The D800 went back, so I won’t be able to do a direct A-B comparison, but what I will do is post an update as I shoot with it more. I’ll also try to find a matched image to shoot (both under ideal conditions) so we can take a look at the differences.
Initial impressions: acuity is better, but ever so slightly. It seems to remove that ‘layer of fog’ from some lenses, though. Annoyingly, you can’t save settings on a D800 then transfer them to a D800E; apparently the firmware is different, too. Everything else is the same.
The question you’ve been wondering about is AF: yes, it’s a hell of a lot better. Not 100% perfect on the left side, but close enough to LV that I’m now wondering if my copy of the 24 is a bit off and the other bodies just weren’t high enough resolution to notice it. The 85/1.4G is noticeably better than on the D800; no explanation why. I haven’t used the other lenses yet, so I can’t comment. But I do have a watch shoot coming up for which I’ll use the 85 PCE, so that should be interesting.
This month looks like there’ll be a lot of gear reviews – I’ve got an OM-D incoming, and I was told to clear my schedule for a couple of days after May 10. Please don’t ask me what for, I don’t know either. MT
Quick update at 8pm: I forgot to mention earlier that I also had a chance to play with the new AFS 28/1.8 G at Nikon; it was a prototype so they didn’t let me take it away for a more extensive evaluation, and I wasn’t allowed to keep any images. First impressions are positive; it’s sharp wide open, bitingly so by f2.8, consistent across the frame, focuses fast and positively, and is surprisingly light. However, the problem for me is that it simply lacks character; I can’t put my finger on why but I suspect it’s to do with Nikon’s preference for macro contrast over micro-contrast. The Zeiss 2/28 Distagon may not be as perfect on a test chart, but it certainly has much more personality – and remains my preference in this focal length. I suspect also that it has a much higher T stop than the Nikon.