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Author Topic: "Nikon D800 / D800E First Comparison"  (Read 52927 times)
Stephen L Starkman
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« on: April 18, 2012, 07:32:45 PM »
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Thank you Michael for getting this first look published so quickly!
I'm in line for an 800E and this is helpful. Looking forward to hearing more - especially any assesment of how the 800E's files may relate to prints of various sizes with a variety of papers.

Update: April 23 - took delivery of my D800E.

S.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 09:13:06 PM by Stephen L Starkman » Logged
ndevlin
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2012, 10:15:13 PM »
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It's always rewarding to say "told you so"  Wink  The "E" should be the regular model and the 'regular' 800 the specialty item for portrait/fashion and wedding shooters.

....kind of reminds me of 'unleaded' gas, where they charged you more not to put in something you never wanted in the first place....

- N.
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Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 10:41:00 PM »
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It does indeed seem clear from the 100% crops that the D800E has a resolution advantage. If I were comparing the resolution of two lenses of equivalent focal lengths, at their sharpest apertures, and got this degree of difference, I know which lens I would choose, if the price were right..

I'm sure it's true that such differences can be narrowed with additional sharpening applied to the D800 image, but sharpening always seems to introduce additional noise. I imagine if one were to succeed in getting the D800 image as sharp as the D800E, with careful sharpening and additional sharpening, it would be a noisier image.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 10:45:54 PM »
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One request: I'm sure comparing two cameras for a highly demanding crowd isn't easy, but is it possible to add a video comparison as well? The big problem with DSLR video is that they line-skip, and the resolution is isn't on par with what one would expect from their sensors. But maybe the higher resolution of the E might make the resulting images sharper - that would be stellar.

On the other hand I would also love to find out if the 36MP E trumps a 645D or S2 as far as large prints are concerned.

Thanks!
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 10:50:50 PM »
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Just played around with the unsharpened crops from the two cameras. If I sharpen each crop independently "to taste" to make it look as good as possible, the resolution difference remains.

D800E clearly wins the day IMHO, but you'd need to print big to see that difference.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 11:27:48 PM »
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Actually when printed it's not the increased sharpness that stands out, subjects look more three dimensional and "Palpable" when viewed at a distance
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 02:11:48 AM »
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The D800E ... well it's a no brainer!

Kinda like to sell all my Canon gear including the 5D3.

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dreed
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2012, 02:40:04 AM »
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I hope that other camera manufacturers are taking note of this.

I suspect that quite a few of us are willing to trade in the threat of moire for less blurry images.

I wonder if there's a "camera-mod" business that camera manufacturers could get into here, rather than forcing owners to look for 3rd parties to remove the AA filter.
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Hans Kruse
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2012, 03:27:18 AM »
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In my opinion a more correct way to compare would be to use proper (capture) sharpening. Ironically Michael and Jeff Schewe go to great lengths to explain how best capture sharpening is done (and how much difference it makes in 1:1 view) in their very recommendable Lightroom tutorials. The differences would be less and actually both would be sharp which they aren't now. I think Nikon made the smart move here to provide both alternatives. The bottom line, though, is what difference it really makes in real life for the photographer. I'm sure Michael will more adequately deal with that in the coming articles on the subject. A comparison with medium format would in my view be more interesting. I have no doubt that if we go for very large prints that a full frame medium format camera would win as easily over the D800E as the Canon 5D mkII did over the 40D Smiley The sensor area ratio is about the same between Canon APS-C and full frame as there is between 35mm full frame to full frame medium format sensors. But again what are the realities about when these differences count and can be seen? That's much more interesting than the fairly minute differences between the D800 and the D800E (in my view).
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 05:12:00 AM by Hans Kruse » Logged

BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2012, 04:41:13 AM »
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In my opinion a more correct way to compare would be to use proper (capture) sharpening.

Hi Hans,

I agree, the Low-pass filter is not there to create a sharp high resolution image, it is there to avoid problems downstream in the postprocessing (false color artifacting when demosaicing Bayer CFAs), and to reduce the tendency for all sorts of aliasing artifacts, not only moiré.

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Ironically Michael and Jeff Schewe go to great lengths to explain how best capture sharpening is done (and how much difference it makes in 1:1 view) in their very recommendable Lightroom tutorials. The differences would be less and actually both would be sharp which they aren't now.

Correct. It's like comparing images before and after color balancing. It's not a fair comparison, in fact it's misleading. One doesn't judge quality of a final product based on one of it's early stages of development. The only justification of the comparison shots as they are presented now would be to show how much difference the higher price of the 'E' produces, and then one should demonstrate if there is a benefit to paying the bonus for the final output after sharpening. And it is not the case that sharpening improves the quality of both image types, as Michael suggests in his preliminary conclusion. The images of the D800E will produce more artifacts (e.g. jaggies) at the pixel level when sharpening is added.

Quote
I think Nikon made the smart move here to provide both alternatives. The bottom line, though, is what difference it really makes in real life for the photographer. I'm sure Michael will more adequately deal with that in the coming articles on the subject. A comparison with medium format would in my view be more interesting. I have no doubt that if we go for very large prints that a full frame medium format camera would win as easily over the D800E as the Canon 5D mkII did over the 40D Smiley The sensor area ratio is about the same between Canon APS-C and full frame as there is between 35mm full frame to full frame medium format sensors. But again what are the realities about when these differences count and can be seen? That's much more interesting that the fairly minute differences between the D800 and the D800E (in my view).

A agree completely.

Cheers,
Bart
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2012, 05:31:44 AM »
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I wonder if there's a "camera-mod" business that camera manufacturers could get into here, rather than forcing owners to look for 3rd parties to remove the AA filter.
Try googling "maxmax".

