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Thread: My quick D800 versus E test

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    My quick D800 versus E test

    Very quick, busy weekend!

    D800 and E on Gitzo CF with Cube, Zeiss 100mm Makro F2 at F5.6, both shots given identical treatment in LR with LR default sharpening but Camera Standard profile, shots individually WB from same spot (light shifted slightly between exposures).

    Manually focussed in LV.

    Ran this from F2 thru F8 and in each case the differences were similar.

    91% full sized JPEGs developed from RAW.

    Not a procedurally perfect test, too busy, but mildly telling. I shot a bunch more and had a quick look, including on the 24-120. I know what I think! What do you guys think?

    Details in EXIF on my Zenfolio. You can download full sized files and play.

    http://tashley1.zenfolio.com/img/s3/v42/p372194260.jpg


    http://tashley1.zenfolio.com/img/s3/v44/p499233119.jpg

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Thanks Tim. Not much difference that I can discern.
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    BCMielke
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Does Lightroom open the D800e files? I thought I had the latest update and Bridge does not.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Can you sharpen the D800 to match the look of the E? What I'm trying to figure out is whether you get a level of detail from the E that the D800 can't match, or whether that detail can be retrieved. In lightroom, try moving the detail slider all the way to the right and see what you get.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    What accounts for the difference in the far left roof? #60 shows black marks, and 19 doesn't.

    Very close ... seems #60 has a bit more snap. Very little.

    -Marc

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by BCMielke View Post
    Does Lightroom open the D800e files? I thought I had the latest update and Bridge does not.
    Camera Raw 6.0 and LR4 support the D800. D800E files are likely identical structurally to those of the D800.
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    Senior Member BSEH's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Hmm i think it shows significant difference, and not making my life more easy... and worth it thinking one have to struggle with moier ??


    some one make my life easy and decide...

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by BSEH View Post
    Hmm i think it shows significant difference, and not making my life more easy... and worth it thinking one have to struggle with moier ??


    some one make my life easy and decide...
    What "significant difference" do you see?

    What are your concerns about moiré? I shoot with two cameras that don't have anti-aliasing filters (M9 and IQ180) and moiré isn't a deal-breaker issue. I've encountered moiré in bird feathers using a D2X (which has an anti-aliasing filter) when I was photographing wildlife.

    I'll decide for you. Buy the D800E. In general, your images will be sharper right out of the camera and any moiré can be removed in post-processing. I'l await my commission for making your life easier.
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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    What "significant difference" do you see?

    What are your concerns about moiré? I shoot with two cameras that don't have anti-aliasing filters (M9 and IQ180) and moiré isn't a deal-breaker issue. I've encountered moiré in bird feathers using a D2X (which has an anti-aliasing filter) when I was photographing wildlife.

    I'll decide for you. Buy the D800E. In general, your images will be sharper right out of the camera and any moiré can be removed in post-processing. I'l await my commission for making your life easier.
    +1
    Buy the E. even at 50% with a good lens you can see the difference. Better micro contrast as well as more detail. Looks and feels closer to MF. Moire? I can't tell yet but the pixel pitch is about the same as an IQ180 and I live with that very happily...

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    Senior Member BSEH's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    thanks Im a happy man again... beer and popcorn for you

    Really never have to deal with moier, so i dont know what to expect. You say easy to remove, some says hard and not posible to gat 100% of.

    I find it more then just a little bit sharper, i can sharpen the D800 up to D800E no problem, but less detail. In a A2 landscape print, i think It's i will be significant.

    But really just guessing

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    I would be very surprised if 60 were not the E version. Thanks for posting.

    Victor

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    Can you sharpen the D800 to match the look of the E? What I'm trying to figure out is whether you get a level of detail from the E that the D800 can't match, or whether that detail can be retrieved. In lightroom, try moving the detail slider all the way to the right and see what you get.
    Mostly but not totally.. Fine detail like some of the pigeon spikes on the roof (right) are lost beyond sharpening. Other details can be sharpened to give a fair match, but the micro contrast still wins for the E...and sharpening has side effects. There's no free lunch here: if you want the best quality file (excluding issues of moire) then E is the way to go.
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    Contributing Editor ustein's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    >You say easy to remove, some says hard and not posible to gat 100% of.

    Some moire cannot be removed in SW I would say. I have seen lots of moire with cameras that feature an AA filter.

