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adamhanlon

Wetpixel D800 review

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Now the serious questions: does shaving affect the flare performance?

 

I can't remember, off-hand, the exact lens dimensions, but seem to recall that the Sigma 15mm is a little longer than the Nikon 10.5mm and a little shorter than the Tokina 10-17mm. You used the Nikon version of the Zen dome? Has anyone seen if the Sigma has significant vignetting in the Tokina version of the dome (which might accomodate the unshaved shade)?

 

Tim

 

;)

 

The shade on Sigma 15mm is quite long and I've seen two different shade shapes. The one we opened (and shaved) for the Digital Shootout last week was the long curved variety. Not sure if the more squared type is shorter though. Either way, it won't fit in the Zen DP-100 for 10-17 to my knowledge, and if you were to add enough extension, it would vignette.

 

Cheers,

Cp

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... it won't fit in the Zen DP-100 for 10-17 to my knowledge...

 

Thanks.

 

Oh, the (growing) pains of FX!!

 

 

Tim

 

;)

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Hey Tim,

 

I can concur with Chris.

 

I accidentally left a 15mm extension on my dome whilst using it with the Sigma-strange circular fisheye effect is the result!

 

Adam

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How are all you D800 users finding your camera now the hyperbole has subsided a little? Still as impressive as it seems on paper? Any major performance issues?

 

Despite being a Canon shooter genuinely intrigued by this camera as there are certain features that are unique with it. As much as it pains me I might be tempted to get one for underwater shooting. I have a couple of Nikon mount Sigma lenses (15mm, 70mm macro) from my F90 days, so I would only need a wide angle. I am guessing from the reviews here the 16-35mm is the lens to use for wide angle?

 

Erol

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Hi Erol,

 

I think that those of us using the D800 are still adjusting to just how good it (potentially) is :)

 

i-LBpDRmG-M.jpg

 

I have used Alex's 16-35mm and it is very clean I does need a big (9"+) dome and a long extension though.

 

Adam

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I have used Alex's 16-35mm and it is very clean I does need a big (9"+) dome and a long extension though.

 

The edges are prettty messy in the image above: what f-stop were you using, and what extension? I have a little sneakiness that I want to try when I get housed, and will report if it works, but knowing what's already been tried would be very helpful.

 

Tim

 

dirol.gif

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Unfortunately, my Nauticam NAD800 is already showing signs of rusting. 3 NAD800 housings here and one rusting, being the one most used in water... daily for 9 days!

 

post-1861-0-71813000-1341503018_thumb.jpg

 

Another 2 NA7D (about 7 months old) housings here also have rusting view finders. More evaluation is coming.

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I have a little sneakiness that I want to try...

 

OK: preliminary trials (in the bath - just watch Wimbledon to see what British conditions are like this "summer") show the Nikon 16-35mm working behind the Anthis/Nexus custom 12-24mm port with a 30mm extension; I haven't worked out if its better with the bare lens or a +3D diopter. The bare dome seems to accommodate the Sigma 15mm with a Kenko teleconverter.

 

Tim

 

dirol.gif

Edited by tdpriest

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Unfortunately, my Nauticam NAD800 is already showing signs of rusting.

 

What state are the two sacrificial anodes in?

 

Tim

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Hi,

 

I got my D800 waterproof (Ikelite housing) and did my first shots last weekend in a pool.

 

All done with the Nikon 16-85mm behind the 8" Dome. I was quite happy with the results. Autofokus was the whole time in 3D mode and did pretty well.

 

post-36347-0-22259600-1341782860_thumb.jpg

 

post-36347-0-80051900-1341782787_thumb.jpg

 

More pics in this thread.

 

Regards René

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Hi Erol,

 

I think that those of us using the D800 are still adjusting to just how good it (potentially) is smile.png

 

i-LBpDRmG-M.jpg

 

I have used Alex's 16-35mm and it is very clean I does need a big (9"+) dome and a long extension though.

 

Adam

 

Thanks Adam

 

Yes I am sure it will take a while to get the full picture. Thats a nice shot..

