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Author Topic: "Nikon D800 / D800E First Comparison"  (Read 39974 times)
hjulenissen
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« Reply #100 on: April 25, 2012, 07:45:24 AM »
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The D800E together with photoacute (or some other multi-shot super-resolution software) could be interesting for those chasing the highest resolution that $3000 can buy, and unable/unwilling to do stitching:
http://www.photoacute.com/
This is an excerpt from a mail-exchange I had with them:
Quote
Dear xxx,

Thank you for your interest.
Removal of AA-filter should drastically improve the gain of our software. But, a special profile will be required for processing images taken with a camera with removed filter.

Does your Canon 7D already have AA-filter removed?
-h
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opgr
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« Reply #101 on: April 25, 2012, 08:54:13 AM »
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If we consider the entire capture path of light and especially all possible aberrations, including atmospheric instabilities and birefringent layers with breaking index etc…, did we ever compute the minimum sensible sensel size that would benefit from additional AA?

It appears that shooting this puppy under any circumstances other than absolute perfect stability, which probably reflects 99.99% of all cases, will completely negate any adverse effects that no AA might have. Then in those 0.01% of the cases most people will hardly ever have problems. Come to think of it: in those 0.01% cases, where one apparently has time to create perfect circumstances, one also can do a double exposure and the blending will be the perfect AA result by sheer imperfections between the 2 shots, but with the additional benefit of extra depth.

Bart, any change that you can make the RAW files available?
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Oscar Rysdyk
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #102 on: April 25, 2012, 06:03:33 PM »
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Bart, any change that you can make the RAW files available?

Hi Oscar,

They're not my files. I'll leave it to Michael to control the distribution of his files as he sees fit.

Cheers,
Bart
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #103 on: April 25, 2012, 11:17:05 PM »
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Bart
I wish you could design a pseudo random pattern and then compare the 2 cameras
Marc
I would agree.  Seems to me the test shows moire wiped out any possibility of resolution gain.  Maybe such a target can't be made as I can see the logic and use of this target is very cool, but seems it gives the d800 an advantage over the d800e in a circumstance that a shooter of the e will avoid if at all possible. (I have an e on order).

   I guess my skepticism is it appears the AA filter was always blamed for loss of quality, suddenly it isn't any more. OF course, the other thing that I"m curious about is the camera doesn't have an "aa" filter per se, the filter they are using isn't exactly the same as having no AA filter. I'm not sure why you bend the light only to "bend it back" ... why not just leave it off?  I really can't understand why this concept is better.


I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the test, as I've felt for a long time that well done sharpening seems to compensate pretty well for issues like an AA filter or diffraction.  It just seems the target introducing moire biases the results.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #104 on: April 25, 2012, 11:33:51 PM »
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   I guess my skepticism is it appears the AA filter was always blamed for loss of quality, suddenly it isn't any more. OF course, the other thing that I"m curious about is the camera doesn't have an "aa" filter per se, the filter they are using isn't exactly the same as having no AA filter. I'm not sure why you bend the light only to "bend it back" ... why not just leave it off?  I really can't understand why this concept is better.

Probably because it keeps the distance between the mount and sensor exactly the same between the D800 and D800e?

Cheers,
Bernard
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #105 on: April 25, 2012, 11:46:09 PM »
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Wayne,

Regarding AA-filter, I don't know. In theory it is needed but lots of very knowledgeable folks shoot MF digital with excellent technique without running into problems. If an P65+ or IQ180 works well than the D800E having much smaller pixels would work equally well.

Regarding the reason that Nikon did not remove the AA-filter but replaced it with a design that effectively is said the anull the effect may be that the AA-filter is an optical element that may affect astigmatism in wide angle lenses. It is reasonable to presume that new Nikon lens designs are taking the AA-filter into account, and removing the OLP filter from the optical path may result in increased astigmatism on certain lenses.

Lloyd Chambers has compared the Leica S2 to the Nikon D800 shooting an architecture subject and the Leica image has Moiré all over the place, but most users of the S2 seem to have little problem with the S2 and Moiré.

