D800E, moire, and diffraction.

Started Apr 4, 2012 | Discussions
shutterex
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D800E, moire, and diffraction.
Apr 4, 2012

Can someone please clarify a question I have regarding the D800E, moire, and diffraction in landscape photography? Let's assume that landscape photography sometimes encounters potential moire situations (barn shingles at the Tetons, tight wave patterns on sand dunes, etc.), that diffraction-inducing apertures smaller than f/11 are sometimes required in landscape photography for maximum DOF, and that diffraction can help eliminate moire. I've read many places online that if you're going to shoot at apertures beyond the point of diffraction, you might as well get the D800 because you're completely negating the sharpness advantage of the D800E. My question: strictly comparing the D800 to the D800E, wouldn't the loss of sharpness from diffraction compound with the loss of sharpness from the OLPF on the D800, such that an image shot at f/16 on the D800E would still be relatively sharper than the same image shot at f/16 on the D800, all things being equal otherwise? Thanks for any input.

Nikon D800 Nikon D800E
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Mark den Hartog
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to shutterex, Apr 4, 2012

from what I've been reading here and there I am curious too.

D800e is sharp up to F8 and from there diffraction kicks in.
D800 goes to F11 and from there diffraction kicks in.
Which could render pictures taken @ F11 being equally sharp?

I am not saying this is true! it's just what i've read over time....

if this is the case the D800 might be the better choice as a lot of the landscapes I do will use as much DOF as possible.

Thanks,
Mark

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crm114
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to Mark den Hartog, Apr 4, 2012

Hmm... that sounds like balderdash.. I thought diffraction was a characteristic of lens, not sensor so the same loss of detail would be equally evident on both cameras at a given aperture.. but would be interested to hear what others (more knowledgeable) have to say..

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shutterex
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to Mark den Hartog, Apr 4, 2012

Thanks Mark.

I guess I'm just not understanding, once both cameras have reached the point of diffraction, what happens to the additional loss of sharpness from the OLPF in the D800. As someone pondering the D800/D800E choice, on this issue I'm less interested in the optimal sharpness of the D800E than in the relative sharpness compared to the D800. Logic suggests to me that the OLPF softness would remain and compound with the diffraction in the D800 such that the D800E image would still be relatively sharper, even if it's not at optimum sharpness due to the diffraction. But I'm no optics expert, so I'm hoping someone can add some light to this issue.

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DANdeMAN
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Good question
In reply to Mark den Hartog, Apr 4, 2012

I'm also on the fence about getting the (E) or not... This moiré thing is killing me.

I will mostly be doing Macro of mechanical part that sometime as repeating lines (grooves/grinding marks) in them. (see pic)

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GuyMcKie
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to Mark den Hartog, Apr 4, 2012

There is an advanced diffraction calculator on this website.

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography-2.htm

Gr.

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Dennis DH
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to Mark den Hartog, Apr 4, 2012

I went with the regular D800 because of this and because it will be my only camera so will also see some portrait use.

I was lucky and received my D800 on March 22, and I think I made the right choice. This thing is so sharp with so much detail I don’t know where I would ever need any more. I think after post processing both models will be so close that I doubt you would see a difference even in a 16 x20. Maybe bill board size. I think we each really need to think about what our goals are and the end results. My normal print size is 16X20 and an occasional 30X40. There are a couple things that really surprised me about the D800 and that is both my wife and I can easily pick which photo came from the D800 compared to my D3 even at a 8X10 print. The DR is so much better and the detail even at that small size is just amazing.

One other thing my 30+ year old 28mm f3.5 AIS manual focus lens is very very sharp from corner to corner at f5.6 on the D800, I have always liked this lens it’s colors saturation contrast are very good and I have never found any lens period that shot into the sun as well with no flare and a beautiful sun star, not even some of the G lens with nano coating.

I have had this lens for over 30 years and I see them for under $100 on e-bay, if you are looking for a 28mm lens you can’t beat this lens, it is a steel. I am excited to see how the new 28 f1.8 turns out if Nikon goes through with making it.

I think that it is going to take some time with a lot more D800s in peoples hands to really determine what older lens hold up to the 36 megapixels, am sure there are several.
I think diffraction effects both models at the same point some where around f9.

