< ! --Digital window verification 001 -->

Another Nikon D700 vs. Nikon D800 high ISO comparison

This is another high ISO comparison between the Nikon D700 and a pre-production D800 (see also this related post). Here are details from the reader who shot the images (click on samples for larger view):

Here are some noise comparisons I have made in all ISO levels between D700 & D800 from ISO1600 to ISO 25600 with Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at f/4. The crop area is in the almost extreme left of the frame and does not include the focus point, so it is not for resolution comparison, only for noise. The D800 files are downsized at 57% in PS to the D700 size, then cropped to 1:1 for comparison as same size pictures. I used RAWTherapee because ViewNX uses the noise reduction settings of the cameras. As ICC profile for D800 I have selected D7000 profile.

Another set of Nikon D800 samples at different ISO can be found on flickr.

This entry was posted in Nikon D700, Nikon D800. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Jon D

    Not too bad considering the D800 is only at 57% crop and the D700 is at 100%

    • Eddie

      The D700 and the D800 are not the same camera, it was like comparing the D700 with the 5D Mk2, unless it has the same mpx and same sensor size, there is no way to compare the two scientifically…Scientific Method anyone???

      • http://friedfishstick.com flosse_r

        There is no “scientific method” … there is only what we have and what the improvements or the possibilities are. Because the cameras are entirely different there will never be a 1:1 comparison geeez.

        This is for general use case and for us gear heads ..if you want any kind of scientific data wait for DXO mark…People like you can never be please you always find something to whine about.. kudos to the poster to actually make an effort ..

        • Mark

          EXACTLY!! Well put. At the end of the day, it’s what the camera can actually do that matters. Not some gear-head nerd’s lab tests. Out in the real world, photographers make their living shooting real things under real lighting conditions. Like you, I believe that’s what matters and I commend this contributor for shooting this & uploading these.

          Now we know that the D800 is a very competent camera at high ISO in its own right. I also remember those tests from last month of the flowers on the restaurant table. Eventually we’ll be seeing more higher ISO shots as more reviewers and photographers get their hands on the 800, and while it’s not going to compete with the D3s or D4 @ super high ISOs, it’s not meant to. But if you want MFDB type IQ in a more accessible camera, this is the way to go. I was pleasantly surprised by these sample pics at 1600+.

      • Fisheyland

        shoot them with lenses at different focal lengths so that the 100% crops match

        • Lance

          What point would there be in doing that? It certainly would not be at all practical to do that in the real world while taking photos. So what would testing in that manner accomplish??

          • Che

            Fisheyland makes a valid point Lance. Some people are interested in all this downsample this or downsample that. If one needs to downsample to achieve cleaner images at high iso then maybe you don’t need at 36mp camera. I can downsample easily in post but what if someone doesnt want to mess with that…or perhaps the have 800 images of an event, etc etc. I want to see a photo taken with the D700 compared to the D800 straight OUT of the camera. Same composition and frame. So I see Fisheyland’s reasoning.

            • Wesley

              For Printing.

              If i wanted to print a scene (for example the one above) with the same perspective, onto an 8×10. You’d have the compression to a smaller size from the D800, generating less noise at the same ISO

              That’s why its at a 57% crop.. Good test, love the results.

          • Carsten

            The point is that you can compare the RAW noise. From the test here it is only clear that the D800 eats the D700 in terms of IQ for breakfast.

            IMHO all you need to know, but I am curious anyway

            Below some suggested to shoot with the 1.7x focal length on the D800 and compare then 100% crops. This should be pretty “scientific”. Shooting a greycard you can numerically compare the variance of the pixel values, an actual measure for noise

            • PHB

              You can be very certain that any two Nikon cameras that are compared at 100% crop are going to look more or less identical at their highest rated ISO.

              The reason for this is quite simple, the highest ISO rating is set by the point at which noise on a 100% crop exceeds a certain level under lab conditions. So if Nikon could get the D800 to kick the D700 at 100% crop then they would have given it a higher maximum ISO rating.

              Doing the ‘scientific’ comparisons is not going to do much more that tell us whether Nikon is being honest. There are differences between what the lab measures and what actually matters. So this is actually a better test of real life use.

              The claim made by the 12MP camp was that a lower resolution camera will perform better in low light. Clearly that is not true, the D800 outperforms the D700 by quite a margin. In fact it is quite likely to outperform the D3s (but not by as much). It will certainly outperform the D3x.

              It seems to me that Nikon has finally come out with the lower cost FX camera people have been bleating on about for ages. The street price of the D700 is now set quite close to the original selling price of the D300.

              Nikon know what they are doing. But no, whine whine whine.

      • Jon

        Would knowing the Quantum Efficiency (QE) of the two sensors work?
        It’s scientific and would give a solid indication in numerical form of the percentage of light being effectively converted by the sensor.
        As both sensors are the same physical dimensions and therefore theoretically receiving the same quantity of light on their respective surfaces, the QE would help highlight the percentage of light that falls between the cracks so to speak and should be a good indicator of potential for noise.
        At least that how I understand it anyway. Feel free to put me in my place.

        • Carsten

          There are two factors to QE: The photosite efficiency and the design of the Bayer grid.

          Noise at base ISO should be a good point to measure the efficiency, most noise will be there statistical. Varying EV and ISO should help to eliminate thermal and amplifier noise amounts.

          Measuring absolute efficiency is possible with this procedure as well, but you need a well defined lightsource and have to know the exact transmission value of your lens. The lightsource can be bought at Newport – roughly the price of a D4

          • Jorge

            WTF!?!?!?
            QE? Who gives a flying shit! Don’t buy the fucking camera.
            OMG

      • Michael

        This is quite scientific, read how DxOMark compares sensors and you’ll understand why resizing them to the same size is almost the most scientific way to compare them. QE is the best way to compare them, but since they have the same sensor size, there’s no point comparing QE.

    • Alice

      The obsession of high ISO continues…..

      In case you pin-heads out there have not heard this before: “The high ISO performance of a camera will absolutly NOT make you a star like Cliff Mautner.”

      Clutching to technology to cover your shortcoming on skill is the sure sign of a pin-head.

      • Okay

        Maybe it’s not about covering one’s shortcomings but opening up new possibilities of recording things that couldn’t have been recorded before, fool? Check yourself.

      • Mike

        Alice, please explain to me how I can take indoor volleyball pictures when you are not allowed to use strobes or flashes? Well let me tell you, it’s with a camera that performs well at high ISO. To get the shutter speed in excess of 1/400th you need fast lenses and very good ISO performance. In some arenas the lighting is very, very good and I can use very low ISO setting. But some venues require ISO speeds in excess of 3000 just to get a shutter speed of 1/320th with an aperature of 1.8.

        Pin-head? Hardly!