 

I have been very interested by this camera for a number of reasons, the massive DR, 1/500th sync in DX and generally the increased ''hackability'' of Nikon.

 

However when all is said and done, my 5D2 and 7D are better cameras than I am a photographer and I think I d prefer to squeeze the best out of them before moving to something else. :)

 

Erol

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D800 in DX:

.....Poorer viewfinder (using D800 viewfinder in DX mode means a much smaller view than D7000 viewfinder). This is a significant point - unless you like small viewfinders!

Thanks for this point Alex, if you are saying the DX mode gives a smaller image thru the viewfinder than a D7000, but excuse my ignorance, never experienced a full frame camera yet. How does the viewfinder image view on the D800 in FX mode compare in size to a viewfinder on a DX body? I assume they are the same size?

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I thought that I'd copy this over from the wide-zoom thread. I was very pleasantly surprised, not to say impressed: Nikon D800, Nauticam NA-D800, Sigma 15mm, Tokina x1.5 T/C, Nexus 12-24mm port. ISO 1600, illuminated by a single Sola 600:

 

 

post-4522-0-39999200-1342301776.jpg

 

 

post-4522-0-45496300-1342301765.jpg

 

 

post-4522-0-30087000-1342301792.jpg

 

 

Tim

 

dirol.gif


  •  

Tim

 

Flickr galleries

Photobox; images on sale!

The Fin Foundation

Nikon D800 in Nauticam housing...

Edited by tdpriest

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A crop from the camera's jpeg file:

 

 

post-4522-0-32344800-1342302330_thumb.jpg

 

 

Tim

 

dirol.gif

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What state are the two sacrificial anodes in?Tim
Those were fine. The problem areas are isolated from the main body's zinc nodes. The viewfinder is surrounded by acrylic and thus the different metals start corroding very slowly. The other area from my experience with Nauticam is the handle plate area attaching to the main housing, notably the bolt and the plates. This is an ongoing issue with the brand. Nauticam's Edward Lai replied that the issue stems from the supplier's bad qc on quality of metal. Thus not every housing has this issue and it's obvious from the popularity of the housing, most don't see it as a major issue and a bit of molylube or some sort of contact resistance seems to alleviate the problem. That and vigilance makes it less of an issue.

For me, it's more an annoyance more than a major issue. Other brands also have corrosion issues at some point but it'd be nice if Nauticsm made this less of an issue.. It certainly doesn't deter buyers. In fact I'm selling the housing and camera already to a very happy buddy of mine after I finish up my stint in Africa.

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Nice shots, Tim!

 

The image quality of that crop is god awful, but I know that wasn't a high priority with these particular shots. I'd blame your lens combo more than the camera for such poor detail - the camera is better than that at ISO 1600.

 

Alex

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Off topic:

 

Tim's crab image won the British Underwater Photography Championship at Plymouth, UK yesterday.

 

He had gone to bed (or was posting on this forum) when the results were announced smile.pngsmile.png

 

Congratulations Tim!

 

A full report on the event will follow later today.

 

Adam

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I got my housing on a Friday night and flew to Panama for a trip to Malpelo the following morning. Stupid? I like to live on the edge!

 

However. I discovered that it doesn't matter which camera you have. What matters is the photo opportunities presented. A young man with a Canon 5D got two better pictures than me because he got the close encounters I would have loved to have been given. Meanwhile...with my 15mm Sigma:

 

I used the Sea & Sea (Athena) optical dome port. It vignettes slightly but I usually find it can be cloned in or cropped out.

post-4197-0-14281200-1342351987_thumb.jpg

post-4197-0-73440200-1342352126_thumb.jpg

Edited by John Bantin

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The image quality of that crop is god awful...

 

Oh. I shouldn't be such a fool, then.

 

Tim

 

dirol.gif

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Hi Erol,

 

I think that those of us using the D800 are still adjusting to just how good it (potentially) is smile.png

 

i-LBpDRmG-M.jpg

 

I have used Alex's 16-35mm and it is very clean I does need a big (9"+) dome and a long extension though.

