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Wetpixel D800 review


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#41 divegypsy

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:02 PM

I also enjoy reading the WetPixel camera reviews. I was making suggestions that I thought could make them better.

Adam - perhaps the News announcement of Alex's testing of the D4 in Iceland included the picture of the camera that your link shows. But I just did a quick look of Alex's full story entitled "Nikon D4 Underwater Testing, Live updates from Iceland" as it appears in the digital Slrs/Housings forum. There is no picture of the D4 itself anywhere in that story-forum topic. But there are more than half a dozen pictures of the Nauticam housing or parts of it on the four pages of the field test. So to me, this looks like more of a D4 housing review/promotion than a camera review.

Loftus - I would be happy to do a review of the Seacam D800 housing. And any other D800 housing. I own the D800 and am getting to know what functions and controls I would really want on a housing. But its highly unlikely that Harald would want me to do it. I do NOT just say "Rah, Rah, Rah, Its Great!" about things. I try to look at them critically. If you have seen some of my posts concerning my D700 housing you would have seen that I was not happy that Seacam did NOT have a control for changing the ambient light metering pattern (from spot to matrix to centerweight). And that Paul Kay, a Seacam distributor-dealer immediately countered with the comment that HE used only spot metering with his Canon camera underwater. I also commented that I thought that a brightly colored housing can sometimes cause visually acute marine life to "back off" sooner than a darker housing and had even painted one of my older white F4 Aquatica housings camou and did tests with shrimp gobies. Again Paul rushed to Seacam silver's defense saying that it was probably seeing their reflection in the front of the port that had caused the gobies to dive. I have repeatedly made suggestions to Harald about improving things on first my F5 housings and then my D700 housings. To no avail. This is why I spend time and money making the improvements I want to my own housings.

I feel that controls, and their ease of use, is what really make a quality housing. I have spent about three thousand dollars on each of my two D700 Seacam housings to make the controls more complete and more accessible when your hands are on the handgrips and the camera at your eye in shooting position. The changes I have made would cost far less per housing if they were added to a whole production run of a housing. Or several housings. My cost is so high because I am paying for R&D time and one-off machining of custom parts for just two housings. It is all about having a fine tool that is a joy to use rather than one you have to fight with every time to do things you want to do frequently. Previously, I mentioned my triple control for preview and function buttons and port lock. I also can access flash compensation from the handgrip with one finger - the forefinger of my left hand. When I change from manual focus to an auto-focus mode (S or C), my housings automatically disengage the manual focus gear. The result is a housing that works far more conveniently and faster, allowing me to get the shot on many more of those "one-shot" opportunities than I would otherwise.

As a convenience, I have also incorporated a "remote" camera battery in my D700 housing which allows me to change the camera battery by simply taking off the housing back. In the standard "off the shelf" Seacam D700 housing you must remove the camera completely from the housing to change the battery, which is something that needs to be done every day or two. Now its almost as easy as getting the compact flash card to download the images. I also made adapters so I can use the Nauticam viewfinders on my housing because I value their "in the water" diopter adjustment.

All these advantages are the reason I will first explore the possibility of modifying my D700 housings to accept the D800 before I buy a new D800 housing.

Loftus, you live fairly close to where I live (Sarasota). Why don't we get together sometime and you can see and handle one the housings. And perhaps take it on a dive. And I can explain the logic behind the control changes. I'm currently in South Australia and should get back to Sarasota about August first.

In the meantime, I can take some pictures of one of my housings and post them on WetPixel if there is sufficient interest. And if Adam isn't too concerned that SeaCam will complain or stop advertising on WetPixel. I seem to remember that Adam had at one time said that some of the housing makers didn't want comparisons made between their housing and those of other makes for the same camera. And said they wouldn't advertise if this was done. I would ask, for whose benefit is a housing-camera review - the manufacturer or the reader.

Fred

Edited by divegypsy, 17 May 2012 - 07:13 PM.


#42 adamhanlon

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 10:27 PM

Hi Fred,

Point taken, and I accept that feedback is a good thing.

