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Thread: D800E User Thread

  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProSeow2010 View Post
    Thanks recap for your much review of D800E.
    I am still deciding between D800 or the E series. Their different is S$500, and yes from you review and other whom have post theirs, it is worth this amount. For my take, S$500 almost able me to get a 32Gb CF & 32Gb SD Pro series.
    I know its my decision...I think I can decide better once you post some on outdoor photos then...
    Thanks again...and not forgetting others whom contributed to this thread...thank you.
    I think the best way to answer this question is to quote Mark Dubovoy, distinguished contributor to the Luminous-Landscape. They have probably the most active medium format digital discussion forum on the web. Mark shoots with an IQ180 off an ALPA body with extremely exotic prime lenses. Here's what he says in the article - An Embarrassment of Riches

    "Bottom line: You want to give me better resolution for $300 bucks? I'll take it. No brainer."


    I have a funny story about memory cards - many years ago when the USD was still 1 to 1.65 to the SGD, I paid 499 USD for an 8GB card plus the firewire reader. That was a lot of money back then, still a lot of money today. What did I learn? Just buy a chunk of 16GB cards for cheaper. Two 16GB would be nice to start with. You can buy more and faster storage as the prices continue to drop. For that extra 500 bucks to have better resolution to ALL your pictures? It wasn't a difficult decision for me to pick the E variant - particularly made easier because I've been shooting with system without AA filters for quite some time now.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Cheesecake's Avatar
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    I just want to add. U do not need such expensive lenses to give u the right result.

    my cheap nikkor af28-105 f3.5-4.5d can achieve excellent results too.

    In fact, the D800e makes my D series lenses look good.
    You'll Never Walk Alone! - i have the best job in the world!

  3. #43
    Senior Member cichlid's Avatar
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    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    The skin tones look really good.

  4. #44

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    so far, at least with my copy of the body. i have not noticed any differential focus between the left side of the AF array or the right side. After calibration with Lens Align and shooting hundreds of frames this evening through the various AF settings. I have to say that the 35/1.4G performs really well on this body. Seems to be better than with the D3X actually.

    Also, there is a difference (for me at least) when shooting between 1/100s and 1/125s shutter speed, even for a 35mm lens. I guess that's my shutter speed threshold. Tomorrow I hope to get some more wide open and low light shots on the D800E. But at a per pixel level, the detail is there hand held. No, not as detailed as the Leica 35/1.4 Asph FLE, but its good enough!

  5. #45

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    further tests. the light these past few days has been interesting - cloudy, which is my favorite kind of light for photography in the past. mostly because you can shoot pretty much anything and not clip the highlights or crush the blacks... and the images print reasonably well too with this natural looking slightly desaturated look. but i digress.

    color capture for the most part. is exceptional. i'm deliberately trying to find difficult colors for a digital sensor to capture, and so far, I am satisfied/impressed! all shots taken with the Nikon 35/1.4 G AF-S lens. I actually got the second copy that came into Singapore when it was released. And its shot a few weddings on the D3X and D3S... so focusing issues so far - nada. I've calibrated the lens again with Lens Align.



    Some contrast bump, but that's about it, and that's about correct actually.



    Again, some slight contrast bump, but essentially untouched. With such a wide latitude for dynamic range, some contrast adjust is necessary to make the image "pop"



    I think its pretty spot on. Maybe the sRGB color space does it no favors. I'm satisfied here.



    the detail is there within the red reflector - you can see the individual facets of reflective material.
    Last edited by recap; 7th May 2012 at 09:22 PM.

  6. #46

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    However, after carefully shooting hundreds of frames and carefully evaluating the test results with a variety of subjects. It is my opinion, and your experience may vary, that the Nikon 35/1.4 G AF-S cannot keep up with the demands of this sensor at f/2.0. I shot majority of my images at f/2.0 to give it the advantage of having one stop down on the aperture for better quality, and also one stop faster than using the 24-70 zoom.

