I received my Nikon D800E several weeks ago and have been ingesting the 400 plus page manual as time allows. I've been shooting a Leaf Aptus 75 medium format digital back the last couple of years and have heard that the new D800E should come very close to the resolution produced by medium format digital. Well fortunately, I now have both cameras to see if this is true or not. The Nikon D800E has a 36mp sensor while the Leaf Aptus 75 has a much larger sensor with only 33mp.
I took all test images within several minutes of each other. On the Nikon, I used the Nikon 14-24mm lens set at 24mm, f-11, with a 2 stop graduated ND filter for the sky. On the Leaf, I used the Mamiya 35mm lens, f-11, with a 2 stop graduated ND filter for the sky. These focal lengths are virtually identical given the format size difference of the sensors. I also used mirror lock-up before every shot to reduce vibration. So, as you can see, we are going to be looking at basically an apples to apples comparison of sensor resolution and shadow detail.
Please note that this is not a scientific test in any way, shape, or form. It's simply me testing my two cameras against each other.
Here are the full view images from each camera. First, the full image from the Nikon D800E:
And here is the full image from the Leaf Aptus 75:
As you can see, the Nikon has an overall "warmer" tone to it. Now lets get into the details. I'll let you make your own conclusions from the following portions blown up to "actual pixels" in photoshop and placed side by side for comparison. Just an FYI, both cameras shoot at 240dpi native resolution (RAW). There were absolutely no adjustments made to any of the images other than converting to jpg for the internet.
Conclusion: In my opinion, the Leaf Aptus still holds a VERY slight edge over the Nikon D800E when it comes to resolution and shadow detail. BUT, when you factor in the enormous price difference between the two setups, the Nikon is by far the clear winner given the fact that the resolution and shadow detail differences are so extremely minor. Anyone in the market for a Leaf Aptus 75 digital back with a Mamiya AFDII body and lenses?????