      • Mike

        You know, lots of people use their cameras for all kinds of purposes. Some of the time its studio and the ISO goes to its native setting and the lighting get adjusted to fit the scene. That same person might also shoot sports in situations where flash is not allowed and where using a ramped up ISO is, in fact, the only way to get the shutter speed right and nail the shot that you want – you know, freezing the frame to capture the action. So, this photographer, lets call him Jim, he clearly has found good use of the entire usable range of his cameras ISO. Is he really a pinhead or is really that you’re just an angry and bitter asshole who has to project their own inadequacies on to others in order to make a point?…

      • Ernesto

        Alice, I make a lot of indoor concerts photographs. High ISO performance will not make better pictures for me, but definitely will make my job much easier and will for sure help me to get better shots. As those days it’s very difficult to find any D700 at my place and I can’t afford a D4 nor a D3s, I am very interested on this kind of tests.

      • Lance

        “In case you pin-heads out there have not heard this before: “The high ISO performance of a camera will absolutly NOT make you a star like Cliff Mautner.””

        For your information, people use Nikons for other types of photography than just portraits and weddings. Those are shooting environments that the photographer has much more control over, and can thus affect the lighting.

        Some of us shoot indoor and night sports, where using a high ISO is essential in order to stop the action and not get a blurred image. Indoor event photography is also challenging, and also often demanding when it comes to available light.

        Bringing studio lights, elaborate flash setups are often not possible or practical to do at such venues.

        So I think that it is you that is the one that is being narrow minded here.

        • Ric

          Lance,

          Does the low FPS rule out the D800 for sports?

          Just curious. I have a D300 and at 6fps it is barely fast enough for Baseball and softball, especially Pitchers and Batters. I would like to go FF someday.

          • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com bobcooleyphoto.com

            I’m not being flippant with this comment, so please don’t take it that way, but if you need 6fps or higher for sports, you need to practice predicting the action.

            I’ won many awards for sports photography and was publishing all over hell and back with my F2s at 4FPS. The 5.5FPS of my F4s’s actually started to make me a little lazy. And mind you this was all manual focus.

            Practice Practice makes you a better sports shooter, not how many FPS the camera can machine gun.

            • Alice

              +1,000,000

              What were those pin-heads doing before the DSLR age? Nighttime sports & indoor sports didn’t just invented same time as DSLR.

              How did photo journalists do before the DSLR age? Hand drawing?!

            • Ric

              Bob,

              I don’t disagree. That said, having the extra FPS for Baseball and Softball does increase the the likelihood of the precise moments of batting and pitching.

            • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jan_f_rasmussen/sets/ Jan F. Rasmussen

              Crap, there were many things that you could not do before, or maybe only with fast, grainy b/w films. Why is it silly to wish for better low light performance? For me it would be to be able to shoot birds in the dark forest floor of a rain forest with good colours, low noise, good sharpness and reasonable depth of field.

              Settings like 1/1000 or better and f/11 require some good low iso performance on those conditions…

            • Keith

              “Hand drawing?”

              No, Alice – piss-poor results.

              you might have no interest in improving your photography, but don’t assume that others are as easily pleased as you.

              Oh – and Maunter? A hack involved in the least challenging photographic genre imaginable.

          • http://www.novumlucis.com Dr SCSI

            @Ric, you should look at buying the optional battery grip for the D300. The MB-D10 or a third party aftermarket battery grip can boost your FPS to 8!! Big jump for little money.

            • Ric

              Agree, I did purchase the MB-D10 this summer. Haven’t tried it with baseball yet. Season started this past weekend! Whoot!

      • Carsten

        In reply to the former replies:

        D4/D3s too expensive? If you can live with the low fps, you can downsample to the resolution of the D4 and will get quite close to its noise-performance. It is a compromise, but you get what you pay for. It seems it is cheaper to build a high-resolution camera than a high-ISO speed-monster.

        A cheap-build camera with the specs of the D4 is not likely to happen.

        Anyway, it looks like that you’ll be king of the hill at any amateur sports event with a D800 – when Suzy Soccermum gets better shots with her P&S, Alice is right

        • Andrew

          I am not sure I agree with you on “It seems it is cheaper to build a high-resolution camera than a high-ISO speed-monster”. By this statement, you are downplaying the lower cost of the D800 alluding that if Nikon wanted to increase its speed (i.e. frames per second) then that decision would have increased the cost of the camera. Thus the D4 is more costly than the D800 because it is a faster camera. Not so! See my reasoning below.

          The cost of the D4 can be attributed to the following factors. The D4 is built like a tank and it is constructed at a higher tolerance in terms of weather sealing. These incremental improvements (in the D4) can cost significantly more especially if it improves on a higher level of tolerance already achieved in the D800. Using a real world analogy to compare cost (with practically all other things being equal), a fractionally lighter bicycle will perform fractionally faster than its slightly heavier counterpart, yet a professional cyclist is willing to spend thousands of dollars more on that lighter bicycle to gain that slight advantage. In the case of a camera, the higher tolerance of the D4 may make it more suitable to take it to the Arctic to shoot polar bears, a place where many cameras will not survive. The price of the D4 may be justified (among other things) by its size, weight, weather sealing, extra shutter cycle durability, built-in battery grip, and XQD format card slot. The battery grip alone should cost around $500, and the other features listed above should add maybe another $1,000 to the price. If you subtract these costs from the D4, you will get a list price of $3,500 for a D800 class camera that is equipped with the same 16 Megapixel sensor as the D4. So as you can see, the lower cost of the D800 versus the D4 is due to a number of different factors other than performance.

          Now finally, let us took at performance. It appears that the performance of the D800 is restricted by the larger image file (36 MP) that the Expeed 3 image processor needs to process per shot. By reducing the 36 MP sensor in the D800 to a 16 MP sensor, you should get a much faster frame rate. The D800 shares the same Expeed 3 image processor as the D4 and the Nikon 1 cameras. Yet both the D4 and Nikon 1 perform at 10 frames per second (fps) or higher, significantly more than the D800. But at closer look, the D800 has a 36 MP sensor versus 16 MP for the D4 and 10 MP for the Nikon 1. It is not the entire story, the Expeed 3 does a lot more in each class of camera that can impact on it’s speed, but discussing that would lengthen my response.

      • http://dizeman.com/rock&roll DIZEMAN

        Well, some of us live in the world of AVAILABLE DARKNESS, so high ISO performance is important. Not everyone shoots studio portrait sessions where everything is controlled.

      • George

        Some of us actually have a need for high ISO AND high resolution. I would have preferred something between the D4 and the D800…. but I shoot forensics stuff, not pretty people or pretty places. It is not a shortcoming to want a tool to make my job both easier and extend my capabilities. Luddite…

    • Billy 800

      There’s a perfectly scientific way of comparing two cameras with different MP’s.