Alex's forum posts were titled "Nikon D4 Underwater Testing, Live updates from Iceland"-and that is exactly what the forum posts were. I should stress that their purpose (and I am speaking on Alex's behalf here so he may well correct me) was to give members a flavor of what was going on and to wet their appetite for the eventual review. They are not and do not form a part of his review on the camera's performance, they are "Live updates for Iceland".

I have no issue with you posting images or feedback about your housing(s) in the forum. I'm pretty sure that I have never said anything of the kind to you, bit if I have been misconstrued, my apologies. Wetpixel would never censor anyone's posts if a manufacturer was to attempt to apply pressure, nor do we link performance in reviews with advertising. I can state for a fact that we have had people remove their ads because we refused to do so-but Wetpixel makes strenuous effort to be commercially neutral. In answer to your question, all reviews are intended to be for the benefit of the Wetpixel community, not the manufacturer/supplier.

Let's get this thread back on topic, which is about using the D800 underwater :D

Adam

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#43 loftus

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 03:03 AM

Let's get this thread back on topic, which is about using the D800 underwater :D

Adam

Well? :(
Adam - how does the focus point rocker control work?

Edited by loftus, 18 May 2012 - 03:04 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#44 Nige Wade

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 04:54 AM

Hey Adam,

I'm really interested to know how the camera performs in 1.5 crop mode with a Tokina 10-17 or how the images taken in FX with the 10-17 and cropped post production come out.
Have you plans to include this in the camera test? (if not would a pretty please work?)

Best

Nige

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#45 sharky1961

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 06:01 AM

I am interested in supermacro stuff regarding DOF and diffraktion at high aperture.

Rob

Nikon D800 in Seacam D800,  Nikon 16mm, 16-35mm, , 60mm, 105mm,1.4 and 2x TC, 2x Sea&Sea 110a, 2x Seacam Seaflash 150


#46 divegypsy

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:26 AM

Adam, concerning my comment about comparing multiple housings for the same camera, it was Drew, on May 11th, who said what I mistakenly attributed to you. My apologies.

Drew had written,"Fred, while the ideas suggested by you are good in theory, the realities of such reviews is much more difficult. As Alex has mentioned, we are reliant upon the goodwill of manufacturers/dealers (and even friends!) to get housings for reviews. Some manufacturers make it even more difficult by having stipulations regarding reviews including restrictions on comparisons with other brands etc." (The bold face and underlining has been added by me as I am now aware that upper case letters are not acceptable)

In my opinion, a new camera and the new housing it usually requires, has such a large combined price tag that I find it very hard to separate the two. And so I look at the performance of the combination to decide if it is worth the investment. This is where my focus on housing controls comes from. Quite honestly, I had no expectation when I bought my D700 housings, that there would be such a great difference in image quality between the D700 and its successor only a couple of years later. I was expecting the relatively modest incremental changes that have been more typical - an increase from 12 Mp to 16Mp or 18 Mp, in which case I would have been happy to continue shooting with the D700. The jump from 12 to 36 Mp combined with the very significant increase in dynamic range makes the D800 a camera that is difficult not to consider very seriously if you like to make large prints of favorite shots, as I do.

I would feel that if a housing manufacturer does have stipulations prohibiting comparisons with other makes, it is probably a housing that is not worth considering. Comparisons do not necessarily choose one housing over another, they can be done in a way that points out the differences and thereby helps the prospective purchaser pick the housing which best matches the way he want to shoot. And his budget. I have posted some of the negative aspects of my Seacam housings. However, there are also some very good things about the Seacam housing system. It is one of the few, perhaps the only, housing that has two lens controls, which allows both a zoom and manual focus capability, which is very important to me. Seacam has a double O-ring seal on all ports and extension tubes, which I think makes it a very flood-resistant mount system. Even though I am not keen on the silver color, the Seacam anti-corrosion finish is extremely durable. My twelve year old F5 housings still look almost new, and the controls function that way, too.