I have a feeling for some of my landscapes where possible I will do some focus stacking, while I save for a tilt shift lens. I have a feeling Nikon will have a lot of people buying tilt shift lens that never thought about it before.

Did I say I love my D800. I never thought I would be able to say this, but I am 66 years old and I think this camera will last my life time, I just can’t see why I would want more than what this body offers.
I hope for every one that supplies start becoming more available.
Dennis
sorry I got carried away and the post is a little long.

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mattr
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to shutterex, Apr 4, 2012

shutterex wrote:

My question: strictly comparing the D800 to the D800E, wouldn't the loss of sharpness from diffraction compound with the loss of sharpness from the OLPF on the D800, such that an image shot at f/16 on the D800E would still be relatively sharper than the same image shot at f/16 on the D800, all things being equal otherwise?

This post is relevant for your question:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=40992931

I think the answer is yes, the AA filter blur adds to the diffraction blur if you stop down.

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Robin Casady
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to Mark den Hartog, Apr 4, 2012

Mark den Hartog wrote:

from what I've been reading here and there I am curious too.

D800e is sharp up to F8 and from there diffraction kicks in.
D800 goes to F11 and from there diffraction kicks in.
Which could render pictures taken @ F11 being equally sharp?

I am not saying this is true! it's just what i've read over time....

if this is the case the D800 might be the better choice as a lot of the landscapes I do will use as much DOF as possible.

My belief is that diffraction causes image degradation gradually. So, talking about which f/stop is the diffraction limit is like talking about where white ends and black begins on a gray scale. Some say the D800E is diffraction limited at f/5.6. Others say f/10.

When my D800E arrives I plan to do some testing to see the results of different lenses at various f/stops. Then I will have a sense of how best to use the different lenses.

The-Digital-Picture.com has a lens comparison page that is fun to play with. You set one lens and f/shop setting on the left and it displays a test chart corner, center, and corner taken with a D3x. Set the same lens at a different f/stop on the right, and then roll the mouse pointer on and off of the image. It flips back and forth between an image for the setting on the left and right. I don't know how reliable this site is, nor how carefully they did the shooting. However, it is somewhat interesting to see the results.

http://thedigitalpicture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=616&Camera=614&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=3&LensComp=616&CameraComp=614&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=5

I've been concerned about how my old Nikon 17-35 on the D800E. According to that site, it gets quite good on the D3x at f/11. Diffraction does not seem to be very apparent when you compare f/8 and f/11. The 17-35 doesn't do very well in the corners at wider f/stops. So, the elimination of diffraction at f/4 or f/5.6 is offset by the lens quality. F/11 should do nicely for landscape shooting.

I've read that moiré occurs when the pattern in the image projected onto the sensor is finer than the sensor, but coarser than the resolving power of the lens. I suspect that patterns close to but coarser than the sensor grid may also cause moiré.

If the pattern is finer than the lens can resolve, it wont show up, so no moiré. If this is correct, then diffraction that causes the pattern to not be resolved will eliminate moiré. If that pattern is coarser than the sensor can resolve, you will be giving up some detail to eliminate moiré. Of course that is how an AA filter reduces moiré.
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Kaj E
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to GuyMcKie, Apr 4, 2012

GuyMcKie wrote:

There is an advanced diffraction calculator on this website.

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography-2.htm

Gr.

Please disregard that link. Diffraction is a property of the lens it has nothing to do with the sensor.

Those attempts at trying to find apertures "where diffraction kicks in" are worthless. Diffraction limits a lens' resolution at smaller apertures and the difference is noticed on any sensor. If a lens has optimal resolution at for instance f/5.6 on a 12 MP sensor it also has max. resolution at the same aperture on a 36MP sensor. The 36MP sensor just is able to resolve more than the 12 MP sensor of what the lens projects on it. The total system (lens + sensor) resolution depends on both components and will never be more than that of the weakest component.

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TOF guy
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Correct
In reply to shutterex, Apr 4, 2012

shutterex wrote:

wouldn't the loss of sharpness from diffraction compound with the loss of sharpness from the OLPF on the D800, such that an image shot at f/16 on the D800E would still be relatively sharper than the same image shot at f/16 on the D800, all things being equal otherwise?

