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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.
  • F64 Photo

    Why not just make 9 x 13.5 prints from each camera with the same lens and same ISO speeds, at native resolution and compare them. That is what you would do normally anyway. Why include another variable such as software manipulation into the equation? If this isn’t stringent enough, enlarge both prints equally.

    If you MUST resample, print them both at 300/360 PPI, and see what things look like.

    • BOZO

      At least you have some real and fair comparison on the web.

      It’s very clear the D800 has the edge. more details every time at any ISO.

      For the people out there who’s complaining about pixel density. I think you should be more open to new possibilities.

      I know that’s next. The 4fps.

  • stve

    Had the D800 in my hands today at Focus on Imaging, I only had the camera for a minute they only have the one .
    I set it to jpeg large fine & noise reduction to high & took a couple of shots at ISO 6400 & 25600 of a Nikon guys face that was mainly brightly lit & with his nose in shadow.
    zooming in there was plenty of detail & not much sign of noise it was hard to tell them apart.

  • Bob from Ohio

    Why can’t we have simple intellegent comments?

    Like..

    “WOW, the D800 looks really good to me at high ISO’s!”

    or…

    “That looks impressive. I never expected the D800 to beat the D700 that badly at ISO 25600!”

    Why all this stupid arguing over a few shots that are intended to show a very unscientific, but still highly useful comparison of two very good cameras?

    Just remember, it takes much less brains and far less character to criticize and argue, than it does to say something supportive and nice.

    Just my two cents.

    Bob from Ohio

    • Emanuel Papamanolis

      Love your style Bob….that’s exactly what I think!!!!

      • PHB

        It really is idiotic the way that some folk bleat on about the ‘poor ISO performance’ of a camera that is taking pictures that can stand a 100% crop at ISO 25600.

        That is eight stops faster than we used to use in the days of slide film, ten if you used Kodachrome 25.

        I don’t have a flash on my Nikon V1 yet and I really don’t miss it. The V1 has a much smaller pixel pitch than my D300 but it is delivering better low light performance.

        If the D800 was made with the same sensor technology as the D800, it should beat it on low noise performance. I don’t expect it to do so because I expect the D4 will be introducing a whole new generation of sensor tech and that when we eventually get a D4x with a refinement of the D800 sensor, it will be better again.

        If I hadn’t bought a rotary evaporator this month I would probably buy a D800. But however good the D800 is, you can’t eat it or cook with it.

        • Gary

          of course the d800 was made with the same sensor technology as the D800.. lol

          • Discontinued

            I doubt that.

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

      +1 Bob from Ohio

      Because many of the commentors on the site forget they are at NikonRumors, not NikonWhiners…

      And I agree, I am pleasantly surprised at the high ISO results.

      I LOVE my D700s (L.O.V.E.) and I like my D7000 a lot.

      but the samples I’ve been seeing of the D800 made me glad I pre-ordered.

      It won’t be the hi ISO of the D4, but since I wanted the D800 for its ability to make very large detailed prints; I’m happy that the high ISOs aren’t completely out of the picture…

    • Christian Coombes

      Well said Bob. The glass is always half empty for some people but your is half full. The D800 is going to be a great camera and I never expected it to be better than the D700 in the high ISO department, so this is just another plus.

    • Adam

      Well said Bob, as long as the high ISO is equivalent or better then the D700, I’m sold. Not to mention that this camera has 3x more resolution then the D700, so it’s pretty remarkable what Nikon managed to do.

      I know some would want a D4 like high ISO but it kinda make sense that Nikon would not repeat the whole D700 and D3 again cause I’m pretty sure D700 ate quite a chunk of D3 sales.

    • BOZO

      Even if the D800 was meant for studio and landscape photography, it outperforms the D700 in low light ISO and it will murder it in studio photography, which is normal when comparing a new product with another one that is 4 years old or more.

      I still think that Nikon should release another entry pro body which should fill the gap between the D4 and a D400 or whatever it might be.

