Nikon D800 vs. D3s and D7000 comparison

Nikon D800 vs. D3s and D7000 by Cary Jordan

There is no question the Nikon D800/E is a spectacular camera. But just how well does the D800 stack-up against the venerable Nikon D3s? What about in DX crop mode; how well does it fare against the D7000? We now know the new Nikon D800 has a bad case of multiple personality disorder. The D800 is several different cameras, rolled-up into one very sleek and attractive body.

Let's examine just how well the D800 performs when down-sampled to 12.1 megapixels to match the un-defeated high-ISO king, the Nikon D3s. In addition to this comparison, we're also going to put the Nikon D800 against the current APS-C DX crop champion, the Nikon D7000.

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D3s

The D800/E is capable of achieving amazing amounts of detail at its native resolution of 36.3 million pixels. This is great for studio and landscape work or anything that warrants this kind of resolution. However, the final output doesn't always need to be the native resolution of 36.3 MP. What we've found is the D800 has excellent Dynamic Range combined with excellent high-ISO noise characteristics, giving us the ability to down-sample when need-be, while retaining all of the high-frequency detail captured by the high-resolution sensor. We know that down-sampling an image helps to reduce noise (especially luminance noise), so we reap the benefits of lower noise and better detail, while retaining the D800's excellent Dynamic Range (DR) when down-sampling. A down-sampled image that has more high-frequency detail is a better candidate for noise-reduction via software (Lightroom 4, Topaz DeNoise...etc) and can handle more aggressive noise reduction, while still retaining high-frequency detail that's usually lost during aggressive noise-reduction.

For this comparison, we shot both cameras at the same respective exposure, ISO, aperture and white balance and set both cameras to the "STANDARD" Picture Control with no additional capture sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation or hue. Both cameras were shot in RAW(NEF) format and developed into a high-quality 8 bit JPEG format using Capture NX2 with zero High-ISO Noise Reduction.  The D800 shots were then opened in Photoshop and down-sampled using Photoshop's "Bicubic Sharper" algorithm to 4256 x 2840 px to match the D3s' native resolution. No other sharpening was performed (click on any image to enlarge it).

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO1600 Crop 1

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO3200 Crop 1

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO6400 Crop 1

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO12800 Crop 1

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO25600 Crop 1

As you can clearly discern, the D800 image retains much more high-frequency detail throughout the ISO range. The D3s does beat the D800 in luminance noise by about a third-stop, with chrominance noise being significantly worse in the D800's files above ISO-12800. As stated above, the D800's file can handle much more aggressive noise reduction, while retaining much of its detail, which will result in a better overall file than the D3s until about ISO-25,600. At this point, the D800's files are riddled with amp noise which is destroying most of the high-frequency detail advantage it had over the D3s, making the D3s a better option from ISO-25,600 and up (The only way the D800 can go above ISO-25600 is by "pushing" in post).

While the D800's DR is supremely impressive at base ISO (ISO-100) to about ISO-800 (about 14.3EV @ ISO-100), it falls off at higher ISOs. This is where the D3s shines; the D3s has less DR fall-off at upper ISOs, but several stops less DR at base ISO as compared to the D800.

While the D800 doesn't quite beat the D3s in high-ISO noise handling when down-sampled to 12.1 MP (without noise reduction), the D800 will clearly out-perform the D3/D700 sensor in noise, sharpness, detail and DR, at every ISO, when down-sampled to the same resolution of 12.1 MP.

Let's look at a different set of D800 vs. D3s crops, this time focusing on the high-frequency detail in the books on the bottom shelf.

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO1600 Crop 2

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO3200 Crop 2

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO6400 Crop 2

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO12800 Crop 2

D3s vs D800 12mp ISO25600 Crop 2

Once again, you can clearly see the high-frequency detail advantage the D800 has over the D3s, when down-sampled to 12.1 million pixels. Look at the dark brown book on the left side of each crop; the D800 clearly renders the detailed fabric cross-hatching @ ISO-12800 and can just barely be seen @ ISO-25600. The D800 files are sharper and retain more high-frequency details at every ISO.

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D7000

While the D800/E is 36.3 MP in FX mode, the D800/E has a DX (1.5x crop) mode, which is 15.4 MP. The Nikon D7000 is a 16.2 MP APS-C DX format camera that currently sits atop the APS-C camera heap, having the best performing APS-C sensor in the world, based on the Sony Exmor 16.2 MP sensor (this 16.2 Sony Exmor sensor is used in several other cameras on the market). Since the D800 has a DX crop mode that's roughly the same resolution as the D7000's sensor, we wanted to see how the D800 performed in comparison to the D7000. Please keep in-mind, the D7000 does have a slightly higher resolution, although not by much.

The D800 has a pixel pitch of 4.88µm, while the D7000 has a pixel pitch of 4.78µm, the .10µm is almost insignificant, which means the pixel pitch is roughly the same in both cameras, with the D800 having a slightly larger pixel pitch. This also helps us come to the conclusion that the D800/E sensor is based on a Sony Exmor design, although this is still yet to be confirmed, but is widely rumored to be true.

As with the D800 vs. D3s comparison, we shot both cameras at the same respective exposure, ISO, aperture and white balance and set both cameras to the "STANDARD" Picture Control with no additional capture sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation or hue. Both cameras were shot in RAW(NEF) format and developed into a high-quality 8 bit JPEG format using Capture NX2 with zero High-ISO Noise Reduction. No other sharpening or post-production was performed.

Let's examine the D800 vs. D7000 image comparisons (click on any image to enlarge it):

D800 vs D7K ISO1600 Crop

D800 vs D7K ISO3200 Crop

D800 vs D7K ISO6400 Crop

D800 vs D7K ISO12800 Crop

D800 vs D7K ISO25600 Crop

As you can see, the D800 does out-perform the D7000 at every ISO, although in luminance noise, they are closer at lower ISOs. Where the D800 shines is sharpness, micro-contrast and chrominance noise. Even with the D7000 having slightly better resolution, the D800 has much better effective resolution, which shows as a sharper image and better high-frequency detail. Not only does the D800 out-perform the D7000 in detail, micro-contrast and luminance noise, the D800 has significantly less chrominance noise. This is exaggerated as the ISO rises. An example of this can be seen below.

The D800's sharper image and more high-frequency detail might point to a weaker OLPF (Optical Low-Pass Filter a.k.a. AA-Filter) on the D800. The D800E would reveal even more sharpness, micro-contrast and high-frequency detail as compared to the D7000, due to its Anti-Aliasing characteristics being canceled-out in the D800E's OLPF filter stack.

