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Leica M Monochrom

Noise vs Nikon D800E

The D800E has the finest DSLR color sensor on the market in 2012. This is not only my own opinion from my years of studying digital cameras and real results with field images, but an objective fact as one can verify at DxOmark.com.

When comparing noise, the only fair comparison is at the same resolution, reflecting the fact that when making a print the degree of enlargement (and hence visibility of noise) is in direct proportion to the camera resolution versus print size. Hence noise as compared here is necessarily at the same resolution.

The Leica MM Monochrom base ISO is 320, the D800E base ISO is 100. This noise comparison concerns us as “best against best”, not “ISO 320 vs ISO 320”, which is after all pointless if one can use a tripod; it would be silly to use ISO 320 on the D800E. On the flip side, the Leica MM as a journalistic style camera offers relatively high shutter speeds with its 320 base ISO. So too would the Nikon D800E at ISO 320, the particulars of its performance being saved for another comparison (but note that a partial ISO is not necessarily fair to a camera, whole number ISOs in some cases perform better than intermediate ones).

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Leica MM test scene at ƒ/1.4
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