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Nikon D800 review updated with D800E side-by-side testing

By dpreview staff on Jun 11, 2012 at 23:06 GMT
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Just Posted: We've just added in-depth analysis of the Nikon D800E to our D800 review. We've spent some time testing the D800E alongside the conventional D800, shooting real-world samples and high-precision studio test shots. We've added four extra pages of content and analysis to the D800/D800E review showing exactly what the differences are between the cameras, both for stills and video work. We've added a 32-image D800E sample gallery and subjected the D800E to our scoring process. We've also used the time with the two cameras to look at the benefits of shooting uncompressed HD video footage.

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The review update looks at various aspects of the D800E's image quality in comparison to the D800:

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Nikon D800E

Comments

Total comments: 130
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Jul 6, 2012)

Solid review of the Nikon D800 D4 and Canon 5D3 on U Tube - check out: Full frame shoot out: D4 vs D800 vs 5Dmk III - not my video-but very interesting.

0 upvotes
Globalpro
By Globalpro (Jun 28, 2012)

Ok I am lazy,,, Somewhaer I heard that you can put your copyright info into the D800 (Someplace?) that will apear on each image... Probably through software, but anyone got shortcuts??

0 upvotes
Globalpro
By Globalpro (Jun 29, 2012)

Never Mind Found it,,, and works great..

0 upvotes
draculavn
By draculavn (Jun 23, 2012)

after a lot of crying from nikon fan, d800e got 84% score. what a review!

0 upvotes
PaulRacecar
By PaulRacecar (Jun 15, 2012)

The fact that the Nikon factory in Fukushima was decimated in the March 2011 tsunami is not lost on the Japanese government. I’m guessing they brokered a deal with Canon and Nikon to allow Nikon to have a distinct price advantage, along with a better product. Japan cannot allow an imaging titan like Nikon to falter in the world market. I think they shook hands under the table and said “Canon you let Nikon have this one, you’ll get your turn next." Just saying.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (Jun 21, 2012)

We are all dumber for having read that.

2 upvotes
Rubenski
By Rubenski (Jun 13, 2012)

DPR wrote: 'optimum sharpening applied to raw files from both cameras'. Is it possible to check these kind of values for other cameras and software (and kind of pictures)used for sharpening? Would be great since I've a hard time selecting the best values for my pictures being very 'untechie'.

Hoping to get some good answers, thanks in advance.

0 upvotes
simondeweyphoto
By simondeweyphoto (Jun 13, 2012)

There are plenty of proffessionals who shoot JPEG and still don't use a point and shoot - believe it or not the pro body gives some advantage

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Jun 13, 2012)

08DSC_0175.c1 looks outstanding. The ACR shots are awful with all the detail blurred to death just like the in camera jpgs.

0 upvotes
Le Kilt
By Le Kilt (Jun 13, 2012)

Not necessarily easy to set up, but a comparison shooting stars would have been most interesting for these two bodies, any chance DPReview?

0 upvotes
Taikonaut
By Taikonaut (Jun 13, 2012)

Despite D800E having worse video aliasing because of absent of AA filter dpreview still put the score for video the same as D800.

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Jun 13, 2012)

Who said it was worse? What we said in the review is that moiré patterning in video recordings is just as much of an issue on the D800 as the D800E. If you shoot video, its going to be a concern with either model.

2 upvotes
mike kobal
By mike kobal (Jun 13, 2012)

agree with Amadou, video looks pretty much identical from both, E has a slight edge on sharpness

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jun 13, 2012)

I wish I had known that before bought my D800 as I would have jumped on the D800E. I got a bit scared off of the D800E for video watching the D800 - 5D3 - D4 from Philip Bloom, as he vehemently warned against getting a D800E for video. I had a feeling he didn't test the E, but was making an assumption. No matter, I could not possibly be happier with my D800.

Hey Mike, looking forward to some videos from your cameras. Cheers.

0 upvotes
mike kobal
By mike kobal (Jun 13, 2012)

Hey marike6, working on it :) shooting video with the E, against all odds the clips look fantastic as long as the subject is not prone to moire

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jun 13, 2012)

Hi Mike, I'm sure you know this, but I'm finding that in 1080 with a Neutral profile with sharpening all the way down, moire, false color, and aliasing are much more rare. Then if necessary you can use a bit of USM in FCP.

Anyway, I'll keep a look out for your next project.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
bgbs
By bgbs (Jun 12, 2012)

Holy Smokes!
Capture One default conversion extracts more detail and sharpness than any other converter. Look at the detail on the siding, it is impressive. I thought NX would be the converter of choice, but clearly not.