Example of D800 vs. D7000 chrominance noise at ISO-25600:

Nikon D800 vs. D7000 ISO-25600

I've made the full-resolution images available at the bottom of this article, I highly suggest the images to be downloaded and compared full-size, for full-effect. Looking especially at the more finely detailed writing on the book ends.


The D800 is an extremely versatile camera that can provide amazing 36.3 MP files in full-frame FX mode, whilst containing the ability to moon-light as the best APS-C DX format camera on the market. The D800/E has several other crop modes as well as the DX crop mode discussed here, which helps to make the D800/E one of the most versatile cameras on the market today.

A full review of the D800/D800E and D4 is coming soon as well as comparisons between the D800, D800E, D4 and D3s.

Full size Nikon D800 vs. D3s images:

Full size Nikon D800 vs. D7000 images:

This entry was posted in Nikon D3s, Nikon D7000, Nikon D800, [NR] Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • ActionJunky

    Very thorough. Well done.

    • Indeed. We’re buying two of these cameras for work in the next few weeks, and comparison like these solidify our thoughts on our decision.

  • nice. but if you’re always going to be down sampling it might just be better to go for a D3s, at least it’s a faster camera.

    • You are missing the point.

      The point is that you CAN downsample if necessary.

      • I said IF you’re ALWAYS going to be down sampling then get the D3s. If you need the high res then go for the D800.

        I seriously doubt everyone who bought the D800 actually uses all that resolution, especially the ones who bought it to use for weddings (which from reading this blog everyone seems to have done exactly that).

        • ActionJunky

          I don’t do weddings and my D800 is still on backorder.

        • Andrew

          Get the D3s and spend $5,000 versus the D800 which cost $3,000? No thanks! The extra resolution on the D800 is free, this camera could have easily cost much more.

          • B!

            Your math is skewed to prove a point you just dont have.

            You can buy a very lightly used D3s for about 4K -4k2

            A D800 in similar config will cost you:

            body $3000
            grip $500
            D4 battery for grip $150
            Battery charger for said battery $350

            Aha, it sudently just might make sense….and if you have every handled a pro body you’d know its far superior to anything with an add on grip.

            • Andrew

              B!, some people would never consider a used body as an option. Using a used body to come up with an arbitrary price point to support your argument is the perfect example of skewing the data.

              Many professionals will disagree with you on the merits of adding a grip; and will argue that the integration and fit is tight and flawless. Least you forget, even a camera body is the assemblage of many components tightly fused or screwed together.

        • Jack

          I’m not sure that buyers of the d800 will not use the resolution. I know I do, and I can’t imagine paying that much money for a camera with resolution as a key feature and not using it. I don’t shoot weddings, but my client and I were shooting sea lions in the harbor today: he with a d700 and a 70-200 zoom and I with a d800 and a 24-70 zoom. I am preparing to print now, and I am, indeed, using every bit of resolution, and having a much easier time in post with the d800 images. Resolution is a very useful thing!
          My client was going to buy a D4, but after seeing the results of the d800 he is making a proposal to go with the d800 and buy a few more lenses.

        • TnT

          I am pretty sure it’s just you.

        • I will use every pixel of this camera… and I still need hundreds or even thousand of these images to get one of my photos together oO

          yeah working with Gigapixel at the edge of physics 🙂

          Can’t wait to get my d800e ^^

          • Fishnose

            THAT sounds interesting!!

          • B!

            Now, that I can understand.

      • Hom Thogan

        egh…. why would you want to? you are buying a 3,000 USD 36 megapixel camera to downsample files? is it me or this sounds REALLY stupid?

        If you are a wedding shooter, PJ, action shooter the D700 and D3s give you file sizes that are easy to batch process and you may skip the whole downsampling process (which will take its sweet time anyway)

    • Alex

      Can you ‘up sample’ on d3s no….

      there were a lot of tests done to compare d3s as it is with d800
      thats the 1st test that I see that actually compares same size (off camera or off software they are still the same size etc)

    • B!

      It would seem that way. Seems to me everything is compared down-sampled (but on one end only). Downsampled this, downsampled that. This camera has no real advantage unless images are downsampled. Once downsampled the abiliti to crop is gone. So instead of shooting with a 12MP camera, you’ll shoot with one that has 36 Mpix and downsample back to 12, I must be still missing something.

      Whatever happened with out of camera results/performance. We are going to see a lot of people spending their shooting days in front of a computer. Sad!

      • El Aura

        At high ISO, the D800 downsampled is very close to the D3s, at low ISO at full resolution, it beats every camera in resolution. It also beats every camera at DR at low ISO.

        Most people need both high ISO lower resolution output and low ISO high resolution output. They pretty much get both with the D800, no need to buy or carry two cameras.

        To repeat: downsampling is done to show that you don’t need an ADDITIONAL camera for your high ISO, lower resolution images.

      • Hom Thogan

        You aren’t missing anything buddy, the test is beyond stupid.

  • Nikko

    Great article
    Thank you !!!

  • sdfgsdfgs

    Oh man the D7K competes much better than expected. It’s on the same quality level as the D800 is except for the megapixels. Great camera. Best crop camera on the market.

    • john

      Actually the Pentax K5 with the same, but tweaked sensor is even better.

  • BlogReader1324321

    Oh man the D7K competes much better than expected. It’s on the same quality level as the D800 is except for the megapixels. Great camera. Best crop camera on the market.

  • Ryano

    Hi Cary, does the d800 you tested has a green tint on the Lcd?

    • No. My D800 has a perfect LCD. Actually, it’s better calibrated than my D3s and D7000s.

      • Ryano

        Thanks for the reply. Nice to hear that not all d800s have the green tint LCDs.

        • derWalter


        • jorg

          Did you read the memo about adjusting your d800-screen via menu? D you even own a d800?

          • GeoffK

            why should we have to adjust the screen on our $3k camera ? It should be right from the factory and if not go back.

  • elph

    Just looking at some of the first images, I noticed some of the colours were different in each image D800 vs D3S (Book spines, etc…). Was the same temperature used on both cameras for WB? Also, how far apart time-wise were the photos taken? I noticed it’s natural daylight through a window in the background (from the reflections); does that perhaps have any influence on the odd colours in the pictures (sun moving behind clouds, color-overcasting, etc…)?

    • Rudi

      I asked this myself as everything but the light source was mentioned to be equal.

      • Rudi

        Sorry, didn’t want to be offensive and forgot to mention that I appreciated that well done comparison very much!! Looking forward to those with D4!

        • B!