    I tread carefully here, as it may be my fault, so I hope that others can eventually confirm and verify this. I believe that the D800E sensor outresolves the 35mm lens at f/2.0.

    For myself, a nifty trick that I use is to shoot wide open at f/1.4 or f/2.0 in bright daylight to get a different technical look versus a regular zoom lens. But I also use the light fall off to my advantage - it acts as a sort of "natural" neutral density filter that can help retain highlight detail particularly in the corners. Coupled with the dynamic range of this sensor. Ha Ha Ha! It works pretty well.

    Images have undergone profile correction in Lightroom to ease out the distortion and the light fall off in the corners.



    I guess, in this case, the Leica 35/1.4 Asph FLE completely wins hands down. It is much sharper, has far more contrast, detail, blah blah blah Leica than the Nikon one at f/2.0. And its like 1/4 the size and like half the weight too (kidding, the weight is around the same)



    While the 35/1.4 performs very well, and tracks very quickly with the D800E. I have to say that upon carefully zooming in and examining across the image frame (even if the lens front or backfocuses, there should at least be a small zone of sharpness) therein is a lack of detail. Mostly blurred off by chromatic aberration and spherochromatism. Even with the single aspherical element to correct for this design. Cannot keep up! But take heart, it IS better than the Zeiss 35/1.4 Distagon in performance at this aperture.


    Normally, this image would blow the highlights or crush the blacks under such light (from experience), but this one. I can actually add contrast to it and it looks better! See the top part of the frame where the pipeline runs across the white wall. It may be so white that on the non calibrated displays - its the same rgb pixel value as the white screen background.



    Fluorescent tubes continue to blow out in the highlights when the exposure latitude gets too wide, but it is usually no issues in recovering them with the highlights slider in post. Its definitely more than 10 stops of dynamic range from my experience. But not 11 and definitely cannot compare to entry level digital medium format (Phase One P30/Hasselblad H3D-31) but its really good!
    Last edited by recap; 7th May 2012 at 09:35 PM.

  7. #47

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Ok, the part everyone wants to know about. Low Light! With 36 megapixels, obviously the pixel pitch is pathetically tiny. Correct. The D3X was incredibly noisy at 1600 ISO and Hi-1 boost. But with reasonable noise reduction, it could yield great prints. The D3S, was the opposite. Less resolution, but because its signal to noise ratio was so ridiculous you could still make large prints from its 12 megapixel files at ISO 12800.

    From my experience shooting weddings, paired with the various 1.4 lenses. And knowing that brides really enjoy this "ambient darkness" at their wedding dinners, across 30k+ exposures, I had to use the beyond 12800 ISO function in maybe 0.5% of my shots. Like when they turned off the lights in the dining hall and you were shooting the couple with the light reflected off the projector screen.

    So my thoughts are this. The High ISO is a mixed bag. Mixed bag as in it combines the best of both worlds. You CAN shoot at 6400. It will be just fine. You can down-sample it to form a cleaner file to print big. The noise reduction reminds me of the D3X files at high ISO - very grain like. Color accuracy, fidelity and dynamic range - very much like the D3S. The D3S in fact overtook the D3X in the dynamic range stakes beyond ISO 400 if I remember correctly. Anyway samples!

    The first two at ISO 6400. F/2.0, 1/125s. Color is astoundingly good in my opinion.





    This one is at 4500 ISO. Again an excellent color response. Very clean file when down-sampled. I'd wager and say the 36MP file, downsized to 12, can easily match the performance of the D3S. And you get better AF performance too. So unless you really need 12800 ISO or prefer to work with smaller 12MP files. You don't actually need the D3S for low light work anymore. Its that good.



    A more boring ISO 800 image. Essentially noise free.



    Now you can print big like the D3X, and still yield easily 80% of the performance of the D3S with the D800/E.
    Last edited by recap; 7th May 2012 at 09:47 PM.

