An excellent comparison of the D800e and a truly spectacular medium format DSLR – the Leica S2. Great reading whether you’re considering a D800 or not.
Originally posted on Ming Thein | Photographer:
I want to say upfront that until I did the test, I had no idea how the result was going to turn out. What I suspected wasn’t quite the outcome that occurred; but you’re going to have to read on to find that out I apologize in advance, because what was supposed to be a quick A-B image comparison has turned into a 3,500 word dissertation. There are a lot of things that must be said, clarified and put into context when dealing with these cameras.
The best conceived test is completely useless if the methodology isn’t sound; likewise, a seemingly unfair fight can be actually relevant if properly executed. Both cameras are in the high 30MP range; 36.3MP for the Nikon D800E, and 37.5MP for the Leica S2. Close enough to make as near as no difference. (Also, the S2-P is the same camera as the S2 except for the sapphire cover over the screen and professional service.) Everything was shot at base ISO on a sturdy tripod (a heavy Manfrotto 444 Carbon One with Hydrostat head) and mirror lockup. Lossless compressed RAW for both, with files processed via ACR 6.7 final release with equal sharpening, zero noise reduction, and equal shadow/highlight recovery slider settings. Images were then saved as quality 12 jpegs – the full frame shots you see are reference for color only, not resolution of course – and the 100% crops are also quality 12 jpegs. There is some minor quality degradation but not a lot. The first cityscape had both cameras set to the same Kelvin temperature for white balance, however subsequent shots were point balanced in ACR to the same location as this was more representative of real-life workflow.