0 upvotes
balico
By balico (Jun 13, 2012)

When You are unable to change the default settings or put some time to get the best out of the raw, it would be best to keep shooting jpeg ;)

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Jun 13, 2012)

"When You are unable to change the default settings or put some time to get the best out of the raw, it would be best to keep shooting jpeg ;)"

What "default settings" would those be?

It takes little time to get that kind of detail and no adjustment with the right raw converter. Anyone who would choose those jpgs over the Capture One sample should just buy the cheapest DSLR because any resolution advantage in such a camera is destroyed with the lousy in camera jpgs.

Doesn't anyone care about resolution anymore? And I'm not talking about Megapixels.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jun 13, 2012)

@Basalite Clearly RAW is preferable in most situations but the D800 JPEGS are not your typical JPEGS. They are actually pretty exceptional with excellent colors and sharpness and NR is not too intrusive. I shoot NEF almost 100% of the time, but occasionally I shoot NEF + JPEG and a lot of the time the JPEGs are quite usable as is.

0 upvotes
MattiD80
By MattiD80 (Jun 12, 2012)

D800 85%
D800E 84%

5d mIII 80%

That's how i see it after reading tons of reviews. Funny to see Dpreview thinks the opposite way. Money not important to DPR so 5d gets status quo. A very very very tiny sharpness increase give 2% extra, without getting price penalty XD I disagree again.

D800 (non e) is by far the best purchase at the moment, of an enthousiast who want fullframe but doenst have endless amounts of money.

6 upvotes
mike kobal
By mike kobal (Jun 12, 2012)

Agreed, as a still camera the D800/E clearly outperforms the 5D3, no pixel peeping needed, as for video, the 5D3 has a slight edge (despite Nikon's clean HDMI out) as an all-rounder and true full frame (1.2x for Nikon's video FX)

4 upvotes
balico
By balico (Jun 13, 2012)

The only advantage the 5DIII has when comparing the final points is better built and performance (fps) which both don't have anything to do with image quality. The D800(E) image quality is simply a leap ahead of the Canon with better shadow detail, higher resolution and better sharpness for a more affordable price! Don't know what went wrong, but certainly dpr should rectify.
Video quality should have less weight in the final score of a photo camera period.

3 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Jun 13, 2012)

Look at the Capture One sample. How anyone can say a "very very very tiny sharpness increase" needs to get their eyes checked.

1 upvote
russbarnes
By russbarnes (Jun 13, 2012)

I really don't know where this strange comments come from about the 5DMKIII being better built. There is no difference in build quality whatsoever between these cameras, except maybe that light enters the D800 where it's meant to.

4 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jun 13, 2012)

Allt true but it doesn't necessarily matter. I needed a 24 PC lens and Nikon got there first so I bought D700 & 24 PC-E. Still have the camera; the 24 PC, while not a total dog, is pretty poor when shifted (tried two). Canon's 24 TS is noticably better and there is literally no comparison with their 17 TS. So it really doesn't matter to me that the D800 is "better". Maybe I am just wrong about the Nikon 24 PC? The 24 PC-E did not even make Lens Rentals' list of reccomended lenses for the D800. I still prefer Nikon bodies but I need results, not bragging rights.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jun 13, 2012)

@mike kobal

I don't know Mike, in video mode the 5D3 has better low light, and less moire, but the D800 more resolution, sharper image closer to my GH2 in resolution. For resolution I'd put them in ascending order: 5D3 - 5D2 - D800 - GH2. The 1.2X is not really an issue, and barely noticeable, but the 1.5X DX mode is really useful. I wouldn't mind if Nikon upped the bitrate in a firmware, but this is unlikely because of the Uncompressed HDMI ability.

Anyway for stills with the D800 sensor performance is seems it should logically be impossible to rate the two cameras, 5D3-D800 as equivalent. Files are significantly better than my 5D2, and at the end of the day, that's all I care about.

0 upvotes
ksgant
By ksgant (Jun 18, 2012)

Agreed. I know I can't enjoy the camera I have unless I bash the competition. That's what's important, not the way you use your camera or your skills as a photographer.

1 upvote
Crac1
By Crac1 (Jun 12, 2012)

I wonder why Nikon has released two different versions of the D800 ... Perhaps to be talked about just! And it seems to be very effective!
Really work with a camera is taking pictures, sell them, for advertising, for books, magazines, prints exhibitions.
Look at a picture of 36 million pixels at 100% or more on a computer screen, to find the difference, is it really useful? The Nikon D800 is a great camera, and probably also D800e.
Enough talk, let's work now.
Best regards.

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jun 12, 2012)

"This seems like an odd way of doing things; why not just remove the filter altogether?"