    This said I would not worry to use the D800E (just a limited budget).
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    I'd like to know what the differences are in a print. Specifically, what size range of print would both look good and would show a visible difference between these two files.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    Thanks Tim. Not much difference that I can discern.
    Joe, I am with you 110%... Yes there is a small difference in the finest details of the image, but doubtful it will show in even the largest of prints.
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    I find the difference is quite apparent. #60 has more presence and #19 looks slightly "subdued". #60 has more CA in the highlights and probably gets overexposed more easily.
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Well - I'm never very good at these tests, and I wasn't expecting to see a great deal of difference here . . . . but in this case it seems to me to be pretty seriously obvious, and I'd have thought that, (although you might need a very big print to actually notice the difference in detail), that the prints would look fairly different, and the D800E considerably better.

    On the basis of this I'd definitely go for the 800E. . . . as for moire, it seems to be easiest to deal with in Aperture (at least easier than Capture 1 and Lightroom). But, honestly, having shot several weddings and thousands upon thousands of shots with a pair of M8s and then a pair of M9s I wouldn't give moire a second thought.

    D800e for me . . . . . OH! I forgot . . . I'm not buying either

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    Senior Member BSEH's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Joe, I am with you 110%... Yes there is a small difference in the finest details of the image, but doubtful it will show in even the largest of prints.
    Jack you do not believe that the difference could be seen in print?

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    I would say #19 has a pretty girl walking past second build from right, #60 doesn't

    Otherwise I agree with T.Karma's observations, except perhaps about the overexposed more easily part.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    HI Tim
    I think i'd like to see how you get on with some medium sized prints. . . can you tell the difference at A3 for instance (I'd stick my neck out and expect that you can).

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member BSEH's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by pophoto View Post
    I would say #19 has a pretty girl walking past second build from right, #60 doesn't

    Otherwise I agree with T.Karma's observations, except perhaps about the overexposed more easily part.
    You forget the Bird on #19

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Here is a 100% view screen grab of them side by side in Photoshop, and I even left the image numbers visible -- didn't really matter since it had started raining for your beloved #60 and more things are wet (and roof tiles are slightly more saturated because they're wet), so it's easy to figure it out anyway. Let the discussions begin:



    And here are a few more areas of the frame for additional fodder -- again at 100%:







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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Jack,

    A pixel-peepers delight. Discounting possible differences in focus, possible differences in sensors due to manufacturing tolerances, changes in lighting and weather, and my aging eyes, the difference between the two images is not much (as I said in my earlier post).

    As far as I'm concerned, the D800E is like deregulation. It will give me an even more raw NEF to play with. I'm not afraid of the moiré boogie man.

    Joe
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    My take on this is that I want whatever little sharpness gain possible..... especially at this price point. Who knows what the future will allow us to do with these files... The 'E' is finding a home in my home

    Victor
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    I couldn't agree more with the consensus. First a big thanks to Tim and also to Jack. The slight difference in detail can be seen but how relevant it would be even if each file was used in a very demanding way, such as printing a very sizable large format print, I'd question if it would. In other words, not very much in my opinion.

    Interestingly, I've previously compared pairs of DSLR's where one had their AA filter removed and there was far more of a striking difference then that being seen in the D800/D800E comparison. Something tells me the way Nikon implemented the multi layer glass orientation with regards to the D800E sensor, appears to have some sort of modifying effect as opposed to it simply having a single piece of protective clear cover glass over it's sensor. I'm still uncertain why Nikon did this, but something tells me the net result is the effect of something between having an AA filter and a camera without one, such as those that have their AA filter removed via an after market modification.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 21st April 2012 at 16:28.

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    Subscriber Member weinschela's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Now my appetite is really whetted. I decided some time ago to stick with the 800E but I am #3 on my dealer's list and none have been delivered yet. For those of us who are not NPS, it is frustrating.
    Alan

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    >I'm still uncertain why Nikon did this

    Me too but I would guess to have the optical path as much identical as possible. We also should not forget the sensor cleaning.
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Interestingly, I've previously compared pairs of DSLR's where one had their AA filter removed and there was far more of a striking difference then that being seen in the D800/D800E comparison. Something tells me the way Nikon implemented the multi layer glass orientation with regards to the D800E sensor, appears to have some sort of modifying effect as opposed to it simply having a single piece of protective clear cover glass over it's sensor. I'm still uncertain why Nikon did this, but something tells me the net result is the effect of something between having an AA filter and a camera without one, such as those that have their AA filter removed via an after market modification.

    Dave (D&A)
    Dave, Nikon most likely did that to keep the optical path length the same. Otherwise the sensor position in each camera would need to be different and so each body would be different.

