Nikon D800 - A 36MP Revolution
Image Performance III
Image Performance III - Down-sampling at Capture
We've heard that some potential owners of the D800 are thinking of shooting at a lower resolution with the camera, because they feel 36MP is more resolution than they need, and also in a bid to reduce each image's file size. What we've discovered is that more detail can be retained if users shoot at 36MP and down-sample the images to a lower resolution themselves, than to depend on the D800 to do it.
To illustrate, we have two images, shot in FX format, at the camera's 36MP (L) and 20MP (M). To do a fair comparison between the images, we're going to look at a 100% crop of the 36MP which has been down-sampled in post to 20MP, and a 100% crop of the 20MP image. Exposure settings were kept constant.
Image Quality - Video
Just like with the D800's still images, we see quite a bit of sharp detail in the D800's video. While the rolling shutter effect is well-controlled and hardly appears with pans at normal speeds, the D800's video is susceptible to moiré. Here's an example (click here to see the video in Full-HD):
Multi-media journalist Dan Chung has done a comprehensive test between the Canon 5D Mark III and D800's video quality and concluded:
Essentially the output from the D800 and 5D mkIII is very close. I would give it to Nikon for sharpness and the addition of the crop mode. The Canon has a clear win in terms of moiré and low light performance. Personally I prefer the control layout and the colour rendition from the Canon (especially under mixed lighting) - others may prefer the Nikon.
To Nikon users who have been waiting for the company's response to Canon's lead on full-frame, Full-HD DSLR cameras, the D800 may be what they've finally be waiting for, at half the price of the other full-frame, Full-HD DSLR camera - the D4. Just like the D4, the D800 can shoot 1080p video at 30, 25 or 24 frames per second, up to 24Mbps, with the ability to stream uncompressed footage out to an external recording device through HDMI.