D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast

Started Feb 15, 2012 | Discussions
Kaj E
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D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
Feb 15, 2012

When looking at the few images Nikon has provided of the same scene shot with D800 and D800E it appears that microcontrast is better with D800E.

As we have learned in the past images from a camera with an AA-filter needs to be presharpened to reduce the blurring effect of the AA-filter.

The question then arises: Can D800 images be made as "sharp" as D800E images?

I did play around with two comparison images provided by Nikon. I quickly realised that a pure presharpening did not give the D800 images similar microcontrast (including color) as the D800E.

I therefore decided to try the tonal contrast (in Color Efex 3) which is part of my regular work flow when i want to add a bit of local contrast to my images.

Here are the results.

First an original without PP:

Then the same image with default tonal contrast from Capture NX2 with Color Efex 3 tonal contrast filter at default settings but at 30% opacity on the D800 image (left side);

Then the original of the next image:

Then the original with Tonal Contrast in Color Efex 3at default settings and 30% opacity as in the previous image, and USM pre sharpening in Capture NX2 at 3:50:0 (corresponds to 0.6:200:0 in PS) added to the D800 image (left side):

The above PP efforts are quick and dirty. Tonal Contrast at default setting with reduced opacity trying to get an image close to the D800E image in the first case. A standard presharpening added to the second image which apparently is not as well in focus as the first.

The discussion in the forum about the difference between the D800 and D800E has mostly concentrated on how to remove moire in the D800 images.

The above was an effort to see if the D800 images could be made close enough to the D800E.

What do you think?

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Kaj
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It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.- Elliott Erwitt

Nikon D800 Nikon D800E
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Chaz f64
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to Kaj E, Feb 15, 2012

Methinks YES, it seems like your methodology produces similar apparent sharpness.

Thus, as a landscape still shooter AND general video shooter maybe I should switch my pre-ordered 800E to an 800 instead.

You've just made my quandry worse...

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gurgeh
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to Kaj E, Feb 15, 2012

If you apply the same sharpening to the D800E images isn't that going to make them even sharper though?

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abolit
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to gurgeh, Feb 15, 2012

applying sharping you will also increase the noise.

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teodorian2
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to Kaj E, Feb 15, 2012

Kaj E wrote:

When looking at the few images Nikon has provided of the same scene shot with D800 and D800E it appears that microcontrast is better with D800E.

As we have learned in the past images from a camera with an AA-filter needs to be presharpened to reduce the blurring effect of the AA-filter.

The question then arises: Can D800 images be made as "sharp" as D800E images?

I did play around with two comparison images provided by Nikon. I quickly realised that a pure presharpening did not give the D800 images similar microcontrast (including color) as the D800E.

I therefore decided to try the tonal contrast (in Color Efex 3) which is part of my regular work flow when i want to add a bit of local contrast to my images.

Here are the results.

First an original without PP:

Then the same image with default tonal contrast from Capture NX2 with Color Efex 3 tonal contrast filter at default settings but at 30% opacity on the D800 image (left side);

Then the original of the next image:

Then the original with Tonal Contrast in Color Efex 3at default settings and 30% opacity as in the previous image, and USM pre sharpening in Capture NX2 at 3:50:0 (corresponds to 0.6:200:0 in PS) added to the D800 image (left side):

The above PP efforts are quick and dirty. Tonal Contrast at default setting with reduced opacity trying to get an image close to the D800E image in the first case. A standard presharpening added to the second image which apparently is not as well in focus as the first.

The discussion in the forum about the difference between the D800 and D800E has mostly concentrated on how to remove moire in the D800 images.

The above was an effort to see if the D800 images could be made close enough to the D800E.

What do you think?

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Kaj
http://www.pbase.com/kaj_e
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It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.- Elliott Erwitt

You have to consider two things:

1) Compare images with the same sharpening

A valid comparison of cameras with different MP or in this case the same MP but with and without AA filter is made of images normalized to the same size and with the same amount of sharpening.

2) Sharpening reinforce noise at higher ISO settings

At higher ISO settings a camera without AA filter will be favorable since the less sharpening needed the less risk also increasing noise and artifacts as well.

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teodorian2
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to gurgeh, Feb 15, 2012

gurgeh wrote:

If you apply the same sharpening to the D800E images isn't that going to make them even sharper though?

