Although these two cameras are far a part one from another, both price wise and market share wise, it’s the first time in a long time that there is a possibility to compare between Nikon and Canon under the same resolution.
Canon EOS 400D: Jpeg Fine, PS: Standard, AutoWB, ISO100, 1/6,
Nikon D80: Jpeg Fine, Optimize Image: Normal, AutoWB, ISO100, 1/8,
Canon EOS 400D
As always, the default sharpening mode of the Nikon is lower than Canon’s. The Nikon D80, considered more professional, shows lower sharpening levels than the Canon 400D at this ISO. More over, there are significant differences in these two sharpening systems. We showed on different tests that our images are optically sharp from top to bottom. The reason these images have uneven sharpness in different zones is due to the sharpening mechanism on both cameras that work differently on the regions of the image. The systems don’t work the same on different contrast zones.
We tend to prefer the Canon’s sharpening system (despite it’s halos), it has a crisp and vivid feeling to it (as in all cameras with Picture Style). Similar sharpening levels can be achieved with the Nikon D80, but even high sharpening doesn’t reach the same crispiness, as this camera is aimed at the more professional consumers. (In contrast to the Nikon D50 that shows crisp and aggressive sharpening.
Both cameras show a very similar amount of details. Even though it might seem that the Canon 400D had a little bit more details, these details exist in the Nikon D80 but need a stronger level of sharpening to make them emphasized.
demosaicing, false colors
The Nikon D80 doesn’t show any severe false colors problems and the demosaicing patterns are hidden pretty well with a cubic pattern. We assume that this pattern comes to give an illusion of a response to the high frequencies. You can see some color in the pattern, but in a reasonable amount. With DIGIC II in the Canon 400D there is a good false color level bit the hiding of the demosaicing problems isn’t so elegant and can be improved. We hope to see this improvment in the DIGIC III.
Contrast and color
The different approaches of the two companies can really be seen here. The Nikon D80 is softer with less contrast in it, while the Canon 400D has more details in the dark zones, stronger and more vivid colors. Notice cut 6, where the detail in the girl’s face are almost unseen. Under the Nikon D80, her face is a bit too saturated. You should remember that in both cameras everything can be changed via the menus and according to the shooting scene.
It is hard to discuss the noise reduction subject under 100 ISO, we will check it in our 1600 ISO comparison.
It will be hard to say that one of these cameras is better than the other. Both companies have things to improve. It seems that no matter what camera you will choose you will be able to get a similar result.
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