  8. #48
    Senior Member Cheesecake's Avatar
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    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by recap View Post
    Ok, the part everyone wants to know about. Low Light! With 36 megapixels, .................
    recap, ur effort is extremely commendable.

    thanks for sharing.
    You'll Never Walk Alone! - i have the best job in the world!

  9. #49

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    So, the 35/1.4 doesn't perform very well at f/2.0. We know that. How about stopped down?

    At the diffraction limit of f/7.1. It performs beautifully.



    Taken this evening, I used 1/125s on shutter speed, so far, that's the one I've noted that yield me the highest number of sharp shots for the "lowest" shutter speed. So this is a more pragmatic real world test. Hand held.

    And 100% crop in. Remember to right click and select "View Image" to see through to the actual full resolution crop. It is my opinion that the lack of the AA filter here is an aid to make the fine gradations between the tiles.



    Another one shot at f/7.1



    And click through again to see the original image at 100%.



    The images have had some contrast bump and have had very moderate/conservative sharpening as per Lightroom's default in this case.

    To my eyes. The detail is there and can be resolved by the lens. The sensor can also resolve the details in the scene so far away. In terms of resolution, it is like medium format. I say "like" loosely.

    In the same fashion that the Canon 1Ds put the 6MP medium format backs out of the market, and in the same fashion that the 1Ds II put out the 11MP digital backs, and the D3X put out the 22MP medium format backs. And now this 36MP sensor that will retire all the 31MP digital back sensors in terms of resolution. Yes, the resolution is there. But the "look" of the image is not medium format.

  10. #50

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Elaborating from above - while Nikon sells this camera as a medium format challenger, and it sure is in terms of the resolution stakes. That's how they marketed the D3X as well. There is still a distinctive "look" and rendering from a medium format file. There is a "bite" the image that so far I have not been able to replicate with the D800E.



    Make sure to right click and select "view image" to see through to the full 100% view. This is a capture from my Hasselblad H4D-50 with the 50-110 zoom lens. The 50mm focal length of medium format corresponds to a 35.4mm field of view on 35mm. I deem this fair also because the zoom is a 3.5-4.5 one, shot stopped down at f/5.6, hardly its optimal aperture, and the Nikkor 35/1.4, its prime best in class 35mm fixed focal length lens is shot at its optimal aperture of f/7.1 with regards to the sensor.

    Of course you can argue that there is 14 more megapixels to go around the image. That is true. But also bear in mind that the sensor shoots in a 4:3 format. Not a 3:2. So when you crop down the image to a 3:2 one, best in case you are looking at a 36MP D800E vs a 42MP image. Assuming we are comparing equal horizontal fields of view. Also, the Hassy still wins with regards to the malleability of its files, its dynamic range and of course, other things like that massive viewfinder (the D800E in comparison is honestly tiny and dark!) which aids compositional clarity. That's my two cents anyway.

    This image was shot hand held as well. No tripod for this one. You can make out the moire on some of the roof tiles, as well as the generally more accurate plus saturated color response. The D800E already looks very good. But when compared to a reference medium format camera. You can see where it falls short. D800E is 5000 bucks (as of today's pricing), and the H4D-50 retails for close to 40k locally. Is it 8 times better. I'd say no. But yes it is better.
    Last edited by recap; 7th May 2012 at 10:39 PM.

  11. #51
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    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by recap View Post
    Elaborating from above - while Nikon sells this camera as a medium format challenger, and it sure is in terms of the resolution stakes. That's how they marketed the D3X as well. There is still a distinctive "look" and rendering from a medium format file. There is a "bite" the image that so far I have not been able to replicate with the D800E.



    Make sure to right click and select "view image" to see through to the full 100% view. This is a capture from my Hasselblad H4D-50 with the 50-110 zoom lens. The 50mm focal length of medium format corresponds to a 35.4mm field of view on 35mm. I deem this fair also because the zoom is a 3.5-4.5 one, shot stopped down at f/5.6, hardly its optimal aperture, and the Nikkor 35/1.4, its prime best in class 35mm fixed focal length lens is shot at its optimal aperture of f/7.1 with regards to the sensor.