One of the two LiNbO3 filters serves as the sensor cover glass, it's not part of the stack. So, the only way to remove it is to make a change on the chip manufacturing line, which means new part numbers, validation, etc. for sensor and circuit board.

Altering the second LiNbO3 filter, the one in the stack, is much easier. You don't have to change as much stuff, stock two kinds of chip, rerun validation, etc.

1 upvote
nutraman
By nutraman (Jun 12, 2012)

dpreview editors - a very minor error on page 28, which states:

"As you can see above, instances of moiré in the D800E are also present - to an admittedly lesser degree - in the D800."

the cameras should be switched:
As you can see above, instances of moiré in the D800 are also present - to an admittedly lesser degree - in the D800E.

0 upvotes
StephenSPhotog
By StephenSPhotog (Jun 12, 2012)

No, they said it right. You have it backwards. Moire is worse on the D800E

8 upvotes
Steve Wilson
By Steve Wilson (Jun 12, 2012)

I stumbled over this one, too. I think it should have been worded as "As you can see above, the instances of moire found in the D800E image are also present - to an admittedly lesser degree - in the D800 image.".

However, I have also found instances of moire in the D800E image that are not in the D800 image, but they are so minor as to be irrelevant.

0 upvotes
Richt2000
By Richt2000 (Jun 12, 2012)

So, as repeated when the 'e' was announced, for landcape shooters, Its not a few hundred £/$ more, its a few thousand as Tilt-Shift Lenses are a MUST to make the 'e' version worth-while for landscapers...

2 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Jun 12, 2012)

Hmm. Tilt or shift lens may be very usefull for some subjects but that has not much to do which camera model you use.

1 upvote
Roberto Mettifogo
By Roberto Mettifogo (Jun 12, 2012)

why do we need tiltshift ?

0 upvotes
Ryan Mack
By Ryan Mack (Jun 12, 2012)

If you need a wide depth of field you either need to use a tilt-shift lens (tilted) or you need to stop down to a very small aperture which would eliminate the sharpness benefit of the 'e'. The alternative is focus stacking which works for some subjects.

1 upvote
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Jun 12, 2012)

The e is sharp as hell anywhere from f4 to f 16. Try it on a tripod, mirror up and you'll see. Absolutely no one would be able to tell which f stop you used.

1 upvote
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Jun 12, 2012)

The sensor (or technique) would have to be poor indeed if the f/5.6 image were not obviously much sharper than the f/16 image. All cameras show this difference; in fact the D800E should show a difference between f/4 and f/8 images too (in favour of the f4), if the lens is something decent and reasonably fast (i.e. 85/1.4 AF-S, 35/1.4 AF-S, 200/2 etc.) and live view manual focus is used.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Studor13
By Studor13 (Jun 12, 2012)

Reilly, you are 1000% wrong. dead wrong!
On my D800 (standard) you can see the difference between f4 and f16 at every aperture and every focal length on the 16-35mm f4 in the corners, and to a less degree in the center.

There is no reason why the E would be any different. If anything, the corners would look even worse. A sharper camera (the E) is not going to improve corner performance. It's a limition of the lens!

0 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Jun 13, 2012)

No, it actually isn't obvious at all. Get a D800e and peep for yourself.

0 upvotes
dholl
By dholl (Jun 12, 2012)

Thanks, but I see no mention of whether the D800E has the same moire issues as the D800 in video mode. There is a confused debate about whether there is any difference (obviously with stills there is).

Can you shed any light on this?

0 upvotes
dholl
By dholl (Jun 12, 2012)

aaaah, sorry...just found this paragraph at the end of page 29:

"In our time spent shooting video with both cameras though, we have found moiré to be significantly more prevalent than it is with still images. This was not unexpected, and is a notorious side-effect of DSLR video caused in part by how the sensor output is downsampled and also by the fact that the anti-aliasing filters of DSLRs are optimized for full-resolution still capture, not low-resolution video. Here, though, the D800 and D800E perform all-but identically in terms of the amount of moiré visible in the final footage. "

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jun 12, 2012)

The moire on video will be pronounced when viewed on a big TV screen, in High Definition.

It will look like an annoying moving pattern over the area.

Yes, there is a difference, and a big one, because the moire is moving in a video, unlike in a photo where it is static. The two cameras will exhibit different characteristics.

.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jun 12, 2012)

> The two cameras will exhibit different characteristics.

Of course they won't. The AA filter operates on fractional pixel distances, about 3 microns. The pixel pitch for the video decimation is 3.5 pixels, 17.5 microns. That's the pitch that causes severe aliasing on both the 800 and the 800E. Like the review said:

"Here, though, the D800 and D800E perform all-but identically in terms of the amount of moiré visible in the final footage."

