpening from 25 up to 92 in each image.

The full frame shots are 1000 pixels wide so I have only posted the thumbnails on this page. Click on the thumbnails to see the full-size shots.

D40 full frame
D40fullframe

D40 crop
D40crop

D200 full frame
D200fullframe

D200 crop
D200crop

Over a range of images I have taken with these cameras, my conclusion is that the D200 produces richer color and a more natural look. But in these two images I leave you to draw your own conclusion about the quality of the color in both full frame images.

I am going to put some more comparison shots up in the next few weeks.

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