    Of course you can argue that there is 14 more megapixels to go around the image. That is true. But also bear in mind that the sensor shoots in a 4:3 format. Not a 3:2. So when you crop down the image to a 3:2 one, best in case you are looking at a 36MP D800E vs a 42MP image. Assuming we are comparing equal horizontal fields of view. Also, the Hassy still wins with regards to the malleability of its files, its dynamic range and of course, other things like that massive viewfinder (the D800E in comparison is honestly tiny and dark!) which aids compositional clarity. That's my two cents anyway.
    .......please stop it .............. stop the torture ............. I am still waiting for the arrival of my camera ..........
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  12. #52

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Another nifty thing about the NEF raw files from this camera, which come in at an average of 77.5 MB a piece. If you convert them to DNG under the "lossy compression" option. Assuming you want to email a 36MP raw file to a friend. It compacts it down to just over 10MB in size! Wow!

    The 14 bit raw files are reasonably malleable in post production. The latitude for correcting exposure is very good and likewise the files can survive being pushed back and forth around 2+ stops. This one is my opinion. Coupled with its extensive dynamic range, low light performance and price. It's really value for money.



    Now you can expose correctly for the sky and keep all the detail in the shadows too! In the past experience with other cameras, the flats would be rendered more grey rather than white.



    If you do a lot of shooting at the "golden hour" of light, which many of us do. Then you'll be pleased to see it combine an excellent dynamic range, with great color and the ability to capture and render skin tones well too under such mixed lighting. In the case we keep the highlights in the sky, the orange in the artificial lighting, the skin tones in the people and can AF fast enough to track their motion and yield a shutter speed fast enough to freeze action for an optimal sized print. Its a lousy picture, but I wanted to see what the color response was like.



    This one was overexposed to begin with. Mostly due to the dark wood on the right hand side tricking the meter. I fixed it in post by bringing exposure down 1.25 stops, bringing highlights back around 75, boosting shadows, increasing contrast and raising the shadows quite a bit. So I'm basically increasing the dynamic range of the shot after pulling the exposure and increasing the contrast to my liking as well. And the file is clean and sharp too - taken at ISO 640. There is no chance to replicate such a shot hand held with the H4D-50 with this kind of output quality.



    This one, I had the most fun. It was FLAT lighting from a sun that had almost completely set. I boosted the exposure, jacked up the contrast, did all the crazy color palette thing, put in a digital 2 stops GND filter to retain some highlight detail in the sky and increased the saturation more. For fun, right? I like the cartoonish effect. So, I think the files from the D800E are very good for most work. It can turn flat crap into a wage for a sage.

  13. #53

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Ok, last update from today. Dynamic range revisted again.

    You know how, in the past, when you photograph the foilage of a big tree. The background inevitably gets blown out into pure white? This happened to me with the D3X, it has happened to me with a H4D-31 depending on the light.

    So I'd say with caution, depending on the light. Worry no more. You can actually retain the detail and exposure in both the tree foliage AND the sky now! Oh goodness, I'm writing this like an ad. Was really surprised when seeing the files and trying to suss out its dynamic range.

    This should be taken seriously, because for the longest time, negative film had one distinct advantage over digital - it could tolerate strong overexposure and it could also retain highlights (like the white lace details of a bride's dress in brilliant sunlight) that digital could not. But I think that this D800/E is a step ahead in the exposure stakes and may signal to many the fade out of film's last stronghold.



    I promise you that the sun was in the sky lighting the scene up. In fact, I walked across the street later on and shot pictures of people walking in the sun. Its not the best shot to showcase this - but there is some tinge of blue in the exposure on a very flat day when the sun suddenly shows up! So a testament in my opinion.



    This one had some highlight recovery. Basically you can see that there is sunlight reflecting off the tables, and given the flat lighting, One can recover, really without trying the dynamic range of highlights in the sky.