CameraLabTester? Right...

0 upvotes
mike kobal
By mike kobal (Jun 12, 2012)

Thanks for this update, pretty much confirms my findings shooting with the E. I love mine.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Jun 12, 2012)

Excellent test, thank you, I was waiting for the studio comparison tests with D800E. It is the choice for those tyat want top IQ at a moderate price and size (it matches the Pentax and similar MF bodies). My next camera.

0 upvotes
fastlass
By fastlass (Jun 12, 2012)

Re: the "Should I buy a D800E?" section.
"So if you're a portrait photographer working between F4-5.6 then yes - in your day-to-day photography you'll see the benefit of the D800E's special sensor design." Isn't the thing about portrait photography that in general you don't aim for images that are at the extreme of sharpness b/c they begin to look clinical which isn't the most desirable. Obviously giving the buyer the highest baseline IQ could be one goal, and then let the user alter things in PP or in-camera settings, but as a practical matter it seems the advantage of the E is not necessarily an advantage in portraiture.

4 upvotes
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Jun 12, 2012)

I think the false colour in textures makes the E a poor choice for portrait photography (of clothed people). I think the correct rendition of fabrics is an essential part of a high quality portrait. Also, as you also point out, pin-sharp rendition of details of the skin is usually not desired.

I don't mean this in bad way but it really doesn't feel the dpreview review writers have a good grip of what is important in photography. They seem to be interested in only analyzing the 100% crop rather than the big picture.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Jun 12, 2012)

If shorter DOF with background blur is needed, that would also negate much of the need for extra detail of E model. Stop down for longer DOF, and difference becomes minimal because of diffraction.

Super sharpness is most often not needed for portraiture. Print sizes are usually quite small, and people generally don't want imperfections of their skin be exposed too well ;)

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Jun 12, 2012)

Am I the only one that can't tell jack from these type of tests?

10 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jun 12, 2012)

Perhaps DPR could do some tests on:
Fabrics
Roof Tiles
Insects (eyes of a housefly)
Fencing patterns
Flyscreens
Barcodes
Hatch drawings
Currency bill macros
...
The local neighborhood view just don't cut it...

.

6 upvotes
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Jun 12, 2012)

Real-world images would be preferable to poorly composed postcard shots of ugly urban scenes. At least I get so much more from the reviews written by people who put the cameras to field work of a high level so that every aspect of the image (composition, subject, light and the message) is good. Such images give information about how the rendering characteristics of the cameras affect the impact of the image in high quality real-world photography. Technical rendering characteristics by themselves are utterly uninteresting if the image itself is not good. It also sends the wrong message regarding who these cameras are intended/designed for. I think the flood of people wanting to buy D800's is mostly because of this 100% crop centric view to photography, which is quite misguided IMO.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Jun 12, 2012)

Seeing that the camera is aimed at (not for usage on fences and brick walls) landscape the local imagery is doing just fine. Thanks for the update DPR!

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jun 12, 2012)

We did shoot fabrics, we did shoot roof tiles, we did shoot fencing patterns and we did shoot hatch drawings and currency bills (check out the studio scene comparisons).

You're quite right though, we didn't shoot barcodes or an insect's eye...

11 upvotes
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Jun 12, 2012)

The camera isn't "aimed for" landscape photographers only. In practice since the D800 is the affordable FX camera of this generation of bodies, most professionals and serious amateurs who shoot Nikon will end up with one (or several), irrespective of their field of application. It will be universally adopted.

0 upvotes
pdcm
By pdcm (Jun 13, 2012)

Very good idea; so why didn't they think of doing this. After all, this was always in contention so they should have made an effort

0 upvotes
lensberg
By lensberg (Jun 12, 2012)

By any chance, is the high ISO capabilities of the D800E superior compared to the D800...?! At least from the RAW samples it certainly seems that way... quite a bit cleaner, with significantly less chroma noise and better detail retention... if this is the case... a very impressive feat indeed...

0 upvotes
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (Jun 12, 2012)

Makes sense, the D800E images need less noise increasing sharpening.

1 upvote
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (Jun 12, 2012)

@ Amadou & Barney - If the D800 raw images have more visible noise at higher ISOs than the D800E raw images, like the Studio Comparison Tool seems to show, then maybe ACR uses more sharpening for the D800 images, even when the sharpening is set to 'zero' for both cameras? If so, then maybe it could be relevant to add a D800 vs. D800E high ISO comparison, and also to make it possible to choose the D800E at page 18 ("Noise & Resolution").

