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adamhanlon

Wetpixel D800 review

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I did some sunsets with the D800's HDR back in Cayman in January. It worked to open up shadows, but doesn't do RAW, so I couldn't help feeling that you'd be better off doing it the old fashioned way.

 

Alex

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Underwater with sun balls, it may be worth trying to underexpose a little to keep more highlight detail and opening up the shadows in post

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You need to take 2 exposures for in camera HDR. Not sure what the effect would be on sunrays, which would move between exposures. ALex

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As of yet, no other housings exist in the flesh for the D4...

Seacam's D4 is built but is not yet generally available......

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You need to take 2 exposures for in camera HDR. Not sure what the effect would be on sunrays, which would move between exposures. ALex

Yeah, I found that a problem when I tried HDR before.

I mean possibly underexposing 1/2 -1 stop one's normal single exposure WA sun ball shot, and and then correcting exposure for the underexposed areas in post

Edited by loftus

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Most of the times, with sunballs, I find that I cannot underexpose as much as I would like to i.e: shooting 1/250, f22, ISO 100 and still not getting it right... It will be interesting to see what this camera yields (at least, using the tokina at 15mm will let us shoot at f27...)

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a large number of D800 users will already have their cameras and housings and the review would be less helpful.

 

 

Mate I'm still waiting.!!!! Is it just me or is there more people out there.!!!

 

 

Goose

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Would i be right in saying in the early stages of testing the D800 its becoming just as good as the D4 but at the fraction of the price when comparing the two.

 

Goose

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First, a quick apology. I had no idea that the use of capital letters was the equivalent of shouting. Drew and Adam seem to have somewhat different interpretations of caps use with respect to netiquitte. Drew says caps can be used (politely?) for a word or a phrase for emphasis. Adam seems to suggest that ANY use of caps is unacceptable. I'd also point out that in that post, no full sentence was capitalized, only single words or phrases. Oh well, Ann Landers and Emily Post didn't agree of everything, either. And I never paid much attention either to them. But I thank you both for pointing out this to me. And will try to remember it in my future posts on Wetpixel.

 

Adam said that he also disagrees that I consider what had been posted at that time, and Alex's D4 review, more of a housing review than a true camera review. If you look at how car magazines test cars, they have a common series of tests that show performance in a way that allow comparison of the car being tested to other cars. When WetPixel does a camera review, and its suitability for underwater shooting, it would be nice to see each review have some "similar picture" shots that would show the difference of the cameras previously reviewed vs the new camera. Adam's "sunball" pictures, in his May 11th pictures, is exactly the type of picture I'm talking about. This "sunball" picture is a type of shot we could all shoot in the film era. But most digital cameras cannot handle it well. Alex's D4 review did not even include such a shot. It would have been nice to see. And although Alex's D4 review has a number of pictures of his Nauticam housing, it had no single picture of the D4 itself.

 

I still feel that several of the recent WetPixel camera reviews (all in Nauticam housings) are more housing reviews than camera reviews. Do Nauticam housings provide two lens controls so that you can manually focus a zoom lens on which you have a zoom gear? Alex, in the D4 review says that Nauticam does have a zoom gear for the 16-35mm lens, but no focusing gear. So maybe no manual focusing is possible with a zoom lens on the Nauticam housings. A few days ago, in Bali, I was shooting as dusk fell and it got too dim for my D700's auto-focus to work with my 24-85mm f2.8-f4 lens, even at f2.8. But I could still try to manually focus. I have manual focus gears on every lens I use underwater. If a housing does not have a manual focus provision, how can you focus a lens + tele-converter combination whose combined maximum aperture doesn't meet to the camera's AF system requirements? Many users may not want or use manual focus, but should a camera review ignore this completely? Especially when some underwater photo contests (WetPixels own contest?) have a separate division for "super macro"?

 

This is why I suggested that a review of all the housings for a particular camera would be useful. Especially when a camera that has made such a significant "jump" over the cameras before it in MP and dynamic range. And although it might take, as Drew suggested, 20 dives to become fully comfortable with a particular new camera-housing combination, I think that a couple hours in a swimming pool would give you sufficient time to check out many things. Like what controls the housing has and how easy those controls are to operate underwater. One hand or two hands? With the camera at your eye or not? And how much the combo weighs underwater. And to shoot a few "standardized" comparison shots.

 

Several people have mentioned that a particular housing maker (Subal? or Hugy?) now has a control for the "function" button on their D4 and D800 housing. My modified D700 housing has a single triple-function (four-postitions) control that pushes (and holds down) either the preview or function button. And also functions to lock or unlock the port. This control is reachable with my pinky finger while my hand is still on the right handgrip of the housing.

 

Fred

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I'm pretty sure Alex M made it quite clear that it was a review of the D4 and how it performs as an underwater camera as we would use it.!!

Goose

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I must also say that the Nauticam housing also performed as did the D4, past expectations.!!

 

Goose

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Hey Fred,

We are all waiting for your review of the brand spanking new Seacam housing for the D800... :D

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Hi Fred,

 

I think you will find we do offer housing reviews-I am still finishing the D7000 review. I have the Hugyfot and Seacam housings to complete to finish it. The review takes in Aquatica, Subal, Sea & Sea, Ikelite and Nauticam so far.

 

It is here:

 

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/wetpixel-d7...housing-review/

 

I am unsure whether we will attempt a comprehensive D800 housing review or not.

 

FWIW, Alex's review does have a picture of the D4:)

 

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/nikon-d4-field-review/

 

As it happens, our reviews take place when and where we are diving. This will mean that if we are diving somewhere where the sun doesn't come out (Iceland), sunball shots are going to be a problem. I am struggling at the moment to get the D800 into blue water-a combination of time available and budget. So we do the best we can. There are plenty of empirical tests of camera performance out there, I guess Wetpixel's are more "real world", done by people out there shooting underwater.

 

In a given group of shooters, you will find varying opinions of which controls are essential or useful on a housing. For example, I very rarely use manual focus, even for super macro, as I find that I lock the focus off and rock in and out to get focus. This is not to say that finding manual focus essential is wrong, just that it is not a criteria to which I would assign importance. I do take the point that reviews should be as complete as possible, and with the D7000 reviews, we have attempted to get multiple user input, but no review will ever answer 100% of everyone's queries.

 

Back to D800, a couple of (AF focused) macro shots from St. Abbs today. AF performance was very good but challenging sea conditions with a lot of surge made photography difficult.

 

i-Lt8ttHT-M.jpg

 

i-6HRxRgz-M.jpg

 

As before, shots are straight from Lightroom without any adjustments

 

Adam

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I find the reviews here are outstanding, especially for the price of my subscription to this website. Thank you for all your hard work.

  • Like 1

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Good stuff Adam; what's your verdict on the Nauticam housing so far?

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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

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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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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

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

 

Rob

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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