Discerning the Differences between the Nikon D800 and D800E

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With the announcement of the Nikon D800 and the D800E, you might wonder which camera is best for you. This article is intended to highlight the crucial differences between the two cameras and ultimately help you decide which camera better suits your needs.

The Nikon D800 and D800E DSLRs are both highly capable cameras featuring a 36.3-megapixel FX format full frame CMOS sensor. They both support full HD video recording at 1080p and have extensive low-light sensitivity to ISO 25600 in expanded mode. Both also have a fast 51-point autofocus system and support up to 4 frame-per-second continuous shooting.

These cameras are identical in most regards; however, there is one notable difference between them that should be a factor in deciding which model is the right one for you. Let’s look at the way in which images are captured to help outline the major differences between these two Nikon cameras.

All Nikon DSLRs incorporate an optical low-pass filter (OLPF) in front of the imaging sensor that blurs the image very slightly to help reduce false colors and moiré patterns. These artifacts are an inherent consequence of digital imaging and are most commonly seen when photographing very finely detailed patterns. Moiré is created because of the manner in which images are recorded by the imaging sensor; each individual pixel conveys information that has passed through a patterned system of three filters (red, green and blue) to render the image as a digital file. During the exposure, each pixel is exposed to only one of the three color channels, and the remaining visual information is interpolated by the camera. A moiré is the result of this interpolation being depicted with such density that the camera is unable to properly resolve it.

Click here for full diagram

Moiré is commonly countered by the OLPF, and the blur that it causes breaks up this density of visual information, allowing for smooth representation of patterns with natural colors—but at the cost of a slight reduction in sharpness.

The D800 makes use of this OLPF and produces images that have a high resistance to moiré and color shifting. This OLPF also acts as an anti-aliasing filter and helps to reduce aliasing that is caused when photographing hard-edged subject matter. Similar to the way moiré patterns are caused, aliasing occurs when photographing tight patterns and skewed lines that are difficult to render due to their visual frequencies. The filter scatters the light rays and breaks them down by defocusing slightly. This minute decrease in sharpness can give a more natural and fluid appearance, with longer tonal gradations. When an anti-aliasing filter is not used, the camera’s sensor sometimes records gradients in a way that makes them appear a bit more choppy and truncated.

The D800E is able to produce images with slightly higher sharpness and resolution.

An example of moiré and false color can be seen in the kimono fabric in the image that was captured with the D800E.

The D800E differs from the D800 by incorporating optical glass between its OLPF substrates that eliminates the blurring effect of the OLPF. This optical glass reorganizes the path of light reaching the sensor and essentially un-polarizes it, causing it to strike the sensor in a straight path. By eliminating this effect and straightening the path of the light, images are recorded with higher sharpness and resolution.

Click here for full diagram

The idea of increased sharpness and resolution sounds like an ideal consequence, but the risk of spatial aliasing, moiré and color shifting is certainly increased. The D800E does not provide an in-camera solution for anti-aliasing, so it is specifically designed for photographers who can effectively control their lighting situations and are more apt to spend time correcting images during post processing. The benefits of the D800E are also most noticeable when working with the RAW (NEF) file format.

When photographing in JPG or TIFF formats with the D800E, in-camera image processing dramatically reduces the efficacy of any subsequent alteration of moiré patterns in post production. Because of this automatic image processing, moiré patterns are essentially fixed into the file and dramatic pixel manipulation will be required to remove them during post production. By contrast, with the D800, your workflow can be the same whether you’re recording RAW (NEF) or JPG or TIFF files.

It should also be mentioned that while the moiré patterns will be more prevalent in images captured with the D800E, image processing tools such as Nikon’s Capture NX 2 and Adobe Lightroom 4 now feature plug-ins to simplify the removal of aliasing. This addition to your workflow could prove to be quite a chore when bulk-editing files, but these tools are promising solutions for moiré elimination.