          Same here re D4

          At 16MP, the image from D800 would be downsampled to half the size vs third the size. Wondering about those results as well

  • Spock

    Hey to me the D7000 looks like it held it own. Amazing camera IMO

    • DVX

      Yes I agree.

    • TnT

      for static/slow moving subjects, yes, it’s a great camera. But not for BIF photography.

      • Pellevin

        That was a very exaggerated comment. D7000 is a very good camera for action with 6 fps and fast AF. I have used it on numerous occasions for shooting pro hockey teamed up with my 70-200 mm f2.8. Works like a charm. It is not always the bigger the better. Sure I would love a D3s or D4 but we are not all made of money and to get a matching lens it would be a very expensive.

        D800 seems like an awesome camera but for action shooting I don’t see that it has much advantage over the D7000. To even achieve 6 fps you need to add the battery grip and switch to DX mode…

        • Hhom Togan

          Compared to what? if you use a D300s, D3s, D700 or D4 you wouldn’t be praising the D7000 at all for action photography… slow action is OK with the D7000 but with fast action the camera struggles quite a bit and even with good fast glass (70-200mm f/2.8 VR II) it will miss a lot of frames due the AF system not being able to cope with the fast paced action (unlike the D300s, D700, D3s or D4).

          So sorry but it may be an evolution from the D90/D80/D200 AF system but it isn’t anything to make a parade about it compared to the pro line.

      • Hmmm. I shot Pillow Fight Day with the d7k – focus system is staggeringly fast. Over 60% turned out to be keepers, even though the whole thing lasted 40 minutes (20 mins intensive pillow figh).

  • Ted

    HA! Beat you all to it! I think the D800 is not the camera that must of us are going to use above ISO6400 anyway if you really, really, really would like to shoot in near dark situations or very low light, (like some events) I would say spend a few bucks more and buy the D4.

    Shooting weddings I never go past iso6400 with my D700, also the native iso for the D800 is 6400 that’s not for nothing, it is just not that massive low light camera, they made the D4 for that.

    • burgerman

      Did you actually understand the test? Or see the high iso images? Theres no difference that most humans could see. There would be more variation at the printers…

      Plus the noise from the d800 cleans up better with Topas De-Noise, and then there isnt a difference…

  • Very nice comparison… and Robert’s? Do you live in the Indy area, too?

    My D800 is STILL on order with them and I orded it 30 minutes after they were announced. (I ended up getting one at Best Buy, but am curious as to how long before they call me.)

    • Michael

      Hey, I shop at Roberts all the time!

      • GeoffK

        bought my d90 and lenses from Roberts. I am likely to order my D800 elsewhere though as the taxes on $3k is a memory card or two

        • You have to pay sales tax whether you do it at point of purchase or when you file your business sales tax. OR if you’re not a registered business, during your annual personal income filing.

          The bottom line is that you are supposed to pay use tax if you didn’t pay tax up front. I’d rather just not mess with the paperwork AND support local.

          It’s one thing to lie about use tax on personal use (hell, I don’t claim *every* online purchase for personal use)… but when it comes to the business, you best pay every penny you owe.

  • Ted

    Wow first in and 9th in row. You all beat me to it!

  • Reilly Diefenbach

    Chomping at the bit for the D800e Holy smokes what a camera!

  • OMR

    OK, nice.

    My D5100 can compete with the D800 in crop mode. Nice.

    I love my D5100 with 35mm 1.8

    • OMR

      The D5100 have the same D7000 Sensor.

    • OMR

      My D5100 is the little IQ monster.

      I’m Sorry, I’m excited with my camera.

  • Michael

    The D7000 faired pretty impressively

    • El_Pickerel

      I’m glad to see the D7000 fare so well. I know I can’t rush into a $3000 camera, so it’s good to see she’ll continue to hold up well.

  • Fantastic article… and confirms what I am seeing. D800 is a resolution monster.

    Sample taken at basically out the box settings… processed in CNX2.

    • Glenn

      Nice one actually. I like it

    • nick

      Wow, that is a great shot. Is it really with settings out of the box???!

      • Yea, most were .. Auto ADL, WB, standard pic control, sRGB, auto distortion, etc… Now processing these monster files is anouther story. CNX2 is choking with heavy edits…

  • Just for curiosity, I would like to see an article just like this one that compares the D4 vs the D7000 for people that are considering a 16 megapixel camera and not sure if they want or need to make the leap from the APS-C D7000 to the FX D4. I realized this is a bit of an apples and oranges comparison due to body cost and recomposing to get an identical image composition but it would be interesting to visually see how the pixel quality comparison goes as ISO is raised.

    • I wasn’t planning on doing this comparison, but I may include it in my D4 vs. D3s comparison article.

      • The Wayne

        Yes Cary! Please include the D7000 in the D4 vs D3s shootout.

        • KsOfW

          +1 Looking forward, I will be in the market for full frame in a year or two. The D4 currently has my full attention over the D3s mostly because of the ergonomics when shooting portrait. The dual media types have me a bit skeptical, though. The D800 looks more and more attractive as my technical education grows, thanks to articles like this.
          Thank you for including the D7000 in your comparison here — I echo the (surprised?) sentiments of its performance among the Nikon big guns. It validates that irritating (but sensible) voice in my head: What is the D7000 NOT doing for me right now that I think a D3s or D4 is going to solve? OK, metering, autofocus, and WB maybe 😉

    • Ronan

      D4 vs D7000 really? LOL…

      • Ronan, the point was not to prove that the D7000 is an acceptable alternative to a D4, that would be ridiculous of course. 🙂

        The D7000 vs D4 comparison would be just to compare how well the same/current generation of of APS-C and FX sensors compare (diverge) in pixel level noise quality as ISO increases. The reason I suggested these two cameras is they produce almost identical image size at 16 megapixels so they would not need up/down sampling for image comparison purposes at the pixel level.

        The comparison would be purely academic, but interesting testament to sensor technology.

  • I don’t think that D800 can beat D3s at iso. Different cameras, different type of usability and a different sensor!
    I have D3s and at 12800 iso it doesn’t look like in this pictures. What was the light source for this tests? And what lenses did you use for this tests?!

    • Mixed lighting. For the D800 vs. D3s shoot-out, I used the same Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8G and for the D800 vs. D7000 shoot-out, I used the same Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX lens.

      Keep in mind there is no noise reduction in any of these files. My D3s is actually a great copy, compared to the other D3s’ I’ve used. It’s possible yours is slightly better than mine, due to copy variations, but highly unlikely, as they’re all very close. Nikon is very good about making sure the sensors made the grade for use in production.