    I also think you will find with smaller and smaller pixel pitches, the difference between a sensor with an AA filter and one without will be smaller.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Thanks Tashley for posting this. There is indeed a slight difference in the spikes against the contrast of blue. Sharpening may help the d800, but it also introduces the micro crunchies.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Thanks for posting this! Not a huge difference, but visible in very fine detail. Not sure it makes much difference, but I see no reason to turn my nose up at it either. And although it makes no difference in these shots, from a noise perspective less sharpening is always preferable in my book. A 45 second exposure in post-sunset twilight and very blue light, could well show more difference.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Dave, Nikon most likely did that to keep the optical path length the same. Otherwise the sensor position in each camera would need to be different and so each body would be different.

    I also think you will find with smaller and smaller pixel pitches, the difference between a sensor with an AA filter and one without will be smaller.
    Shashin, thanks ever so much for your thoughts and explanations. I surmised in part early on that Nikon might be streamling production of both bodies, so adjustment and placemnt of each sensor would essentually be the same in both models.

    What I wasn't aware of is the reduced effect of the AA filter with smaller pixel pixel pitch sensors. I realize actual resolution of a sensor can have a prominant effect on the incidence of moire' but then my question is what relationship might that have with regards to pixel pitch and effectiveness of AA filter?

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    I'll get the E version despite not seeing any real world difference between the files. Thanks for posting this, Tim.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    PS: I'd love to see a video test between the two models, especially considering the standard D800 has been said to be more prone of Moire than the 5D II/III.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post

    What I wasn't aware of is the reduced effect of the AA filter with smaller pixel pixel pitch sensors.
    The typical contemporary AA filter softens point-source lighting to about 130% of pixel pitch. Nikon's system employs a waveplate that handles the job with some interesting effects -- I do not understand all the physics of it, but it appears for whatever reason the waveplate AA is more easily canceled out with appropriate sharpening techniques.

    If you all look more closely at the above image pairs I posted, you will note I have (ever so slightly) sharpened the #19 files so they are virtually identical or in some regions even a little better than the #60 files even though the native #60 is slightly superior to the native #19.
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    Senior Member Antonio Chagin's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    I didn't read the part that says which one is which as to not be prejudgement.
    I cannot see any real differences..

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    The typical contemporary AA filter softens point-source lighting to about 130% of pixel pitch. Nikon's system employs a waveplate that handles the job with some interesting effects -- I do not understand all the physics of it, but it appears for whatever reason the waveplate AA is more easily canceled out with appropriate sharpening techniques.

    If you all look more closely at the above image pairs I posted, you will note I have (ever so slightly) sharpened the #19 files so they are virtually identical or in some regions even a little better than the #60 files even though the native #60 is slightly superior to the native #19.
    Interesting! My gut feeling is prior to any prelease of images from these two cameras, most were expecting to see far greater differences between them than has been demonstrated so far. Maybe something akin to what we're used to seeing when a AA filter is removed by one of the aftermarket serices for performing this task on DSLR sensors. The differences between pre & post removal in a majority of those cases can be easily seen and generally the advanatges (if care is taken to image handling), can produce superior results. In the case of the D800/D800E, I'm far less certain of this, if at all.

    I wonder if Nikon's proprietary protocol for implementing the D800E essentially AA free, was designed not only for consistancy in production of both bodies, but to also address other possible issues that they felt might have come back to haunt them with a multitude of user complaints for those that are not used to using cameras without AA. Hence the notable effect of removing a AA from a sensor (in the D800E) has somehow been molified to a degree and the net result is much milder. In other words, if someone was able to remove the waveplate assembly from a D800E sensor and substitute what is normally employed in a AA filterless sensor (a simple cover glass?), then would the effect and increase in sharpness be more readily demonstrated when compared to the regular D800 and possibly even the current D800E as it comes from Nikon. Conversely, as suggested, is it just simply that the pixel pitch of the D800 series of cameras is relatively small, so removal of it's AA filter has only a nominal effect? Just some thoughts.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    but then my question is what relationship might that have with regards to pixel pitch and effectiveness of AA filter?

    Dave (D&A)
    Diffraction can be a natural AA filter. Large pixels can be very "sharp." My P25+ back is really sharp at 100%. So a AA filter on a 9um sensor would be comparatively strong. The difference with and without would be greater than for a 5um sensor where diffraction would be more obvious without an AA filter.