Some points to take away when considering which model is most appropriate for you:

  • Both cameras feature an optical low-pass filter (OLPF); however, only the D800 truly makes use of it to reduce aliasing, moiré and false color.
  • The D800E incorporates an optical glass element between the substrates of the OLPF that negates their effect and results in greater sharpness and resolution in imagery. This increase in definition comes at the expense of an increased likelihood that moiré patterns and false colors will occur.
  • The D800E is an ideal camera for photographers who can very precisely control their shooting situations (i.e. studio and commercial setups). This involves control over the lighting, a steady camera (often with the use of a tripod), the ability and desire to photograph with middle f/stops (roughly f/5.6 to f/11), photographing only in RAW (NEF) file formats and a post-processing workflow that allows for the removal of moiré and false colors.
  • The D800 is an ideal camera for all shooting situations and allows you to work in any file format. There is no compensation required to reduce moiré.

With this difference aside, it should be noted that both cameras are highly capable of recording outstanding imagery. While the D800E could be perceived to be the better camera, this is certainly not true for everyone. You should make a careful consideration of your personal needs and shooting styles before determining the best model for you.

  Nikon D800 Nikon D800E
Optical Low Pass Filter Reduces aliasing, moiré and false colors Rendered ineffective due to optical glass between filter layers; aliasing, moiré and false colors are more likely
Sharpness OLPF slightly blurs light before reaching sensor, resulting in a slightly less sharp image No diffusion of light reaching filter, subsequent images are the sharpest possible
Post-Production Workflow Adjustments Not necessary Might have to correct for moiré or false colors during post production
Ideal Shooting Situation Appropriate for use in all situations Appropriate for use when lighting can be controlled or altered easily; camera should be held as steadily as possible for best possible results (i.e. use of a tripod or the ability to shoot at 1/125 second or above)
Ideal File Formats Any file format RAW (NEF) file format
Ideal Aperture Range Any aperture can be used for optimal results Middle apertures should be used
Intended User Anyone Studio or commercial photographers who are able to compensate for moiré via lighting adjustments and manipulating images in post
Pros Elimination of moiré and false colors at shooting stage Maximum sharpness and definition
Cons Slightly less sharp images compared to D800E Increased occurrence of moiré and false colors compared to D800

 

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Excellent analysis.  I now feel confident in my selection.

Agreed. :)

Excellent analysis, and I thank you. My decision to go with the D800, for me, has been confirmed with your missive. Thanks again!!

I gather from all the above advice that somewhat more care by way of shutter speed, using middle apatures, tripod, etc. is needed in order to realize the resolution advantage of the D800E.  One could conclude from this advice that using, with the D800E, the lesser degree of such care that would be adequate for the D800 would produce results that would at least equal the quality of the D800.  In other words, aside from the moire issue, is it correct to assume the D800E user would be no worse off than the D800 user?  Hence the advice of being "better off" with the D800 refers to situations where there is no D800E resolution advantage and there is the possible moire disadvantages.  The D800E suits my purposes if I could use the D800E in its optimum settings (I am willing to deal with moire) and still use it to no less or not much less advantage than the D800 in other settings.  Aside from the moire issue, if the D800E would perform less well than the D800 in some settings, could you suggest how much less/what compensations would have to be made to equal the the performance of the D800.

 I really appreciate you helping us with this decision.

 David Gray

Simply put, if your subject matter is static (i.e. studio portraits/landscapes) and you don't mind a bit of extra post production work, than the D800E is for you.  If you shoot sports, wildlife, weddings, journalism etc, or have any use of Jpeg files, the D800 is highly advised.

Thank you, but can you say if the D800E is any worse than the D800 in those situations aside from the moire issue? 

David Gray

Aside from the moire issues and lack of the AA filter, the cameras are technically the same in every other respect.  Moire issue asside they would perform the same.

OK. So, for example, using a wider (not optimal) apature to blur the background, for example, would result in not optimizing the D800E's resolution but would still yield results as good as the D800 aside from moire?

 David Gray

Correct.

I think the core issue is one of design (or lack thereof).
With all of Nikons engineering expertise, couldn't they have figured a way to allow for the AAF to be inserted into, or removed from, the optical path via a user control, rather than produce two separate cameras? This "best of both worlds" design would have guaranteed the D800 a spot in the DSLR Hall Of Fame.

Thx for all the advice and insightfull comments here!

Now having shot both the D800 and D800/E

and after reading this whole thread.

Personally if you do not apply the best shooting technique along with the best lenses on either camera you are wasting your money.

To make the statement you will get better results with a D800 not using any of the above is absolutely not true.