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Jun 12, 2012)

Steen Bay,
For raw files the noise at high ISOs is virtually identical between the D800 and D800E. It's JPEG output where you see a difference at ISOs 6400 and higher. That means Nikon is doing slightly different JPEG processing on the D800E, which we noted elsewhere in the review.

2 upvotes
MediaDigitalVideo
By MediaDigitalVideo (Jun 12, 2012)

Just a question after seeing the top of those Nikons, does shadow occur when you use internal flash and use a wide-angle lens on the D800.

0 upvotes
balico
By balico (Jun 13, 2012)

Sure it will with a wide lens barrel (with sun shade), but with a prime 50mm or 85mm it probably won't.

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Jun 12, 2012)

Nikon should have just made de D800E and called it the D800.

4 upvotes
Hauer
By Hauer (Jun 12, 2012)

I think Nikon made a major boo-boo in keeping the framerate (purposely?)so low. I hope they will re-think their strategy when the possible D400 or whatever is / if launched.

1 upvote
Biological_Viewfinder
By Biological_Viewfinder (Jun 12, 2012)

The framerate was not purposefully kept down. It's a 36MP sensor, so think of it like other cameras and having an 18MP sensor and 8 frames per second (no D4, but still quite respectable). You have to understand that FPS means you're sending data to the card and 36MP is ALOT to send to the card.

5 upvotes
bigdaddave
By bigdaddave (Jun 12, 2012)

It's not the framerate thats the problem, it the fact you can't shoot an mRAW or an SRAW so EVERY file has to be 36 meg

2 upvotes
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Jun 12, 2012)

That what QXD is for.

0 upvotes
Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (Jun 12, 2012)

"By bigdaddave (4 hours ago)
It's not the framerate thats the problem, it the fact you can't shoot an mRAW or an SRAW so EVERY file has to be 36 meg"

I don't care its 42MB for D800 vs 34MB of the 5D MK III in file size. Canon better put sortlike compression techniques into their camera's as Nikon does.

Makes much more sense then blaming Nikon for putting 36MP into their cameras versus the 22MP into the Canons.

I can easily downres my images in Photoshop or lightroom within a tenth of a second, but upressing will always harm the image quality.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jun 12, 2012)

If they can do 4 fps at 36 mpix, they could easily do 10 fps at 15 mpix DX crop, even without extra battery grips and such. That is where they purposely limited their frame rate.

1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Jun 12, 2012)

For many things that generally need more frame rate you are in 1.2 crop mode anyway. Faster rate. But even at 4 it isn't bad. That's pretty fast unless you are trying to photograph a bullet. If you truly need more, Nikon has other options. Many people just like to hear a rapid shutter. I was a machine gunner at one time, and the M60 is faster. But as with cameras, most of the rounds missed the target. The D800, like the D700, has never been hawked as a "sports" camera. That's the D3 and D4 or the D300 and it's replacement, if we ever see it.

0 upvotes
balico
By balico (Jun 12, 2012)

Framerate nor raw size are important unless you are a (professional) sports photographer, or on a tight budget not able to buy 32GB or 64GB cards after initially spending US$3000+ on the camera. Darn, 1TB drives are under US$100 and can store over 27.000 pictures!

The silly assumption about the raw size is the same as shooting jpg instead of raw..

0 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (Jun 13, 2012)

NEF (raw) images can be shoot in 3 different sizes which gives around 36, 20 and 10 MB files.

0 upvotes
SueMadgic
By SueMadgic (10 months ago)

By that logic they could revert to 2 mpix and do slomo movies!

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Steve Wilson
By Steve Wilson (Jun 12, 2012)

I can sharpen the D800 RAW park scene to look indistinguishable from the unsharpened D800E version, but it is tough to get the moire in the E version to look at good as the D800. Also, the small white railing in the D800E image looks like it has an extra horizontal line running through it that doesn't appear in the D800 version. Maybe it is there in reality, and maybe not. These arguments make me lean towards the D800.

On the other hand, one can immediately see the difference in sharpness and contrast when comparing the D800 and D800E side-by-side at optimal lens resolution. And maybe most images have so much color anyway that a little moire takes a long time to notice. These arguments convince me that the D800E is the way to go.

I suspect the Nikon engineers and marketing folks also couldn't decide.

6 upvotes
balico
By balico (Jun 13, 2012)

D800E will Always give better results then the non-E.
Only when you (completely) screw up with lens diffraction or blur because of motion or shake there will be no difference..

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Jun 13, 2012)

If you are sharpening to try and get it to look like the 800e then obviously you will also be sharpening existing noise so I doubt your indistinguishable claim.

1 upvote
russbarnes
By russbarnes (Jun 13, 2012)

Wow, more "sharpening noise" comment. I guess you have no clue about how to sharpen an image...