Yes

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Robin Casady
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to shutterex, Apr 4, 2012

shutterex wrote:

Thanks Mark.

I guess I'm just not understanding, once both cameras have reached the point of diffraction, what happens to the additional loss of sharpness from the OLPF in the D800. As someone pondering the D800/D800E choice, on this issue I'm less interested in the optimal sharpness of the D800E than in the relative sharpness compared to the D800. Logic suggests to me that the OLPF softness would remain and compound with the diffraction in the D800 such that the D800E image would still be relatively sharper, even if it's not at optimum sharpness due to the diffraction. But I'm no optics expert, so I'm hoping someone can add some light to this issue.

I think you are correct. Look at the diagram of the OLPF in the D800.

Now consider the image of a star being projected onto that filter. If the image is sharp, it is going to be a small dot. That dot gets spread by the filter. If the image is softened by diffraction, that star will be a larger diameter dot. That larger do will still get spread and end up being even larger.
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Astrophotographer 10
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Re: Correct
In reply to TOF guy, Apr 4, 2012

The Daniel Browning review of the D800 brings to light what I saw as defects in the 800E samples posted here recently that seemed so popular.

Aliasing effects are not limited to only moire which seems to be worst. There are other aliasing effects, none of which I would describe as pleasant to view.

I am also interested in D800E but really after seeing those sample images they really turned me off the camera. But who knows, it was just one set of example images.

When they are in the hands of posters we'll see lots of real life examples and will know for sure.

So to some degree there seems to be conjecture about the likely problem or lack of it for now.

Certainly moire in video is shaping up to be an issue as D800 video tests are now out showing D800 has more moire than 5D mk iii (not surprised seeing as 5D mk iii has such a strong AA filter which also robs sharpness, but thats an engineering compromise lost sharpness verus less moire, what balance does the market most want?).

Greg.

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Julian Vrieslander
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to Robin Casady, Apr 5, 2012

Robin Casady wrote:

Now consider the image of a star being projected onto that filter. If the image is sharp, it is going to be a small dot. That dot gets spread by the filter. If the image is softened by diffraction, that star will be a larger diameter dot. That larger do will still get spread and end up being even larger.

Sure, but I wonder what might happen in the case of minimal diffraction, and the D800E working as advertised. The stars might be recorded as red, green, or blue pixels, or adjoining red and green pairs, etc. Sometimes a bit of blurring is worth having.

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TOF guy
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Re: Correct
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Apr 5, 2012

Greg wrote:

Aliasing effects are not limited to only moire (snip) other aliasing effects, none of which I would describe as pleasant to view (snip ) after seeing the D800e images turned me off

I would worry much more about the above when weighting my choice between the D800 vs D800e rather than diffraction at small apertures.
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BobYIL
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to Julian Vrieslander, Apr 5, 2012
  • Without any exception all MF digital cameras employ sensors with no low-pass filters.

  • Some pros using these MF gear - since years- shoot textiles (fashion), architecture or other subjects exhibiting repetitive patterns far more frequently than those of us concerning about the moire with the D800E.

  • MF cameras generally employ two or three smaller f-stops to achieve relatively the same DOF as on the 35mm equivalents. Thus, they are more prone to the consequences of diffraction (however nobody complains about them..)

There is an IQ difference provided by AA filterless sensors, like the digital M-Leicas, Fujifilm X-Pro1, Ricoh GXR, etc. This IQ difference is to be enjoyed in probably 99.9% of the situations and the moire in the rest of the 0.1%..

I have ordered the D800E and I would still be ordering the same model if the price difference was more than $300.

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jambalawa
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to Mark den Hartog, Apr 5, 2012

Mark den Hartog wrote:

if this is the case the D800 might be the better choice as a lot of the landscapes I do will use as much DOF as possible.

One thing that helps is that the wider you go the more DOF you get with a given lens generally anyway... eg at F8... so unless you're wanting some very close sharp foreground it might not be too much of an issue for many shots...

A tilt/shift might be a nice way to get around it also...