If you are not willing to use a tripod, LV, MLU with delay, i would not purchasae a D800 or D800/e

I would purshse a D4, or a D3s,

The D800 series is so demaning on the photographer, you better have your sh....t together or forget about it.

This whole discussuion about getting the best result from a D800/E requires a controlled environemt is BS in my opinion, the D800's require the same thing, and neither camera is "more" forgiving.

Granted I I was a wedding or portrait photographer the D800 is no doubt the way to go over a D800/E

I think for wild life or any moving subject the D800 is not the way to go.

Just my 2 cemts.

Your quote above "To make a statement you will get better results with the D800 not using any of the above is absolutely not true" may have been misinterpreted. I won't reread this whole thread but the impression I got over and over again is that any advantage to the E is negated if not using the best shooting practices thus wasting your $300. Other than possible moire´,  more PP and the added expense I do not recall any advice stating that the D800 would be better.

Since you have shot with both I would be curious as to why you don't think a controlled environment is advantageous. One cannot judge effectively for moire´ through the LCD. Saying for anything moving the D800 is not the way to go has got me thinking. Quite a definitive opinion. Why would the E be all that much better? Possibly for needing to shoot at high shutter speeds to stop the action, I might understand your thinking on this, just as long as you use the sweet spot aperture setting for the lens. But again, not much of an advantage to the E even if that was all one shot. Or were you just stating you wouldn't recommend either of the D800's for action. 

Your emphasis of proper technique for both is dead on. 

B&H, spell check would be handy. I'm not seeing it.

Can you tell me what are the must have lenes that work best with the d800? travel, event and head shoots.

If you are going out to do pro level travel, event and head shoots
with the D800, I would say the must have zooms are the AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Autofocus Lens (Black) and the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens. If you can, also get the Super Wide Angle AF-S Zoom Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF Autofocus Lens.
If you have further questions, please come to B&H Live Chat or e-mail us. E-mail: sales@bhphotovideo.com

What are your thoughts about D800 vs D800E for architectural photography as well as day/night city scapes? Yes, I use a good tripod most of the time as well as shutter release and high-end lenses. Thank you in advance.

As architecture and cityscapes are often composed of repeating patterns, which is a major culprit of morie issues, I recommend the Nikon D800 for the above usage.

I'd say for your age and your budget to get a brgide. That is, a halfway point camera between the compact point and shoot casual cameras and more professional single lens reflex sorts. They're usually listed under regular digital cameras in stores, but sometimes people will try to put them with the SLRs to get the feeling of professional'. They're a great step up and aren't awfully hard to use. And they are much cheaper than a SLR too. The Nikon P90 would be a good one by Nikon, and I know Canon makes a few nice ones too. The big thing you can tell if they're a brgide is they're much smaller than professionals and don't have a detachable lens.

Having taught carmea courses, I question the reason that you want film over digital SLR. 1. What makes you think that cost is more expensive for digital over film?You must consider the total cost of ownership. Beginners make lost of mistakes and need to burn a lot of film to learn. Film cost money. Film development takes time and money. Time lost from something like nature shoot may not be recoverable. 2. What makes you think that Film is better for begineers than digital?Learning how to correct for exposure or framing mistakes takes time and practice. Practice takes film. Film takes money. Learning how to correct for lighting takes practice and film film takes ..Let's take a practical example:Film Camera:Canon EOS Rebel 35mm film with 28-90mm lens. $ 200.00Digital Camera:Canon EOS 350 Rebel with 17-85mm EF-S lens. $ 700.00Film costs (film + developing):35mm Kodak MAX 400 ASA 36 exposure rolls. Wholesale 50-pack = $ 87.00developing costs for 1800 pictures locally = $ 324.00Average Beginner will need to shoot between 5000-7500 shots while learning. total learning film costs $ 1143-2286.Digital Film costs:2 2GB compact flash cards = $ 98.00Total cost of Film education = $ 2586.00 max ($ 1343.00 min)Total cost of Digital education = $ 798.00 maxdigital savings $ 1788.00So which is really cheaper?

