Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

Started Feb 10, 2012 | Discussions
DocS Regular Member • Posts: 287
Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

Someone mentioned that the sheer resolution of the D800E would make moire effects less of an issue. I think this is untrue, to an extent.

I’m thinking that the only thing the added resolution would do is make moire effects an issue at further distances or on fabrics that have finer knit patterns like business suits, for example. The resolution of the D800E is certainly high, but it’s not so high that every detail we photograph at realistic distances will hit the sensor larger than the distance between the pixels.

Here’s what Nikon says about the D800E on their website:

"This is an ideal tool for photographers who can control light, distance and their subjects to the degree where they can mitigate the occurrence of moiré. “

Think about that, for a second: the photographer who can:
1. control light
2. control distance
3. control their subjects
...in order to mitigate the occurrence of moire.

I’m thinking that there is simply no substitute for a filter, pure and simple. And in light of this, I’m thinking that moire is going to turn out to be more prevalent using the D800E than some of you may think - especially those of you who plan on using it in ‘real life’ situations where you’ll get clothing, rugs, window screens, etc. in the shot.

Furthermore, when you look at those three items, that hardly sounds like the kind of photography for which most of us would be using our D800’s (or D800E’s). Clearly, Nikon intended for the D800E to be used in a more controlled setting.

And when you consider the fact that the sharpness difference between the D800 and D800E is quite modest, the prospect of dealing with digital camera artifacts in photos makes the D800E simply not worth it to those of us who don’t intend our next purchase to be used for a very specific purpose.

Am I mistaken?

Nikon D800 Nikon D800E
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IeraseU Senior Member • Posts: 1,875
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

I do not think you are mistaken, but people will buy the D800E for that last tiny bit of sharpness not really understanding how difficult it can be to get rid of moire. There is no 'one button click' software solution.

I still think the D800E is a great choice for dedicated landscape photographers, but most people would be better off with the regular D800, yes.

dgc4rter
dgc4rter Contributing Member • Posts: 630
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

The thing is... I don't hear of that many Leica M9 users (have I heard of any?) complaining about moire and there are tons of wonderful photos online of all different types and subject matter produced by pros and amateurs alike. That camera does not have an AA filter so, can one explain why the D800E will require so much more control and technique. The upcoming Fuji X-Pro1 will not have an AA filter. Are there loads of posts on the Fuji forum concerned about moire because of this?

Personally, I think this whole moire issue is being blown way out of proportion.
--
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becasabot Regular Member • Posts: 384
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

However, speaking of non-professional use, there are many who never noticed moire in their non-AA cameras, and many reporting just 1% shots affected by it. So it's not easy to decide.

I think it will all come down to two things:

  • actual performance of the E camera, how often and how strong the moire effect is experienced and

  • adopted photography style, for general shooters, travel photography E is of no big use. For landscapists etc. E may be welcome.

Let's see the real world samples, and not a few, a ton of them and we can then know what awaits us.

IeraseU Senior Member • Posts: 1,875
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

Actually there are numerous examples of moire in Leica M9 samples from around the web, even though most people probably use the Leica for travel photography, and cityscapes / landscapes. The D800 will see far more use for portraits or fashion photography so moire will be a greater concern.

The Fuji X1pro has a different sensor design that does not require an AA filter to prevent moire.

Leica M9 Moire (This would be very difficult to clean up):

dgc4rter wrote:

The thing is... I don't hear of that many Leica M9 users (have I heard of any?) complaining about moire and there are tons of wonderful photos online of all different types and subject matter produced by pros and amateurs alike. That camera does not have an AA filter so, can one explain why the D800E will require so much more control and technique. The upcoming Fuji X-Pro1 will not have an AA filter. Are there loads of posts on the Fuji forum concerned about moire because of this?

Personally, I think this whole moire issue is being blown way out of proportion.
--
Dave Carter
http://www.flickr.com/photos/davegcarter

Deleted-pending Senior Member • Posts: 2,665
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

IeraseU wrote:

Actually there are numerous examples of moire in Leica M9 samples from around the web, even though most people probably use the Leica for travel photography, and cityscapes / landscapes. The D800 will see far more use for portraits or fashion photography so moire will be a greater concern.

The Fuji X1pro has a different sensor design that does not require an AA filter to prevent moire.

Leica M9 Moire (This would be very difficult to clean up):

dgc4rter wrote:

The thing is... I don't hear of that many Leica M9 users (have I heard of any?) complaining about moire and there are tons of wonderful photos online of all different types and subject matter produced by pros and amateurs alike. That camera does not have an AA filter so, can one explain why the D800E will require so much more control and technique. The upcoming Fuji X-Pro1 will not have an AA filter. Are there loads of posts on the Fuji forum concerned about moire because of this?

Personally, I think this whole moire issue is being blown way out of proportion.
--
Dave Carter
http://www.flickr.com/photos/davegcarter

I concur, moire can become a way bigger problem than a slightly softer D800 image. People here keep saying to themselves that Landscapes are exempt of repeated patterns but this is utterly wrong, unless they only shoot stones and skies. Even shooting seascapes and waves can become a problem.