      I like the D800, but I think I will have to try it first before buying it.

    • Ralph

      Actually I’m not sure why anyone bothers to compare the D800 to the D700 at all. The most obvious comparison for me would be to compare high ISO performance to ISO 100 for the D800 alone. Shooting landscape though, I really don’t care, it’s going to be awesome.

    • Roberto

      +1

    • RoyL

      You know that many people are anxious about this because they might have recently invested in the D700. Nikon kept everything so close to the vest that no one seemed to have a clue about what was coming. And that might have something to do with all the negativity. I’m one of the people who loves what I get from my D700, so I can’t let it go. But I want to shoot one of the new cameras as well, the D800E, and it ain’t cheap.
      For those people who wanted to sell their D700 to help pay for a D800, Nikon yanked the rug out by devaluing the camera so much. That would PO a lot of people. It angers me, even though I am not selling mine at any price. A $300 drop should have been plenty, but apparently Nikon wants to dump all the backlog of parts quickly. Not good.
      So you get a lot of negative remarks about the D800. Me, I think it is going to be a great camera. But I do believe that I will still get better photos from my D700 in some cases. It is impossible to display all the different circumstances that produce noisy low light images, so I will have to see for myself what the difference might be. As a hobby camera the D800E should be as much fun as a V1, and that’s all I need to know. Still it is great that someone takes the time to provide images for all of us to see and discuss, so kudos to the author.

      • Larry R

        Not sure what you are talking about since Nikon says they are not discontinuing the D700 and that the D800 is its own camera and not a successor.

        • RoyL

          Larry, I don’t believe Nikon. The price drop is so great it can only mean they want to unload what they have. The new D400 will be here soon and might even be FX. Either way, I doubt they want the D700 around at $2000 street price to siphon off sales of the new camera. If they had dropped the D700 to $2399 or $2499 I would more likely believe they intend to keep ordering more parts for production. Or even if they had set a hard minimum of $2199.

          • can1uk

            Its true, D700’s have been hard to come by new for a while, production will switch to cranking out D800’s and the D700 will go the way of the Dodo pretty soon. If you want one new buy it now or be happy with 2nd hand and save 1k vs the D800

  • 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.

    • RoyL

      +1
      Great questions. I would be interested in a reply, so I hope you get one.

  • AXV

    So this camera is better than any other camera from the previous generation (D3, D3x, D700) except where it doesn’t matter: FPS.
    I’m so glad I preordered one on launch day!

    Now where can I order a 200 f/2 to see nikon’s power to the max?

  • http://assuredphotos.com Roger Martin

    This is a much better comparison (for my use).
    All the D700 images in an earlier one were blurred.

    I sure hope my images look that good at 25600.
    How much and what kind of post processing were done?

  • Frisco

    Diol,

    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.

  • Francisco

    I am so glad I put money on the D800 A YEAR AGO. (I am No 1 on the waiting list at a local store) I love my d7000 but everything I have seen or read about it makes me feel great about my new canera to be.
    I do not understand those who complain about what it is not. It is what it is and looks like a GREAT camera.

  • http://iphoto.blog.163.com/ Bob

    it’s no surprise.
    if the image captured by D800 is re-sized to the same as D700 one, the image quality must be better than D700.

  • randyk

    I am impressed, never expected this. I would love to see how the D800 stacks up against the D3S and the D4. This could be quite the camera.

  • Classic Beast

    It seems to me this camera is targeted at a new market segment not mainly to convert existing D700 users but to add to the Nikon customer base. I have a D700 but have put in my Pre order for the D800 as I did have an interest in the D3X. From what I have seen and read I am quite excited about the D800

    • http://allengraphy.wordpress.com allen23

      Looking at the specs and samples this camera will be the D3X back up, it is just like some event/wedding pros uses d700 as their d3s back up.

      I shoot a lot of lanscaps and studio portraits and I think this camera enables me to get results close to those medium format $120K cameras. It is worth every cent you spend if you compare its price with D700 and features.