There is a massive dfneirefce in the quality of photos and video when you compare compacts with fixed lenses (regardless of price or brand) and dSLRs. The main reason is the image sensor size not the pixel count.You can ignore pixel counts because they don't mean better quality images. A 10 megapixel compact and a 10 megapixel dSLR are very different. The image sensor in a compact is so small, that it would take 12 or more of them to cover the image sensor in an entry level dSLR.That larger image sensor has less noise, can take cleaner shots in low light, has better dynamic range, detail, color and contrast when compared to the tiny sensor in a compacts, or the even smaller sensors used in cell phone cams.You can also get compact-ish cameras with large image sensors like the Sony NEX line, 4/3rds cameras from Olympus and Panasonic and the new 1 series from Nikon like the J1. So you are paying for the image sensor, that's the big dfneirefce.So if video and photo image quality, speed etc is your top priority go with any kind of camera with a large image sensor. If compact size and low cost are your priority, just get a cheap compact.

I shoot wildlife and landcape outdoors. I do not shoot patterns or textiles. I place high value on sharp resolution in my images. I pre-ordered the D800E. Did I make the right choice?

The benefit of extra perceived sharpness is gained when using the D800E is when using Nikon's best optics, using the lens' middle aperture for maximum sharpness, and when shooting on a tripod for stabilization.  Using mirror lockup and Live View also helps obtain the sharpest possible image.  The above situations are conducive for landscape photography, as most landscape images are of still, static subjects, and you can use camera distance, camera angle and rotation, lens/aperture selection, and time  to obtain the best possible image.  However, wildlife photography often involves movement or tracking your subject, and varying shooting conditions requiring a wide use of aperture needs, not just being able to stay within the middle aperture range.  Also, many wildlife photographers prefer to shoot with wider aperture settings to separate their subject from its background, and you are not optimizing the sensor's sharpness at the wider apertures.  While the D800E would be good for some landscape photography, but not wildlife photography, the regular D800 would be good for both, and would be my recommendation for your needs.

I wish I knew, if birdfeathers or butterfly scales are as prone to moire as textiles. I would love D800E for landscapes, but worry about these two motifs (that I do even more than landscapes). I always shoot RAW, so the tools in the new CNX2 are available to me, but how efficient are they and how often would I need to use them?

Also some of my butterflies I can do in f/16 or f/22, where diffraction would somehow substitute for the blurring of the AA filter, maybe the sharpness of D800E at f/16 would then be same as f/8 for D800? With better depth of field...

Unfortunately, the answer to your question is "it depends on the pattern and how it is photographed."  Moiré is caused by the pattern of the sensor's pixel arrangement sampling a particular pattern or texture at an angle that does not quite match the sensor's pattern.  This most often occurs on textiles, weaves, or items that have repeating patterns.  Nature does not often have patterns that repeat so exact, but that is not to say that a particular angle you photograph the butterfly or bird feathers cannot also produce moiré.  At that point, it depends on the particular circumstances at the time, which is why the D800E is designed for studio, commercial, and still life use, as you can control the environment.  Medium format photographers who have been photographing without optical low-pass filters in their cameras know how to compensate for some moiré, either by tilting or rotating the camera slightly, changing camera distance or lens choice, or altering camera position.  As moiré can only truly be seen at 100% magnification, they also are normally shooting tethered or wirelessly transferring their files to a larger computer monitor for critical viewing.  This is also the reason I do not recommend the D800E for much field work or hand-held use in uncontrolled situations.  It is possible to obtain decent images with the camera, but as the only difference between the D800 and D800E is the change to the optical low-pass filter, giving you slightly sharper images, but also more easily-occuring moiré and false color, I recommend using the D800 for these situations, as you would basically get the same image quality without the expense of moiré.  To answer your question about the efficiency of the moiré correction in Nikon NX2, as the cameras have only begun to ship and I have not seen it in use in real-world situations, I cannot speak on its effectiveness, nor how much more it adds to your workflow. 

You are correct in stating that shooting at a smaller aperture on the D800E would use diffraction to slightly blur the moiré you would get on your image (which is actually another technique used by pro photograhers and also stated on Nikon's webpage about Moiré).  However, the whole point of the D800E is for the slight better sharpness you receive from the change in the optical low-pass filter.  The blurring from diffraction exactly negates the benefit you paid $300.00 for sharper images, and is the reason Nikon states in its D800/D800E Technical Guide that they recommend using the middle apertures and to not stop down when using the D800E for best performance.  So yes, you can reduce moiré by stopping down, but then you will essentially be getting the exact same quality of image from the D800.