Landscapes often include buildings, streets, cables, grids, etc... The example you post is the perfect representation of the moire issue, here is another one :

Be certain to expect such shots when coming back home after a 2 week holiday trip and having to sort every bad one out ! I don't see the point of buying such a camera for everyday photography and losing time and energy to try to recover moire (which will degrade the overall image).

People, It is a specialty tool, only buy it if you KNOW what you are willing to do with it.

OP DocS Regular Member • Posts: 287
Now that is the perfect example of a great photo ruined by artifact

And when I say ruined, I mean ruined.

Photo editing software is, in every sense of the word, a patch. You LOSE information when you try to repair artifact like that. Or at least, replace it with fabricated information. Repairing that photo in photoshop or Capture will not restore it to the kind of detail that it would have otherwise had.

Granted, it it might make the photo acceptable, but I think it’s safe to say that the added detail from not having the filter would be negated by repairing the photo with software.

toroloco Regular Member • Posts: 110
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

Additional question:
Did you get rid of that moire?
How can that be done?

Thanks!

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Deleted-pending Senior Member • Posts: 2,665
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

toroloco wrote:

Additional question:
Did you get rid of that moire?
How can that be done?

Thanks!

You can try to tweak it with softening tools in post production software (time consuming) but the results will look worse than on a regular camera with proper optical low pass filtering. In other words, once you get a large area of moire on your files, good luck with it !

macjonny1 Regular Member • Posts: 147
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

I've shot a lot with a Leica M9 in all kinds of settings and it has never been an issue. All you folks running scared from the D800E will regret it in the end. The lack of an AA filter on the M9 is something that really makes the sensor special, and the D800E is going to blow it away.

Raul Veteran Member • Posts: 7,899
Have you ever taken the AA off one of your cameras?
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Lihkin
Lihkin Senior Member • Posts: 2,439
Did see you see the posts with some Leica M9 samples?

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=40572979

It does look pretty bad. I guess one just needs to be informed of what they are getting when order the D800E. I for one would not like to deal with this

Images from that post:
--------------------------------

Cheers,
-------
Nikhil
http://www.lihkin.net

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Deleted-pending Senior Member • Posts: 2,665
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

macjonny1 wrote:

I've shot a lot with a Leica M9 in all kinds of settings and it has never been an issue. All you folks running scared from the D800E will regret it in the end. The lack of an AA filter on the M9 is something that really makes the sensor special, and the D800E is going to blow it away.

Time will tell, but I expect the D800E to produce heavy moire in the video mode. And with moving frames, this will hurt the watcher's eyes ...

Frank Stein Regular Member • Posts: 364
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

macjonny1 wrote:

I've shot a lot with a Leica M9 in all kinds of settings and it has never been an issue. All you folks running scared from the D800E will regret it in the end. The lack of an AA filter on the M9 is something that really makes the sensor special, and the D800E is going to blow it away.

That's kind of a childish statement. As has been pointed out many times, there are pluses and minuses on each side, 800 vs 800E. You already know them. There is no perfect solution.

I looked at a site with numerous Leica M9 images. I saw significant moire in a number of them. And these were landscape images, and that's what I photograph. This website contradicts what you say about the M9.

Nikon was very up front about potential issues with the 800E. They wouldn't have said this, and posted an example, if these issues didn't have the potential to be significant. We have yet to really see multiple examples of the very same image taken with the same lens, exposure, etc but with the 800 and 800E side by side to determine sharpness differences, and artifact differences.

Everyone who has ordered an 800 or 800E before they are released and thoroughly reviewed is going on their own gut feeling of which one will be best for them.

With your choice of the 800E, you might be just as sorry as you seem to be warning D800 purchasers. You don't know any better than I or anyone else how this will all shake out.

For the record, coming from a 4x5 B&W fine art landscape background, and loving sharpness and fine detail and large glossy prints, I'm going with the D800 and not the D800E.

260684 Senior Member • Posts: 1,909
Agree with op

Many are going to be quite surprized by the D800E moire. It's intended for pure studio or landscape photographers. I consider myself a landscape photographer with a keen interest in portraits. However, even I would get a D800 since I cannot control all these situations and do not want to be limited.

DocS wrote:

Someone mentioned that the sheer resolution of the D800E would make moire effects less of an issue. I think this is untrue, to an extent.

I’m thinking that the only thing the added resolution would do is make moire effects an issue at further distances or on fabrics that have finer knit patterns like business suits, for example. The resolution of the D800E is certainly high, but it’s not so high that every detail we photograph at realistic distances will hit the sensor larger than the distance between the pixels.

Here’s what Nikon says about the D800E on their website:

"This is an ideal tool for photographers who can control light, distance and their subjects to the degree where they can mitigate the occurrence of moiré. “

Think about that, for a second: the photographer who can:
1. control light
2. control distance
3. control their subjects
...in order to mitigate the occurrence of moire.

I’m thinking that there is simply no substitute for a filter, pure and simple. And in light of this, I’m thinking that moire is going to turn out to be more prevalent using the D800E than some of you may think - especially those of you who plan on using it in ‘real life’ situations where you’ll get clothing, rugs, window screens, etc. in the shot.