Fred

Edited by divegypsy, 18 May 2012 - 08:34 AM.


#47 John Bantin

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:27 PM

I think that all reviews of all equipment in niche markets, whether it be scuba diving or any other niche, are coloured by the prejudice of the amateur reviewers. Alas, it seems impossible to get ALL the camera manufacturers and ALL the housing manufacturers to supply one independent test person to do a proper job, and if they did it would take too long and the stuff would be obsolete by the time the tests were published.

As far as camera/housings go, I can remember the time that in the UK, if you did not have a Nikon in a Subal housing you were NOT part of the club. Now it seems that (in the UK) you need to have a Nauticam housing to be taken seriously. This reflects more the popularity of the individual importing the kit than the kit itself.

(I am neither popular nor taken seriously. I have never won an underwater photo competition but I have had more underwater pictures published in the UK than anyone else bar none (no idle claim). On the other hand, I am so GOOD that I can use any kit that I have to hand!)

Edited by John Bantin, 18 May 2012 - 12:27 PM.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#48 loftus

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:31 PM

I think that all reviews of all equipment in niche markets, whether it be scuba diving or any other niche, are coloured by the prejudice of the amateur reviewers. Alas, it seems impossible to get ALL the camera manufacturers and ALL the housing manufacturers to supply one independent test person to do a proper job, and if they did it would take too long and the stuff would be obsolete by the time the tests were published.

As far as camera/housings go, I can remember the time that in the UK, if you did not have a Nikon in a Subal housing you were NOT part of the club. Now it seems that (in the UK) you need to have a Nauticam housing to be taken seriously. This reflects more the popularity of the individual importing the kit than the kit itself.

(I am neither popular nor taken seriously. I have never won an underwater photo competition but I have had more underwater pictures published in the UK than anyone else bar none (no idle claim). On the other hand, I am so GOOD that I can use any kit that I have to hand!)

John, except for your excessive modesty you are perfect. ( Like the most interesting man in the world...)
Joking aside, all the stuff we have, cameras, housings etc, are so good that it really just comes down to feature choices, budgets etc.

Edited by loftus, 18 May 2012 - 12:32 PM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#49 John Bantin

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 01:07 PM

John, except for your excessive modesty you are perfect. ( Like the most interesting man in the world...)
Joking aside, all the stuff we have, cameras, housings etc, are so good that it really just comes down to feature choices, budgets etc.



Exactly!

At the moment I am at the Atlantis Resort, Dumaguete, Philippines. The rooms are all decorated with large framed prints of underwater pictures by the photo-pro here (another Alex - I'm going to change my name!). There are hundreds of them and they are all without exception, excellent. He uses a D200 in a Subal housing. He's in the water every day.

Edited by John Bantin, 18 May 2012 - 01:15 PM.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#50 adamhanlon

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 01:32 PM

A few answers:

I will be shooting it in DX mode with a 10-17mm. I have shot it on land with a DX lens in Dx mode and was not greatly impressed-but will carry out and underwater test.

I did some super macro yesterday. I will do more. I have been using a SubSee +5, and have done some interesting crops! More in the actual review.

I also plan to have a look at its video functions. I haven't done so yet.

@Loftus-It seems to work very well, and that is all I am going to say at present :lol:

More seriously, I have been inundated with requests for a housing review, so it is likely that we will do one later this year.

John-yes you are good.

Adam

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#51 John Bantin

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 02:29 PM

John-yes you are good.

Adam



Maybe we should point out for non-English speakers that that was IRONIC humour!

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#52 TomR1

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 03:08 PM

I agree with the concept that the ideal housing is in the eye of the beholder. I am much more interested in the handle-ability of a housing than I am more than the basic controls.

Basically, as an amature, how long can i sit taking a series of a simple subject before either my dive buddy or the divemaster gets irritated?

More than a few of my friends want small size and minimum weight more than any special controls or anything else for that matter.

Given the above how can John, who is perfect but a bit too modest, really get into the head of a keen amature (me), or someone just moving up to to a dslr.

