I wanted to share my thoughts about the new Nikon D800 camera body. You can find it here at Adorama, BH or Amazon. All places I highly recommend buying photography equipment from. However because Nikon has had issues fulfilling their pre-orders and current orders of this camera, I decided to use a local camera store to purchase mine. In fact, I added my name to several waiting lists and after 3-4 weeks I was contacted by all 3 saying I had a D800 with my name on it. With that said, if you are STILL waiting for your D800, seek out a local store and get on their waiting list. I live in Sacramento, but I was on several B&M stores from around the country including one in Kentucky.
I will be comparing my observations of the D800, to my previous D700 camera body. This post will only cover the still images. A separate post on the video will come soon once I get to experiment with that more.
When I pulled the D800 out of the box, I noticed right away that it was lighter than the D700. I liked that about it since many times I do one handed shooting while I hold my reflector in my other hand. It looks nearly the same as my previous camera but some of the buttons are backwards which has so far thrown me for a loop at sessions. For example, the zoom buttons are backwards and the light meter inside the view finder is also reversed.
On the D700, the + was on the left, and – on the right. Now with the D800 having it opposite I find myself being a little clumsy mixing up the buttons, but it wont be long before I get used to the new camera.
One of my favorite features on the d800 is the joystick on the back. Its the big round circle button that you use to navigate and move any of the 51 focal points. It is MUCH more fluid and smooth than the d700. It felt like with the previous camera that I was clicking hard to get the points to move. When reviewing images or data I’d have my finger a hair over too far and it would make something else on the screen that I didn’t want. It seemed like I didn’t have as much control before. Nikon has definitely corrected it, and its oh so nice!
Other than these small observations, this camera isn’t much different physically than the d700. The D800 does have a live view option which means you can see the image on the back of the camera screen like you would a point and shoot. I kind of find this useless for the kinds of stills I shoot. It might come in handy for weddings or as a sports photographer though.
Lets talk about file sizes and computer speed. I ordered a 32gig Sandisk CF card from Amazon for my D800, but because it didn’t get here right away I had to use my 8gig card for the test shoot. I was only able to get 100 raw images with an 8 gig card. I did decide to shoot this session raw + jpeg so I could compare images. My raw files are all between 40-43MB each. With the D700 I was never worried about file sizes so I would take pictures on Continuous Low to get the fast frames per second. During this test shoot, I wanted to shoot in the Single Mode so that I wasn’t wasting shots and overshooting (and taking up card space). I think that in any session, if you take your time and are careful you don’t have to overshoot anything.
I haven’t had a chance to “batch process” yet but my photoshop has been fine and not slowed down. I have 8gig ram and a 2TB hard drive. Since I don’t shoot weddings anymore I don’t have a large need for batch post-processing anyway. I do batch edit my raws, but that isn’t in photoshop so there is no delay.
Now for a few sample images that I’ve put together…
The sample image below was taken at f/1.8. I have noticed that my images are a bit sharper shooting wide open than the D700. I did try to grab a few f/1.6 and 1.4 images and I still feel that the lens is a tad soft wide open, and therefore wasn’t blown away by anything that wide open. Overall, my images did seem sharper for the range I was shooting in (f/1.8-f/2.2).
The images posted below are also unedited and unsharpened. They are SOOC (Straight out of camera) and no white balance, exposures, colors or anything has been adjusted so you can better see the comparisons. (Except the last was edited).
For the image above, I overlapped the sooc jpeg and sooc raw image, and then spliced in half so you could see the difference mainly in the skin tones. This is why I prefer raw images over the jpegs. I feel like the skin tones are creamier and have less “gray” in them. Also, her shirt color seemed to “pop” a little more.
I’d say its pretty good for f/1.8. If I were shooting at a smaller f-stop such as f/5.6 then her eye would be even sharper.
The image above is a finished image that was edited by me. I wanted to show the end result.
Here is another from the session that I love!
I am glad I upgraded, I think there is a lot of potential in the D800. Especially with being able to crop so much- its something clients ask for frequently. Also the video feature is insane. I have only used it once and the clarity is so amazing.
I love the dual card slot, it can be a life saver.
The D800’s image quality is lovely, but so is the D700’s. If you are thinking about either upgrading or purchasing a lens, I’d consider the lens since lenses can improve image quality and the D700 is STILL an amazing camera.
I think you will see more of a difference upgrading from a D300s or lower.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope that my personal thoughts on this camera have helped! Excuse any typos or grammer…I’m not a writer!