    • PHB

      I think it is aimed at the D300 and D90 crowd who want a full professional camera but without the weight of the D4 and have a large collection of DX lenses they do not want to replace. I can’t see any point in replacing my 10.5 DX fisheye for example.

      The upgrade is still rather pricey, I would have to spend $6K to get a D800 and a 14-24mm zoom. I might get $2K back selling the D300 and the 10-28 on EBay. But thats still a $4K investment just for the two must-get components.

      • Anonymous Maximus

        Since only occasionally in need for ultra-wide, I have no intention to sell the 10-24mm left from D300 era. I’ll indeed use it on D800 at 1.5.x crop between 10-15mm & 1.2x crop between 15mm-24mm.

        14-24mm FX is too expensive & bulky; it’s only worth buying if you use it often & your photography relies on ultra-wide.

  • AG

    I think D700 is not the right one to be compared to the D800. It should be the D3x instead, due to its high (24 megpixel sensor) pixel count. In Popular Photography, D3x is considered the king among this Pro Dslr, nikon or Canon because of excellent picture quality color and contrast so and so. It is really never fair to compare D700 to D 800 at all. besides 12 meg can never come close to 36 meg sensor when it comes to the pixel count. I see no point at all between the comparison between D 800 and D 700. Anyway It’s good to see the image comparison to between D800 and D700 taken at different Iso. It is educational it give one an idea just how good this D800 is. However, it really would be very interisting to see the image from D3x compared to D800. If the images happen to be of equal in quality, then at 3000 dollars D800 is a great buy no doubt ! It’s a dream come true.

    • mkln

      Honestly, why wouldn’t we want comparisons with D700?
      If you don’t care about comparisons then don’t post comments.

      And btw, what makes D700 v D800 pointless? the resolution?
      So we shouldn’t even be comparing D3x with D800, one is pro, the other semipro; one is 24mp, the other is 36; one has integrated grip, the other doesnt.

      It’s just the way it is, people compare to have better judgement.
      I’ve seen comparisons of mirrorless vs leica M9, compacts and large sensor compacts, mirrorless and DSLRs, sony SLTs and standard SLRs… I mean, they are all different, what’s the problem with that? They ALL take pictures and that’s what makes ALL those comparisons fair.

      Of course I would agree that comparing the D800 to a food processor isn’t fair.
      D800 vs D700? Lol they’re one the evolution of the other. It’s like the most natural comparison that you can currently run. LOL.

  • neversink

    YES!!! If these are true comparisons then the D800 is my baby. With a D4 in one hand, and a D800 in the other, I am ready for the showdown at the ISO corral…..

    Listen everyone…. STOP WHINING….. Just wait until you get your hands on one and then you will know…. And the truth shall set you free…..

    OH YEAH< BABY

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

    Would be sweet to see an image that had been shot at medium (22mp?) on a d800 to see how the camera handles downsizing in camera.

  • Chase

    I’m pretty impressed. The colors stay pretty much the same through the whole ISO range (the 25600 in the flickr set has a slight green cast, but that’s due to the LCD in the background changing). At web and smaller print sizes, even the HI settings look usable to me. The thing I like about Nikon is that their FF luma noise is a lot more similar in appearance to film grain than Canon’s sensors. That’s a huge plus for video and B&W stills. I do not regret ordering a D800 in the least.

  • RWJ

    Whooo!

    So happy about my pre order right now.

  • kathrine

    Why would you compare 12MP to 36MP? Down-sampling will obviously hide any noise! Plus credit should be given to the D700 since apart from the obvious GRAIN, it seems sharper and with more micro detail. The D800 seems to have noise reduction applied!

    • Frank

      Micro detail? What? lmao you obviously are just envious, and most likely can not afford the upgrade. This may seem like I’m being a dick but I’m just putting out my observation of your comment.

