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D800 vs D700 in low light uses

ajdooley

Waterloo, US
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ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Fri 18-Jan-13 12:54 PM

My query is to those who have moved from the D700 to the D800 -- and it focuses on usability in low light situations that require high ISOs to get adequate exposures.

I use two D700 cameras. My photography includes aerial work, event coverage (conferences, meetings, etc.) and what I call "location photography," which spans the gamut from construction sites to what can also be termed photojournalism. In fact, I do substantial work for a small midwest weekly newspaper, including sports photography in some dimly lighted high school gymnasiums. By dim, I mean ISO 6400, 1/200th at f4.

Finally - my question. How do you feel your D800 performs at high ISOs when compared to results from your D700 in similar situations?

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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FineArtSnaps

Leesburg, US
401 posts

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#1. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 0

FineArtSnaps Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jun 2012
Fri 18-Jan-13 12:35 PM

Alan, I can't compare my D800 with a D700 because I never had a D700, but I can compare it with my D3, which has the same sensor as the D700. On the face of it the D800 performs almost exactly as the D3 did at ISO 6400, but in post-processing, I can knock out some of the noise in the D800 file by downsampling to 12 mpx. In the end, I see a little less noise for an equal file size in a given situation with the D800 than I'd see with the D3.

Russ Lewis
www.russ-lewis.com
www.FineArtSnaps.com

jrp

San Pedro Garza García, MX
38855 posts

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#2. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 0

jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter Member
Fri 18-Jan-13 01:13 PM | edited Wed 23-Jan-13 02:56 AM by jrp

DXO Mark scores the D800E sensor at 96, that of the D800 at 95 and the D700's one at 80.
That is, the D800 sensor is about 16% better than the one on the D700 which I still own.
The Dynamic Range of the D800 is 14.4 Evs, 12.2 for the D700.

Here is recent sample shot made with the D800 at ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/30s at Death Valley

Click on image to view larger version


I know I could have upped the ISO to 3200 or even 6400 for a faster shutter speed to both make the camera steadier and avoiding stars movement; however my brain was numb with the cold and wind.

Attachment#1 (jpg file)

Have a great time :-)
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Mainly at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story
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phil711

Williams, US
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#3. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 0

phil711 Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jun 2008
Fri 18-Jan-13 03:26 PM

Hi Alan,

I have and use both the D700 and D800E. I consider them equal, except when planning for a large print when I naturally favor the D800E. For smaller prints, I find Russ's coments about downsampling right on. At high ISO, I believe noise no more of a problem with one than the other.

I find any difference between the D700 and D800E when making small (8x10) prints is negigible -- the D700 prints need a slightly different sharpening process but, in my opinion, the images turn out essentially equivalent to the D800E. Ditto for images prepared for internet use. There are slight differences in the way colors are rendered.

For large prints, the D800E is king regardless of the lighting situation. I am still amazed at times with the images that come out of that body. But, the D700 is still an excellent excellent body and I continue to use and value it. For the past several months I have kept a 24-120 f/4 lens on it and I use either the 24-70 f/2.8 or the 70-200 f/2.8 on the D800E.

From your post, I would expect the D800 will not be signifcantly better and I would suggest borrowing or renting a D800 should precede a decision to purchase one. Be careful. I expect if you try it, you will love it.

Phil

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Ray Gerke

winnipeg, CA
633 posts

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#4. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 0

Ray Gerke Registered since 12th Sep 2004
Fri 18-Jan-13 07:07 PM

I can only add my voice to those above. the D700 is outstanding on low light and I think that the D800 is slightly better in real world terms. the amazing dynamic range on the D800 makes low light shots look better than on the D700 and I am always impressed with the low light photos I get from my D800. It is an amazing camera (as was the D700)

Ray Gerke

D800, D5300, D2HS, D700 (sold), D7000(sold), CP520, CP510
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Sigma 30mm f/1.4, Sigma 150-500mm OS

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Clint S

Chula Vista, US
460 posts

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#5. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 0

Clint S Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011
Sun 20-Jan-13 03:57 AM

At 6400 I like the D800, even at its native resolution, slightly better than the D700 image. But there is not enough difference to upgrade for that reason alone.