 

Adam

 

Hey Adam - this string is exceptional and I love your reviews. One thing I haven't been able to find much info on is the comparison between the D700 and the D800 for UW photography. Do you have any thoughts or experience with this? Clearly you get the video bonus with the D800 but I'm wondering what impact the 3x MPs have underwater...is that a good thing, or do you get fewer quality images because of motion blur? Most photogs I know using the D800 on land use tripods almost all of the time to minimize the blur.

 

Thanks much,

 

Alexis

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I think you are confusing motion blur due to subject movement with camera shake due to the photographer's poor technique. I think there's a misconception that the D800 will show more camera shake blurring than a D700 or any other lesser MP camera, that's not the case. It's just that if one does not use impeccable technique, i.e. a tripod on land, then one will not be able to really see the quality one would expect. Not worse than any other camera, just not as high quality as the D800 can produce. Same thing underwater. In ideal conditions, perfect technique etc, the D800 will shine, but if one introduces anything that degrades the image like poor viz, diffraction at high f-stop, lens/dome issues, then one will not see that extra quality benefit that the D800 is capable of. Fortunately underwater, camera shake tends to be the least of our problems, particularly as we also tend to use wider angle lenses. This is of course different from motion blur due to subject movement which will not be different from one camera to the next.

Edited by loftus

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I think Jeff summarises it very well.

 

The D800 will always take great pictures. It is a lovely camera to use - a very good camera for getting the shot - with great ergonomics and excellent AF.

 

But you need to get everything right to make the most of the full 36MP. And I found, underwater, in the clear Red Sea, shooting with flash, it was actually easy to get everything right. Good technique and be mindful of the rules of shooting Nikon FX.

 

Importantly, there is no real need to worry if you don't, you still get a great picture, but maybe you end up with a useable resolution of <20MP. We'll that's hardly the end of the world (it is probably still more than your old camera!). It is still a completely useable file for just about any need.

 

I think Tim's crop of the crab is a perfect example of this phenomenon, which he posted above and with a crop. Shot without strobes it is pretty lousy at a pixel level.

But seen as a whole image it is great. The D800 has so many pixels, that even if circumstances that prohibit you getting a technically perfect shot at 36MP, it should still look great when downsized.

 

So all you really loose is some of the crop-ability of those very big files.

 

Alex

 

p.s. I note that it has been over a month now since I came back from the Red Sea - where Adam kindly lent me his D800 and Nauticam housing. I must share some results and further thoughts.

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I took my D800 on its first outing to Malpelo. The water there is very mixed by temperature and sometimes it is quite difficult to get a sharp picture with ANY camera. I absolutely agree with Alex. I believe that I probably only got pictures as good as I would have got with my D700 under those circumstances. However, I'm hoping for better circumstances in future!

 

(I want to thank Pascal of Hugyfot for getting a housing for the D800 to me in time for the trip.)

Edited by John Bantin

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It has been more than a month since I have been back from using the D800 in the Red Sea in the Nauticam NA-D800 - kindly lent my Adam Hanlon, so I could make a contribution to the Wetpixel review.

 

post-713-0-50142100-1342866694_thumb.jpg

 

It was a workshop trip, so my own photography was pretty low on the agenda, so I wasn't able to do more than shoot it out there. Then, I went directly from the Red Sea to Scotland (via Adam's to return the camera) on another shoot and so I've not really had a moment to look through the D800 shots (in fact there are so dives I've not looked at all) and certainly no time to write a formal review. Feeling guilty, I've quickly batch processed some shots, that I hope make some important points about this amazing camera (don't judge the camera's ultimate quality from the images I have chosen, they are here mainly to make specific points).

 

Yes, the D800 is AMAZING. It forces you to recalibrate possibilities and probably the best way to shoot. If you can get the best out of the D800, I am in no doubt that it moves the game on considerably. That said, it comes with the problems/challenges/compromises of shooting FX underwater.

