« on: April 03, 2013, 01:13:31 PM »
I don't think that there is any question that the D800/D600 etc sensors have much improved DR and are much better than canon (in that sense). But looking at the images you provided there are a couple of notes that I have.
- In the first image I notice that the D800 is at 200% where as the Canon is a 100% (not sure why you did that). I tried downloading the D800 image and shrinking it so that the colorbox was the same size as in the Canon image. It does look to me that the Canon does have a slight edge... though maybe not that significant... but perhaps a partial stop as some of the color dots not showing up on the D800 image do show up on the 5D image. Also... even when shrunk down... the D800 does show some CA and also it is not nearly as sharp as the 5D. Perhaps that is a focusing or lens issue? Couldn't be camera shake at 1/800th.
- In the other images... I do still see better sharpness on the 5D
I haven't seen the banding issues in any practical applications that I have shot, however as you point out it does exist. In my personal experience I have been able to bring back shots nearly 2 stops overexposed (5D Mk II), beyond that it gets difficult. I have not shot with a Nikon so I cannot comment on that.
But that does make me think a second time about the DR issue that you have brought up. I did once see a comparison between the D800 and the Canon... it was a mostly dark scene with buildings and the windows lit up. This is where the D800 shined as the Windows appeared more natural rather than blown out. But in your example, except for the banding in the shaded area's I don't see any additional headroom on the upper end... and actually slightly less.
Regardless... most photographers won't even care about these issues. If you shoot in a studio or and any situation where you can control the light, then most photographers wouldn't even consider this.
Lets face it... Nikon, Sony and even Pentax have better DR than the $50,000 Phase One with the IQ180 Digital back. So while these topics are important and necessary in the improvement of the technology. For everyday usage... I don't think they should be deal breakers for anyone (unless of course you are shooting in these rare conditions all the time).