Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 high ISO comparison

This Nikon D800 vs. D700 ISO comparison was initially posted on the and my understanding is that it was later removed. I have not seen the original post and I don't know all the details, but I assume those are 100% crops. You will have to ignore the fact that all D700 samples are blurry and just pay attention to the ISO performance. Keep also in mind that the D800 was probably a pre-production version. I did not include the samples bellow ISO 3200 because there was no visible noise. You can click on the sample images for a slightly larger view:

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 3200

ISO 3200

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 6400

ISO 6400

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 12800

ISO 12800

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 25600

ISO 25600

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 25600

ISO 25600 (NR on)

The Nikon D800 and D700 cameras have identical ISO ranges with the only exception being that the D800 starts at ISO 100 (Lo-1 ISO 50) and the D700 starts at ISO 200 (Lo-1 ISO 100).

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  • Wow!
    That’s awesome!

      Some of the D700 are not even in focus… come on…

      • darren

        You mean all. All D700 are not in focus. This test should be taken down it’s silly to try and compare the two, especially with the out of focus areas in the background that will react differently to noise and NR filters.

        • Christopher


          • bp

            yeaaahh suree we need the images in focus so we can compare the noise better!

        • CristianT

          You’re right: the D700 shots are not in focus and they should be to make a decent comparison.
          Another thing I don’t understand is why the zoom ratio is set to 100% in both windows and the D700 shots are bigger than the D800 one.

      • hmmm?

        What does focus have to do with determining ISO noise?

        • Dan

          Because noise is about more than dots on a screen. At high ISO, cameras have lower dynamic range, loose detail & sharpness, and loose color accuracy and depth. All these images tell us is how much grain is present. I can clean up grain in Lightroom but I can’t add much detail where it is lost. They also don’t show us how sharp a 100% crop is of a 36MP camera VS 100% on a 12MP. That is very important. Having 36MP is useless if the images don’t look good at 100%

    • It’ll be awesome when we get a real test.

      • Yes! We need a clear test.
        But today I can trust only to my own tests, so i’ll wait for d800 to compare.

  • Douglas Adams

    I have absolutely no comment on this! Just wanted to be one of the first to post anything. 🙂

    • Douglas Adams

      OK, now that I’ve actually studied the post, i do have a small comment. Both are 100% crops…however, the subject on d700’s crop is bigger than the on d800’s crop, which has three time pixel advantage. Which means that photos were taken with completely different lenses or with different setups. This further means that this comparison is not relevant. There…

      • Taras

        D800 has 36MP and D700 has 12 this is why there is difference in crop. I can tell this by looking at the background, there is no difference in compression in the image. So this is identical lens. But if you want you can crop in closer in d800 image and judge it that way.
        My verdict is this camera is hands down revolutionary for Nikon.

        I like competition.

        • Christoph Ohlrogge

          The shots from the camera with higher resolution should appear larger when viewed in 100%. These examples are the other way ’round.

          • OsoSolitario

            We are talking about NOISE not about size of the objects shown in the photo. 100% crop is 100% , no matter if objects shown there are big or small!
            Think about: If we resize both images at 12mpix, D800 noise would be much less obvious!

        • Douglas Adams

          How can you crop closer if it’s 100% crop?! If one camera has more pixels than the other, than objects in the 100% crop, made with such camera – should appear larger. Simple as that. On this crops, however, the object on d700 appears larger which clearly implies that something is wrong. It may be the same lens, but than is definitely not the same focal length.

      • The way I figure it the shots with the D800 were taken from further away so that the subject would be comparable in size when viewed at 100%. This might explain why the D700 photos are much blurrier.

        • tredbily

          If any of them were taken further away, there would be more depth of field.

    • iamnomad

      You weren’t.

      • Douglas Adams

        Why don’t you just stab me with the knife?!

    • texajoe


  • Lppks like d800 is at leas equal or even better. But anyways who shoots with iso 3200 or higher should probably get d3s or d4 not the d800 or d700

    • peteee363

      i shoot with my d700 all the way up, and i love the high settings for certain subjects. in low light they do lack, but indoors with some light, they are fine. i have even enlarged 25600 iso up to 24 x 36, and they hold up well.

  • Aliens! That’s the only explanation.

    • I KNEW that camera was designed at Area 51!

    • Howie

      damn terrorists put a jihad on the comparison

  • Matt

    Without having sharp shots to compare, this is useless. Subject detail is just as important – if not more important – than noise.

