Serious D800 / 800E Questions Before I Buy!

Started Nov 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
freddyNZ
Senior MemberPosts: 2,415
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Re: Serious D800 / 800E Questions Before I Buy!
In reply to Roland Wooster, Nov 26, 2012

Roland Wooster wrote:

I have a D800E and CS6 on a Windows-64bit PC, I would be happy to answer any specific performance questions you may have as to time it takes to get tasks done.

In comparison I moved from a 10Mpix D200 to the D800E, and even on my PC (killer high end) it is dramatically slower, having said that, I sympathize with some folks whose PC's seem an order of magnitude slower than mine and who clearly need to upgrade. I would imagine your laptop fits that category. Your Core I5 iMac if fairly new is probably about 1/3 of the speed of the current state of the art of high end PCs, and would thus drag somewhat but not as much as the laptop.

With the D200 NEF files everything had been utterly immediate, with the D800E, my slowest operation is in Adobe Bridge. When you click on the images to view the 100% loupe it takes multiple seconds to render the loupe.

I don't know what flexiblity there is with Macs or whether you're tied to them, but on the Windows side you could get a Core i7 3770K, I have one running at 4.7Ghz on air cooling, along with 32GB of memory which is cheap nowadays and a dual RAID-0 SSD array for super fast IO. Along with a Z77 motherboard this would only set you back $800-900 assuming you had all other the parts avaiable.

Roland.

Here's Win 7 performance monitor, on a Core i7 3612 ivybridge "budget" laptop system.

This recorded when opening a D800E 14 bit raw file in Capture NX, then performing operations; level tool (rotate), applying a few colour control points and adjusting, then some d-lighting (high quality) and noise reduction (high quality), then saving the file as jpeg.

There seems to be a problem with (some versions) of Adobe bridge. ViewNX rendering of "click to 100%" on D800 raws is effectively instant. With single D800 raw file open at one time, NX is responsive - there's no usability problem. With a single raw file open for editing, total RAM use didn't exceed 3.5GB - not even close to maxing out RAM until several files are open simultaneously. As always with rendering/converting raw files, CPU grunt is the bottle-neck, but a relatively low-speed core i7 as found in low end desktops and inexpensive notebooks seems to do the trick extremely well.

Compare to release time for D300/D3, where for home use a C2D was state of the art, many (including me) first struggled with single core machines and 32 bit OS. An "entry level" PC now handles 36mp 14 bit raw with much more ease than dealing with 12mp raws back then.

Of course, if you're doing multi-layer edits of single files in PS, or stacking, or stitching, then you're going to be using up serious amounts of RAM. If you're going to be batch processing hundreds of raw files, the some more CPU grunt going to be welcome.

I posted this because there's a lot of advice out there saying that you MUST have a high end machine to deal with D800 raw files. The truth is that you don't.  That system (excluding the monitor I used it with) cost less than many people seem to be happy to spend on a smartphone.

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