      Size the files to the same size, i.e. the size that you want to reproduce / print / view them and then you actually use your eyes and you look at them.

      Pretty well what the comparison shows here.

  • shane

    Does look like the d800 is out performing the d700 :)

    • http://www.idahojimphotography.com Idahojim

      Thanks for sharing these. These D700 comparisons are great fun while we wait for production units to start shipping.

      That said, I’ve also altered my thinking about the D800 a great deal over the last month or so. Because I’ve been waiting on a D700 upgrade the comparisons to the D700 made a lot of sense to me. IE.. It’s the logical progression both budget and gear wise for my work. But, I think what Nikon has actually done here is released an improved version of the D3X at nearly a third the price.

      I mean wouldn’t these high ISO images surpass anything you could do with a D3X today? And, doesn’t it appear thus far that the D800 will probably out resolve and at least equal the dynamic range of the D3X? If true, Nikon has just made D3X grade image quality available/affordable to the masses.

      When I think about the D800 in those terms, and assuming all of the above is true, it really is a revolutionary move. Maybe less so for the worlds top professionals, but certainly for many lower end and/or aspiring professional photographers around the globe.

      Call me very excited about that prospect.

      • http://www.russbarnes.co.uk RussB

        +1 on all accounts. Did you read the interview with the designers of the D800? They said their objective was to surpass D3X image quality and aim for the medium format market, in a portable affordable body. I say they achieved their objective for the price point unbelievably well. I’m sure the D800 will become known as an infamous revolutionary product for years to come…

        • FM2Fan

          +1 The D3X is usable up to 800 ASA – beyond that you compromise quality a lot. The hidden quality is: very little to no postprocessing (unless you are in fashion …)

          • U r old

            lol saying ASA makes you old.

            • http://www.idahojimphotography.com IdahoJim

              No it probably just means he was already well educated in the art of photography before you were born. Respect experience dude! One day it might even teach you something.

      • Ren Kockwell

        Bingo, bingo, bingo. This explains both the uproar at the leaking of the initial specs, and the fanaticism occurring right now. People were waiting for the D700 replacement. It didn’t come—should’ve but didn’t—and Nikon has done a shit job explaining their roadmap, so they left it all up to conjecture. You can’t blame people for that. It’s not the camera they expected and it’s not a REALLY a D700 replacement.

        So here we sit, me and lots of others like me, waiting for a D700 with video and a little more resolution, and along comes the D800. OF COURSE, we would want the same ISO! We’re wanting a D700 replacement, not a D3X lite! Now Nikon throws in triple the resolution and a far cheaper price than the Mk III and I am sold. Better than I expected from a D700s, frankly. All I have to sacrifice is a little FPS speed. ISO performance of a D700 and IQ of a D3X? Count me in!

        I said it once, I will say it again. It’s the camera Canon would produce if it could.

        • D700

          Wait for the D400 if you want the new D700.

        • http://AdairCreativeGroup.com Ron Adair

          Nikon has done a **** job explaining their roadmap, so they left it all up to conjecture.

          How many different ways and in how many diverse languages must Nikon say it? The D800 is NOT the D700 replacement.

          They could say it six ways to Sunday, but I don’t guess it’ll make any difference.

          • RealityCheck

            They state that consumers should not think of the D800 as a ‘direct’ replacement. In business/marketing terms that means:: We have not specifically targeted the D800 as the replacement for the D700 at this time because we know that there are many Nikon users that do not care for the high mp count, and will never see it as anything but a limitation in some way.::

            However if Nikon is satisfied with the success of the D800, it will indeed be the end of the D700 line.

            • http://AdairCreativeGroup.com Ron Adair

              So you say.

              Though it would seem you’re ignoring the fact that MP count isn’t the only factor that’s not being addressed with the D800. Frame rate, for one, is a big factor for many in the D700 segment, and I doubt Nikon is planning to abandon the 6-8fps range just for kicks. High-ISO performance is also important to many, and I’m guessing Nikon wouldn’t mind capitalizing on the other 50% of the market that wants higher ISO ranges and at the same time smaller file-sizes.

              That’s just my 2¢. I’m taking Nikon at their word. I suppose I’m a heretic.

          • Ren Kockwell

            Jesus, Ron. Read what I wrote. You’re usually good about that.

            I am behind the D800, I understand it is not the D700 replacement, but that is new news. Up until a couple of weeks ago, EVERYONE was calling the D800 the D700 replacement. Based on their past history, the skip in upgrade to an ‘s’ model, the imminent release of the MkIII and the goofy model numbering system Nikon is currently employing, why wouldn’t we expect a D700 replacement?

            What I am saying is that you cannot blame people—crop sensor convert enthusiasts, pros who need to buy several cameras, directors who need to fulfill purchase requests—for wanting to know when the next model is coming out. And as a company, you can either manage that expectation, or leave the consumers twisting in the wind. With regard to the “tweener” FF body, Nikon has done the latter. So people are left to guess, and create their own expectations. And as a company, you lose control when you do that. Love or hate Canon, their roadmap is more obvious.

            I still believe Nikon should have made the D700 update a priority over this camera. But they didn’t, and I’d rather not wait another year. Initial indications seem to show that the D800 may exceed the D700 in many of the areas D700 fans would care about. If it did poorly in low-light, I would be hesitant. But it looks competitive with the D700 in most places except FPS. It’s a compelling body. So I am giving it a shot.

            • http://AdairCreativeGroup.com Ron Adair

              I’m sorry I criticized you. Please accept my apology. I do understand the confusion — I was upset too when the D800 was announced. But the initial samples and specs seemed to say one thing: the D800 is better than the D700 in every way but two: low files sizes and FX frame rates. I guess I’ve moved on, especially since hearing from Nikon that the D800 is an entirely new line of camera.

              Ok, so if we’re cool — Hear me out on this thought.

              I think Nikon made a brilliant move with the D800. Everyone is saying (post-Mark III release) that the D800 has too many pixels, and are citing Nikon’s past performance based on lower pixel count. It has been startlingly clear to me over the last week that they are misinterpreting the facts. In fact, and as many of us have been saying here for years, it’s not the number of pixels that matters so much as the quality of pixels.

              The market’s default position on this has been that less is more simply because Nikon always offered the best, cleanest pixels at lower counts than the competition, namely Canon. (Let’s consider the D3x as non-existent – fair or not – as most measurebators did based on its price). Examples always held up Nikon as the best and the lowest pixel count, thus the two were inseparably connected in people’s minds. It turns out that early evidence from this switch in strategy is proving those conclusions flawed or incomplete.

