When a new camera hits like this, there will always be people for whom the spec sheet misses the mark, and we hear a lot from them. For me, this camera is basically what I've been waiting for to take the plunge into FX.
There is one aspect that has me scratching my head on what to do...
I currently shoot 2 bodies, a D7000 and D300s. These cameras are close enough in spec and quality that I basically treat them as equivalents. When working landscapes, typically I have 10-24 on my D7000 and 70-200 on the D300s, and that has worked really well. For events, it's 17-50 on the D7K and 70-200 on the D300s. When I'm only grabbing one camera, for walkabout shooting, or shooting around the house, it's the D7000.
For birding however, it's hands-down the D300s, for its 7fps frame rate and AF system.
Looking at the D800E, I will sell one of these cameras. Which one?
Ideally I'd keep the D7K. This allows me to go back to standardizing on one battery, which will be nice. It also keeps me with a relatively small/light option for walkaround shooting.
Problem is, if I do that, I'd be jettisoning my go-to birding camera and I'm not sure the D800E's frame rates in DX-crop mode make it a good replacement. Maybe I buy the battery grip - at 6fps that's close enough, but I'd really rather be there without the grip, as I am with the D300s.
So, the other option is to sell the D7K and continue to live with 2 battery systems. That will have some level of comfort as well, as the D800 & D300s probably share more in control & menu layout which will make it easier to switch between the bodies.
It's a shame to me they couldn't have gone 6fps in DX crop and 8fps with battery or something, then this would be a no-brainer. Anyway, it's clear the D800 is a landscape/studio camera, and doesn't really replace my speed camera.
Any advice on this I'd be glad to hear it (bearing in mind, the speed complaint while somewhat TIC, it does create this dilemma).
#1. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 0
Reading your excellent description/quandary and sharing much of it(!) it comes to mind selling both the 7000 and 300 replacing them with a 400 would solve a few problems
I think we can pretty much guarantee now that the EN-EL15 will be in the D400 and that it will share the hyper FPS of the D4 and the new AF advantages of D4/800.
So a D800E/D400 end state allows the D7000 or 300 to just be an interim and may make the choice easier. Hmm for you it sounds like D300 is the way to go. For me I am hoping, next year mind you, to keep my D7K and IR convert my D300.
#3. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 2
St Petersburg, RU
You might be assuming frame rate is needed in a new camera to be the same or better than a current camera if that need was based on habits rather than absolute necessity. For example, would you need more frames on a subject if the AF was tracking better as the D800 and D4 are major improvements over prior cameras. Or the addition of tracking accuracy due to the 91k sensor that allow retaining tracking during a sequence, or allowing faster shutter and therefore less blackout time with the 2++ stops of sensitivity. With more options in reach with your lenses, crop or full frame, or post cropping a great deal more in full 36mpx coverage. The assumption that a D800 is not a step up with more keepers of higher quality solely because of the number of frames taken in a sequence might be premature. It might take a little adjustment of habit or technique but the rewards are likely to be many, with image quality you have never hoped to get from a D300. Who knows right now, but if the face tracking working on eyes instead of human full face features, it might be the ultimate wildlife camera. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#4. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 3
Livermore, CA, US
I appreciate your feedback and thanks for taking the time to respond. My assessment on frame rate is really all about catching a unique moment with fast-moving birds. I don't think tracking enters into it at all.
Regarding image quality, we won't know until we have the camera, but given the pixel density, my expectation is that DX crop mode will be on par with D7000 which I don't consider a significant step up from D300s.
#5. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 0
Fairfax Station, US
Stating the obvious, your D7000 will shoot 6 fps. On the new full frame cameras, I agree with you that the D800 is designed for, among others, studio/landscape shooters. Unfortunately, the D4 at twice the price is more in line wiith the needs of sports/wildlife photographers. Have you considerd a D3s? It's a bit less expensive than the D4 and you get 9 fps and a big buffer. Good luck with your decision. Best, Tom
#7. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 6
St Petersburg, RU
If you need to upgrade processing power or throughput, you were already at the end of life of your current computer anyway. Investment in a computer is not easily amortized over traditional payback times, it is a moving performance target that every new application and use hastens the end of its suitability.