      • Jordan

        Grow up buddy… This guys making a just comment, then you make some stupid comment about being able to afford a mid level pro Nikon, like be real, it’s a cheap 3000 dollar camera you want a prize because mommy and daddy gave you a loan to buy a d800. Who cares about a body that will be out of date in 3 years, spend your money on pro glass and get 15-20 years out of your investment.

        • Wilson

          I’m 17 and I can’t believe how immature people on this site are.. 90% of the people on here don’t make valid points,they just come here troll other people’s comments.. Can we all just get along!?

          I’m getting a D800 and can’t wait, appreciate all of these comparisons keep it up

          • Dr Motmot

            Can’t we all just get a bong?

        • Can1UK

          Ummmmmmm pro glass, now your talking. Cant wait to see what D800 shots look like with my old 80-200 2.8 and 35-70 2.8 hope their up to the challenge. Please non one slap an 18-55 DX on this body that would be a travesty!

    • Michael

      Dude. A fair comparison would be both camera at the same resolution. Stop trolling and being an idiot.

      • Mayolo

        Micheal, are you seriously using that as your defense?? “a fair comparison would be BOTH cameras at the same resolution” he says! So do you mean shouldn’t compare the the D4 to the outgoing model??? How does that even make sense or sound right?

  • http://Www.csprophoto.com Torn

    I agree, I’m having the same issues. I shoot volleyball as well, sometimes at ISO 5k and F2.8 to get my shutter speed to 1/640th. Currently I’m using a D7000 and it does well but I lose too much detail after NR in post. This is why I have the D4 on order as the D800 is too slow at 4 fps.

    I was hoping for this camera and am impressed with the ISO performance but I need more fps. Thank you to the OP for the samples. I will be ordering this camera as well for my nature and landscapes.

    Can’t wait to put my FX glass to work where it was ment to be.

    • Mike

      I am leaning towards getting the D4 for shooting volleyball indoors. If the D800 performs this well with high ISO at 36 MP the D4 at 16 MP should be noise free at 6400! The higher frame rate would also be nice. The fall back is to upgrade to the D3s which is $800 less.

  • RondoX

    I just don’t understand why everyone is so surprised that the D800 outperforms the D700… I always thought it was commonsense.

    Throughout all of Nikon digital history hasn’t every series of cameras been made obsolete by the next generation?

    D1 series, D2 series, and now the D3 series.

    All made obsolete by the 4 generation of Nikon digital technology.

  • Frank

    Damn, amazing high ISO! Triple the resolution and at least a full stop better ISO performance. Insane! Absolutely insane Nikon!

  • John

    Wow – the effect on sharpness due to down-sampling the D800 is quite evident in these images (to me at least). Nice.

  • Bryan

    Well to me, if we compare 100% crop, D700 is clearly a winner.

    • http://www.modifiedphotographics.com Jason

      If you’re a pixel peeper.

      A 100% crop on the D800 versus the D700 wouldn’t be comparable because the resolution is that much different, thus the crop will be different.

      Regardless, when printed or viewed on-screen at a normal size, you will still come out ahead with the D800 due to the shear number of pixels being that much greater thus showing more detail and “less” noise as the pixels representing “noise” will be smaller.

      Likewise if you use noise reduction to clean up the image. Since you have 3x the resolution, you are less likely to “smear” all of the detail when viewed at the same size from the same distance.

      No matter how we do these comparisons on-screen, it makes no difference at all when printed. The image with greater resolution will have greater detail, always…

    • DMc

      If we choose to only look at pixel-level noise and ignore the loss of detail then, maybe it is better. It isn’t possible to tell from the photos above. I’ll take more detail and throw away what I don’t need. The D800 down-resolved to the D700 resolution beats the D700 in its own ball field.

      If the extra file size is too large for your tastes then you face a wholesale sell-off of D700 at bargain prices. The D700 isn’t bad. The D800, in my opinion, is looking better for my needs. Noise at the pixel level isn’t my major concern for the camera. For me the D800 is all about detail.

