D800 (and D700) raw samples and first impressions.

Some tests shots with the d800 and a few lenses. D700 was also in the game for some quick comparisons. Fellow photographer and great landscaper Konstantinos Vasilakis and I met in a beach near by my house.  The camera was given to us from phototeam’s (www.phototeam.gr)  train photographer SpirosN who brought the first d800 in Greece.

It is true that we did not try to be artistic at all at the selection of the scene. Aesthetically it does not win any prize, but I wanted textures all over the frame and lots of subjects along the depth of field to test how the in and out of focus  areas are spread in the frame in different apertures. So I look for rocks that will cover the frame from left to right to see the weakness of my lenses in the corners. I could go with more sand in the shots but rocks have much easier texture to test.

Very important note

I opened the files in Aperture and Iwas pleasantly surprised with the resolution of the d800. Then I opened the same files on capture NX2 and my jaw dropped. Stunning resolution and a visible improvement compared to Aperture (as far as the resolution) . Beautiful color rendering in both programs.

I would appreciate if you could by any chance open the files in Capture NX2 and Lightroom 4 or CS6 beta and let me know your thoughts.

Now the scene itself is quite difficult for getting great depth of field as the first subject is nearly 1m away from the camera. Tough job for any sensor and a non tilt shift lens.

Look also at the histograms of each one. They have different spread (philosophy), d800 has more info in the dark side.  Pay attention to shadowed areas and you will see that the d800 hold more information ( bigger dynamic range) at the darks.

I believe I also noticed a faster drop (change) of depth of field between the in and out of focus areas between the 2 cameras in the same aperture. This I will have to look at it again though.


So for the moment feel free to download the samples and check for yourself .

D700 with nikon  24-70 at f/11 1/80, iso 100 (iso 200 has no visible difference)


D800 with nikon 14-24 f/11 1/40 iso 100



later on I will upload samples of the D800 with 24-70  at f/11.




* focus distance 1.5m on d700 and 1.3 on d800


The (our) camera has an issue with the long exposures that basically makes for me the camera no usable for long exposures at the moment. We did a few shots in 30, 60 and 240 sec, we saw the files at 200% magnification and they all had an unusual big number of bright pixels. Of course the longer the exposure the worse it becomes.

To give you an idea my d700 shows bright pixels at 4 min LE but the number is very small comparing to this one. In D800 there are so many that can not be cleaned with healing brush. Even worse is that dark frame subtraction does not seem to work well. 

+Emmanuel Coupe has done a good write up about it and he did some prints to test if this is visible or not . Check his blog entry at http://emmanuelcoupe.wordpress.com/ .

I am hoping Nikon comes up with a firmware update to address this issue because long exposures is a big part in landscape and architectural photography.

If you have a d800 and you have this issue let us know. If you do not have it let us know it too…maybe it is in a certain badge of cameras that has this issue.

One more thing, LENR is always off on out long exposures simply because when you do a really long exposure over 3-4 minutes, you can not really wait double the  time that the LENR needs to work. The reason is that the light and the clouds change fast and the time you loose waiting for the LENR to work is very valuable.  So LENR stays always off.  If on the other hand you want to try one LE for the fun of it, you can try it with the LENR on and there will be no white dots or anything else.

Update 2.

Good news on the long exposure issue. Raw Therapee, the free software,  gives a very good solution to the issue of the white dots.

Check Konstantinos Vasilakis blog post about it.


Update 3

The d800 is a killer camera. Check the reviews below by

Mark Dubovoy (landscaper and medium format shooter)


and Michael Reichmann






  • Γιώργος Οικ.

    Μόλις άνοιξα την φωτογραφία της 800αρας στο ΝΧ2 και τρελλάθηκα με την ανάλυση. Φαντάζεσαι τι θα γίνει με την Ε ;

    Θα σπάσει η οθόνη….

    April 3, 2012
  • George Messe

    Thanks for the files Nikos. Impressive resolution.

    April 3, 2012
  • Kostas Dimakos

    Thanks for sharing. Do you have anything on high iso? what do you think of the camera performance in high iso?


    April 3, 2012
  • I told you…every camera has it’s RAW processor, Capture NX for Nikon, Capture One Pro for Canon :)

    My RAW files feel really different under LR and Capture One Pro…

    Damn I am jealous about the test :P still with the old lady on my side… :)

    April 3, 2012
  • Γιωργο για να μην τρεχεις για οθονη, παρε την απλη…

    George, you welcome

    Kostas D, i might have a couple in 1600-3200. I did not do any test there as it has no use in the landscape. But my impression is that there will be no complaints there either.

    Fellow landscaper Kostas, I know what u r saying. I do not want to incorporate another program in my workflow so my last hope is on the new CS6.

    (But between us I am not putting my name on adobe, I think NX2 will smoke their [email protected]#es.)

    April 4, 2012
  • Michel

    If they didn’t fixed the d7000′s bright pixels problem on long exposures they won’t fix d800′s one. I have a d7000 and i feel sad for having paid so much for a camera that’s useless for long exposures (specially daytime). I had a d800 on pre-order, until i found your article. Now i don’t have choices left other than switching to Canon.

    May 9, 2012
  • Kolby

    I’m in the excaclty same position as you Michael – my D7000 soon made me loose interest for my original pasion – long exposure photography. I’ve countless times contacted Nikon regarding the white pixels ruining every shot (I often take 10 minutes or longer – LENR does NOT take care of the white pixels all over the resulting pics) – they have given me the following reply:

    Its too few poeple doing that kind of photography for us to make it a priority. There will be no update fixing this issue for the D7000 and all future cameras will probably function in the same way. This was told by a technican at Nikon.

    To bad – I really liked Nikon (and would had loved the D800) but finds it a bit problematic having to use outdated versions for the rest of my life.

    So – Canon it is then. Any recomendations on a Canon model great for long exposures? Preferably with high resolution.


    June 10, 2012
  • Michael, Kolby hi,

    Apparently there is solution to the problem. And that is the free software RAWTHERAPEE. You can find details at Konstantinos Vasilakis blog’s


    Hope that helps.

    June 11, 2012

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