Short test with a Nikon D800E

Started Jul 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
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tcom Veteran Member • Posts: 7,406
Short test with a Nikon D800E


Yesterday evening, I had the chance to tryout a Nikon D800E for a few hours. As I already have the 645D, I am not too interested in the D800E, but I wanted to find out by myself how this camera compares to the 645D.

Unfortunately, I did not have the time to make direct comparison photos between the two cameras as such tests are really time consuming if done properly (trying to have a similar framing, ie. equivalent focal length, similar DOF and focus on the same spot).


With the use of the D3s, D4, 645D and K-5 with grip, I have got used to have a large camera in the hands; cameras I often also carry around a whole day when covering events. The D800 is not a small camera neither, but the body seems too thick compared to the grip, the camera does not fit well in my hands as nicely as the D4 or 645D.


The 645D is an excellent camera in situations where you have enough time to compose and enough light for your subject; or enough skills to anticipate. The D800 is the much more versatile camera here thank to the better high ISO capabilities, faster AF and higher frame rate.

DOF control

The larger sensor of the 645D allows a much narrower depth of field. It allows me to really use the DOF as one aspect of the composition. While the D800 has larger DOF at a given aperture, Nikon provides f/1.4 lenses allowing to obtain very similar results.

Image quality

The D800E features an impressive 36MP resolution, pretty close to the 40MP of the 645D. I tried some pixel peeping with the test shots I have taken with the D800E to see how it performs. At least on pixel level, the D800E is not as impressive as the 645D. The D800E shows much less details and micro-contrast to what I obtain with the 645D, but it does not stop here, the darker areas of the D800 also show more noise. To what level this noise and lack of details/microcontrast shows on normal sized prints, I had no time to check it.

RAW converter

Here comes my biggest surprise. The 645D is a 40MP camera, the D800E a 36MP camera. I was expecting having similar problems under Lightroom 4.1 when handling the D800E RAW files than with the 645D files (on a not so upto date win7 32bit PC); ie. slow response of LR4.1 and sometimes not enough memory to perform the export to JPG. To my surprise, Lightroom 4.1 remained reactive and was even pretty fast when exporting the files.

Either Pentax's DNG files are much more demanding regarding processing power on the RAW to JPG conversion, or Adobe highly optimized the support of the Nikon RAW files within Lightroom/ACR.


The D800E is definitely a nice, enjoyable camera. While it does not reach the image quality of the 645D, it offers a much better versatility and you get much less attention when used in the crowed.

Here a few test shots of yesterday:

D800E, AFS 105/2.8 macro

D800E, AFS 35/1.4

D800E, AFS 105/2.8 macro

D800E, AFS 35/1.4

 tcom's gear list:tcom's gear list
Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Pentax 645D Pentax 645Z Nikon D810 +29 more
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