I have had my D800 for about a year now, and I am still learning the camera. Because of my work schedule, I haven't had time to use it as much as I would like. I am having issues with grainy images, and overall image quality. I have a D80, and a D7000… both are giving me better image quality at point of capture than the D800. After cropping… image quality is much sharper with the D80, and the D7000. I realize it's probably the camera settings… but I am not sure of what adjustments to make. I am shooting RAW, using a Nikon 24-70 in most cases.
Even though the file sizes will be large, I would like to have the sharpest quality settings.
Looking for some suggestions on what to settings to play with, or if I go back to default settings will that be a good starting point?
ISO is a common cause of grain in images, but there are several camera settings that can contribute to the issue. Typically high levels of sharpening, contrast, D-Lighting, or Active D-Lighting can add noise.
Are you viewing grain/noise in both NEF and JPEG files? If JPEG - what size and quality settings? What software do you use to view and edit the images?
The other issue may be related to the file you are viewing. How are you viewing the file? A 100% view of a D800 image is 1/7 the image - much more magnified than a 100% view of earlier cameras.
Please take a sample shot of same subject using same lens on new and old cameras. then post 100% crops of those images here with exif data intact so we can see what the problem is. It is possible the camera is faulty.
If healthy the D800 should return visibly better results than the two older bodies you mention, especially in poor light.
One quick thing you can try is to reset the camera to factory default settings. Page 193 of your camera manual explains the two-button rest procedure and the limitations of what it can and cannot do. Page 405 to 410 lists all the default settings if you want to go through your menu and check them individually.
A suggestion to consider, don't use 100% crops of you will expect to see more noise since the D800 image at 100% is viewing a much smaller portion of the image. Post crops of equal image size for a fair evaluation.
Yes, I was about to say the same thing ! With the D3x, at first I had the same impression but when comparing prints or equally sized pictures I could see the inherent sharpness of bigger files... Also, all softwares are not equal !!!
I'll chime in with another possibility. Are you viewing your images on a computer or on the LCD? If on computer what software?
If in the camera set your picture setting to a higher sharpening , +3 or +4 and more contrast than normal. This won't show up in LR or PS but it will in previews on the LCD.
Shooting raw will need sharpening in your computer software. Very little noise reduction until you reach 1600 ISO.
Technique with the D800/E is very important. As a pro I had a huge learning curve with it. More critical for focus, camera shake, and exposure. Also lens settings. Use the ideal f-stop for your lens, 5.6 or 8 for most.
Use a tripod, shoot twice the shutter speed as you used to with other bodies.
Hope this helps,
Jim Stamates Nikonians Academy Workshop Instructor