    • Zack Lee!

    • Ajay

      Matt:+1 here.
      blurry shots can exaggerate the differences & these make the D800 seem much better better than what it is. for a true comparison, all composition-related parameters must be equal.

  • David

    Looks like they upscaled the D700 images instead of downscaling the D800 ones to make the images comparable.

    If those are real, it seems there is NO reason at all to prefer the D700 over the D800 other than that the D800 images require larger storage (hardly a factor in times of 3TB+ hard disks IMHO).


      Was waiting for this!!! Well done to Nikon for achieving such low noise on 36Mb (!!) camera. howerver I noticed that D800 has more significant colour noise than D700 which is difficult to remove. for people who prefer smushy but less colour noise may be D700 is not a bad option. wait for more samples to see how these colour noise would look acttually in the field.

      • Pdf Ninja

        Chroma noise is not difficult to remove, it’s much easier to deal with than luminance noise. The color noise cleans up pretty well.

        • BornOptimist

          IMO, you don’t need to remove luminace noice in a picture. That just give more “life” to a picture. Croma noise otoh is ugly. Very ugly, and need to be doctored.

        • +1 Chroma noise is easily handled. Luminance noise can be left as-is unless very bad.

          Who cares if one sample was upsized or downsized to compare? You couldn’t realistically compare the two cameras any other way because if you made the composition the same, you would have to use a different focal length or move the camera in relation to the subject to make them comparable in both the composition and “resolution”. In which case, people would be bitching that the camera setup was different…

          The overall test shows that the noise is reasonably similar, therefore the D800 with far higher resolution should perform as good if not better in almost all situations than the D700. (with exception of frames per second)

  • Dweeb

    Did anyone let Fake Chuck Westfall know?

    • Nikonnut


  • Ben

    Well, looks like downsampling definitely improves ISO performance – D800 should be larger if 100% crop, also no info on noise reduction. The D700 is OOF….

  • Al

    Are the D800 pics sharper because of better resolution ??

    I was under the impression that 36mp would have more noise than 12mp when cropped in the same amount ?

    • John

      I hope you are joking.

    • It probably has something to do with the set up. If you really wanted to compare 100% crops than the d800 shot has to be either further back or use a wider lens. Either of these options will affect DOF which can vary focus errors.

  • hexx

    whatever is happening there, it looks like there’s more noise in colour on D800

  • I Love

    what a bunch of crap. i guess i could name some jpeg file “D4_1001.jpg” taken with my phone and people will post that all over Flickr and NR to pixel peep on it and talk about how awesome digital cameras are and how awesome white New Balance shoes are and how they’d love to be an assistant to Scott Kelby for a day…

    oh… and the quality is tooootally on par with medium format… even better than mf film, too. can’t wait to get my d800e so i can finally stop using mf…. soooo expensive and not worth it now that the d800e is here… dxomark will validate these feelings that i have.

    • no, there was a reason why the images were taken down from that website

      • Banned

        Reason must be that the test was not performed well, and methods for such comparisons are always debated anyway. Should 36 MP pics be down-sampled to 12 MP? Which gives a huge noise advantage to the 36 MP. Or should they both be left at 100% crop? The question is, should the resolution be considered when talking about noise? From a pure technical standpoint, no it shouldn’t be considered and comparisons should be at 100%. But from a result-oriented perspective the bottom line matters and the 36 MP should be down-sampled for a real-life comparison. It’s a fact of life that all things considered the D800 has better noise and sharpness on account of its much much higher resolution. But who cares? I will keep my D700 for a long time and I will jump a couple generations if Nikon is still relevant in 8 years. Or I will just jump ships I guess. Only photos matter.

        • St.

          It doesn’t matter what you or someone else think. The fact is that EVERY NEXT camera Nikon produces is better than the previous ones.
          Just go to DXoMark and compare the performance of Nikon cameras – starting from D50/D40 (or even before that) and change a camera up in the line, until you get to D7000/D5100, which I think are the last bench-marked.
          It’s just getting better and better with each next model. That’s what it is.

  • Tony

    It looks like there is a better noise performance on the D800? I am not sure because the D700 photos are out of focus and seem to be cropped tighter which enlarger their noise levels?? Comparisons should be shot as close as possible to get the true picture (no pun intended) IMO.

  • texajoe

    Finally. And this is wonderful news!

