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Specifically I'd be interested to know why the D4 has a 13.1 EV range and the D7000 has a 13.9 EV range?

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This shouldn't be that unexpected, a bicycle can out-accelerate a Ferrari up to a certain point. –  Matt Grum Feb 7 at 12:05

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Dynamic range isn't the be all-end all some people make it out to be. Especially when the numbers are theoretically derived like the "Print" DR numbers at DxO Mark are. The "Screen" DR numbers at DxO Mark are a little more realistic. (D4 @ 12.58 vs. D7000 @ 13.23)

The primary advantages of the D4 over the D7000 are in the following areas:

  • Full Frame vs. APS-C.
  • Lower noise at high ISO. Almost two stops better: A very significant difference.
  • Faster handling. 11fps vs. 6fps. Less shutter lag and quicker start up.
  • More direct controls that are highly configurable allow faster shooting in fast paced and challenging environments.
  • Larger viewfinder.
  • 3 stops higher maximum ISO setting (204800 vs 25600). In terms of usable ISO, the D4 is as usable at 51200 as the D7000 is at 12800. A two stop advantage is huge in low light. The highest "native" ISO of the D4 is one stop higer than the D7000 (12800 vs 6400)
  • Better tonal range and color sensitivity by about a stop and a half.
  • Better focus system. The D4 has more focus points and more cross type points than the D7000.
  • More rugged construction made to stand up to the day-to-day punishing demands of working photographers.

Oh, and that 13.23 EV to 12.58 EV advantage for the D7000 over the D4? It is only at ISO 100. By ISO 200 they have the same dynamic range. At settings above ISO 200 the D4 has higher DR than the D7000. At ISO 1600 and above the D4 has an almost two stops advantage.

enter image description here

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It's probably also worth mentioning that ISO and dynamic range are linked and a camera that performs better at high ISO is probably also way better in terms of DR at those ISOs. –  Chinmay Kanchi Feb 7 at 12:06
    
@ChinmayKanchi That is exactly what the graph already in the answer demonstrates. –  Michael Clark Feb 7 at 12:40
    
Thanks, just to be clear I am not suggesting the D7000 is better or even comparable. I was wondering why the quoted figures are the opposite of what I would have imagined. –  DNN Feb 7 at 15:28
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Every design is a compromise between the ideal and the achievable, between cost and benefit, between balancing performance in one area against performance in another. Looking at the DR curve of the D4 makes me wonder if the base ISO of the D4 sensor is really ISO 200. That helps it with the better DR it achieves at high ISO, but means it doesn't improve any at ISO 100 versus ISO 200. –  Michael Clark Feb 7 at 16:52
    
Note that the D7000 has a sensor designed and made by Sony, the D4 has a sensor designed and made in-house by Nikon. –  Michael Clark Feb 7 at 17:16

enter image description hereWhere did you get that? Only at around ISO 75! And the difference is very small, 0.77 EV. Above ISO 100, The D4 is a marvel.

Compare the two cameras at DXOMark, and click on "Measurements", and then the "Dynamic range tab"

At ISO 600 there is already 1 EV advantage for D4...

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Those dots at ISO 70-75 are the actual sensitivity when the cameras are set to ISO 100. Ditto for the dots at around ISO 600 when the cameras are set to ISO 800. –  Michael Clark May 11 at 22:14

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