Furthermore, when you look at those three items, that hardly sounds like the kind of photography for which most of us would be using our D800’s (or D800E’s). Clearly, Nikon intended for the D800E to be used in a more controlled setting.

And when you consider the fact that the sharpness difference between the D800 and D800E is quite modest, the prospect of dealing with digital camera artifacts in photos makes the D800E simply not worth it to those of us who don’t intend our next purchase to be used for a very specific purpose.

Am I mistaken?

InnerDemon Contributing Member • Posts: 647
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

Thanks for posting the pictures with moire. Apparently, moire may show up in more objects than I previously considered. Water towers certainly weren't something I thought of, but now I have a bit better idea of what might contribute to moire.
--
Best Regards,
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kevroc Regular Member • Posts: 259
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

What's funny is that Nikon has to come out with a special version. Moire may not be a serious issue for most photogs on the D800E, but Nikon must be all too familiar with the pixel peeping we do, so they come out with a special version with full disclosure that it "may" contain moire.

Sure, it could very well be a non issue with either in camera handling or post processing, but just the mere fact that it exists at any level would have the online community up in arms about it. Nikon IMHO is handling it very effectively by offering it as a different model and for more money AND needing to purchase NX2 as well Very clever those folks...

Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
These examples are cityscapes, not landscapes.

FTH wrote:

IeraseU wrote:

Leica M9 Moire (This would be very difficult to clean up):

Difficult to know, without having the RAW file to work with. Some moire can be easily dealt with. Both CNX2 and Lightroom 4 will have moire removal tools. In Photoshop there is this technique. So, not all moire prone images will be lost.

http://vimeo.com/23508129

I concur, moire can become a way bigger problem than a slightly softer D800 image. People here keep saying to themselves that Landscapes are exempt of repeated patterns but this is utterly wrong, unless they only shoot stones and skies. Even shooting seascapes and waves can become a problem.

Then show us some landscape examples.

Landscapes often include buildings, streets, cables, grids, etc... The example you post is the perfect representation of the moire issue, here is another one :

That's not a landscape. That is a cityscape.

Be certain to expect such shots when coming back home after a 2 week holiday trip and having to sort every bad one out ! I don't see the point of buying such a camera for everyday photography and losing time and energy to try to recover moire (which will degrade the overall image).

People, It is a specialty tool, only buy it if you KNOW what you are willing to do with it.

True, the D800E was not intended as a P&S travel camera. It is for serious landscape shooting, and very controlled studio work.

In the studio, the photographer needs to be able to view the image on a computer, look for moire, and alter the distance/zoom if moire is present. A good example of that is the Nikon kimono shot where the moire example was shot at one distance and the sample shot at a different distance.

This is for the high-end assignments where maximum quality is demanded. The average portrait or catalog shooter is better off with the D800.

Nikon would not have come out with two versions if there were not significant demographics for both. There probably will be people who regret pre-ordering the D800E because it doesn't fit their shooting style. I suspect there will be others who purchase the D800 out of fear, but would have been better off with the D800E. There maybe a fair number of used D800 and D800E on the used market shortly after they start shipping in quantity.
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dylanear Veteran Member • Posts: 3,369
Re: Some thoughts on the D800 vs. the D800E. Most of us better off with D800.

Frank Stein wrote:

macjonny1 wrote:

I've shot a lot with a Leica M9 in all kinds of settings and it has never been an issue. All you folks running scared from the D800E will regret it in the end. The lack of an AA filter on the M9 is something that really makes the sensor special, and the D800E is going to blow it away.

That's kind of a childish statement.

Yeah, so childish of him to state his actual hands on personal experience with a camera without an AA filter rather than the baseless speculation seen in most of the posts on this subject from people who've never used one.

I have a friend with and M8, I asked him if he had the choice of an AA filter or no AA filter on any given camera and without hesitation he said "No filter!", when I asked him why, "Rarely have I found moire I couldn't take care of in post, yet the sharpness and purity is in every image."

Personally I'm waiting to see how well Lightroom will handle a bad example of moire in a D800E RAW file, but I'm inclined to think I'll be getting the 'E'.

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OP DocS Regular Member • Posts: 287
Take a moment to read some reviews of the Nikon D1

Let me remind you that most digital cameras have AA filters on them, and I have yet to hear anyone complain about them or say, “Damn, if only this camera didn’t have an AA filter on it”.

In fact, take a moment to read some reviews of the Nikon D1 (circa 2000). Look back at the specifications of the D1 (2.7mp, if I’m not mistaken) and read some of the reviews for it. You’d be hard-pressed to find a review that says “the photos just aren’t sharp enough”.

For a decade, we have been ranting and raving about how sharp each successive model of camera has been, and most of these cameras along the timeline leading up to the D800 have been under the 16mp range.

So now comes the D800 with 36mp, and you you’re asserting that a sane person might end up regretting his decision to buy it instead of the D800E because he missed out on the exceptionally modest sharpness difference between the two? That argument simply doesn’t make any sense.

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