Nikon D800 Review
D800 v. D800E: Real world comparisons (continued)
In the samples below we're comparing 100% crops from D800 and D800E raw files processed through ACR 7. The raw files were edited to taste with identical brightness and contrast settings applied to each. Both cameras were shot with off-camera flash using theNikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G lens at an aperture of f/4.
In ACR 7, both sharpening and noise reduction were set to 0, with Exposure set to +.05, the Whites slider at 40 and Blacks moved to 10. The files were then sharpened in Photoshop with our standard USM settings of Amount 100%, Radius 0.6, Threshold 0.
|D800E ACR 7 custom settings 100% crop
ISO 100, f/4 at 1/200 sec.
| D800 ACR 7 custom settings 100% crop
ISO 100, f/4 at 1/200 sec.
In the 100% crops above, you can see that edge detail is slightly more 'crisp' in the D800E. It's hard to argue that the D800E is providing more actual detail - the D800's resolution is very impressive in its own right - but edges are a bit more clearly defined in the D800E. You can also see, however, the presence of color artifacts in the D800E that are either absent or significantly reduced in the D800.
Below, you can download the raw files from each camera and make your own comparisons between the camera files using your raw converter of choice.
Studio still life
Below, we photographed the same scene with studio flash heads using both the D800 and D800E with the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G lens at a range of apertures. The raw files were processed in ACR 7 with both sharpening and noise reduction set to 0 and a very slight white balance adjustment to match output between all exposures. All other ACR settings were at their default values.
The converted raw files were sharpened in Photoshop with our standard USM settings of Amount 100%, Radius .06 and Threshold 0.
|D800E @ f/5.6 ACR 7 100% crops||D800 @ f/5.6 ACR 7 100% crops|
As you can see in the cropped areas (indicated in red in the full scene image above), the differences in output between the two cameras at an optimal aperture are small, but there to be distinguished on close examination. The D800E renders fine detail that appears mushy on the stock D800. We want to stress again, however, that the D800 is a stellar performer in its own right; it 'suffers' only in side by side comparison to the D800E. And don't lose sight of the fact that here we're literally looking at extremely 'granular' detail in the form of actual grains of sand.
When photographing a scene like this one, it's important to acknowledge that expanding depth of field may easily take precedence over pixel-level sharpness along the plane of focus. And once you use smaller apertures to bring more of the scene into focus, the differences between the two cameras shrink even further. Below you can see crops taken at apertures of f/8, f/11 and f/16; familiar apertures for many studio and macro photographers.
|D800E @ f/8 ACR 7 100% crop||D800 @ f/8 ACR 7 100% crop|
|D800E @ f/11 ACR 7 100% crop||D800 @ f/11 ACR 7 100% crop|
|D800E @ f/16 ACR 7 100% crop||D800 @ f/16 ACR 7 100% crop|
As you can see in the crops above, by f/11 the advantages of the D800E at f/5.6 are largely negated, due to the effect of diffraction on pixel-level sharpness. The output from both cameras can be made to look sharper than this with Unsharp Mask, but the point is that by f/11 and f/16 the D800E simply does not offer a meaningful resolution increase over the D800.
But don't simply take our word for it. Use the links below to download the raw files from both cameras and draw your own conclusions.
- Still life D800 @ f/5.6 (Zipped file - 43MB)
- Still life D800 @ f/11 (Zipped file - 43MB)
- Still life D800E @ f/5.6 (Zipped file - 42MB)
- Still life D800E @ f/11 (Zipped file - 43MB)
With the D800E, Nikon has, in their words, 'cancelled' the effect of the optical low pass filter - commonly referred to as an anti-aliasing, or AA filter - for the sake of increased image detail. In theory, this carries the risk of producing moiré and false colors in finely detailed repeating patterns; a real concern for product photographers. What the D800E has working in its favor, however, is the high pixel density resulting from fitting 36MP within the surface area of a 35mm-sized sensor. This means that a moiré-inducing pattern has to be much finer that you'd typically come across in many fabrics.
In the example below, we photographed a jacket - with flash - that has a series of repeating patterns on the exterior and a very fine weave fabric lining. This is the sort of jacket that you wouldn't be allowed to wear in front of a TV camera for fear of moiré in the footage, but the D800 and D800E's resolution is so high that from a shooting distance of roughly 11 feet, using an 85mm lens, moiré is visible only in the extremely fine weave of the jacket lining.