Please clarify:  let's assume for the sake of argument that even landscape photography sometimes involves moire conditions (barn shingles in the Tetons, tight wave patterns on sand dunes, etc.), and that the maximum DOF demands of landscape photography may require apertures at f/11 or smaller, where diffraction is likely to set in.  I've read many places, including in this thread, that stopping down beyond the point of diffraction negates the added sharpness value of the D800E.  But doesn't that loss of sharpness compound with the loss of sharpness from the OLPF in the D800?  So, strictly comparing the two cameras, wouldn't the D800E stopped down to f/16 still produce a sharper image than the D800 stopped down to f/16?  This is not merely an academic question, as I shoot primarily landscapes, on a tripod, where maximum depth of field is required, and I'm wondering, if the small-aperture diffraction can help eliminate moire, wouldn't the D800E still be the better choice for sharper images compared with the D800?  Thanks for the input.

I tend to agree.  Though moire and false color will be an issue in some situations, with the D800E you will still have the increased sharpness in all other situations.  Your toolkit is thus expanded.  Though more complex and time-consuming, in some ways, moire issues are no different that other post-processing tasks (especially given the available tools mentioned above and the likelihood that future CNX releases will improve upon them).  And, if the field situation at hand requires working at smaller apertures, so be it.  There is no disadvantage to the D800E in that circumstatnce, just a loss of D800E potential with results that are no different than they would be with the D800.  Again, when not in that circumstance, you have a higher precision level available to work with.  The choice is about being aware, preparing for the eventualities, and deciding if the $300 is worth the difference.  For me, it would be, (thus my decision to go with the D800E).  Early reports from a very few who have used both cameras side by side, are not showing any material advantages/disadvantages let alone practical visual differences.  I think learning to more effectively use sharpening tools in post will also mitigate (not eliminate) some of the issues being discussed.  My photographic practice is mainly in landscape and nature photography rendered as fine-art prints.  Both of these cameras open up opportunities for an increase in print quality and enlargement without heavy rendering in the wall-art market sector.  Worst case, the D800E gives me some grief, I sell one of the kids and use the proceeds to buy a D800 to take up the slack.

So for landscape photos.....you are suggesting the D800 or the D800E ?  Portraits out of the studio have varying lighting so the D800 would be optimum from what I am reading.

Both the D800 and D800E would work for landscape photography.  I stated in an earlier reply that the benefit of extra perceived sharpness gained when using the D800E is when using Nikon's best optics, using the lens' middle aperture for maximum sharpness, and when shooting on a tripod for stabilization.  Using mirror lockup and Live View also helps obtain the sharpest possible image.  The above situations are conducive for landscape photography, as most landscape images are of still, static subjects, and you can use camera distance, camera angle and rotation, lens/aperture selection, and time  to obtain the best possible image.  Portraits can also be shot with the D800E, if studio controlled and shot on a tripod, and if you understand some clothing can cause moire and false color and do not mind the extra time needed to adjust and correct the issue before-hand or try to fix it afterwards in post-production.  Personally, however, if you shoot most of your portraiture outside the studio and you hand-hold your camera and often use wider apertures to separate your subject from the background, then I would recommend the D800 for both of your needs.

What does the removal of OLPF have to do with shooting on a tripod or at speeds above 1/125th of a second?  Isn't the reason Nikon suggests a tripod or fast shutter speeds because of the high pixel count causing an increasing noticeablity of camera shake?  If so, it would seemingly apply to both the D800 and the D800e that it's better to use a tripod or shoot at high speeds.

Hello,

In my opinion,  Nikon is cautioning end users againt anything that can cause a decrease in image quality. Using my Rollieflex along side my D5000 you see what we take for granted using a DSLR's. I regularly shoot at a 1/30th of a second with my SLR's or M6. I've learned to avoid this practice with the Rollie. It picks up details that I did not see on the ground glass and I suspect the D800E having the high resolution capture capabilities will yeild similar results.

I have same questions, any one can answer this?

Also why Middle apertures should be used ??

