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Customer Review

on August 10, 2012
I bought one of the first D800 bodies Nikon sold. And, yes, I had the left-side AF issues that other folks describe in these reviews. I had been using the camera for a couple of months, and was very pleased with the quality of images I was getting. However, I decided to have the left side focus points fixed in case I ever needed to move my focus point over to the left side. I sent my D800 in to Nikon USA Repair in Melville, NY. It came back fixed and worked great.

In the meantime, a D800E arrived that had been on order since February 7th. After a week of shooting both the D800 and D800E, I decided to sell the D800 and buy another D800E. I like to have two identical bodies so I always have a backup camera on treks, and one that has the same controls as my other body. I was planning to keep the D800 as my backup until I saw the images coming out of the D800E and after I did extensive testing with the FoCal software from Reikan Technology.

I only shoot RAW (Nikon NEF format). While I could post process the images from the D800 and D800E using Adobe Creative Suite CS6, and make them look almost identical...they were in fact not identical. As long as I was shooting landscapes, the images from the two cameras would appear to have the same level of details in my first prints. However, when I started to do prints larger than 16 in x 24, I was convinced the D800E was the winner. You could clearly see the finer details.

After I started using the FoCal software to do my AF Fine Tuning, I also found major differences in the sharpness the D800E could produce. While FoCal is not currently designed for use in comparing camera bodies, it does provide that capability if you carefully control the lighting on your target, the distance to target and the camera/lens settings. When I did this apples-to-apples comparison between the D800 and the D800E on all of my Nikon lens (14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 200-400mm), I found the aperture sharpness results for the D800E were substantially higher than the results from the D800 for every lens...and consistently so. When I zoomed in on the shots of the target for a visual comparison, I could also see a difference, especially in the fine details in the target.

I don't yet know how much more details I will get for all types of shots, but I do know I can crop the D800E images significantly more than I can crop D800 images and end up with better details. For any kind of animal or bird shot, where I do not have the luxury of setting up for perfect composure, having more details means I can worry about composition later because I know I can crop more. I have cropped down to 10% of some D800E images, and still had enough details to make a nice 8x10 print without using special fractal software. Now that is detail I can live with!
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