#53 divegypsy

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 07:35 PM

QUOTE (adamhanlon @ May 18 2012, 01:32 PM John-yes you are good. Adam

QUOTE (John's reply @ today 03:29 PM) Maybe we should point out for non-English speakers that that was IRONIC humour!

Dear John, I certainly hope that Adam's comment was ironic humour. Though I'd think that you would really prefer that the comment, "yes - you are good" had been made by a girlfriend and not a male.

You should be should also be aware that Adam considers the use of capital letters in a post to be rude, belligerent and hectoring.

I agree with Adam'a earlier comment that we should get this tread back to the topic of the D800. And using it underwater. And things related to that, like housings for the D800.

#54 divegypsy

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:08 PM

Nige Wade asked Adam this about the D800. "I'm really interested to know how the camera performs in 1.5 crop mode with a Tokina 10-17 or how the images taken in FX with the 10-17 and cropped post production come out. Have you plans to include this in the camera test? (if not would a pretty please work?)

I would suggest that Nige consider a different possibility. Shot the D800 in the FX mode with a true fixed focal length fisheye like the Sigma 15mm f2.8. And then crop the 36 Mp image to reduce the angle of coverage. To start, the fixed single focal length Sigma lens is probably sharper than the Tokina lens, which is a zoom. Using the Sigma lens with the full 36 Mp FX format the at the 180 degree coverage he should get a considerably sharper image that shooting the Tokina at its widest 180 degrees setting using the 15.3 Mp DX crop. The Tokina lens has a zoom range from 180 degrees to 100 degrees. A DX crop of the Sigma 15mm is about probably about equal to zooming the Tokina inward to a coverage of about 120 degrees. Again, I would expect the Sigma image to be sharper. It is fixed focal length and you are using only the center of its coverage when shooting DX. And for the same reason, I would expect that intermediate crops, between FX and DX to favor the Sigma lens. So the only thing the Tokina really offers vs the Sigma lens is that range from 120 degrees to 100 degrees. And maybe, even when cropped to 12 Mp, the Sigma lens would give you a sharper image vs the Tokina at 15.3 Mp.

The D800 also offers a 25 Mp. 1.2x crop, which is midway between the 180 degree and 120 degree coverages.

I would ask this question, "Has the D800 made the Tokina fisheye zoom much less appealing. And maybe obsolete."

A FX version of the Tokina would be a very welcome addition for many underwater shooters including myself.

Fred

#55 John Bantin

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:26 PM

FB has hit the nail on the head! FB? No, not anything to do with FaceBook! Thanks Fred, for bit of lateral thinking!

(...and yes, I am rude, belligerent and hectoring!)

Edited by John Bantin, 18 May 2012 - 09:32 PM.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#56 Udo van Dongen

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 11:34 PM

Maybe we should point out for non-English speakers that that was IRONIC humour!


:lol: Ironic???!!! what's that?....

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#57 Udo van Dongen

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 01:34 AM

Hi all,

I recently bought the sigma 15 mm fisheye to replace the Tokina, because i found out that the Tokina wasn't optically good enough. I decided to take some testshots from our balcony with some 100% crops of several options. I took the same image with the Sigma in FX, The Tokina at 14 mm in FX and the Tokina at 10 mm in DX. I also downsized the images taken in FX to DX size in Photoshop. After that i made 100% crops of the same treetops in all these images which i posted below. In order to be able to upload them all in Wetpixel i had to downsize them more then i wanted but i think that differences are still obvious.

first the downsized image of the whole image, as it was taken with the sigma 15 mm in FX mode:

Sigma_15_mm_fullres_1.jpg


Then a 100% crop from the treetops of the FX image (downsized)

Sigma_15_mm_fullres_100_crop.jpg


Then a 100% crop from the FX image that was reduced to DX size in Photoshop and then a 100% crop of the same treetops:

Sigma_15_mm_DX_downsized_100_crop.jpg


I took the same image with the Tokina in FX mode with the lens zoomed to 14-15 mm (15 mm on the scale of the lens that appeared in LR4 as 14 mm), the whole image is roughly the same, so you get a downsized 100% crop of the same treetops

Tokina_14_mm_FX_fullres_100_crop.jpg


Then i downsized the FX shot 14 mm to DX size in Photoshop and made a 100% crop of teh same treetops again:

Tokina_14_mm_DX_downsized_100_crop.jpg


And finally i took the same image with the camera in DX mode with the Tokina at 10 mm and made again a 100% crop of the same treetops. I'm not going to put the whole image since it's roughly the same as the other two whole images.

