Prior to the Nikon D800 and D800E review, here is a gallery where you can download the original RAW (NEF) files right straitght out from the cameras. I had the opportunity to test both cameras together.
Nikon D800 vs D800E : extra details
On this image shot with both the Nikon D800 (left) and the Nikon D800E (right) with the AF-S 85mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens at f/5,6, we can clearly see that the edges of the small letters look sharper on the D800E’s images. Yet, they tend not to be perfectly rounded. Click on this 100% image to get a wider view. Bellow the image you have a few links to download the D800 and D800E JPEGs and RAW files (around 75MB – 14-bit RAW uncompressed format)
Nikon D800 vs D800E : chromatic aberrations
In bellow’s real life image, see how bas CA are with the D800E compared with the D800 ? To me artefact and moiré may not be the main issue you will encounter with the D800E. I think chromatic aberrations will hurt more images than you think. The D800E files are RAW, leave a lot of details (yet, I am not impressed by the extra amount of details of the D800E) and leave a lot of hassles…
Unfortunately, I tried to get rid of these in Aperture and in Capture NX2 but could not make it really better. I wonder : is the extra work on moiré/AC correction worth the slight extra resolution that the D800E brings ? Well that would depend on the ability of Lightroom / ACR / Capture NX2 / CApture One / Dxo Optics Pro… to correct the issues without having to do anything.
I turned to Lightroom 4 as it is already able to process the D800E raw files and has lens correction… bellow is a portino of the image with Chromatic aberration box uncheck/check. No difference. You’ll have to live with that I am affraid. I am anxiously expecting the DxO Optics Pro update in order to see how they handle this. If Dx0 can achieve a decent CA correction with the automatic lens correction module, it would be THE only software I would give my Nikon D800E’s NEF files to process.
Nikon D800 vs Nikon D800E : provisional conclusion
When I received the two digital Slrs, I did not expect this review to be so hard. I thought I’d see more small extra details with the D800E. It actually gives more details than the D800’s images which look soft when viewed at 100%, but I have compared the D800 images with the D7000 images and between these two cameras, the amount of extra resolution is more than I thought it could possibly be. I will certainly not buy a D800E because of its disadvantages which don’t offset the extra definition which I jusdge too light. These cons are : huge chromatic aberrations, a bit of moiré but nothing hard to get rid of and a bigger tendency to motion blur. Handheld, even at 1/250s and faster you may come up with blur images… frustrating.
This article is not over. I’ll update it with new images to download and compare both cameras. Feel free to comment on my FB page.