  • Charles Akers

    Well … this was the last straw. I just pulled the trigger and ordered a D800 from AAFES. Depending on how the D800 works out I may continue to use my D3s (I like the 9 fps) but my 2 D300’s are going to the kids.

  • CaryTheLabelGuy [NR]

    Looks like the D800 is very close to D3s in terms of high-ISO IQ, especially when down-sampled to 12mp. I’m actually not surprised by this. I also expect the D800 to give the D4 a serious run for it’s money as well, since the D3s has slightly cleaner RAW files from the comparisons I’ve seen on DPReview. I’m very excited to get our copies of the D800, D800E and D4 for comparison. As most of you know, my findings will be published on NR, so stay tuned. This is going to be very interesting.

    • Eduardo B.

      Cary, I saw your SB-910 test. I would like to know if you think the new speedlight can handle better massive usage with the thermal cut-off disabled. I wanted to know if you fire both with the thermal control disabled wich one is going to beep first. Did you try that?
      thanks.

      • http://thejordancollective.com/ CaryTheLabelGuy [NR]

        As far as I know, the SB-910 doesn’t have the ability to shut-off it’s over-heat protection. What the SB-910 does once it reaches a high operating temperature is slow recycle time, which effectively lowers power in a fast-paced shooting environment where the flash isn’t able to fully recycle. This is what keeps the flash cooler than the SB-900. As far as I know, there are very few instances of people frying their SB-900 by disabling over-heat protection, as long as you do t abuse the flashgun. But, there some people that have fried the SB-900 head, so be careful if you do decide to disable this feature in the SB-900.

  • Mikael

    Well I caved in to. Yesterday I ordered a D800. What can I say. The camera really is from what Ive seen so far, amazing.

    A swedish car commercial from the fiftees wrote: You can choose any color you like, as long as you choose black. Well lucky me. Thats also my favorit color on a camera……

    • http://nwons.com Nick W

      That was actually a quote from Henry Ford. That’s the only colour his cars came in. ;)

    • Tiger1050Rider

      In the 1950’s, there was a Swedish Car company that painted its cars in only one colour.
      The colour was green (darkish)
      The company was Saab.

      I can remember my Swedich Uncle buying his first car when I was staying with him in Aug 1956. It was a Saab. It was green.

  • battousai

    about 1.5 stops difference @ 12mp resolution. As good as the d3s performance. That’s quite interesting… hmmmm…

  • http://anoopvalluthadam.info Anoop

    Hi

    I have a doubt. I heard that pixel size has a good role in image quality. So larger pixel size will help in low light conditions. Here D700 has 71 Microns and D800 has 23 Microns. By theoretically D700 should perform well in low light conditions. But here it got more noise in low light. So what is that. Then what is the advantage of large pixel size.

    • Michael

      Larger pixels have no advantage other than dynamic range if there is no gaps between the photosites. But there are gaps between therefore, larger pixels have slight advantage. But with microlenses, the loss of light is significantly reduced.

      • http://anoopvalluthadam.info Anoop

        Thank you

      • DMc

        Pixel size conversations assume the same technology exists behind the pixel. The D700 was announced in 2008; the D800 in 2012. Four years technological advancement has more effect than the pixel size.

        Your analysis should hold true between the D800 and D4. Other variables may have an effect like the micro lenses Michael discussed above.

        I expect the D4 and D800 to have similar noise when the D800 is down-resolved to D4 resolution.

  • Hero

    Nikon has discovered that to get better high ISO performance than D700 at 12MP you need 36MP.

    Thats Nikon’s best response to the D700 user. Ha ha ha.

    Actually they are from different era so you can’t compare the pixel size technology directly. Just like for example you can”t compare a 2012 2litre engine with a 1982 5liter engine and say how come the 2 litre enegine still makes more power with better fuel efficiency.

    In digital world each years is worth 10 of normal years.

  • Michael

    Imagine it being noise-reduced by Topaz Denoise!

    • http://www.wildbirdy.com looon

      +1 Love Topaz!