    This one was a difficult exposure. No adjustments for exposure or highlights. It can retain the highlight detail in this empty featureless sky, and also capture the glow of the lanterns. Contrast in fact, has been added to the image along with some shadow recovery. So yes, there is good dynamic range there. And because the dark tones are well anchored, lifting the shadows does not bring up banding or chunks of noise patches. This is one of the most underrated feature on the D3X that I'm glad is carried through to the 800/E.



    This one too, was also a difficult image. The top is lighted up bu the setting sun. Or whatever is left of a setting sun. The bottom lighted up artificially. The original raw file indicates no clipping in the highlights except a negligible amount in the golden decoration around the black title board. And just that top left hand side of it too. And the color too! Wow! I'm impressed.

  14. #54

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Panoramic stitching! I shot this one purely hand held, so no tripod and no ability to get a perfect horizon. I'm quite old school in this regard anyway. The only reason why I shoot panoramas is because I got lazy and didn't want to carry around my Zeiss 21 ZF.2 lens. I shot this one in the horizontal orientation and obviously you can tell that there are flaws with it. But pretty acceptable.

    Five image stitch (there wasn't that much to pan across anyway from the window of a HDB block) and the final stitched up image after crop is 68 megapixels. Good enough to print 1.5 meters long in my opinion.



    Don't forget to right click to "View Image" to see it in its 3000+ pixel glory on the long end. Detail is there, dynamic range is there and I think while the image has a long way to go to qualify as a great picture, the base image is already very solid.
    Last edited by recap; 8th May 2012 at 08:51 AM.

  15. #55
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    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by recap View Post
    Ok, last update from today. Dynamic range revisted again.



    Amazing DR.

  16. #56

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by recap View Post
    Elaborating from above - while Nikon sells this camera as a medium format challenger, and it sure is in terms of the resolution stakes. That's how they marketed the D3X as well. There is still a distinctive "look" and rendering from a medium format file. There is a "bite" the image that so far I have not been able to replicate with the D800E.



    Make sure to right click and select "view image" to see through to the full 100% view. This is a capture from my Hasselblad H4D-50 with the 50-110 zoom lens. The 50mm focal length of medium format corresponds to a 35.4mm field of view on 35mm. I deem this fair also because the zoom is a 3.5-4.5 one, shot stopped down at f/5.6, hardly its optimal aperture, and the Nikkor 35/1.4, its prime best in class 35mm fixed focal length lens is shot at its optimal aperture of f/7.1 with regards to the sensor.

    Of course you can argue that there is 14 more megapixels to go around the image. That is true. But also bear in mind that the sensor shoots in a 4:3 format. Not a 3:2. So when you crop down the image to a 3:2 one, best in case you are looking at a 36MP D800E vs a 42MP image. Assuming we are comparing equal horizontal fields of view. Also, the Hassy still wins with regards to the malleability of its files, its dynamic range and of course, other things like that massive viewfinder (the D800E in comparison is honestly tiny and dark!) which aids compositional clarity. That's my two cents anyway.

    This image was shot hand held as well. No tripod for this one. You can make out the moire on some of the roof tiles, as well as the generally more accurate plus saturated color response. The D800E already looks very good. But when compared to a reference medium format camera. You can see where it falls short. D800E is 5000 bucks (as of today's pricing), and the H4D-50 retails for close to 40k locally. Is it 8 times better. I'd say no. But yes it is better.
    Enough poison. The advantage of D800E over H is when you walked around with that on your neck. I settled for 5k. Thank you very much.
    Btw, can u guys buy D800 instead? D800E no good lah, more expensive somemore, moire some more... better play safe...

  17. #57

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    After reading this thread.. am now tempted to get the D800E...

    @recap: if my wife complain.. I will say its your fault..