The following is from page 13 of the Nikon D800/D800E Technical Guide listed on Nikon's website:

[QUOTE]  "With cameras like the D800E, which are suited to visually complex subjects, it is important to get as much sharpness from the lens as possible. Contrast at the periphery of the image can generally be increased by choosing an aperture two or three stops from the maximum, although results will vary from lens to lens."  [END QUOTE]

Without delving into the technical definition of diffraction, for the time being, simply understand that light passes through a lens and its aperture.  While closing the aperture is known to increase depth-of-field and apparent sharpness, there is a point where a reduction in aperture causes light to bend in a way that actually reduces the image clarity and resolution/sharpness, which is called the lens' diffraction limit.  Once the diffraction limit is passed, further reduction of the aperture actually blurs fine detail in the image, reducing sharpness.

As the main benefit gained from purchasing the Nikon D800E is the slight increase of sharpness, anything retracting from that sharpness no longer remains a benefit.  The effects of diffraction are partly influenced by the size of the pixels in the camera image sensor.  While the diffraction limit differs from lens to lens, with the D800/D800E’s high resolution the effects generally become noticeable around f/11.  The sweet spot for Nikon's better lenses tend to be around f/8 - f/11.  Apertures smaller than this result in blurring of the image, which is what we don't want to do.  As an example, on page 9 and page 13 of the Nikon D800/D800E Technical Guide listed on Nikon's website, there is an image that was taken at f/8 which rendered details clearly, but you can notice a reduction of detail of the same image in the same situation simply taken at f/11 and smaller.  It is due to this counteractive blurring caused by diffraction that causes both B&H and Nikon to recommend using the middle apertures, or to test your lens to find the sharpest optimum aperture and to find your lens' diffraction limit.

hi

i want to shoot x rays films mounted on a viewer (transilluminator) in a dark box when the camera is mounted on tripod. i need sharpness and minimal iliasing . which camera is more suitable to my job?

thank you

I would recommend the Nikon D800 for your stated needs.

The D800 and the D800E are essentially the exact same camera in every regard and specifiation with the exception of the Optical Low-Pass Filter in the D800E, and that singular change gives you the benefit of slightly increased sharpness (as the OLPF is not slightly blurring the image).  Gained sharpness is the main benefit of the change with the D800E; the downside is increased occurance of moiré and false color, items that require finesse before shooting and/or increased workflow in post-production.  Otherwise, the two cameras are identical.  Remember that point.

That being said, as the ONLY benefit is a slight increase of sharpness, to gain the benefit of the extra sharpness, there are certain shooting recommendations to get the most sharpness from the camera.  If anything causes a blur or softens the image, the sharpness benefit (and the extra $300.00 in price) is negated.  Yes, you are correct that shooting on a tripod or hand-holding at speeds above 1/125th of a second (which varies, depending on the lens you are using) is good advice for both cameras.  However, where not using a tripod or hand-holding at slower speeds is not a deal-breaker with the D800, not doing the same with the D800E and introducing blur negates the benefit and $300.00 cost of the camera, as you no longer see the extra sharpness you paid for. 

Remember, the cameras are the same in all other regards, so if you take away the sharpness benefit, you're essentially getting a similar image as produced by the less-expensive D800, which is why it is even more-so recommended for the D800E to use good shooting techniques.  In addition, you would still have to deal with any occuring moire that would have been taken care of by the OLPF in the D800; essentially creating more work at more of an expense to you.  The following below is taken from the D800/D800E Technical Guide listed on Nikon's website:

"While its high pixel count of 36 megapixels gives the D800/D800E resolution unrivalled by previous digital SLR cameras, a side eff ect is that bokeh and blur are made that much more obvious. Realizing the full potential of a camera with over 30 million pixels involves a thorough appreciation of bokeh and blur, careful selection of settings and of tools (such as lenses and tripods), and working with the best possible subjects."  (page ii)

"The superior resolution of the D800/D800E makes small amounts of focus blur more obvious. Select a shutter speed slightly faster than you would choose when photographing the same subject with other cameras."  (page 9)

We are not debating that using a tripod and hand-holding at faster shutter speeds is not good information for both cameras; we are simply pointing out that it is in your best interest to get your money's worht and fully recognize the increased sharpness of the D800E by using good technique.  Otherwise, it is more economical and easier on your workflow and current shooting style to simply go with the D800 and save $300.00.

However, If you were one of the first to order the 800E from B&H and now want to change your selection to a regular 800 model … you will lose your “place in the pre-order line” and go to the rear of the 800 line … meaning it will be months before you get a camera. At least that is what your CS rep told me … I assume that is correct? 

