Thanks Ray for suggesting this test. I was about to suggest the same. Unless you provide such a double blind test no human being can escape from the confirmation bias we all suffer from
Yes, Hans. I think we're both in agreement here. Confirmation bias is a huge problem in science, in general. My suggestion that Michael hand over the RAW D800 file to Jeff Schewe to do his best to match the resolution of Michael's D800 print, is probably flawed.
Jeff is probably also biased in favour of 'no AA filter'. To get him to do his best, Michael might have to offer an inducement along the lines, "If you succeed in restoring the lost detail in this D800 image, Jeff, so that it looks just as sharp and detailed on your
print as it does on my
print of the D800E image, I shall reward you by presenting you with a free Nikon D800E." (I have to tread carefully here. This is tongue in cheek.
What might be a better idea, is for Michael to send the RAW D800 file, together with the printer profile that Michael used to produce his own print from the D800E file, to Bernard or Bart.
Bernard would do his best to prove to himself, if no-one else, that he had made the right decision in choosing the D800 over the D800E, and Bart would do his best to demonstrate that his knowledge of Point Spread Function and Deconvolution processes are unparalleled.
However, even if Bart, or Bernard, or both of them, were to succeed in matching the resolution and sharpness of Michael's D800E image, from which he made the D800E print, the matter would still not be settled.
We have to consider the amount of time spent, and the difficulty incurred, in processing that D800 file to match the D800E file. It might be huge, involving arcane processes not readily available to the general public, and involving considerable expertise, whereas Michael's general processing and sharpening of the D800E image may be basic, standard, and easy. That in itself may be considered as an advantage.