This question has been nagging at me so I thought I'd have Nikonians weigh in.
The jump from the D700 with 12+ mgp to the D800 with 35+ mgp is a signifant change, venturing into medium format territory and possibly beyond Kodachrome 25 territory. Any ideas as to Nikon's reason for this? Which could be anything. (I thought the model following the D700 would be more like 24 mgp or so.)
A comment by a local camera store suggested if the cost of a new D700 is what's stopping me or anyone to buy a used "low-mileage" D700 traded in for a D800 and to then send it to Nikon for a complete overhaul.
#1. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 0
So your actual question is - "Should I buy the D700 or the D800?" And in the subtext of that - "Is 36MP too much to handle?" Please let us know if that's not the case.
Assuming your profile is up-to-date, you should be okay jumping to the D700. You've got the right lenses to take advantage of FX. The D800 is another league entirely - not because it's new, but because significant moves uptier in resolving power tend to reveal things - chiefly among them are the photographer's handling habits and just how good their lens inventory really is. Sometimes the results are good, sometimes bad. It doesn't mean you can't move up - the only limiting factors there are availablility and money, but from a practical perspective - will you gain anything from it? Conversely, what is stopping you now with your D200 that you won't or can't gain with a D700? Or even a D800?
#2. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 1 Thu 08-Mar-12 08:29 PM by rodantking
I really think it's getting over thought if the thought of 14-24 and 24-70 not being good enough for a d800. I personally shot primes as much as I can, but that not because I think thats the only way I can skin a cat. I personally love my 70-200. Those are two solid lens and lets face it, if the 14-24 won't hold up on d800, nikon and everyone that buys a d800 is in trouble.
#4. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 0
It's overly simplistic, but the D800 essentially took the pixels and processing of the D7000 and expanded coverage to an FX sensor. The D7000 is probably more demanding on technique than almost any camera previously released by Nikon. It also has had lots of complaints about softness - largely technique related - so there is some merit in the issues around higher resolution. Based on that experience, the D800 will probably have some softness complaints but they will be mitigated by the hands of skilled users who have been "warned".
The D700 is a fine camera, but even beyond the sensor there are a number of enhancements in the D800. The AF system or video capability could by themselves be reason enough to upgrade. And the D700 remains a good camera.
If you are printing below 10x15 inches, the D700 has plenty of resolution. Even up to 20x30, the D700 image can be upsized with little loss of quality. There is nothing wrong with a used D700 or even a new one at $2199 or lower.
Depending on mileage, I'm not sure you need any kind of service or overhaul. There's not a lot to do other than clean the sensor and blow out any dust.
#5. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 4
>It's overly simplistic, but the D800 essentially took the >pixels and processing of the D7000 and expanded coverage to an >FX sensor. The D7000 is probably more demanding on technique >than almost any camera previously released by Nikon. It also >has had lots of complaints about softness - largely technique >related - so there is some merit in the issues around higher >resolution. Based on that experience, the D800 will probably >have some softness complaints but they will be mitigated by >the hands of skilled users who have been "warned".
What continues to amaze me, is the Canon T2i and 60D, and 7D, and a myriad of other Canon cameras have been at 16-18MP for far longer than Nikon and I have not heard one BIT of this hand-wringing or anything else from that user community. When I bought the T2i and took it shooting, I never ONCE thought about it's 18.2 megapixels. I mounted glass from my non-AI 50mm Nikon, to modern L lenses on it, and just had a blast and got great images.
When I got the D7000, it represented a step backwards in resolution for me, and it never bothered me in the least. The metering was more accurate than the T2i and I was getting great images.
This all just seems to be a whole lot of nothing to me. Doesn't matter if the camera is 2 megapixels or 100. If you know how to shoot, you do. If you don't you don't.
#6. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 5 Thu 08-Mar-12 08:15 PM by Covey22
"This all just seems to be a whole lot of nothing to me. Doesn't matter if the camera is 2 megapixels or 100. If you know how to shoot, you do. If you don't you don't."
It's like driving a 4-cylinder commuter-mobile then suddenly being handed the keys to an 8-cylinder manual transmission monster that can hug the curves like a silk dress. It's the same skill set, different levels of compentency.
On the face of it, taking a picture is not that hard. Really. But it's having good or bad fundamentals that will determine if you can really be competent using any level of equipment.
Think digital audio remastering analog classics - we never really heard those pops, wheezes and other "imperfections" until we were able to hear the track on a platform capable of higher fidelity capture.
Consider the issue of stability alone. A 6MP camera handheld can mask poor technique, especially if it's just for web or small print repro (i.e., chicken wing elbows, just slightly low a shutter speed), but bump that to 12MP and bingo, people started seeing "softness". Bump it to 16MP and oh yeah, people definitely started seeing the fuzzies. Add a slightly heavier prosumer f4 lens, yep, things starting to shake. Move up to pro-caliber f2.8, bingo - nose down and heavy, fatigue starts to kick in handholding.
