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Nikon announces the D800

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D3X owners must hate the D800 - more resolution, video, latest AF and smaller, much cheaper body

Alex

 

As a D3x owner, it's a blow. I knew it would happen sooner or later, but not this soon! I'm married to the big Nikon since I have an Aquatica housing for it but I'd entertain a future affair with the D800 or its successor...

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Thom Hogan's preliminary take on it:

http://bythom.com/d800intro.htm

 

In general I would say that I tend to agree with Thom's conclusion. Although from his review I am not sure he has handled the camera - it is merely a reaction to the specs.

 

I started out with the attitude, 36MP who needs that. And then as the week went on and we talked about it more - we realised you don't need to use it all the time. Our poor analogy is it is like an overpowered car, you don't need to use all the power all the time. I'll stop the car analogy there - we didn't and enjoyed jokes about DX hybrid around town mode...

 

So as Thom Hogan says. Buy bigger cards, faster card reader and more storage and live with it.

 

The DX crop is very useable - and will out resolve the camera that most Nikon shooters are upgrading to the D800 from. I don't remember is you can shoot RAW at other resolutions to full res FX and full res DX, but I think you can. Alternatively you can down-res a bit in the RAW converter, should you not be happy with how 36MP looks at 1:1. I shot RAW and JPG with the camera (boy it fills cards quickly - takes CF and SD) and charged the battery on my D7000 charger.

 

The ergonomics of the D800 are very nice. This was a camera that I don't intend to buy (on release, at least), but trying it quickly made me want one. The (even) bigger LCD screen is lovely.

 

36MP is so much more than I need anyway. Still waiting to see some high ISO still samples, though video shot at night looks pretty clean

 

I'd like to be able to open my RAW files before commenting definitely on noise. But as a general comment both the noise and frame rate significantly exceeded what I thought would be possible with 36MP. If anyone is desperate to see files I can send you over a couple of JPGS (basic quality - I shot RAW + Basic) straight from the camera.

 

I presume the one I tried had the AA. In fact I was unaware Nikon were going to offer the two versions.

 

1) If it works like the D700, the area outside of the copped rectangle would be darkened in the viewfinder making photo composition easier

2) The image recorded on the card will be 15mp, not 36mp and yes you can crop in post, but it will waste a lot of disk space. There would be next to no useful data in the vignetted part of the image anyway.

But my real question is whether this would be as good as owning a DX for U/W and FX for above water. For me, I prefer DX for extra reach in U/W macro photography and DX with the 10-17 is pretty awesome as is.

 

I agree. I can see many people doing DX dives (with 10-17mm, 60mm and 105mm) or doing all their diving DX. 15MP (is that what it is?) is still a lot of resolution. Although I think it will need a change in mindset to purposely not use the maximum resolution your camera is capable of. 7360 x 4912 is an addictive amount of pixels!

 

The prototype I tried did not shade the viewfinder in DX mode. Simple illuminated a red rectangle around the DX section of the frame. But this may well have been included in firmware changes for the release spec.

 

Alex

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That is great info Alex, thanks! How is the AF compared to the D2x and D700?

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The prototype I tried did not shade the viewfinder in DX mode. Simple illuminated a red rectangle around the DX section of the frame. But this may well have been included in firmware changes for the release spec.

 

Alex

 

 

If it's like the D700 there is a custom menu option for either a rectangle or a shaded section in DX mode, rectangle being the default. I'd like to try one out and see how much of a problem losing part of your "view" is for composing a photo.

 

I keep reading rave reviews from Pros who have been using the D800 under NDA for a few months. Wish they would stop :(

 

JP

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Hi,

I ordered the D800E yesterday as I don't think moire will be a problem with any striped fish I can think of at this resolution but I can think of plenty lenses that will be soft! The girl in the Kimono studio lite shot on Nikon site is of very fine regular weave material and the cobbled path shot had noticably better definition and depth, since nobody here seems to have first hand experience with the D800E it will be interesting to see the results underwater compared!

I just hope the housings come out quickly from Nauticam! maybe if its a problem Nikon can put an AA filter in for me!

Looking fwd to April anyway!