The same sharpening applied to both crops:

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Kaj E
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to gurgeh, Feb 15, 2012

gurgeh wrote:

If you apply the same sharpening to the D800E images isn't that going to make them even sharper though?

Theoretically the D800E images do not require any presharprening because the camera lacks a AA-filter effect. The only potential very small sharpening need could be for imperfect demosaicing. But based on the images from the posted D00E images they don't seem to need any additional pre sharpening.

By applying presharpening to the D800E images one get artifacts (oversharpening).

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teodorian2
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to Kaj E, Feb 15, 2012

Kaj E wrote:

gurgeh wrote:

If you apply the same sharpening to the D800E images isn't that going to make them even sharper though?

Theoretically the D800E images do not require any presharprening because the camera lacks a AA-filter effect. The only potential very small sharpening need could be for imperfect demosaicing. But based on the images from the posted D00E images they don't seem to need any additional pre sharpening.

By applying presharpening to the D800E images one get artifacts (oversharpening).

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Same amount of sharpening again. You can clearly see the effect of edge softening in this comparison:

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Kaj E
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to teodorian2, Feb 15, 2012

teodorian2 wrote:

You have to consider two things:

1) Compare images with the same sharpening

A valid comparison of cameras with different MP or in this case the same MP but with and without AA filter is made of images normalized to the same size and with the same amount of sharpening.

I did what I could with the scarce images available. The purpose was to see if I could get close "enough".

2) Sharpening reinforce noise at higher ISO settings

At higher ISO settings a camera without AA filter will be favorable since the less sharpening needed the less risk also increasing noise and artifacts as well.

That's correct!

You have to be very careful with your sharpening on images with noticeable noise (for the printed image size). A little bit of noise may also give the subjective appearance of sharper images.

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Robin Casady
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JPEG not NEF. Irrelevant to video
In reply to Chaz f64, Feb 15, 2012

Chaz f64 wrote:

Methinks YES, it seems like your methodology produces similar apparent sharpness.

Look more closely. In the snow image I see differences. In the upper center right there is a dark finger shape next to a medium dark area. On the D800E this finger is darker. I also see more clarity (contrast) in the branches in the lower left center.

He only had JPEGs to work from, so that makes this test less than 100% valid.

To be fair, the D800E image should receive the same amount of post processing as the D800 image. Consider the statement, "The sharpened image from my camera is as sharp as the unsharpened image from yours."

We will have to see how far post can push each camera's NEF before we can say for certain, but I am very confident that you can't get there from here. The D800 image cannot be processed to match an D800E image. Conversely, the same is true regarding moire.

Nikon would not have made two versions if there weren't very valid reasons for doing so.

Thus, as a landscape still shooter AND general video shooter maybe I should switch my pre-ordered 800E to an 800 instead.

Nikon has said that video from the D800 and D800E is the same. The AA filter is not sufficient to deal with the sub-sampling done to create video.

Landscape is where moire is less likely to occur, so I would stick with the D800E.

You've just made my quandry worse...

I hope I've put your mind at rest.
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Kaj E
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to teodorian2, Feb 15, 2012

teodorian2 wrote:

Same amount of sharpening again. You can clearly see the effect of edge softening in this comparison:

Each image has it's own requirements. I can't say if the softness in these images is caused by distance haze or perhaps misfocusing or something else.

The full-sized images from the D800E images look very sharp at point of focus.

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Kaj E
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Re: JPEG not NEF. Irrelevant to video
In reply to Robin Casady, Feb 15, 2012

Robin Casady wrote:

Chaz f64 wrote:

Methinks YES, it seems like your methodology produces similar apparent sharpness.

Look more closely. In the snow image I see differences. In the upper center right there is a dark finger shape next to a medium dark area. On the D800E this finger is darker. I also see more clarity (contrast) in the branches in the lower left center.

He only had JPEGs to work from, so that makes this test less than 100% valid.

To be fair, the D800E image should receive the same amount of post processing as the D800 image. ...

I disagree with this statment iif you mean that an image from a camera with a AA-filter should receive the same pre-sharpening as one from one without AA-filter.

We will have to see how far post can push each camera's NEF before we can say for certain, but I am very confident that you can't get there from here. The D800 image cannot be processed to match an D800E image. Conversely, the same is true regarding moire.

Nikon would not have made two versions if there weren't very valid reasons for doing so.

Thus, as a landscape still shooter AND general video shooter maybe I should switch my pre-ordered 800E to an 800 instead.

