Pro Selection: Professional Digital SLR Camera Image Samples

In the July issue of Professional Photographer magazine, Ron Eggers assessed the current top models of pro DSLR cameras. Here you can see sample images from those cameras along with a 1:1 pixel selection (click for full view). Images were saved in Photoshop for Web viewing as JPEGs at Quality: 85 in sRGB.

All images ©Ron Eggers unless otherwise noted. Eggers was not given access to a review unit of the Leica Digilux 3 to create independent sample images.

Canon EOS 40D: 1/250 second at f/11 (+.67), ISO 200

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III: 1/500 second at f/14, ISO 400

Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro: 1/180 second at 7.1, ISO 640

Nikon D300: 1/200 second at f/18, ISO 800 [Image ©Ellis Vener]

Nikon D3: 1/200 second at f/2.8, ISO 200

Olympus E-3: 1/800 second at f/4 (+.3), ISO 250 [Image ©Joan T. Sherwood]

Sony Alpha DLSR-A700: 1/640 second at f/9, ISO 200

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Comments (27)

Was looking forward to seeing a good side-by-side comparison from which I could draw useful conclusions and make a purchasing decision. Instead, I saw useless snapshots. No comparison. No value. PPA magazine always does a better job than this. Hope you didn't pay Mr. Eggers for this 'work'. It's a disgrace.

jan:

This "comparison" has no theoretical or practical value whatsoever. It seems to me that this is a free (or paid for?) publicity for the photographers who took these shots. If you want to be serious, take one shot under identical conditions with all the cameras, with the identical exposure values. Then we can talk about a comparison. What you present is a joke, and a very disappointing one from a site that has PROFESSIONAL in its name...

ric lambert:

this was a waste of my time. what is the point of this. There is no standard. What we have is a bunch of poorly exposed images from differant cameras taken in completely differant circimstances that give NO comparision what so ever!!

Besides being wholly useless, this is also incomplete. For example, you have the Canon 40D, but the Canon 5D is not represented. Who selected the criteria of Professional DSLR?

Mark:

In what way is this review anything near professional standards? Hack at best ... Very sad

Bill P.:

Echoing the thoughts of others, this is a sad attempt at any reasonable comparison of the top DSLR's. So many different light & weather conditions, some indoor some out, ISO's all over the board (800 for the D300 compared to 200's for others, come on). All these samples show is that each body is able to actually capture an image - Period!

Now don't be too hasty....I'm surprised at the close up comparison with the Nikon D300! Nice details!

This is about as worthless as it gets. Your creative editor needs to find another job... maybe garbage collection?

Please tell me this was meant as a joke. After reading the last half dozen issues of PP I should realize this truley represents the lack of proffesionalism of this Org.

Vlad:

By the tone of your comments it's obvious that you're all Canon campers. Even the underrateds Sony and Olympus shots look better than Canon's.

Don't complain, just look at the shots and admit that the other (Fuji, Nikon, Sony and Olympus) look superior.

Do you mind me asking: Have you counted how many 5D owners have jumped camp already? Better yet, how many want to jump camp but they've committed to much ($) that makes it unaffordable. I know quite a few by name.

While I also know a few pro's that still shoot with their 20D's, D200's and 7D's and are as much or more competitive/accomplished than most of us.

If you really want to see "tribal" comparisons between brands just go anywhere on the net!!! The net is full of them and honestly, I am tired of it. Have any of you heard of DPReview.com?

Be real, you're all crying because you're all, brand loyal, Canon campers. LOL.

I care less if you flame back at me. Just remember that I have the same right to critique. Also remember that no brand is best, just the technology that they feature.

Have a beautiful day and shoot with what is best for you! =D

"Don't listen to anyone who is not in a better position than you" - That's why I care less....

Vlad:

... er ...

I meant more accomplished than the 'whiners'...

LOL - Burn baby burn....

K Collier:

I'm sorry. What does this show again? I thought for a second that I would be educated? Not so with these images. Different lighting, different settings, different subjects? What in the world were you trying to accomplish? Confusion?

Maybe next time...

Ken:

I would really love to see a real comparison with all cameras under th same light and similar settings as to compare Nikon's CCD to a Canon CMOS sensor is like apples and oranges they both do great but are built different.. Also at issue is there is no way the Canon 1Ds Mark III is out of focus and soft as depicted in this alleged comparison. I have shot most all brands of cameras film and digital and have discovered one very important factor. If you have have a bad shot it is 99.9% operator error!

Jm:

POOR TECH DATA. love the Nikon D300, impressive sharpness of the sony.

my 2 cents says everyone above is right. A very poor comparison. Not worthy of
PPA magazine.

Russ:

Uh, has anyone ever heard of the Pentax K20D? Mmm-kay??

Rusty:

Have to agree with the others. There is no real value in the comparisons. Should have been same image same lighting and same f/stops. I may have missed it but were there any mention of brand of lens used. This also makes a difference.

If the purpose of comparison is apples to apples, why would you include oranges ... and grapes ... and nuts ... and hot dogs?

I guess they all quality as food - or, in this case, as images taken by supposedly professional cameras - but that's it.

The basis for comparison must be the same image, same conditions, same focal length, same ISO.

What we have here is a failure to demonstrate.

Hopefully what comes next is an apology [we make mistakes, too] and a real comparison.