If your order consisted only of the D800E and you're swapping to the D800 you will not lose your spot in the queue. If your D800E order also included other in-stock items which we've shipped we may have to jigger your order to retain your spot. Please be specific when talking to customer service. We will certainly do whatever we can to retain your spot no matter what the particulars of your transaction happen to be.
 -- Henry Posner / B&H Photo-Video

Could someone please explain how this would relate to portraits?  I had ordered the 800e but shoot children and use natural light (thus my conditions are NOT controlled) but I shoot RAW... i'm thinking i should switch to the 800... thoughts please?

I shoot portraits too.  And I ordered the 800E.  I have shot children professionally as well.  And they are a handful.  Always changing expressions and moving their bodies and hands about. If you are shooting natural light, combined with faster shutter speeds - to compensate for children's perpetual movement, FOM (fear of moire) will require you to double check your work constantly at high magnification in the LCD.  And even then, there's no guarantee it won't show up after you upload.

I am now shooting only adults.  In my own studio setting with multiple strobes.  On a tripod with chromakey.  Sometimes natural light.  But it's pretty controlled.  I am also a heavy post production person: photoshop, lightroom, nx. Since I am a lifelong medium format (6x7) and large format (8x10) photographer, it means I will only need 2-3 good shots out of a session, as oppose to the machine gun approach by digital rambos.

I would go with the 800 if you are shooting children.  If you haven't seen extreme detail (meaning pores at a near molecular level - 8x10 low speed film with APO schneider lenses) the difference in sharpness between the 800 and 800E is not worth the headache when Moire does show up.

While the D800E can be used for portratiure, I would recommend the standard D800 for your shooting needs for a few reasons.  Although you state you shoot in RAW, which is a good thing and highly recommended, 1) You are not shooting in controlled situations; 2) You are shooting children, who can sometimes be unpredictable (depending on the age braket); and 3) The children will be wearing clothing, which certain patterns, weaving, and/or materials can be supseptible to moiré and false color.  Some of the reasons most studio photographers use medium format cameras without low-pass filters is because they can control the lighting and environment, they know how to look for moiré and how to correct for it with camera angle/tilt/distance, and they are usually shooting tethered.  A big reason for tethered shooting is it is hard to see moiré on your LCD screen (or in general) unless the image is viewed at 100% magnification.  As such, if you shoot children, hand-holding, movement, and aperture selection can reduce the apparent gained sharpness the D800E is to offer, and you may not notice moiré unless you are pausing between shots to review and enlarge your images to look for moiré, which would interrupt the flow of your shooting session (or if ignored, would require more post-production work in trying to remove the moiré artificats).  So although you are shooting in RAW, as you are not shooting in a controlled environment, my recommendation would be the D800.

I also think I made the correct decision

So I have my order in for the D800E because I take pictures of wildlife, clocktowers, as examples, and when I crop and blowup the element of the image I'm interested in many cases I'm disapointed in shapeness.  But if I need to control light and only use a tripod maybe I'm better off changing order to D800 and buying longer lens.  I'm also begining to hear you don't want to shoot video with the D800E. Any thoughts?

As I have stated in earlier replies, I do not recommend the D800E for wildlife photography, simply because to obtain the slight increase in sharpness, you must be able to control your shooting situation, have a stable platform to shoot on (good tripod/VR lenses), control your working distance in relation to your subject, use the best optics available from Nikon, and use the middle aperture ranges on the lenses.  WIth wildlife photography, as you are shooting in different conditions, you may need to use different aperture settings that do not fall into the middle ranges that give you the benefit of sharpness you purchased the D800E to obtain.  Also, you may want to purposely shoot with a wider aperture to separate your subject from the background, or you may not be able to slightly adjust your shooting angle, especially if you are tracking an animal you cannot get too close to.   The D800 would be my recommendation for your stated needs.

Good article explaining the differences. Also, I want to Thank BH for sending out the email to make sure that I ordered the right camera. I did order the right camera, the D800E...just hoping that I will get it soon.

I am a buyer if the D800/e will approach medium format results, mostly shooting from a tripod at f16-32 and 1/8th to 1/30th sec.  Most of what I would be shooting is landscape and architecture.  I would then post process and  print to 16x20, up to 20x24.  I like lots of detail and can post process.  Which is best; D800 or D800E????