              Nikon could have introduced a 16mp FX camera, but they’d still be carrying that luggage of poor resolution performance. Instead, they knew they could produce a great camera with insane resolution, and that they could shut the competition down once and for all. They trumped Canon in the resolution department. And if it holds true that they trumped them in image quality (and the initial samples seem to indicate the answer is a resounding “YES!”, then Canon will finally be out of excuses.

              People may call my message childish, but I would argue it is not. It’s good for Nikon AND Canon (and all shooters who care about true image quality) if Canon is handed its lunch publicly as they’ve so deserved for years. They’ll fight harder to get back on top where it really matters by putting away the marketing BS and actually improve true IQ performance, and that in turn will push Nikon to improve as well. We’ll all subsequently benefit. In the words of a great poet, it’s a win-win-win. As you’ve said, by all accounts the D800 appears to be a worthy replacement for the D700, so it’s a net win for most photographers. For those who can’t be helped by the D800, there’s the D4 or the D700.

              If Nikon just bested the Canons in video features and quality too, well I suppose that’s just icing on the cake. ;)

            • Ren Kockwell

              I think we’re kind of on the same page here, Ron. I was a bit skeptical when the specs were leaked on this, but these “unscientific tests” have piqued my interest. I’m glad I pre-ordered. Nikon may have started out making the D700s and realized they could take a quantum leap and sacrifice very little.

              With the D700 competitor still unrevealed, they may drag more people into the $3K category with the D800. This could be a brilliant strategic move. Like I said, Canon would make this camera if they could. But they can’t.

              You know, moves like this really fly in the face of the whole “Secret Nikanon Cabal” conspiracy theories floating around the internets.

    • Cristian

      I don’t feel downscaling D800 or upscaling D700 are good ways to compare pictures of D800 with D700, since the resolution is too much different.
      It’s obvious that the downscaled D800 pictures seems better than D700, since you interpolate pixels and obtain an average image.
      What I’d love to see is a 100% size comparison: 12Mp for D700 and 36Mp for D800 to evaluate noise patterns at high iso.

      • faterikcartman

        Yes, it is obvious the D800 pictures are better. And this is a great comparison. I have zero interest in a pixel to pixel comparison. The comparison that matters is which creates the better image with the same lens, distance, light, and ISO setting, etc. Capture the same scene and you’ll get a better image with the D800. That doesn’t mean anyone’s D700 is suddenly worthless. The number of pixel peepers here completely losing sight of what matters — the ultimate image you’re going to print — is astounding to me.

        • Cristian

          I agree with you when you talk about the better image with the same settings. And is not my intention too to make a pixel to pixel comparison to demonstrate that D700 is worse, better or equal to D800, since they are too much different to make a good comparison.
          And it seems to me that if Nikon came out with D800 it can not be worse than the model is going to replace.
          I’d love to see a “real life” 100% high iso picture of D800 simply to evaluate the noise patterns and how they affect luminance and crominance channels

      • Fred

        You are the first to say that ! and that’s the only truth ! Thank you…

      • Michael

        Getting a D800 doesn’t mean you must print at a larger size. Pixel level comparison is not fair, it would give the lower resolution an advantage, a big advantage.

    • Andrew

      What is surprising is that with most products, the more you learn about them, the more you await the next iteration. With the D800, the more you learn about it, the more there is to like. I have to say – Nikon hit the target on this one!

      • http://AdairCreativeGroup.com Ron Adair

        +1 At first blush, the D800 looks like a disaster. Then, as details of both the camera itself and the competition emerge, it makes more and more sense. I thought the only way I would pick up the D800 would be as a second video shooter. After a few weeks, I’m ready to own it and use it regularly in my kit.

  • No no NO!!

    Arrrgh!

    Can’t anyone do this comparison the RIGHT way? You don’t scale down the D800 photos because then you’re going to be *averaging* neighboring pixels, which will mask both noise AND resolution!

    What you do is you scale UP the D700 pictures! That way you’re not throwing out any of the D800 info, you’re just *repeating* D700 pixel info.

    • O

      If you scale UP, you are not just repeating, you are creating new pixels that contain some value of neighboring pixels. Your example would be more accurate if you scaled 200% but not in this case. Each method has its own purpose.

      • no no no

        Ah yes, very good point; the D700′s picture size should be an even multiple of the D800′s to avoid pixel averaging.

        • Luke

          ROFL, I love how you were so sure of how it should be done, and then you dont even know hahahahah

    • gt

      calm down, pixel master. I can’t stand photographers like you. The thought you sitting at your computer yelling “no no NO!” makes me cringe.

      • no ^ 3

        Go away, simpleton. You’re not adding anything to the conversation.

        • gt

          I apologize for not joining the pixel peeping fest — I prefer to spend my time thinking about color, composition, and quality of light. Things no one seems to think about anymore — preferring instead to assume that ISO 12,800 actually means the light will look good

    • http://joelc.com.au Joel C

      Good point. But I think most real-life applications of the D800 will involved downscaling..

    • CoolWHip

      +1
      This is frustrating. Have any professionals that know what they’re doing made any tests yet?

    • John

      This is a good way to demonstrate how those bodies compete in the real world. For example my clients never view my pictures at 100% magnification. They view them on their computer screens, on the magazine or prints that are seldom are bigger than a normal poster.

      This is what matters in the real world. And as i expected, the D800 looks better scaled down to same size as the D700.

      • http://lluisgerard.com Lluis Gerard

        +1
        Thank you!

        Is more realistic to downscale the D800 than upscale D700.

        • Nonono^5

          What if you crop? Also, who wants to post process or scale down a 36 megapixel image to get good results? Don’t you want to be able to print larger? Where’s the whole reason you get a 36mpxl camera if you are just resizing?

          • Astrophotographer

            Simple, flexibility. Scale down when you need it. Full size when you need it. This camera provides incredible flexibility.

    • Ken Elliott

      The “right” way is to make prints. That’s where pixels get converted to money – thus it matters.

    • Dimitris Magarakis

      I have make this simple test. I will do any effort to be right. I had make the same comparison upsizing the D700 files x1,73. The result, as a comparizon between the files has not change at all. Same feeling of the difference between the cameras. I choose to publish the downsized D800 version instead of the upsized D700 cause the 1:1 crop then was smaller part of the image so it was not so obvious as image.

      Try not to see only the noise, but the general feel of the image. The most important to my eyes is that the D700 image is collapses more than the D800 image in high ISO

      But anyway, you have give me an idea. Next time I will do a similar comparison, I will upscale the small and downscale the large so both will meet at the geometrical middle. In this case upsize x1,31 the D700 file and downsize /1,31 (x0.76) the D800 file. Fair? In the mean time, take my word, the results you see reperesents almost accurately the difference :-)

      Sorry that my English are not so good, so I will propably will not be able to read all posts and answer to all. Thanks for the understanding.