    I think that made sense--I have not had my coffee yet.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    The Zeiss 100m seems to be a lovely lens. Will check it for aerials.
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by ustein View Post
    The Zeiss 100m seems to be a lovely lens. Will check it for aerials.
    Gorgeous but specialist: has serious purple fringes (not sure if Bokeh fringing or normal CA) on d800 In high contrast areas at wide open to md apertures, and LR doesn't get close to fixing them...

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    My quick D800 versus E test


    On my 2560 x 1600 pixel 30" screen the difference is evident regardless of whether I zoom in or not.

    The E file has a lot more snap. Very much.
    Some of it is probably due to the different lighting.
    Still, when zooming in and comparing the details it is obvious that the standard file has been blurred by a blurring filter. I never liked the mere thought of that.

    If in my country the price difference was only 11 percent like in the rest of EU I would definitely go for the E version.
    But where I live, prices went up by 12 % the 1st of April and the price difference of the two models is now 35 % here in Denmark.
    That's absurd.

    Thank you for the file, Tim, good food for thought, hope to see more along the way.

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    In other words, if someone was able to remove the waveplate assembly from a D800E sensor and substitute what is normally employed in a AA filterless sensor (a simple cover glass?), then would the effect and increase in sharpness be more readily demonstrated when compared to the regular D800 and possibly even the current D800E as it comes from Nikon.
    Dave,

    In the current design, Nikon claims to have a flat of optical glass in place of the waveplate in the D800E. (Usually, a thickness of the glass or the appropriate AA filter with associated equivalent refractive index *IS* part of the entire optical formula, and would be required in the system.)
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by Steen View Post
    On my 2560 x 1600 pixel 30" screen the difference is evident regardless of whether I zoom in or not.
    Yes, it is evident. But it;s not massive and appropriate sharpening of the AA filtered CAN (and clearly does) compensate pretty remarkably, almost to the point of no significant difference...

    What we're missing here is an optimal D800E capture, using the absolute best lens at optimal focus distance and optimal aperture. In that (unique and mostly uncommon) situation, I'd agree the D800E will outperform the D800. Just hope you;re not shooting pictures of something with a regular, repeating pattern of micro detail

    Second point: While color Moire is relatively easy to remove, pattern Moire is a bugger -- even the best of tools usually have to blur the affected areas well beyond what an AA filter imparts initially. So caution to all of those who think it's an easy-to-deal-with issue...
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    >The E file has a lot more snap. Very much.
    >Some of it is probably due to the different lighting.

    Actually the different light helps the snap a lot.

    >Still, when zooming in and comparing the details it is obvious that the standard file has been blurred by a blurring filter. I never liked the mere thought of that.

    Me neither but I learned to live with it. Sometimes it seems that we photographers are obsessed by sharpness. In reality often more blurred images have a lot to offer.

    Then again I would buy the D800E if I would not have the D800.
    Uwe Steinmueller
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    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
    http://www.outbackphoto.com

  44. #44
    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    I've been watching this discussion develop with interest, and too busy with family to get too involved or to test various of the propositions put forward. Now I'm going away for a few days and will just take the E and a couple of lenses, shoot RAW to one card and JPEG to another and, since it's a cabin baggage only trip, will only have an iPad with me... so I won't be able to test either my or other people's theories.

    However I do have some tentative responses and thoughts, plus some newer observations.

    Firstly: in my examples above, I agree the the methodology wasn't perfect (I only claimed it was quick'n'dirty) but actually that Makro Planar is very sharp, even at distance. It hits its peak at F5.6. I used a very good tripod/head and shutter delay with MUP. (I just bought a remote release). The potential sources of error are focus (and that will always be an issue, only soluble by doing a large series of focus bracketed shots on each camera and choosing the best) and the fact that the light changed a bit. Any instability in the rig is most likely to have affected both files.

    I trust the focus in my shots: highly magnified live view with that subject distance and that aperture/DOF? I'd stand by it as useful.

    The light? Yes it did change and clearly some of the extra snap in the E file is down to the more contrasty light.

    HOWEVER... there is more detail in the E file. Obviously. There must be anyway and there just is. And the fact that sharpening the 800 file can make it look very similar is interesting and useful but bottom line, there will always be some extra detail in that E file that sharpening can't find: and sharpening introduces other effects which at ISO 100 or 200 may not be too much of an issue but at higher ISO will be.

    I don't sees huge difference between the two, but with good glass and good technique I do think it is enough to make a difference. A small one: but we MF shooters are used to paying large amounts for small differences! And I think those differences will show in print.