  • Paul

    BLAH, BLAH, etc. The D800 is designed as a high res camera. Why is everyone trying to make it something else. Tell us something about how to get the best out of what it is, not what YOU would like it to be. Just go play with the high ISO and DX cameras and leave the D800 to what it is designed for. A High res Landscape/Studio camera.

    • +1

      Completely agree. It’s funny seeing all these people buying this camera and don’t even need the hi red.

    • Gordon

      Agree 100% also.

      I’m note sure why there is so much infatuation with High ISO performance and pushing the D800 into a mold it was not designed for. I want to see comparison reviews with the D3x, comparing dynamic range, image quality and sharpness; these are what are important to me as a landscape photographer.

      • Greg

        I think people are just as interested in what they’re giving up with a D800, as what they’re gaining. Obviously we gain resolution. Usually that means a loss in other areas. What I’m really very impressed by, however, is that it isn’t much of a loss at all…

      • I’m sticking with my old d3 rigs for weddings.. It’s all about speed. I used to shoot with the d3x for weddings also but sold it a few months ago as I didn’t really need the highres apart from my four page single shot flip out centre pages on my wedding albums. That’s the only time 12mp didn’t cut it as the viewer is normally looking at the album on their lap, 24mp did four 12×24 pages in a single shot, the 12mp d3 couldn’t do it. But.. Shooting the d3x is slow, everything is slow from the shutter speed, you had to double what shutter speed I’d be using on the d3 to stop hand motion blur. This is a massive pain in the bum! Doing that limits the usable ISO limits big time. The d800 is the same, you have to double the shutter speed you’d normally be shooting at, and in a wedding you don’t have time for this, it’s as simple as that. This d800 is not a good fit for wedding shooters period. Everyone here is doing still static objects to test their comparison d80 vs whatever, however I have yet to see a moving object like a person walking in a church at low light.. The d800 will not be your friend here at all, the d3x couldn’t do it, never mind a higher res d800! Sure use a flash in the church and see how many friends you win in the process and flash in church gives it a unnatural look that’s not good in the wedding albums. I always shoot in all manual for wedding album consistency. No upgrades for me.

        However 90% of my work now is video, so I’ll be longing for sonys new fs700 🙂 or something along those lines if I were to purchase a video rig and not rent it.

        Going to be in china for the next 3-6 months shooting a self-funded dock film, I’ll be grabbing three of those little GH2’s for that project, cheap and looks as good as 5dmk3 footage..

    • some bloke

      Thing is it’s NOT just a landscape/studio cam. Numerous tests have proven it can be used for much more. High ISO tests prove this and the AF system is very good.

    • Fishnose

      “Just go play with the high ISO and DX cameras and leave the D800 to what it is designed for”

      Oh I see. So you have an opinion about what people should use their cameras for. On what grounds?
      I can use my cameras as bloody doorstops if I want to. NONE of your business.
      ‘Play with’ yours however you like, I don’t give a shit. I guess you must be a real serious and real cool pro, since we others are ‘playing with’ our cameras id we donöt use them according to your rules.

  • Mike

    I’d love to see a comparison of dynamic range, color, and overall image quality (except ISO) between the D800 and D3x.

    • GeoffK

      why ? the D3x is discontinued and much more expensive.

  • jason

    Just need two things:

    1) ship the D800
    2) fix the existing issues with firmware. quickly.

  • Nolan White

    Does shooting the D800 in DX mode increase its FPS?

    • Steven Georges

      Yes, to 6fps. but only if you buy the Nikon MB-D12 Multi Battery Power Pack for $600 (with battery)
      In FX mode, the Power Pack won’t make the D800 any faster.

    • TnT

      FF – 4fps
      DX or 1.2x mode (w/o grip and big battery) – 5fps
      DX w/ Grip and battery – 6fps

  • Kim

    I’m now loving my D7000 more! for nearly half the D800, I’m happy with how it fared. And I don’t actually notice the difference on some of the shots. I doubt it would be noticeable when it’s not a side-by-side shot.

  • Bob

    D7000 looks very valuable at its price..

  • …since it’s done with NX, it’s interesting, but generally useless.

    ACR or LR would be a more interesting comparison.

    Really, what’s the percentage of people using NX vs. and Adobe solution?

    • Some guy

      LOL, good point actually. I suppose this would be a more ‘real world’ comparison.

      Come to think of it, it would b e interesting to see how NX processed images compare to CR/LR processed images to see how much the Nikon ‘secret sauce’ built into NX impacts image quality.

      • Ooh, I agree! Although, can’t you download a trial of NX?

  • Andrew

    Get the D3s and spend $5,000 versus the D800 which cost $3,000? No thanks.

    • Andrew

      This comment is inserted in the wrong place. Oh well!

    • Monkey Nigh Mow

      I have both. 😉

      The D3s doesn’t cost $5000 anymore bro.

    • The D800 with grip – and taxes in my area – is actually about the same price as a used D3s.

  • comparing the d800 and d7000’s – noise size and noise amount and noise color (they seem very similar), IMHO it seem pretty obvious that the d800 sensor is a larger generation of the d7000 sensor.

    waiting for my D800e from B&H..

  • Matt

    The colors look more saturated in the D3S samples.

    • Some guy

      I noticed a difference in color as well but wondered if it was just a saturation loss or a general ‘drift’ of color accuracy due to noise influence.

  • Banksie

    I’m still a bit confused. So which camera do I need to buy to become famous like Robert Frank or Josef Koudelka? And should I use ACR or NX to develop my files? Which one will make my photos look like Thomas Ruff’s or Philip-Loca diCorcia’s?

    What kind of CF and SD card should I buy? Also should I use the strap that comes with the camera or buy a different one?

    • smilesnkisses

      PS, love your post, 😉

      If you want to become famous like Robert Frank you can’t do it with either of these cameras, they aren’t good enough, but you can just get the d800 and go practise, His HQ Leica lenses and B/W had true resolution of 34MP with is about 40MP digital which means you’ll need the Sony 100 MP sensor of the D5 to be released in mid 2014 ( the 36MP D4x Due in Sept 2012 won’t help )
      You will need a Nikon Prime lens, I would suggest the 24 or 28 f/1.4 lenses.
      In the meantime, practise your stealth mode, and keep your camera in ‘quiet mode’.
      and get OUT of your environment, go EXPLORING and take pictures of things no one else is,, not the Kardashians but perhaps, everyday people.
      Go practise your ninja stealthiness.

