From the Nikon D70 to the D600: Video shows vast improvement in ISO and low-light performance over 8-year span


posted Monday, August 12, 2013 at 12:03 PM EDT


There's, clearly, been an improvement in DSLR image quality over the last decade when it comes to their ability to shoot cleaner images at high ISOs in low light. But how dramatic an improvement has there really been? Photographer Kyle Clements decided to find out while comparing his eight-year-old Nikon D70 to his current D600 DSLR.

As expected, the 24.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor-equipped D600, which debuted last year, kicked the 6.1MP, APS-C-sized, CCD-based D70's butt when it comes to high ISO/low light performance. In a video Clements made of his comparison test (below), he estimated the D600 has a 3-stop advantage over the D70 when shooting at lower-end ISOs, and a 4-stop advantage at higher ISOs.

"ISO 1600 on a D600 is just as clean as ISO 200 on a D70," he writes in the notes below his "D70 vs D600: ISO Comparision" video on YouTube. "This current generation of cameras is awesome, and if you love shooting in low light, this is an amazing time to be a photographer."

As we said, this isn't surprising but definitely worth re-emphasizing considering some camera upgrades these days can seem pretty incremental. Or in other words: "We've come a long way, baby!"

If Clement' name sounds familiar, it's probably because he's the photographer who uncovered problems the D600's sensor had with accumulating dust/oil, which could cause spotting in the corners of images. While the issue seemed to diminish over time, it never fully goes away, according to his testing. Nikon has since issued a product advisory on the D600, suggesting the camera be cleaned at a Nikon service sensor if it's experiencing these problems.

(Via Reddit)