  • One or both of them is not a 100% crop.

    For the same focal length, we should expect a 100% on a higher resolution image to appear zoomed in. Perhaps its not the same focal length, but… the images here clearly show the D800 with smaller pixels. Therefore the 100% crops aren’t.

  • Chris Zeller

    This is crap. D700 is OOF, views are not the same size (and in the wrong direction for a 12 vs 36mp comparison). A real comparison of noise will have to be of like sizes, not both at 100% to be meaningful. The real question is does higher sampling or better pixels win in the overall image. I think I’ll wait for a professional review from DXO mark or dpreview.

    • Ajay


    • Chris


      Why does NR post such useless content?

      • qdos

        It’s rumors, and it’s about a Nikon product.

        Why should this NOT be posted on NR?

      • because there is no better comparison at that point

  • T.I.M

    “no visible noise at ISO 3200”

    My dream is to be able to shoot at ISO 800 all the time !

    Over ISO 800 is just in case I have to take a picture of a black hole at night with the lens cap on !


    • Unless you need to stop action in low light… Then you’ll need high ISO in a normally lit room.

    • You’ll never get a decent picture of a black hole with your lens cap on.

      • Actually, every picture would be a black hole with the lens cap on. 😉

  • Photdog

    Seems like at 26,600 the D800s NR really kicks in – less Noise than the 12,800 ISO. Well, of course some details get lost, but depending on the subject it might be better stomachable.
    However, it would be interesting to know more about the circumstances of this comparison:
    same lens?
    same distance?
    plain 100% crop?
    downsampled / upscaled?

  • This seems completely pointless. Without any notes about how it was done, why the 100% show the same thing, and really, detail, color and contrast are just as important at high ISO as grain. Can’t wait for some real tests…

    • u know that SEO spamming your homepage address makes you only look dumb spammer when all links are set as NO FOLLOW, right?

      • ken


  • GD

    Interesting morning-coffee kind of thing, but useless for making actual decisions on.

    There are so many things to take into account in terms of non-noise-reduction differences between the cameras that without a clear understanding of the test’s methodology, there’s extremely little value in this kind of side-by-side comparison.

    Back to my coffee (and manically hitting F5 waiting for the drop of the D4 manual 🙂

  • Daf

    Woo – exactly what I’ve been looking for – thanks – saved me some work.

    • Daf

      Hmm – now agree with others – details and guarantee of like for like would be better.

  • jason

    seriously who does that? make a comparison with an out of focus picture? thats full retard. the pathetic part is that the camera the have had for 5 years is the one they rushed with at wasted everyones time. i anyone has done their own comparisons before or even shot a single high iso picture before, they would know that noise shows up more significantly in oof pictures. if i knew how to post a picture here i would show you with samples from my d3, i found this out while comparing it to the nex5n and the 60. the oof areas from both had much more apparent noise that the in focus areas.  and don’t respond wining about about how the physics is there.  because it does have a difference. not in generating noise but in accentuating it.

    • NoFunBen

      They may have been borrowing both the d800 and the d700.

      i am sure it got taken down when they saw there focus mistake.

      just wait, in a month we will have a real test.

      even with the problems in this test it gives a hint of how good the d800 maybe.

  • Wow, very nice! As long as it’s better than my D300, then I am in business! I was already shooting weddings at 3200 iso ( only inside the church ) and it was very tolerable with my D300. I don’t care if it’s better of not than the D700. I know it’ll be legendary ! Can’t wait to receive it 🙂

    • I’d hope anything is better than the D300. I’m really surprised that when they did the D300s they didn’t at least tweak the sensor a little, because while the D300 is fine up to ISO 400… I’ve really been displeased with anything above it.

      • Beano

        I agree with your statement. Anything above ISO 400 was too noisy. I just sold my D300 to get a D700 while waiting for D800E

        • Art

          Yep. 400 ISO was always the limit for me as well. Even ISO 400 was a bit too noisy for some applications but at least it was tolerable. I’ve been itching to move from the D300 but by then the D700 was due to be replaced so I held out and that was over 18 months and an insane number of Nikon Rumors refreshes ago.

          • Thomas Horn

            +1 for Nikon Rumors daily refreshes.

  • catinhat

    given how out of focus D700 shots are, one gets an impression that whoever did this had an agenda to show that D800 preserves detail better at higher ISO. Possible, but not credible based on these pics alone. On the other hand, D800 clearly shows a lot more chroma noise.

