Just a couple of years ago I was considering upgrading from the Canon 50D to a 7D or 60D, mainly because of the video capability which none the DSLRs I owned at that time had.
However, when I saw the DR specs of the D7000 on the DXOMark website, I got very interested in that camera despite the fact that, at that time, I owned only one Nikkor lens, the 14-24/2.8 ultra-wide-angle zoom.
After some discussions on LL about the significance of shot noise at such low signal levels (some posters on LL seemed to think that any DR claims beyond about 12 stops for a small sensor would be an irrelevancy because shot noise would unavoidably mask any benefits), I took the plunge and bought a D7000 with Nikkor 24-120/F4 zoom.
After comparing the DR of my new D7000 with that of my Canon cameras, such as the 50D and the full-frame 5D, it became very apparent that the claimed 2-stop DR advantage of the D7000 was very real and only slightly obscured by the proportional increase in shot noise. I was very pleased with the camera's performance in general and would often marvel at how miraculously an almost totally dark image, underexposed at ISO 100 instead of properly exposed at ISO 6400, would spring to life with just a click on the 'auto' button in ACR.
The main attraction of the D800E for me was its incorporation into a larger sensor of all the qualities of the D7000. If fact, at equal image size, the D800E has about 1/2 a stop greater DR than the D7000, due to its larger sensor. However, I haven't taken the trouble to compare the DR of both cameras. I'm too busy enjoying photographing the real world.
It was while photographing the real world recently, in Thailand, I made the mistake of taking a shot at 1/60th, F8 and ISO 100 in manual mode, in near darkness at the end of the day, not realising the D800E's built-in flash was not still popped up. The review image was totally black. Not even a hint of a highlight. I didn't delete it due to laziness and the fact I was in a hurry to get back to the hotel before it got completely dark.
After downloading the day's images onto my Dell Notebook, and deleting a few mistakes and duds, I was about to delete the totally black preview in Bridge, of the F8 shot at 1/60th without flash, when curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to see just how noisy and awful this image really was.
When the image opened in ACR, the histogram showed just a single, thin, vertical line on the far left. There was absolutely no other information. Not even a little hump or two on the horizontal axis. Refer attached image.
However, after some extreme adjustments in ACR, such as +4 exposure, +100 Brightness, 100 Fill Light, +100 Darks in the Tone Curve etc, the image looked almost presentable, apart from an over all green cast. A single click on 'AutoColor' in Photoshop fixed that.
I'm just flabbergasted that so much detail actually exists in a shot I was about to delete. The purpose of the shot was to attempt to give a perspective on the actual size of this "Night Butterfly" (as it is locally known). I'd taken a few shots close up, with 24-120 zoom at 120mm, using the built-in flash, and as I was leaving the scene, still amazed at the enormous size of this butterfly, I decided to take a shot from a greater distance, hoping it would give a better impression of its great size.
Of course, "Night Butterfly" sounds more romantic than bloody Moth. But a check on the internet reveals it is in fact a moth, but the largest moth in the world
, that goes by the name of Attacus Atlas. It's total wing surface area can be in excess of 62 sq inches (or 400 sq cm), and wing span in excess of 10". It's larger than my notebook on which I've processed the attached images.
I've also shown a close-up of the moth taken when the flash was
popped up. I thought it would immediately fly away, but it just twitched. I began to think it was maybe supremely confident because it had two snakes attached to its wings. It also had simulated patches of bamboo leaf on its wings as extra camouflage protection. Refer image 04, which I think is also rather abstract. If you think that detail is moire, don't hesitate to say so.