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indeed, but none of the "crop modes" really matter cause that's all they are, digital crops. something we can all easily do in post.

 

i.e. for those that would ponder 15mp with the tokina 10-17mm, why not just leave it in FX mode and crop as needed. its the same thing the camera's doing except you get all the extra data.

 

A DX lens' image circle is still larger than a DX sensor and DX zooms often will have a partial range that will fully cover an FX sensor. granted it could be crap in the corners but i have seen it work. my tokina 11-16mm was quite decent at 16mm on my D700, before I got a full frame superwide.

 

I must say I agree with the crop in post argument - why waste data, its amazing how your composition decisions can change in post sometimes. I will be trying my Tokina 10-17 on the D800E in full FX maybe I'll like the vignetting composition!

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Nikonrumors now has a link to a page with some full-res samples at high ISO (800-25400). Based on these limited data, I would say that the performance in DX crop mode will not be competitive with the D7000.

 

I wonder about the utility of FX for underwater shooting. For macro, I use the Tamron 90 or Nikon 105 on a DX body. So to get the same composition in FX, one would need to either use a 150 mm or longer lens, or get 33% closer to the fish. Either way, the whole business becomes more challenging.

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That is great info Alex, thanks! How is the AF compared to the D2x and D700?

 

It compares favourably, but I would like to wait to try it underwater (with subjects that I am familiar with and in the conditions we all use the camera in) before saying anything definitive. The low light performance suggests it will be a step on again underwater. But I'll only know by trying it.

 

The reality is that it will be the D4 that gets a workout first. Although I am sure the D800 will appeal much more widely to underwater photographers than the D4, the D4 will be out first and housings for that will be with us first.

 

Alex

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I ordered the D800E yesterday as I don't think moire will be a problem with any striped fish I can think of at this resolution but I can think of plenty lenses that will be soft!

 

I don't think that this is a camera to use with cheap lenses - apart from the Tokina - which is always pretty nasty - but we always tend to forgive it!

I used 70-200 and 16-35mm mainly - and both performed well. Although I doubt 36MP is going to look pixel perfect at 100% behind a dome. That said - it will probably look great down rezzed to a mere 24MP.

 

Alex

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I don't think that this is a camera to use with cheap lenses - apart from the Tokina - which is always pretty nasty - but we always tend to forgive it!

I used 70-200 and 16-35mm mainly - and both performed well. Although I doubt 36MP is going to look pixel perfect at 100% behind a dome. That said - it will probably look great down rezzed to a mere 24MP.

 

Alex

 

Alex

I agree absolutely and intend to use it with my Nikon 14 -24mm which until now has been stuck on my D90 above water and not exactly what it was designed for! I went for the D800E for precisely the dome reason you site as I feel there are plenty of AA properties in it already (so to speak) and therefore the prospect of a single ray of white light hitting only one of the RGB groups is even less likely.

It will still be fun to bolt the old Tokina 10-17 on to see what I get, like most everyone I love that lense and DXO takes the Chromatic Aberation out nicely.

This will be my first FX camera as it were, before we used to called them 35mm! back in my Pentax MX days.

 

Thanks for your insightful posts I always read them!

 

George

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I think the 16-35mm is a better performer underwater for FX (which is why I have one), than the 14-24mm. 14-24mm better on land.

 

Alex

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I think the 16-35mm is a better performer underwater for FX (which is why I have one), than the 14-24mm. 14-24mm better on land.

 

Alex

 

Right - well its on the shopping list then! thanks again. Are Subal making (or have made) a dome specially for it as they did for the 14 24mm

 

George

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I wonder about the utility of FX for underwater shooting. For macro, I use the Tamron 90 or Nikon 105 on a DX body. So to get the same composition in FX, one would need to either use a 150 mm or longer lens, or get 33% closer to the fish. Either way, the whole business becomes more challenging.

 

This simply won't be true anymore when a FX sensor has a DX crop with the same resolution as a DX body. The D800 has essentially the same pixel density of the D7000. So a 100mm lens on a D800 in DX crop mode will be more or less exactly the same as that lens on a D7000. The only difference is that you'll be throwing away more image captured around the outside. This is extra sensor using extra glass.