Best regards
Erik

I would agree.  Seems to me the test shows moire wiped out any possibility of resolution gain.  Maybe such a target can't be made as I can see the logic and use of this target is very cool, but seems it gives the d800 an advantage over the d800e in a circumstance that a shooter of the e will avoid if at all possible. (I have an e on order).

   I guess my skepticism is it appears the AA filter was always blamed for loss of quality, suddenly it isn't any more. OF course, the other thing that I"m curious about is the camera doesn't have an "aa" filter per se, the filter they are using isn't exactly the same as having no AA filter. I'm not sure why you bend the light only to "bend it back" ... why not just leave it off?  I really can't understand why this concept is better.


I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the test, as I've felt for a long time that well done sharpening seems to compensate pretty well for issues like an AA filter or diffraction.  It just seems the target introducing moire biases the results.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #106 on: April 25, 2012, 11:48:12 PM »
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I guess my skepticism is it appears the AA filter was always blamed for loss of quality, suddenly it isn't any more.
Seems to me that at least some people have been arguing for quite some time that well-designed AA filters preserve quality, not lower it.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #107 on: April 26, 2012, 12:39:13 AM »
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I would agree.  Seems to me the test shows moire wiped out any possibility of resolution gain.  Maybe such a target can't be made as I can see the logic and use of this target is very cool, but seems it gives the d800 an advantage over the d800e in a circumstance that a shooter of the e will avoid if at all possible. (I have an e on order).

   I guess my skepticism is it appears the AA filter was always blamed for loss of quality, suddenly it isn't any more. OF course, the other thing that I"m curious about is the camera doesn't have an "aa" filter per se, the filter they are using isn't exactly the same as having no AA filter. I'm not sure why you bend the light only to "bend it back" ... why not just leave it off?  I really can't understand why this concept is better.


I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the test, as I've felt for a long time that well done sharpening seems to compensate pretty well for issues like an AA filter or diffraction.  It just seems the target introducing moire biases the results.
Also I think it might polarize the light a bit causing it to hit the micro lenses more perpendicular, just a guess?
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #108 on: April 26, 2012, 12:49:15 AM »
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One of the reasons I propose a random target is that I have a gut feeling that is contrary to Bart's and Erick's knowledge.
I think that to have these "artifacts" one needs a pattern (Bayer) on top of a pattern (suit or building windows) at near the Nyquist frequency.
I don't think that a Bayer pattern on a random structure (nature) will cause artifacts. The best way to prove a theory is to try and prove yourself wrong.
So I propose taking Bart's chart and removing the lines that are not prime leaving lines 2,3,5,7,11,13 etc and re-shoot the test. I might very well be wrong but I'd like to see it with my own eyes!
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #109 on: April 26, 2012, 05:05:20 AM »
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I guess my skepticism is it appears the AA filter was always blamed for loss of quality, suddenly it isn't any more.

Hi Wayne, Bernard,

And therein lies the crux. Yes there is some loss from the AA-filter at low contrast. An MTF curve shows that in general contrast will reduce as the detail gets smaller (higher spatial frequencies). When the subject matter is already of low contrast, then the resulting contrast will be lost to the noise floor and quantization accuracy (14-bit/channel in Raw, and 8 or 16-b/ch after conversion).

But with a bit of subject contrast, and a lens with good glare control and good enough MTF helps, there will be enough micro-contrast left to come close to resolving all the way up to the physical limit, the Nyquist frequency. That Nyquist frequency is determined by the sensor's sampling density (the sensel pitch).

Probably because it keeps the distance between the mount and sensor exactly the same between the D800 and D800e?

It's the sensel pitch that makes the difference. When the same optical projection is sampled at the same sampling pitch, there will be no difference in resolution (usually expressed as a spatial frequency in cycles/mm). The only difference will be in the amplitude of the signal at the same spatial frequencies. The AA-filter is designed to reduce the amplitude as the spatial frequencies approach the Nyquist frequency, in order to reduce the signal amplitudes beyond Nyquist. It's those spatial frequencies beyond Nyquist that cause aliasing, so when the amplitudes of those details (that are too fine to resolve reliably anyway) are reduced, then there will be no aliasing.