    BUT BUT BUT... if I were worried about moire I'd get the 800. If I were intending to nearly always shoot handheld or with VR or with less than top top glass I'd get the 800. For example I am seeing less difference with the 24-120 zoom handheld with VR, little enough to be essentially irrelevant. Put that lens on a tripod and turn VR off and it's a different story as long as you are shooting at optimal apertures.

    Bottom line: in most countries the E version isn't much more expensive and comes with NX, which, though not nice to use, is useful. Moire aside it's a free option to realise more file detail at minimal extra cost when the shooting conditions are right.

    I haven't yet decided whether to keep one or both bodies but if I do only keep one, it will most certainly be the E....

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Capture One 6.4 is out with D800 / D800E support:


    Camera systems and image software

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Dave,

    In the current design, Nikon claims to have a flat of optical glass in place of the waveplate in the D800E. (Usually, a thickness of the glass or the appropriate AA filter with associated equivalent refractive index *IS* part of the entire optical formula, and would be required in the system.)
    I may be mistaken, but I thought Nikon was employing something more that a single "flat" of optical glass in the D800E. From my understanding (and it was a quick read that I might have mis-interpreted), they used something like two pieces of glass with some sort of wavelength filtering properties whereby their orientation together with one another cancels what effectively would be otherwise AA filtering. I'd have to go back and find/read the explanation but that was my understanding. If this was the case, I am wondering then if Nikon employed simply what others employed (a simple cover glass) over the sensor in place of the AA, would they have achieved a more pronounced increase of sharpness vs the regular D800, then we are seeing now in the currect D800E design?

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Well folks, frankly I feel the difference is so small as to be underwhelming IMHO. If I could only have one body it would be the plain old regular version D800 hands down. If I could have two bodies, sure, the second would be the D800E. Maybe.
    Jack
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    I may be mistaken, but I thought Nikon was employing something more that a single "flat" of optical glass in the D800E. From my understanding (and it was a quick read that I might have mis-interpreted), they used something like two pieces of glass with some sort of wavelength filtering properties whereby their orientation together with one another cancels what effectively would be otherwise AA filtering. I'd have to go back and find/read the explanation but that was my understanding. If this was the case, I am wondering then if Nikon employed simply what others employed (a simple cover glass) over the sensor in place of the AA, would they have achieved a more pronounced increase of sharpness vs the regular D800, then we are seeing now in the currect D800E design?

    Dave (D&A)
    Dave, it is a sandwiched affair for both and anything but a simple cover glass, but it appears the critical missing piece in the D800E's sandwich is the waveplate. There are still the front and rear optical splitter panels, but with the waveplate removed in the D800E and replaced with optical glass, the 1/4 wave rotation is eliminated and thus the rear splitter acts as a recombiner instead of a second (4-way) splitter. In this fashion, Nikon has ensured that the optical path formulae for the sensor remains identical for both systems.

    Here's the pdf: http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/IMG/Im..._schematic.pdf
    Jack
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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Dave, it is a sandwiched affair for both and anything but a simple cover glass, but it appears the critical missing piece in the D800E's sandwich is the waveplate. There are still the front and rear optical splitter panels, but with the waveplate removed in the D800E and replaced with optical glass, the 1/4 wave rotation is eliminated and thus the rear splitter acts as a recombiner instead of a second (4-way) splitter. In this fashion, Nikon has ensured that the optical path formulae for the sensor remains identical for both systems.

    Here's the pdf: http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/IMG/Im..._schematic.pdf
    That's sort of the way I understood it too, although my previous postings used the wrong terminology. It's been a while since I both worked with and used a modified DSLR where the AA filter was removed but from what I recall a different sort of arrangement was used in it's modification and that is why I brought up the question if Nikon's optical arrangement in the D800E is causing some loss of sharpness compared to the D800 and partially responsible for what I feel is an underwhelming difference. My feeling it is certainly not what many expected of the differences being seen between the two cameras?

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: My quick D800 versus E test

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    why I brought up the question if Nikon's optical arrangement in the D800E is causing some loss of sharpness compared to the D800 and partially responsible for what I feel is an underwhelming difference. My feeling it is certainly not what many expected of the differences being seen between the two cameras?
    I suspect it is more the opposite -- that this new (and IMHO clever) AA filter arrangement creates far less image degradation while still removing undesirable digital sampling artifacts like moire. So when removed, we only see the very marginal improvement we're seeing.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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