      To achieve the greatness of Josef Koudelka, I suggest you give up. He started with 6×6 bakelite and then went on to a Rolli, with B/W film, you won’t get images that amazing with digital for a long time, so once again, if you don’t want to take my initial advice, then go practise your skill set until the camera is good enough to replace film.
      In this case you will need personality, to converse with your subjects and get them to pose for you. Again you will need high speed prime lenses so you can freeze the action, and you need now to find fun events and gatherings, maybe dogs meeting on a beach, or people going to church, you will need to get your subjects to revel in the FUN of photography, this will take you longer to develop as a skill than it will for a 56x56x200x200x3=400MP camera to be made, so,( about year 2020), be patient.

      Should you use ACR or NX to develop your files, I suggest neither, you seem to have no interest like everyone else in becoming the next Ansel Adams, and so you have no need for darkroom ( digital post processing skills ) just take better pictures, or MORE, that is the marvel of digital photography, you can go take 27,612 pictures and if you TRY on all of them, you will probably be able to choose 83 good ones from that series.

      To make you photos look like Thomas Ruff’s you are out of luck.
      You will need a 400MP colour camera to get images that a 4×5 film camera can make, but, in the mean time, you can practise with a d800. Now you will need a new skill, this is straight up portrait photography, so don’t forget to turn your contrast down and use the ‘portrait’ mode you will need to learn more about studio soft boxes for perfect lighting, and a LOT about posturing subject and conversing with people, yes this is another one of those,, you can’t be a secretive hiding introvert, you will need to TALK to people skill set.

      Philip-Lorca diCorcia, well now,, the camera isn’t important,, now, you will need to become a master of lighting, you will also need to get a sense of humour, obviously you have a good start from your post, so you are WELL on your way to making photos like this. Learn to SEE light, control light and imagine it, it will be the power of your pictures.

      Don’t forget to take boxing lessons, you need to be comfortable bobbing and weaving, most of these photographers you admire, were not tripod users, they used there knees and moved around.

      As for CF cards, buy hundreds of them, use them like film, maybe this will slow you down, and you will take better pictures.

      I don’t have any clue why you want a strap for your camera, it won’t work well hanging from your neck, you should HOLD the camera in your hands, it will take better pictures, than just hanging.

      I don’t think you needed to hear any of this, but I hope you smiled as much as your post made me smile.
      there is no ‘digital’ camera that will take the pictures you want,
      while you wait for a camera that good, just take pictures, and TRY
      try to be YOU,, not someone else when you are behind the camera
      keep trying,, you might become famous someday 😉

      What kind of CF and SD card should I buy? Also should I use the strap that comes with the camera or buy a different one?


      • Sebastian

        I like this thread. Nice antidote to all the pixel peeping. Which I like, too, btw.
        But I would like to see a quantitative comparison of MF and LF film vs. state-of- the-art digital FX before I believe all the above numbers. They’re not the point, I know.

      • Banksie

        Thanks, maybe you’re right. I tried to be Lewis Baltz once but I don’t chain smoke cigarettes and so that made it kind of difficult.

        But I dunno, all the stuff I’ve been reading on the internets says I can use these cameras and make great pictures and sell them. And when you think about it, how hard can it really be? And it looks like I can make pictures in the dark without a lot of those little colored dots showing up that everybody worries about all the time.

        And thanks, I’ll take some boxing lessons. That sounds like fun actually. But I don’t think I’ll need to ‘use my knees and move around’ because I am going to buy a zoom lens.

        zoom |zo͞om|
        verb [ no obj. ]
        1 (esp. of a car or aircraft) move or travel very quickly: we watched the fly zooming about | he jumped into his car and zoomed off.

        • smilesnkisses

          I think, that fly-on-the-wall ‘zooming” lens will work well for you.
          The whole internet thing, will, lets see, a piece of garbage give away camera launched holga, a russian non working camera made lomography as a mocking joke of it misfunction, hipstamatic was a trendy way to load digital FUNKY film, and instagram, is for people under 40 who think the crap photos ‘snapshots’ of the 70’s look SO cool, and,’retro’ with yellowing faded colors flare and scratches, that, a free app, just sold for a BILLION dollars,, I think, there is some merit to this, internet thing,, i am quite sure the instagram and facebook concept creators made more money than the top 1000 photographers ever made. So, I’m not to sure about this concept of your of being a photographer (photographic ‘artist’ ) and making money.
          I don’t seem to see much overlap in, art and making money.

          If you want to do something for passion or enjoyment, I sure you will be happy.

          As for those dots you can get from taking pictures in the dark, I think you may be onto something. No Really.
          I can’t think of a photographer that became famous ( or rich even ) from doing what was right and normal. They ALL did something NEW. Perhaps is you do what Frank did and take 27,000 pictures over 18 months, and then, choose the best 83 that have ‘colored dots’ that strike you as interesting,, perhaps you will find Jesus or Buddha or just McDonalds and Nike logos in the noise, if you can find 83 photos that are good for testing color blindness, you may become popular.

          Henri C-B is my personal favorite street photographer. and whether a photographer gets into the ‘hobby’ ( aka art ) from the mass hysteria of a new popular thing ( the Leica or the instagram )
          or he gets into ‘it’ from his shock of how gross and rude americans are,
          what makes the photographer seems to me to be his obcession with the subject and the whole enjoyment of the pictures and not the newest f/0.85 43mm lens. ( Pre-order yours today, if you want one with your Nikon D5 or the Canon mark 17 both due out before the next star wars movie )

          Will SLR move to having the sensor behind glass soon? Losing the mirror when the electronic viewfinder is 10 megapixels, wont this allow for internal ND filters ( really? do we need those, can we just turn the amp down?, can’t ISO be dialed down to 1,2,3,5,10? ) well, when will they put the sensor behind glass.

          Banksie, you seem quite bright. (sincerely)
          Perhaps you can explain to me one of two things
          why no one else is talking about this ( the next question )
          How does ANYONE believe the Nikon garbage, that the d800E takes the image and ‘blurs’ it vertically, then ‘un-blurs’ it to make NO AA filter effect.
          explain that to me,, a ray in each pixel, say in a column rows one to 5,
          now,, spread each ray out vertically, so pixel,, say,,,, 3 gets a bit from 2 a bit from 3 and a bit from 4,, now,, that is the first part of an AA filter, the next part would be to blur this laterally,, but,, what we are going to do is,,,, magic,, we will now UNBLUR,, that same pixel,, we will take out the part of pixel 3 that is from ray 2 and also the part from ray 4, AND we will bring back the part that went into 2 and 4 and put them back into pixel 3,, so,, effectively, we didn’t AA anything
          cuz,, we took the yellow ray of light and the blue one and the red one,
          mixed them up,, then UNCOMBINED them,

          seriously,, does ANYONE believe this
          does ANYONE read what they are saying
          does ANYONE think
          no one DARES question, Nikon.,, omg

          ok,, an electronic AA filter, they recently patented, that can be on/off like rotating polarizer, I get,,, you COULD limit AA blurring to being only vertical or vertical AND horizontal, but,, why hasn’t anyone thought about the impossibility of the physics of separating combined rays of light.