When the same optical projection is sampled at a lower density, then the resolution will be lower. The only way to compensate for that is to use a longer focal length to magnify the projected image. When we then add more sensels to increase the Field of View again, then there will again be no difference in resolution (because the output magnification can be proportionally reduced). There will be a better signal amplitude (the '3-D' look). And that's exactly the difference with Medium Format cameras and backs. They tend to have a larger sensel pitch, and need a longer focal length to cover the larger image circle with more sensels.

OF course, the other thing that I"m curious about is the camera doesn't have an "aa" filter per se, the filter they are using isn't exactly the same as having no AA filter. I'm not sure why you bend the light only to "bend it back" ... why not just leave it off?  I really can't understand why this concept is better.

I agree that bending the light only to "bend it back" doesn't seem like an efficient operation. I'm not so sure that that is what is actually happening, I also don't understand how it could function as descibed in their marketing diagrams. So there is possibly something else going on, but Nikon decided to not change the number of plane parallel surfaces and thicknesses in the lightpath.

That could help to make optical lens designs which incorporate the existence of those surfaces and layers, and deliver a better image quality, they become part of the optical design. BTW, it probably one of the reasons that Leica didn't use AA-filters either because, added to the proximity of the exit pupil to the sensor surface, the lenses are designed to deliver an image to film, without additional optical elements in the lightpath.

Quote
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the test, as I've felt for a long time that well done sharpening seems to compensate pretty well for issues like an AA filter or diffraction.  It just seems the target introducing moire biases the results.

Well, that's a matter of opinion. The target doesn't introduce(!) moiré, let's be clear about that. It only allows to make it visible, which opens the opportunity to devise a remedie. I'd rather be aware of a potential issue, than be confronted in the midst of (or even worse, after) an assignment.

Moiré can only manifest itself when 2 sampling grids are out of sync (by rotation or frequency). The sensor array is a given sampling grid, so if we can avoid shooting repetitive structures then we won't have 2 grids that are out of sync. When we reduce the amplitude of one of the grids (the projected image), the moiré will be less visible (e.g. diffraction or de-focus, or an AA-filter). When we use a longer focal length to magnify the subject details the aliasing will be reduced because of the relatively denser sampling of the projected image details (but also our FoV is reduced, so we need to stitch or use a larger sensor to compensate).

An interesting exercise would be for a D800E owner to shoot the target with a good lens at say f/4 or f/5.6 and, without changing focus, at f/16 or f/22, which may be what a landscape shooter would like to do to achieve the DOF required. The higher modulation of the D800E will help, and the aliasing of sharp edged detail is reduced by diffraction, and diffraction can be reasonably well deconvolution sharpened to restore resolution, but without aliasing artifacts, and the low noise images which the camera is capable of will allow more severe deconvolution sharpening.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 05:11:41 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
opgr
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« Reply #110 on: April 26, 2012, 05:39:22 AM »
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One of the reasons I propose a random target is that I have a gut feeling that is contrary to Bart's and Erick's knowledge.
I think that to have these "artifacts" one needs a pattern (Bayer) on top of a pattern (suit or building windows) at near the Nyquist frequency.
I don't think that a Bayer pattern on a random structure (nature) will cause artifacts. The best way to prove a theory is to try and prove yourself wrong.
So I propose taking Bart's chart and removing the lines that are not prime leaving lines 2,3,5,7,11,13 etc and re-shoot the test. I might very well be wrong but I'd like to see it with my own eyes!
Marc

I think you're misinterpreting the results. The files simply indicate that both cameras capture the same amount of detail up to the green circle, and that any information within the red circle is no different from random garbage. The difference between the green circle positions is the difference in detail retention, which is negligible. The differences WITHIN the green circle is the kind of garbage that should be selected on personal preference. It is NOT however, an indication of higher resolution.