      Diol

      • http://www.robertbromfield.com Robert Bromfield

        You did a great job. Don’t listen to the guys complaining, you will never please or convince them. Do you have the RAW files that you can upload?

        I look forward to more images.

        • Diol

          Yes I have the RAW files, but I had promise not to publish them as it was from a preproduction sample. For that reason I will not publish the entire image or the original RAW. I had make those duble images for my own comparison

          • Diol

            Sorry, I coninue from previous message:

            ….and I was impressed by the results, so I had publish the crops to share the experience. BTW, D700 and D800 are about equal compared for noise till about ISO1600. The differences became visible from ISO3200.

            Diol

      • sensor

        clearly the d700 is better than the d800. :)
        I appriciate the work you did. thank you

        • Luke

          clearly you looked at the wrong images. The D800 just laughed at the D700…

          • James

            I think he was joking hence the smily face as even Mr. Magoo could see the D800 is significantly better than the D700.

      • Alan

        You tested it in the right way, and thank you very much for doing so! This is the most believable test I’ve seen yet and greatly improves my confidence in this new camera! Nikon may have actually managed to both improve resolution and low light performance in one camera!

        I agree by the way that the overall image looks much improved at high ISO, even leaving noise aside. Much better dynamic range. That may be because the effect of the extra noise in the D700 image is to reduce overall contrast…

      • Frisco

        Aside from the high ISO comparisons, what were your other feelings about the D800? How did it handle? What did you like about the camera and what did you not like about the camera? Was there greater blur when hand holding shots?

        Thanks for all your work and posting the samples.

    • http://www.grassephoto.com Trent Grasse

      I am so tired of self proclaimed experts spouting nonsense. Noise Blur and such are visible relative to the image NOT to the Pixels. Downsampling does not remove relative noise from an image. This is why downsampling is not a technique for noise removal. The point you are making is silly and half baked

      • Carsten

        What is relative noise?

        Yes, you can downsampling to eliminate noise, it is just a bit more complicated than just downsampling the finished picture:
        1. Apply a lot of NR
        2. USM Sharpen with a wide radius + keep an an eye on masking
        3. downsize

        Try it yourself

    • http://molnarcs.500px.com Csaba Molnar

      This is the “right” way. Professional photographers are interested in how it performs in REAL life. Let’s face it, most of our images will be displayed on the web and in print. That means resizing (web: max 2 megapixels, print depends, but consider wedding albums or that 99% of prints will be downscaled). So this comparison is exactly what we want, and it’s as promising as it can get: at least 1 stop advantage over the d700. Impressive!

      • Andrew

        Impressive – no, very impressive! This level of ISO performance in a camera that has 3 times the MP of the D700 is stunning! I am speechless.

        This comparison gives me confidence that Nikon knew all along that they had bettered the D700′s ISO in the new D800, and yet they did not say anything about it. They played an April fool’s joke on us, knowing full well that they were going to exceed our expectation. And best of all, that they did this in a $3,000 camera that makes an $8,000 camera (D3x) obsolete is beyond words. They are repeating in the D800 what they did in the D7000. This is how a company preserves its brand, and this is the reason why Nikon is the #1 rated brand in all of photography.

    • Michael

      Sigh. You guys don’t understand… Only pixel peepers compare pictures at 100%. The right way is to compare them at the same size, because having a higher megapixel doesn’t mean you must print larger, it just allows you to do that.

      Read this – it’s written by the most reputable sensor testers online. http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Insights/Detailed-computation-of-DxOMark-Sensor-normalization

  • iamnomad

    Pre-production model and software, why waste your time?
    (Guess I’m wasting my time too, oh well).
    And I also agree with ‘No no NO!!’ these comparisons are apples and oranges.

    • Alan

      You do realize the only way to compare apples to apples is to compare the D700 to itself, right? Not a very useful comparison…

  • kede

    Nice it looks fine, now 100% crop :D

  • stormwatch

    OMG….to upscale D700 images in order to show both cameras in the fair comparison? For what, to add more noise and grain into the pictures? D800 destroys already fantastic D700 and that’s it canon fanboys…..

    • sahil

      We can all see who is a fanboy here. Everyone is looking at a comparison between two nikon cameras. No one said a word about canon. Grow up.

      • stormwatch

        Yes, I’m a fanboy and what? Just to remind you that it is not “nikon” but Nikon!

        • Zoom

          Just like it should be “Stormwatch” and not “stormwatch”? Nikonrumors could certainly do a better job with screening off the kids from this website.

  • M!

    Nice. As expected.
    Hey the banana boy from yesterday’s post that was very rude and think the d800 is the perfect camera for DX lens, you get 57% crop and a better D700.

    • baked bananas

      yep……i did say that yesterday……. and

      I

      AM

      RIGHT.

      You’re welcome.

      People who dwell upon the past like you usually are the ones who dipped mayonnaise and ate paint chips in the time out corner wearing a scarlet dunce cap during pre school recess. Do you remember those times? I do…. mmmmmmmm….fruit rollups are delicious!

      • baked bananas

        oops……… I’ve done it again….. at this time i PROMISE NEVER TO MAKE ANY SILLY RUDE COMMENTS AGAIN ON THIS BOARD.

        That in turn would put me on the much hated KEN ROCKWELLIAN LEVEL.

        I have no love for ken.

        You’re welcome.

  • FX DX

    Why is there “ICC D7000″ printed in the second line on all D800 image?

    • Sash

      Because you didn’t RTFM… :)
      Quote: “As ICC profile for D800 I have selected D7000 profile”

      • FX DX

        True. Most of these posts have too much garbage in them and I am always looking for TLDR version. Thanks though.

  • Daniel

    So it’s about as good as a D3s…

    • Joe

      Good point. For many real life applications I’d say yes! :)

    • D

      Yeah.

      As I’ve said before, the production D800 is going to smoke the D700.

    • http://molnarcs.500px.com Csaba Molnar

      Yup – almost. And yet, people are anal about how “unscientific” the test is. I guess most of these commenters are coach photographers. When it comes to real world application, what really matters is the output resolution. Which is 90% just around 2 megapixels. Only a small fraction of images got printed. How many people do large prints of their wedding photos? Or how often do you need large prints of indoor sports events. Today people upload their photos to facebook, share albums online, do slideshows of their wedding pics, display them in LCD frames… These pictures show that when resized, the d800 has a full stop advantage over the D3, which is pretty close to D3s performance.

