I'm debating the relative merits of the D800 vs. the D800E for landscape photography and am looking for clarification on something that's puzzling me. I've read more than a few places online that if you're going to shoot at smaller, diffraction-inducing apertures, you might as well get the D800 because you're negating the sharpness advantage of the D800E. It seems to my logic that the loss of sharpness from the OLPF in the D800 would compound with the loss of sharpness from diffraction such that, under identical levels of diffraction, the D800E would still produce a sharper image than the D800, all things being equal otherwise.
That is basically correct. The resulting image will have a mix of the OLPF and diffraction blur, where diffraction alone will produce a higher signal amplitude (higher MTF).
If the main drawback of the D800E is the risk of aliasing/moire, and the smaller apertures common to landscape photography for maximizing DOF help to reduce or eliminate moire, wouldn't the D800E still have an advantage over the D800 for landscape photography by producing sharper images, even if they aren't optimally sharp due to diffraction?
That's probably the case, but I do not really understand what it is that they did with the OLP filter. I understand what they are saying in their diagrams, but I don't see how that is optically possible. Therefore it's difficult to predict, especially in combination with different lenses, how much aliasing risk remains with the D800E.
What am I missing? I realize moire situations are relatively rare in landscape photography, but barn shingles and wave patterns in sand dunes are two examples that come quickly to mind. Thanks in advance for any input. I've already pre-ordered the D800 but am wondering if the D800E wouldn't be the better choice for use almost exlcusively in landscape photography.
Aliasing is not only an isue with small repetitive patterns, it will also manifest itself as jagged edges, and will create difficulties with sharpening (e.g. to restore from diffraction).
P.S. I don't think there is much resolution difference between a properly sharpened D800 image, and a D800E image, except for the aliasing risk. In the D800 examples I've seen sofar, sharpening in general was sub-par.