2 upvotes
russbarnes
By russbarnes (Jun 12, 2012)

Well to me the premium of the D800E over the D800 still does not seem worth it, even after all of the millions of words and images written over the last few months. There is a tiny difference in image quality at specific apertures only, easily recovered through a small amount of sharpening. In fact in many ways I would say that you can control image quality far easier with the D800 over the D800E. I'd rather add a small amount of sharpening to a specific area in my image than be attempting to blur or remove moire and aliasing effects. I praise Nikon for their efforts and for once again innovating in the market, but I fail to see how the D800E can be given a higher score here based on "value" when the camera costs considerably more to get that tiny increase in resolution, which often comes with a trade off in overall image quality.

7 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Jun 13, 2012)

You would also be sharpening existing noise.

The difference in sharpness with the 800e is obvious and certainly not tiny. Look at the Capture One sample.

1 upvote
russbarnes
By russbarnes (Jun 13, 2012)

Sharpening existing noise? At what ISO? Such comments are ABSOLUTE BUNK. This camera is made to be shot at ISO100-200 and at such a level there is no noise so my statement stands. And yes, the difference is visible at f4 and invisible everywhere else so my statement absolutely stands.

2 upvotes
JacquesBalthazar
By JacquesBalthazar (Jun 12, 2012)

Best review yet of the amazing duo. I ended up with the D800 because that is what was available in the shop the day I stepped in. Had it been the "e", I would have purchased the "e", just to generate that feeling that there is no way of getting more detail in any given shot, all other circumstances remaining equal. But then, I would have also generated a constant FUD regarding moiré, false colours, etc, that would have ended up in pixel peeping sessions and fastidious slider tweaking "just to be sure". Coz that is the way I am, and probably quite a few others as well.

So, at the end, with the D800, unless I print at maximum size for a gallery exhibition with "e" owners or pixel peep in comparative sessions with a "e" body, I know I will have an absolutely marvelous result when I do things right.

Regrading ease of use: I've learned many things since packing that D800, by the way. One of them is that it can also be used as the ultimate point & shoot.

5 upvotes
rfsIII
By rfsIII (Jun 12, 2012)

There's a lot of resolution there, but I'm not seeing the gorgeous subtle skin tones that one sees from the older Nikon DSLRs. I'm using a calibrated monitor, and I also notice that plants all look a little chlorotic, they all have a little bit of a yellow cast. It seems like we've gained detail but lost color rendition.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jun 12, 2012)

Do I have to turn in my camera if I can't tell a bit of difference in image quality between the two cameras, even the 100% crops? I think if I try real hard I can almost confirmation bias my way into seeing a tiny bit more detail, but then when I blink it is gone again.

1 upvote
highwave
By highwave (Jun 12, 2012)

I really don't like SLRs

But if I were ever to buy an SLR today, the D800E would be the only one to sway me.

If you're going to burden yourself might as well go all the way.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Jun 12, 2012)

I'm curious, what do you shoot with at the moment that makes only the highest spec SLR a worthy replacement?

1 upvote
highwave
By highwave (Jun 13, 2012)

OM-D E-M5

Not that I'm saying the only worthy replacement is the D800, I'm just saying the only worthy replacement for me is the D800.

I just don't like Optical View Finders. They're not for me.

0 upvotes
K_Photo_Teach
By K_Photo_Teach (Jun 12, 2012)

When you see the effort required to eek out the best resolution from this camera it becomes clear that lack of in body image stabilisation should be negatives in the reviews.

Amazing detail from the 800E though, simply amazing.Well done Nikon - i think its a game changer

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jun 12, 2012)

Or a wide and growing range of optically stabilized lenses, which Nikon does have :)

6 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Jun 12, 2012)

No effort at all. Easiest camera I've ever used to get a technically excellent shot. The color and autofocus alone bear the bell away.

3 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Jun 12, 2012)

If in-body IS is the bread and butter, why are nikon and canon selling so many more DSLR's than Sony or Pentax ? FAIW, no type of IS can compensate for poor technique, bad lenses or poor PP. If you can't get shots because you lack IS in your camera, it may be more than that to it, and no IS system is going to replace a tripod. Can you remember how much trouble did Pentax have with missaligned sensors due to the in-body IS, in the K-7 and I think K-10/K-20 ? None of that for me, thank you !