  • Gab

    Now try this again in low light 😀

  • Moe Jacknally
    • T.I.M

      @Moe Jacknally
      How to wait for your Nikon D800:


      • Moe Jacknally

        The D800 is for pussies.
        Real photographers use the D800E


        • T.I.M

          @Moe Jacknally
          Or idiots like you and me who don’t mine to pay more for less….
          (I expect the D800e to be out of stock until christmas)


          • T.I.M

            @Moe Jacknally
            don’t “mind” or “en ont rien à foutre”

            • Moe Jacknally

              +1000000000 😀

  • Tom Moerel

    Yuck. D800 shots are full of chroma noise. That is hard to correct and ugly. Reminds me of Canon. Yuck!!

    • Calibrator

      > D800 shots are full of chroma noise. That is hard to correct and ugly.

      You should use some modern software every now and then…

      • Anonymous Maximus

        “You should use some modern software every now and then…”

        So can you name a few please. Do you mean Adobe Capture Raw?

        • Seriously, basically all of them. Capture NX, Phase ONE, Bibble, Lightroom, Camera RAW…

          Chroma noise is easy to correct, and it affects image quality very little to do so.

        • legion515

          the “chroma noise is hard to remove” comments mystify me as well. i won’t speak for Calibrator, but Lightroom 3 removes chroma noise with the click of a button.

          i don’t see any loss of detail or artifacts when using that chroma noise reduction tool.

      • Tom Moerel

        OK…it is not that hard to remove but you have to remove it.
        Luma noise looks like grain and does not bother me. Chroma noise needs to be removed as it is butt ugly.

        Another argument i hear is that you can downsample D800 images to get the same high ISO quality as a D700. Again a step in post processing.

        Well, i’d rather be out there shooting than sitting behind a computer to post-process camera flaws away!

  • jason

    the d800 is still going to be better in low light no matter which way you look at it. its just how much better we would like to know. if my store gets the pre production sample to look at ill do a real comparasen, and post files, not screenshots. and print them 10×15 @100% crop then scan the prints to see which is better in high iso when it matters….making money with it. i did the same with the nex 7 and pre production nex 5. either way. their preformance is annoyingly close to what were used to with the d3/d700 and this d800 will be a treat.

  • It would be good to see a batter noise comparison. But thans for posting.

  • Daf

    Won’t this be a Demo/Pre-production D800 anyway ?

    Was tempted to try the same thing when I tried one last week – but then if I’m testing it to spend my hard earned cash – I want it to be a true and accurate comparison of production models.

  • INA

    More color noise in the D800 pictures, but that’s no problem for BW photos… 😉

    “The Nikon D800 and D700 cameras have identical ISO ranges with the only exception being that the D800 starts at ISO 100” so it makes the ISO range for D800 one stop wider and not identical…

  • glenn

    Why are you all so fussed up about OOF picture of the D700?
    Don’t compare the focus part!
    Compare the part behind the cups. If these pictures are genuine the D800 is in the same league as the D700 or even better !
    Cant wait for this baby to come home! ! !

    If you’re interested I will post a low light situation compared to my D300.
    Hoping to win at least 1-1,5 stops over this camera.

  • Like everyone else I am waiting with baited breath to see how the D800 will perform – but comparisons like this are absolutely useless, and frankly, irresponsible journalism.

    My 4-year old son could have done a better job in shooting the D700 photo examples.

    You can’t even tell if the same lens was used on both cameras, much less aperture or focal distance settings – and with the D700 images so out of focus you can’t see detail … what conclusion can be drawn from this?

  • shivaswrath

    Guys, the POINT of these crops, independent of a comparison and if the D700 is blurry, is NOISE!!

    And Noise cntrol wise, I have NO FREAKIN’ idea how Nikon did it, but it looks like a 1-stop over the D3/D700 sensor.

    HOW DO THEY DO THIS?? it’s black magic…

  • Don

    I would say just focus on the background to compare the noise in that background. Doing so I would conclude

    1. ISO 3200 will be quite usable for most people.

    2. The D800 will have one half stop to one stop of noise improvement over the D700 which is welcome news.

    In my particular situation I have to shoot between ISO 3200 and ISO 6400. I have been using a D7000. By going to the D800 I should have basically a two stop improvement in noise over what I have now: one stop improvement from not having to enlarge the image as much going from DX to FX and one more stop from the improved sensor in the D800 itself. This is most welcome news for me.

