I shoot low iso with a 1DS3 - no patterning in the darks
I shoot to the right
I shoot with a lot of good light
I dont get the problems you describe
by doing that, you're doing everything correctly to create the best possible file for PP and printing.
and 1DS3 is a pretty clean camera with a little something special about its images, I sometimes wish I'd have bought one instead of 5D2.
I can understand what you are talking about - taking snapshots with a 7D at iso 1600, shooting to the left, big crop and printing on a 16 x 12 will definitely give problems.
Actually, correcting slightly underexposed or excessively contrasty snaps with a 7D at LOW ISO is even worse, it's banding is horrendous and can really show up then. At least it does on mine.
You are suggesting that people should buy a camera that will cope with poor technique, rushed images and bad the scenario. What you are infact suggesting is a super duper P&S.
And what's wrong with that?
They can save learning proper lighting and exposure for later while still getting good images.
What I am trying to convey is that many commonly shot scenes, which do not have a lot of good light, will have enough DR that it's possible to show Canon's shadow noise when processing an image to print. And, if the print is large enough, it can show up in the shadows of that print.
My 5D2 often annoys me with this, my Nikons do not because they don't have pattern
noise, they provide a much more random, Gaussian distribution of their noise which is very natural looking and is perceptually a non-issue. That means I can manipulate the shadows as much as I want, can underexpose by accident, and STILL have a workable file and create a better image than I can from any of my Canon bodies under the same conditions.
Bad news for you - the D800 cant cope with sports and wildlfe, so however good the image is then missing the shot wont compensate - better a poor IQ than missing the shot.
I still keep my 7D for fast-paced work and wildlife because I have the long glass for it it. The glass itself, and the nature of the shots, generally means I don't have to cope with as much contrast and DR so if I ETTR a bit, I still get good images from it. And I still have a few Canon bodies I regularly use vs 2 Nikons.
As you well know, and I think you've stated elsewhere, knowing your equipment, and its limitations, allows you to get the best results from it by using appropriate techniques.
I'm just trying to define those limits for people who don't seem to be aware of them. (BTW, you weren't on that list
As for the D800 not being able to cope with fast work or wildlife, I haven't put it to the test yet. Others have and the results are within what i'd expect of a camera like that. I.E. It can do the job but it's not the best at it. But that's not whey I've added it to my kit.
I got Nikon gear to fill a niche in my shooting; they contend with scenes I know are extremely DR challenging where my Canons fail to meet my needs. And it's usually a "slow" shooting scenario, everything manual where I can take the time to optimize the setup, if not the lighting. The D800/e is my ultimate imaging machine for landscape and close-up or macro work because I really don't want to spend the giant wads of loot required to go medium format for landscapes.