          I hope Mazda makes camera lenses soon

        • smilesnkisses

          on Monday I get my d800E, I will be selling my d800 right away if it works any better than the d800.
          I am at 10,000 shots on my d800, and I admit it is the best digital camera ‘I’ have used,, I haven’t shot a high end Hasselblad h4d-5o or even the h4d-31 nor a Leica S1 or S2, I am sure they are far superior cameras.

          In today’s world I don’t see many bargains,
          it seems you get what you pay for.
          if you pick a purpose and a price there is pretty much just ONE camera for you, they all seem to have their ‘niche’

          If you have $10,000 to spend on a camera system, I think the d800(E) is likely the best camera for your needs, (unless you have specific needs it doesn’t meet )


      • Rudi

        YUP! Are you already taking photos or are you still discussing cameras….

        As much as I like this site and browsing through it between shootings, but at least it’s all about taking photos, not pixel peeping or ashooring you have the right camera by comparing it to others you don’t have.

      • Tomas

        that feels so summative but complete!+++++++++++Loved it!!!

  • Ck

    I’m confused, how does having a pixel pitch that is 0.10µm larger than that of a D7000 sensor let you conclude it is based off a Sony Exmor design? We know the D7000 has Sony Silicon at its heart, but there isn’t a 36MP Exmor on the market just yet……

    I wouldn’t be suprised if there is a Sony sourced die at the heart of the 36MP CMOS, but the reasoning given here is odd

    • Michael

      From what I’ve seen, I can conclude that they used a cheaper sensor compared to D7000 (cheaper as in cheaper per unit area, probably have larger gaps) but better micro lenses.

  • Ks du

    Is ridiculous to downsamlple to 12.1 mp since d800 has a new technology 36.6mp. Waste it.

    • Josh

      You are obviously an idiot and don’t understand why he did that. Did you finish your G.E.D. yet?

      • Sigh. Kindness isn’t necessary, Josh, but it’s always appreciated.

        • Josh FTW

          Josh was right though. Brutish, but right.

      • Oy

        Josh, people like you make places like this much less enjoyable.

  • juicebox81

    So….. what you’re saying is that the D800 is a great camera?!

  • F

    Great article! Also confirmed for me that the D800 does in fact have a 1.5 DX crop (I believe 1.2 or 1.3 was mentioned somewhere before). This is exactly the type of camera I was waiting for to replace my D700 🙂

    • Monkey Nigh Mow

      It has both a 1.2 and a 1.5 crop mode. It also has a 5:4 mode for some reason.

  • Joel

    I’ve shot with both and I can tell you that the D4 is easily 2 stops better than the D7000, pulling away from ISO 1600 upwards.

  • Pixel Peeper

    Can someone, please, explain to me why they think you can get more resolution out of a down sampled image than a native image at the same resolution? This keeps getting repeated, and it doesn’t make any sense to me. A 12mp image will have 12mp of resolution whether the light is integrated in the pixel or in software.

    I don’t see a huge difference in apparent high-frequency detail in the images where it’s indicated in the text, with the one exception being the brown book binding, but that looks more like an exposure/dr issue than a resolution issue.

    The AA filter on the D800 is weak, no doubt about it– I get visible aliasing in some images, and my AF fine tune images looked more like rainbows than focus targets. To the extent that there is extra detail, much of it is false detail. Once you downsample, however, the color fringing will carry through a bit, but the added detail of the 36MP sensor gets washed out by the low pass filter operation you just put it through.

    I suspect people are getting fooled by the sharpening that photoshop applies after the downsample. No sharpening is being applied to the native 12MP image.

    Don’t get me wrong, some sharpening needs to be applied to the reduced image because the downsample softens the output, but it seems unfair to apply sharpening to one image and then credit the camera for a sharper image.

    • Simple really. The D800 is capturing more high-frequency detail at its native resolution than the native 12.1mp sensor is, at its native resolution. When down-sampled, this high-frequency detail gets carried down with the down-sample. The result is a sharper image with more high-frequency detail than the native 12.1mp image. You can’t create detail that wasn’t there, but you can make the extra detail smaller. The native 12.1mp image can’t capture those high-frequency details that the 36.3 mp camera can. Sharpening has zero to do with this – again, you can’t create detail that wasn’t captured, especially not with sharpening.

      This is a fact of down-sampling.

      • I meant to add that the blurring effect of the AA filter is reduced when the image is down-sampled. Yet, the native 12.1 mp image still has the AA filter effects. The D800 most likely has a weaker AA filter than the D3s as well, which also helps. The D800E will be even sharper at native resolution, but will likely look exactly the same as the D800 when down-sampled, due to the same scenario explained above.

        • LeGO

          Cary, I would like to suggest the following as a test to determine whether the D800 has a weaker AA filter than the D7000.

          Take 1 photo of a scene using a D800 and take the same scene with 3 photos using a D7000 and photo-merged these 4 photos to approximately the same 36mp image size of a D800.

          In addition to testing the above idea, I expect you will get rather interesting results on the D800 vs D7000 image quality in terms of SNR, DR and acuity at the borders and corners.

          • LeGO


            “… and photo-merged these 3 photos to approximately the same 36mp image size of a D800.”

      • Yes and no. A pixel is a pixel, and once you reach that level, you can’t cram any more detail into it. It’s just a square with a single hue and a single luminance value (and, in raw files, some extra data from the original capture about the relative hue/luminance values of the pixel to the rest of the pixels around it). A perfect lens on a low resolution camera with no anti-aliasing filter and no Bayer filter would theoretically have the same perceptual and actual resolution as an image from a higher resolution camera that is downsampled to the size of the lower resolution camera. In the real world, of course, we have imperfect lenses and filters over the sensors on most cameras (including infrared filters, though I don’t know that they affect image sharpness), so the downsampling technique continues to give higher resolution images.

        And yes, the software used to downsample the image does play a role in increasing perceived sharpness.

        The resolution of Leica digital cameras is higher than comparable cameras by other brands because of the great lenses and lack of antialiasing filters, so Leicas fare better in comparisons of downdampled high resolution images from other cameras. Still not perfect, but closer.

        It would be interesting to compare a D800 to a Leica M9 and see whether the downsampled higher resolution images from the D800 are any better than the Leica images.