Even this small amount of moiré disappeared when we moved the camera a foot or two closer or further away from the subject. To provoke the appearance of moiré in the exterior fabric of the jacket itself, we had to photograph it from a distance of more than 25 feet with an 85mm lens, at which point it was very small in the scene.
Interestingly, the D800 appears to be using a relatively light AA filter to begin with. As you can see above, instances of moiré in the D800E are also present - to an admittedly lesser degree - in the D800. Based on our experiences we wouldn't expect the D800E to pose insurmountable obstacles for many types of studio photography (after all, if you should encounter moire in a controlled shooting situation, simply moving your camera or subject slightly might completely eliminate the effect).
Nikon's Capture NX 2 raw processing software offers a color moiré reduction tool that is largely effective at minimizing false colors and moiré patterns, as you can see in the samples above. This reduction, however, does come at the expense of a slight but noticeable loss of color saturation when the tool is used at its most aggressive setting, 'High' which we had to use to treat the D800E image above.
In our daily shooting with the D800E, we found instances of moiré-induced false colors to be very few and far between for still images. And in most instances where it is present at all, you have to really look to find it. Every now and then, though, we were surprised by its appearance in scenes where we wouldn't normally expect moiré to be a problem. This landscape scene does not contain any elements which immediately stand out as 'high-risk' for moiré, but close inspection reveals false colors in the fine ripples of the water. Here, we're showing you two images - the out-of-camera JPEG, which was deliberately underexposed slightly to preserve highlight detail - and a typical 'processed' Raw file, with (minimal) custom exposure, noise reduction and sharpening applied.
|40mm, f/5.6, 1/1600sec, ISO 800|
|D800E JPEG 100% crop - Center||D800E RAW (adjusted) 100% crop - Center|
|D800E JPEG 100% crop - Left edge||D800E RAW (adjusted) 100% - Left edge|
This scene, however, is one of literally only a handful out of many hundreds of 'real world' photographs that we've shot where moiré might be genuinely problematic (and other shots taken in this exact same spot, when the water fell in different patterns, are effectively moiré free). Overall, we wouldn't consider the risk of moiré to be a significant criteria in choosing between either camera.
In our time spent shooting video with both cameras though, we have found moiré to be significantly more prevalent than it is with still images. This was not unexpected, and is a notorious side-effect of DSLR video caused in part by how the sensor output is downsampled and also by the fact that the anti-aliasing filters of DSLRs are optimized for full-resolution still capture, not low-resolution video. Here, though, the D800 and D800E perform all-but identically in terms of the amount of moiré visible in the final footage.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 D800E
- 4 Body & Design
- 5 Body Elements
- 6 Viewfinder
- 7 Operation & Controls
- 8 Displays
- 9 Live View
- 10 Menus: Playback & Shooting
- 11 Menus: Custom Settings
- 12 Menus: Setup, Retouch & 'My'
- 13 Handling
- 14 Performance (Speed)
- 15 Performance (Autofocus)
- 16 Features
- 17 ADL & HDR modes
- 18 Noise & Noise Reduction
- 19 Dynamic Range
- 20 Resolution (D800)
- 21 Resolution (D800E)
- 22 Raw Resolution (D800 v D800E)
- 23 Raw Mode
- 24 High ISO noise comparisons
- 25 Image Quality Tests
- 26 Image Quality Tests
- 27 Image Quality Tests (D800 v D800E)
- 28 Image Quality Tests (D800 v D800E)
- 29 Image Quality Tests (D800 v D800E)
- 30 Movie Mode
- 31 Image Q. Compared (JPEG)
- 32 Image Q. Compared (Hi ISO)
- 33 Image Q. Compared (RAW)
- 34 Conclusion
- 35 Samples Galleries
Jun 3, 2015
Apr 25, 2015
Jun 8, 2015
Jun 5, 2015
Photographer Jenna Martin and her model friend Rachelle Kathleen set themselves a challenge: could they create beautiful portraits in an 'ugly' location? So they went to a local Lowe's hardware store and gave it a go!
The LG V30 differentiates itself from the competition with an expansive video feature set and a secondary wide angle camera, making it something of a Swiss Army knife for content creators.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Holding down the top position is none other than the Nikon D850 – by a landslide.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!