 

So shoot a 100mm macro on the D800 if FX mode and crop it down in post to the size of a DX sensor and you'll have the same image as shot with the 100mm on a D7000.

 

Of course, once nikon releases a DX camera with a higher resolution (i.e. say the D400 is 20-24mp) then perhaps we can start thinking about this again. But the game changer with the D800 is that is has plenty of resolution (at today's standards) when cropped to the size of DX sensor that it practically makes any DX camera less than 16mp obsolete. Except for perhaps the slow 4fps when shooting action.

 

The only other way this distinction could play out is in the "Traditional" category of the OWU photo contest where cropping is not allowed...

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So, should I change my pre-order to the D800 instead of the D800E??????

 

I was under the impression that moire removal was no big deal, but from the above article it appears to be a big deal.

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I certainly have nothing definitive to say on the E debate.

 

I haven't ordered a D800 (yet) and I really wouldn't have a clue whether the D800 or the D800E would be better purchase for underwater. I have no experience of what removing the AA filter would have on a 36MP DSLR when used underwater for both wide angle and macro.

 

I think that there are a number of subjects underwater that could produce moire artefacts. But I am unsure about what the water column, port, lens etc will do to them in real world shooting.

 

I guess if it was me - I might accept that 36MP was plenty of resolution and buy the non-E version - so I can be confident of using it both above and below the water on all subjects.

 

Alex

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I guess if it was me - I might accept that 36MP was plenty of resolution and buy the non-E version - so I can be confident of using it both above and below the water on all subjects.

 

Alex

 

I would agree; I've ordered the D800. I certainly don't need the additional resolution - given a choice, my preferred camera would have the D4 sensor in this body, for the ISO and frame rate. Looking at some of the moire examples, I can imagine a fair number of situations where it could be an issue, and seems like it's more likely to be a problem than needing more resolution.

Edited by loftus

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On second thought it appears that the trade off between the potential moire problem is not worth the extra resolution.

I am changing my pre-order to a D800 and canceling the D800E.

 

Alex, Jeff thanks for your comments,

Elmer

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Elmer's experience (changing to the E version from the non-E) is why we log into WetPixel. I don't post much because I usually have nothing to add but I definitely appreciate the data. Thatkyou to all contributers.

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Very excited for you guys with a nice collection of Nikon glass...

 

Interesting how Nikon played its hand with the big megapixels.

 

Myself, I cannot wait to see what Canon does with the 5d mkiii!

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Isnt it likely moire removal will be prioritised now the D800E is being released? Id take the Lightroom beta as a start, rather than the best we're going to see.

 

Video would be a whole other story of course.

 

Otara

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Isnt it likely moire removal will be prioritised now the D800E is being released? Id take the Lightroom beta as a start, rather than the best we're going to see.

 

Video would be a whole other story of course.

 

Otara

 

Yes I agree,

I would like to hear what the medium format guys say about this since they don't use AA filters and the 36mp is in their territory now, admittedly not in the IQ180 league but treading on Mamiyas toes at 40mp even though the D800 pixel density is of course higher.

What camera lens combination was shown in the lightroom beta 4 example? 12mp perhaps?

I suppose we'll just have to wait for the likes of Ken Rockwells tests once he recieves his D800E now ordered

 

Roll on April!

 

PS I have now read the photo.net link and it was Canon 5D 12.8mp 24 -105mm zoom.

Edited by Geopadi

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I've pre-ordered the E model. There's been a lot of discussion about it on Luminous Landscape and I believe the D800E will work best for what I have in mind, which will be above water landscapes and general nature photography in Florida. I'm sure that sooner or later I'll dive the camera but with the D3x and Aquatica housing I have, there's no rush to do so. I can't see moire being an issue if I do use the camera underwater as I am shooting the cave systems in Florida- no pattern problems there. I do think lenses will be critical with either model if one is to take full advantage of the resolution. The 14-24 should be fine and maybe the 24-70/2.8 will give acceptable images, but with this camera I am leaning more towards the primes I have: 50/1.4, 85/1.4, 105/2.8. I can see the 24/3.5 TS making an appearance in my bag.

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