Yesterday I had a great opportunity to play with 4 of the most drooled over digital's on the market on Saturday, the D1X, D1H, D30 and S1. A good friend of mine is a manager at Mike's Camera in Denver and he and I got together to do comparison shots. Granted, it was very unscientific, but it did provide a lot of information about each individual camera.
He suggested that we shoot two photos, one of a brick wall and the other of a human face. Each camera was set to equivilent settings and used comparable lenses. We used the 17-35mm USM Canon lens for the D30 and a Nikon 18-35mm for the other 3.
Each photo was shot at the highest resolution, auto-white balance, normal sharpening and RAW format, except for the S1 which uses TIFF. We then printed out 8x10s from the samples we took, with no alterations of any kind. Here are some of my observations:
The D1X, D1H and D30 had virtually no noise present in the photos, VERY clean and tough to tell apart. The S1 showed minor noise, but not enough to cause any problems.
The color balance from all cameras was very good, but I would give the slight edge to the Nikon's, they just seemed a little more natural. The S1 did display a greenish cast on both photos, but from what I understand, that is a normal problem. The D30 was very accurate as well, except the RAW images just looked grayish to me?
The sharpness and detail was definetely won by the Nikon's, the RAW (NEF) photos were very obviously sharper than both the D30 and S1. The D30s out of the camera softness is documented, so it really didn't surprise us much. One thing I was surprised at is the subtle differences between the D1X and D1H. To my surprise, at 8x10, the D1H seemed to produce better results than its more expensive counterpart. It just seemed to bring out more details in the photos, especially in the human face.
These are just some of my observations. All of them are magnificent cameras. But from the this limited un-scientific test this is how I would rank these guys:
1.) Nikon D1H
2.) Nikon D1X
3.) Canon D30
4.) Fuji S1
I honestly thought the D1X would clean house, but little brother impressed me more. It just goes to show, more megapixels does not mean better pixtures!