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Model Photography, The Test: $9,500 Nikon D3X w/85mm PC Micro vs $400 P&S Nikon P330!

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  • Member since
    April 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Model Photography, The Test: $9,500 Nikon D3X w/85mm PC Micro vs $400 P&S Nikon P330!
Posted by Hodakamax on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 12:35 PM

I've been messing with this all morning mostly for my own information but you model photographers might find this interesting. There's really no comparison with these two cameras in professional photography. The D3X will shoot any assignment with speed, excellent viewing, high resolution, whopper buffer and fast large image storage. The internal computer nails auto focus, exposure, color balance and more. That along with being to mount almost any interchangable Nikon SLR lenses ever made from Fisheye, Super wide angle, extreme telephoto$ and an assortment of specialty lenses involving UV, PC, Astro, Micro, medical and more. You get what you pay for.

On the other side we have the trusty point and shoot Nikon P330 at near the top of the line for its class of the somewhat inexpensive amatuer/consumer niche. It has adjustable settings. It shoots good stuff and could be used for some assignments with good results. Its small sensor requires it to use short focal length lenses which increase its depth of field. The lens is a 5.1-25.5mm zoom. In close-up photography, increased DOF is a plus and this camera has an advantage over the DSLR in that sense.

For quick model shoots for the Forum(s), this type of camera is a good choice. The big DSLR can shoot anything but requires more work and expense as we get into the modeler's world of close-ups. For my model photography the P&S P330 was doing a good job with little effort. In my mind I knew the big pro D3X could do a better job and I set out to prove it for a magazine shoot. Hmm, I must be doing something wrong, the P330 is consistently equal or better than the DSLR and much easier to use. Time for a real test.

Both cameras were set at ISO 400 and the P330 at its smallest f-stop, f8, for maximum DOF. The D3X was fitted with a special 85mm Micro Perspective Control (PC) Tilt/Shift lens which allowed me to tilt the plane of focus to have both ends of the ruler in focus at least in that plane. This lens was stopped down to f16 which was not its smallest but the smaller ones were not as sharp due to diffraction.

Results: Wow, the big DSLR set-up took quite the effort to even equal the P&S. The little P330 was scary sharp. The D3X had equal sharpness but at great effort.The D3Xs bigger files, more megapixels and better computer all made for a smoother look and better color and tone rendititions especially at larger magnifications.

The bottom line is in my opinion is that the relatively inexpensive P&S P330 is easier to use and meets all the requirements for most intended uses such as print and internet use. For really large magnification and quality the D3X and its special lens does have the edge but at quite the cost and effort. That's why all almost of the things I put on the Forum are shot with the P&S P330.

Whew! Lotsa fiddling, but fun in that I am supposed to be a photographer, lol. We photographers cringe when someone like my wife shoots something on her iphone that doesn't look too bad and we still don't admit it. "Much to Max's chagrin" as my wife puts it.




  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, March 23, 2017 9:49 AM

Very impressive work from the P330.  I had to examine the actual large images rather than the smaller images in the FSM post to see any difference.

One thing that helps the depth of field at f/8 is that the high angle of the shot kind of reduces the apparent depth of the model. It would be interesting to see the two shooting from, say wing level or ground level with camera axis horizontal.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota


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