The D800E promises even sharper images than the Nikon D800, but with a couple of compromises. Do the benefits outweigh the negatives?
Nikon D800E review
The Nikon D800 has to be one of the best DSLRs we’ve seen here at What Digital Camera, thanks to its great blend of handling, build-quality, performance and probably most of all, image quality.
With a resolution of 36.3MP, it’s the highest pixel count yet we’ve seen from a DSLR, and with that kind of resolving power, naturally finds itself compared to much pricier medium format cameras.
What gives medium format cameras the edge though is the absence of an optical low-pass filter in front of the sensor. Optical low-pass filters (often referred to as an anti-aliasing or AA filter) feature on pretty much every DSLR with the odd exception, and are necessary to eliminate moiré patterning from your shots.
The elimination of moiré does come at a small price however, as the AA filter works by blurring the image ever so slightly to avoid this phenomenon, which results in a very slight loss in critical sharpness. This is not really an issue for general photography as the image can be sharpened, either in-camera if you’re shooting JPEGs, or in an image-editing program such as Photoshop.
AA filters don’t just remove moiré either, but also double as a protective layer in front of the sensor, preventing dust and dirt from reaching the sensor. In most cases with DSLRs, the anti-dust system shakes dust from the AA filter.
So in an effort to tempt medium format users away from their kit and those who are looking for the ultimate in sharpness from a DSLR, we have the D800E. The D800E is identical in everything single way to the Nikon D800, though the optical low pass filter has had its anti-aliasing properties removed. So while the Nikon D800E will be more susceptible to moiré, photographers should benefit from a slight increase in resolution and sharpness when shooting with the Nikon D800E over the standard D800.
Which one’s the right camera for you? Nikon D800 or Nikon D800E? We put the two cameras head-to-head to find out…