Tripods - don't even get me started on this. I have a decent consumer tripod, but it's nowhere anywhere *close* to what it needs to be if I moved up to a D3X for example. I'm already paranoid - weighting the center column, using M-UP lock if available, wired or wired release. And some of my exposures still look awful - or would look better with a heavier more stable support.
These are the kinds of issues some people don't think about when moving up to another camera, especially one that significantly exceeds whatever resolving power they had before. It's not just knowing "how to shoot."
#7. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 6
Well, this is an interesting perspective I guess. I don't know at what point digital started outresolving 35mm 50-100ISO film, but that's what I was shooting with my AE-1, T70, and F4s. Maybe it was the fact that I grew up shooting slow film with METAL cameras (none of this light alloy stuff) with real metal lenses, my technique was honed long ago. I can remember hand holding my T70 with ISO64 film at 1/30th to get shots of a Christmas program for the newspaper. That printed half-page and looked great out of the print room.
Shooting video taught me long ago about solid support. I don't do much tripod work except for astrophotography, and my Manfrotto's are decent but not great. My monopods on the other hand are nice. One aluminum Manfrotto and a new carbon fiber Induro. Back in ye olden days I used a Slik.
I guess I just take the technique thing for granted. Or figure that people would work on that until they're good enough without laying blame on the camera. Guess not. Back in the film days we didn't "pixel peep" but we did blow up the images and look at the eyelashes. If we could see discrete eyelashes, we knew we were good to print.
#8. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 7
Comparing Velvia 50 slides (under a loupe, not scanned and then viewed on screen) with my D300s 12mp images, I certainly don't believe my D300s outresolves Velvia 50. I'm thinking 24mp minimum to truly do that. To get to the resolution I was used to with slow speed slide film I may still get the D800, but would rather have seen 24mp if only for the smaller file sizes.
#9. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 6 Fri 09-Mar-12 08:26 AM by briantilley
I would agree that higher MP count camera will show more shake, but those that are buying a D800 should see this in pics and learn to adapt to the camera... like with a 50mm prime lens, most would feel 1/50th would be needed, but those that are steadier, could get away with 1/30th or maybe even slower... Some people don't have steady hands and would need at least 1/80th to get sharp shots... Either way, it's just knowing how the camera operator needs to shoot to get sharp pics... Just my 2 cents though... I learned on a D5100 and never had an issue with shake...
#10. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 9
St Petersburg, RU
I just do not understand the confusion either. Printing the same size as before, viewing on a monitor the same size as before...where the whole image is in view, little or no difference would be seen or expected to be scene. The problem is that some people think that sharpness is revealed in 100% crops. No, sharpness is revealed in view-able images. The D800 will have more detail available to see with wider tone range and if inspecting data points at the limits of resolution, the good and bad of technique will be rewarded. But who on earth judges an image by inspecting pixels or paint dots, brush strokes? A problem is being focused on which is not a real life real world problem. Lenses...smenses....anything that fits on it will work just fine, not worse than what you use it on now, except better AF, metering and DR. Sure, it you are concerned with ultimate IQ, you now, with the introduction of the D800, can get lenses with the capability of exceeding everything you have now. If I get one, the D800 with a kit DX 18-105 will still be a decent image taking combination because it is with my D7000, better than with the D90 it came with. Will my 85 1.4 work better? Sure, at least as well but surely better than what I get now...which is plenty. Why do people keep saying lenses will have to be replaced? Improving technique will allow the real goodness of your current lenses to be seen for the first time. That's a good thing. If someone uses the same technique they were satisfied with with their older lower res camera, why would they be anything but satisfied with a wider DR, lower noise in low ISO(and likely higher ISO as well), wider tone range, finer detail, better AF, better metering, face tracking and any of the other enhancements? Sure, your technique will be tested if looking at 100% crops, but you are then looking at data that was not even collected before, so why be concerned with differences between what now you can see and what more you can see with a D800. Other than file size, there is absolutely no excuse expressed on any forum as to why the D800 is not a major enhancement to the cost/performance ratio, reserve quality waiting to be tapped into if the technique it there, and every criteria of performance and image related technical points. Even the FPS would likely, being slightly lower, be a benefit, with the more intelligent AF system getting more but fewer images in focus per second. The difference between getting the optimum shot between 4-6 and 7-8 frames per second is the same as always....timing and anticipation. Slowing down and being more on control of the camera is not a bad thing, it will improve the number of keepers which are now notoriously low in spray and pray methods. The faster shutter response time of the D800 should be more welcome to skilled action shooters than a couple extra frames per second. Overall, I see nothing that does not put the D800 into the superstar status of future classics that changes everything. The last one was the D3 and before that was a very long time ago. At $3000, considering the relative value of the dollar, the D800 represents a major bargain compared to anything in the past. Does anyone remember what a F1 costs in terms of 2012 dollars? When I was shooting film, my A1 was "only" $625 with a normal 50mm lens. A 3 bedroom home in my area was $67,000...with swimming pool and 2,500sq ft. formal dinning room, 2 fireplaces and 3 full baths. I know because I bought them both the same year. So the D800 is 15 times the camera, at 1/15th the price. That works out to 225 times the value. It is a good time to be alive....;>) Stan St Petersburg Russia
#11. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 10
South Florida, US
Stan, I think you made some valid and intelligent points, especially that the current camera equipment is quite good including the DX Nikon D7000. One looks a picture with their eyes not lab equipment. As you put it, the cost/performance ratio is extremely high on the D800. Agreed.