As both cameras largest native resolution is 36.3 megapixels, or 4912 x 7360, both have more than enough native resolution to print to the sizes you state above.  At 300 DPI with no interpolation, you could print a 16.4 x 24.5-inch  print, and at 200 DPI with no interpolation, you could print a 24.6 x 36.8-inch print.  Therefore, both cameras have the necessary resolution for your needs.  As you state you will be shooting at f/16 - f/32, I would recommend the standard Nikon D800, not the Nikon D800E.  The D800E works best at mid-apertures, or apertures usually aund 3 stops down the lens' maximum aperture, normally around f/8 - f/11, depending on the lens.  As using small apertures similar to f/16 - f/32 most often cause diffraction, which reduces sharpness, it in turn negates the entire reason of purchasing the D800E, which is to increase sharpness. 

How about the video function? Go by this article, it seems D800E's video function can't be used....

You can still record video with the D800e, the important point to consider is if you do shoot in an environment or deal with subject matter that will cause the moire effect, that you would not be able to remove or edit the effect out in post production.  Most users purchasing either for video would be best advised not to consider the D800E.

This is still a difficult choice for me. I do not do any studio work. I shoot mostly wildlife under a variety of conditions. I would hate to limit myself the 'the middle apertures" On the other hand, who wants to sacrifice image sharpness under any circumstances?

 The example of moire artifact in the image from the D800E is compelling. I use NX2 to process my images, but I have no idea how much extra work it would be to fix artifacts like those shown in the example. It is also hard to determine just how often the artifacts would actually crop up.

I think it is helpful to answer the question: "Do previous generation cameras from Nikon (such as the D2x, D3, D3X, D5000, D7000, D700, D300, etc.) use the same anti-aliasing and anti-moire technology that is used in the D800?

The answer is stated in the article: "All Nikon DSLRs incorporate an optical low-pass filter (OLPF) in front of the imaging sensor that blurs the image very slightly to help reduce false colors and moiré patterns." 

This gives an idea as to how much sharpness we might be giving up by choosing the D800 over the D800E, because of the familiarity we all have with earlier generation Nikon DSLRs. The answer is probably not very much!

Speaking for myself, the list of shortcomings for Nikon DSLRs I have owned has never included lack of sharpness as an issue. 

If anyone can see a flaw in my reasoning for choosing the D800 over the D800E, please speak up before it's too late to change my choice! 

To answer your question, yes, all previous Nikon DSLR cameras use the same anti-aliasing and anti-moire technology that is used in the D800, using the Optical Low-Pass Filter design shown in the first image in the above.  Paraphrasing what Nikon has stated on their website, for the vast majority of photographers who shoot a wide variety of subjects, shoot hand-held as well as with a tripod, use a selection of NIKKOR lenses and shoot at all aperture settings, the D800 and its 36.3MP using the OLPF will be the ideal choice.  For a few specific types of photographers—studio, commercial and still life—who have used medium or large format cameras and have working knowledge of dealing with moiré and false color, the D800E would be a better option.  Wildlife photography varies in lighting conditions, causing you to use a larger range of apertures, ISO settings, and shutter speed settings to obtain a proper exposure, all while photographing moving wildlife in their habitat.  You are not controlling your environment; you are controlling the camera settings based on the decisions you make in the environment in which you are photographing.  As such, the D800 would be the camera recommended for your needs. 

To quickly address your comment about [QUOTE] "who wants to sacrifice image sharpness under any circumstances?" [END QUOTE], as previously stated, all previous Nikon DSLR cameras use the same anti-aliasing and anti-moire technology that is used in the D800, therefore, by no fault of your own, you have always sacrificed some sharpness, which is a reason sharpening is a necessary part of digital photography workflow, both in RAW file conversion, and often as the last step before finally saving the image file.  You must understand, however, the "sacrifice" of sharpness has gained you an image file usually free of false color and moiré, saving minutes to hours of post-editing time.  As many photographers who shoot in controlled situations use medium or large format cameras that did not have an optical low-pass filter, they are used to the extra workflow and know tricks using distance, shooting angle, and camera rotation to eliminate moiré/false color.  These are not adjustments you normally would want to think of and make in the field when shooting something as responsive (not controlled) as wildlife photography.  The D800 would be my choice for your needs.

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