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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #111 on: April 26, 2012, 05:42:50 AM »
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  I guess my skepticism is it appears the AA filter was always blamed for loss of quality, suddenly it isn't any more. OF course, the other thing that I"m curious about is the camera doesn't have an "aa" filter per se, the filter they are using isn't exactly the same as having no AA filter. I'm not sure why you bend the light only to "bend it back" ... why not just leave it off?  I really can't understand why this concept is better.

I think it may possibly help mitigate glare. The one bouncing off of the sensor surface to the back of the lens.

I can't imagine Nikon engineers take layers into account when designing lenses, because the lenses aren't exclusively used with this camera, nor can they be sure that future sensors require equal types of layers.
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Oscar Rysdyk
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BJL
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« Reply #112 on: April 26, 2012, 07:21:34 AM »
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My speculation on why the Nikon D800E does not simply omit the two (somewhat expensive) layers that make up the OLPF is that
- this would slightly change the optical path and thus where precise focus occurs, but
- this change would not affect the optical path to the PD AF sensors or the OVF,
so there would be a discrepancy, leading to slight focusing errors with both AF and MF. To correct that could require a slight mechanical change to the mirror/focusing/VF assembly, and having two versions of that assembly (one for cameras with anti-aliasing, one for cameras with aliasing) would have cost more.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 09:06:34 AM by BJL » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #113 on: April 26, 2012, 07:29:02 AM »
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... in those 0.01% cases, where one apparently has time to create perfect circumstances, one also can do a double exposure and the blending will be the perfect AA result by sheer imperfections between the 2 shots, but with the additional benefit of extra depth.
Only if there is not even 0.01% subject movement between the frames! Those sort of cases, allowing combination of multiple frames taken sequentially, can often be handled with stitching, which gives a vastly greater resolution gain than this eye-ball straining search for differences between the D800 and D800E.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #114 on: April 26, 2012, 08:18:59 AM »
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I think you're misinterpreting the results. The files simply indicate that both cameras capture the same amount of detail up to the green circle, and that any information within the red circle is no different from random garbage. The difference between the green circle positions is the difference in detail retention, which is negligible. The differences WITHIN the green circle is the kind of garbage that should be selected on personal preference. It is NOT however, an indication of higher resolution.


No what I'm thinking is that if the pattern being shot is random (nature landscapes) there would be nothing inside the circle so you might as well have the superior acutance. It is only because of the test pattern and a Bayer array that with the test target the non AA camera has false information inside the circle. To state it differently a non AA filtered camera will create this random "garbage" only with a test target not with a random scene. So why would I sacrifice acutance on 99% of my image for the slight chance of some small fake detail only when the scene has details close to the resolution limit of the system (Nyquist frequency) and a repetative pattern. The test pattern is a great test of the effectiveness of the AA filter to prevent Moire but does not represent what artifacts would be present (if at all) on a random subject or a subject where details are not near the resolution limit of the system. When I was running my loudspeaker company many would argue that certain crossover (filter) designs had better phase characteristics than the 4th order LR filters that I would design. They were correct but only at the crossover frequency how about the other 99% of your music? make 99% worse so that 1% is better, not a good design tradeoff. My gut feeling is that the artifacts are only present with a pattern and only near or below Nyquist frequency at best less than 1% probably .01% of a nature landscape scene. Why make 99.9% of my image worse just to make .1% better? At any rate there is only one way to prove me wrong thats to run the test on a pseudo random target.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #115 on: April 26, 2012, 09:20:21 AM »
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No what I'm thinking is that if the pattern being shot is random (nature landscapes) there would be nothing inside the circle so you might as well have the superior acutance. It is only because of the test pattern and a Bayer array that with the test target the non AA camera has false information inside the circle.