Just to add my perspective, that may be the same as yours, great glass fundamental to reaching the optimal quality level on the D800. I have always been a believer in the highest quality lenses starting with the Nikon 105mm/ 2.5 many decades ago. This has been a successful path for me.
I am not a pro, rather simply a man who enjoys photography as a hobby. As for me, I am waiting to get my hands on the D800 and read Nikonian reviews before a purchase. There is inconsequential doubt in my mind that I will ultimately wind up with the D800, but I want to do it my way. In South Florida (Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami) there is a waiting list virtually everywhere. Quite extraordinary. This camera is a hot ticket item.
#14. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 0
Livermore, CA, US
>Any ideas as to Nikon's reason for this?
If I could throw another wrinkle into this - the D800 at 36MP is the logical successor to the 24MP D700x which, had it been introduced a couple years ago, would have kept Nikon current with its main competitors. The question that had been on many people's minds was, until the D800 was announced, why didn't Nikon make that camera?
#15. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 0 Sun 11-Mar-12 05:04 PM by walkerr
Colorado Springs, US
Why did Nikon do this? Other than the fact that they could, here are a few reasons:
- It sent a shock wave through their primary competitor's camp, and it wasn't the first one. Personally, I think Canon's new cameras also look good, although many view the 1Dx and 5DMiii as being a bit over-priced compared with the D4 and D800. In other words, there's at least a preliminary success there for Nikon on those fronts, and the D800 is viewed by some Canon owners as being a generation beyond the 5DMiii. That may or may not be an accurate view, but it exists. Keep in mind that an important aspect in marketing is having a camera in the line-up that people can aspire to. Someone buying a D3100 or the Canon equivalent will often look at the top of the line and think "this system looks like one I can grow with or not". It was certainly one of things I considered when I got a Nikkormat FT2 at the age of fourteen (I wanted an F2 at some point, and I eventually got one, although it took about 16 years. )
- Many photographers value sharpness in their images and the ability to make larger prints. Recent printers and photographic software packages benefit from more pixels, even in moderately-sized prints.
- It performs better at higher ISO's than people think, especially if NR is applied at the full resolution and the image is then scaled down. I've done this with high ISO raw files, and they look fantastic. By high ISO, I mean ISO 12,800 raw files, which is about as high as I normally shoot with my D3s.
- This isn't the final Nikon FX camera that will ever be made, and we'll see other options over time. It'll be a great camera for many photographers, but someone who needs a super high frame per second rate (not me normally) might prefer a D4, a used D3s, or something else down the road.
- Computers get faster and faster, and many raw conversion programs will have no problem with D800 raw files, provided the computer isn't too old. Storage space will be higher, but it's one of the cheapest things out there and prices continue to drop while capacity increases.
My ultimate take on why they did this is "why not?". It certainly doesn't scare me or make me worry about whether or not it's too much camera. If I were viewing this through my fourteen year old eyes, my thoughts would be "yes, I made the right choice on camera systems". Right after that I'd be looking forward to using it.
On the other hand, if it's a choice between the D800 and a really great photo trip, I'd pick the trip every time. Great shooting opportunities that inspire creativity trump pixels every time.
#16. "RE: The jump from 12+ mgp to 35+ mgp" In response to Reply # 0
St. Paul, US
Mike, as others have said the workflow shouldn't change with a new camera. The disk sizes will increase.
Here's my workflow. It isn't bullet proof (and I'm currently in a combat zone so maybe it should be bullet proof.) This process is similar to my process for the 4MP D2H files. The D800 just changes the data volume.
Take photos. Remove card from camera and add new card as required. Keep shooting if mid-event. Backup card in Hyperdrive #1 Backup card in Hyperdrive #2 for in-field backup. Place card back in camera, format, keep shooting.
After the event download from Hyperdrive #1. Go to Hyperdrive #2 if something went bad.
When the Hyper drives get toward full I backup one or the other to a RAW hard drive. That way I've got at least one drive with everything. I haven't needed it but it is cheap.
Delete bad photos and post process as required. I save some ‘test’ photos but feel life is too short to save bad photos. The working drive is backed-up whenever it feels necessary. I'm not making a living on photos. I also don't like backup software - more into a manual system.
I maintain off-site backup drives at my brother's house. He maintains backup's at mine. We both use Truecrypt software on the drives so others cannot read it. We don't trade passwords. I suspect his password is difficult and obscure. Truecrypt software is stable and very effective. We have family days every few months.
New drives cost me +/- $100 per year so it is cheaper than cloud backups. It also doesn't have maintenance fees. On the other hand I expect that cloud backups are redundantly backed up as well. I could a limited amount of cloud backup, create an arrangement with my neighbor to run a CAT5 to their house, or finally build the garage and place something off-site there. Again, photography is not my moneymaker so I keep a reasonable backup.