    • CaryTheLabelGuy [NR]

      I frequently use Topaz DeNoise. It’s my favorite Noise Reduction tool, by far.

    • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

      Lightroom’s noise reduction since LR3 has been fantastic and is good enough for 95% of my needs…

      …but Topaz cannot be beat when you need some serious lifting.

  • http://www.modifiedphotographics.com Jason

    Regardless of the camera… I see a CLEAR WINNER here! Photographers who use Nikon!

    F the haters!

    • Giovanni

      LOL YES ! ! ! Nikon All the way !

  • SNRatio

    I think this may give a hint why there never was a D700s: The D700 can be beaten by an uprezzed sensor like we see here, the D3s can not. When even the high ISO color handling is approximately on par with the D700 on 6400+ ISO, Nikon can safely say “IQ-wise, D800 is everything the D700 ever was, and more”.

    The most important key to the high performance seems to be consistently very low read noise.

  • Switcher

    I just switched to Nikon and am rocking a pair of D700 bodies.

    Was skeptical of the D800 until I saw this.

    Some of you guys are such a bunch of geeks. This d800 is totally epic.

    Nikon, if you are reading this, you better add a sRAW feature on. If you do I’ll buy three. If not, I’ll stay with the D700.

  • F

    I’m impressed by how well the details in the shadow areas hold up at ISO 12,800 on the D800.

    • http://thejordancollective.com CaryTheLabelGuy [NR]

      Yes, Dynamic Range is very impressive, even at high-ISO. The D800’s sensor is excellent in all areas.

      • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

        My thoughts exactly on DR. I was looking at those pics going up to 6400 thinking “Man, I’m not seeing a huge drop-off in black/white compression.”

        They looked GOOD until 25,600 and DR fell apart and color shifts started to ooze all over that pic.

  • Anders

    This post made me cancel a discounted D700 and order a D800 instead. Still wish the D800 had an sRAW-equivalent, and also the possibility to shoot at lower resolution with higher dynamic range – such as the Fuji X10.

  • switcher

    high volume shooters need sRAW. it’s not about the cost of storage, it’s about the added time in our workflow that these giant files will take up. time to download cards to do same-day wedding slideshows. time to back everything up. time to copy tons of files onto redundant backup drives, time to load them off the NAS. time to work on them in LR when current gen laptops max out at 8gb of ram, or even 4gb in the case of the macbook air. please please please PLEASE nikon, add in a sRAW feature and this camera will be soooooo perfect. 36 MP just isn’t necessary all the time, and in many cases it is a detriment.

    • http://thejordancollective.com/ CaryTheLabelGuy [NR]

      The problem with sRAW is the fact that it’s not a true RAW file, which is why Nikon doesn’t do it. You’re better off shooting in 36mp RAW, then down-sampling in post, even though you still have to deal with large file sizes. Your other option is to shoot in a smaller JPEG or TIFF. Or, one of the several crop modes. Actually, sRAW is a glorified TIFF; seems you wouldn’t loose much by shooting in TIFF small and the PP that TIFF file.

    • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

      1. Storage is cheap.
      2. Start using USB 3.0 and your imports probably won’t be too bad. I start my wedding imports the second I get home, and by the time I’m ready for bed I’m usually putting my last card. I wake up the next morning and everything’s done and previews are rendered.
      3. Lightroom 4 now has the ability to downsize DNGs on import. I may consider doing this with high-volume workflow where I don’t need 36mp. If it gives me enough control and good enough results to leave me with, say, 24mp… that’d be perfect for weddings.
      4. What Cary said… anything other than RAW full-resolution data isn’t RAW by definition.
      5. Get better at deleting negatives you’ll never use again. I’m *terrible* at this, but I am going to try. Haha.