 

post-713-0-88627900-1342867120_thumb.jpg

 

I only had a week shooting it underwater, but we had such great diving, that I was able to shoot so many subjects - I feel I've given it a good workout. So I'll share some thoughts below, which I am sure will form the core of my contribution to the Wetpixel review, when I have time to write it up (I guess this will be a very rough, first draft)! But with the Wetpixel Whaleshark trip looming at the end of the week, I am not sure when that will be.

 

post-713-0-09332300-1342867170_thumb.jpg

 

 

King Of The Dive Deck?

 

Central to the D800 experience is that amazing 36MP sensor, which as is well documented isn't just thrashing other SLRs in tests, but also some medium format systems. There is no better question to be asked as a D800 owner than "How many megapixels has that got then, mister?" As John Bantin has already jokingly remarked he only got one for dive deck credibility!

 

post-713-0-03014600-1342866764_thumb.jpg

 

And my experiences are that it is well deserved credibility. The camera delivers stunning resolution, excellent dynamic range and resolution on a whole new level. It has 100% viewfinder, 1/320th flash synch and a pop-up flash, ideal for running TTL strobes via fibres. It is also small(er than D-series Nikons and 1D series Canons) and competitively priced.

 

It also delivers where it matters from macro:

post-713-0-25846000-1342867023_thumb.jpg

 

To wide angle:

post-713-0-84671900-1342867070_thumb.jpg

 

And here is a fun video of me shooting the camera in the Red Sea:

[vimeo]44343068[/vimeo]

 

More to follow...

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Detail

 

As many have discussed in this thread, 36MP brings many advantages and a few disadvantages. I think that they also bring more stress than they need to. Read the posts of Jeff (Loftus), Me and John before these ones - and you will see that all our experiences is that while it requires precise technique to realise the full potential of the 36MP, if you don't, the files doesn't go in the bin, it is still useable when down sampled a bit to a mere 18MP, say!

 

That said, I would like to suggest that the D800 is easier to shoot underwater (in terms of realising that full 36MP resolution) than it is on land. But underwater I mean in clear water and with subject matter that can be easily and fully illuminated by strobes. And the reason is those strobes. Underwater we mainly shoot with strobes and this near instant artificial light - gives us sharp, still detail for the D800 to record.

Perhaps what surprised me most about the D800 in the Red Sea is that almost every shot I took had incredibly sharp detail when zoomed in to 100%.

 

I don't believe there are many outputs that really require 36MP, so the main advantage of getting great detail at 36MP is the ability to crop. Which means even poorly composed or posed shots can be highly useful.

 

This was originally a poorly framed image of a grouper. So I cropped it. It is now only 25MP!

post-713-0-21791800-1342867710_thumb.jpg

 

File Sizes

 

That said 36MP don't come cheap for hard drive space. I shot 3346 photos in a week in the Red Sea. OK we had a particularly amazing week in terms of plentiful subject matter and I was taking extra pictures for test shots (see below). And the files are big.

 

Earlier in the thread I posted that

my largest file is 48.7MB. Most of the wide angles are 44MB - as I am shooting schools of fish with sunbursts etc - so lots of detail throughout the picture. The smallest file is 39MB. Macro with black background.

 

Assuming an average file size of 44MB, I shot close to 150 GB in a week (I can't give the exact figure because I was deleting as I shot)!

 

The D800 creates a lot of data and a needs a fairly neatly laptop to throw the files around in the field. The payback is the detail. This yawning snapper is cropped out of a wide angle shot.

 

post-713-0-95207300-1342868400_thumb.jpg

 

He's so small in the original you have to look twice to spot him:

post-713-0-91604500-1342868476_thumb.jpg

 

Frame Rate

 

Another consequence of so much resolution is that the D800 has a slow-ish frame rate. A lot of mileage has been made of this. Probably because it is one of the few areas that the D4 and 5DMk3 can better the D800 on paper. I really did not find the frame rate a limitation for mainstream photography. This is a sequence of the Goose taking to the air (which I took with his D800). How many more frames per second do you really need?

post-713-0-23302600-1342868642_thumb.jpg

 

More to follow...

 

Alex

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