Sharpness gain between D800E and D810...

Started Aug 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
A Owens Veteran Member • Posts: 3,315
Re: You know you're heading down a dangerous road

T O Shooter wrote:

A Owens wrote:

soloryb wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

soloryb wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

Grig wrote:

Hi there,

I just replaced my brand new D610 (came from Nikon as a replacement for D600) with used, but mint condition low click D810E (with a little cash on top and really see the difference in sharpness between my existing D800 and just acquired D800E...

The question is - is the difference between D800E and D810 is kinda the same? If it is - I would probably trade my D800 toward D810 sometime later this year, if not - I will keep it as a backup.

I was totally satisfied with D800 sharpness until I compared them today side by side...

If you compare the D810 to the D800e and find it's sharper, then you'll spend some money to replace the D800. But then you're still not going to be satisfied as the D810 will still outshine the D800e. So that's more money! That's if, and only if, you find the D810 sharper than the D800e. But in reality it's only paper if you don't spend it, so might as well.

But I will tell you this. Sort of unsupported and I'll have a look through some of my D800 and D800e images tonight. My impression is that the D810 images are far sharper than anything I've shot with either of the other two bodies. Whether it's the sensor, the lower vibration from the shutter ( I hate tripods so generally handheld ), I misjudged AF fine tuning on the 800 and e - I just don't know. But I can crop so deep on the LCD and still have sharpness that the red rectangle is no longer a rectangle; it's a line. And I can crop so deep on the monitor that it amazes me after shooting D8x0 series for almost 2.5 years.

I don't know whether or not you've aligned your D800 and D800E but I can tell you that both have had numerous reports of the AF(viewfinder phase difference) needing fine tuning.

I did check fine tuning on both the D800 / D800e with a Spyder LensCal, row of batteries, yardstick on a 45% angle, etc.

That is also my experience with the D800E. On the other hand, the D810 seems to have the AF nailed, or at least greatly improved - as far as I've read.

The only way you should compare the innate sharpness of these cameras is to do all of your testing in LV, zoomed, manual, tripod, mirror up, fast enough shutter speed. Then you will know whether or not the D810 is really sharper than a D800E.

For me, it doesn't matter whether the D800e or D810 is sharper in a scientific sort of controlled test. I rarely use LV and hate using tripods and rarely do ( even though I have 3 + a monopod ) What matters to me is what I get in the field, handheld, and my early conclusion ( if early conclusion is not an oxymoron ) is that the images I'm getting out of the D810 are sharper than what I was getting out of the D800e or earlier D800. Certainly more consistently sharp. Anyway, I'm very satisfied with what I'm getting now more so than with the other two bodies. I'm hoping the consistency continues.


I'm glad (and kind of envious) that you're getting sharper field images with your D810. Perhaps it is due to the improvements Nikon made in the AF and reductions in vibration from the mirror and the front curtain.


To see the difference in sharpness due to mirror/shutter improvements in D810 you will need to use long lens, portrait orientation and EFC in live view. EFC makes the difference up to 1/100 sec but mirror not so different. I think this has already been covered on other threads but here is the analysis:

Other posts on the blog deal with EFC vs non-EFC.

Bottom line is that you are not really going to see a difference due to the new mirror assembly but you will see a difference with the EFC if you use longer lenses up to 1/100 and the difference is more pronounced in portrait orientation. Of course for reasons only known to Nikon they only offer EFC in Live View.

So would your opinion be that the D810 would not produce sharper handheld images in the field? I'm seeing something different, but there could be a thousand different reasons for that, including the fact that I spent $4000

Well I am not really offering an opinion; I am referencing some rather rigorous analysis.

That analysis indicates that the EFC has a larger benefit than the new mirror assembly. But in the sub 1/100 sec shutter speeds with a long lens in portrait orientation then one might see some benefit from the mirror assembly (my opinion!). The reduced sound though is a material benefit of the new shutter at all speeds and with all lenses.

Of course parting with $4k does predispose you to good opinion of the D810; that said it is a better camera in every respect than the D800/e, without doubt. The best DSLR on the market right now AFAIAC.

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