Nikon has said that video from the D800 and D800E is the same. The AA filter is not sufficient to deal with the sub-sampling done to create video.

Landscape is where moire is less likely to occur, so I would stick with the D800E.

You've just made my quandry worse...

I hope I've put your mind at rest.
--
Robin Casady
http://www.robincasady.com/Photo/index.html

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Kaj
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It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.- Elliott Erwitt

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Deleted-pending
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to abolit, Feb 15, 2012

abolit wrote:

applying sharping you will also increase the noise.

sure but it is easier to use local sharpening keepin the noise down on unwanted areas than removing moire !

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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to teodorian2, Feb 15, 2012

teodorian2 wrote:

gurgeh wrote:

If you apply the same sharpening to the D800E images isn't that going to make them even sharper though?

The same sharpening applied to both crops:

problem is, that the D800E will NOT need any sharpening filters, so your proof is flawed : the D800E image with unsharpen filters looks just plenty terrible.

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Kaj E
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to teodorian2, Feb 15, 2012

teodorian2 wrote:

gurgeh wrote:

If you apply the same sharpening to the D800E images isn't that going to make them even sharper though?

The same sharpening applied to both crops:

My purpose was not to get one image sharper than the other. It was to get the apparent sharpness of the D800 close to the unprocessed one from the D800E.

I could of course have tried to see how "sharp" i could make both images. But to my eye the d800e looked fine as is in the first set of images. I don't like over-sharpened images.

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sd40
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to Kaj E, Feb 15, 2012

Please define "microcontrast." What is it? What is it not?

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Deleted-pending
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to teodorian2, Feb 15, 2012

teodorian2 wrote:
You have to consider two things:

1) Compare images with the same sharpening

D800E images do not require any sharpening, they look just terrible after sharpening.

A valid comparison of cameras with different MP or in this case the same MP but with and without AA filter is made of images normalized to the same size and with the same amount of sharpening.

No, you dont need sharpening with D800E images, unless the goal is to make jaggy looking pictures and provoke headache to the viewer.

I bet it would be IMPOSSIBLE to distinguish a sharpened D800 print from a D800E print.

2) Sharpening reinforce noise at higher ISO settings

It does, if you apply it to the whole image. It is 100 times easier and faster to apply local sharpening using u-points or masking tools than trying to remove moire and color refraction from an problematic D800E picture.

At higher ISO settings a camera without AA filter will be favorable since the less sharpening needed the less risk also increasing noise and artifacts as well.

Again, easier to apply local sharpening. Moire can become irreversible in many situations. But you are right on one point : if you know your subject, work in dark conditions and the scene is not subject to any repeated patterns, the D800E can, in this case save some PP time. The only situation that comes in my mind is taking handled shots of low light scenery. Situations excluded are : concert shots (lots of grids, cloths, metal patterns) modeling (controlled light anyways) indoor or outdoor sports (patterns everywhere)

But, all those conclusions are too early to make. Maybe (and I really hope so) Nikon did an excellent job with the D800E low pass filtering and just made up a bigger deal of the potential moire issues with the D800E than it really is.

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Chaz f64
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Yes, Robin...
In reply to Robin Casady, Feb 15, 2012

I shall sleep the sleep of the innocent tonight.

Good observations.

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teodorian2
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Re: D800 vs. D800E Microcontrast
In reply to Kaj E, Feb 15, 2012

Kaj E wrote:

teodorian2 wrote:

gurgeh wrote:

If you apply the same sharpening to the D800E images isn't that going to make them even sharper though?

The same sharpening applied to both crops:

My purpose was not to get one image sharper than the other. It was to get the apparent sharpness of the D800 close to the unprocessed one from the D800E.

I could of course have tried to see how "sharp" i could make both images. But to my eye the d800e looked fine as is in the first set of images. I don't like over-sharpened images.

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Kaj
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It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.- Elliott Erwitt

It´s not a matter of sharpness och sharpening but of detail possible to sharpen to taste. The D800E will always potentially resolve more fine detail.

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Re: JPEG not NEF. Irrelevant to video
In reply to Robin Casady, Feb 15, 2012

Robin Casady wrote:

Nikon has said that video from the D800 and D800E is the same. The AA filter is not sufficient to deal with the sub-sampling done to create video.

Where did Nikon wrote or said that ? Can you provide the link ? Examples ? Hope you don't mix dpreview forum members wishes and official statements.

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