      • Sebastian

        Agree with the yes and no.
        How much perceived detail is retained in downsampling depends on the algorithm used. With simple pixel binning, it makes no difference whether you have 2×2 pixels with size a x a, then bin them, or 1 pixel with size 2a x2a. Not for photon noise, nor for resolution. Sure you had more resolution when you started with the a x a pixel, but it doesn’t “carry down” to the downsampled image. That is to say that downsampling is a low-pass filter.
        (From an information point of view, the information contained in extra resolution of the original is converted into extra SNR in the binned image.)

        However, I presume that’s not what bicubic “sharpening” does. Clearly the downsampled images do actually have more perceived acuity. So it may be that some sharpening is applied in addition to bicubic downsampling.

        Nevertheless, if you’re interested in real-world results, it seems fair to use real-world post processing (here, bicubic sharpening). And then there may be an advantage to higher resolution. If you want a more quantitative assessment of the pure sensor performance, use the most simple and transparent way of downsampling (binning). Trouble is, binning only gets you to integer fractions of the original.

        • Pixel Peeper

          I think that for “real world” results, you’d apply sharpening to the native image just as you did to the down sampled. It makes the comparison subjective, but that’s kind of what real world means… The fact that the D800 image “accidentally” gets sharpened already already makes the test non-quantitative.

          (since I’ve already got my full geek on, I’ll mention that I don’t think you’re boosting SNR when you down sample, I think you’re simply destroying information– both signal and noise– and then adding a bit of “noise” because you’re binning rather than sinc interpolating, numerical precision, etc, etc. Yes, really, really, moot point on my part, I just can’t help myself sometimes…)

          • Sebastian

            Binning by a factor of x (in both image dimensions) increases photon count (or equivalent digital counts after A/D) on the newly formed superpixel by x^2. Noise also increases, but only by sqrt(x^2)=x. Therefore signal/noise increases by x.
            This is assumes the signal is shot-noise limited. Which is a pretty good assumption for all but the highest ISO on modern SLR detectors.

            • Pixel Peeper

              Yep, you’re right.

      • Pixel Peeper

        I raised this same question on an earlier thread, Cary, so I’m not picking on your review. I’m just trying to understand where this assertion keeps coming from, and I appreciate that you took the time to respond.

        The part I’m still having trouble with is “when down-sampled, this high frequency detail gets carried down with the down-sample”. The high frequency detail explicitly gets removed in the down sample– down sampling is a low pass filter. Essentially a blur and a decimation.

        You can see some of the effect of the low pass filtering by choosing the simple ‘bi-cubic’ resampling as opposed to ‘bi-cubic sharper’, but even the simple bi-cubic usually has chosen a convolution kernel with some sharpening embedded in it.

        I agree that the native 12mp image still has some remnants of the AA filter roll off, but the down sampled image still has some remnants of the resample. The AA filter probably smears information across a couple adjacent pixels, but then so does the bi-cubic. The bi-cubic shares information with neighbors two pixels away in each direction, which can’t be much better than what the AA filter does (I can’t find response curves for bi-refringence filters online…).

        I agree you can’t create detail, but you can make extra detail smaller– which is what both the AA filter roll off and the bi-cubic operation are doing. Sharpening is a high pass filter, which boosts the high frequency detail that both of those operations attenuate. It’s not creating detail, it’s boosting frequencies that were attenuated.

        • While detail is destroyed in a down-sample, how much detail is destroyed depends on how much we down-sample from the native resolution. Eventually, if we keep down-sampling, we equalize both images and neither will have any detail advantage over the other, perceived or otherwise. You’re operating under the assumption that 12.1MP is that limit.

          As for Bicubic Sharper, I compared three different damn-samples. 1. A simple resize of the RAW in NX2 and save as JPEG, PS Bicubic and PS Bicubic Sharper. I couldn’t tell a difference at 12.1 MP, so I went with Bicubic Sharper, since this was a real-world test and this is what most people would use to down-sample. In every example, the D800 shot had much more high-frequency detail and sharpness. You’re more than welcome to download the full-res images from Flickr (link at the bottom of the article) and perform this test yourself. I have no way to offer NEF files for download, or I would have.

          • I believe a slightly more quantitative approach would have been to choose a smaller resolution (lets say 8MP) and resized both the the D3s and D800 samples to this size. It may not make much of a difference to the final results but It would have removed one more variable in better keeping with the scientific method.

      • Aaron Shepard

        I have to say, I was disappointed that you chose Bicubic Sharper. We’ve been discussing that setting in the Adobe forums related to the Photoshop CS6 Beta, and most of us agree that the additional sharpening it applies to images is excessive, at least at Web resolutions. Someone posted a cropped image to show how much haloing it produced, and I was appalled.

        Unfortunately, the new Bicubic Automatic setting merely chooses between Bicubic Sharper and Bicubic Smoother — which also applies sharpening to edges! The lesson is to stick to Bicubic and apply sharpening manually, if needed.

    • ShaunLy

      Those test image make it slightly difficult to see the details difference. Here’s a link to the same test but at 6400ISO

      You can clearly see the advantage of detail level from downsizing the 36mp D800.

      • Pixel Peeper

        The noise level makes it a bit hard to make out what’s detail (detail comparison should be done at base ISO), but I can’t say I’m seeing any content in one image that isn’t present in the other– one is just a bit sharper, presumably because it ran through whatever magic CS5 applied.

  • Jabilsn007

    Wow. All of these cameras take great photos of books on a shelf. Yay!

    • Marco

      that did make me lol i have to admit.

  • Why is the red mark different on the D800/D4 compared to the D7000?

  • Dainius

    D3s is the best 😉

  • Av

    Are the RAW files on the D800 in DX crop mode 15.4MP or did you have to downsample them from 36.3MP?

  • Alex

    D3s better colour density and colour noise from ISO 6400,
    when viewed from key frames. imho

    • Monkey Nigh Mow

      I agree with this. I did the same test (D800 vs D3s) and found the D3s and D800 match each other pretty closely to 6400iso, then after that the D3s pulls away a bit (resizing the D800 to 12MP that is).

  • kulturindustrie

    Thank you for this interesting comparison!

    I am somehow disappointed regarding one aspect of the D800:
    It seems to me that noise is especially bad with the color red, as it is seen in the test d800 vs d7000 (in the comparison of the FX-bodies this seems not to be so striking althogh also visible). Is there an explanation to this?