But yeah it'd be interesting to see.. I've got the E on preorder. It would be awesome if the E at F11 with difraction was equivalent to the non E at F5.6 for example... but I might be hoping for too much there

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JohnWheeler
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to shutterex, Apr 5, 2012

shutterex wrote:

Can someone please clarify a question I have regarding the D800E, moire, and diffraction in landscape photography? Let's assume that landscape photography sometimes encounters potential moire situations (barn shingles at the Tetons, tight wave patterns on sand dunes, etc.), that diffraction-inducing apertures smaller than f/11 are sometimes required in landscape photography for maximum DOF, and that diffraction can help eliminate moire. I've read many places online that if you're going to shoot at apertures beyond the point of diffraction, you might as well get the D800 because you're completely negating the sharpness advantage of the D800E. My question: strictly comparing the D800 to the D800E, wouldn't the loss of sharpness from diffraction compound with the loss of sharpness from the OLPF on the D800, such that an image shot at f/16 on the D800E would still be relatively sharper than the same image shot at f/16 on the D800, all things being equal otherwise? Thanks for any input.

One more opinion (based on some optics knowledge)

Yes, to the first order the blur from the OLPF and blur from the diffraction adds. Yes, the D800E would slightly sharper at all apertures than the D800 all else being equal.

Yet back to info that may impact buying decisions.

  • There is not a lot of data out there yet on how prone the D800E is normal shooting practice

  • For those using the D800E (and actually for the D800 as well) if it is really important to avoid Moiré to begin with you should shoot tethered and check at 100% view and/or take multiple shots at slightly different focal lengths or slightly different distance to subject. Much less work than trying to reduce the impact of Moiré and related artifacts in an image. Don't sweat it about Moiré possibly occurring. Acknowledge reality that it will happen on occasion with either camera body (and likely more with the D800E) and take preventative action during the time of the shoot. Takes the worry out and a lot of PP work as well. Trying to make a decision based on camera body just based on likelihood of Moiré without taking protective actions is similar to trying to decide who to date based on least risk of pregnancy (lower fertility) even though protective measures are not being taken there either. Not a good strategy. Yes abstinence works and so does not taking any pictures to reduce risk of Moiré. Take protective actions and you will be a safer (and I am talking about pictures right now )

One factor worth considering is that yes you can reduce the risk of Moire by stopping down and either f8 or f11 would do the trick on the D800E. The tradeoff that is worth considering is that this diffraction blur only helps you at those small F stops to reduce Moiré while the D800 OLPF helps you out at any aperture. If all of your photography will be limited to those apertures that may a big deal, yet for me, I use the entire range of apertures for the images that I take. And many of the images I take are moving objects (people) so I cannot ask them to stand still while I change my distance to the subject or change focal length to minimize the risk of Moiré. I desire the value of the full time OLPF at all aperture settings for my needs.
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Robin Casady
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to Julian Vrieslander, Apr 5, 2012

Julian Vrieslander wrote:

Robin Casady wrote:

Now consider the image of a star being projected onto that filter. If the image is sharp, it is going to be a small dot. That dot gets spread by the filter. If the image is softened by diffraction, that star will be a larger diameter dot. That larger do will still get spread and end up being even larger.

Sure, but I wonder what might happen in the case of minimal diffraction, and the D800E working as advertised. The stars might be recorded as red, green, or blue pixels, or adjoining red and green pairs, etc. Sometimes a bit of blurring is worth having.

The question was whether an AA filter compunded the effect of diffraction. So, you've wandered outside of the reason for my though experiment.

However, the size of the star image would determine whether it hit enough photosites to have balanced color. If you imagine a star image the size of only one photosite (so that it hit only one color) what would that image be like when you spread it large enough to cover four photosites?

My suspicion is that a star image that small would look bad on either camera, but in different ways. On the D800E it would look like a hot pixel. On the D800 it would be 1/4 as bright as it should be.
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Robin Casady
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Re: D800E, moire, and diffraction.
In reply to jambalawa, Apr 5, 2012

jambalawa wrote:

It would be awesome if the E at F11 with difraction was equivalent to the non E at F5.6 for example... but I might be hoping for too much there

My guess is that it would take f/16 with the D800E to match the blur from the D800.
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