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 52 seconds after posting
1 upvote
DeanAllan
By DeanAllan (Jun 12, 2012)

I think you are mistaking marketing and market presence for usability.
And don't forget that Nikon and Canon makes quite a number of booboo as well. Remember Canon's 24-105 L issue? The light leaks on their new body? Nikon's battery issue? AF contact misaligned? Every brand has them, just that not every brand has very vocal minority dumb noobs who don't know how to use a camera and blinded by the problems that other brands has as well.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
1 upvote
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Jun 12, 2012)

@Dean Allan: What are you acting up about ? What do the battery problems and all other problems that you listed there have in common with in-body stabilization ? Pentax had problems because of that particular system they implemented, so my vote goes against nikon using the same system, I do not want my camera to be prone to that. That is what I was explaining to K_Photo_Tech. Off course Pentax had other problems, just like nikon, canon, sony and all the rest. But that's not what I was talking about. Can I make it more clear ? Please stick to subject and only comment if you have something worthy to say, and stop using harsh words on other people.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
1 upvote
balico
By balico (Jun 12, 2012)

VR and IS or whatever manufacturers market it is only helpful when shutter speed gets "too low" without moving subjects in the frame and should be avoided when sufficient shutter speed can be reaches; http://www.bythom.com/nikon-vr.htm

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jun 12, 2012)

Nikon hasn't made a single camera with "In Body IS" in their history, but you think the reviewer should have deducted even more points from the D800 for not having this feature? And what of all Nikon's VR lenses?

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Jun 12, 2012)

Does the IS system in more recent Pentax cameras have a problem? How about the systems Sony and Olympus use?

It would be nice to see a system that offered both options.

There are still plenty of lenses in Nikon's catalog that don't have VR.

I can see the advantage of VR to the manufacturers - you have to buy a recent lens to get it. Then if you want VRII, or whatever the latest version is, you have to buy the upgraded version of the lens.

3 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Jun 12, 2012)

I do wish DPR would remember that they have many readers who do not reside in the USA for whom the US price and the concept of 'street price' is utterly irrelevant.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jun 12, 2012)

MSRPs are given in dollars, pounds sterling and Euros on the specifications page of this review. Also, as far as I know, 'street price' is a global concept.

7 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Jun 12, 2012)

I love my e to pieces!!!

1 upvote
Devendra
By Devendra (Jun 12, 2012)

D800E is the way to go if you want optimum quality - including at higher f-stops

moire can be corrected, but getting that extra crispness in every well taken shot should not be underestimated

2 upvotes
russbarnes
By russbarnes (Jun 12, 2012)

I utterly fail to see it at "higher f stops". The D800E is great if you shoot at f4 all day by the looks of it. Anywhere else and it's lost...

5 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Jun 12, 2012)

Russ, the D800e is just about indistinguishable f4 to f16. It's like your own Google Earth. Ain't life great in Nikon land?

1 upvote
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Jun 12, 2012)

5D mark III 82% Gold
D800 82% Gold

D800E 84% Gold (better IQ scores and better value?)

2 upvotes
russbarnes
By russbarnes (Jun 12, 2012)

5DMKIII 75%
D800 88%
D800E 90%

That would have been more realistic, and I think in the real world this is exactly as most people would objectively score these offerings in their own minds, never mind what DPReview chose.

12 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Jun 12, 2012)

Not so hard Russ ;). But yes, the market is saying about 80, 85, 87, respectively. Of course price is always an issue and many would not care for the last level of IQ that the E brings.

0 upvotes
PunkRock
By PunkRock (Jun 12, 2012)

What bias rubbish you speak R Barnes..... the Canon 5D III is by far the best all round camera in the normal everyday world that MOST people shoot.

0 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Jun 12, 2012)

Just like punk rock is the best music :^)

1 upvote
MadManAce
By MadManAce (Jun 12, 2012)

WHO CARES!!! Buy the one that meets your needs best. If I were shooting the Olympics this summer, would I care if they gave the D4 or D3s a lower score than either of these cameras or would use it because they have what I need most. The 5D mk III may have some limitations, as does the D800, but a true Pro will know how to exploit what he has available. Fashion people have used the 5D mkII with great success, better than most people on this forum ever could with $100,000 worth of equipment.

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jun 13, 2012)

This scoring nonsense reminds me of waiting to board a plane. First, they call the Super Plutonium members, then then Diamond, Emerald, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Pot Metal. It's all very meaningful. The seats and the food are all the same.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jun 13, 2012)

@MadManAce

These are discussions about gear, and saying that pros produce great images regardless of camera is a bit beside the point. When Top Gear rates cars they don't end each discussion saying "Yes but all these cars are great in the hands of a skilled driver". That's a given.

@PunkRock A camera cannot be the best if it doesn't produce the very best IQ available. Even with the caveat "all-around" there is just no way to around this point. The 5D3 is a good camera, but significantly better DR range, and better sensor put the D800 on another planet.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jun 12, 2012)

That is fun, the mistake of giving D800 and 5D3 the same 82% was corrected. But - by giving D800E higher "Value" rating?