  • http://www.samueljoubert.ca Sam the Joubster

    Nice! I thing it gives us a very good idea of the overall noise handling… We all know the D700 was very good, now it is only showing us that the D800 is even better… Keeping lots of details even at HIGH iso’s. I mean, jesus lord, even at 25600 it’s tolerable… Put it in black and white, a little noise reduction in Lightroom and a small sharpen in CS5 and your still in business! Can’t wait to receive mine! Admin, did you ordered one for yourself? Or your are more a D4 guy? Thank you

  • http://blog.dafyddowen.com Daf

    Thanks for this Admin – looking very optimistic, even if it is pre-production model – would only assume that production models would only be better.
    May well go for it.

  • blue2script

    To print a picture you scale it down to a resolution matching your print size. Therefore, in order to compare the quality of the print you get from the two cameras, this is the correct procedure. Personally, I am much more interested in the print quality than in the “pixel peeping” level.

  • Georges Pelpel

    Sounds like the D800 has at least a one stop advantage compared to the D700. May be the downscale process has something to do with it, not sure. One thing seems a certain now is that the D800 is at least as good, if not better, as the D700 at high ISO.

  • T.I.M

    I never shoot over ISO 800 but the D800 ISO 1600 look great !
    I may try up to ISO 1600 (when I’ll receive it….) !
    :)

  • Achim

    Looks to me as the D800 images cropped to D700 resolution is almost 1 stop better in ISO performance than the D700 in its native resolution. ISO 6400 from the D800 cropped image is acceptable where the D700 shows almost the same noise at ISO 3200. If this is true it will save me 3000 € from not buying a D4…

  • Damian Hadjinicolaou

    unless am blind i would not shoot above 1600 and on very rare occasions 3200…

    hmmm i would love to see the a D4 vs D3s iso comparison…

  • David

    The flickr shots looks great

    6400 is really nice actually

    12800 is where it starts to lose it

    25600 emergency mode only

    It’s good to see that Nikon haven’t been too crazy with their ISO range. It tops out exactly where it should. The final stop is for “oh shit” moments

    • chris

      +1

  • Lee

    No, you should’ve up-rezzed this photo! No you should’ve down-rezzed that photo! Blah blah blah.

    No, you should’ve used different focal lengths so the subject was about the same size in a 1:1 crop, no resizing.

  • http://micahmedia.com Micah

    It’s nice to see same for same, but until I see it run through my own workflow this is all academic. Imaging resource has some raw D4 shots up, but nobody has any D800 shots yet.

  • Aperazzo

    Folks, lets face it…

    When did Nikon last release a camera that was not (far) superior to the one it replaced?

    The D700 was is and will probably remain legendary so Nikon will have done a very good job here. Especially as they have to take on that new 5D thingie that Canon just announced.

    I guess I’m with Idahojim, Sam the Joubster and RussB here meaning that if I had the money lying around right now I’d have no hesitations at all…

    Just imagine owning a D4 for going to a concert or being “out on the street” and having a D800E for Studio or landscape.

    The thought alone…

    Being far from a Pro, the only con I have so far been able to spot is the size of the files that the D800 will be producing… 100MB for a single picture seems a lot…

    • http://friedfishstick.com flosse_r

      Actually its 75MB for uncompressed 14 bit NEF, a lossless compressed 14 bit RAW is like 45MB or something like that…
      big but nowhere near what the media made it sound

    • cosmic

      I’m not sure where you’re getting 100MB from. I have a D7000, and the RAW files max out at 20MB.

      I have some D800 NEFs on my computer, and they are around 50-70MB.

      I honestly think Nikon was overstating the 75-100MB files. At least they didn’t say it’d be around 35-50MB right?

      • neekone

        I believe the 100MB was referencing TIFF sizes.

  • Bullsnot

    Wow, D800 is better than D700 at high ISO. Did anyone actually expect Nikon to release a D800 that was WORSE at high ISO than the camera it was replacing? High ISO performance is one of the most critically judged categories of DSLR performance, and one in which the D700 was highly regarded.

    • fred

      I expected it to be on par with the D700, which is kind of what someone from Nikon said at a press conference. This is a pleasant surprise. It’s really too bad that the D800 doesn’t offer a downscaled quasi-raw mode of some kind, e.g. 16-bit TIFFs with highlight and shadow recovery cranked all the way up. As a dedicated raw shooter, this is the only thing stopping me from considering it a replacement for my D700.

    • Alan

      I did, mainly because it wasn’t replacing the D700. The open question for me was “how much worse?”. If this is right, the answer is “None more worse”, which would make me very happy indeed!

  • Psycho McCrazy

    Excellent comparison – very good sense of what the images would look like printed on paper at the same same size (this really matters), or re-sized to fit computer screens as wallpapers, photo-slideshows, flickr uploads, facebook uploads, or wherever you want to upload them.

    Clarification: I am also a pixel peeper when comparing camera performances, but when it comes to enjoying photos, I see the entire frame at one go – so both 12 and 36 megapixel images are down-sampled to fit my 1080p fullHD 24inch computer LCD (which is ~2MP)

  • Pedro Nicoli

    Dear NR guys…don’t waste our time with downsized comparisons tests…
    we all know that for absolutely most cases the images will be used or printed in lower resolution than the 36mp, BUT we all are 100% pixel freaks! we want to see full resolution! hehehehe

  • yo

    conclusion, the D800 bets the D700 in every respect except fps. wow. will we find a similar conclusion with the 5DmkIII and its low res 22MP sensor? a downsample to 22MP will mean the MKIII will have to work hard to retain its lead.

  • http://www.alldigi.com/ Geoff

    At high ISO the D800 looks better but at lower ISO 1600 or lower, t0 my eyes the D700 looks better. Perhaps my eyes are failing.

  • Gideon

    @Aperazzo if you are okay with losslessly compressed Raw, it goes down to around 41mb for 14bit, or 35mb for 12 bit. Still massive, but not quite as bad.

    I personally hope for SRAW coming as well, as I won’t be needing all that res, but will need Raw.

  • http://none Mark Stump

    OMG the D800 is fantastic!

  • http://www.dimalozz.ho.ua dimalozz

    I use D700 and I know how it looks at ISO3200 and 6400 very well, so I think the comparison is a fake.
    If this is real — then I love D800 and I will take one body later.

    • neekone

      There is no noise reduction on theses files. Under most shooting circumstance, there is some noise reduction applied. Unless you intentionally don’t use noise reduction, then you may have a skewed view.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielfisherphotography Daniel Fisher

    I wish people would stop mentioning D800 and medium format in the same sentence. It’s ridiculous, unless the sentence is “the D800 image quality is NO WHERE EVEN CLOSE to that of even the entry level Medium Format systems”

    This is getting stupid.

    Yeah, the D800 looks like a REALLY good 35mm system. It’s not medium format quality – and it never will be.

    • fred

      Having scanned lots of 135 and 645 film, the D800E samples from Nikon look like 645 to me.