I had sold my D700 awhile ago, but I was finding when shooting 800+ photos at events that the processing time, from downloading to final output, was more time consuming than I wanted to spend. So I have just procured another D700 to shoot these kind of events.

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icslowmo

Surprise, US
613 posts

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#6. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 2

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Sun 20-Jan-13 03:59 AM | edited Sun 20-Jan-13 04:03 AM by icslowmo

I feel iso 3200 isn't bad either:

D800E 24-70 f/2.8 @ 24mm f/4 15 sec. iso3200

Click on image to view larger version


Same settings but at f/2.8:

Click on image to view larger version


Chris

Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)

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mklass

Tacoma, US
7437 posts

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#7. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 0

mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006
Sun 20-Jan-13 03:12 PM

Alan,

I find them to be about equal. Above ISO3200 the noise is too much for anything with fine detail. I prefer to stay below 2200.

Even then, unless I am looking for a large file, I'll use the D3s when light is a problem. I'll take that to 6400 without a care.

Here are some samples from a recent Puget Sound Nikonians shoot on a day with poor lighting. All were taken with a D800e, Sigma 150-500 OS on a monopod at f/6.3, 1/500sec. These were a sequence taken with Auto ISO on. These are 100% crops

At ISO4000

Click on image to view larger version


At ISO 3600
Click on image to view larger version


At ISO 2200
Click on image to view larger version


Unfortunately, I didn't have my D3s along to provide some comparisons.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
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Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)
Attachment#3 (jpg file)

stenrasmussen

Hundvåg, NO
447 posts

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#8. "It is better when normalised to 12mp" | In response to Reply # 7

stenrasmussen Registered since 19th May 2006
Mon 21-Jan-13 02:39 PM

Here's a shot at ISO 6400.


Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

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mklass

Tacoma, US
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#9. "RE: It is better when normalised to 12mp" | In response to Reply # 8

mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006
Mon 21-Jan-13 03:14 PM | edited Mon 21-Jan-13 03:17 PM by mklass

Nice image, but most anything looks good downsized to fit within the forum size limit. This image is 1200x700px and 169KB. Printed, it image would be only 4x2.3in (101x58mm).

Could you either post a 100% crop of part of the image (say a face) that fits within the forum size limits without resizing, or the full image in your gallery to examine?

Mick
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stenrasmussen

Hundvåg, NO
447 posts

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#10. "RE: It is better when normalised to 12mp" | In response to Reply # 9

stenrasmussen Registered since 19th May 2006
Mon 21-Jan-13 03:57 PM

I can do that later when home from work.

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ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3387 posts

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#11. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 0

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Mon 21-Jan-13 05:02 PM

All - I am going to remove my cloaknig device that hides my stupidity on the way this thread has progressed since I asked the original D800 vs D700 at Hi ISO question.

What do we mean by "normalizing" the D800 image to 12.2mp. I assume that means resizing a D800 image to the same number of pixels as the D700? If so, wouldn't that be like comparing two sprinters by cutting a foot off of one of them?

I'm in the transporter, ready to be beamed down to understanding!

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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cbrandin

US
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#12. "RE: It is better when normalised to 12mp" | In response to Reply # 10

cbrandin Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Nov 2011
Mon 21-Jan-13 06:49 PM

It depends in what you are interested in measuring - the amount of noise in the image (all else being equal), or the amount of noise in each pixel. Sensor technology is sufficiently advanced so that the biggest determinant of noise is pixel size. It comes down to the number of photons that can get into the pixel well in low light conditions - it's a fundamental physics problem. Big pixels will always exhibit less noise than small ones. That's why full frame sensors have better low light performance than smaller ones - because each pixel is bigger than it would be if you crammed the same number of pixels in a smaller space. Conversely, if you cram more pixels in the same space, each individual pixel will be noisier. The catch is that by downsampling you are creating bigger "virtual" pixels by combining smaller ones.