1 upvote
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Jun 12, 2012)

I agree with this, D800 should have better bang for the buck (aka value) than the D800E.
and/or
The D800E should have less or the same value since it only provides slight image quality for 10% more money.

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jun 12, 2012)

It gives a meaningful increase in resolution in both raw and JPEG modes for a comparatively small premium, which = (slightly) better value in our opinion.

But if you disagree, take comfort in the fact that 'value' in our scoring system has a very low weighting and did not, in this case, have any effect on the final % score.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Jun 12, 2012)

At my local food store, they always post items (10 mangoes for $10) Sounds like a good deal until you find out that a single mango is $1.

If Nikon is giving you more camera but charging you more...that is not better value. If anything its the same. Now, if they had the D800e at the same price...that is better value.

Also, I have a D800e on order and I think its worth the extra $300 and I thank Nikon for at least giving us that option.

5 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jun 12, 2012)

Excellent - we just exchanged opinions.

4 upvotes
bgbs
By bgbs (Jun 12, 2012)

If D800 was at $4K, no doubt it would have received better rating from DPR. DPR does look at the price, the higher the price the higher the score it seems.

1 upvote
Epitaph_pmr
By Epitaph_pmr (Jun 12, 2012)

What I learned from this: DxO Optics Pro 7 isn't as good as ACR or NX2.

2 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Jun 12, 2012)

OK...we get it, more detail and junk..but what does the E stand for DPreview? Its a important question we must have answered!

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jun 12, 2012)

Even more Expensive. :)

2 upvotes
ginsbu
By ginsbu (Jun 12, 2012)

I think this review and comparison shows that we're at the point where those wanting deep DOF on FF cameras while maximizing resolution should be using tilt lenses where possible. Unfortunately, SLRs aren't as well suited to making use of camera movements as view cameras. MF cameras with movements potentially have a real advantage here.

1 upvote
String
By String (Jun 11, 2012)

Moire doenst seem to be much of an issue in any review/test/real world photo that I've seen; wondering why Nikon didnt just stick with the "E" model as the only production one. Could have possibly reduced the backlog with only one model to produce...

5 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Jun 11, 2012)

Depends on RAW developer. Im seeing bit of false detail color artifacts on RAWs from D800E (and thats on stone wall.. nothing special). Moiré does happen, but as you said its bit overblown problem. And Ive seen it on 1DMK3 aswell as on 5DMK3. :D So.. no AA filter can guarantee "moiré" free. Only more mpix can. But for reducing those false detail color artifacts, AA filter is handy..

Or bit stronger NR (or Capture One as developing SW).

Yea and small "pro" for removing AA. Even on DPreview samples is visible that colors from D800E have slightly more "bite" in them and contrast is better. If Nikon really removed AA filter, it would look even better (and moiré would be pretty much same issue as before). Regular AA-less camera tend to have very "crispy" photos, if you dont mind bit false detail and moiré now and then. Quite worth it sometimes, unless you work for model studio and shoot only clothes. :D

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Jun 11, 2012)

String,
We spent a couple of weeks asking ourselves that very same question. Perhaps the most obvious appeal of a stock D800 is its lower price, not only against the D800E but of course, the 5D Mk III.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
plasnu
By plasnu (Jun 12, 2012)

Low Pass Filter is nothing but a compromise. Digital sensors are still a transitional technology. X-Pro1 sensor has already shown the future, so let's see what Nikon will do for D900.

0 upvotes
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Jun 12, 2012)

Well, an "E" is sitting at my local photo gear store front window and there seem to be no takers. They have a long waiting list of standard D800's, which is understandable given that you cannot calculate the correct image from the one with aliasing artifacts - the information is lost at the point where the digitization is made without proper antialias filtering. It seems that dpreview forums have a lot of detail geeks who do not care whether the detail is manufactured by incorrect imaging or if it is actual scene detail - hey that looks sharp and colorful even when the subject is not colorful. To me _real-world_ D800E samples (I'm not talking about dpreview samples which are not at all typical subjects) simply look unclean and I do not want that camera. Nikon's samples show much better what is going on e.g. with fabrics. You need to have both texture and different colors in the original to use it as an example.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Bimmerphile
By Bimmerphile (Jun 11, 2012)

Great review! I am not regrade Charge my order from D800E to D800. Thanks.

0 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Jun 11, 2012)

Thanks,

0 upvotes
Kjartan Haugen
By Kjartan Haugen (Jun 11, 2012)

Great review! Thanks

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Jun 11, 2012)

Half the cons are related to liveview or using the LCD.

5 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jun 11, 2012)

Yes.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 130