D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...

Started Nov 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
BrunoS
Contributing MemberPosts: 909Gear list
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Re: Let's talk NEFs for a bit...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

So does anyone know which of these descriptions is correct:

1. NEFs are always FX, the full 37mp

The D800 can produce 24 kinds of NEF files. Four crop modes: 36 MP FX, 30 MP 5:4, 25 MP 1.2, 15 MP DX. Each crop mode can be 12 or 14-bit. Then there are three types of file compression: no compression, lossless compressed and compressed. NEFs file size ranges from 75 MB (FX, 14-bit, no compression) to 20 MB (DX, 12-bit, compressed).

Canon has a sRAW file type that can create lower resolution files. Example if applied to a D800: FX NEF at 36MP, 24MP or 12MP. I think this is a great idea. Don't know why Nikon didn't copy Canon.

2. Cropped NEFs are always the full resolution within the crop area, but smaller than FX NEFs, OR

3. Description 2 applies, AND M and S downsize modes make the NEFs smaller still.

BTW, have any of you esteemed D800 users seen significant differences in NEFs, based on bit depth? (I think 14b is the biggest, but I didn't look it up just now.) Or are the big NEFs just for obsessive landscapers and pixel peepers?

Most of the time you can get away with 12-bits. The sweet spot is lossless compressed, either 12 or 14-bit. The file sizes are smaller and there is only insignificant loss of information. Go 14-bit if the scene has a lot of dynamic range. 12-bit gives you 4096 tone values, 14-bit 16,384. Eventually a 8-bit jpg file needs to be created so the difference between 12-bit and 14-bit only comes into play when you are trying to recover detail in the highlights or shadows.

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