I think downsampling a D800 image to 12MP is fair for comparison if you are interested in comparing the final image. If the question is whether final images from a D800 will look as good, or better, than those produced by a D700 when printed to the same size - then the answer is yes. If the question is whether a single pixel will be noiser (a useless comparison, in my opinion) then the answer is probably no. After all, what is it we are producing with these cameras - images, or something else?

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FineArtSnaps

Leesburg, US
401 posts

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#13. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 11

FineArtSnaps Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jun 2012
Mon 21-Jan-13 07:51 PM

Alan, I's not a question of "normalizing." You asked how the two sensors compare. The only reasonable way to make a comparison is to make the comparison files equal in size. For that kind of comparison it wouldn't make any sense to upsample the D700 file to 36.3 mpx, since you can't add information that isn't there to begin with. But you can downsample the D800 file to 12 mpx. By doing that you lose a bit of fine detail, but you also lose noise. A D800 file at 100% is going to look noisier than an equivalent D700 file at 100% because on your monitor you're looking at a much smaller part of the file. As near as I can tell, there's not enough difference between the two sensors in a high noise situation to get excited about. But the D800's dynamic range and color reproduction beat out the D3/D700. I was going to say "hands down," but the difference isn't quite that extreme.

Russ Lewis
www.russ-lewis.com
www.FineArtSnaps.com

ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3387 posts

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#14. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 13

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Mon 21-Jan-13 08:05 PM

Russ -- I further exposed ignorance by not even referring to the process with the correct terminology. So thank you for explaining the what and why. I see now that the downsizing is for illustration and comparison only -- or at least I think it is! I frequently downsize images for the paper I work for part time -- both since they don't need the total resolution and to make it easier to send photos as email attachments. This reduces 10mb jpgs to 2.5mb. So I think I grasp what is being done. I just didn't realize the other results -- maybe in my case, unintented consequences!

You and I shared some parallel tracks -- you in the AF and me in the Navy. I spent 9 years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after 31 in the Navy. My last duty station though was Scott AFB in Illinois(USTRANSCOM.) I too am trying to do photography as a profession, although to date it has mostly financed acquistion of equipment. I have not finished the paper work yet, but I think I finally rolled a profit over this year! We'll see at tax time.

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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FineArtSnaps

Leesburg, US
401 posts

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#15. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 14

FineArtSnaps Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jun 2012
Mon 21-Jan-13 09:41 PM

Hi Alan, Actually I'm not trying to do photography as a profession. I do what's laughingly described as "fine art photography" and make enough gallery sales to puff up my ego sometimes. But what I did for 30 years after I retired from the USAF in 1977 was software engineering, which I loved almost as much as photography. I did some commercial photography on the side back in the sixties -- portraits, a few weddings, etc., but I found I hated doing that kind of thing. Weddings were the worst. What the bride's mother invariably wanted was pictures she recognized as "wedding pictures:" in other words the worst kind of clichés.

Congrats on your military career. I enjoyed mine, even though I went to war three times and always found war not really to my liking. But the problem-solving involved always was fascinating.

Russ Lewis
www.russ-lewis.com
www.FineArtSnaps.com

stenrasmussen

Hundvåg, NO
447 posts

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#16. "Here is the 100% crop" | In response to Reply # 10

stenrasmussen Registered since 19th May 2006
Tue 22-Jan-13 06:31 PM

No fancy PP made.

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

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stenrasmussen

Hundvåg, NO
447 posts

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#17. "D800 "normalised to 12 mp" vs. D3" | In response to Reply # 0

stenrasmussen Registered since 19th May 2006
Tue 22-Jan-13 06:41 PM

This is a test I did quite a while back. Notice the blue cast on the wooden stick in the D800's Hi2 image. Dunno what I did to cause that

(due to the 1200px with limitations I had to reduce the image from 1417px, hence not 100% but ca 85%)

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

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stenrasmussen

Hundvåg, NO
447 posts

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#18. "D800 vs. D3 at ISO 8000" | In response to Reply # 17

stenrasmussen Registered since 19th May 2006
Tue 22-Jan-13 06:48 PM

Here at native resolution.

