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I did a quick D800E to D700 resolution, moire, jaggies comparison


Macedonia, US
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LuisGonzalezLT Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Nov 2005
Sun 29-Apr-12 06:14 PM | edited Sun 29-Apr-12 06:26 PM by LuisGonzalezLT

I wanted to compare not only the resolution between the two, but also differences in moiré and “jaggies” along non-horizontal and non-vertical lines. This image of the house proved well suited for the test.

All images were shot with the same lens ( Nikon 200/2 VR ), tripod, etc. and simply swapping bodies and refocusing manually for each at full rear-lcd magnification in live view. The same ISO 200, white balance, shutter speed (1/1250) and aperture (F/5.6) were used. I made the TIFs directly from the raw NEF files using LightRoom 4. I then made the JPGs from the TIFs in PhotoShop CS6 at minimum compression settings. All settings in the workflow were the same from shot to shot. Use whichever you like. I include the TIF’s for the purists but the JPGs easily show what I want to talk about.

MAKE SURE YOU SAVE THESE AND VIEW THEM ON YOUR OWN PC, NOT IN THE BROWSER. I tried it in Chrome and it loads them in passes of increasing resolution. You really have to wait until like the third pass to get the full res image and that might take a while and confuse people.

For Windows users hover over each link and do a right mouse click then “Save link as” to copy the files down to your computer. You do not want to simply left click on these and view them in your browser as different browsers can affect the images in different ways.

For Mac users with a single button mouse hold down the ‘control’ key and click on the links.


I don't know why the JPG links are "broken" since I followed the proper Nikonians syntax for making a link. I added a direct link that shows as a second broken icon under the first that you can right-click/save on. I also don't know why the TIF links are showing the actual URL instead of the label since again I followed the proper syntax but you can right-click on the URLs( FORUM ADMIN - please email me to discuss ).









I want to discuss moiré first.

First take a look at the D800E_MF shot. Zoom in to 100% on the set of second floor windows on either side of the front door where you will find obvious moiré in the lower quarter where the blinds are more compressed. You’ll see the same thing on the first floor window to the right of the front door. If you look at the siding on the front you can just make out some moiré in the dark lines there, although it is not very pronounced. I doubt most people would notice it.

Now, open the D700_MF image and look at those same windows. You will see subtle moiré evident across the entire window since the D700’s resolution can’t as easily resolve the blind slats.

Look at the D800E_MF_12MP image which I produced by resizing in PhotoShop to the same pixel width as the D700 shots ( 4256 pixels ). You can still see moiré in the bottom quarters of the windows but not across the entire window. The image actually appears to have a bit more resolution that the un-resampled D700 image.

Important note: the funky pattern in the window over the garage is not moiré. It is a reflection off the window.

Finally, look at the D800E_MF_NoMoire image on which I have used the new anti-moiré brush tool in LightRoom 4 to remove the moiré from the windows. It took me about 30 seconds to fix all three windows. I used a strength of 50.

In light of this I do not really feel that moiré (for me anyway) on the D800E is all that huge a deal. It’s obviously there even on a D700 that does have an anti-aliasing filter to help control it and LightRoom cleaned up the moiré in the D800E image with very little effort.

Now I want to discuss “jaggies”

This building has a lot of straight lines going in all sorts of angles. I was afraid that zooming in on those lines would show a very “digital looking” jaggie (stair-step) effect. The gutters are a good place to look since they are not quite horizontal in the image. The siding is also a good place to look.

The D800E image looks a lot smoother than I thought it would on those line slopes. I’m pretty happy with the result.

And finally, resolution.

It’s obvious to anyone the D800E is resolving quite a bit more detail than the D700. However, at 300dpi output there should be no discernible difference between the two at print sizes up to 9.44” x 14.19” (let’s be conforming and call it a 10x13”). Let's also avoid the debate of viewing distance for now. The D700’s 2832 x 4256 pixel image will print up to that size at 300dpi. From that point and larger the D800E will start to show more resolution. With a 16x20 print the D700 will be at 177dpi (2832/16) while the D800E with its 4912 x 7360 pixel image will still be at 307dpi (4912/16). That should be noticeable on most prints ( but maybe not quite so much with canvas ) and a 16x20” print is not a size that is all that uncommon. Larger print sizes will only make the difference even more noticeable. This is the difference in looking at a large print from typical viewing distance but then being able to get closer and see more detail.

People will say that the lesson from this is that if you never print anything larger than a 10x13”, or let’s even say an 11x14”, then the D800E is of no benefit to you, but consider that you will need to use the entire D700 frame for that 11x14 while you can considerably crop in on the D800E frame and retain the same print detail. It simply provides much more flexibility. I just shot a Cleveland Cavaliers game with only a 50mm lens to see how much I could crop in on the image and will show those results in a subsequent post.

File sizes:

The D800E NEF file size was 45.7MB and the D700 NEF file size was 15.7MB, so the D800 is just shy of 3x (2.91) larger.
The D800E JPG file size was 26.8MB and the D700 JPG file size was 9.5MB, so the D800 is again just shy of 3x (2.82) larger.

If anyone in northeast Ohio has a D800 ( the non-E ) version I would be interested in having you swing by and shoot that same house with me and we can compare the D800 to the D800E.

Luis Gonzalez
Everlasting Photography, Inc.