-h
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kers
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2012, 05:33:07 AM »
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At last a good comparison !  from this first batch it is easy to choose for the E version. The difference is more than i thought.

I have seen d800 photos with moiré so I wonder how much it will get worse with the d800e
the moire i saw could be cured with the moiré tool in capture NX

Actually when printed it's not the increased sharpness that stands out, subjects look more three dimensional and "Palpable" when viewed at a distance
Marc

This more three dimensional look is what interests me very much, but i think you have to have two examples and print them first to find out? or can you see it on screen?

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Pieter Kers
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2012, 06:34:09 AM »
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Thanks Michael. If it fits into your schedule, would you mind checking the AF focus point accuracy across the sensors? I have seen several people commenting that their cameras are off on the left side. Also it would be interesting to see comparisons of properly sharpened images from both cameras. I have a E on order, but just spent ten days using the D800. The detail I saw amazed me, and made me really anxious for the E’s arrival.

I photographed the shuttle Discovery on the 747 the day after I had to return the D800.  Boy did I ever wish I had that camera one more day....

Bill
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2012, 06:36:02 AM »
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The images of the D800E will produce more artifacts (e.g. jaggies) at the pixel level when sharpening is added.

Noob question: Why is this the case for the 800E but not the 800?
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michael
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2012, 07:15:20 AM »
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One request: I'm sure comparing two cameras for a highly demanding crowd isn't easy, but is it possible to add a video comparison as well? The big problem with DSLR video is that they line-skip, and the resolution is isn't on par with what one would expect from their sensors. But maybe the higher resolution of the E might make the resulting images sharper - that would be stellar.

On the other hand I would also love to find out if the 36MP E trumps a 645D or S2 as far as large prints are concerned.

Thanks!
I plan on doing video comparisons, but I'm working the stills side of things for the moment. It might be a couple of weeks yet. Some quick and dirty video clips that I've shoot look very nice.

Llyod Chambers has done a comparison between the D800 and the Leica S2 and finds that it is somewhere between and raw and a slight win for the Nikon. The D800e will therefore likely win in almost all IQ counts.

The D800e is medium format's worst nightmare. Resolution matching cameras and backs up to 40MP, superior high ISO, equal colour depth, lighter weight, availability of hundreds of lenses, availability of stabilization, live view, video, much higher frame rates, and all for an integrated body costing less than US $3,300.

Michael

BTW – Anyone in the Toronto area who owns a Leica S2 and would like to do an S2 / D800e comparison with me one day, drop me a note.
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michael
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2012, 07:20:53 AM »
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As to the issue of sharpening, there is no simple answer. Because sharpening is done "by the numbers" but instead is highly subjective, it seemed to me that at this early stage unsharpened was the way to display the comparison.

I will say that in prints made with my usual input and then print sharpening, the difference seen and described relatively remain the same, so it's likely an academic issue at best. But I will do some  further comparisons with appropriate sharpening.

Michael
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2012, 07:32:07 AM »
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Since the price differential between the two bodies is pretty much negligible (compared to that of a MF or Leica S2), the choice boils down to what the individual wants.  I think Bernard opted for the 800 and it will be interesting to read his continuing thoughts on this as well as Michael's.  It's good to see Nikon come up with  a winner and those of us who are contemplating upgrades to our Nikon systems have a real good choice here (I'm sure that my daughter would love to have a free gift of a D300).
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2012, 07:32:29 AM »
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Noob question: Why is this the case for the 800E but not the 800?
The 800E (effectively) does not have an AA filter. The AA filter is a mechanism to reduce details that the sampling grid of the sensor can not record "reliably" - presence of such details will to some degree introduce "false" data (stair-stepping, moire) into the raw file that can not reliably and automatically be removed. The subjective importance of this is highly debated.

The 800 does have an AA filter, and should therefore have less such artifacts, at the price of a blurier raw file.

The question that many people have right now is: "what image will look the best (if any difference) when printed reasonably large and using ideal processing for each camera". Presumably "ideal" processing means more sharpening for the D800 than the D800E, and (in some cases) moire-removal for the D800E. If you do sharpening there is a risk for more visible noise, and as the noise characteristics are basically the same, "optimally processed" D800 images might be more noisy than their D800E counterpart, and less sharp (compromise between sharpening and noise visibility), but perhaps only for images that are prone to visible noise in the first place.

Since an image contains a finite number of bits/pixels, there is a naiive possibility that an expert photoshopper might develop any cameras images to be equal or better than any other camera. Although this seldom seems to happen, it is an argument that "ideal processing" should be somewhat restricted: test results where moire removal or noise/sharpness tradeoffs that can only be achieved using a number of expensive software tools and many hours of skilled manual labour is really only relevant to those that have the resources to do just that.

-h  
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 07:35:22 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
JohnBrew
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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2012, 08:04:19 AM »
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First of all it's good news that the E has finally found it's way into some experienced hands. OTOH, my dealer originally told me I would get mine in the first shipment, but now says it is more likely to be one to two months  Huh. While a bit bummed about that, I now have ample time to upgrade my hard drives!
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2012, 08:13:22 AM »
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Noob question: Why is this the case for the 800E but not the 800?

Any regularly sampled discrete image data that is not properly low-pass filtered will exhibit aliasing. Whether that aliasing manifests itself in a recognizable and disturbing manner depends on the image content. Since the 'E' version has reduced AA-filtering, the aliasing will be stronger. Again, visibility depends on the circumstances, although Murphy's law dictates that it will show when we can least use it, e.g. when under time constraint to a publishing deadline.

Sharpening will 'enhance' artifacts as well as image detail, since it cannot discriminate between the two anymore, aliasing and image detail have merged.

Cheers,
Bart
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