D800E better overall DR than both D850 and D810??

Started Feb 9, 2021 | Discussions thread
mostlyboringphotog Forum Pro • Posts: 10,427
Re: DR consider also FW

Nikon 79 wrote:

I already own a D800e but my point here is not to prove to anyone that is a better camera.
i am just trying to learn things about technical details, sensors and how a newer sensor (D810-D850) compares to an old sensor as well as how much of an improvement we can see on a newer sensor.

When i had to decide between a D800E and D810 i went through literally thousands of pictures taken with those two cameras and i have never been happy with the D810 colours. That was the main reason i finally chose the D800E although most of the guys here kept telling me the D810 is a better camera overall.

Some days ago i read the Meing Thein review on the D810 and i was really surprised when i read this paragraph and especially this part of the following paragraph
"...whilst you can still recover a surprising amount of information, this comes at the expense of mainly colour fidelity and separation"

This review made me think that i might be not completely wrong when i considered the D810 colour as way worst than any other camera i have seen so far.
So i started to look for more technical info and comparison in order to better understand the whole thing.

"Allow me to explain: the D800E has a very linear tonal response, with low shadow noise, and highlights that clip fairly abruptly. This means you want to expose to the right just to the precise point of clipping; your dynamic range maximization comes from bringing up the shadows – since there is minimal penalty in color accuracy or noise. The D810 is the opposite: it is nonlinear and all of the extended dynamic range appears to rest in the highlights. What appears to be clipped even on the flattest picture control setting (the histogram is read off the preview jpeg embedded in the raw file) often still has a stop or more of highlight recoverability in ACR 8x, process 2012*. So you effectively need to have quite a bit of the frame blinking to make the most of the D810’s extraordinary highlight latitude. However, it’s still subject to the laws of physics, so this headroom has come at the expense of the deep shadows – whilst you can still recover a surprising amount of information, this comes at the expense of mainly color fidelity and separation. Recovered shadows somehow just look muddy – I suspect something in the ADC conversion has forced a ‘toe’ curve upstream of writing the raw file. If you expose properly it’s a non-issue in practice."

If you don't want highlight headroom with D810, then dial in  +1EC. Now you can bring up the shadow as much as D800E.

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