      • Gavlister

        Hi Fred

        I’m surprised you say this. Medium format has a very different look to me which is why I still shoot medium format film for personal use. Are you talking about image quality, resolution or just the look?

        • Gavlister

          anyway…off topic. My apologies :-)

    • Gavlister

      Hi Daniel

      depends what you are looking for. The resolution IS getting close to medium format, but using medium and even large format photography is more than just resolution.

      I think it will make a sizeable dent in the MF market due to the price and usability. For the high end market the look and quality of medium format will still win out.

  • http://none Mark Stump

    OMG the D800 is fantastic!

    PS This is the correct way to compare how a large print from each camera will look on my wall [except maybe it ought to be beautiful mountains :) ]

    Thanks for the comparison!

  • http://www.morganfoto.nl Brian Morgan

    Gentleman
    It is not the camera or the pixels that make a great photo it,s the one making the photo that makes the difference…..
    great shots have been made with camera,s with 500.000 pixels pixels make a photo easier to crop but still the composition makes a great photo…..

    • Sleeper

      Yawn… Why hasn’t someone put this broken recorder in the trash can.

      *throws out the window*

      • IndyGeoff

        Amen on tossing this old line out the window. I’m betting any that said this do not shoot with a 4MP camera.

  • Camaman

    Well say what you will but for THIS TYPE of comparison D800 looks clearly ahead.
    Even at 1600 D700 shows some “hot pixel type” (color) noise. D800 handles that much better in these samples.
    But who is actually surprised by that. Who didn’t expect it to be better than the old workhorse…?

  • Andreas

    Seems like the D800 fares pretty well indeed. Almost makes we wonder why they didn’t include a Hi3 and Hi4 ISO (51.2k and 102.4k) like the Canon 5D Mk3 apparently has :)

    Ignorant question: I assume that at the highest ISO’s it’s really just a digital multiplication of the sensor signal at an underlying lower ISO value, “forcing” the ligth meter to underexpose. Does this mean that higher “ISO’s” can be achieved by deliberately underexposing and correcting exposure in post, so that a Hi2 (25600) shot underexposed 1stop would be equivalent to a 51200 shot after correcting exposure in post? Not sure I would ever need this, just wondering how it works :)

    • wublili

      That’s basically how it works.

  • Keith

    Why are we not comparing it to the D3x in terms of resolution that is the closest.

    • neekone

      Because most people still consider it wrongly to be the D700 replacement. Although for all tactical reasons, it currently is the D700 replacement, much like the D7000 and the D90. Once we realize we weren’t given a new D700, we may start going somewhere.

    • Sandy

      I would guess because they gentleman nice enough to share these had a D700 and not a D3X.

  • EnPassant

    Thank you for the nice test! It confirms what I already expected, D800 having better IQ than D700 at every ISO.
    Now we ar only waiting for all the four new full frame cameras, Nikon D4, D800 and Canon 1DX, 5DIII being available and compared to each other!

  • SiliconVoid

    As an owner of the D700 I can tell you that those are horrible shots. Not in that the performance of the D700 is horrible by comparison, but just poorly shot, poorly metered, quite possibly just poor technique. I don’t know what this person did while holding the D700 but it wasn’t what they should have been doing. The D700 provides better than this on a regular bases.

    That aside, the performance of the D800 is impressive. Downsampling as many have suspected appears to provide better than expected results and comparable to most any other camera. Still leaves the logic of buying something you have to downsample to get benefiting performance from.. O.o

    Hope general all-purpose hand-held shooting fairs as well on the average in lower lighting scenarios.

    • Alan

      He did mention it’s a crop from the far left of the image, so it’s not the best part of the frame… I don’t know if that accounts for the quality issue you’re seeing.

    • J

      Couldn’t agree more!

    • SiliconVoid

      I did see his description, and do certainly expect some degradation of image quality at the extremes of the image. Just shocked at his results when my D700 and many others I have seen produce better results. Perhaps he needs to have his serviced.

      Still great range from D800.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MarkWhitePhotographyProductions Mark

    Wow. I’m really shocked. These D800 images look amazing, especially considering how well the D700 already does. The D800 looks better than the D700 on every single test. If nothing else, it shows you can get the same shots out of the D800 that you would have on the D700, even at 100%, and get better ISO performance. So, while the D800 samples are only 57% crops, picture-by-picture, the D800 high-ISO samples are all better than the D700. Beautiful. I can’t wait! :D

    Mark

    • http://www.facebook.com/MarkWhitePhotographyProductions Mark

      Not to mention, the resolution in the D800 is phenomenal. :)

  • Read Me

    When was the last time anyone here asolutely had to shoot at 12800 or 25600 ISO?

    • Mark

      Good point! All the gear-head nerds bloviating here will probably never be shooting over 1600 at most anyway.

      Assuming they ever do any photography in the first place.

      • ISOheads

        I’m sure these ISOheads will come up with an indoors dim light high action scenario where they absolutely MUST use ISO 25600.
        It’s what gives them that great pleasure, knowing that their photos will come out just right!

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jan_f_rasmussen/sets/ Jan F. Rasmussen

          No, I never shot over ISO 1600, and normally not over 400, but that does not mean I would not love too, or have greatly enhanced possibilities, if I cold (I really can not as I have only a D200). But why is it vrong, to wih to do things, that were unfeasible before?

          There were many things that you could not do before, or maybe only with fast, grainy b/w films. Why is it silly to wish for better low light performance? For me it would be to be able to shoot birds and insects in the dark forest floor of a rain forest with good colours, low noise, good sharpness and reasonable depth of field.
          For the birds settings could be like 1/1000 or better and f/11. This requires some good low iso performance…

  • ericnl

    is it just me, or does it look like the D700 photos are over-exposing slightly more with each shot?

    of course any digital noise (especially in the “dark” parts) will show up more…

  • J

    If you own and use a D700, you will look at the images from ISO3200 and above in this comparison and realize this is not how the D700 performs at these ISOs. The color noise is a dead give-away here and there should be much more detail retention. If your D700 produces images like the ones here at high ISO, you should get it checked out by Nikon immediately!

    There is no doubt that the D800 will be a great camera (ordering one myself), in fact the ISO will be better if you downsample the D800 images, I just feel like some are deliberately making the D700 look bad here. I say wait for DXOmark’s test before we pass any sort of judgement.

    • catinhat

      +1

      Please check d700 high ISO samples at http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM
      (It doesn’t look too bad next to d4 by the way). I look forward to seeing d800 samples on that site. At least, whoever does it, tries to be careful and consistent.

      • Crimed

        Looking at the comparisons in the subject of this post it looks as if the D800 has somewhere from a 1-2 stop advantage over the D700 at higher ISOs. At imaging resource (above link) it appeared that the d4 also has a 1-2 stop advantage over the d700 in the in the same range except you can crank the D4 up to ridiculous unusable levels. Does this imply that the D800 = D4 except for the ability to amp the D4 up beyond all reason?

