Customer Review

145 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why I chose D800 (instead of D800E), May 3, 2012
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This review is from: Nikon D800 36.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
(There are already many reviews on how this camera compare to the older Nikon D700, it's competitor: Canon 5D Mark III, so I won't reiterate)

About me: Been using SLR for over 20 years... first 10 on film, recent 10 on digital SLR's. I've used Leica, Nikon, Canon SLR's... and I've longed to get the next full-frame (FX) camera after Nikon D700 (without referring it to "D700 replacement"). When the camera was finally announced, it came out like a pair of twins were born. The D800 and D800E are almost identical, and I wasn't sure which baby to choose. If you have the same dilemma, read on...

Many people (myself included) doesn't seemed overly concerned that D800 is $300 cheaper, because many photographers are perfectionists and the hope that D800E offers sharper images makes it really tempting. But after after much research and comparisons, I finally chose D800 (no E). Why??? Here's my rationale:

Eventually, the choice to get D800E instead of D800 hinges on trade-off between
* benefits of greater sharpness, against
* cost or risk of Moire (or unexpected patterns in the pics/video)

Depending on what you shoot:
* portraits, fashion, weddings, architectures, wide range of stuff => Go for D800
* macro, landscape, tripod-mounted shots or those with time to position light/camera/subject => Go for D800E

Moire MAY occur when you shoot repeated patterns, such as:
* fabrics (on clothes)
* glass or windows of buildings
* straight hair of people
Once it happens, it's not easy to remove in photos (despite claims that a few clicks on Adobe Lightroom 4, or Photoshop). It's also more problematic in video, which I'm not sure how it can be corrected.

As such, one camp of people would say they rather have sharper images ALL the time, and risk a small x% of time that they get Moire. That seems fine reason except that to get the sharper images distinguishable between the 800E and the 800, it's ALMOST ALWAYS due to other factors such as:
1. lens (do you have the high quality glass)
2. filter (high quality filter in front of lens?)
3. ISO (if you shoot at high ISO, the noise will eliminate such clarity)
4. f/stop or aperture (depth of field)
5. camera shake (tripod?)
6. how close you examine the photo

To detect the clarity difference between D800 and D800E, according to Nikon, you need to be shooting at 3 stops above max aperture of a great lens (usually f8-f11). Above this range, it negates the benefits of D800E. Furthermore, in order to see the difference, you need to pixel peep, and at the plane of focus.
- I typically shoot with wide aperture for the bokeh and rarely are my subjects in the same flat plane
- I usually don't look so closely at my photos, so that clarity is good to have but not critical

To detect Moire, you can likely see it with your naked eye if the area is large. It can occur on a person's cloths, or a building or just railing beside your subject.
- You can prevent this before you shoot by repositioning the lights, subject or camera. But it's a chore!
- You can fix it after you shoot with software. But it requires the shot be on RAW format to be more effective! Also a chore!.

If like me, you don't want to deal with these pre-production and post-production work and just want to enjoy taking great shots of what you see, then I believe D800 is yours to buy. Precious moments are limited and I'd rather spend extra time capturing them than figuring out how to avoid or fix Moire. There are people with patience and care to fix all these, but I'm not one of them... and perhaps by then, another new camera would have been born - hopefully not a triplet this time. :)

I've been toying with this new camera and will post additional comments soon...

If this helps you better decide which camera is better for you, let me (and others know) by clicking the "Is this review helpful" below. I'm sure there are other reviewers out there who would give various viewpoint and hopefully this will add a valuable perspective as well.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 3, 2012 2:52:47 AM PDT
shuai zhang says:
Great review. May i ask when did you place your order?

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2012 8:11:02 AM PDT
K. Chua says:
Thanks. I ordered Feb 7 1207am PT.

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 9:37:26 AM PDT
A. Amiri says:
Hello, I was wondering if you've run into the left-point Auto Focus problem that many people have reported and demonstrated in numerous blogs. I love this camera, but the AF concern is a big problem for me. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 9:50:19 AM PDT
K. Chua says:
No. I don't believe I have this issue.
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Location: Los Angeles, CA United States

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