D800 images have less microcontrast and sparkle

Started Mar 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
Slideshow Bob Senior Member • Posts: 1,690
Re: and why as a canon user would I care?

You're making up problems that don't exist. I'm telling you about an issue that does exist. You can't even answer the most basic request for information. I'm going to provide you with evidence of the issue I'm talking about.

You see, this is how real people post about perceived issues. They actually detail what the issue is, provide links, ask questions, and generally get into the subject. So here you go...


Go to that link, which is the DPR studio comparison which includes the 5DIII, 5DII, D800, and A900. Now, take a good look at the coin image just to the left of Goofy's head. See the yellow/blue moire? It's not difficult to see. Unfortunately, it's apparent at all ISOs. Any idea how you deal with that kind of issue?

I've never really dealt with moire before, so I'm genuinely interested in the best way to eliminate the problem. Would you have to resort to painting in a generally correct colour into a colour blending mode layer in PS? Is there a moire correction tool in DPP that can deal with that? A little clone tool on the A and B channels in LAB mode could deal with it I suppose. Want to weigh in there?

You're the worlds biggest Canon fan, so I figure you'd be a good person to ask, and you've obviously got lots of time on your hands.

You see, this is how real people get stuck into a topic. They don't just make up unsubstantiated BS and expect everyone else to agree with them. They provide something to actually talk about, rather than just making baseless inflammatory comments based on idle speculation. Hey, I can even post my own example to illustrate the moire issue in question, see..

That's been enlarged by 200%, and had the saturation boosted just so that you can really see where the problems lies.

See how easy it is to actually provide some supporting evidence? Now you can actually see what I'm talking about, and make some constructive comments. I haven't needed to lie about anything to try and score points.

I'm guessing you're just going to ignore this, or run away yelling "Troll! Troll!". I don't care. You're the one with the issues.

You have yourself a nice day.


chironNYC wrote:
Go away already, bob. You're useless.

Slideshow Bob wrote:

Well, if you love the 5DIII so much, wouldn't your time be better served figuring out a solution to the colour moire problem that has become apparent with that camera, rather than making up non-existant issues with the Nikon? I mean really, if the Nikon isn't worth buying because of a problem that no one can see and that you can't illustrate to anyone, I imagine you'll go completely berserk over a 5DIII issue that's clear for all to see.

Let's see what you're really made of. How are you going to fix the 5DIII moire issue?


chironNYC wrote:

Actually, Vibrio, I basically agree with you about this. I love the 5d3 and even if there were a case for the D800 being better I would not want to switch for a variety of reasons.

I just got sick and tired of the Nikon trolls attacking the 5d3 over here in the Canon forum. they wouldn't leave, the moderators wouldn't deal with them, so I thought it was time to give them a taste of their own medicine. I have no desire to intrude into the Nikon forum, and the sicko trolls I wanted to upset were over here anyway.

But the case I am making about the slightly flatter images coming from the D800 is a perfectly valid critique of how that camera was designed.

Vibrio wrote:
and why as a canon user would I care?

chironNYC wrote:

Contrast in an image is the word often used to refer to the overall contrast of an image. It is related to the dynamic range of the image. The D800 has excellent contrast at low to moderate ISOs.

Microcontrast is the contrast achieved between adjacent pixels, and it is the element that produces an overall sparkle and vibrancy in an image. It is the quality that makes you want to look at an image again and again because it is alive to the eyes and feeds our visual experience. It is literally an aspect of "sparkle."

One of the problems with putting medium format resolution into a 35mm frame, as the D800 has done, is that the pixels on the sensor have to be closer together and smaller. As a result, images produced using such a camera have a relative lack of microcontrast and therefore tend to a certain dullness and flatness. With such a sensor, good microcontrast is harder to achieve with any given lens.

Unfortunately, this is what the D800 has done. You can see this flatness and lack of vibrancy in sample shots, for example in Ming Thein's black and white images taken with the D800. He even comments on their unusual overall appearance.

Images made with a D800 will always struggle to achieve sparkle and avoid flatness.

True medium format cameras avoid this problem because they actually use a larger sensor, so they can maintain pixel size and spacing and give you greater resolution while they also maintain microcontrast. The D800 can't do this because it is over-packing pixels into such a tight space.

Many of the Nikon posters over here will of course be upset by this post and argue that this is not true. But any reader can easily learn about microcontrast and its relationship to pixel size and the size of the sensor just by googling the term "microcontrast" or "microcontrast" and "medium format." The D700, on the other hand, does not have this problem and will continue to produce the image quality it is famous for.

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