      • http://thejordancollective.com/ CaryTheLabelGuy [NR]

        I might start using LR4 for it’s ability to convert to a down-sampled DNG upon import. I’m testing LR4 beta, and I do like it – I’m just having a hard-time giving up my Capture NX2/Photoshop CS4 (w/ Nik and Topaz plugins). I’m in love with my images from my current workflow, but LR4 seems like a easier workflow, especially with the additions in Lr4. For certain things, I’ll still need to use CS4/5. The D800E is making me re-think a lot things regarding my current workflow.

  • dave

    It would be nice to see a real low light scene comparison

  • nik milosevic

    Why are we comparing the D700 to the D800, if there wasnt an improvement in over 3years (even with increased pixel density), then I would be disapointed. The comparison should be between the D4 and D800, because the D700 was the low light monster of its day, and the D4 is the low light monster of right now.

    But as the D800 seems to be replacing the D700, lets see how the D800 compares to the D4 on high ISO noise because this is what I think most people were expecting of the D800. I know I was expecting the D800 to be a new model low noise monster, just cheaper and smaller than the pro level D4.

    • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

      Because having 3x smaller photosites grinds very heavily against the physics of light collection. We’re wanting a comparison precisely *because* they are four years apart.

  • rico

    how about the motion blur or camera shake or tripod use or the 70 mb row file size ,
    i don’t go over iso 800 and i don’t need 36 mp

    • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

      Then this camera isn’t for you. Nothing to see here. Move on.

      P.S. the lossless compressed RAW files are 41MB, not 70.

  • Pixelhunter

    Reading the comments at Canon Rumors about the new Mark III, I suppose some of those folks would rather complain about the luxury “problems” of the D800 discussed here.

    The D800 is a game changer and regardless that it does not shoot 20 fps, has no native 102k iso and cannot be used as a microwave, it is a camera with a new approach – attacking the medium format universe and the Mark II video gurus at the same time at a quite attractive price point.

    And once Nikon comes up with a true D700 replacement, the trilogy of joy will be perfect. Com’on guys show some patience, Nikon has just launched two wonderful novelties.

  • Orilla

    The Nikon D800 ist my first DSLR – i am still an amateur at the time. (to be a hobby of mine)
    Hope Amazon.de will delivery it in 3 weeks. =)

    Ps.: The D800 looks really good to me at high ISO’s

    • Jon D

      Just wondering why you would buy the D800 for your first DSLR? I would think that this is a little advanced for someone new to DSLR’s.

      Each to their own though! Good luck!

      • Orilla

        Hi Jon,

        I only have test the D90 from my girlfriend for many days.
        I think so -> I have to incorporate with each NEW camera, so i just buy a professional DSLR.

        The D800 costs a lot €€€€ but is not expensive. =)
        Photography is a very nice hobby for me.

        Ps. sorry for my bad englisch

        • http://www.wildbirdy.com looon

          I went from D90 to D7000 and now D800, could have saved a lot of money just starting with the D800. There will be a big learning curve but if you have discovered a love for photography you are doing the right thing and I wish you great joy with it.

          • IndyGeoff

            I skipped the D7000 and kept using my D90. I am tempted at the D800, though wish it shot at 6FPS in FX mode. I may still end up ordering one though would like to see if they come out with a DXXX camera with slightly fewer MP and slightly more FPS.

        • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

          To each their own, but the D800 will be a handful for beginners. Not just file-size, but without *really* good technique you’re going to be disappointed by the softness when zoomed to 100%.

          BUT the most important thing to consider is that lens quality is WAY more important than your body. You may want to consider saving €1,000 and get a D700 which is a KILLER camera, and especially at the new price. Put that money towards some REALLY nice glass.

          What I’m saying is, don’t get a D800 and then throw some Sigma f/4-5.6 mid-range zoom on there because you spent all your money on the camera.

  • Peter A. Blacksber

    If this example is meant to show noise, subsampling the image to present similar framing would effect noise in the process. Only 1 to 1 image samples from uncompressed images can reveal the noise inherent in the capture. This is a good effort but probably inaccurate comparison.
    Respectfully submitted.

    • Greg

      Those two tests measure different things. This test isn’t showing the noise inherent in the capture, it’s showing the noise inherent in the output.