    Jokes aside.. thanks for the effort and excellent write up.
    Nikon D90

  18. #58

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Regarding Moire - I think the issue is far too overblown and far too inflated. Yes, it exists. But it doesn't take much work in PP to remove it.

    I've shot for a long time with systems without AA filters, and sometimes, probably in 0.1% of my files do I encounter noticeable moire. If I wanted to, I could have gotten the D800 itself during its first launch and was offered several sets for sale. I preferred the E variant mostly because I almost sent my D3X to maxmax to hotrod the thing and take off the AA filter.



    Looks like there's moire. At 100%, there is none. I only have one image with noticeable moire so far. This is in a shot with some air conditioner compressor grilles. And the actual size of the area of moire is less than 100 pixels by 100 pixels in size. If you print it, usually the dithering process in the print sort of mashes over it. Then the other solution is to simply stop down more beyond the diffraction limit and the moire will go away.

    Anyway, an untouched image of brilliant orange hues in near noon time sunshine. Excellent capture in my opinion. 24mm f/1.4 lens.



    The 24/1.4 can deliver good performance across the imaging field. Stopped down that is. At f/2.0 it performs better than the 35/1.4.

    Yet another dynamic range test. Because today the sun was out in full force, a good day to test.



    Note that the sun is shining down on that white canopy thing, in the histogram its at the very edge of the right hand side. But not overexposeed. I've lifted up the shadows to the maximum and increased the contrast to this image. Also added a good deal of highlight recovery, though unnecessary so.

    In a sense, its like a HDR image. Badly done one. There is a very small amount of noise in the shadows of the areas that have been lifted. Color remains great.



    Where the color in my opinion remains not so great is here - capturing blues in the sky. So far, my opinion is that the Leica M9 is the best tool to capture the blue in the sky. It does it like no other camera I've used. Coming in second would be my Hasselblad. Here, unfortunately, no matter what I tried to do, the blue displayed here is not the blue in the sky when I saw it. If anyone knows how I can get better blues, please share. i really want to know.

  19. #59

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Took the 85/1.4 G out of the spin as well. The lens can deliver good performance across the imaging field. I used f/5.6 as much as I good since this was a short telephoto lens. Its flat field of focus is also great for compressive landscapes. One of the best lenses Nikon has made. The old 85/1.4D was great for its time, but this one is significantly better. Also, this copy of the lens was imported to Singapore before shops started selling it. Random trivia.



    Brilliant imaging across the entire field



    Note the dynamic range - the highlights of the water in direct sunlight are not overexposed. I've increased the contrast and added vibrance to this image. I think its a great display of what a good sensor and lens can do together.



    The white balance is not off - the lifebuoy itself is a little bit faded away probably from oxidation because of constant exposure to sunlight. I have the exact same shot taken with my Leica M 90 APO and will have to give the nod to the APO for this scene. Also, the dynamic range is so great that I had to crush the blacks after adding contrast in post processing, otherwise the image would be very flat.



    Again, the 85 display its great penchant for contrast, color, sharpness and detail. Taken at f/4.0.

  20. #60

    Default Re: D800E User Thread

    Light plays an exceptionally important role in determining the type of color that this camera can capture. But you already knew that. I just find it so stark that I can go from a file like this when its cloudy:



    To this when its sunny:



    Still, I am not satisfied with the way blue is captured/rendered. Maybe its something broken on my side. But, I feel like its not me leh.



    And of course, our national library, where they don't let you take pictures inside. Quite sad. When the light strikes at the right angle, you can get nice reflections - like these folks walking on a beam of reflected light.



    One more important thing to take note of - you can set a virtual horizon guide to display inside your viewfinder and so far, I find it to be pretty accurate. It helps me frame scenes with respect to the gravitational horizon, over one that I can "infer" from the camera in my hands and my eyes studying the straight vertical lines in the image. Useful especially so for the library shot above. There's no way I would have gotten a "level" on shot with all those conflicting lines and the lens distortion at the edges.
    Last edited by recap; 9th May 2012 at 12:44 AM.

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