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D800 v. D800E

SkipperlangeSkipperlange Member
edited May 2014 in home
Which one should I get? I am replacing a D700, which I love. I would like D4s, cannot afford. Basically I'd be very happy with a new D700 although looking forward to being able to jack up the iso. I was never impressed with the D700 iso after 400-500. Thanks!!

About me:

-Most of what I do is portraits, high school seniors. Some other stuff. No landscapes or flowers.
-I only shoot RAW.
-The most important thing to me is sharp focus.
-I do no video.
-I only shoot manual.
-I use Pocket Wizards for off camera flash
-I want full frame, I assume both are.
-I mostly use the 70-200 2.8.
-I don't care about megapixels or large photo size, any camera now will be large enough for what I do.



  • Looks like the main difference is this anti-aliasing filter? If I got it right this filter controls moire (wavy lines) and it's removed in the 800E to increase sharpness. How is the sharpness on the 800E? Is it dazzling great sharpness or kooky sharpness due to removal of moire-controlling filter? Meanwhile, how's the sharpness on the 800? Is this a big issue or is it six of one, half a dozen of another?

    I heard way back when the 800 came out that the files were so large that it was cumbersome and slow, especially transferring to computer and opening and editing files. So if files are smaller in one of these models I think that would be a plus.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I think the D800 makes most sense for most photographers. And at 36 megapixels, it's already the best choice if you want large crisp files.

    The few times I've rented the D800, I marveled every time at the detail. So I do believe the D800E is more of a specialized item.
  • MikeZMikeZ Member
    edited May 2014
    Files are large on the 800. I believe there is an option to use different file sizes on the 800. Basicaly you could still shoot raw but at 24 or 18mp for example ( I do not know the exact option sizes). I still see many wonderfully clean D700 online used for 1,200 to 1,500 dollars US. I recently purchased one with 2,500 clicks on it for 1,500 on a website that I have seen Neil mention but I wont just for the respect of Neil's site.

    I regularly use my D700's at 1600 and 3200iso at weddings and dark venues and use maybe 50% noise reduction in ACR with stunning results. I understand that you do portraits, so you are probably looking for a 200iso all the time type of camera.

  • Neil I am curious, why did you rent 800? Didn't you own one? I see some references to that in Tangents but usually in the studio. No references to 800E.

    Thanks MikeZ. I'll take a look at used 700, good suggestion. I've tried noise reduction software and never notice a difference so I gave up. I crank the ISO on 700 when I have to but luckily it's not often.
  • Skipperlange, for replacing your D700, I think you would be happy with either the D800 or D800E. Note the cameras are identical except for the lack of an anti-aliasing filter on the E model. In theory, you can get slightly sharper images without the filter but you run an increased risk of moire. When the cameras first came out, some portrait photographers avoided the E because they were concerned about this (eg. striped shirt causing moire). Over time, I have yet to hear of really bad moire from the E, and a lot of newer cameras are eliminating the anti-aliasing filter anyway (eg. D7100).

    I have the D800 and I'm very happy with it.

    The files are large, but that's the way it is. Even a 24 MP camera's raw files are going to be quite large compared to your 12 MP one. So that's just evolution, and I wouldn't get too worried about it. A wedding photographer shooting 1400 images in an afternoon might have some actual cause for alarm here. The rest of us probably don't. You can't really shoot different size raw images as someone posted above. Well, you can, but then you are not shooting the entire FX frame, you're shooting a crop. eg. You can shoot DX (1.5x), 1.2x, 5:4 crops in camera, and sure, the raw files will be smaller, but you did want a full frame camera right? One thing you can do is shoot raw lossless compressed and go for 12 bit rather than 14 bit if you're looking to save space.

    Having all that resolution is very handy, and makes the images eminently croppable later, still leaving lots of MP left. Also, the resolution gives you an effective noise reduction tool by itself: When you make a JPG on your computer from your raw files, you can downres it (say to 300dpi at 8"x12" resolution, which is roughly 8.6 MP) and this actually helps reduce noise.

    One concern I have is that you said you aren't happy with ISOs beyond 400 on your D700, so that makes me think that you may not be happy with any current camera on the market. (Because the D700 is quite capable at fairly high ISO's.) I use Lightroom and the noise reduction in there is very capable. Correct exposures at time of shooting (don't underexpose high ISO images!) coupled with judicious use of noise reduction tools should give you very high ISO capability on either the D700 or D800/D800E.

    Hope that helps.
  • Thanks Nikonguy. Yes, I do wonder why I have ISO issues when the D700 is supposed to be able to produce fine images at higher ISOs. Could be underexposure or failure to use noise-reducing software. Or slow shutter speed. I actually sometimes like the high ISO images because it usually means I am not using flash and they have that pleasing non-flash look. Thanks for the info. Sounds like the 800 is the way to go as long as the sharpness is at least as good as D700. I may look for used D700 too but only as back-up, not main camera.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I don't need 36 megapixels for most of the work that I do, and imho, it certainly isn't necessary for weddings or any high-volume event shooting. I specifically wanted the 16 megapixels of the D4. For me it is an advantage.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Don't let the existence of the D800E mislead you into thinking the D800 is soft.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited May 2014
    My friend owns a D800 and it is not soft. He does chirps about the file sizes from time to time but he loves the quality. The D800E was designed primarily for landscape photography I believe.
  • Thanks again Neil and Zenon. Good to know about the 800E, not what I need. 800 is the right one. That 16 megapixel is another reason I'd like the D4. If my D700 is 12 then 16 is plenty! Ah well, I'll have to save up for the D4 but maybe the large MP size of 800 will force me to shoot less. Especially with my slow computer. Time for a new MacBook Pro too. This one just won't quit. It's so old the letters and numbers are faded and it's slowing down but otherwise it's a workhorse that keeps on ticking.
  • MikeZMikeZ Member
    edited May 2014
    Here is an example of 2,000 or more iso on the d700 handheld. I needed a higher shutter speed in this environment and the 700 was magic! This is ambient light only. That being said...Ill take a D4 any day of the week! I think 16mp is darn near perfect for so much of what we do...

  • Wow, lovely photo, especially at 2,000 ISO! Yes, the D700 is a great camera. I think your photo shows its capability if the exposure and other factors are in place and done right. It's a balance, ISO, shutter, ap and lighting. Nice lightning in this photo.
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