No, BOTH cameras produce garbage within the circle. It is just a matter of personal preference and general subject matter whether you like or require blurry garbage, or grainy garbage. Landscape photography may benefit from grainy garbage, but wedding dresses and architecture may benefit from blurry garbage. Especially in case of wedding photography I would suggest to try before you buy to make a decision.

Note also that a well designed AA filter does NOT degrade the other 99% of your image. If it does, it simply is a badly designed filter. The whole purpose of this test is to see if the filter in the 800 is well designed and clearly the test shows that the detail retention is equivalent for both cameras.

This doesn't mean that all of the other effects mentioned in this thread have become irrelevant, especially for one's personal shooting style, subject matter, processing preferences etc…, but I strongly doubt that a random pattern is going to reveal anything new that we don't already know currently.

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Dave Millier
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« Reply #116 on: April 26, 2012, 10:57:33 AM »
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It looks like a very well designed chart/test/approach to me. It shows very clearly that both cameras produce very similar levels of detail in an absolute sense and that the main differences between them are the microcontrast near Nyquist and the handling of fine detail above Nyquist. 

The random pattern test MIGHT show the D800e in a slightly better light but it seems to me that test would actually be less revealing of what is going on.  One interpretation of why someone might favour the random pattern test is that it might provide a result that is more to comforting i.e. if someone starts off with a belief that omitting the AA filter is bound to produce better detail, they might deep down inside want testing to show that this is the case - even if we have to choose a very special test to make that happen. Not a very scientific approach but very human ;-)  Personally, I'd prefer to see the unvarnished truth which why I prefer the test as presented.



No, BOTH cameras produce garbage within the circle. It is just a matter of personal preference and general subject matter whether you like or require blurry garbage, or grainy garbage. Landscape photography may benefit from grainy garbage, but wedding dresses and architecture may benefit from blurry garbage. Especially in case of wedding photography I would suggest to try before you buy to make a decision.

Note also that a well designed AA filter does NOT degrade the other 99% of your image. If it does, it simply is a badly designed filter. The whole purpose of this test is to see if the filter in the 800 is well designed and clearly the test shows that the detail retention is equivalent for both cameras.

This doesn't mean that all of the other effects mentioned in this thread have become irrelevant, especially for one's personal shooting style, subject matter, processing preferences etc…, but I strongly doubt that a random pattern is going to reveal anything new that we don't already know currently.


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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #117 on: April 26, 2012, 01:28:25 PM »
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No, BOTH cameras produce garbage within the circle.
Agreed, but you can't tell how much garbage within the circle is caused by moire. Without a target that eliminates the issue of moire I don't know how you can do an apples to apples comparison ...
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #118 on: April 26, 2012, 01:43:16 PM »
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Agreed, but you can't tell how much garbage within the circle is caused by moire. Without a target that eliminates the issue of moire I don't know how you can do an apples to apples comparison ...

Hi Wayne,

Everything within the red (Nyquist frequency) circle is caused by aliasing, because the image detail is too small to resolve reliably. Whether that leads to moiré depends on the structure of the image detail itself, and its orientation. Moiré is a specific manifestation of aliasing caused by small repetitive image detail and a regular sampling grid. So whether it is moiré or other aliasing artifacts, it remains garbage. I also would agree that some garbage can mimic convincing detail, but we have very little control over it.

Cheers,
Bart
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #119 on: April 26, 2012, 03:41:16 PM »
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The random pattern test MIGHT show the D800e in a slightly better light but it seems to me that test would actually be less revealing of what is going on.  One interpretation of why someone might favour the random pattern test is that it might provide a result that is more to comforting i.e. if someone starts off with a belief that omitting the AA filter is bound to produce better detail, they might deep down inside want testing to show that this is the case - even if we have to choose a very special test to make that happen. Not a very scientific approach but very human ;-)  Personally, I'd prefer to see the unvarnished truth which why I prefer the test as presented.
I think both charts are necessary to get an accurate picture. The first is certainly necessary to properly assess moire but the pseudo random chart is necessary to assess acutance (I think!?) so why argue lets do the test! Bart where can I download a copy of your chart?
Marc
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