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| Re-assessing the D800 sensor as a Canon alternative |
galenapass: It sounds to me like you do not have a lot of experience with post processing. I have been shooting Nikon and Canon since I owned both a 20D and a D200. I can make any Canon file look just like a Nikon file and vice versa. Things I have not been able to make adjustments for were banding in the shadows, resolution due to inherent differences in the sensors (e.g. D700 vs a 5DII) and dynamic range. Color and contrast are an easy fix. Micro contrast can also be a function of the lens used. I do not have a D800e, but after looking at many examples (and downloading raw files) of the sheer detail and dynamic range captured by this sensor, IMO there would be no problem getting good "punch" out of the images with a little PP.
Another possibility you could consider is that I have enough experience with post processing to see and object to flaws some other people overlook.
Here is a hypothetical for you. Consider an image file that includes minutely-adjacent contrast (color or density) targets A, B, C, D...etc., with the file as a whole chock full of so many finely visible distinctions that your printer's capability to represent all of them is taxed to the fullest. What happens to the printed presentation of contrast boundary C/D when you spread A/B with a curve? (Or for that matter, more distant boundary Y/Z, which will enjoy less of your focus as you work on A/B?)
Does that kind of work thereby increase the available gamut of your printer? Or does your A/B work wipe out detail previously discernible elsewhere?
Consider the difference between the situation when you begin with an image file that leaves substantial parts of the printable gamut unused, compared to a file that more fully occupies every niche. One of my concerns is that the Nikon D800/D800e represents the latter case, and may be producing files notably more challenging to color correct. Maybe because contrast boundaries are more fully occupied across the printable gamut—which could put the sensor's ability to deliver the color you prefer right out of the camera more at a premium.
If the D800/D800e doesn't deliver that preferred color/contrast initially, don't you need a reserve of essentially unused contrast space into which to move all your bystanding contrast boundaries during post processing, the ones you aren't editing and don't want smushed together so you can't see them anymore? Otherwise, getting what you want may prove damnably difficult without wiping out other stuff willy-nilly. If with D800/D800e images there isn't as much empty-but-printable contrast space into which to move non-target color and density values during post processing, do you have less post processing flexibility—or maybe need yet-to-be-invented printing capabilities to enable flexible post processing of those images—the kind of post-processing flexibility that some of the responders here are accustomed to and are urging me to consider.
That's one of the questions this admittedly imperfectly experienced practitioner of this art is asking. And if the answer is yes, you could benefit from improved editing and printing capability to deal with these new kinds of files, then isn't it a corollary that you had better like the as-delivered color quality you get out of the camera, or at least be able to live with it?