  • http://cwmcgowen.aminus3.com C.W. McGowen

    I agree with Mark, this is how to compare how a large print will appear on my wall when created with each of these cameras. The D800 is the clear winner from a noise and resolution standpoint. It stays very useful up to 3200 ASA after that, I think we would need all wish for the D4.

    There is another thing to look for here, and that is dynamic range. From these shots, it appears to me that the D700 is the winner. Take a look at the leaves, comparing color leaf to leaf. The D700 provides a greater range of greens from yellowish to dark green than does the D800. I also see a brighter yellow in the bicycle fork and more red in the bicycle frame in the D700 shots.

    • bratvlad

      Finally someone said something about color. I see much better color on D700 images.

  • Alan

    This is the right test methodology for people who wanted a D700s. If what you want was low noise images at 12 or 16MP, you downsample the 36MP images to the size you want and compare it to what you would have gotten with the previous generation. How does the new camera compare to the old camera at the size you’re used to working at? Is it better? You win.

    You upscale if you wanted a D700x. If what you want to compare is detail, you scale the smaller image up and see how much additional detail is really visible in the larger image. It’s possible that those pixels aren’t resolving as much information as we hope they are. How much better is the new camera than the old camera at the sizes the new camera claims to be able to reproduce? Is it better? You win.

    If this test is correct, what we’re seeing is that the people who wanted a D700s got what they wanted. If someone does the upscaling test we can also see if the people who wanted a D700x got what they wanted as well. Personally I think we can take that as a given, but tests are nice for people who like living in a well quantified world.

    This is the most believable I’ve seen yet, but it’s still just a matter of faith until we see results from a trusted source.

    • cosmic

      People are idiots.

      Once resized to 12mp, you get ISO performance that is near-D3s level. I’m not sure how you can spin that into a negative.

      The only thing people can complain about is the file size, omg! The pictures are 60MB! My $100 1TB harddrive can only handle 1800 pictures! That’s what I take in one day!

      • Andreas

        Your missing a factor of 10, so your 1TB drive should be good for about 10 days of shooting, not 1 :)

  • Roeder

    That poor old Judy SL fork. Shoved into the bushes and forgotten…

  • http://www.pbase.com/bjramsay BJ

    Soo what does DxO really rave about with the D700 and D7000? Extreme dynamic range at min ISO, so give me a good tripod iso100 and 36mp of high resolution landscape detail and I’m in heaven!!! Yes we can get usable images at ISOs film guys NEVER dreamed about but the real sweat spot is in the incredible dynamic range and response at low iso. Had to put my two cents in.

  • Twaddler Belafonte

    Impressive!

  • Pat

    This is UNBELIEVABLE how many idiots, hardware masturbators are here and there.
    D800 beats this crappy and old D700 cam and how many more photos you need to notice this fact?!!!

    D800 has 36 mp = GREAT! MORE DETAIL AND BETTER ISO SENSITIVITY! BINGO!
    D700 = lame 12 mpix and worse iso sensitivity than D800.

    EAT THIS! YOU NASTY TROLL, YOU FOOL!!!

    • fred

      “crappy and old D700″ = you are the troll

  • Hero

    Clearly the D800 produces shaper and clearner image with better colour tonality then the D700 at any ISO. Not to mention the extra clarity in details.

    People whinge about not comparing at a pixel to pixel level and i think its totaly stupid as we look at the final image as a whole, not looking at the image at a per pixel level. The final images says D800 is the clear winner!

    I am in heaven. Can’t wait for the test results to see how it crushedt he canon 5D3 and the 1dx. Would also want to see how it comepares to the D4 and the old IQ king D3x.

    • RealityCheck

      Why do you care whether the D800 is better than the 5DmkIII, or the other way around. If you shoot Nikon, and like Nikon, then the D800 will be your camera. If it is important to you that you have the best rated camera, or the worst rated camera, you have no real interest in photography. When used properly just about any DSLR still in production makes great images. The impact an image has is the result of the photographer – not the camera.

  • ricky davis

    I just can’t understand the continuing negative criticism on D800. Clearly Nikon (and other manufacturers as well) can’t satisfy everybody. So, if you think D800 is right for you, buy it. If not, go buy other Nikon D. If you think Nikon currently does not and in the future will not produce the right camera for you then convert to C—-n, O—y or S—y. It’s like getting married. You think she’s right for you, you marry her. You still have questions about her, you postpone marrying her. If you think she is not for you, go find another girl! It’s that simple. But the most important thing is, stop whinnying about D800.

  • Worminator

    Nice try but… no. For the simple reason is that QE is electrons out to photons in. Noise and noise reduction don’t come into play.

    Either you are interested in the pixel quality, in which case you examine 100% crops and make the best of it the fact that magnification is quite different, or you are interested in the image quality at a certain image size, and resize one or both data sets to one or several new resolutions for comparison.

    I favor the latter, I think it’s the fairest and most useful method.

    It’s fairly clear by now that very little if anything is being lost at high ISO for tripling the pixel count, while giving more latitute at low ISO for cropping or large prints. Win-win.

    • fred

      “QE is electrons out to photons in”

      If that were true, the D3x and A900 would have identical image quality.

      • fred

        Sorry, misread “QE” as “IQ” — at this too long…

  • http://www.bennettphotography.com.au James

    Would love some input for this. My income is 80% weddings 20% agencies. With agency work the added detail of the d800 is enviable as I’ve shot billboards and large glossies in the past. However as weddings are my cash cow I’ve pre ordered a d4. My 2x d700s are ageing – seals are falling off left right and centre and combined the’ve shot over half a million images.

    This latest post has me a bit worried about my pre order. I’m thinking now I should cancel the D4 order and get 2x d800s. I rarely shoot over 3200 as I use fill flash to supplement higher ISOs. I remember reading somewhere nikon mentioning that they recommend shooting at medium (22mp?) on the d800 and saving the large mode (36mp) for big prints.

    The ISO performance of the D800 is making me think that it could really do quite nicely at weddings. I’ve never really needed a lot of megapixels for weddings – the d700s have been fine – and when I do need the extra megapixels for studio work with the agencies the 36mp would be an awesome ace up my sleeve.

    After looking at the D4 samples on dpreview my conclusion is this. The d4 ISO is not as amazing as I was expecting, and the d800 ISO is surpassing my expectations. Who would have thought. What do you guys reckon?

    • Crimed

      Looks like the high ISO performance of D800 and D4 are the same – you can just extend the D4′s range further into unusableness. Seems like the D4 is all about frame rate and connectivity and smaller file size for journalists but no actual quality advantage.

  • Back to top