By now, most photographers have heard about the most recently announced Nikon DSLR cameras – the D800& D800e – and the debate about which one might be the correct choice for each user has begun. There are countless websites discussing this debate, and offering opinions while showing some images. Unfortunately, most image comparisons aren’t that great & probably won’t help make your decision easier – so far. But, here is a link that explains the anti-aliasing filter & moire pattern in very simple terms: http://mansurovs.com/nikon-d800-vs-d800e
By introducing both of these cameras simultaneously, Nikon has done something revolutionary. It’s exciting stuff. But, which will be the right choice for you? – consider these factors:
- Price: The D800e will be only $300 more.
- Availability: I am told that availability of the D800e will be tight – perhaps only 1% of all D800 cameras will be the D800e version. We’ll have to see how that pans out.
- Sharpness: ALL Nikon D800 cameras will provide an unprecedented level of sharpness. Sure, the D800e will be technically sharper. However, Nikon has been unable to quantify how much sharper it will actually be. Are we talking 10% or 20% – or just 3% sharper? So far, we just don’t have an answer.
Photographer Psychology plays a part in this decision, too. Many photographers will take comfort knowing that they own the sharpest & highest resolution camera possible within their budget. And likewise, they’ll feel that they have an inferior camera in theD800 if the D800e provides seriously sharper images. This is why we have seen a higher number of D800e orders than originally expected. However, I feel that photographers need to put aside their egos, and consider the true needs for their types of photography. Sure, the D800e will be great tool for serious designer, graphic artists, studio photographers, landscape photographers, & others who can spend time processing & perfecting individual images for ultimate sharpness. But, is that you? Here are a couple of quick scenarios:
Sports Photography – You need the speed – get a D4.
Studio Portrait Photography – Studio & high fashion photographers might benefit from the D800e, because they can control lighting very well. If this is not the case, you’ll spend too much time in the computer removing the moiré – go with the D800.
Video & More – I cannot imagine how much time it will take to edit moire’ patterns out of video. Let’s just say it takes lots of time – and what is your time worth? The D800 should be a better choice.
Serious snapshots & casual travel photography – The d800 will probably be your camera. The D800e will be primarily for RAW shooters. In order to remove the moiré patterns the RAW images will need to be processed in Photoshop or in Nikon Capture NX2. Do you want to do this with your vacation images? I think not.
The bottom line is this: BOTH cameras will be fantastic! The D800e will be the perfect camera for a small group pf photographers. It will take time to process the D800e images, and for many photographers this extra time may not be worth it for the small, and yet to be defined, increase in sharpness. The large percentage of photographers who choose the D800 will be well served, and will still be blown away by the sharpness & resolution.