Benoit D writes:
Lloyd, as you know I have been in my previous life a pro photo equipment reviewer in France, mostly for Reposes Photo and Le Photographe.
I subscribed to your excellent content online about 2 years ago, and I should say that you keep pushing the envelope toward excellent in type of questions you try to answer. The D800/D800E is a pinnacle.
Nobody Worldwide, and I know what I'm talking about since I'm in contact daily with the best digital photography experts in Japan, Europe, and the US has been able to truly assess the pro/cons of the Nikon D800/D800E... except you. Bravo!
DIGLLOYD: My pleasure. It was a lot of work, but I wanted to deliver something definitive for myself and my readers.
I want to thank subscriber Chris M who was kind enough to loan me his D800E, since I still don’t have one of my own due to the supply crunch. The D800E now goes back to Chris, but I hope to buy a D800E of my own sometime soon. If anyone out knows of a brand-new USA one for sale, please reserve it and contact me.
Mark J writes:
Thanks for this fascinating work. To an extent, it's not what those of us who have ordered the D800E want to hear! In a landscape photograph with a D800, will the added sharpening look subtly over-sharpened; will the D800E photograph look more, as one might say, 'at ease with itself'?!
DIGLLOYD: This is a question I hope to address with a visit to Yosemite (high contrast features, e.g. granite faces, etc).
The main issue I see with the D800E is color aliasing (colored speckles on high contrast detail). In this regard, the D800 will look more natural, but since it requires a bit more sharpening, and some lenses might beg for more sharpening than is otherwise desirable, it is not an easy question to answer.
For an idea of color aliasing, see the crops in the aerial view example — on this crop at the very upper left. The effect is a much subdued version of what one might see with the Leica M9 or Leica S2 or other medium format system, none of which uses an optical low pass (anti aliasing) filter, and all of which can exhibit severe color aliasing, especially on certain types of high contrast details (e.g., snow).
Donald C writes:
Well, good work Lloyd. I'm glad someone went through the grief of setting up the D800/D800E test with that level of accuracy.
PS: Perhaps there's a market for a monochrome patterned fabric
with an occasional colored R, G, or B thread running through it.
Or, as above, purple and yellow.
DIGLLOYD: Indeed, the differences are modest when processed appropriately.
David W writes:
Lloyd, after reading your comparison of the D800 vs D800E using the dolls, I believe that I'm now going to purchase the D800.
DIGLLOYD: this is a choice that might be different for different users. My goal was to show the variations as precisely as possible.
Kenneth V writes:
Thank you for the excellent work you do, most recently with the D800/D800E.
DIGLLOYD: My pleasure.
David S writes:
Great comparison of the D800 and D800e. Breaking down the mythology surrounding anti-aliasing filtration is a step forward for all of us.
DIGLLOYD: I took the special care I did because I wanted there to be no doubt of the results, whatever they turned out to be. I am satisfied, but also a bit surprised. As an open question, I am not clear as to whether Nikon’s unusual approach with the D800E is equivalent to a camera like the Leica M9, which has only one thin layer of glass over the sensor. It’s immaterial in the context of D800E vs D800 of course.
Colin W writes:
Thank you for the effort that you put into answering the question; "What are the advantages for each camera; D800 / D800E?"
I decided months ago to pre-order the D800E and have been using mine for a couple of weeks. I was convinced that either would suit my needs/desires and chose the E version because; I just knew that I would want to try the sans AA sensor. I also know the false economy of buying my second choice, sooner or later I end up paying for the item I really wanted:) I recognise my purchase had an emotional element, truthfully they all do.
After reading your articles I feel very happy with my choice. I realize that if I looked hard at some photos, the D800 might produce a slightly better image but how could I not be happy with the D800E's rendering? And I know that I will rarely, if ever, make the effort to capture an image that would benefit from being taken with D800 over the D800E or visa versa!
What I already see without much effort is how much I prefer the D800E's images when compared to my other DSLR's including the D4. Mind you I still grab the D4 if the subject is moving:) They are both fine tools and a pleasure to use.
DIGLLOYD: As I show in my D800 vs D3s comparison (resolution and ISO), the D800 makes a very fine 12-megapixel camera which I prefer to the D3s. I would expect the same from the D800/D800E vs D4, though the D4 would do somewhat better. However, the D4 would be a better choice for its pro build, high shutter rates, and various other ergonomic features.
Herb S writes:
Thank you very much for al the hard work done during the past few weeks. Your site has been a very rewarding source of useful information as always.
Although it is not relevant in the D800 versus D800E comparison I would like to make the following observation.
As we know Nikon did not actually remove the AA filter but replaced it for a glass screen without the AA effect for cost reasons.... In the process you proved maybe that Nikons way to "remove" the AA filter is probably not the same as actually remove the AA filter a la Leica.
DIGLLOYD: Whether Nikon’s approach is the same as a single layer of cover glass remains an open question.
If nothing else, Nikon’s approach seems to demand perfect alignment of the glass “sandwich”, and the glass thickness itself can degrade optical performance, at least off-center, due to ray angle issues. So my guess is that the Nikon approach is not the same as the thin cover glass as found on the Leica M9 and most medium format camera.