D800 vs D800E split image comparison

Started Apr 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
Julian Vrieslander
Contributing MemberPosts: 919
Re: More differences than just moire?
In reply to TrueHD, Apr 8, 2012

TrueHD wrote:

TrueHD wrote:

Why do the exposures and shadow detail between the images look different?

So, no one cares about one of the most glaring differences, more obvious than the contrast in sharpness?

Since the scene seems to be shot under a cloudy sky, I can only assume that the exposure and lighting differences are camera based rather than natural---unless there was some really wild weather going on.

You see "glaring differences" between these shots? Really? Even at normal viewing distances (from screen or print)?

When I did PP on these images I tried to get both to a similar state, as close as possible to what I considered a reasonable output for (in this case) web viewing. To me, the results look very close. Close enough so that I would consider the differences unimportant. This seems to be supported by the fact that there are comments in this thread where people prefer either the right side or the left side, and there are different guesses for which side is D800 and which is D800E. Note: you can quickly get the right answer by visiting that Polish web site and looking at the original NEFs that I started with.

Now, even if we had an ideal testing situation, a pair of D800 and D800E images shot with identical conditions and settings, there will be differences in the raw files. The E version is going to be sharper (but by much less than some of you expect). There will be contrast and exposure differences, just because of sample-to-sample differences in camera metering calibrations, etc. Light sources, even studio lights, can vary in brightness from moment to moment. Pixel peepers doing A/B tests can drive themselves nuts trying to account for all these factors.

Furthermore, people have different standards for ideal sharpness. What looks right to you may appear crunchy to me. We may have different preferences for saturation, noise, tonality, etc. These preferences may be based on rational needs, depending on the work we do. Again, I'm talking about final product, not pixel peeps. If you really want to ensure that you make the right choice between D800 and D800E, wait for both of them to be available. Rent one of each, and do your own tests.

Here's something else to think about. There has been a lot of talk about the aliasing artifacts that can be produced when an image with high spatial frequencies lands on a sensor. Aliasing can also occur when your image is downsampled in PP. An ideal down-sampling occurs in two stages: the image is low-pass filtered, and then resampled. This is why some experts recommend applying a slight gaussian blur before downsampling, and then sharpening the result. So if you are using a D800E, and if most of your work output is going to be downsampled, is that small extra bit of sharpness going to be useful? I don't know the answer to this - maybe someone else can explain.

For people who routinely print big (1:1 or upsampled), the argument for the E is stronger. But even then, my own preliminary tests seem to suggest that you need to print much larger than 17x25" to get an advantage from the E.

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