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Nikon D800 - First Impressions

theorderingone 14 2.4k
28 Mar 2012 12:08PM

Quote:but it could be significant for a professional doing thousands in a day.

This is why I bought another D700. Well this and the fact I'd have to resize all my images down to send them...

Below is a screengrab of the Getty Images 'Dropit' image FTP thing. Note the maximum filesize...


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User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
28 Mar 2012 5:43PM
Now on to the ISO question.

One of the early concerns expressed in some quarters about the 36Mp sensor of the D800 was a fear that it could lead to poor image quality at high ISO.

As mentioned in the first post, my initial impression was that the D800 at ISO 6400 was giving an image quality roughly the same as the D3s at 1600 or the D300/D700 at 400. Now I have had the opportunity to take a series of shots at a range of ISO settings to give a fairer comparison.

The first shot here is a full frame at ISO 100 to set the scene. If I was simply to repeat this at ISO settings up to 12,800 then, frankly, you would not be able to see any difference at all, so I then show a series of roughly similar crops (to about 50% of the image area) at a range of ISO settings:

1. The full scene (ISO 100)


2. Crop ISO 100 ( 1/60th at f/11)


3. Crop ISO 400 (1/250th at f/11)


4. Crop ISO 1600 (1/1000th at f/11)


5. Crop ISO 6400 (1/4000th at f/11)


6. Crop ISO 12800 (1/8000 at f/11)


What those images say to me is that, although the D800 does not have the humungous high-ISO range of the D3s or D4, at more normal high ISO setting up to ISO 6400, it blows the D3s, D300 and D700 out of the water. At the extended ISO 12800, it is starting to become less usable.

My main use of high-ISO settings is to enable fast shutter speeds for hand-held wildlife photography with a long lens. So, in that regard, I am over the moon with the performance.

The one caveat that I would make is that, with previous Nikon models, the "noisy" effect of highisg ISO was more apparent under very low light conditions, when such settings were virtually unavoidable, and the degradation was less obvious in normal daylight shots.

However, very encouraging for my purposes.
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
28 Mar 2012 6:08PM
Looking good. Smile
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
29 Mar 2012 9:39AM
Next step will be to try a range of lenses at different apertures to see at what stage the dire warnings in Nikon's technical note kick-in. Haven't gone smaller than f/11 so far. Will try some at f/16 and f/22 to see if there is a significant degradation.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
29 Mar 2012 9:47AM

This is why I bought another D700. Well this and the fact I'd have to resize all my images down to send them...

Yep. For someone wanting to use (relatively) low-res images straight from the camera, this is not the camera best suited to such a requirement. (But neither, I suspect, is the D700.). You could obviously shoot in one of the lower Jpeg settings - but what's the point of having so much spare capacity that you might never use?

I see the high Megapixelage being most useful for amateurs who enjoy the more creative side of photography and welcome more data to play with. (Also professionals with studios looking for high-res images for commercial work.)
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
30 Mar 2012 7:19PM
In the past, on this forum and elsewhere, I have slated camera manufacturers for either:

(a) Not including a printed manual at all, or

(b) In the case of Nikon, supplying a very poor printed manual.

Very happy to say that, with the D800, Nikon have at last included an intelligible and well-structured 448-page printed manual. It just makes life so much more pleasant when you can switch of the dreaded computer and sit in a comfy armchair with a large single-malt whisky and a well produced camera manual.

User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
31 Mar 2012 11:42AM

Quote:Lucky person did you only pay original price? Not the new super dupa price?

I did not understand this comment when Tim first posted it.

But I read the news report in this morning's "Amateur Photographer", saying that Nikon had made an "administrative error" when they announced the price of the D800 in UK and that it was now being increased by 200.

Happy to say that I benefited from their "administrative error", as will everyone else who ordered before 23rd March.

But for anyone ordering now and being told, firstly, that they will have to wait until June/July for delivery and, secondly, that it will cost an extra 200, seems a humungous PR blunder by Nikon.
theorderingone 14 2.4k
31 Mar 2012 5:14PM

Quote:Yep. For someone wanting to use (relatively) low-res images straight from the camera, this is not the camera best suited to such a requirement. (But neither, I suspect, is the D700.). You could obviously shoot in one of the lower Jpeg settings - but what's the point of having so much spare capacity that you might never use?

I actually shoot everything Raw, as do many news snappers nowadays. With the lighting I deal with, shooting Raw can make a massive difference to the quality of the final image. Even before I get around to sending, I imagine copying those 36Mp files over would have taken a fair chunk of time over USB 2 (I don't intend to buy a new laptop just yet).
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
1 Apr 2012 11:48AM
Obviously this will not show at a meaningful scale on a website image, but one of the features I wanted to look at with the D800 was the ability to create decent panoramas without the need to "stitch" multiple images.

This image was created by simply top- and bottom-slicing a single frame and the resolution is sufficient to get a good 60" long print from it.


Next time I am through in Edinburgh, I will try it for the famous Edinburgh Old Town Skyline when taken from the top of the Waverley Market.
RavenTepes 8 226 United States
3 Apr 2012 12:18AM
You aren't making it easy to say no to the D800. Tongue

Seriously though...it truly is impressive, thus far.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
7 Apr 2012 7:32PM
That's over 2 weeks now and the camera just grows and grown in my estimation.

None of the concerns that were expressed ahead of release have affected me (yet) and we are now preparing for a 7-week phototour of the main western US states, so I hope to be back in early June with some mind-blowing photographs from Grand Canyon, Utah, Tetons, Yellowstone, Tahoe, Yosemite, and all points west.
19 May 2012 1:07PM
The detail in those crops is amazing
peterjones Plus
16 4.7k 1 United Kingdom
19 May 2012 10:25PM
Many thanks for your first impressions, can you please let us know what lenses you were using? Apologies if I have missed them in your posts.

User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
20 May 2012 3:27AM

Most of the images above were with the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8

For the past 6 weeks I have been in USA and to save on airline baggage, I only brought two lenses - the Nikkor 28-300mm and a Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D

Have taken over 4000 exposures so far on this trip (8 National Parks so far!!) and It will have to wait till I get back to Blighty before I can process them in any detailed way but, on a smallish monitor, everything looks good.

What I think I can say now, without fear of contradiction, is that all the ***** that was spouted when the D800 was announced - about high-Mp sensors out-resolving lenses - was exactly that - pure *****. I suspect that we have a long way to go before that arises as a significant issue.

Basically, with all of the lenses that I have tried with the D800 (and that includes a couple of Sigmas as well as a variety of Nikkors), the D800 just gives sharper, more saturated images that I used to get with the D3s.

But, as I say, I should be able to give a much more detailed assessment in a month or so.
peterjones Plus
16 4.7k 1 United Kingdom
20 May 2012 7:14AM
Again many thanks for your reply Grin it is interesting you using the 28-300 with success on a D800 as I would have thought that too many optical compromises would have had to have been made to achieve good results with such a zoom ratio but if the 28-300 has been producing the goods with a 36 megapix sensor it must be some lens .... and some camera

Peter Grin

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