  • David

    The flickr samples are almost unbelievably good.

    At full screen on my 27 inch 2560×1440 IPS monitor I literally can’t tell ISO100 and 6400 apart

    I selected both, hit enter, then flicked between them super fast. Then tried to guess which was which, and I couldn’t.

    Of course you can tell at 100%, but even then it’s not bad at all

    • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

      Looking at the Flickr examples, I was equally impressed with dynamic range.

      I’m also comfortable enough from all these samples to use ISO 6400 for a wedding or even regular portrait photography if that’s what it took.

      Actually, I wouldn’t feel bad with 12,800 in a pinch. This is an entire stop higher than my feelings with the D700.

  • rico

    iso – very good , im not shoting in dark
    36 mp — 70 mb file size not good- i need a new computer
    camera shake ? my hands are not very steady at weddings shots. hmmmm i m going to use i tripod – not good
    why my image is got soo much blur , hmmm -not god at all

  • http://www.chriswrightphotography.com photographer dundee

    D800 seems to have an edge. Not rushing to get one yet though, waiting 6 months.

  • James

    Hm, but guys, this ISN’T a true comparison of inherent sensor noise due to the downscaling which hides it. Now, I know this has been pointed out and then jumped on, BUT there is a use (a big target use) for this camera where down-resing is NOT an option to hide/equalise noise: video.

    The camera is already ‘scaling down’ the full sensor res to 1080, or whatever resolution you’ve set, you can’t just bin pixels from 36mp in post to lose noise (unless you don’t want 1080 for some reason). I’m really disappointed with this (on paper at least- we’ll have to see real world tests to be sure) for video- a D4 sensor in a smaller, cheaper, body would have been killer with the uncrippled HDMI-out.

  • Sebastian

    I think the video capabilities of the D800 will still vastly surpass those of the D700…
    :)

    • James

      No way man, it’s all about finding the right talent- if you can get good enough actors to move veeeeeeeeery slowly, you can shoot in stills and animate it, then just do the dialogue in ADR… The D700 beats RED in RAW that way. It’s the ultimate ‘we’ll fix it in post’ ;)

  • PaulR

    I can easily imagine a criticism of comparing a 100% crop to a 57% crop, from someone with extreme expectations (“I want to compare a high ISO 30 inch print from the d800 to a high ISO 20 inch print from the d700, because I paid for all those pixels!).

    Fair enough … it was easy enough to bring those test samples into photoshop and scale down the d700 images by the appropriate degrees. If anyone is mildly interested, here’s what I found:

    -with both at 57% (same magnification crops) the d700 has less noise. So, technically, at the pixel level, the d700 has higher s/n performance.

    HOWEVER!

    -with the d700 crop scaled to 80% or 70%, the d800 still beats it handily.

    What does this mean? Comparing the 57% crop from the d800 with the 70% crop of the d700, the d700 is effectively magnified 80% as much as the d800. At this ratio, the d800’s effective resolution is reduced to 5993 pixels wide. This is still 40% more linear resolution than the d700.

    In summary: slam dunk. The d700 is slightly better in s/n at the pixel level, but the d800 has way more pixels. If we normalize for noise, we get a print that’s over 40% larger in each dimension and has much more detail.

    The more interesting comparison will be with the new Canon.

    The most interesting comparison will be with cuisinart’s latest food processor, which I understand has 16 cups capacity.

  • http://deniubaidillah.blogspot.com deni

    nikon d800 best camera..

  • http://www.jotafotografia.com Robert

    No condition wedding photographer, glamor image is more important to me that other aspects such as noise. Can see that in D700, the samples of images d4, but not in D800.

  • Erik

    From my innocent eyes…

    d700 performed pretty bad even @ ISO 1600. Look at those tires!!!

    I think d800 looks fine till 3200 for the bike shoot.

    d800 seems also quite ok for the flowers shoot till 3200, 6400 is bearing the limits of acceptable to me.

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