    I’ve worked with the d7000 using high ISO to do portraits in dark light situation (key note speakers for example) and I was able to use the d7000 up to ISO 1000, unless the pictures were supposed to be used for web display only and not for print. It seems to me, that this is related to the fact that the color red is especially bad reproduced in high ISO and therefore delivers skin tones quite unsatisfying.

    In all the tests and reviews on the d800 it is difficult to find information on how the d800 renders skin tones at high ISO. Do you have any experiences in this regard you could share with us, Cary?

  • Srini

    NR Admin,

    Earlier, you reported a flash misfiring issue in D800. Do you have any further reports on this please?


  • Peter Sharder

    I Wonder why People are spending so much more Money for such small differences.
    You get 97%of the power for 20% of the Price Buying a d7000 instead of a d800!?

    The d800 Looks a Little Bit better than the d7000, of Course.
    But you have to Zoom into the Pics, doing crops and go above iso3200 to noTice it.
    Up to iso 3200 it is Nothing worth to think about imho.

    • zlik

      @ Peter Sharder

      “I Wonder why People are spending so much more Money for such small differences.
      You get 97%of the power for 20% of the Price Buying a d7000 instead of a d800!?”

      The comparison is between D7000 and D800 in DX mode !
      In FX mode, the D800 smokes the D7000.

  • chrisji

    Reviews always test high ISO in a GOOD lighting environment. However in real world, we normally use high ISO in a LOW light environment.

  • peterw

    compliments with the article.
    interesting aspects of the possibilities this camera.

    I was puzzled by a comment you make. You state
    “A down-sampled image that has more high-frequency detail is a better candidate for noise-reduction via software (Lightroom 4, Topaz DeNoise…etc) and can handle more aggressive noise reduction, while still retaining high-frequency detail that’s usually lost during aggressive noise-reduction.”
    From a technical point of view, any filter applied – especially the ones using various correlation algorithms or spectral analyses algorithms like noise reduction – would be more effective when applied to all the data, so prior to down-sampling. Of course judgement of the results should be done after resampling (so not in 100% view).

    Do I understand you wrongly?

  • cameramm

    thanks for the exellent test! I bought a new D4 and was a little bit disappointed about the very small changes in autofocus and high iso quality/pixel amounts to the D3s, but the D800 that I bought was a real surprise! I wish they put the D800 sensor into the fast D4! That would have been the best pro camera for that high prize! I think also Nikon is surprized by the quality of the D800 sensor (coming from outside of their laboratories) – otherwise they wouldn’t have to create the 16mp D4 sensor, wich cost a lot of money in development. I am shooting sports at a professional level and can say that no pro photographers really needs ISO over 6400! One Question about the downsampling: Would the effect be the same, when using file size M instead of L in the camera Menu?

    • zlik

      You forget that it’s not possible to get 10 FPS with 36 MP, too much data for the processor.

      • silmasan

        “not yet feasible” sounds more accurate

        • zlik

          …my reply was about the D4, so yes, “not at the time the D4 was announced”.

      • cameramm

        Canon has 2 new digic 5 processors, taking 18mp 14fps – so Nikon should handle 36mp with at least 7fps – if you also have the massive buffer in mind, that should also be possible with 10 frames … or you could use file size M with just 22mp with more fps processing – again, I think they didn’t expect the Sony Sensor this good ..

  • Bob

    Why is the D800/E so special? Well first and foremost it is the product of a major tragedy, the earthquake, tsunami and floods that, disrupted production for so long. I’m sure it is by means the camera Nikon were planning to give us three years ago. It has benefited from a much newer sensor and the designers have not been restricted to legacy production lines that have been destroyed. This camera really is a ‘clean start’ for and a brand new Nikon ‘flagship’. It is however a niche product, aimed at the current high end commercial pro and I doubt it will be overtaken in that respect for a year or two. As for the so called ‘disadvantages’ they fall well outside this niche’s concern. It is NOT an ultra-high ISO, spray and prey, in the dark press camera, nor is it for armatures, with limited technical ability and hard disk space. It is a pure pro machine for those who need high resolution. Computers move on a pace… The so called “Enormous” file size will be common place in a year or two’s time, so don’t blame Nikon foe being ahead of the game. Those who thought 2.7 MG was more than enough at the time are probably still happy with their D1’s. We have had to wait for Nikon to overcome natural disasters and will have to wait even longer for them to overcome the unprecedented demand for this camera but those who need what it offers are without question the winners here. It is simply the best FX DLSR in the world, bar none, for those who ‘need’ what it does and does best and bodes well for those just wanting a faster FPS/ISO D700 or an uprated D300s DX.
    You can’t have it all in ‘one camera’, any more than in ‘one’ car, phone or computer.

  • John Richardson

    and yes…it comes in PINK!

    • silmasan


  • R!

    This 3 cameras are complementary ,they constitute a perfect system to take pictures in any condition,I’d remplace the D3s with a D4 and D800 by the E version and this is the winner trio of all time.

  • SNRatio

    Lots of interesting things here. I’m not quite sure if everything is completely comparable, though – applying downsampling with bicubic sharpener, for instance. But it sure tells practically relevant stories.

    One thing I find a bit puzzling is the relatively clear difference D800/D7000 at high ISO. This, to me, seems to contradict the DXOmark results where they come out almost identical at pixel level, and surely not diverging at higher ISOs, as it may seem, at least at first sight. From the DXOmark results, I had expected them to come out more close, the entire supremacy of the D800 being due to sensor area.

    Maybe it illustrates that every set of tests concentrates on some parameters, and the practically relevant ones may constitute a more or less different set?

    As for high ISO interest in D800: For example, just to control camera shake, I may have to half the exposure time. Everything else being constant, I would then have to double the ISO setting. For lots of practical uses, it sure is important that it delivers at ISO 800-3200 the way it does.

  • SNRatio

    I’m just wordering:

    The D800 downsampled to 12MP beats the D700, it is said. Per downsampled pixel, the D7000 downsampled to 5.5 MP should then approach the same quality. What about a comparison of that with a 5.5MP downsample of the D700 @ISO 800-25600?

    • Zlik

      I did this comparison but between D7000 and D3s. D7000 downsampled to 5.5MP vs D3s in DX mode 5.5 MP. The D7000 holds up impressively well. At 12800 ISO, the amp glow (magenta cast in the shadows) pulls the D7000 back.

      • SNRatio

        Thanks for the information! About what I would suspect, then. It is impressive, really, when considering how few electrons are actually making up the signals @6400+ ISO. And 5.5MP is really a lot for low-light pictures, and twice the resolution of the D1H, for example..

        But the D800 results indicate that there is still quite a bit of room for improvement even with same type of pixels, don’t they?

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