I am now at a time where I must make my purchase. For months I have been thinking of the D4, but recently have seen some exquisite images from the D800. I shoot around 90% indoor sports (basketball and hockey) but I already own a D3....and it certainly does OK. I shoot everything at iso3200 or slightly less but would love to jump up to ISO 4000 or even 5000 and not lose quality. This would be a BIG help. My other issue though is in hockey, I shoot lots of photos at the other end of the ice, so to be able to crop heavily would be huge. I do gain a bit of resolution with the D4 over the D3 but nothing like I'd get with the D800.
Sooooo....... I have 2 questions: 1) Will the D800 give me D3 or better quality images at ISO 3200+ 2) Aside from the 4fps vs 10fps.....is the D800 a camera you'd use for indoor sports ??
#2. "RE: Crunch time" In response to Reply # 1 Wed 23-Jan-13 04:42 AM by PSAGuy
Lake Elmo, US
Thanks but that's exactly my problem. ISO 1250-1800 is nowhere near enough to allow shooting at 1/800 or 1/1000 which is what you need to freeze hockey action (my main business). Your shots are nice but there is no action. As I shoot ALL f2.8 lenses, the images I get are great with the D3 at iso 3200 ....but when I start cropping them really tight, to grab a shot at the far end of the ice, I lose a bit of image resolution. I always shoot from benches, so hockey glass is no problem at all.
#3. "RE: Crunch time" In response to Reply # 2 Wed 23-Jan-13 06:48 AM by icslowmo
If shooting hockey is your main business, and the D4's price isn't an issue, I would say get a D4 for sure as it will give you a little more res and at least a stop of iso performance over the D3. The D4 is said to be on the same level as the D3s which is a stop better then the D3/D700 sensor.... Also the frame rate could be very important for such a fast sport. Also the AF tracking is said to be the best Nikon has right now.
Now another option to be concidered is, you could pick up a longer lens to help reduce the need to crop as much. Such as the Nikon 300mm f2.8 or if 400mm can fill the frame, you could get the Nikon 200-400mm f/4. And by filling the frame more, that should give you better results with your D3....
There is another thread that was started not long ago (Plus many comparisons around the web) that compares the D800 to the D3/D700 and it seems the D800 is about at the same iso/noise levels at the pixel level, but with better dynamic range. What makes the D800 better, would be form reducing the image size (Down-sampling) to the same12mp size, which could give you about 2/3 to 1 stop better iso performance (D3s quality). But that still leaves you with a 12mp file, but it would be a sharper file due to the down-sampling. Take a look at the buttom of the page for iso comparisons:
Makes sense I think. Another option I know is to buy the D4 and then sell my D3 (oh this would kill me). Then for another grand or so I could buy a D800 and I'd be all set. The thought of having an arsenal of a D3 and a D4 though is indeed fun to think about as a sports shooter.
Yes, sorry. All the action shots were at the lower ISO's. Where they played there was enough light.
What I tried to show you though is the quality of the higher ISO shots (action or not) and the crop-ability of the D800 is the reason I bought that camera and sold all my Canon gear.
The best thing is maybe you can either borrow/rent one or if there is a fellow photog that lives in your area that has one, you can give it a try and see as only you can say if you will be happy with it. I know I am.
#6. "RE: Crunch time" In response to Reply # 0 Wed 23-Jan-13 04:32 PM by agitater
I don't think that more megapixels will help, whether it's physical subject distance, FPS, cropping for composition or whatever.
The best sports photography - sharp action shots, frozen in time at just the right moment - I think are best served by the D4. Lousy seats and not enough focal length? Move closer. Serious about sports shooting? Develop a relationship with convenors and venue managers in order to gain access to the preferred shooting positions. The best shots, generally, are made from court, field, floor and ice level. I think sports shooters need the D4 speed, superior high ISO results, fast glass and the best, stable shooting positions low down. It is inherent sharpness that determines how heavily an image can be cropped, not megapixels. Blurry megapixels are blurry megapixels. So all you get out of a heavy crop of a loosely composed, blurry/soft, original shot is a tighter, blurry/soft shot. By comparison, a loosely composed sharp shot, is more likely to soften slightly after being cropped tighter. The former is useless; the latter is quite often perfectly good. It's one of the reasons that sports shooters have gotten razor sharp action shots using 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 megapixel pro cameras. The 16mp in the D4 are even more astonishing by comparison. Get closer, shoot tighter, crop less. The 16 gorgeous megapixels in the D4 are not exactly chopped liver. It's one of the best sports shooters (or any other kind of shooters) ever made.
The key to sharp shots is less distance between you and the subject, not additional focal length or cropping. The farther away you are from an action subject (or any other subject), the more that distance relationships appear to be compressed - a characteristic of telephoto photography. That can be a benefit or a curse, depending on the subject and its environment and the background against which the shot is captured.
I crop. Everybody crops from time to time. Sometimes it's unavoidable. But I think that enormous numbers of megapixels have hurt technique. We should all work smarter to eliminate cropping from our post-processing.
If we're 'voting' I say go for the D4 for its speed, high ISO superiority and top-notch technical image quality. Then get closer and shoot tighter.
Also, have you considered getting a used D3s instead? It does give you better high ISO performance and has the improved buffer. It would be a step up.
If you are still uncertain about what would work best, I would recommend renting a D4 and a D800 for at least a week apiece when you know you will have the opportunity to shoot. Nothing like experience to give you the best answer.
Well you know how it goes.....with big purchases like this , sometimes you need to feel just a bit "cozier" with the decision. Howard is correct in that better positioning is key. I never work a tourney or event where I don't have access to the optimal positions. Its key...I agree.
The D4 will be the selection. Ultimately I may get a D800 too but I just don't do enough studio or landscape work to make it worthwhile. YET !
I went through the same process. I was generally satisfied with my D3, but wanted the better low light autofocus the D4 offered. I thought it would be hard for me to put the D3 up for sale since it had been such a good body for me. Once my D4 arrived it was a different story. The D4 was so superior I had no problem at all listing the D3. I believe you will be very pleased with your decision.
Occasionally I take a shot where I could use the resolution of the D800. But my D700 or D4 have enough most of the time. I'll get a D800 someday, but I am in no hurry.