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

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ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3387 posts

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#19. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 0

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Tue 22-Jan-13 08:25 PM

Thanks to all!

My faith in Nikonians members as a source of valuable, honest, accurate information continues to soar!

Some site this group as second only to their cameras in their enjoyment of photography. It's a close second though! I am convinced enough to plan on adding a D800 to my arsenal. That will allow me to make my own observations about the D800 vs. my D700s. I suspect I will appreciate the D800 a great deal. If it proves to be superior in my work with my technique, or to be better in some ways than the D700 and inferior in others, I will keep both. I suspect eventually I will have two D800s and a single D700 as a back up.

Again -- thanks to all.

Alan

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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mklass

Tacoma, US
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#20. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 13

mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006
Tue 22-Jan-13 10:03 PM

I disagree about how to compare images. The only fair way, to my mind, is to compare the 2 cameras by taking the same image and looking at the results at the native resolution. You may want to do a straight comparison of each or several ISO setting, or you may want to just look for that camera's particular "sweet spot" to find it's best. You also may want to play with the camera's internal noise control setting for the same purpose.

If I'm using my D800e, it is because I want a large, detailed image. If I only want a 12MP image, I'll use my D3s which is much better at higher ISO.

Dynamic Range and color reproduction are other issues that are not particularly relevant to a noise/high ISO discussion. After all, the D800 maximizes dynamic range at ISO 100. Try using that in a low light situation when movement is involved.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
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BOAZ632

Upper Marlboro, US
123 posts

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#21. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 19

BOAZ632 Registered since 28th Aug 2010
Wed 23-Jan-13 12:06 AM

>Thanks to all!
>
>My faith in Nikonians members as a source of valuable, honest,
>accurate information continues to soar!
>
>Some site this group as second only to their cameras in their
>enjoyment of photography. It's a close second though! I am
>convinced enough to plan on adding a D800 to my arsenal. That
>will allow me to make my own observations about the D800 vs.
>my D700s. I suspect I will appreciate the D800 a great deal.
>If it proves to be superior in my work with my technique, or
>to be better in some ways than the D700 and inferior in
>others, I will keep both. I suspect eventually I will have
>two D800s and a single D700 as a back up.
>
>Again -- thanks to all.
>
>Alan


I know I jumped in a little late but I have both and I find it hard to shoot with the D700 after using my D800. The dynamic range and downsampling images is where the D800 shines. I like it so much that I am in the process of trading my D700 for a D600. Good luck and enjoy!

Nikonian in Upper Marlboro, MD

ADCole
www.adcoleweddingphotoimages.com

nathantw

US
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#22. "RE: D800 vs D700 in low light uses" | In response to Reply # 21

nathantw Registered since 16th Jan 2008
Wed 23-Jan-13 06:49 PM

I'm a little late too. Here's a real world picture taken with a D700 at ISO 10000 in almost pitch darkness.



Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

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ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3387 posts

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#23. "RE: It is better when normalised to 12mp" | In response to Reply # 12

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Fri 25-Jan-13 01:06 PM

Chris - Thanks for your reply. I think my issue is fundamental -- does the D800 produce better or equal images at high ISOs than the D700? Bravo Zulu (Navy-speak for "well done") for your answer: "Yes." It seems logical that Nikon would not produce a next generation camera that generated inferior images, but there has been so much talk that 36megapixels crammed into the same space as 12mp must generate more noise and therefore be less effective at high ISOs. Your and JRPs answers point to the D800 outperforming the D700. Much of my photography is in low light -- high school sports for a newspaper. So this is important to me. Again - thanks for joining the discussion. You are a typical Nikonian - priceless!

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

G