We'll be watching for both …

OK. I am new to the PPA, so I had to click the "About Us" tab at the top of the page near the Professional photographer name to see if this was really a PPA publication. I have been so greatly impressed by everything I have read and learned about the PPA, including the certification programs, studio management, continuing education, and in short total professionalism in all respects. I was thinking, wow, the PPA is the best thing since sliced bread.

So, this has to be a joke, Right?

“Ditto” to everything said above about how bad this (can we say the word without choking) "comparison" was made.

Were these people taking the shots PPA members? Is the author of the "Comparison" a PPA member?

Wow! What can I say? I've said enough. Now I'm just speechless.

Hey, I guess we are all human and can be caught sleeping on the job. I just hope this is corrected and a real comparison is made.

Mr Egger is a well publish author on the subject of photography so it might be suitable not to jump all over him about this "comparison". Yes, it's bad - useless for sure - but this looks more like a quick and easy "boost" by PPA from one of his books.

The only way to satisfy yourself is to do a comparison test yourself.

I see and read countless comparisons and they seem to do little for my peace of mind or overall psyche.

Who wouldn't want to cheat it just a little to make the $3K body look a bit better than the $8K body so all the pros can slap their foreheads in disgust. What fun! Some of this looks sharpened and some doesn't. Yes, a useless test but a good plug for Eggers as some point out.

Color is just as important as sharpness and I've not been happy with the clownish RAW files coming from several of my friends D3's on jobs alongside my 1Ds Mk3. Another thing to figure out I suppose. Highlights didn't recover as well as the Canon files and a whole host of other things I noticed.
If your happy go with what you have it'll be a relic in 3 years anyway or do your own test and see the results on your own screen. Its the only way my friends.

Peg:

I also am disappointed in the lack of serious perameters for test results. Yet this type of test must be continued. So much is a problem with digital sharpness, especially with auto focus, telephoto lens camera movement when shooting. Please continue to to refine your tests. My professional abilities are on the line!

I was about to complain about the worthless exercise, but you all beat me to it. Still, I had to add to the onslaught to be certain the publisher and editor did not miss the point. What a joke, sirs and madams!

I was about to complain about the worthless exercise, but you all beat me to it. Still, I had to add to the onslaught to be certain the publisher and editor did not miss the point. What a joke, sirs and madams!

I bought a Canon 40D as a backup for my 5D and I was amazed with the dynamic range of the new 14-bit processing. Saving my pennies for a 1D-s. To me, the color tonality of the Canon's has always been the most natural. Someone else characterized the Nikon RAW files as 'clownish'. Well, there you have it...

I apologize for any confusion about the intent of the images presented in "Pro Selection: Professional Digital SLR Camera Image Samples." This feature was in no way meant to be a side-by-side comparison of results.

These are sample images taken with the cameras listed in the pro DSLR roundup feature from July, which is a list of pro DSLRs currently available, accompanied by a summary of performance pros and cons. This was not meant represent a full review of each camera.

Each of these cameras was reviewed individually in Professional Photographer magazine as soon as possible after its release.

Reviewers usually only have access to new cameras for a few weeks or sometimes a few days, so these images have to be taken when we have the review units in hand. (We elected not to include the Canon 5D because its 2005 release puts it on the short list of cameras likely to be replaced soon.)

For reference, the full reviews appeared as follows:
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro (June 2007, by Ron Eggers)
Canon EOS-1D Mark III (September 2007, part 1 by Ron Eggers; October 2007, part II by Ellis Vener)
Canon EOS 40D (December 2007, by Ron Eggers)
Olympus E-3 (January 2008, by Joe Farace)
Nikon D300 (February 2008, by Ellis Vener)
Nikon D3 (March 2008, by Ellis Vener; High ISO results July 2008, Ron Eggers)
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 (March 2008 Web Exclusives, by Ron Eggers)

We did not have space in the magazine to run sample images from each camera in the roundup feature, so we made them available on the Web. This was in no way meant to be a comparison or a full review of each camera.

In the past we have provided full-res image file downloads from a single camera model (at the time of its published review) in several different exposure settings and lighting conditions, but those large files did not generate many downloads.

Professional Photographer magazine is not involved in or associated with Ron Eggers' book publishing or promotion endeavors.

We appreciate your candid feedback. Please keep it coming and thank you for reading.

Whenever I get a new mag in the mail ( and I am about to cancel all but two) I see all these so called "pros" some new, some emerging and some (most of the time)old faces and names, I wonder to myself....are these guys paying the publication? Is the publication getting these guys/gals through personal contacts like office employees, relatives, friends and cousins? Who are these people? I was taught and/or mentored by a few of the top photogs in the country...namely Christopher Grey, Will Crockett, Mike Grubb, Chris Wonder, Ron Fleckle and in all my years I have never once seen any of the afore mentioned "real pros" especially Crockett and Grey featured in any of these so called "professional publications."
Then I see an artical like this and say to myself..."what the hell is the photography trade coming to" I even saw the great dame herself " annie leibovitz" in I think it was "Vogue" last month doing a "Sex in the City" movie stills and the images where pure crap. I mean ISO 1600 anything goes just push the button crap.
Boy has digital photography lowered the standards or what?
Take heart those of us who still see image capture as stock in trade...not just point and shoot do it in RAW anything goes nonsense.

Sarah:

I have to agree with several previous posts. Most of these shots were not even exposed properly or had several other glaring non-professional issues not related to camera performance. Rather, the issue at hand is the apparent inexperience of the photographer used for this demonstration. Very poor editorial judgment PPA! Not up to your usual standards.

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