Tokina_10_mm_DX_fullres_100_crop.jpg



For all images i set the camera in 'A' mode at f/5.6 and the shuttertime was between 1/250 and 1/320. All shot were slightly underexposed at - 0.7 EV.
I think it's pretty obvious that the Tokina has it's optical shortcomings compared to the Sigma, unless i've got a bad copy of the Tokina... But as Fred stated before: i think that an FX version of the 10-17 mm Tokina (a 15- 29 mm FE?) would be highly appreciated by a lot of FX shooters.
BTW, i shot jpgs with the camera and didn't do any sharpening except during the export form lightroom, but i did that to all images.

cheers, Udo

Edited by Udo van Dongen, 19 May 2012 - 01:45 AM.

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#58 loftus

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:39 AM

I think that an FX version of the 10-17 mm Tokina (a 15- 29 mm FE?) would be highly appreciated by a lot of FX shooters.

It's a pity that Tokina don't make a version of the Pentax 17-28, just like the Tokina 10-17 is originally a Pentax design.
I've thought of buying one on ebay and using a Pentax to Nikon convertor
http://www.ebay.com/...7#ht_5901wt_922

Edited by loftus, 19 May 2012 - 03:40 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#59 Cp

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 07:00 AM

But as Fred stated before: i think that an FX version of the 10-17 mm Tokina (a 15- 29 mm FE?) would be highly appreciated by a lot of FX shooters.


I recently suggested such a lens to a Tokina rep. I don't think the idea was taken too seriously, but hopefully it will plant a seed in their collective brain. Maybe a few emails to Tokina requesting such a thing would help further it along. Tokina is aware of the special love for their little fisheye zoom that u/w photographers have.

Cheers,
Cp

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#60 divegypsy

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:34 PM

Udo, Thank you for doing the comparison shots that I suggested might show that cropped images from a full-frame fisheye like the Sigma 15mm might prove to be better than the full DX image from the Tokina fisheye zoom. I would have done them myself, but I do not own the Tokina lens. I waited for a Nikon FX camera to go digital from film. To provide a really fair comparison, I might suggest shooting the comparison shots at f8 and f11, especially with the Tokina, since the best performance of most lenses is when they are stopped down two or three apertures from wide open and the Tokina, if I remember correctly is an f3.5-f4.5 lens. The Sigma if f2.8 which would have the additional advantages of a brighter viewfinder image and more accurate auto-focusing because there is less depth-of-field at f2.8 when the auto-focusing occurs. All of these were thoughts I had when I said that I thought that the Sigma lens should provide a better final image. But your images show such a significant difference in sharpness that I doubt that stopping the Tokina down another f-stop or two would make much difference.

Cp, When I was at the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) show in Las Vegas three plus years ago, which was shortly after Nikon and Sony had introduced their first full-frame digital cameras, I made a point of going to the Tokina booth to suggest that since there were now three companies (Canon had introduced its full-frame camera, the 1Ds series, years earlier) selling FX chip cameras, they ought to consider introducing a version of the fisheye zoom for FX. And mentioned the Pentax 17-28. Obviously Tokina didn't take the suggestion. While the fisheye zoom has been a popular among cropped sensor underwater photographers, perhaps Tokina feels that full-frame camera sales haven't been sufficient to justify the cost of developing a similar lens for us. I'd rather Nikon (or Sigma) did it anyway, since I have more confidence in those manufacturers.

Fred