Luckily, upgrading can be less than most people assume. What is the constriction points...disk I/O, data in, processing cores, memory? A new populated motherboard is relatively cheap. Terrabyte drives can be added for less than $100. SSD drives for use in processing images are coming down all the time. A small SSD as main disk and a cheap slower large bulk storage drive would get the most bang for the buck with your current hardware. Buying a 6 month old Gamer computer off some neighbor kid would yield breathtaking speed increases, they need REAL power and upgrade often. To them, a 1 year old Gamer computer is worth nothing but will still far exceed the needs of a photographer. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#8. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 7
Monterey Bay, US
>Quote>> To them, a 1 year old Gamer computer is worth nothing but will still far exceed the needs of a photographer. >Stan
Good idea Stan,
I used to upgrade my computer to the latest/greatest every year. My main computer is over 4 years old and the two newer "faster" ones do not run my programs any faster. It seems what they have done is like down shifting my Porsche. It runs faster but does not get me there any sooner.
That said, a better motherboard and memory could make a lot of difference for your use. Especially with 36mp RAW files and Photoshop.
#9. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 5
Livermore, CA, US
>Stating the obvious, your D7000 will shoot 6 fps.
Hmmm... I'll have to dive deeper into my menus because I actually can't refute that I guess I should spend some more time birding with my D7K.
>On the new full frame cameras, I agree with you that the D800 >is designed for, among others, studio/landscape shooters. >Unfortunately, the D4 at twice the price is more in line wiith >the needs of sports/wildlife photographers. Have you considerd >a D3s? It's a bit less expensive than the D4 and you get 9 >fps and a big buffer.
Really my question is about which of my 2 existing cameras do I keep. I've never been a fan of the 12MP FX cameras for birding, as I believe they just push you to much bigger and more expensive lenses, but that's a completely different argument and one that's well-worn already.
Thanks for your answers, you definitely gave me some things to think about.
#10. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 9
Fairfax Station, US
Larry, Don't think the 6 fps is in your menus. But I could be wrong. That's the advertised rate in Continuous High release mode.
From p78 of the Nikon D7K users manual, it says "When the shutter-release button is pressed all the way down, pictures will be taken at 6 fps in continuous high speed mode, or at the frame rate selected for Custom Setting d6 in continuous low speed mode. Frame rates may slow when the battery is low.or vibration reduction or auto ISO sensitivity ISO sensitivity control is on."
Good luck with your decision and good shooting. Best regards, Tom
#11. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 10
Livermore, CA, US
>Larry, >Don't think the 6 fps is in your menus. But I could be wrong.
>From p78 of the Nikon D7K users manual, it says "at >the frame rate selected for Custom Setting d6 in continuous >low speed mode. Frame rates may slow when the battery is >low.or vibration reduction or auto ISO sensitivity ISO >sensitivity control is on." > >Good luck with your decision and good shooting. >Best regards, >Tom
Well, that's interesting. I can say that I wouldn't be shooting with a low battery, and auto-ISO would always be off, but VR would absolutely be on.
Going back through my archives, I can confirm Ch mode, auto-ISO off, VR on. I see one instance when I got 5fps, but generally I was getting 3-4. I think I'm back to my original conclusion that for my purposes anyway, the D7K doesn't really do 6fps. Nikon's "up to 6fps" spec is a bit vague and doesn't apply to my shooting style.
I also notice I'm shooting 14-bit raw. The manual doesn't say anything regarding bit depth and shooting speed, but maybe this is an issue that was overlooked in the text? I'll run some more tests this weekend.
#12. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 11
Save yourself the time. I've never gotten the D7000 to 6fps. I don't care what the advertising says. I think Active-D lighting or whatever it's called, slows it down also. I stopped worrying about it. It shoots fast enough for me working with models, it's faster than my lights in the studio, and it's passable for shooting sports work.
#15. "RE: My beef with the D800 - Speed!" In response to Reply # 0
One of the cameras I shoot with is only 3 fps. That's a little slow at times (division 1 hockey makes me want to shoot slightly faster at times)...but I can live with it.
An undeniable paradox: To think that there is any such thing as an absolute rule is at worst naïve, and at best, shortsighted. There is no such thing as an always-true, all context- or situation-salient, absolute rule that always holds true…including this one!