    We will see if it holds up when DxOMark tests the sensor.

    • Art

      Did you see that DxOMark has a D800 review already? Really really lame. They threw up what they could using available info and really should have waited until they actually had something to report….. It just makes them look bad. Really poorly done.

  • Christopher

    Seems like the black in the D700 pics are more black (dark).
    I compared them and every image taken with D800 seems to have more light on them.
    If that is the case then it’s not very hard to get that quality.
    I hope there is another explanation because I’m up for the 800 er the 800e.
    Someone seeing what i see?

  • jie

    Here’s the original post:

    The pictures was removed because Nikon contacted reseller who lent the camera to the reviewer to pull them off. But you can still check the comparison of the real body and also the menu (if you know Chinese) . The pictures from D700 were all out of focus and the reviewer apologized for it.


  • just give it an mRAW and I’ll order one! I like all the features, except I have no use for 36mp most of the time.

  • D700guy

    not a good comparison. Images should be identical in size, focus and focal length to make a sound comparison.

  • Fabian Gonzales

    Dear D700 owners: Denial is not a river in Egypt.

    Can’t wait to get my D800E. This keeps looking better and better.

    • While I agree with you that the D800 is an upgrade and is overall a better camera, it doesn’t mean that the D700 is all-of-a-sudden-obsolete. No need for D700 denial. There’s a better camera on the market, but that doesn’t mean what you have is even remotely bad.

      And yes, I have a D800 on order. My D700 will still get plenty of use.

  • stve

    Why all the bitching about chroma noise it may look worse but is so easy to remove, luminance noise looks a lot better but is much harder to remove without losing detail.

  • Steve Starr

    Interesting. Nice improvement overall. The D800 supposedly has a new AF system so could be some of the improvement too. The D700 owners will still hate the D800 though no matter what.

    Then again, the current D800 owners will hate the new D900 in a few years too…

    • Dave Christie

      Not all of us. I am a D700 owner and am eagerly awaiting my D800. The D700 will become my backup, and my D300 will likely be sold.

    • Zeus

      Good Idea! Since the D800 has materialized now, let’s focus on the D900 and what it need to have, or we jump ship…
      I had some really good ideas already…

      • Art

        D900 — IT HAS BEGUN !!!! I’M SO EXCITED!

  • Is it not possible to have them both setup on a tripod and then crop out the same area?

  • Doug


  • Zlik

    Looks like the D700 has been upscaled to 36mp to match the D800.

    • cosmic

      How do you know that? The noise grain on the D800 looks like it was resized to 12mp.

      I’ve seen other ISO 3200 pictures from the D800, and they don’t look this nice.

  • Would be nice to know if distance was altered to give similar perspective pics at 100% crop. If so looks pretty awesome for the D800. Getting harder to avoid pre-ordering!!

  • Kalle P

    Maybe they are jpeg’s out of the cameras? D800 set to Small size?

  • d

    I’d rate this as “FAKE”. seems the d700 crops are a bit up-sized, d800 are clearly downsized.

    from all examples I’ve seen to date, both sensors have pretty much equal noise at 100%. d800 wins by resolution, so the noise-to-detail ratio is much better. and maybe a slightly better noise reduction algorithm.

  • It looks like somebody resized D700 photos to D800’s size.
    That’s why D700 is blurry and noise level is almost the same.

    • CristianT

      I agree with you: if you look at the crops it seems to me that pixels at 100% are bigger in the D700 shots than D800. This can lead me to think that the D700 shots are upscaled to 36MP. It’s obvious that noise “seems” greater for D700.
      I think that if we talk about noise levels D700 and D800 are equivalent, but personally I prefer the noise of the D700, similar to the film grain, while the D800 has an “electronic” noise that affects mostly colors

  • Landscape Photo

    All the high-iso D800 samples have serious chroma noise (green & red grains) which looks very ugly. I hope Nikon will have it corrected in the production in-jamera jpegs & software for nef. Maybe that camera’s “high-iso noise reduction” parameter was set to “off” instead of a more sensible “low” option.

    Btw, luminance-only noise is not that much disturbing but gives a film-like impression. Chroma noise is bad !

  • Can’t draw any conclusions without the D700 being in focus.
    Noise is much more visible in OOF areas…

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