I think you might agree with me that the examples you posted in the other thread qualify as "extreme," which was the word I've been using to describe the situations where the 5DIII lacks sufficient dynamic range.
Your definition of extreme seemed to be (from your previous post) :
“Basically, you're either trying to salvage a severely underexposed image, or you're trying to turn deep shadows into midtones.”
Neither was the case in the examples I presented.
I'd also suggest that the set of such situations where the 5DIII lacks the dynamic range but it's still within the D800's dynamic range is very small. In most such cases, you're only going to get less-bad, not good, results from the D800 unless you do what you should be doing with the 5DIII -- fixing the light or blending multiple exposures.
I disagree. The biggest asset of the D800 is being able to lift blocked up shadows in an otherwise properly exposed shot. You can do that on a 5DIII or 5DII as well and. And in fact a lot of times I do so. I don’t get a “less bad shot” from doing this. The problem is doing so when you have a large smooth area, because that’s when the pattern noise is noticable. On a D800 the shadows will stay clean. And while this only happens on a small number of shots, the benefit of being able to do this is very nice.
And even in those very few situations where the extra stop or two you can get from the D800 will make the shot, you'll still get a very respectable image from the 5DIII.
That is debatable. It depends on the scenario. And it depends on who you ask and what their expectations are. Maybe some of my clients might not notice the little bit of pattern noise in the shot. Maybe some would. But I don’t want to try and find out. People hire typically hire a photographer to shoot a job because they want the photos to be better than “respectable.”
And that's my point. Does the D800 have better dynamic range than the 5DIII? Yes, of course. Does it matter? About as much as the difference between two family sedans, one with a top speed of 95 MPH and the other with a top speed of 110 MPH. Most people wouldn't even notice said specification, and would be much more impressed with the one with the more practical and comfortable interior and a smoother and quieter ride at legal freeway speeds.
I think your metaphor is off base. Because you’re assuming that both cars are being used in the same way. What if instead of comparing two sedans with different top speeds, we compare a sedan to a four-wheel drive SUV. Both behave pretty much the same driving down the freeway. But the SUV has the ability to perform better in an offroad environment where fewer people are driving, or it will perform better in the snow when the sedan might not be able to move. (I myself happen to own a 4x4 truck. I would say I use the four-wheel drive “rarely.” But I will tell you, when I have used it, it’s been damn handy to have.)
And again, I’m not understanding the need to try and rationalize away the spots where a certain product comes up short. Does the more dynamic range matter? The answer is that, to certain photographers, in certain situations, yes, it does. If it doesn’t matter to you, in your shooting situations, that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean we should marginalize what matters to other photographers because it doesn’t matter to you.
One last artistic point...in the prison, I think it would have made for a much more compelling (and true-to-life) story to have left the prison doors as dark as they appeared to the eye. Lifting the shadows like that makes the room seem bright, well-lit, and almost comfortable. That's not at all what you described it really being like....
To the eye, the prison doors do not appear darker than how I have presented them in that photo. The camera does not record things “true-to-life” (nor for that matter does your brain but that’s a different discussion.) The cell block was well lit. But the lighting was not uniform. The eye adjusts to the brightness levels as its looking around the room so it does look uniform. Standing there looking at those doors, they are that shade of gray. But to the camera, exposing for the highlights in the courtyard below where the majority of the light in the room is falling, it doesn’t come across that way. Without blending exposures and lifting the shadows, the doors come across as almost black, that entire side of the scene is way too murky. They do not look like that to the eye. If that catwalk was really as dark in the “true to life” scenario as the camera recorded it to be, it would be too dark to walk along that catwalk without a flashlight.